Bible Encyclopedia For Peace

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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia For Peace

An exhaustive Biblical encyclopedia that details every significant word in the Bible. Contains articles by nearly 200 scholars about every aspect of the culture, language, people, and literature of the Bible.


pes (shalom; eirene):

1. In the Old Testament:

Is a condition of freedom from disturbance, whether outwardly, as of a nation from war or enemies, or inwardly, within the soul. The Hebrew word is shalom (both adjective and substantive), meaning, primarily, “soundness,” “health,” but coming also to signify “prosperity,” well-being in general, all good in relation to both man and God. In early times, to a people harassed by foes, peace was the primary blessing. In Psalm 122:7, we have “peace” and “prosperity,” and in 35:27; 73:3, shalom is translated “prosperity.” In 2 Samuel 11:7 the King James Version, David asked of Uriah “how Joab did” (margin “of the peace of Joab”), “and how the people did (the Revised Version (British and American) “fared,” literally, “of the peace of the people”), and how the war prospered” (literally, “and of the peace (welfare) of the war”).

(1) Shalom was the common friendly greeting, used in asking after the health of anyone; also in farewells (Genesis 29:6, “Is it well with him?” (“Is there peace to him?”); 43:23, “Peace be to you”; 43:27, “He asked them of their welfare (of their peace)”; Judges 6:23, “Yahweh said unto him, Peace be unto thee”; 18:15 (the King James Version “saluted him,” margin “Hebrew asked him of peace,” the Revised Version (British and American) “of his welfare”); Judges 19:20, etc.). See also GREETING.

(2) Peace from enemies (implying prosperity) was the great desire of the nation and was the gift of God to the people if they walked in His ways (Leviticus 26:6 Numbers 6:26, “Yahweh lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace”; Psalm 29:11 Isaiah 26:12, etc.). To “die in peace” was greatly to be desired (Genesis 15:15 1 Kings 2:6 2 Chronicles 34:28, etc.).

(3) Inward peace was the portion of the righteous who trusted in God (Job 22:21, “Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace (shalam)”; Psalm 4:8; Psalm 85:8, “He will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints”; 119:165; Proverbs 3:2, 17 Isaiah 26:3, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace (Hebrew “peace, peace”), whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee”; Malachi 2:5); also outward peace (Job 5:23, 24 Proverbs 16:7, etc.).

(4) Peace was to be sought and followed by the righteous (Psalm 34:14, “Seek peace, and pursue it”; Zechariah 8:16, 19, “Love truth and peace”).

(5) Peace should be a prominent feature of the Messianic times (Isaiah 2:4; Isaiah 9:6, “Prince of Peace”; Isaiah 11:6 Ezekiel 34:25 Micah 4:2-4 Zechariah 9:10).

In the New Testament, where eirene has much the same meaning and usage as shalom (for which it is employed in the Septuagint; compare Luke 19:42, the Revised Version (British and American) “If thou hadst known…. the things which belong unto peace”), we have still the expectation of “peace” through the coming of the Christ (Luke 1:74, 79; Luke 12:51) and also its fulfillment in the higher spiritual sense.

2. In the New Testament:

(1) The gospel in Christ is a message of peace from God to men (Luke 2:14 Acts 10:36, “preaching…. peace by Jesus Christ”). It is “peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” in Romans 5:1; the King James Version 10:15; peace between Jew and Gentile (Ephesians 2:14, 15); an essential element in the spiritual kingdom of God (Romans 14:17).

(2) It is to be cherished and followed by Christians. Jesus exhorted His disciples, “Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace one with another” (Mark 9:50); Paul exhorts, “Live in peace: and the God of love and peace shall be with you” (2 Corinthians 13:11; compare Romans 12:18 1 Corinthians 7:15).

(3) God is therefore “the God of peace,” the Author and Giver of all good (“peace” including every blessing) very frequently (e.g. Romans 15:33; Romans 16:20 2 Thessalonians 3:16, etc., “the Lord of peace”). “Peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” is a common apostolic wish or salutation (compare 1 Corinthians 1:3 2 Corinthians 1:2, etc.).

(4) We have also “peace” as a greeting (Matthew 10:13 Luke 10:5); “a son of peace” (Luke 10:6) is one worthy of it, in sympathy with it; the Lord’s own greeting to His disciples was “Peace be unto you” (Luke 24:36 John 20:19, 21, 26), and ere He left them He gave them specially His blessing of “Peace” (John 14:27); we have also frequently “Go in peace” (Mark 5:34 Luke 7:50). In Luke 19:38, we have “peace in heaven” (in the acclamation of Jesus on His Messianic entry of Jerusalem).

(5) The peace that Christ brought is primarily spiritual peace from and with God, peace in the heart, peace as the disposition or spirit. He said that He did not come “to send peace on the earth, but a sword,” referring to the searching nature of His call and the divisions and clearances it would create. But, of course, the spirit of the gospel and of the Christian is one of peace, and it is a Christian duty to seek to bring war and strife everywhere to an end. This is represented as the ultimate result of the gospel and Spirit of Christ; universal and permanent peace can come only as that Spirit rules in men’s hearts.

“Peace” in the sense of silence, to hold one’s peace, etc., is in the Old Testament generally the translation of charash, “to be still, or silent” (Genesis 24:21; Genesis 34:5 Job 11:3); also of chashah, “to hush,” “to be silent” (2 Kings 2:3, 5 Psalm 39:2), and of other words. In Job 29:10 (“The nobles held their peace,” the King James Version), it is qol, “voice.”

In the New Testament we have siopao, “to be silent,” “to cease speaking” (Matthew 20:31; Matthew 26:63 Acts 18:9, etc.); sigao, “to be silent,” “not to speak” (Luke 20:26 Acts 12:17); hesuchazo, “to be quiet” (Luke 14:4 Acts 11:18); phimoo, “to muzzle or gag” (Mark 1:25 Luke 4:35).

In Apocrypha eirene is frequent, mostly in the sense of peace from war or strife (Tobit 13:14; Judith 3:1; Ecclesiasticus 13:18; 1 Maccabees 5:54; 6:49; 2 Maccabees 14:6, eustatheia equals “tranquillity”).

The Revised Version (British and American) has “peace” for “tongue” (Esther 7:4 Job 6:24 Amos 6:10 Habakkuk 1:13); “at peace with me” for “perfect” (Isaiah 42:19, margin “made perfect” or “recompensed”); “security” instead of “peaceably” and “peace” (Daniel 8:25; Daniel 11:21, 24); “came in peace to the city,” for “came to Shalem, a city” (Genesis 33:18); “it was for my peace” instead of “for peace” (Isaiah 38:17); “when they are in peace,” for “and that which should have been for their welfare” (Psalm 69:22).

W. L. Walker



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The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915 edition) is a public domain biblical encyclopedia. This encyclopedia was published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.


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