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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Father's House; Fathers' House

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(בּית אב , bēth 'ābh , בּית אבות , bēth 'ābhōth ): Father's house in the Old Testament is (1) a dwelling, the family home (Genesis 12:1 ; Genesis 31:14 , Genesis 31:30 ; Genesis 38:11 ; 1 Samuel 18:2 ); (2) a family or household (Genesis 41:51 ; Genesis 46:31 ; Exodus 12:3 , the Revised Version (British and American) "fathers' houses"); (3) The group of households, of several of which the "family" or "clan" was constituted, aggregations of which formed the "tribe," generally "fathers' houses" (Numbers 1:18 , Numbers 1:20 ; Numbers 17:2 ; Ezra 2:59 ; Nehemiah 10:34 , etc.); (4)the "family" (clan), mishpāḥāh , "fathers' houses" (Exodus 6:14 f; Numbers 3:20 ); (5) The tribe, "fathers' house," "houses" (Numbers 7:2 ; Numbers 17:1-3 , etc.).

In the New Testament "father's house" (οἶκος τοῦ πατρός , oı́kos toú patrós ) occurs in the sense of dwelling, house (Luke 16:27 ; compare Luke 16:4 ). our Lord also uses the phrase (1) of the earthly temple-dwelling of God at Jerusalem (John 2:16 , "Make not my Father's house a house of merchandise"; compare Psalm 11:4 ; Isaiah 63:15 ); (2) of heaven as the abode of God and His children (John 14:2 , "In my Father's house are many mansions," the Revised Version, margin "abiding places," oikı́a "house," "dwelling," also household, family; compare Psalm 33:13 ; Isaiah 63:15 ; Matthew 6:9 ). The phrase occurs also (Acts 7:20 ) of Moses, "nourished ... in his father's house" (oikos ).

Revised Version has "father's hquse" for "principal household" (1 Chronicles 24:6 ), "heads of the fathers' houses" for "chief fathers" (Numbers 31:26 ; Numbers 32:28 ; Numbers 36:1 ; 1 Chronicles 9:34 , etc.); "one prince of a father's house," for "each of" (Joshua 22:14 ); "the heads of the fathers' (houses)" for "the chief of the fathers," and "the fathers' houses of the chief," for "the principal fathers" (1 Chronicles 24:31 ).

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Father's House; Fathers' House'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 1915.

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