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Pillar


Pillar. The notion of a pillar is of a shaft or isolated pile, either supporting or not supporting a roof. But perhaps the earliest application of the pillar was the votive or monumental. This in early times consisted of nothing but a single stone or pile of stones. Gen. 28:18; 31:46, etc. The stone Ezel, 1 Sam. 20:19, was probably a terminal stone or a waymark. The “place” set up by Saul, 1 Sam. 15:12, is explained by St. Jerome to be a trophy. So also Jacob set up a pillar over Rachel’s grave. Gen. 35:20. The monolithic tombs and obelisks of Petra are instances of similar usage. Lastly, the figurative use of the term “pillar,” in reference to the cloud and fire accompanying the Israelites on their march, or as in Song 3:6 and Rev. 10:1, is plainly derived from the notion of an isolated column not supporting a roof.