Pillar, Plain of The

Pillar, Plain of the (אֵלוֹן מֻצָּב; Sept. τῇ βαλανῳ τῇ εὑρετῇ τῆς στάσεως; Alex. omits τῇ εὑρετῇ; Vulg. quercum quae stabat), or rather "oak of the pillar" — that being the real signification of the Hebrew word eldn; a tree which stood near Shechem, and at which the men of Shechem and the house of Millo assembled, to crown Abimelech, son of Gideon (Jg 9:6). There is nothing said by which its position can be ascertained. It possibly derived its name of Mutstsab from a stone or pillar set up under it; and reasons have already been adduced for believing that this tree may have been the same with that under which Jacob buried the idols and idolatrous trinkets of his household, and under which Joshua erected a stone as a testimony of the covenant there re-executed between the people and Jehovah. SEE MEONENIM. There was both time and opportunity during the period of commotion which followed the death of Joshua for this sanctuary to return into the hands of the Canaanites, and the stone left standing there by Joshua to become appropriated to idolatrous purposes as one of the matstsebâhs in which the religion of the aborigines of the Holy Land delighted. SEE IDOLATRY. The terms in which Joshua speaks of this very stone (Jos 24:27) almost seem to overstep the bounds of mere imagery, and would suggest and warrant its being afterwards regarded as endowed with miraculous qualities, and therefore a fit object for veneration. Especially would this be the case if the singular expression, "It hath heard all the words of Jehovah our God which he spake to us," were intended to indicate that this stone had been brought from Sinai, Jordan, or some other scene of the communications of Jehovah with the people. The Samaritans still show s range of stones on the summit of Gerizim as those brought from the bed of Jordan by the twelve tribes. SEE OAK.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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