Bible Dictionary
M
(* = the name meaning)
 

Macedonia
(may-suh-doh-nee-uh)

Roman province directly north of Achaia. Macedonia saw a lot of Christians come and go during Paul's missionary journeys. Major churches took root in the Macedonian cities of Berea, Philippi, and Thessalonica early in the New Testament era.
Acts 16:9
1 Thessalonians 1:7
1Timothy 1:3
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magi, Magi
(may-jye)
The men "from eastern lands" who visited Jesus shortly after his birth and gave him gifts; also called wise men. We know little about these magi.  They came to Bethlehem because they saw a star that signaled to them the birth of the king of the Jews. The term magi usually referred to astrologers or magicians who interpreted dreams. It could also refer to magicians or sorcerers, like Simon the sorcerer and Elymas.
Matthew 2:1,7,16
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magician
(muh-ji-shun)
A person who practices magic.  Kings often used magicians as advisors. Joseph and Daniel became famous for interpreting dreams that the royal magicians could not interpret.  Pharoah's magicians tried to equal God's power when  Moses  was asking Pharaoh to set the Israelites free. The magicians failed
1 Samuel 28:7
Daniel 2:10.27
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magistrate
(maj-i-strate)
A ruler; administrator, judge, or other public official who has authority to judge disputes.
Luke 12:58
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Magog
(may-gog)
Land ruled by Gog and an enemy of Israel mentioned in the prophecies of Ezekiel. The prophesies say that Gog and his kingdom will be utterly destroyed. They may be related to the prophesies against Gog and Magog in the book of Revelation.
Ezekiel 38:2
Revelation 2O:8
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Mahalath (* sickness)
(muh-hah-luhth)
A term that appears in the title of Psalms 53 and 88. Its meaning is unknown.
Psalms 53
One of Esau's wives; daughter of Ishmael; sister of Nebaioth.
Genesis 28:9
One of Rehoboam's wives; a granddaughter of David.
2 Chronicles 11:18
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Mahlon (* sickly)
(mah-lon)
Ruth's first husband, an Israelite' of Judah from Bethlehem. Mahlon was one of Naomi and Elimelech's two sons and brother of Kilion. He died while in Moab, leaving Ruth a widow.
Ruth 1:2
Ruth 4:9
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maiden
(may-den)
A young woman who is not married.
Proverbs 3O:18-19
Isaiah 62:5
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maidservant
(mayd-sur-vuhnt)
A female slave. Kings and wealthy families of Old Testament times often had such servants. Most maidservants took care of the household and were treated much like family members. A maidservant was not the same as a concubine.
Genesis 16:1-2
Judges 19:9
Proverbs 30:21-23
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major prophets
(may-jur prof-uhtz)
Five books of prophecy in the Old Testament: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, and Daniel. They are called major prophets because they were written by prophets of great influence and importance.
Isaiah 38:1
Jeremiah 1:5
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make atonement
(make uh-tohn-ment)
To pay for sin. Sin is a violation of God's law.
Exodus 29:36-37
EzekieI 16:63
Hebrews 2:17
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Makir
(may-kur)
Firstborn son of Manasseh and the clan named after him; father of Gilead. The Makir clan settled in Bashan and Gilead.
Genesis 50:23
Joshua 17:3
Israelite who gave shelter to Mephibosbeth after Saul's death; son of Ammiel. Makir also brought provisions to David at Mahanaim during Absalom's rebellion.
2 Samuel 9:2-5
2 Samuel 17:27-29
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Malachi  (* my messenger)
(mal-uh-kye)
Last Israelite prophet to Judah and author of the book of Malachi. He lived around 430 B.C., fifteen years after Nehemiah came to Jerusalem.
Malachi 1:1
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Malachi, book of
(mal-uh-kye, buk uhv)
Thirty-ninth book of the Old Testament and last of the minor prophets. The book of Malachi records prophecies to the people of Judah in Jerusalem after the Exile. It scolds God's people for their careless attitude toward worship and holy living.
Malachi 1:1
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Malchus  (* king)
(mawl-kuhss)
A servant of the high priest during the time of Jesus.  Simon Peter cut off Malchus' ear trying to defend Jesus from arrest
John 18:10
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Malta
(mawl-tuh)
A small island in the Mediterranean Sea 93 kilometers south of Sicily. Paul was shipwrecked on Malta during his journey to Rome.
Acts 23:1
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Manaen (* comforter)
(man-ay-en)
A Christian teacher and prophet in the church at Antioch before any of Paul's missionary journeys. Manaen taught alongside Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius, and Saul (Paul).
Acts 13:1
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Manasseh (* making to forget)
(muh-nass-uh)
Joseph's firstborn son and the tribe of Israel named after him. Asenath was Manasseh's mother.
Genesis 46:20
The land allotted to the tribe of Manasseh.
Joshua 17:1-2
Son of Hezekiah and fourteenth king of Judah after his father. Manasseh was one of the most evil kings Judah ever had. He built many high places and shrines to Ashtoredi and Molech (false gods), and made sacrifices to Molech in the Valley of Hinnom. Manasseh repented in his later years and returned to God.
2 Kings 20:21
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manger or crib
(mane-jur)
A feeding trough for animals.
Proverbs 14:4
Luke 2:6-12
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manna (* what is this?)
(man-uh)
One of the foods that God provided for the Israelites during the Exodus. Manna appeared with the dew every morning, six days of every week, for 40 years. It had a taste and could be used to make other foods. The Israelites got tired of eating manna, and their complaints about it became a famous example of their ungrateful attitude. The word manna means 'What is it?"
Exodus 16:31-32
Nehemiah 9:2O
John 6:58
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Manoah (* rest)
(muh-noh-ah)
Samson's father. Manoah is one of the few people ever to see and speak with an angel. He lived in Zorah and was a member of the tribe of Dan. His story is told in Judges 13-14.
Judges 13:2
Judges 16:31
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manservant
(man-sur-vuhnt)
A male slave.
Exodus 2O:8-1O
Deuteronomy 5:21
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maranatha
(mair-uh-nath-uh)
Aramaic for "Our Lord, come!"
1 Corinthians 16:22
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mark of the beast
(mark uhv the beest)
A mark on the forehead or hand taken by people who worship the beast. This mark is a sign of devotion to Satan and rejection of God. It appears in the prophecies of the book of Revelation.
Revelation 13:16-18
Revelation 16:2
Revelation 19:20
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Mark, Gospel of
(mark, gos-puhl uhv)
Second book of the New Testament, second of the Gospels, written by Mark. The Gospel of Mark is the shortest of the four Gospels but records more miracles than any other. It tells about Jesus' life, death, burial, and resurrection.
Mark 1:1-2
Acts 12:25
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Martha   (* lady)
(mar-thuh)
One of those who opened her home to Jesus during His ministry; sister of Mary and Lazarus. Martha is famous for complaining to Jesus when Mary stopped helping with housework to listen to Jesus.
Luke 10:38-42
John 12:2
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martyr
(mar-tur)
A person who is killed for his or her devotion to God. Stephen is called a martyr.
Acts 22:22
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Mary
(mair-ee)
Mother of Jesus. She was a devout Jewish woman chosen by God to give birth to the Son of God. She was engaged to Joseph, a carpenter, when the angel Gabriel appeared to her. She wrote down a song of praise after learning of her pregnancy. She and Joseph lived in Nazareth. Augustus's census forced them to go to Bethlehem where Jesus was born.
Matthew 1:18
Luke 1:26-30
Mother of James.
Matthew 27:56
Sister of Martha. Jesus praised her for her attention to his teaching.
Luke 10:38-39
Mary Magdalene.
Matthew 27:56
Mother of Mark.
Acts 12:12
One of those greeted by Paul in the book of Romans.
Romans 16:6
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Mary Magdalene
(mair-ee mag-duh-leen)
One of those who followed Jesus, witnessed the crucifixion, and went to the tomb on the morning of Jesus' resurrection. "Magdalene" probably means that she was from Magdala, a town in Galilee.
Luke 8:1-2
John 20:18
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Matthew (* gift of Jehovah)
(math-yoo)
One of the Twelve among Jesus' disciples and also known as Levi. Matthew was a tax collector. Many Jews regarded tax collectors as out-casts because some worked for the Romans. Matthew wrote the Gospel of Matthew.
Matthew 9.9
Luke 6:13-16
Acts 1:13
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Matthew, Gospel of
(math-yoo, gos-puhl uhv)
First book of the New Testament and first of the Gospels. The Gospel of Matthew is most famous for the Sermon on the Mount and the Great Commission. It also has a lot of details such as: Jesus' genealogy, the visit of the magi, Jesus' statements about the Law, the term Kingdom of Heaven.
Matthew  1:18
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Matthias
(muh-thye-uhss)
The man who took Judas' place among the Twelve after Jesus' ascension. The disciples cast lots to determine whether God had chosen Matthias or Joseph (Barsabbas) to fill the vacancy
Acts 1:23
Acts 1:26
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Medes
(meedz)
People of Media. The Medes ruled in Babylonia during the time of Daniel and Esther. Both Isaiah and Jeremiah prophesied against the Medes.
2 Kings 17:6
Daniel 6:8
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Media
(mee-dee-uh)
Land, nation, and kingdom southwest of the Caspian Sea. The people of Media were called Medes.
Esther 1:3
Daniel 8:20
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mediator
(mee-dee-ate-ur)
A go-between.
Galatians 3:20
Hebrews 8:6
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meditate
(med-i-tate)
To think over, ponder, reflect on
Genesis 24:63
Joshua 1:8
Psalm 119:97
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meek
(meek)
Humble, gentle
Psalm 37:11
Zephaniah 3:12
Matthew 5:5
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meeting, tent of
(meet-ing, tent uhv)
See tent of meeting
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Melchizedek  (* King of Righteousness)
(mel-kiz-uh-dek)
"Priest of God Most High" and king of Salem during the time of Abraham. Meichizedek was unique because his priesthood did not come from the Law or from Aaron's family line. Abraham gave him a title. David mentioned Melchizedek in the messianic prophesies of Psalm 110. The book of Hebrews explains how Meichizedek helps us understand Christ
Genesis 14:18
Psalm 110:4
Hebrews 6:20
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Melzar (* steward)
(mel-zar)
The Babylonian official in charge of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Auriah. Melzar was a title, not a name.
Daniel 1:11,16
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Memphis (* the good abode)
(mem-fiss)
Capital city of Egypt during Old Testament times.  Memphis was on the west bank of the Nile about 24 kilometers south of the Mediterranean shore.  The prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Hosea used the word Memphis, for all Egypt.
Jeremiah 44:1
Ezekiel 30:13
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mene, mene, tekel, parsin
(mee-nee, tek-uhl, par-sin)
The four words written on the wall during Belshazzar's feast that Daniel interpreted as a prophesy against the Babylonian king. Daniel's words came true.
Daniel 5:22-25
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Mephibosheth
(me-fib-oh-sheth)
Grandson of Saul and Rizpah. Mephibosheth was executed by the people of Gibeon.
2 Samuel 21:7-8
2 Samuel 4:4
Saul's grandson; son of David's friend Jonathan. The story of David's kindness to Mephibosheth, and Mephibosheth's gratitude, is told in the book of Second Samuel.
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Merari(* bitter, unhappy)
(muh-rar-eye)
Third son of Levi and father of the clan named after him. Gershon and Kohadi were his older brothers.
Exodus 6:16
1 Chronicles 6:63
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Merarites
(muh-rar-ites)
One of the three clans of Levites; the clan of Merari; people descended from Levi's son Merari. During the Exodus, the Merarites carried portions of the tabernacle and camped on its north side. During the time of David, they served as temple musicians, singers, and gatekeepers.
Numbers 3:36
2 Chronicles 29:12
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mercy
(mur-see)
Kindness; forgiveness. Mercy is a very important word in the Bible because it describes the way God treats all people. Mercy is the reason God chose Abraham and promised to make him a great nation.  Mercy is the reason that God sent Jesus Christ. One of the most famous verses about mercy says, "God blesses those who are merciful for they will be shown mercy" (Matthew 5:7)
Genesis 43:14
Nehemiah 13:22
James 3:17
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mercy seat
(mur-see seet)
The top that covered the Ark of the Covenant; the "atonement cover" or "place of atonement".  The mercy seat was made of pure gold.
Hebrews 9:5
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Meribah   (* strife or contention)
(mair-i-buh)
The nickname given to two places in the wilderness of Sinai, Rephidim and Kadesh Barnea, where the Israelites complained about the lack of water. "Meribah" means "quarreling" or "strife."
Exodus 17:7
Psalm 106:32
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Meribah Kadesh
(mair-i-buh kay-desh)
"Strife at Kadesh," a nickname for Kadesh Barnea and the reason Moses was not allowed to enter Canaan.
Numbers 27:14
Ezekiel 48:28
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Mesha
(mee-shuh)
King of Moab during the reigns of Ahab and Ahaziah in Israel. Mesha paid tribute to Ahab, but rebelled against Israel after Ahab died.
2 Kings 3:4
Firstborn son of Caleb; father of Ziph.
1 Chronicles 2:42
A clan leader in the tribe of Benjamin; son of Shaharaim.
1 Chronicles 8:8-9
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Meshach   (* Guest of a king)
(mee-shuhk)
Babylonian name given to Mishael, a Hebrew exile in the service of King Nebuchadnezzar. Meshach and his two friends, Shadrach and Abednego, were thrown into a fiery furnace for refusing to bow down to an idol of gold.
Daniel 1:7
Daniel 3:19-20
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Mesopotamia (* between the rivers)
(mess-uh-poh-tay-mee-uh)
The land between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and the land watered by them. This land is in modern Syria and Iraq. Abraham and Sarah were from Haran in Mesopotamia. The Assyrian and Babylonian kingdoms also ruled this region. The word "mesopotamia" means "between the rivers."
Acts 2:8-9
Acts 7:2
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Messiah  (* anointed)
(muh-sye-uh)
A Hebrew word meaning "anointed one."  The Greek form is "Christ".
John 1:41
John 4:25
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messianic prophesies
(meh-see-an-ik prof-uh-seez)
Prophesies about the Messiah; predictions of who the Messiah would be, where he would be born, what he would do, and how people would respond to him. Some of the most famous messianic prophesies are in Psalm 110, Isaiah 53, Micah 5, and Zechariah 13. Acts and Hebrews quote several messianic prophesies.
Acts 8:28-33
Romans 15:12
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Methuselah  (* man of the dart)
(muh-thoo-zuh-luh)
Son of Enoch and father of Lamech; one of those who lived before the flood. Methuselah lived 969 years - - longer than any other person.
Genesis 5:21
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Micah (* Who is like Jehovah)
(mye-kuh)
A short form of Micaiah and a common name among the Israelites:
"Micah of Moresheth," prophet of Israel who wrote the book of Micah. This Micah lived and preached during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, and during the time of Isaiah.
Micah 1:1
Israelite of Ephraim who hired Jonathan (son of Gershom) as his own personal priest during the time of the judges.
Judges 17:10-13
Son of Mephibosheth; grandson of David's friend Jonathan.
1 Chronicles 8:34
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Micah, book of
(mye-kuh, buk uhv)
Thirty-third book of the Old Testament and sixth of the minor prophets. The prophet Micah spoke to both Israel and Judah during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah. His prophesies warn the people that their sins will bring judgment unless they turn back to God. The book of Micah is famous for its messianic prophesies.
Micah 1:1
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Michael  (* who is like God)
(mye-kuhl)
A very common name among the Israelites:
One of two angels named in the Bible (the other is Gabriel); "one of the archangels." The angel who appeared to Daniel called Michael the prince of Israel.
Daniel 10:13
Jude 1:9
Revelation 12:7
A commander in Saul's army who defected to David along with several others from the tribe of Manasseh. Michael became a commander in David's army.
1 Chronicles 12:20
Father of Sethur.
Numbers 13:3,13
Asaph's great-grandfather.
1 Chronicles 6:39-40
Son of King Jehoshaphat who was murdered by his brother Jehoram.
2 Chronicles 21:2
Others mentioned only by name.
1 Chronicles 8:16
1 Chronicles 5:13-14
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Michal
(mye-kuhl)
Daughter of Saul and David's first wife. Michal is the one who was ashamed to watch David dance before the Lord.
1 Samuel 18:20
2 Samuel 3:13
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Midian
(mid-ee-uhn)
One of Abraham and Keturah's sons.
The people descended from Midian became a tribe that settled in the land south and east of Edom. Moses lived in this land for 40 years tending sheep before God appeared to him and told him to go back to Egypt to free the slaves. The Israelites had to pass through this land before they could enter Canaan.
Genesis 25:1-4
Exodus 2:15
Acts 7:29
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Midianites
(mid-ee-uhn-ites)

The people of Midian. The Midianites gave the Israelites a lot of trouble during Exodus and the time of the judges. Gideon became famous for fighting the Midianite forces with only 300 men.
Genesis 37:36
Judges 7:7
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midwife
(mid-wife)
A woman who helps a mother give birth to a baby. The Hebrew midwives in Egypt became heroes for protecting newborn sons from the Egyptians.
Genesis 35:17
Genesis 38:28
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mighty men, David's
(my-tee men, day-vidz)
A small group of warriors famous for their bravery, skill in combat, and devotion to David. These mighty men came from all over Israel and even Philistia. Some had been officers in Saul's army. They defended David while Saul was king and helped David establish his kingdom after Saul's death.
2 Samuel 23:8,16-l7
1 Chronicles 11:10
1 Chronicles 28:1
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millennium
(muh-len-ee-uhm)
A term often used for the time described in Revelation 20:2-4. The millennium follows Christ's return and defeat of Satan, when he reigns over the whole earth. The word "millennium" means one thousand.
Revelation 20:2-7
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mina, minas
(mye-nuh, mye-nuhss)
A unit of weight equal to about 600 grams, 20 ounces; 50 shekels.
1 Kings 10:17
Ezekiel 45:12
Luke 19:24
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minister
(min-i-stur)
A person who serves. The word "minister" means "servant."
Exodus 28:43
Ephesians 3:7
Colossians 4:7
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ministry
(min-i-stree)
Service.
1 Chronicles 25:1
Acts 6:2
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minor prophets
(mye-nur prof-uhtz)
Twelve books of prophecy in the Old Testament: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi. They are called minor because they were written by prophets of less influence than the major prophets.
Joel 1:1
Nahum 1:1
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miracle
(mihr-uh-kuhl)

An act of God or a deed done by God's power; also called signs, wonders, and miraculous signs. Jesus said that the miracles He did showed that He was from God.
Miracles require God's power, but they can be faked. God warned the Israelites, and the apostle Paul warned the Thessalonians, to beware of false prophets who do miraculous signs.
Nehemiah 9:17
Psalm 78:12
John 15:24
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miraculous sign
(mihr-ak-yoo-luhss syne)

A miracle or use of power from God; a wonder.
Exodus 8:23
2 Chronicles 32:24
John 10:41
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Miriam
(mihr-ee-uhm)
Moses' older sister.
Exodus 15:20-21
Numbers 12:10-15
Micah 6:4
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Mithiredath
(mith-ri-dath)
Two Persians:
Cyrus's treasurer who helped Ezra prepare for his trip back to Jerusalem.
Ezra 1:8
One of the Persian officials who urged Artaxerxes to stop the Jews from rebuilding Jerusalem.
Ezra 4:7
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Mizraim
(miz-ray-im)
Ham's second son and father of seven nations. The Philistines were descended from Mizraim.
Genesis 10:6, 13
Another term for the people of northern Egypt (Lower Egypt).
Genesis 50:11
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Moab
(moh-ab)
One of Lot's sons and the people descended from him. The Moabites lived in the east side of the Dead Sea as far as the desert. The Israelites passed through this land on their way to the promised land.
Genesis 19:37
 Joshua 13:32
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Moabites
(moh-uh-bites)
People from the land of Moab. Some of Israel's problems with idolatry came from mixing with the Moabites.
2 Kings 3:21-22
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Molech (* king)
(moh-lek)

Chief god of the Ammonites. Worship of Molech involved sacrifice. Sadly, several kings of Judah became worshipers of Molech and sacrificed in the valley of Hinnom. Even Solomon built a shrine to Molech in Jerusalem.
Leviticus 18:21
2 Kings 23:13
Acts 7:43
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month
(muhnth)
One-twelfth of the year. The Israelites divided their year into these twelve months: Abib, Ziv, Sivan, Tammuz, Ab, Elul, Ethanim, Bul, Kislev, Tebeth, Shebat, Adar. Only Tammuz and Ab do not appear in the Bible.
Exodus 12:2
Exodus 13:4
1 Kings 8:2
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Mordecai (* little man)
(mor-duh-kye)
Jewish man of the tribe of Benjamin taken captive to Babylon at the beginning of the Exile. Mordecai was Esther's cousin and adopted her into his family after her parents died. Mordecai became famous for persuading Esther to talk to King Ahasuerus about Haman's plot against the Jews. His story is told in the book of Esther.
Esther 2:7
Esther 10:2-3
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Moriah
(mor-eye-uh)
The hill where Abraham was to sacrifice Isaac and where Solomon built the temple.
Genesis 22:2
2 Chronicles 3:1
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morning star
(mor-ning star)
The planet Venus, so named because it looks like a bright star in the morning sky; also called "day star,' or "shining star." The term "morning star" is used as a nickname in two different ways:
A nickname given to the king of Babylon in Isaiah's prophecies against Babylon. Isaiah said the king for setting himself up as god, and condemns him for his pride.
Isaiah 14:12
A nickname for Jesus.
2 Peter 1:19
Revelation 22:16
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Moses (* extraction or saved from the water)
(moh-zuhss)
Kohathite Hebrew prophet who led the nation of Israel out of slavery in Egypt.  Moses is one of the most important people in the Bible and often considered the greatest prophet. He wrote most of the Pentateuch, gave the Israelites God's Law, got the priests and Levites started in their duties, and established the worship of God at the tabernacle.  Moses' story is told in the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
Exodus 2:10
Exodus 10:3
Hebrews 11:24
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Most Holy Place
(most hoh-lee playss)
The small space behind the curtain in the tabernacle and the temple where the presence of God stayed; sometimes called the sanctuary. The Ark of the Covenant was kept in the Most Holy Place. Only the high priest was allowed to enter this space, and then only once a year on the Day of Atonement.
Leviticus 16:1-34
2 Chronicles 3:8-14
Hebrews 9:1-28
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Mount Carmel
(mount kar-muhl)
The main mountain peak in the Carmel range and the sight of the famous stand-off between Elijah and the prophets of Baal.
1 Kings 18:19
2 Kings 4:25
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Mount of Olives
(mount uhv awl-ivz)
A small but important mountain on the east side of Jerusalem across from the Kidron Valley. Jesus taught from the Mount of Olives.
2 Samuel 15:30
Matthew 24:3
Acts 1:12
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Mount Sinai
(mount sye-nye)
The mountain peak in Sinai where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God. No one knows exactly where Mount Sinai was, but it was at least three days' journey from Elim, probably in the south of Sinai's rocky desert.
Exodus 19:78
Exodus 31:18
Acts 7:38
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Mount Zion
(mount zye-uhn)
See Zion
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myrrh
(mur)
Resin made from the sap of the Commiphora myrrha tree. The Israelites used myrrh as an incense because it had a strong, pleasant smell. The magi who visited Jesus brought a gift of myrrh.
Esther 2:12
Matthew 2:11
John 19:39
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