FABLE

An idle, groundless, and worthless story, like the mythological legends of the heathen and the vain traditions of the Jews. These were often not only false and weak, but also pernicious, 1Ti 4:7 Tit 1:14 2Pe 1:16.

FACE

Face and presence, expressed by the same word in Hebrew, are often put for the person himself, Ge 48:11 Ex 33:14 Isa 63:9. No man has seen the face of God, that is, had a full revelation of his glory, Ex 33:20 Joh 1:18 1Ti 6:16. To see him "face to face," is to enjoy his presence, Ge 32:30 Nu 14:14 De 5:4, and have a clear manifestation of his nature and grace, 1Co 13:12.

FAIR-HAVENS

A roadstead or small bay, near the town of Lasea, midway on the southern coast of Crete, where Paul wished to winter when on the voyage to Rome, Ac 27:8. The sailors preferred Phenice as safer, and were wrecked in consequence. It still retains nearly its old name.

FAITH

The assent of the understanding to any truth. Religious faith is assent to the truth of divine revelation and of the events and doctrines contained in it. This may be merely historical, without producing any effect on our lives and conversation; and it is then a dead faith, such as even the devils have. But a living or saving faith not only believes the great doctrines of religion as true, but embraces them with the heart and affections; and is thus the source of sincere obedience to the divine will, exhibited in the life and conversation. Faith in Christ is a grace wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit, whereby we receive Christ as our Savior, our Prophet, Priest, and King, and love and obey him as such. This living faith in Christ is the means of salvation-not meritoriously, but instrumentally. Without it there can be no forgiveness of sins, and no holiness of life; and they who are justified by faith, live and walk by faith, Mr 16:16 Joh 3:15,16 Ac 16:31 1Jo 5:10.

True faith is an essential grace, and a mainspring of Christian life. By it the Christian overcomes the world, the flesh, and the devil, and receives the crown of righteousness, 1Ti 4:7-8. In virtue of it, worthy men of old wrought great wonders, Heb 11:1-40 Ac 14:9 1Co 13:2, being sustained by Omnipotence in doing whatever God enjoined, Mt 17:20 Mr 9:23 11:23-24. In Ro 1:8, faith is put for the exhibition of faith, in the practice of all the duties implied in a profession of faith.

FAITHFUL

In many passages in the Bible, means "believing." Thus in Ga 3:9, believers are said to be blessed with Abraham, because of his preeminent distinction above all man for steadfast faith in God. This appellation is given in Scripture to true Christians, to indicate not only their saving faith in Christ, but their trustworthy and consistent Christian character, Ac 16:15 1Co 4:17 Eph 6:21 Col 4:9 1Pe 5:12. "A faithful saying" is one that cannot prove false, 1Ti 1:15 2Ti 2:11.

FAITHFULNESS

An infinite attribute of Jehovah; adapted to make perfect both the confidence of those who believe his word and rely on his promises, and the despair of those who doubt his word and defy his threatenings, De 28:26 Nu 23:19 Ps 89:33-34 Heb 10:23.

FAMINE

Scripture records several famines in Palestine, and the neighboring countries, Ge 12:10 26:1 Ru 1:1 2Ki 6:25 Ac 11:27. The most remarkable one was that of seven years in Egypt, while Joseph was governor, Ge 41:1-57. It was distinguished for its duration, extent, and severity; particularly as Egypt is one of the countries least subject to such a calamity, by reason of its general fertility. Famine is sometimes a natural effect, as when the Nile does not overflow in Egypt, or rains do not fall in Judea, at the customary season; or when caterpillars, locusts, or other insects, destroy the fruits. But all natural causes are under the control of God; and he often so directs them as to chastise the rebellious with want, 2Ki 8:1-2 Eze 6:1 Mt 24:7. The worst famine is a spiritual one, Am 8:11.

FAN

An instrument used for winnowing grain. In the East, fans are of two kinds: one a sort of fork, having three or four prongs, and a handle four feet long; with this they throw up the grain to the wind, that the chaff may be blown away: the other sort of fan is formed to produce wind when the air is calm, Isa 30:24. This process illustrates the complete separation which Christ the Judge will effect between the righteous and the wicked, Jer 15:7 Mt 3:12. See THRESHING.

FARTHING

Two different Roman brass coins are translated by this word: one of these, the assarion, Mt 10:29 Lu 12:6, was worth less than a cent; the other, the kodrantes, Mt 5:26, was probably nearly four mills.

FASTING

In all ages, and among all nations, fasting has been practiced in times of sorrow, and affliction, Jon 3:5. It may be regarded as a dictate of nature, which under these circumstances refuses nourishment, and suspends the cravings of hunger. In the Bible no example is mentioned of fasting, properly so-called, before Moses. His forty daysí fast, like that of Elijah and of our Lord, was miraculous, De 9:9 1Ki 19:8 Mt 4:2. The Jews often had recourse to this practice, when they had occasion to humble themselves before God, to confess their sins and deprecate his displeasure, Jud 20:26 1Sa 7:6 2Sa 12:16 Ne 9:1 1Ki 19:8 Jer 36:9. Especially in times of public calamity, they appointed extraordinary fasts, and made even the children at the breast fast, Joe 2:16 Da 10:2-3. They began the observance of their fasts, at sunset, and remained without eating until the same hour the next day. The great day of expiation was probably the only annual and national fast day among them.

It does not appear by his own practice or by his commands, that our Lord instituted any particular fast. On one occasion, he intimated that his disciples would fast after his death, Lu 5:34,35. Accordingly, the life of the apostles and first believers was a life of self-denials, sufferings, and fasting, 2Co 5:7 11:27. Our Savior recognized the custom, and the apostles practiced it as occasion required, Mt 6:16-18 Ac 13:3 1Co 7:5.

FAT

The fat portions of animals offered in sacrifice were always to be consumed, as being the choice part and especially sacred to the Lord. The blood was also sacred, as containing the life of the animal. The Jews were forbidden to eat either, Le 3:16,17; 7:23-27.

FATHER

Is often synonymous with ancestor, founder, or originator, as Ge 4:20-21 Joh 8:56 Ro 4:16. Joseph was a father to Pharoah, Ge 45:8, as his counselor and provider. God is the FATHER of men, as their Creator, De 32:6 Isa 63:16 64:8 Lu 3:38. But as we have forfeited the rights of children by our sins, it is only through Christ that we can call God by that endearing name, "our Father," Joh 20:17 Ro 8:15-17.

In patriarchal times, a father was master and judge in his own household, and exercised and authority almost unlimited over his family. Filial disobedience or disrespect was a high offence. Under the law, certain acts of children were capital crimes, Ex 21:15,17 Le 20:9; and the father was required to bring his son to the public tribunal, De 21:18-21. See MOTHER.

FEASTS

God appointed several festivals, or days of rest and worship, among the Jews, to perpetuate the memory of great events wrought in favor of them: the Sabbath commemorated the creation of the world; the Passover, the departure out of Egypt; the Pentecost, the law given at Sinai, etc. At the three great feasts of the year, the Passover, Pentecost, and that of Tabernacles, all the males of the nation were required to visit the temple, Ex 23:14-17 De 16:16-17; and to protect their borders from invasion during their absence, the shield of a special providence was always interposed, Ex 34:23-24. The other festivals were the Feast of Trumpets, or New Moon, Purim, Dedication, the Sabbath year, and the year of Jubilee. These are described elsewhere. The observance of these sacred festivals was adapted not merely to freshen the remembrance of their early history as a nation, but to keep alive the influence of religion and the expectation of the Messiah, to deepen their joy in God, to dispel animosities and jealousies, and to form new associations between the different tribes and families. See also Day of EXPIATION.

In the Christian church, we have no festival that clearly appears to have been instituted by our Savior, or his apostles; but as we commemorate his death as often as we celebrate his supper, he has hereby seemed to institute a perpetual feast. Christians have always celebrated the memory of his resurrection by regarding the Sabbath, which we see, from Re 1:10, was in Johnís time commonly called "the Lordís day." Feasts of love, Jude 1:12, were public banquets of a frugal kind, instituted by the primitive Christians, and connected by them with the celebration of the Lordís supper. The provisions were contributed by the more wealthy, and were common to all Christians, whether rich or poor, who chose to partake. Portions were also sent to the sick and absent members. These love-feasts were intended as an exhibition of mutual Christian affection; but they became subject to abuses, and were afterwards generally discontinued, 1Co 11:17-34.

The Hebrews were a hospitable people, and were wont to welcome their guests with a feast, and dismiss them with another, Ge 19:3 31:27 Jud 6:19 2Sa 3:20 2Ki 6:23. The returning prodigal was thus welcomed, Lu 15:23. Many joyful domestic events were observed with feasting: birthdays, etc., Ge 21:8 40:20 Job 1:4 Mt 14:6; marriages, Ge 29:22 Jud 14:10 Joh 2:1-10; sheep shearing and harvesting, Jud 9:27 1Sa 25:2,36 2Sa 13:23. A feast was also provided at funerals, 2Sa 3:35 Jer 16:7. Those who brought sacrifices and offerings to the temple were wont to feast upon them there, with joy and praise to God, De 12:6,7 1Sa 16:5 2Sa 6:19. They were taught to invite all the needy to partake with them, De 16:11; and even to make special feasts for the poor, De 12:17-19 14:28 26:12-15; a custom which the Savior specially commended, Lu 14:12-14.

The manner of holding a feast was anciently marked with great simplicity. But at the time of Christ many Roman customs had been introduced. The feast or "supper" usually took place at five or six in the afternoon, and often continued to a late hour. The guests were invited some time in advance; and those who accepted the invitation were again notified by servants when the hour arrived, Mt 22:4-8 Lu 14:16-24. The door was guarded against uninvited persons; and was at length closed for the day by the hand of the master of the house, Mt 25:10 Lu 13:24. Sometimes very large numbers were present, Es 1:3,5 Lu 14:16-24; and on such occasions a "governor of the feast" was appointed, whose social qualities, tact, firmness, and temperance fitted him to preside, Joh 2:8. The guests were arranged with a careful regard to their claims to honor, Ge 43:33 1Sa 9:22 Pr 25:6,7 Mt 23:6 Lu 14:7; in which matter the laws of etiquette are still jealously enforced in the East. Sometimes the host provided light, rich, loose robes for the company; and if so, the refusing to wear one was a gross insult, Ec 9:8 Mt 22:11 Re 3:4,5. The guests reclined around the tables; water and perfumes were served to them, Mr 7:2 Lu 7:44-46; and after eating, the hands were again washed, a servant pouring water over them. During the repast and after it various entertainments were provided; enigmas were proposed, Jud 14:12; eastern tales were told; music and hired dancers, and often excessive drinking, etc., occupied the time, Isa 5:12 24:7-9 Am 6:5. See EATING, FOOD.

FELIX

A Roman governor of Judea; originally a slave, but manumitted and promoted by Claudius Caesar, from whom he received the name of Claudius. He is described by the historian Tacitus as cruel, licentious, and base. In Judea he married Drusilla, sister of the younger Agrippa, having enticed her from her second husband Azizus. Paul having been sent by Lysias to Caesarea, then the seat of government, Felix gave him an audience, and was convinced of his innocence. Nevertheless he kept him a prisoner, though with many alleviationís, in hopes that his friends would purchase his liberty by a heavy bribe. Meanwhile his wife Drusilla, who was a Jewess, desired to hear Paul explain the new religion; and the apostle being summoned before them, discoursed with his usual boldness on justice, chastity, and the final judgment. Felix trembled, but hastily remanded Paul to confinement, and stifled his convictions-a melancholy instance of the power of lust and the danger of delay. Two years after, A. D. 60, he was recalled to Rome; and left Paul in prison, in order to appease the Jews. He was brought to trial, however, for maladministration, found guilty, and barely escaped death through the intercession of his brother Pallas, another royal favorite, Ac 23:26; 24:1-27.

FERRET

A sort of weasel, Le 11:30. The Hebrew word means rather a species of lizard, the gecko, which Moses forbids as unclean.

FESTUS, PORTIUS

Succeeded Felix in the government of Judea, A. D. 60. To oblige the Jews, Felix, when he resigned his government, left Paul in bonds at Caesarea in Palestine, Ac 24:27; and when Festus arrived, he was entreated by the principal Jews to condemn the apostle, or to order him up to Jerusalem-they having conspired to assassinate him in the way. Festus, however, answered that it was not customary with the Romans to condemn any man without hearing him; and promised to hear their accusations at Caesarea. Five days after, on hearing Paul and learning the nature of the charges against him, he proposed to him to abide the issue of a trial before the Jewish Sanhedrin. But Paul appealed to Caesar; and so secured himself from the prosecution of the Jews, and the intentions of Festus. The governor gave him another hearing during a congratulatory visit of king Agrippa, in order to make out a statement to be forwarded with him to Rome. Finding how greatly robberies abounded in Judea, Festus very diligently pursued the thieves; and he also suppressed a magician, who drew the people after him into the desert. Josephus speaks well of his brief administration. He died in Judea, A. D. 62, and was succeeded by Albinus.

FIG

The fig tree is common in Palestine and the East, and flourishes with the greatest luxuriance in those barren and stony situations where little else will grow. Its large size, and its abundance of five-lobed leaves, render it a pleasant shade tree; and its fruit furnished a wholesome food, very much used in all the lands of the Bible. Thus it was a symbol of peace and plenty, 1Ki 4:25 Mic 4:4 Zec 3:10 Joh 1:49-51. Figs are of two sorts, the "baccore," and the "kermouse." The black and white boccore, or early fig, is produced in June; thought the kermouse, the fig properly so called, which is preserved, and made up into cakes, is rarely ripe before August. There is also a long dark-colored kermouse, that sometimes hangs upon the trees all winter.

The fruit of the fig tree is one of the delicacies of the East, and is very often spoken of in Scripture. The early fig was especially prized, Isa 28:4 Jer 24:2 Na 3:12, though the summer fig is most abundant, 2Ki 20:7 Isa 38:21. It is a peculiarity of the fig tree that its fruit begins to appear before the leaves, and without any show of blossoms. It has, indeed, small and hidden blossoms, but the passage in Hab 3:17, should read, according to the original Hebrew, "Although the fig tree should not bear," instead of "blossom." Its leaves come so late in the spring as to justify the words of Christ, "Ye know that summer is nigh," Mt 24:32 So 2:13. The fresh fruit is shaped like a pear. The dried figs of Palestine were probably like those which are brought to our own country; sometimes, however, they are dried on a string. We likewise read of "cakes of figs," 1Sa 25:18 2Ki 20:7 1Ch 12:40. These were probably formed by pressing the fruit forcibly into baskets or other vessels, so as to reduce them to a solid cake or lump. In this way dates are still prepared in Arabia.

The barren fig tree which was withered at our Saviorís word, as an awful warning to unfruitful professors of religion, seems to have spent itself in leaves. It stood by the wayside, free to all; and as the time for stripping the trees of their fruit had not come, Mr 11:14, it was reasonable to expect to find it covered with figs in various stages of growth. Yet there was "nothing thereon, but leaves only," Mt 21:19.

FIR

An evergreen tree, of beautiful appearance, whose lofty height and dense foliage afford a spacious shelter and shade. The Hebrew word often seems to mean the CYPRESS, which see. It was used for shipbuilding, Eze 27:5; for musical instruments, 2Sa 6:5; for beams and rafters of houses, 1Ki 5:8,10 9:11 So 1:17.

FIRE

In Scripture, is often connected with the presence of Jehovah; as in the burning bush, and on Mount Sinai, Ex 3:2 19:18 Ps 18:1-50 Hab 1:1-3:19. The second coming of Christ will be "in flaming fire," 2Th 1:8. In the New Testament it illustrates the enlightening, cheering, and purifying agency of the Holy Spirit, Mt 3:11 Ac 2:3. By sending fire from heaven to consume sacrifices, God often signified his acceptance of them: as in the case of Abel, Ge 4:4; Abraham, Ge 15:17; Manoah, Jud 13:19-20; Elijah, 1Ki 18:38; and at the dedication of the tabernacle and the temple, Le 9:24 2Ch 7:1. This sacred fire was preserved by the priests with the utmost care, Isa 31:9, in many ancient religions fire was worshipped; and children were made to pass through the fire to Moloch, 2Ki 17:17 Jer 7:31 Eze 16:21 23:37. The Jews had occasion for fires, except for cooking, only during a small part of the year. Besides their ordinary hearths and ovens, they warmed their apartments with "a fire of coals" in a brazier, Jer 36:22-23 Lu 22:30. The were forbidden to kindle a fire on the Sabbath, Ex 35:3óa prohibition perhaps only of cooking on that day, but understood by many Jews even now in the fullest extent; it is avoided by employing gentile servants. Another provision of the Mosaic Law was designed to protect the standing corn, etc., in the dry summer season, Ex 22:6. The earth is to be destroyed by fire, 2Pe 3:7; of which the destruction of Sodom, and the volcanoes and earthquakes which so often indicate the internal commotions of the globe, may serve as warnings.

FIRKIN

Joh 2:6, a Greek measure, equivalent to the Hebrew bath, and containing seven and a half gallons. The quantity of wine produced by the miracle at Cana was large: but the assemblage was also large; the festivities continued, it may be, a whole week, Jud 14:12; and many would be drawn to the scene by hearing of the miracle.

FIRMAMENT

Ge 1:17, the expanse of the heavens immediately above the earth. The Hebrews seem to have viewed this as an immense crystalline dome, studded with stars, resting on the far distant horizon all around the spectator, and separating the waters above us from those on the earth. Through its windows the rain descended. It is not necessary to suppose they thought it was solid, Ps 19:1; Isa 40:22. It is not the aim of Scripture to give scientific statements of natural phenomena. Teaching religion, not astronomy of physics, it does not anticipate modern discoveries, but speaks of natural objects and occurrences in the common language of men everywhere. Hence, in part, its attractiveness in all ages as a book for the people.

FIRSTBORN

This phrase is not always to be understood literally; it is sometimes taken for the prime, most excellent, most distinguished of things, Ps 89:27 Ro 8:29 Heb 1:4-6. Thus Jesus Christ is "the firstborn of every creature," Col 1:15, inasmuch as he was the "Only begotten" of the Father before any creature was produced. He is "the firstborn from the dead," Col 1:18, because he is the beginning, and the author of the resurrection of all who die in faith.

After the destroying angel had slain the firstborn of the Egyptians, God ordained that all the Jewish firstborn, both of men and of beasts for service, should be consecrated to him; but the male children only were subject to this law. If a man had several wives, he was obliged to offer the firstborn son by each one of them to the Lord. The firstborn were offered at the temple, and redeemed for five shekels. The firstling of a clean beast was offered at the temple, not to be redeemed, but to be killed; an unclean beast, a horse, an ass, or a camel, was either redeemed or exchanged; an ass was redeemed by a lamb or five shekels; if not redeemed, it was killed, Ex 13:2,11, etc. The firstborn son among the Hebrews, as among all other nations, enjoyed particular privileges. See BIRTHRIGHT.

FIRSTFRUITS

Presents made to God of part of the fruits of the harvest, to express the submission, dependence, and thankfulness of the offerers. The portion given was instead of the whole, in acknowledgement that all was due to God. They were offered in the temple before the crop was gathered on the fifteenth of Nisan, in the evening, and threshed in a court of the temple. After it was well cleaned, about three pints of it were roasted, and pounded in a mortar. Over this was thrown a measure of olive oil and a handful of incense; and the priest, taking the offering, waved it before the Lord towards the four cardinal points, throwing a handful of it into the fire on the altar, and keeping the rest. After this, all were at liberty to get in the harvest. When the wheat harvest was over, on the day of Pentecost they offered as first fruits of another, in the name of the nation, two loaves, of about three pints of flour each, made of leavened dough, Le 23:10,17. In addition to these firstfruits, every private person was obliged to bring his firstfruits to the temple, but Scripture prescribes neither the time nor the quantity.

There was, besides this, another sort of firstfruits paid to God, Nu 15:19,21 Ne 10:37: when the bread in the family was kneaded, a portion of it was set apart, and given to the priest or Levite of the place; if there were no priest or Levite, it was cast into the oven and there consumed.

Those offerings are also often called firstfruits, which were brought by the Israelites from devotion, to the temple, for the feast of thanksgiving, to which they invited their relations and friends, and the Levites of their cities. The firstfruits and tenths were the most considerable revenue of the priests and Levites.

Christians have "the firstfruits of the Holy Spirit," Ro 8:23; that is, more abundant and more excellent gifts than the Jews; these were also a foretaste of the full harvest. "Christ is risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept," 1Co 15:20, the forerunner of all those who, because he lives, shall live also, Joh 14:19.

FISH, FISHER

The Hebrews have very few names of particular species of fish. Moses says in general, that all sorts of river, lake, or sea fish, which have scales and fins, may be eaten; all others shall be to the Hebrews an abomination, Le 11:9-12 De 14:9,10. The Nile had an early celebrity, which it still retains, for the abundance and excellence of its fish, Ex 7:18-21 Nu 11:5. The Sea of Tiberias also still abounds in fish, Lu 5:5 Joh 21:6-11. They were a common article of food among the Jews, Mt 7:10, and were obtained from the Mediterranean, Ne 13:16, and from the Jordan. They were caught with hooks, Am 4:2, spears, Job 41:7, and nets, Isa 19:8-10. The "great fish," Jon 1:17, which swallowed Jonah, may have been of the shark genus, as this animal is common in the Mediterranean. The original word, both in Hebrew and Greek, Mt 12:40, means a fish, and not specifically a "whale." See WHALE. Fishermen are often spoken of in the Bible, and a large proportion of the twelve apostles of our Lord were of that occupation. Christ made them "fishers of men," Mt 4:18-22.

The early Christians, in times of persecution, used to engrave the form of a fish on their medals, seals, and tombs, as a tacit confession of their faith; as the five letters of the Greek word for fish are the initial letters of five words, signifying "Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Savior." This symbol has thus become the subject of a superstitious regard.

FITCHES or VETCHES

A species of wild pea. Two Hebrew words are translated "fitches," one of which probably means spelt, Eze 4:9, and the other gith, a plant resembling fennel, and very pungent, Isa 28:25. The seed is black, and aromatic.

FLAGON

The Hebrew word everywhere rendered in the English version flagon, 2Sa 6:19 1Ch 16:3 So 2:5 Ho 3:1, means rather a cake, especially of dried grapes or raisins, pressed into a particular form. These are mentioned as delicacies, by which the weary and languid are refreshed; they were also offered to idols, Ho 3:1. They differed from the dried clusters of grapes not pressed into any form, 1Sa 25:18, and also from the "cakes of figs." We may refer, in illustration, to the manner in which with us cheeses are pressed in various forms, as of pineapples, etc., and also the manner in which dates are prepared at the present day by the Arabs. See FIGS.

FLAX

A well-known plant, upon which the industry of mankind has been exercised with the greatest success and utility, Jos 2:6 Pr 1:13.

Moses speaks of the flax in Egypt, Ex 9:31, which country has been celebrated, from time immemorial, for its production and manufacture. The "fine linen of Egypt," which was manufactured from this article, is spoken of for its superior excellence, in Scripture, Pr 7:16 Eze 27:7. It is however, probable that fine cotton is sometimes to be understood when the Byssus is spoken of. Most of the linen found wrapped around Egyptian mummies will hardly compare with our common sheetings. But some specimens are found of most remarkable fineness; one containing 152 threads in the warp, and 71 in the woof, to each square inch; and another, 270 double threads in the warp, and 110 in the woof, per inch. See COTTON and LINEN.

The prophet Isaiah, in speaking of the gentleness of the Messiah, makes use of a proverbial expression, which is also quoted by Matthew and applied to Jesus: "The bruised reed he shall not break, and the smoking flax he shall not quench," Isa 42:3 Mt 12:20. Here "flax" is used for the wick of a lamp or taper, which was usually made of flax. He will not break a reed already bruised and ready to be broken, nor extinguish a flickering, dying lamp, just ready to expire; that is, he will not oppress his humble and penitent followers, but cherish the feeblest beginnings of true grace.

FLESH

The substance of which the bodies of men and animals are composed. In the Bible, besides the ordinary sense, Job 33:25, it denotes mankind as a race, Ge 6:12 Ps 145:21 Isa 40:5-6; and all living creatures on the earth, Ge 6:17,19. It is often used in opposition to "spirit," as we use body and soul, Job 14:22; and sometimes means the body as animated and sensitive, Mt 26:41, and the seat of bodily appetites, Pr 5:11 2Co 7:1. In the New Testament, "flesh" is very often used to designate the bodily appetites, propensities, and passions, which draw men away from yielding themselves to the Lord and to the things of the Spirit. The flesh, or carnal principle, is opposed to the spirit, or spiritual principle, Ro 8:1-39 Ga 5:17.

FLOCKS

See SHEEP.

FLOOD

See DELUGE.

FLUTE

A soft, sweet-toned wind instrument of music. The word flute is used only in Da 3:5,7,10,15, and is supposed to mean a pipe with two reeds, such as are still to be found in the East. It is blown at the end. See MUSIC, PIPE.

FLY

A genus of insects, of which there are a great many species. Moses declares them and most other insects to be unclean, Le 11:42. They abound in Egypt, and are annoying and vexatious in the extreme, attacking the eyelids, etc., in swarms and with the utmost pertinacity. How intolerable a plague of flies may be, is evident from the fact that whole districts in the Levant have been for a time depopulated by them, the inhabitants being unable to stand against their incessant attacks, Ex 8:24. The Philistines and Canaanites adored Beelzebub, the fly-god, probably as a patron to protect them against these tormenting insects.

In Isa 7:18, the prophet describing the armies of Egypt and Assyria, each under the symbol of one of the prevalent insects in those countries, says, "And it shall come to pass in that day that the Lord shall hiss for the fly that is in the uttermost part of the rivers of Egypt;" (or rather, as the same Hebrew word is rendered in Ex 16:35, the fly that is in the borders of the streams of Egypt,)" and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria." It is thought by some that the fly here spoken of is the zimb, or Ethiopian fly, of which Mr. Bruce says, "It is, in size, very little larger than a bee, of a thicker proportion, and has wings which are broader than those of a bee, placed separate, like those of a fly; they are of pure gauze, without color or spot upon them; the head is large. As soon as this plague appears, and their buzzing is heard, all the cattle forsake their food, and run wildly about the plain till they die, worn out with fatigue, fright, and hunger. No remedy remains but to leave the black earth, and hasten down to the sands of the desert; and there they remain while the rains last, this cruel enemy never daring to pursue them farther." The camel is also obliged to fly before these insects; and the elephant and rhinoceros coat themselves with a thick armor of mud.

FOOD

In ancient the food of a people was more entirely the product of their own country than in our day. Palestine was favored with an abundance of animal food, grain, and vegetables. But throughout the East, vegetable food is more used than animal. Bread was the principal food. Grain of various kinds, beans, lentils, onions, grapes, together with olive oil, honey, and the milk of goats and cows were the ordinary fare. The wandering Arabs live much upon a coarse black bread. A very common dish in Syria is rice, with shreds of meat, vegetables, olive oil, etc., intermixed. A similar dish, made with beans, lentils, and various kinds of pulse, was in frequent use at an earlier age, Ge 25:29-34 2Ki 4:38-1.

Fish was a common article of food, when accessible, and was very much used in Egypt. This country was also famous for cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlics, Nu 11:5. Such is the food of the Egyptians still. See EATING.

Animal food was always used on festive occasions; and the hospitable patriarchs lost little time in preparing for their guests a smoking dish from their flocks of sheep and goats, their herds of cattle, or their dove cotes, Ge 18:7 Lu 15:23. The rich had animal food more frequently, and their cattle were stalled and fattened for the table, 1Sa 16:20 Isa 1:11 11:6 Mal 4:2. Among the poor, locusts were a common means of sustenance, being dried in the sun, or roasted over the fire on iron plates.

Water was the earliest and common drink. Wine of an intoxicating quality was early known, Ge 9:20 14:18 40:1. Date wine and similar beverages were common; and the common people used a kind of sour wine, called vinegar in Ru 2:14 Mt 27:48.

FOOL

Any person who does not act wisely, that is, does not follow the warnings and requirements of God, which are founded in infinite wisdom. Hence "a fool" is put for a wicked man, an enemy or neglecter of God, Ps 14:1 Pr 19:1. So folly is put for wickedness, 2Sa 13:12,13 Ps 38:5, foolish lusts for wicked lusts, etc. Foolish talking, foolish questions, are vain, empty, unprofitable conversation, 2Ti 2:23.

FOOT

The expressions in De 32:35, "their foot shall slide in due time," and in the travelerís song, Ps 121:3, "he will not suffer thy foot to be moved," Ps 66:9 Jer 13:16, have reference to the dangerous character of the narrow roads or paths of the East, over rocks and beside precipices where a sliding foot was often fatal. See also Isa 8:14 Lu 2:34. Nakedness of feet was a sign of mourning. God says to Ezekiel, "Make no mourning for the dead, and put on thy shoes upon thy feet," Eze 24:17. It was likewise a mark of respect. Moses put off his shoes to approach the burning bush; and most commentators are of opinion that the priests served in the tabernacle with their feet naked, as they did afterwards in the temple. The Turks never enter their mosques till after they have washed their feet and their hands, and have put off the outward covering of their legs. The Christians of Ethiopia enter their churches with their shoes off, and the Indian Brahmins and others have the same respect for their pagodas and temples. Eastern conquerors used to set their feet on the necks of conquered princes, Jos 10:22, and action often figured in ancient sculptures, Ps 8:6 Isa 49:23 1Co 15:25 Heb 2:8. See NINEVEH.

The orientals used to wash the feet of strangers who came off a journey, because they commonly walked with their legs bare, and their feet defended only by sandals, Ge 24:32 43:24. So Abraham washed the feet of the three angels, Ge 18:4. This office was usually performed by servants and slaves; and hence Abigail answers David, who sought her in marriage, that she should think it an honor to wash the feet of the kingís servants, 1Sa 25:41. Paul would have a widow assisted by the church, to be one who had hospitably washed the feet of saints, 1Ti 5:10. The practice is still met with in Palestine. Says Dr. Robinson, at Ramleh, "Our youthful host now proposed, in the genuine style of ancient oriental hospitality, that a servant should wash our feet. This took me by surprise; for I was not aware that the custom still existed here. Nor does it indeed towards foreigners, though it is quite common among the natives. We gladly accepted the proposal, both for the sake of the refreshment and of the scriptural illustration. A female Nubian slave accordingly brought water, which she poured upon our feet over a large shallow basin of tinned copper, kneeling before us and rubbing our feet with her hands, and wiping them with a napkin. It was one of the most gratifying minor incidents of our whole journey." Our Savior, after his last supper, gave a striking lesson of humility, by washing his disciplesí feet, Joh 13:5-6,8, though the eighth verse shows that he had also a deeper meaning. See SANDALS.

FOOTMEN or Runners

Attendants on Eastern princes, trained to run before their chariots, 1Sa 8:11. So Elijah ran before Ahab, 1Ki 18:46. The speed and endurance of some of these couriers is almost beyond belief, Jer 42:5.

FOREHEAD

Eze 9:1-11; Re 7:3. The devotees of different idols in India receive at this day different marks on the forehead, distinguishing them one from another. By a similar method the slaves claimed by different owners were sometimes designated.

FORNICATION

This word is used in Scripture not only for the sin of impurity between unmarried persons, but for idolatry, and for all kinds of infidelity to God. In Eze 16:1-63, the Jewish church is symbolized as a female infant, growing up to womanhood, and then wedded to Jehovah by covenant. When she breaks her covenant by going after idols, she is justly reproached as an adulteress and a harlot, Jer 2:20 3:8-9 Ho 3:1. Adultery and fornication are frequently confounded. Both the Old and New Testaments condemn all impurity and fornication, corporeal and spiritual-idolatry, apostasy, heresy, and infidelity. See ADULTERY.

FORTUNATUS

1Co 16:17, came from Corinth to Ephesus, to visit Paul. Paul speaks of Stephanus. Fortunatus, and Achaicus as the first fruits of Achaia, and as set for the service of the church and saints. They carried Paulís first epistle to Corinth.

FOUNTAINS

Perennial springs of good water were of inestimable value in Palestine, and numerous places took their name from some fountain in their vicinity. They have furnished to the sacred writers some of their finest illustrations of spiritual things. Thus, God is the "Fountain of living waters," Jer 2:13. The atonement is a precious fountain of cleansing, healing, life-giving power, Joe 3:18 Zec 13:1. The consolations of the gospel and the felicity of heaven are also described by this similitude, Ps 36:7-9 Re 7:17. See WELLS.

FOWL

See BIRDS.

FOX

Two words in Hebrew are translated "fox" in the Bible; and it is not easy in every case to determine what animal is referred to. There were several varieties of fox in Palestine, all like the common fox in form and habits. The fox is cunning, voracious, and mischievous, Eze 13:4 Lu 13:32. He is fond of grapes, and does much harm in vineyards, So 2:15. The fable of the fox and the sour grapes is well known. He is solitary in his habits, and burrows a home for himself in the ground, Lu 9:58. The jackal, at the present day, is much more numerous in Palestine, and is probably referred to in many texts where the word "foxes" occurs. It is like a medium-sized dog, with a head like the wolves, and a tail like the foxís; of a bright yellow color. To the fierceness of the wolf it joins the impudent familiarity of the dog. It differs from the fox in its habit of hunting its prey in large packs, and in its cry-a mournful howl, mixed with barking, which they keep up all night, to the annoyance of all within hearing. They live in holes; prowl around villages; ravage poultry yards; feed upon game, lizards, insects, grapes, garbage; and when they can find nothing else, old leather and any thing that has once had animal life. They follow after caravans and armies, and devour the bodies of the dead, and even dig them up from their graves, Ps 63:10 La 5:18. The incident in the life of Samson, where foxes, or perhaps jackals, are referred to, Jud 15:4-5, has a parallel in the ancient Roman feast of Ceres, goddess of corn; when torches were bound to the tails of numbers of foxes, and they ran round the circus till the fire stopped and consumed them. This was in revenge for their once burning up some fields of corn.

FRANKINCENSE

See INCENSE.

FRIEND

Abraham is signally honored in being called "the friend of God," Isa 41:8 Jas 2:23. Christ granted a similar honor and blessing to his disciples, Joh 15:15. It is a different word, however, in Greek, by which he addressed Judas, Mt 26:50; the word there translated friend, means simply companion, and appears to have been used as a conversational term not implying friendship. The same word occurs in Mt 20:13 22:12.

FROG

A well known amphibious animal, famous in connection with the plagues in Egypt, Ex 8:1-14. The magicians are said to have brought up frogs upon the land by their enchantments; but as they could not remove them, it is clear that they did not actually produce them. They penetrated everywhere-to the beds of the Egyptians, which were near the ground; and to their ovens, which were cavities in the ground.

FRONTLETS

Thus described by Leo of Modena: the Jews take four pieces of parchment, and write with an ink made on purpose, and in square letters, these four passages, one on each piece: (1.) "Sanctify unto me all the first born," etc., Ex 13:2-10. (2.) "And when the Lord shall bring thee into the land of the Canaanites," etc., Ex 13:11-16. (3.) "Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord," etc., De 6:4-9. (4.) "If you shall hearken diligently unto my commandments," etc., De 6:13-21. This they do in obedience to the words of Moses: "These commandments shall be for a sign unto thee upon thy hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes."

These four pieces are fastened together, and a square formed of them, on which the Hebrew letter Shin is written; then a little square of hard calf-skin is put at the top, out of which come two leathern strings. This square is put on the middle of the forehead, and the strings being girt about the head, are then brought before, and fall on the breast. It is called the Tephila of the head. The Most devout Jews put it on both at morning and noonday prayer; but it is generally worn only at morning prayer. See PHYLACTERIES.

FULFILLED

The ordinary meaning of this word is sufficiently obvious. It will ultimately be recorded over against all the predictions and promises of Jehovah, every one having been fully accomplished at the proper time and place, Jos 23:14; Mt 2:17; 8:17; 12:17. There are in the New Testament many instances of such an accomplishment, where the purposes of men were very different, and those who figured in the transaction did not dream of any thing but some evil project of their own. Thus in Joh 19:24,28,36, the actual agents in Christís crucifixion had no thought that they were fulfilling the purposes of God. Sometimes also the phrase, "that it might be fulfilled," signifies that the occurrence to which it is applied is a secondary fulfilment, a verification, or simply an illustration of the original prophetic passage-yet foreknown and foreordained of God. Thus the words of Ho 11:1, "I called my son out of Egypt," refer directly to the exodus of Israel from that land of bondage; but, as we learn from Mt 13:14; Isa 6:9; 61:1-3; Lu 4:18-21; Ac 1:16,20; Ps 109:8.

FULLER

A cleanser of cloth. His process is unknown. Christís robes at the transfiguration were white "so as no fuller on earth can white them," Mr 9:3. We read also of fullersí soap, Mal 3:2, and of the fullersí fountain. See EN-ROGEL.

FUNERAL

See BURIAL and SEPULCHRE.

FURLONG

Put, in the New Testament, for the Greek, or rather, Roman stadium, which contained about 201 45-100 yards. The English furlong, one- eighth of a mile, contains 220 yards; and is thus one-twelfth longer than the Roman stadium, Lu 24:13.

FURNACES

Often portable, Ge 15:17. They were used for melting the precious metals, Pr 17:3. The furnace into which Danielís three friends were cast was large, and remained open after they were cast in, Da 3:1-30. The fearful punishment spoken of in Jer 29:22 is still used in the East. The word furnace is used to illustrate a state of oppression, De 4:20, and of affliction, Isa 48:10.

FURY

Attributed to God metaphorically, or speaking after the manner of men; that is, Godís providential actions are such as would be performed by a man in a state of anger; so that, when he is said to pour out his fury on a person, or on a people, it is a figurative expression for dispensing afflictive providences. But we must be cautious not to attribute human infirmities, passions, or malevolence to the Deity.