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OBELISK. An obelisk is a monumental stone pillar, often associated with the worship of the sun and sometimes commemorative. It consists of a tapering, four-sided shaft, about square in cross-section, with a pyramidal top. Obelisks were a feature of the religion of the Egyptians and obelisks of various sizes are known from ancient times, with the smaller ones often of funerary character. The oldest temple obelisk standing in situ is that of Senusert I, at Heliopolis, dating from the 20th cent. b.c. The largest finished obelisk (105 ft., 9 inches) is that of Thutmose III, now at St. John Lateran in Rome. In Heb. an obelisk is מַצֵּבָה, H5167, “pillar.” It was predicted that the obelisks of Heliopolis would be destroyed (Jer 43:13).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

See Pillar.

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