We're making big changes. Please try out the beta site at beta.ccel.org and send us feedback. Thank you!
« Prev W. Next »


WATER, a thin cake of fine flour used in various offerings anointed with oil. Ex 16:31; Ex 29:2, Ex 29:23; Lev 2:4; Num 7:12; Lev 8:26; Num 6:15, Acts 1:19.

WA'GES. When wages are first mentioned in the O.T., they were paid, not in money, but in kind. Gen 29:15, Ruth 4:20; Gen 30:28; Gen 31:7-8, Gen 31:41. But the Law was very strict in requiring daily payment of wages, Lev 19:13; Deut 24:14-15, and employers who withhold the laborer's wages or refuse to give him sufficient victuals are strongly censured. Jer 22:13; Mal 3:5; Job 24:11. Wages paid in money are mentioned in the N.T. Matt 20:2; Luke 3:14; 1 Cor 9:7.

WAG'ON. The Egyptian wagon, which is well known to us from pictorial representations, consisted of two solid wooden discs connected with an axle, on which a body very similar to that of our wheelbarrows was placed. This primitive vehicle was drawn by oxen, and it was sometimes covered. The wagons mentioned in Num 7:3, 1 Kgs 15:8, for carrying the tabernacle, were no doubt built on this pattern.

WAIL, to mourn with loud and violent expressions of distress and despair. Eze 32:18.

WALL OF PARTITION. Eph 2:14. See Temple.

WALLS. The walls with which, in ancient times, all cities were surrounded, in contradistinction from open or unwalled villages, were generally built of earth or clay or sun-dried brick. Hence it was necessary to build them of great thickness, in order to ensure their permanency. Houses were often erected on top of them, or they were provided with fortifications (fenced walls). When any breach took place in such a mass of earth, either by heavy rains or some defect in the foundation, the consequences were very serious. Ps 62:3; Isa 30:13. See City.

WANDERING IN THE WILDERNESS. See Wilderness, the, of the Wandering.

WAR. From the nature of the arms and the customs of the ancients, their battles were truly murderous. Scarcely ever was any quarter given, except where the vanquished was retained as a slave, and consequently the number of killed was often immense. 2 Chr 13:17. Although the military art was comparatively simple, yet ingenious stratagems of various kinds were practised. Enemies were then, as now, surprised and overcome by unexpected divisions of the forces, by ambushes, and by false retreats. Gen 14:15; Josh 8:12; Judg 20:36-39; 2 Kgs 7:12. In lack of artillery, unwieldy machines for casting heavy stones and other destructive missiles were invented. We find, however, little allusion to these in the Bible. About the end of the ninth or the beginning of the eighth century before Christ, Uzziah "made in Jerusalem engines invented by cunning men. to be on the towers and upon the bulwarks, to shoot arrows and great stones withal." 2 Chr 26:15.

A siege was thus conducted: All the trees in the neighborhood were cut down and used in the construction of field fortifications. Deut 20:20. "Mounts" or "banks" in the direction of the city were thrown up, and gradually increased in height until they were half as high as the city's wall. 2 Sam 20:15; 2 Kgs 19:32. The next step was to erect towers on the top of these banks. 2 Kgs 25:1. These steps taken, the siege was commenced in earnest. The water-supplies of the besieged were, as far as possible, cut off: intercourse with neighboring towns or villages was ended. Thus starvation must eventually set in in the doomed city. But use was made of other measures than these passive ones. The towers spoken of bristled with armed men. Archers and slingers incessantly fired at the soldiers upon the wall. Battering-rams, which see, hammered against the gates or walls; scaling-ladders were placed against the walls; the gates were even at times fired. Jud 9:52. But the besieged had weapons also. Huge stones were hurled with 898 terrible effect from the walls. Boiling oil. rings heated red hot, - these were employed to cripple the foe. Sallies were made to burn the besiegers' works or to drive them away. Jud 9:53; 2 Sam 11:21.

But there was no part of the ancient military preparations more terrible than chariots. Ex 14:7; Deut 20:1; Josh 17:16; Jud 4:3. They were in common use wherever there was any cavalry. 2 Sam 10:18; 1 Chr 18:4; 2 Chr 12:3; 2 Chr 14:9. See Chariot. Walls and towers were used in fortifications, and the latter were guarded by soldiers, and are called "garrisons." 2 Sam 8:6; Eze 26:11. See Ward.

As to the order of battle we have no certain knowledge. The prophet alludes to it. Jer 12:5. Among all ancient nations it was customary to take previous refreshment of food, in order to give strength to the army. The soldiers, and especially the commanders, arrayed themselves in their costliest garments and fairest armor, except in cases where disguise was attempted. 1 Kgs 22:30. Various passages lead to the opinion that divisions of the army were common, as in modern times. Gen 14:15; Jud 7:16; 1 Sam 11:11. The most frequent division of the host was into tens, hundreds, and thousands, and each of these had its commander or captain. Jud 20:10; 1 Sam 8:12; 2 Kgs 11:4. Among the Hebrews these divisions had some reference to the several families, and were under the heads of families as their officers. 2 Chr 25:5; 2 Chr 26:12. The captains of hundreds and of thousands were of high rank, or (so to speak) staff-officers, who were admitted to share in the councils of war. 1 Chr 13:1. The whole army had its commander-in-chief or captain, who was over the host, and its scribe, or keeper of the muster-roll. 1 Kgs 4:4; 1 Chr 18:15-16; 1 Chr 27:32-34; 2 Chr 17:14; 2 Chr 26:11. In Isa 33:18 the words translated "he that counted the towers" probably indicate what we should call a chief-engineer.

Under David the army of 288,000 men was divided into twelve corps, each of

Egyptian Troops in Ranks. (From Monuments at Thebes.)

which was consequently 24,000 strong and had its own general. 1 Chr 27. Under Jehoshaphat this was altered, and there were five unequal corps, under as many commanders. 2 Chr 17:14-19. The cohort had five hundred or six hundred men, and the legion embraced ten cohorts.

The light troops were provided with arms which they used at some distance from the enemy, such as bows and arrows. They are designated in 2 Chr 14:8; while the heavy-armed were those who bore shield and spear. 1 Chr 12:24. The light troops of the army of Asa were taken principally from the tribe of Benjamin 899 because of their extraordinary accuracy of aim. Jud 20:16. See Armor, Arms.

Kings and generals had armor- bearers, selected from the bravest of their favorites, who not only carried their armor, which was in those days a necessary service, but stood by them in the hour of danger, carried their orders, and were not unlike modern adjutants. 1 Sam 31:4.

The troops were excited to ardor and bravery by addresses from their priests, who were commanded to appeal to them. Deut 20:2. In later times kings themselves were accustomed to harangue their armies. 2 Chr 13:4. Finally (perhaps after the sacrifices had been offered), the summons was given by the holy trumpets. Num 10:9-10; 2 Chr 13:12-14.

It was the practice of the Greeks, when they were within half a mile of the enemy, to sing their war-song. A similar custom probably prevailed among the Jews. 2 Chr 20:21. Next followed the shout, or war-cry. which the Romans accompanied with the noise of shields and spears struck violently together. This war-cry was common in the East, as it is to this day among the Turks. It was the "alarm" or "shout" so often mentioned in Scripture. 1 Sam 17:52; 2 Chr 13:15; Job 39:25; Jer 4:19.

War, like slavery and all forms of violence, is a consequence of sin; it is organized cruelty and wholesale murder; as Gen. Moltke ("the thinker of battles") says, even a victorious war is a great national calamity; but it is overruled for good by that all-wise Providence which maketh the wrath of man to praise him. Christianity was introduced into the world by the angelic announcement of "on earth peace, good-will toward men." It has done much to prevent the passions of war, to mitigate its horrors, to counteract its evils by individual and organized care of the sick, the wounded, and the prisoners, to encourage the settlement of international disputes by peaceful arbitration (as in the Alabama difficulty, which threatened war between England and the United States, but was peacefully adjusted by the Geneva tribunal Dec, 1871). and it looks forward to the time when men "shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning-hooks, when nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more." Isa 2:4; Mic 4:3; Joel 3:10; Rev 21:3-4.

WARD, a prison, or an apartment thereof. Gen 40:3; Acts 12:10. Also a garrison or military post, Neh 12:25, or a class or detachment of persons for any particular service. 1 Chr 9:23; 1 Chr 25:8; Neh 13:30. See Prison.

WARD'ROBE, the place where the royal robes or priests' vestments were deposited. 2 Kgs 22:14.

WARES. See Commerce.

WASHING OF THE HANDS AND FEET, THE, was rendered necessary and refreshing by Oriental customs and climate. The hands should be scrupulously clean, inasmuch as all persons at table put their fingers into the same dish. The feet should be washed because the sandals afforded no protection against soil; and besides, the feet

Washing the Hands.

would be hot. The protest of Christ against the hand-washings of the Pharisees was directed against their characteristic elevation of it into a matter of religious observance. Mark 7:3. He and his disciples were exposed to unjust insinuations because they neglected the Pharisaic rules. Matt 15:2; Luke 11:38.

The washing, by the host, of the feet of the guest was a significant attention, 1 Sam 25:41; Luke 7:38, Jer 48:44; John 13:5-14; but usually water was provided and the guests washed their own feet, or had them washed by servants. Gen 18:4; Jud 19:21.

WATCH'ES OF THE NIGHT. The original division of the night was into three watches - " the beginning of the watches," from sunset to 10 o'clock, Lam 2:19; "the middle watch," from 10 to 2 o'clock, Jud 7:19; and "the 900 morning watch," from 2 o'clock to sunrise, Ex 14:24; 1 Sam 11:11 - but after the Captivity the Jews adopted the custom of Rome and Greece, which divided the twelve hours of the night into four watches, beginning with 6 in the afternoon - "even," from 6 to 9 o'clock; "midnight," from 9 "cock-crowing," from 12 to morning, from 3 to 6; Matt 14:25; Mark 13:35; Luke 12:38.

WATCH'MAN. Song 5:7; Isa 21:11. In Persia the watchmen were required to indemnify those who were robbed in the streets, and hence they were extremely vigilant to give the alarm and protect the city and its inhabitants from violence. Eze 33:2-6. The watchman was also required to call the hours of the night in a loud voice as he patrolled the streets. This is customary at the present day in some large cities. In time of danger the watchmen were posted in towers over the gates of the city. Isa 21:8; Isa 62:6.

WA'TER. The scarcity of water is one of the calamities of the Eastern world, and the distress which is often experienced by man and beast for want of it, is indescribable. Thus the gathering of water in cisterns and reservoirs and its distribution through canals, form a conspicuous feature of Eastern life.

In Prov 21:1 the original term, rendered "rivers," signifies "divisions," "partitions," "sections," and refers to the ancient Oriental methods of conveying water to orchards and gardens. This was by means of canals or rivulets flowing in artificial channels, called in Hebrew "divisions" - i.e., "cuts" or "trenches" - which distributed the water in every direction, to irrigate abundantly the otherwise parched and barren soil. With a similar allusion, the Psalmist (Ps 1:3) says of the godly man, the lover of the divine law, that "he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water" (divisions or sections of water), "that bringeth forth his fruit in his season, his leaf also shall not wither." The reference is doubtless to trees nourished by artificial irrigation, and the manner of this irrigation has been elaborately described by several modern travellers. Generally, gardens contain a large quadrangular plat of ground, divided into lesser squares, with walks between them. The walks are shaded with orange trees of a large spreading size. Every one of these lesser squares is bordered with stone, and in the stone-work are troughs, very artificially contrived, for conveying the water all over the garden, there being little outlets cut at every tree for the stream, as it passes by, to flow out and water it. In Deut 11:10 it is said of the Land of Promise, "The land whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs." The phrase "watering with the foot" may refer to the construction or opening of the channels and watercourses like those above mentioned, which was accomplished by the action of the foot. So also in 2 Kgs 19:24, "I have digged and drunk strange waters and with the sole of my feet have I dried up all the rivers of besieged places" - i.e., "I have digged new channels by the labors of the spade, have turned the rivers out of their ancient courses" - which consequently were dried up - "and thus have made my army to drink of strange waters, flowing in channels to which they had never before been accustomed." Another, and some think much more natural, opinion is that allusion is made to the machinery for drawing up water by means of a rope or string of buckets attached to a wheel, which was turned like a modern tread-wheel. Besides its ordinary use, water was employed symbolically, as in the Tabernacles, Feast of, which see, and once at least on a fast-day. 1 Sam 7:6. Water indicates cleansing, and therefore is used in baptism and also of spiritual blessings. John 3:5; John 7:37-39; Rev 22:17.

WATER OF JEAL'OUSY. Num 5:11-31. See Adultery.

WATER OF SEPARA'TION, or WA'TER OF UNCLEAN'NESS, was sprinkled upon a person defiled by contact with the dead. See Num 19.

WA'TER-POT. The custom of washing the feet necessitated the use of a large amount of water on festive occasions. Hence, in John 2:6 there is mention made of six stone water-pots which held about 25 gallons apiece.


Stone Water-jars.

The water-pot of the woman of Samaria, John 4:28, was much smaller.

WAVE-OF'FERING, a peculiar feature of the rite of peace-offering, the right shoulder of the victim, considered the choicest piece, being "heaved," and eaten only by the priests, while the breast was "waved," and eaten by the worshippers. On the second day of the Passover a sheaf of corn was waved together with an unblemished lamb of the first year. From this ceremony the days were to be counted till Pentecost, on which feast the first-fruits of the ripe corn and two lambs of the first year were waved. Ex 29:24, Gen 1:27; Lev 7:30, Num 32:34; Ezr 8:27; Dan 9:21; Lev 10:14-15; Acts 23:10, Matt 23:15, Gen 23:20; Num 6:20; Matt 18:11, Matt 18:18, Num 18:26-29.

WAX, a well-known substance made from the combs of bees, easily softened and dissolved by heat, is often used in Scripture as a means of illustration. Ps 68:2; Ps 97:5; Mic 1:4.

WEAN. As a daily portion was not allotted to Levite children until they reached the age of three years, 2 Chr 31:16, it has been inferred that among the Jews children continued to suckle up to that time. The weaning was celebrated by a feast. Gen 21:8.

WEAP'ONS. Neh 4:17. See Arms.

WEA'SEL, generally agreed to mean the mole. See Mole. Lev 11:29.

WEAVE. Various woven fabrics are spoken of as having been produced by the Israelites during their wanderings - such as curtains of goats' hair, Ex 26:7; woollen garments, Lev 13:47; twined linen, Ex 26:1; and the embroidered raiment of the priests. Ex 28:4, Gen 36:39. Afterward the art of weaving is often mentioned, 1 Chr 4:21; 2 Kgs 23:7; Prov 31:13, Jud 6:24; also the various tools - such as the shuttle, the beam, the thrum, etc. Job 7:6;

Ancient Roman Loom.

1 Sam 17:7; Isa 38:12. The loom itself is not mentioned, however.

WED'DING-GAR'MENT. The wedding-garments were furnished by the host, and were required to be worn by those who were admitted as guests at marriage-suppers. Matt 22:11.

WEEK. The division of time into portions of seven days found among many different nations which cannot have adopted it from one another - such as the Chinese. Peruvians, etc. - is by some referred back to the order of the creation, and by others to the "seven planets," the principal fact in ancient astronomy.

The Jews gave no special names to the days of the week, but simply distinguished them by their number, as the first, second, or third day. The names of the days now in use in the English language are derived from the Saxon, in which they had a mythological signification.

Besides weeks of seven days, which were rendered from one Sabbath to another, the Jews had a week of years, or seven years, and a week of seven times seven years, which brought in the fiftieth or jubilee year.

WEEKS, FEAST OF. See Pentecost.


WEIGHTS. See Measures.

WELLS were very essential in a dry and hot country like Palestine, and were generally provided at each place of pasturage with a great outlay of labor. They were deep, John 4:11, and difficult both to dig and preserve, and hence were a valuable part of the husbandman's property. Num 20:17-19. They were sometimes owned in common. Gen 29:2-3. To protect them from the sand and from being used by others, they were covered, usually with a stone, and surrounded with a low wall. Gen 29:2, 1 Kgs 15:8. To stop them up was, and still is, regarded as an act of hostility. Gen 26:15, and to invade the right of property in them was often the cause of sharp contention. Gen 21:25. The water was sometimes drawn by a well-sweep and bucket, sometimes by a windlass, but generally by pitchers and a rope. In a country where water was so valuable and so difficult to be procured, the well naturally became the centre of many scenes of actual life - the halting-place of the traveller. Gen 24:11; the camping-place of armies, Jud 7:1, etc. - and it furnished an appropriate emblem of rich blessings. Jer 2:13; Jer 17:13. See Jacob's Well and Beer-sheba.

WHALE. In the Mosaic account of the creation, when we are told that on the fifth day God created great whales, sea-monsters in general are doubtless meant. Gen 1:21. The original of "whale" is often translated "dragon" or "leviathan," and, according to the derivation of the Hebrew, the word denotes a creature of great length, without being restricted to marine animals.

Neither the O.T. nor the N.T., when correctly rendered, affirms that it was a whale which swallowed Jonah, but "a great fish." Jon 1:17; Matt 12:40. The creature referred to is very likely to have been the white shark, which is abundantly capable of such a feat. The whale is, however, occasionally found in the Mediterranean Sea. The skeleton of one was to be seen in Beyrout in 1877. See Jonah, Leviathan.

WHEAT. In Palestine this most important of all grains was sown after barley, late in the fall. It was not only scattered broadcast and then ploughed, harrowed, or trodden in, Isa 32:20, but it seems, according to the Hebrew of Isa 28:25, to have been planted in rows or drills, as it certainly often is at present in Syria. Wheat-harvest is about a month later than barley-harvest, usually in May.

Sixty, or even one hundred, grains may sometimes be counted in an ear of this cereal, according to Tristram, and, as several stalks may spring from a single seed with thorough cultivation, the increase of Matt 13:8 is not at all incredible.

Wheat is still produced for export east of the Jordan, where probably Minnith, Eze 27:17, was located. The whole land once produced vast quantities of this cereal, and will again when agriculture is protected and encouraged. Deut 8:8. In the days of Jacob this grain was already so much cultivated in Mesopotamia that "wheat-harvest" denoted a well-known season. Gen 30:14.

The many-eared variety, or mummy-wheat, still sometimes cultivated in Egypt and represented on its monuments, is referred to in Pharaoh's dream.

Egyptian Wheat.

Gen 41:22. In our translation this grain is often mentioned under the general name of "corn." See Corn, Thresh.

WHIT'ED SEPULCHRES. Matt 23:27. It was customary to 903 whitewash the Jewish sepulchres annually, that they might be distinctly seen and avoided, inasmuch as coming in contact with them was the occasion of ceremonial defilement. Num 19:16. This practice gave them a clean and beautiful appearance, and presented a striking contrast to the dark and offensive mass of putrefaction within.

WID'OW. By the Jewish law, Deut 25:5, if a married man died leaving no children, his brother was required to marry the widow, in order, first, that the estate might be kept in the family, and, second, that he might, in their descendants, perpetuate the name. This prescription refers only to the family and the estate, and pays no regard to the individual; but there are other prescriptions in the Mosaic Law which show great kindness and circumspection in behalf of the widowed woman. Ex 22:22; Deut 14:29; Deut 16:11, Rev 16:14; Deut 24:17, Deut 24:19-21; Deut 26:12; Eze 27:19.

WIFE. See Marriage.


WIL'DERNESS, Ex 14:8, and DESERT. These words do not necessarily imply a mere waste, but rather extensive tracts not under cultivation and affording rich and abundant pasturage. Josh 15:61; Isa 42:11. The principal tracts of this description were the wilderness of Jericho, those of Judah, En-gedi, Ziph-maon, Beer-sheba, Tekoa, Gibeon, and Bethaven. See these under their respective heads.

WILDERNESS OF SIN. Ex 16:1. See wilderness, the, of the Wandering, and Zin, Wilderness of.

WILDERNESS, THE, OF THE WANDERING, usually spoken of as THE WIL'DERNESS, the region in which the Israelites spent forty years, between Egypt and Canaan. It is called sometimes the "great and terrible wilderness" by way of eminence. Deut 1:1; Zech 8:2; Josh 5:6; Neh 9:19, 2 Chr 11:21; Ps 78:40, 2 Kgs 5:52; Ps 107:4; Jer 2:2. In general, it may be identified with the great peninsula of Sinai, the triangular region between the Gulf of Akabah, Seir, and Edom on the east, and the Gulf of Suez and Egypt on the west. See Sinai. In this region there are several smaller wildernesses, as Etham, Paran, Shir, Zin, which see. What is known distinctively as the "wilderness of the Wandering," Badiet et-Tih, is the great central limestone plateau between the granite region of Sinai on the south, the sandy desert on the north, and the valley of the Arabah on the east. The explorations of travellers and the British Ordnance Survey have made this region quite well known.

The route of the Israelites from Egypt to Kadesh can be traced with reasonable accuracy. Instead of entering the Promised Land immediately from Kadesh, they were driven back into the wilderness for their disobedience, and there wandered for forty years. It need not be supposed that they were continually on the move or that they were unable to find their way. They probably lived a nomad life, as do the Bedouin Arabs of the present day, moving from place to place and pitching their tents wherever they could find pasture for their flocks. Some of the stations named cannot be identified, though the line of march may be traced until they left the wilderness and advanced toward the Promised Land by Mount Seir and Edom. See Map at end of book.

It is said of those composing the British Survey: "Not a single member of the expedition returned home without feeling more firmly convinced than ever of the truth of that sacred history which he found illustrated and confirmed by the natural features of the desert. The mountains and valleys, the very rocks, barren and sun-scorched as they now are, only seem to furnish evidence which none who behold them can gainsay that this was that 'great and terrible wilderness' through which Moses, under God's direction, led his people." - Recovery of Jerusalem, p. 429. (See also Palmer's Desert of the Exodus.) See Sinai, Exodus, Judaea, Wilderness of.

WILL, in the sense of a testamentary writing, does not occur in Scripture, and, with respect to landed property, such a disposition must have been very limited, on account of the right of redemption and general re-entry in the jubilee year. With respect to houses in walled towns such difficulties did not exist, and it is apparent, from 2 Sam 17:23; 2 Kgs 20:1; Isa 38:1. that property of this kind was bequeathed by will.

WIL'LOW, a familiar tree, often 904 referred to in the Bible, which flourishes best in marshy ground and on the borders of watercourses. Several species grow in Palestine. The beautiful weeping willow is also called the Babylonian willow, in allusion to Ps 137:2; and, as this tree flourishes on the banks of the Euphrates, the name is otherwise appropriate. Before the Captivity the willow was an emblem of joy, Lev 23:40, but afterward, through the influence of the Psalm mentioned above, it ceased to be associated with the palm, and, like the cypress, became significant of sorrow. The oleander of our conservatories is indigenous in the Holy Land and fringes many of its waters with living green, the lower Jordan, however, being too warm for it. Sometimes it grows to such size that travellers encamp under its shade. On the western shore of the Sea of Galilee it is especially abundant, as the poet Keble beautifully sings:

"Where Gennesaret's wave

Delights the flowers to lave,

That o'er her western slope breathe airs of balm.

All through the summer's night

Those blossoms, red and bright,

Spread their soft breasts, unheeding, to the breeze,

Like hermits watching still

Around the sacred hill.

Where erst our Saviour watch'd upon his knees."

As the oleander resembles the willow in leaf, general appearance, and love of water, it may be sometimes referred to under that name. Dean Stanley has suggested that it may be the tree "planted by the rivers of water," mentioned in Ps 1:3. But the oleander was a wild shrub, and was not planted. The palm meets the conditions better.

WIL'LOWS, BROOK OF THE, on the southern boundary of Moab. Isa 15:7. It is now the Wady el-Akna.

WIM'PLES, supposed by some to mean a broad, full mantle or shawl, like the veil which Ruth had, Ruth 3:15, and by others a veil, coif, or hood. Isa 3:22.

WIND. The east wind was, in Palestine, injurious to vegetation. Its general character may be inferred from Gen 41:6; Job 1:19; Ps 11:6; Isa 27:8; Jer 4:11-13; Eze 17:10; Eze 19:12; Eze 27:26; Hos 13:15. The south wind brought heat, Luke 12:55, coming from Arabia; the simoom, however, did not reach Palestine. The south-west and the north gave fair weather. Job 37:9, Josh 11:22; Prov 25:23. The west wind, coming from the Mediterranean, gave rain.

WIN'DOW, In Eastern houses the windows are single apertures in the wall, opening upon the court within, not upon the street without, which gives a melancholy aspect to the streets. There is, however, sometimes a projecting balcony or porch in front of the house, carefully closed by lattice-work, and opened only at the occasion of some festival. From such a place Jezebel is supposed to have been looking out when she was seized and put to death by Jehu. 2 Kgs 9:30. And this was probably called the "casement." Prov 7:6; see also Song 2:9. Glazed windows were entirely unknown among the Hebrews, and are scarcely ever seen in the East at the present day. Before the Christian era, and, indeed, for several centuries after, glass was too costly to come into general use.

WINE. There has been some controversy as to the nature and qualities of the liquor which is called wine in our Scriptures. Various words are used in the Hebrew text, and no doubt various products are thus denoted, but the characteristic common to them all seems to be that of an intoxicating drink. Lev 10:9; Num 28:7; Prov 3:10; Dan 5:1.

Like all other countries, Canaan had wines of various strength and character. The vine grew luxuriantly in Palestine, bearing immense clusters of grapes, and various kinds of wine produced in Palestine were remarkable both for their power and their flavor, such as the wine of Lebanon and that of Helbon, near Damascus. Eze 27:18; Hos 14:7. Often mentioned in connection with corn and oil as one of the great gifts of Nature to man, it was kept in every household and produced on occasions of hospitality or festivals. Gen 14:18; John 2:3. But by the Jews, as by other people, it was often misused, and its misuse is most severely condemned not only in the N.T., but also in the O.T., Prov 20:1; Prov 23:29-35; Isa 5:22; Isa 28:1-7; Isa 56:12; Hos 4:11, and in some cases it is expressly forbidden. Lev 10:9; Num 6:3. In the Mosaic ritual it 905 formed the usual drink-offering at the daily sacrifices, Ex 29:40, at the presentation of the first-fruits. Lev 23:13, and at other offerings, Num 15:5, and a tithe was paid of it. Deut 18:4. The Nazarite was forbidden to drink wine during the continuance of his vow, Num 6:3, and the priest before performing the services of the temple. Lev 10:9.

The "mixed wine" often mentioned by the sacred writers, Ps 75:8; Prov 23:30, was not diluted with water, but, on the contrary, was increased in strength or improved in flavor and color by a mixture of drugs, herbs, and spices. Song 8:2. Some suppose, however, that the phrase "mixed wine" denotes wine rendered stronger by being shaken up and mingled with the lees.

WINE-FAT, WINE-PRESS. An excavation (probably rectangular) was made in the rock, or was formed in the ground and lined with mason-work, in which to crush the grapes. This was the press (Heb. gath), and another cavity, arranged to catch the juice, was the fat or vat. Ancient excavations of this kind remain in Palestine, and one of them is thus described by Robinson with his usual accuracy: "Advantage had been taken of a ledge of rock; on the upper side a shallow vat had been dug out, 8 feet square and 15 inches deep. Two feet lower down another smaller vat was excavated, 4 feet square by 3 feet deep. The grapes were trodden in the shallow upper vat, and the juice drawn off by a hole at the bottom (still remaining) into the lower vat." Both these vats are referred to in Joel 3:13. By the larger or upper receptacle Gideon threshed wheat for the sake of concealment. Jud 6:11. Such rock presses as these are still used in some parts of Syria.

Travellers tell us that the first vintage usually begins in the latter part of August; that they often see the black grapes spread on the ground in beds, exposed to the sun to dry for raisins, while

Treading the Wine-Press.

at a little distance one or two, and sometimes as many as five, men are seen, with feet and legs bare, treading the fruit in a kind of cistern, or vat, usually about 8 feet square and 4 feet high, with a grated aperture near the bottom, through which

Egyptians expressing the Juice of the Grape.

the expressed juice runs into a vessel beneath. Isa 63:3; Hag 2:16. The treaders sung and shouted, Isa 16:10, while the red blood of the grapes flowed around them and thoroughly stained their flesh and garments. Isa 63:1-3; Jer 25:30; Jer 48:33; Lam 1:15; Rev 19:13-15. 906 The ancient Egyptian mode of expressing the juice of grapes may be learned from the preceding cut. The fruit is placed in a cloth, which is twisted and strained until the liquor is wrung out into a vessel below.

"Gath," a wine-press, is of common occurrence in the names of Hebrew localities. "Gethsemane" means "an oilpress."

WINE-VES'SELS. The Hebrews, as well as the Greeks, preserved their wine in large earthen vessels or jars, which were buried up to their necks in the ground. These jars were quite large, containing often as much as one of our barrels. The must, or new wine, after being poured into such vessels, was stirred thrice a day for about twenty days with wooden rods. When wine was to be transported, the Persians sometimes decanted it into flasks or bottles, but skins are now in common use, as they were among the ancients. The Hebrews poured even the must, or new wine, into skins, but for this purpose they used such as were fresh and flexible, and therefore not liable to be broken by the fermentation of the liquor. Matt 9:17.

By "new wine," Joel 1:5, is intended sweet wine, which was purer and stronger and more capable of preservation, and of course more inebriating. Isa 49:26; Acts 2:13.

Drinking wine in bowls. Am 6:6, is supposed to refer to the richness and magnificence of the vessels, and not to the quantity of wine drank.

WIN'NOW. The process of winnowing among the Hebrews was much like that sometimes in use at the present day. The grain was taken upon a shovel and thrown up in the wind, and the lighter chaff and straw separated, sometimes by the help of a fan. Isa 30:24; Isa 41:15-16; Matt 3:12. It was common to winnow grain at evening, when, in Palestine, the sea-breeze usually blows. Ruth 3:2. See Fax, Thresh.

WIN'TER lasts, in Palestine, from the beginning of December to the beginning of February, and is characterized by severe winds, frost, and snow-falls in the mountains, and by vehement winds, rain, and hail-storms in the lowland. Song 2:11. See Seasons.

WISDOM OF SOLOMON, THE BOOK OF, one of the most interesting and valuable of the Apocrypha, gives a glowing exposition and commendation of true wisdom as described in Job 28:12 et seq.; Prov 8-9. wisdom is represented as emanating from God as the highest good, and as the fountain of all true virtue and happiness. It was with God when he created the world, Prov 8:24-30; is initiated in his secret counsels, Prov 8:22; emanates from him and accompanies all his actions, rules and governs the world, and renews all things. 8:15. This idea prepared the way for the Logos doctrine of Philo and St. John. The literary form of its exposition resembles that of the Ecclesiasticus and the Proverbs. The Solomonic authorship is assumed, Prov 8:10; Hos 9:7, but only in the sense of personation. The author was probably a Jewish philosopher or theologian of Alexandria. He was a full believer in the O.T. revelations, but also acquainted with Hellenic culture. From his school proceeded Philo, to whom the book has sometimes been ascribed; but the author was no doubt older, and stands between Jesus, son of Sirach, and Philo, about b.c. 100. The book, which was composed in Greek and is somewhat artificial in style, is not quoted before Irenaeus.

WISE MEN. Matt 2:1. See Magi.

WIST, identical with "knew." Ex 16:15; Acts 12:9; Gen 23:5.

WIT, from the A.V. vitan, to know. Gen 24:21; Ex 2:4. Hence "to do to wit" is "to cause you to know." 2 Cor 8:1.

WITCH'CRAFT, 1 Sam 15:23, WITCH, Deut 18:10, WIZARD. Lev 20:27. A man who pretends to supernatural power, so that he can foretell future events, cure diseases, call up or drive away spirits, or disclose information beyond the reach of the natural powers, is called a wizard. A woman of like practices is called a witch, and the evil art itself is called witchcraft. Not only those who made such foolish and wicked pretensions, but also those who suffered themselves to be duped thereby, are most severely denounced both in the O.T. and in the N.T. Ex 22:18; Deut 18:11-12; Lev 20:6; Nah 3:4; Gal 5:20.

WITHERED HAND. Matt 12:10; Mark 3:1; Luke 6:6, 1 Kgs 15:8. The 907 man's hand was not only paralyzed, but dried up.

WITHS, a band of pliable twigs (as of the willow or osier kind), twisted closely together while green, and used instead of ropes. The marginal reading of Jud 16:7 is "small cords."

WIT'NESS, one who gives testimony. Two or more witnesses were required by the Mosaic Law in judicial investigations, Deut 17:6-7; and when the sentence of stoning was pronounced, they were required to commence the process of execution. Acts 7:58. A false witness was to suffer that penalty which his testimony might have brought over the accused.

The witness of the Spirit with our spirit, Rom 8:16, denotes the consciousness, more or less distinct, of the operations of the Spirit upon the mind, enlightening the understanding and inclining the subject of them to do the will of God.

John often exhibits the gospel in the light of a testimony, 1 John 5:9, and Christ himself is called "the faithful and true Witness," Rev 1:5; Num 3:14, not only to the glory and perfection of the Father, but also to his own divine mission and to the universality and perpetuity of his kingdom.

WIZ'ARD. See Witchcraft.

WOE. Num 21:29. This term often denotes a feeling of compassion or sympathy, Matt 24:19, or a simple lamentation as, "Alas for me!" Ps 120:5. In other connections it is equivalent to the threatening of punishment. Hab 2:6, Gal 1:9, 2 Sam 20:15, Acts 1:19; Zech 11:17.

WOLF, a fierce, cruel, ravenous animal, in size and general appearance resembling a dog, and a most terrible enemy to sheep. Isa 65:25; Matt 7:15; Neh 10:16; John 10:12; Acts 20:29. The rapaciousness of the tribe of Benjamin was foretold by Jacob by a comparison with the wolf. Gen 49:27. See Judg 20-21 and comp. 1 Sam 9:1 and John 20:31 and Acts 9:1; Rom 11:1; Phil 3:5. The Bible-writers also illustrate the cruelty of Israel's oppressors by an allusion to the wolf. Eze 22:27, and the sallying forth of the evening wolf in search of prey, Hab 1:8, is emblematical of the destruction which awaits wicked men. Jer 5:5-6. The allusion Zeph 3:3 is to the circumstance that the wolf in its greediness often seizes on more than it can consume. The wolf still lurks in Palestine, the dread of shepherds. As there found, it is of a pale fawn-color, but, although thus lighter than the common European species (Canis lupus), seems to be only a variety of it.

WO'MAN, the companion and helper of man. and by express command made subject to him. Gen 3:16. The social position, however, of the Hebrew women contrasted very favorably with that now occupied by Oriental women, especially among Muslims. They managed the affairs of the household, bringing the water from the well, Gen 24:15; 1 Sam 9:11, attending to the flocks. Gen 29:6; Ex 2:16, preparing the meals, Gen 18:6; 2 Sam 13:8, spinning, Ex 35:26; Prov 31:19, and making clothes. 1 Sam 2:19; Prov 31:21. Women mixed very freely in social life, partaking in festivals both as hostess and guest. Job 1:4; John 2:3; 1 Kgs 12:2. See also Miriam, Ex 15:20-21; Jephthah's daughter, Jud 11:34; the maidens of Shiloh dancing in the vineyards, Jud 21:21; the woman feting Saul and David. 1 Sam 18:6-7, etc. They even held positions in public life. See Miriam, Ex 15:20; Huldah, 2 Kgs 22:14; Noadiah, Neh 6:14; Anna, Luke 2:36; and Deborah.

The word " woman," when used as a term of salutation, as in Matt 15:28; John 2:4, implies no disrespect, but great tenderness and courtesy. It was thus that our Saviour addressed Mary under the most touching circumstances. John 20:15.

WOOL, as the principal material for the manufacture of clothing, was highly valued by the Jews, Lev 13:47; Deut 22:11; Job 31:20; Prov 31:13; Eze 34:3; Hos 2:5, and the wool of Damascus enjoyed a great reputation in the market of Tyre. Eze 27:18.

WORD (Logos), THE, is one of the titles of Jesus Christ. Just as we express ourselves by words, so God expresses his mind to the world, his boundless love, his inflexible justice, through Christ, his Word. The term occurs only in the writings of John. John 1:1-14; 1 John 1:1; Rev 19:13. It has been made a question whether John borrowed the term from Philo, who also uses 908 it, or whether he used it independently. But they do not mean the same thing. The "Word" of Philo was an abstraction; the "Word" of John was the Son of God.

WORD OF GOD. See Bible.

WORKS. Good works, Eph 2:10, are such as proceed from love to God and are done in obedience to his law and from a regard to his glory. We are saved by faith, "but faith without works is dead" - i.e., it is without any evidence of life. Works constitute the evidence and determine the strength and character of faith. Jas 2:17-18, Acts 11:26. In some places the word is used in our translation to denote miracles. Num 16:28; John 5:20; Num 10:25.

WORLD. This word in the A.V. is the translation of five Hebrew and four Greek words. It is therefore not always plain in what sense it is used. The Hebrew terms have these literal meanings: "The earth," "rest," "the grave," Isa 38:11; "the world," corresponding to aion in the N.T., or that which is finite, temporary. Job 11:17; "the veiled," unlimited time, whether past or future; used very frequently, and generally translated "for ever;" and finally, the poetical term for "world," which occurs some thirty seven times, but in various meanings which are easily understood. When the Hebrews desired to express the universe, they employed a phrase like "heaven and earth and the sea, and all that in them is." Ex 20:11.

In the N.T. the Greek words are equally diverse:

  1. Aion, "duration," thus used of time past, Luke 1:70, of time present, with the idea of evil, both moral and physical. Mark 4:19. Hence "children of this world," or worldly men, Luke 16:8; and so Satan is called "the god of this world." 2 Cor 4:4. Aion is also put for endless duration, eternity, 1 Tim 6:16, to signify the material world as created by the Deity, Heb 11:3; also the world to come, the kingdom of the Messiah.

  2. Ge, the earth, in contrast to the heavens. Rev 13:3.

  3. Kosmos, used in several senses: (a) the universe, the heavens, and the earth. Matt 13:35, and thence for the inhabitants of the universe, 1 Cor 4:9, and an aggregate. Jas 3:6. (b) This lower world as the abode of man, John 16:18; the inhabitants of the earth or mankind. Matt 5:14. (c) The present world, as opposed to the kingdom of Christ. John 12:25; specifically, the wealth and enjoyments and cares of this world. Matt 16:26, and so for those who seek the opposite things to the kingdom of God, the worldlings. John 15:19.

  4. Oikonmene, the inhabited earth, Matt 24:14, the people of it. Acts 17:31, sometimes the Roman empire (the then civilized world), Acts 17:6, including Palestine and adjacent parts. Luke 2:1; Acts 11:28.

The Jews distinguished two worlds, or aeons, the present aeon to the appearance of the Messiah, and the future aeon, or the Messianic era, which is to last for ever. The closing days of the present order of things were called "the last days." Isa 2:2; Mic 4:1; Acts 2:17. The same phraseology is found in the N.T., but the dividing-line is marked by the second instead of the first advent of the Messiah. Matt 12:32; 1 Cor 10:11; Gal 4:3; Heb 1:2; Heb 6:5; Jer 9:26.

WORM. Several Hebrew words are thus translated which seem to designate indefinitely caterpillars or maggots, either as destructive, as loathsome, or as helpless and insignificant. For the larva of the clothes-moth, evidently mentioned in Isa 51:8, see Moth. In Mic 7:17, "worm" should be "serpent" or "reptile." From the circumstance that maggots are found in putrefying flesh, we have the figurative expressions in Job 19:26; Job 21:26; Job 24:20; Isa 14:11. Owing to the constant accumulation of filth and putrefaction in a valley near Jerusalem it was always alive with worms, and fires were maintained day and night to consume the sources of pestilence. Hence the allusion Isa 66:24; Mark 9:44, 1 Chr 2:46, Gen 24:48. At an advanced stage of some diseases worms are bred in the flesh from the eggs of the insect. Job 7:5; Ex 17:14; Acts 12:23. The meanness of these creatures, and their liability to be trodden under foot, afford the illustrations in Job 25:6; Ps 22:6; Isa 41:14.

WORM'WOOD. At least five species of this plant (Artemisia) are found in the Holy Land, and are distinguished for intense bitterness. Hence this word is often joined with or used in 909 the same sense as "gall" and "hemlock " to denote what is offensive and nauseous. Deut 29:18; Prov 5:4; Am 5:7; Zech 6:12. To be obliged to use it as food expresses the extreme of suffering. Jer 9:15; Matt 23:15; Lam 3:15, Acts 1:19.

WOR'SHIP. This word, as used in our Bible, has various significations. In most instances it means simply an act of respect, Matt 9:18; Acts 10:25, and does not imply any religious emotion. Where the act respects the divine Being, the only proper object of religious worship, the connection shows it. John 4:24; Heb 1:6; Rev 22:9. It becomes idolatry when tendered to any other person or thing. Dan 3:5, Jud 4:12, 2 Kgs 22:14; Acts 19:27.

WORSHIPPER, in Acts 19:35, should be "temple-keeper," a term applied to cities devoted to the worship of some special idol, as Ephesus was to that of Diana.

WOT, WOT'TETH, indicative present of the old verb "to wit" - i.e., "to know." Gen 39:8.

WREST'LNG. See Games.

WRIT'ING is either ideographic or phonetic. In ideographic writing the signs used represent the ideas themselves, either pictorially by direct imitation of the object, or symbolically, as when the picture of an eye is used to convey the idea of sight or knowledge, and the picture of a lion the idea of courage. In phonetic writing the signs simply represent the sounds of which a word is composed, sometimes encompassing them in whole syllables, sometimes dissolving them in single letters. Ideographic writing - that is, writing by pictures or in hieroglyphics - is an art of very ancient date, and is even now common in many savage nations. In its most unimproved form it is found among our American aborigines, and was the common method used by the Mexicans, some of whose ancient, pictures of this kind are preserved.

The most numerous and remarkable specimens of hieroglyphic writing exist in Egypt; they have been sought out by travellers and copied in drawings and copperplates, but have baffled the ingenuity and labor of many ages. A distinguished French antiquary, Champollion, was the first who succeeded in deciphering a great number of them, and his labors have thrown great light upon the Scriptures and vindicated the Mosaic history from a multitude of objections. Now a hieroglyphic inscription can be read as accurately as a classical one.

As an example of an old method of phonetic writing may be mentioned the cuneiform inscriptions found on old Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian monuments. The characters very much resemble arrow-heads, and the key to decipher them was not found until between 1800 and 1815, by Grotefend. It is evident also that the Jews were very early in possession of phonetic writing.

Through all the Mosaic history books and writing are mentioned as in familiar use. Ex 17:14; 2 Sam 11:14; 1 Kgs 21:8-9, 1 Kgs 21:11; 2 Kgs 10:1, 2 Kgs 10:2, 2 Kgs 10:6-7. The alphabet which the Jews used was a development of the Phoenician alphabet, and underwent various changes in course of time. The materials used in writing were tablets of stone, Ex 31:18; Ex 32:15-16, Ex 32:19; Deut 34:1, Ex 34:4, Ex 34:28-29, or box-wood and brass, or plaster, Deut 27:2; Josh 8:32, or skin, which was made into the finest parchment or vellum. For hard materials an iron stylus or engraver's tool was used. Job 19:24; Ps 45:1; Isa 8:1; Jer 8:8; Ex 17:1, but for parchment a reed pen and ink. 2 Cor 3:3; 2 John 12; 3 John 13. The parchment was not cut in leaves, forming a book, but put together in long rolls. See Pen.

The practice of employing an amanuensis was much more common in ancient days than now. Hence, Paul gives as an authentication of his letters a few words written with his own hand. 1 Cor 16:21; Col 4:18; 2 Thess 3:17. This fact also explains Rom 16:22. The size of the apostle's writing is indicated. Gal 6:11.

The ink of the ancients was made of pulverized charcoal or the black of burnt ivory and water, with the addition of some kind of gum. The ink of the East at the present day is a much thicker substance than ours, but is not permanent; a wet sponge will obliterate the finest of their writing. The inkhorn was, and is, a long tube containing the reed pens, with a little case fastened at the side to hold the ink. The whole is thrust into the girdle. See Book.

« Prev W. Next »

| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |