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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

 

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PEACE

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 Ps 122:7, we have "peace" and "prosperity," and in 35:27; 73:3, shalom is translated "prosperity." In 2 Sam 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 (Gen 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)"; Jdg 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"); Jdg 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 (Lev 26:6; Nu 6:26, "Yahweh lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace"; Ps 29:11; Isa 26:12, etc.). To "die in peace" was greatly to be desired (Gen 15:15; 1 Ki 2:6; 2 Ch 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)"; Ps 4:8; 85:8, "He will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints"; 119:165; Prov 3:2,17; Isa 26:3, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace (Hebrew "peace, peace"), whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee"; Mal 2:5); also outward peace (Job 5:23,24; Prov 16:7, etc.). (4) Peace was to be sought and followed by the righteous (Ps 34:14, "Seek peace, and pursue it"; Zec 8:16,19, "Love truth and peace"). (5) Peace should be a prominent feature of the Messianic times (Isa 2:4; 9:6, "Prince of Peace"; 11:6; Ezek 34:25; Mic 4:2-4; Zec 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 Lk 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 (Lk 1:74,79; 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 (Lk 2:14; Acts 10:36, "preaching .... peace by Jesus Christ"). It is "peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," in Rom 5:1; the King James Version 10:15; peace between Jew and Gentile (Eph 2:14,15); an essential element in the spiritual kingdom of God (Rom 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" (Mk 9:50); Paul exhorts, "Live in peace: and the God of love and peace shall be with you" (2 Cor 13:11; compare Rom 12:18; 1 Cor 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. Rom 15:33; 16:20; 2 Thess 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 Cor 1:3; 2 Cor 1:2, etc.). (4) We have also "peace" as a greeting (Mt 10:13; Lk 10:5); "a son of peace" (Lk 10:6) is one worthy of it, in sympathy with it; the Lord's own greeting to His disciples was "Peace be unto you" (Lk 24:36; Jn 20:19,21,26), and ere He left them He gave them specially His blessing of "Peace" (Jn 14:27); we have also frequently "Go in peace" (Mk 5:34; Lk 7:50). In Lk 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" (Gen 24:21; 34:5; Job 11:3); also of chashah, "to hush," "to be silent" (2 Ki 2:3,5; Ps 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" (Mt 20:31; 26:63; Acts 18:9, etc.); sigao, "to be silent," "not to speak" (Lk 20:26; Acts 12:17); hesuchazo, "to be quiet" (Lk 14:4; Acts 11:18); phimoo, "to muzzle or gag" (Mk 1:25; Lk 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 Macc 5:54; 6:49; 2 Macc 14:6, eustatheia = "tranquillity").
The Revised Version (British and American) has "peace" for "tongue" (Est 7:4; Job 6:24; Am 6:10; Hab 1:13); "at peace with me" for "perfect" (Isa 42:19, margin "made perfect" or "recompensed"); "security" instead of "peaceably" and "peace" (Dan 8:25; 11:21,24); "came in peace to the city," for "came to Shalem, a city" (Gen 33:18); "it was for my peace" instead of "for peace" (Isa 38:17); "when they are in peace," for "and that which should have been for their welfare" (Ps 69:22).
W. L. Walker

Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Definition for 'PEACE'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". bible-history.com - ISBE; 1915.

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