Wages.

The earliest mention of wages is of a recompense, not in money, but in kind, to Jacob from Laban.

Ge 29:15,20; 30:28; 31:7,8,41

In Egypt money payments by way of wages were in use, but the terms cannot now be ascertained.

Ex 2:9

The only mention of the rate of wages in Scripture is found in the parable of the householder and the vineyard,

Mt 20:2

where the laborer’s wages was set at one denarius per day, probably 15 to 17 cents, a sum which may be fairly taken as equivalent to the denarius, and to the usual pay of a soldier (ten asses per diem) in the later days of the Roman republic. Tac. Ann. i. 17; Polyb. vi. 39. In earlier times it is probable that the rate was lower; but it is likely that laborers, and also soldiers, were supplied with provisions. The law was very strict in requiring daily payment of wages.

Le 19:13; De 24:14,15

The employer who refused to give his-laborers sufficient victuals is censured

Job 22:11

and the iniquity of withholding wages is denounced.

Jer 22:13; Mal 3:5; Jas 6:4

Wagon.

The Oriental wagon, or arabah, is a vehicle composed of two or three planks fixed on two solid circular blocks of wood from two to five feet in diameter, which serve as wheels. For the conveyance of passengers, mattresses or clothes are laid in the bottom and the vehicle is drawn by buffaloes or oxen. [CART and CHARIOT]

CART - See 5909

CHARIOT - See 5948

Walls.

Only a few points need be noticed.

1. The practice common in Palestine of carrying foundations down to the solid rock, as in the case of the temple, with structures intended to be permanent.

Lu 6:48

2. A feature of some parts of Solomon’s buildings, as described by Josephus, corresponds remarkably to the method adopted at Nineveh of incrusting or veneering a wall of brick or stone with slabs of a more costly material, as marble or alabaster.

3. Another use of walls in Palestine is to support mountain roads Or terraces formed on the sides of hills for purposes of cultivation.

4. The "path of the vineyards,"

Nu 22:24

is a pathway through vineyards, with walls on each side.

Wandering in the Wilderness.

[WILDERNESS OF THE WANDERING]

WILDERNESS - See 9461

War.

The most important topic in connection with war is the formation of the army which is destined to carry it on. [ARMY]

ARMY - See 5413

In

1Ki 9:22

at a period (Solomon’s reign) when the organization of the army was complete, we have apparently a list of the various gradations of rank in the service, as follows:

1. "Men of war" = privates;

2. "servants," the lowest rank of officers —lieutenants;

3. "princes" = captains;

4. "captains," perhaps = staff officers;

5. "rulers of the chariots and his horsemen" = cavalry officers. Formal proclamations of war were not interchanged between the belligerents. Before entering the enemy’s district spies were seat to ascertain the character of the country and the preparations of its inhabitants for resistance.

Nu 13:17; Jos 2:1; Jud 7:10; 1Sa 26:4

The combat assumed the form of a number of hand-to-hand contests; hence the high value attached to fleetness of foot and strength of arm.

2Sa 1:23; 2:18; 1Ch 12:8

At the same time various strategic devices were practiced, such as the ambuscade,

Jos 8:2,12; Jud 20:36

surprise,

Jud 7:16

or circumvention.

2Sa 5:23

Another mode of settling the dispute was by the selection of champions,

1Sa 17; 2Sa 2:14

who were spurred on to exertion by the offer of high reward.

1Sa 17:25; 18:25; 2Sa 18:11; 1Ch 11:6

The contest having been decided, the conquerors were recalled from the pursuit by the sound of a trumpet.

2Sa 2:28; 18:16; 20:22

The siege of a town or fortress was conducted in the following manner: A line of circumvallation was drawn round the place,

Eze 4:2; Mic 5:1

constructed out of the trees found in the neighborhood,

De 20:20

together with earth and any other materials at hand. This line not only cut off the besieged from the surrounding country, but also served as a base of operations for the besiegers. The next step was to throw out from this line one or more mounds or "banks" in the direction of the city,

2Sa 20:15; 2Ki 19:32; Isa 37:33

which were gradually increased in height until they were about half as high as the city wall. On this mound or bank towers were erected,

2Ki 25:1; Jer 52:4; Eze 4:2; 17:17; 21:22; 26:8

whence the slingers and archers might attack with effect. Catapults were prepared for hurling large darts and stones; and the crow, a long spar, with iron claws at one end and ropes at the other, to pull down stones or men from the top of the wall. Battering-rams,

Eze 4:2; 21:22

were brought up to the walls by means of the bank, and scaling-ladders might also be placed on it. The treatment of the conquered was extremely severe in ancient times. The bodies of the soldiers killed in action were plundered,

1Sa 31:8

2 Macc 8:27; the survivors were either killed in some savage manner,

Jud 9:45; 2Sa 12:31; 2Ch 25:12

mutilated,

Jud 9:45; 2Sa 12:31; 2Ch 25:12

mutilated,

Jud 1:6; 1Sa 11:2

or carried into captivity.

Nu 31:26

Washing the hands and feet.

As knives and forks were not used in the East, in Scripture times, in eating, it was necessary that the hand, which was thrust into the common dish, should be scrupulously clean; and again, as sandals were ineffectual against the dust and heat of the climate, washing the feet on entering a house was an act both of respect to the company and of refreshment to the traveller. The former of these usages was transformed by the Pharisees of the New Testament age into a matter of ritual observance,

Mr 7:3

and special rules were laid down as to the time and manner of its performance. Washing the feet did not rise to the dignity of a ritual observance except in connection with the services of the sanctuary.

Ex 30:19,21

It held a high place, however, among the rites of hospitality. Immediately that a guest presented himself at the tent door it was usual to offer the necessary materials for washing the feet.

Ge 18:4; 19:2; 24:32; 43:24; Jud 19:21

It was a yet more complimentary act, betokening equally humility and affection, if the host himself performed the office for his guest.

1Sa 25:41; Lu 7:38,44; Joh 13:5-14; 1Ti 5:10

Such a token of hospitality is still occasionally exhibited in the East.

Watches of night.

The Jews, like the Greeks and Romans, divided the night into military watches instead of hours, each watch representing the period for which sentinels or pickets remained on duty. The proper Jewish reckoning recognized only three such watches, entitled the first or "beginning of the watches,"

La 2:19

the middle watch,

Jud 7:19

and the morning watch.

Ex 14:24; 1Sa 11:11

These would last respectively from sunset to 10 P.M.; from 10 P.M. to 2 A.M.; and from 2 A.M. to sunrise. After the establishment of the Roman supremacy, the number of watches was increased to four, which were described either according to their numerical order, as in the case of the "fourth watch,"

Mt 14:25

or by the terms "even," "midnight," "cock-crowing" and "morning."

Mr 13:35

These terminated respectively at 9 P.M., midnight, 3 A.M. and 6 A.M.

Water of jealousy.

Nu 5:11-31

The ritual prescribed consisted in the husband’s bringing before the priest the woman suspected of infidelity, and the essential part of it is unquestionably the oath to which the "water" was subsidiary, symbolical and ministerial. With her he was to bring an offering of barley meal. As she stood holding the offering, so the priest stood holding till earthen vessel of holy water mixed with the dust from the floor of the sanctuary, and, declaring her free from all evil consequences if innocent, solemnly devoted her in the name of Jehovah to be "a curse and an oath among her people" if guilty. He then "wrote these curses in a book and blotted them out with the bitter water." and having thrown the handful of meal on the altar, "caused the woman to drink" the potion thus drugged, she moreover answering to the words of his imprecation, "Amen, amen." Josephus adds, if the suspicion was unfounded, she obtained conception; if true, she died infamously, (This was entirely different from most trials of this kind, for the bitter water the woman must drink was harmless in itself, and only by a direct act of God could it injure her it guilty while in most heathen trials the suspected party must take poison, or suffer that which only a miracle would save them from if they were innocent. —ED.)

Water of separation.

[PURIFICATION]

PURIFICATION - See 8536

Wave offering.

This rite, together with that of "heaving" or "raising" the offering was an inseparable accompaniment of peace offerings. In such the right shoulder, considered the choicest part of the victim, was to be ("heaved," and viewed as holy to the Lord, only eaten therefore by the priest: the breast was to be "waved," and eaten by the worshipper. The scriptural notices of these rites are to be found in

Ex 29:24,28; Le 7:30,34; 8:27; 9:21; 10:14,15; 23:10,15,20;

Nu 6:20; 18:11,18,26-29

etc. In conjecturing the meaning of this rite, regard must be had that it was the accompaniment of peace offerings, which were witnesses to a ratified covenant —an established communion between God and man.

Weapons.

[ARMS]

ARMS - See 5412

Weasel

(choled) occurs only in

Le 11:29

in the list of unclean animals; but the Hebrew word ought more probably to be translated "mole." Moles are common in Palestine.

Weaving.

The art of weaving appears to be coeval with the first dawning of civilization. We find it practiced with great skill by the Egyptians at a very early period; The vestures of fine linen" such as Joseph wore,

Ge 41:42

were the product of Egyptian looms. The Israelites were probably acquainted with the process before their sojourn in Egypt; but it was undoubtedly there that they attained the proficiency which enabled them to execute the hangings of the tabernacle,

Ex 35:35; 1Ch 4:21

and other artistic textures. The Egyptian loom was usually upright, and the weaver stood at his work. The cloth was fixed sometimes at the top, sometimes at the bottom. The modern Arabs use a procumbent loom, raised above the ground by short legs. The textures produced by the Jewish weavers were very various. The coarser kinds, such tent-cloth, sack-cloth and the "hairy garments" of the poor, were made goat’s or camel’s hair.

Ex 26:7; Mt 3:4

Wool was extensively used for ordinary clothing,

Le 13:47; Pr 27:26; 31:13; Eze 27:18

while for finer work flax was used, varying in quality, and producing the different textures described in the Bible as "linen" and "fine linen." The mixture of wool and flax in cloth intended for a garment was interdicted.

Le 19:19; De 22:11

Wedding.

[MARRIAGE]

MARRIAGE - See 7847

Week.

There can be no doubt about the great antiquity of measuring time by a period of seven days.

Ge 8:10; 29:27

The origin of this division of time is a matter which has given birth to much speculation. Its antiquity is so great its observance so widespread, and it occupies so important a place in sacred things, that it must probably be thrown back as far as the creation of man. The week and the Sabbath are thus as old as man himself. A purely theological ground is thus established for the week. They who embrace this view support it by a reference to the six days’ creation and the divine rest on the seventh. 1st. That the week rests on a theological ground may be cheerfully acknowledged by both sides; but nothing is determined by such acknowledgment as to the original cause of adopting this division of time. Whether the week gave its sacredness to the number seven, or whether the ascendancy of that number helped to determine the dimensions of the week, it is impossible to say. 2d. The weekly division was adopted by all the Shemitic races, and, in the later period of their history at least, by the Egyptians. On the other hand, there is no reason for thinking the week known till a late period to either Greeks or Romans. So far from the week being a division of time without ground in nature, there was much to recommend its adoption. And further, the week is a most natural and nearly an exact quadri-partition of the month, so that the quarters of the moon may easily have suggested it. It is clear that if not in Paul’s time, yet very soon after, the whole Roman world had adopted the hebdomadal division. Weeks, Feast of. [PENTECOST]

PENTECOST - See 8373

Weights and Measures.

A. WEIGHTS. —The general principle of the present inquiry is to give the evidence of the monuments the preference on all doubtful points. All ancient Greek systems of weight were derived, either directly or indirectly, from an eastern source. The older systems of ancient Greece and Persia were the AEginetan, the Attic, the Babylonian and the Euboic.

1. The AEginetan talent is stated to have contained 60 minae, 6000 drachme.

2. The Attic talent is the standard weight introduced by Solon.

3. The Babylonian talent may be determined from existing weights found by. Mr. Layard at Nineveh. Pollux makes it equal to 7000 Attic drachms.

4. The Euboic talent though bearing a Greek name, is rightly held to have been originally an eastern system. The proportion of the Euboic talent to the Babylonian was probably as 60 to 72, or 5 to

6. Taking the Babylonian maneh at 7992 grs., we obtain 399,600 for the Euboic talent. The principal if not the only Persian gold coin is the daric, weighing about 129 grs.

5. The Hebrew talent or talents and divisions. A talent of silver is mentioned in Exodus, which contained 3000 shekels, distinguished as "the holy shekel," or "shekel of the sanctuary." The gold talent contained 100 manehs, 10,000 shekels. The silver talent contained 3000 shekels, 6000 bekas, 60,000 gerahs. The significations of the names of the Hebrew weights must be here stated. The chief unit was the SHEKEL (i.e. weight), called also the holy shekel or shekel of the sanctuary; subdivided into the beka (i.e. half) or half-shekel, and the gerah (i.e. a grain or beka). The chief multiple, or higher unit, was the kikkar (i.e. circle or globe, probably for an aggregate sum), translated in our version, after the LXX., TALENT; (i.e. part, portion or number), a word used in Babylonian and in the Greek hena or mina.

SHEKEL - See 8898

TALENT - See 9200

(1) The relations of these weights, as usually: employed for the standard of weighing silver, and their absolute values, determined from the extant silver coins, and confirmed from other sources, were as follows, in grains exactly and in avoirdupois weight approximately: (2) For gold a different shekel was used, probably of foreign introduction. Its value has been calculated at from 129 to 132 grains. The former value assimilates it to the Persian daric of the Babylonian standard. The talent of this system was just double that of the silver standard; if was divided into 100 manehs, and each maneh into 100 shekels, as follows: (3) There appears to have been a third standard for copper, namely, a shekel four times as heavy as the gold shekel (or 528 grains), 1500 of which made up the copper talent of 792,000 grains. It seems to have been subdivided, in the coinage, into halves (of 264 grains), quarters (of 132 grains) and sixths (of 88 grains). B. MEASURES.—

MEASURES - See 7886

I. MEASURES OF LENGTH. —In the Hebrew, as in every other system, these measures are of two classes: length, in the ordinary sense, for objects whose size we wish to determine, and distance, or itinerary measures, and the two are connected by some definite relation, more or less simple, between their units. The measures of the former class have been universally derived, in the first instance, from the parts of the human body; but it is remarkable that, in the Hebrew system, the only part used for this purpose is the hand and fore-arm, to the exclusion of the foot, which was the chief unit of the western nations. Hence arises the difficulty of determining the ratio of the foot to the CUBIT, (The Hebrew word for the cubit (ammah) appears to have been of Egyptian origin, as some of the measures of capacity (the hin and ephah) certainly were.) which appears as the chief Oriental unit from the very building of Noah’s ark.

MEASURES - See 7886

CUBIT - See 6105

Ge 6:15,16; 7:20

The Hebrew lesser measures were the finger’s breadth,

Jer 52:21

only; the palm or handbreadth,

Ex 25:25; 1Ki 7:26; 2Ch 4:5

used metaphorically in

Ps 39:5

the span, i.e. the full stretch between the tips of the thumb and the little finger.

Ex 28:16; 1Sa 17:4; Eze 43:13

and figuratively

Isa 40:12

The data for determining the actual length of the Mosaic cubit involve peculiar difficulties, and absolute certainty seems unattainable. The following, however, seem the most probable conclusions: First, that three cubits were used in the times of the Hebrew monarchy, namely : (1) The cubit of a man,

De 3:11

or the common cubit of Canaan (in contradistinction to the Mosaic cubit) of the Chaldean standard; (2) The old Mosaic or legal cubit, a handbreadth larger than the first, and agreeing with the smaller Egyptian cubit; (3) The new cubit, which was still larger, and agreed with the larger Egyptian cubit, of about 20.8 inches, used in the Nilometer. Second, that the ordinary cubit of the Bible did not come up to the full length of the cubit of other countries. The reed (kaneh), for measuring buildings (like the Roman decempeda), was to 6 cubits. It occurs only in Ezekiel

Eze 40:5-8; 41:8; 42:16-29

The values given In the following table are to be accepted with reservation, for want of greater certainty:

2. Of measures of distance the smallest is the pace, and the largest the day’s journey. (a) The pace,

2Sa 6:13

whether it be a single, like our pace, or double, like the Latin passus, is defined by nature within certain limits, its usual length being about 30 inches for the former and 5 feet for the latter. There is some reason to suppose that even before the Roman measurement of the roads of Palestine, the Jews had a mile of 1000 paces, alluded to in

Mt 5:41

It is said to have been single or double, according to the length of the pace; and hence the peculiar force of our Lord’s saying: "Whosoever shall compel thee [as a courier] to go a mile, go with him twain" —put the most liberal construction on the demand. (b) The day’s journey was the most usual method of calculating distances in travelling,

Ge 30:36; 31:23; Ex 3:18; 5:3; Nu 10:33; 11:31; 33:8; De

1:2; 1Ki 19:4; 2Ki 3:9; Jon 3:3

1 Macc. 5:24; 7:45; Tobit 6:1, though but one instance of it occurs in the New Testament

Lu 2:44

The ordinary day’s journey among the Jews was 30 miles; but when they travelled in companies, only ten miles. Neapolis formed the first stage out of Jerusalem according to the former and Beeroth according to the latter computation, (a) The Sabbath day’s journey of 2000 cubits,

Ac 1:12

is peculiar to the New Testament, and arose from a rabbinical restriction. It was founded on a universal, application of the prohibition given by Moses for a special occasion: "Let no man go out of his place on the seventh day."

Ex 16:29

An exception was allowed for the purpose of worshipping at the tabernacle; and, as 2000 cubits was the prescribed space to be kept between the ark and the people as well as the extent of the suburbs of the Levitical cities on every side,

Nu 35:5

this was taken for the length of a Sabbath-day’s journey measured front the wall of the city in which the traveller lived. Computed from the value given above for the cubit, the Sabbath-day’s journey would be just six tenths of a mile. (d) After the captivity the relations of the Jews to the Persians, Greeks and Romans caused the use, probably, of the parasang, and certainly of the stadium and the mile. Though the first is not mentioned in the Bible, if is well to exhibit the ratios of the three. The universal Greek standard, the stadium of 600 Greek feet, which was the length of the race-course at Olympia, occurs first in the Maccabees, and is common in the New Testament. Our version renders it furlong; it being, in fact, the eighth part of the Roman mile, as the furlong is of ours. 2 Macc. 11:5; 12:9,17,29;

Lu 24:13; Joh 6:19; 11:18; Re 14:20; 21:18

One measure remains to be mentioned. The fathom, used in sounding by the Alexandrian mariners in a voyage, is the Greek orguia, i.e. the full stretch of the two arms from tip to tip of the middle finger, which is about equal to the height, and in a man of full stature is six feet. For estimating area, and especially land there is no evidence that the Jews used any special system of square measures but they were content to express by the cubit the length and breadth of the surface to be measured

Nu 35:4,5; Eze 40:27

or by the reed.

Eze 41:8; 42:16-19; Re 21:16

II. MEASURES OF CAPACITY.—

MEASURES - See 7886

1. The measures of capacity for liquids were: (a) The log,

Le 14:10

etc. The name originally signifying basin. (b) The hin, a name of Egyptian origin, frequently noticed in the Bible.

Ex 29:40; 30:24; Nu 15:4,7,8; Eze 4:11

etc. (c) The bath, the name meaning "measured," the largest of the liquid measures.

1Ki 7:26,38; 2Ch 2:10; Ezr 7:22; Isa 5:10

2. The dry measure contained the following denominations: (a) The cab, mentioned only in

2Ki 6:25

the name meaning literally hollow or concave. (b) The omer, mentioned only in

Ex 16:16-36

The word implies a heap, and secondarily a sheaf. (c) The seah, or "measure," this being the etymological meaning of the term and appropriately applied to it, inasmuch as it was the ordinary measure for household purposes.

Ge 18:6; 1Sa 25:18; 2Ki 7:1,16

The Greek equivalent occurs in

Mt 13:33; Lu 13:21

(d) The ephah, a word of Egyptian origin and frequent recurrence in the Bible.

Ex 16:36; Le 5:11; 6:20; Nu 5:15; 28:5; Jud 6:19; Ru

2:17; 1Sa 1:24; 17:17; Eze 45:11,13; 46:5,7,11,14

(e) The lethec, or "half homer" literally meaning what is poured out; it occurs only in

Ho 3:2

(f) The homer, meaning heap.

Le 27:16; Nu 11:32; Isa 5:10; Eze 45:13

It is elsewhere termed cor, from the circular vessel in which it was measured.

1Ki 4:22; 5:11; 2Ch 2:10; 27:5; Ezr 7:22; Eze 45:14

The Greek equivalent occurs in

Lu 16:7

The absolute values of the liquid and the dry measures are stated differently by Josephus and the rabbinists, and as we are unable to decide between them, we give a double estimate to the various denominations. In the new Testament we have notices of the following foreign measures: (a) The metretes,

Joh 2:6

Authorized Version "firkin," for liquids. (b) The choenix,

Re 6:6

Authorized Version "measure," for dry goods. (c) The xestec, applied, however, not to the peculiar measure so named by the Greeks, but to any small vessel, such as a cup.

Mr 7:4,8

Authorized Version "pot." (d) The modius, similarly applied to describe any vessel of moderate dimensions,

Mt 5:15; Mr 4:21; Lu 11:33

Authorized Version "bushel," though properly meaning a Roman measure, amounting to about a peck. The value of the Attic metretes was 8.6696 gallons, and consequently the amount of liquid in six stone jars, containing on the average 2 1/2 metretae each, would exceed 110 gallons.

Joh 2:6

Very possibly, however, the Greek term represents the Hebrew bath; and if the bath be taken at the lowest estimate assigned to it, the amount would be reduced to about 60 gallons. The choenix was 1-48th of an Attic medimnus, and contained nearly a quart. It represented the amount of corn for a day’s food; and hence a choenix for a penny (or denarius), which usually purchased a bushel (Cic. Verr. iii 81), indicated a great scarcity.

Re 6:6

Well.

Wells in Palestine are usually excavated from the solid limestone rock, sometimes with steps to descend into them.

Ge 24:16

The brims are furnished with a curb or low wall of stone, bearing marks of high antiquity in the furrows worn by the ropes used in drawing water. It was on a curb of this sort that our Lord sat when he conversed with the woman of Samaria,

Joh 4:6

and it was this, the usual stone cover, which the woman placed on the mouth of the well at Bahurim,

2Sa 17:19

where the Authorized Version weakens the sense by omitting the article. The usual methods for raising water are the following:

1. The rope and bucket, or waterskin.

Ge 24:14-20; Joh 4:11

2. The sakiyeh, or Persian wheel. This consists of a vertical wheel furnished with a set of buckets or earthen jars attached to a cord passing over the wheel. which descend empty and return full as the wheel revolves.

3. A modification of the last method, by which a man, sitting opposite to a wheel furnished with buckets, turns it by drawing with his hands one set of spokes prolonged beyond its circumference, and pushing another set from him with his feet.

4. A method very common in both ancient and modern Egypt is the shadoof, a simple contrivance consisting of a lever moving on a pivot, which is loaded at one end with a lump of clay or some other weight, and has at the other a bowl or bucket. Wells are usually furnished with troughs of wood or stone into which the water is emptied for the use of persons or animals coming to the wells. Unless machinery is used, which is commonly worked by men, women are usually the water-carriers.

Whale.

As to the signification of the Hebrew terms tan and tannin, variously rendered in the Authorized Version by "dragon," "whale," "serpent," "sea-monster" see DRAGON. It remains for us in this article to consider the transaction recorded in the book of Jonah, of that prophet having been swallowed up by some great fish" which in

DRAGON - See 6230

Mt 12:40

is called cetos (ketos), rendered in our version by "whale." In the first glace, it is necessary to observe that the Greek word cetos, used by St. Matthew is not restricted in its meaning to "a whale," or any Cetacean; like the Latin cete or cetus, it may denote any sea-monster, either "a whale," Or "a shark," or "a seal," or "a tunny of enormous size." Although two or three species of whale are found in the Mediterranean Sea, yet the "great fish" that swallowed the prophet cannot properly be identified with any Cetacean, for, although the sperm whale has a gullet sufficiently large to admit the body of a man, yet, it can hardly be the fish intended, as the natural food of Cetaceans consists of small animals,such as medusae and crustacea. The only fish, then, capable of swallowing a man would be a large specimen of the white shark (Carcharias vulgaris), that dreaded enemy of sailors, and the most voracious of the family of Squalidae. This shark, which sometimes attains the length of thirty feet, is quite able to swallow a man whole. The whole body of a man in armor has been found in the stomach of a white shark: and Captain King, in his survey of Australia, says he had caught one which could have swallowed a man with the greatest ease. Blumenbach mentions that a whole horse has’ been found in a shark, and Captain Basil Hall reports the taking of one in which, besides other things, he found the whole skin of a buffalo which a short time before had been thrown overboard from his ship (p. 27). The white shark is not uncommon in the Mediterranean.

Wheat,

the well-known valuable cereal, cultivated from the earliest times, is first mentioned in (

Ge 30:14

in the account of Jacob’s sojourn with Laban in Mesopotamia. Egypt in ancient times was celebrated for the growth of its wheat; the best quality was all bearded; and the same varieties existed in ancient as in modern times, among which may be mentioned the seven-eared quality described in Pharaoh’s dream.

Ge 41:22

Babylonia was also noted for the excellence of its wheat and other cereals. Syria and Palestine produced wheat of fine quality and in large quantities.

Ps 81:16; 147:14

etc. There appear to be two or three kinds of wheat at present grown in Palestine, the Triticum vulgare, the T. spelta, and another variety of bearded wheat which appears to be the same as the Egyptian kind, the T. compositum. In the parable of the sower our Lord alludes to grains of wheat which in good ground produce a hundred-fold.

Mt 13:8

The common Triticum vulgare will sometimes produce one hundred grains in the ear. Wheat is reaped to ward the end of April, in May, and in June, according to the differences of soil and position; it was sown either broadcast and then ploughed in or trampled in by cattle,

Isa 32:20

or in rows, if we rightly understand

Isa 28:25

which seems to imply that the seeds were planted apart in order to insure larger and fuller ears. The wheat was put into the ground in the winter, and some time after the barley; in the Egyptian plague of hail, consequently, the barley suffered, but the wheat had not appeared, and so escaped injury.

Widow.

Under the Mosaic dispensation no legal provision was made for the maintenance of widows. They were left dependent partly on the affection of relations, more especially of the eldest son, whose birthright, or extra share of the property, imposed such a duty upon him, and partly on the privileges accorded to other distressed classes, such as a participation in the triennial third tithe,

De 14:29; 26:12

in leasing,

De 24:19-21

and in religious feasts.

De 16:11,14

With regard to the remarriage of widows, the only restriction imposed by the Mosaic law had reference to the contingency of one being left childless in which case the brother of the deceased husband had a right to marry the widow.

De 25:5,6; Mt 22:23-30

In the apostolic Church the widows were sustained at the public expense, the relief being daily administered in kind, under the superintendence of officers appointed for this special purpose,

Ac 6:1-6

Particular directions are given by St.Paul as to the class of persons entitled to such public maintenance.

1Ti 5:3-16

Out of the body of such widows a certain number were to be enrolled, the qualifications for such enrollment being that they were not under sixty years of age; that they had been "the wife of one man," probably meaning but once married; and that they had led useful and charitable lives. vs.

1Ti 5:9,10

We are not disposed to identify the widows of the Bible either with the deaconesses or with the presbutides Of the early Church. The order of widows existed as a separate institution, contemporaneously with these offices, apparently for the same eleemosynary purpose for which it was originally instituted.

Wife.

[MARRIAGE]

MARRIAGE - See 7847

Wilderness of the Wandering,

(The region in which the Israelites spent nearly 38 years of their existence after they had left Egypt, and spent a year before Mount Sinai. They went as far as Kadesh, on the southernmost border of Palestine, from which place spies were sent up into the promised land. These returned with such a report of the inhabitants and their walled cities that the people were discouraged, and began to murmur and rebel. For their sin they were compelled to remain 38 years longer in the wilderness, because it showed that they were not yet prepared and trained to conquer and to hold their promised possessions. The wilderness of the wandering was the great central limestone plateau of the sinaitic peninsula. It was bordered on the east by the valley of the Arabah, which runs from the Dead Sea to the head of the eastern branch of the Red Sea. On the south and south west were the granite mountains of Sinai and on the north the Mediterranean Sea and the mountainous region south of Judea. It is called the Desert of Paran, and Badiet et-Tih, which means "Desert of the Wandering." The children of Israel were not probably marching as a nation from place to place in this wilder new during these 38 years, but they probably had a kind of headquarters at Kadesh, and were "compelled to linger on as do the Bedouin Arabs of the present day, in a half-savage, homeless state, moving about from place to place, and pitching their tents wherever they could find pasture for their flocks and herds." —E.H. Palmer. Toward the close of the forty years from Egypt they again assembled at Kadesh, and, once more under the leadership of the Shechinah, they marched down the Arabah on their way to the promised land. —ED.)

Willows

are mentioned in

Le 23:40; Job 40:22; Ps 137:2; Isa 44:4

With respect to the tree upon which the captive Israelites hung their harps, there can be no doubt that the weeping willow Salix babylonica, is intended. This tree grows abundantly on the banks of the Euphrates, in other parts of Asia as in Palestine. The Hebrew word translated willows is generic, and includes several species of the large family of Salices, which is well represented in Palestine and the Bible lands, such as the Salix alba, S. viminalis (osier), S. aegyptiaca.

Willows, The brook of the,

a wady mentioned by Isaiah,

Isa 15:7

in his dirge over Moab. It is situated on the southern boundary of Moab, and is now called Wady el-Aksa.

Wills.

Under a system of close inheritance like that of the Jews, the scope forbid bequest in respect of land was limited by the right of redemption and general re-entry in the jubilee year; but the law does not forbid bequests by will of such limited interest in land as was consistent with those rights. The case of houses in walled towns was different, and there can be no doubt that they must, in fact, have frequently been bequeathed by will,

Le 25:30

Two instances are recorded in the Old Testament under the law of the testamentary disposition, (1) effected in the case of Ahithophel,

2Sa 17:23

(2) recommended in the case of Hezekiah.

2Ki 20:1; Isa 38:1

[HEIR]

HEIR - See 6919

Wimple,

an old English word for hood or veil, used in the Authorized Version of

Isa 3:22

The same Hebrew word is translated "veil" in

Ru 3:15

but it signifies rather a kind of shawl of mantle.

Window.

The window of an Oriental house consists generally of an aperture closed in with lattice-work.

Jud 5:28; Pr 7:6

Authorized Version "casement;"

Ec 12:3

Authorized Version "window;"

So 2:9; Ho 13:3

Authorized Version "chimney." Glass has been introduced into Egypt in modern times as a protection against the cold of winter, but lattice-work is still the usual, and with the poor the only, contrivance for closing the window. The windows generally look into the inner court of the house, but in every house one or more look into the street. In Egypt these outer windows generally project over the doorway. [HOUSE]

HOUSE - See 7048

Winds.

That the Hebrews recognized the existence of four prevailing winds as issuing, broadly speaking, from the four cardinal points, north, south, east and west, may be inferred from their custom of using the expression "four winds" as equivalent to the "four quarters" of the hemisphere.

Eze 37:9 Da 8:8; Zec 2:6; Mt 24:31

The north wind, or, as it was usually called "the north," was naturally the coldest of the four, Ecclus. 43:20 and its presence is hence invoked as favorable to vegetation in

So 4:16

It is described in

Pr 25:23

as bringing rain; in this case we must understand the northwest wind. The northwest wind prevails from the autumnal equinox to the beginning of November, and the north wind from June to the equinox. The east wind crosses the sandy wastes of Arabia Deserts before reaching Palestine and was hence termed "the wind of the wilderness."

Job 1:19; Jer 13:14

It blows with violence, and is hence supposed to be used generally for any violent wind.

Job 27:21; 38:24; Ps 48:7; Isa 27:8; Eze 27:26

In Palestine the east wind prevails from February to June. The south wind, which traverses the Arabian peninsula before reaching Palestine, must necessarily be extremely hot.

Job 37:17; Lu 12:55

The west and southwest winds reach Palestine loaded with moisture gathered from the Mediterranean, and are hence expressly termed by the Arabs "the fathers of the rain." Westerly winds prevail in Palestine from November to February. In addition to the four regular winds, we have notice in the Bible of the local squalls,

Mr 4:37; Lu 8:23

to which the Sea of Gennesareth was liable. In the narrative of St. Paul’s voyage we meet with the Greek term Lips to describe the southwest wind; the Latin Carus or Caurus, the northwest wind

Ac 27:12

and Euroclydon, a wind of a very violent character coming from east-northeast.

Ac 27:14

Wine.

The manufacture of wine is carried back in the Bible to the age of Noah,

Ge 9:20,21

to whom the discovery of the process is apparently, though not explicitly, attributed. The natural history and culture of the vine are described under a separate head. [VINE] The only other plant whose fruit is noticed as having been converted into wine was the pomegranate.

VINE - See 9430

So 8:2

In Palestine the vintage takes place in September, and is celebrated with great rejoicing. The ripe fruit was gathered in baskets,

Jer 6:9

as represented in Egyptian paintings, and was carried to the wine-press. It was then placed in the upper one of the two vats or receptacles of which the winepress was formed, and was subjected to the process of "treading," which has prevailed in all ages in Oriental and south European countries.

Ne 13:15; Job 24:11; Isa 18:10; Jer 25:30; 48:33; Am

9:13; Re 19:15

A certain amount of juice exuded front the ripe fruit from its own pressure before treading commenced. This appears to have been kept separate from the rest of the juice, and to have formed the "sweet wine" noticed in

Ac 2:13

[See below] The "treading" was effected by one or more men, according to the size of the vat. They encouraged one another by shouts.

Isa 16:9,10; Jer 25:30; 48:33

Their legs and garments were dyed red with the juice.

Ge 40:11; Isa 63:2,3

The expressed juice escaped by an aperture into the lower vat, or was at once collected in vessels. A hand-press was occasionally used in Egypt, but we have no notice of such an instrument in the Bible. As to the subsequent treatment of the wine we have but little information. Sometimes it was preserved in its unfermented state and drunk as must, but more generally it was bottled off after fermentation and if it were designed to be kept for some time a certain amount of lees was added to give it body.

Isa 25:6

The wine consequently required to be "refined" or strained previous to being brought to table.

Isa 25:6

To wine, is attributed the "darkly-flashing eye,"

Ge 40:12

Authorized Version "red," the unbridled tongue,

Pr 20:1; Isa 28:7

the excitement of the spirit,

Pr 31:6; Isa 5:11; Zec 9:15; 10:7

the enchained affections of its votaries,

Ho 4:11

the perverted judgment,

Pr 31:5; Isa 28:7

the indecent exposure,

Hab 2:15,16

and the sickness resulting from the heat (chemah, Authorized Version "bottles") of wine.

Ho 7:5

The allusions to the effects of tirosh are confined to a single passage, but this a most decisive one, viz.

Ho 4:11

"Whoredom and wine (yayin) and new wine (tirosh) take away the heart," where tirosh appears as the climax of engrossing influences, in immediate connection with yayin. It has been disputed whether the Hebrew wine was fermented; but the impression produced on the mind by a general review of the above notices is that the Hebrew words indicating wine refer to fermented, intoxicating wine. The notices of fermentation are not very decisive. A certain amount of fermentation is implied in the distension of the leather bottles when new wine was placed in them, and which was liable to burst old bottles. It is very likely that new wine was preserved in the state of must by placing it in jars or bottles and then burying it in the earth. The mingling that we read of in conjunction with wine may have been designed either to increase or to diminish the strength of the wine, according as spices or water formed the ingredient that was added. The notices chiefly favor the former view; for mingled liquor was prepared for high festivals,

Pr 9:2,5

and occasions of excess.

Pr 23:30; Isa 5:22

At the same time strength was not the sole object sought; the wine "mingled with myrrh," given to Jesus, was designed to deaden pain,

Mr 15:23

and the spiced pomegranate wine prepared by the bride,

So 8:2

may well have been of a mild character. In the New Testament the character of the "sweet wine," noticed in

Ac 2:13

calls for some little remark. It could not be new wine in the proper sense of the term, inasmuch as about eight months must have elapsed between the vintage and the feast of Pentecost. The explanations of the ancient lexicographers rather lead us to infer that its luscious qualities were due, not to its being recently made, but to its being produced from the very purest juice of the grape. There can be little doubt that the wines of palestine varied in quality, and were named after the localities in which they were made. The only wines of which we have special notice belonged to Syria these were the wine of Helbon

Eze 27:18

and the wine of Lebanon, famed for its aroma.

Ho 14:7

With regard to the uses of wine in private life there is little to remark. It was produced on occasions of ordinary hospitality,

Ge 14:18

and at festivals, such as marriages.

Joh 2:3

Under the Mosaic law wine formed the usual drink offering that accompanied the daily sacrifice,

Ex 29:40

the presentation of the first-fruits,

Le 23:13

and other offerings.

Nu 15:5

Tithe was to be paid of wine, as of other products. The priest was also to receive first-fruits of wine, as of other articles.

De 18:4

comp.

Ex 22:29

The use of wine at the paschal feast was not enjoined by the law, but had become an established custom, at all events in the post-Babylonian period. The wine was mixed with warm water on these occasions. Hence in the early Christian Church it was usual to mix the sacramental wine with water. (The simple wines of antiquity were incomparably less deadly than the stupefying and ardent beverages of our western nations. The wines of antiquity were more like sirups; many of them were not intoxicant; many more intoxicant in a small degree; and all of them, as a rule, taken only when largely diluted with water. They contained, even undiluted, but 4 or 5 percent of alcohol.—Cannon Farrar.)

Wine-press.

From the scanty notices contained in the Bible we gather that, the wine-presses of the Jews consisted of two receptacles of vats placed at different elevations, in the upper one of which the grapes were trodden, while the lower one received the expressed juice. The two vats are mentioned together only in

Joe 3:13

"The press is full: the fats overflow" —the upper vat being full of fruit, the lower one overflowing with the must. [WINE] The two vats were usually hewn out of the solid rock.

WINE - See 9468

Isa 5:2

margin;

Mt 21:33

Ancient winepresses, so constructed, are still to he seen in Palestine.

Winnowing,

[AGRICULTURE]

AGRICULTURE - See 5148

Wisdom of Jesus, Son of Sirach.

[ECCLESIASTICUS]

ECCLESIASTICUS - See 6263

Wisdom, The, of Solomon,

a, book of the Apocrypha, may be divided into two parts, the first, chs. 1-9, containing the doctrine of wisdom in its moral and intellectual aspects: the second, the doctrine of wisdom as shown in history. chs. 10-19. The first part contains the praise of wisdom as the source of immortality, in contrast with the teaching of sensualists; and next the praise of wisdom as the guide of practical and intellectual life, the stay of princes, and the interpreter of the universe. The second part, again, follows the action of wisdom summarily, as preserving God’s servants, from Adam to Moses, and more particularly in the punishment of the Egyptians and Canaanites. Style and language. —The literary character of the book is most remarkable and interesting. In the richness and freedom of its vocabulary it most closely resembles the Fourth Book of Maccabees, but it is superior to that fine declamation in both power and variety of diction. The magnificent description of wisdom ch. 7:22-8:1, must rank among the noblest passages of human eloquence, and it would be perhaps impossible to point out any piece of equal length in the remains of classical antiquity more pregnant with noble thought or more rich in expressive phraseology. Doctrinal character. —The theological teaching of the book offers, in many respects, the nearest approach to the language and doctrines of Greek philosophy that is found in any Jewish writing up to the time of Philo. There is much in the views which it gives of the world of man and of the divine nature which springs rather from the combination or conflict of Hebrew and Greek thought than from the independent development of Hebrew thought alone. The conception is presented of the body as a mere weight and clog to the soul. ch, 9:15; contrast

2Co 5:1-4

There is, on the other hand no trace of the characteristic Christian doctrine of a resurrection of the body. The identification of the tempter,

Ge 3:1

... directly or indirectly with the devil, as the bringer "of death into the world" ch. 2:23, 24, is the most remarkable development of biblical doctrine which the book contains. Generally, too, it may be observed that, as in the cognate books, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, there are few traces of the recognition of the sinfulness even of the wise man in his wisdom, which forms in the Psalms and the prophets, the basis of the Christian doctrine of the atonement: yet comp.

Ge 15:2

In connection with the Old Testament Scriptures, the book, as a whole, may be regarded as carrying on one step farther the great problem of life contained in Ecclesiastes and Job. Date. —From internal evidence it seems most reasonable to believe that the work was composed in Greek at Alexandria some time before the time of Philo-about 120-80 B.C. It seems impossible to study this book dispassionately and not feel that it forms one of the last links in the chain of providential connection between the Old and New Covenants. It would not be easy to find elsewhere any pre-Christian view of religion equally wide, sustained and definite.

Wise men,

[MAGI]

MAGI - See 7780

Witch, Witchcrafts.

[DIVINATION; MAGIC]

DIVINATION - See 6210

MAGIC - See 7781

Witness.

Among people with whom writing is not common the evidence of a transaction is given by some tangible memorial or significant ceremony: Abraham gave seven ewe-lambs to Abimelech as an evidence of his property in the well of Beersheba. Jacob raised a heap of stones, "the heap of witness." as a boundary-mark between himself and Laban.

Ge 21:30; 31:47,52

The tribes of Reuben and Gad raised an "altar" as a witness to the covenant between themselves and the rest of the nation. Joshua set up a stone as an evidence of the allegiance promised by Israel to God.

Jos 22:10,26,34; 24:26,27

But written evidence was by no means unknown to the Jews. Divorce was to be proved by a written document.

De 24:1,3

In civil contracts, at least in later times documentary evidence was required and carefully preserved.

Isa 8:16; Jer 32:10-16

On the whole the law was very careful to provide and enforce evidence for all its infractions and all transactions bearing on them. Among special provisions with respect to evidence are the following:

1. Two witnesses at least are required to establish any charge.

Nu 35:30; De 17:6; Joh 8:17; 2Co 13:1

comp. 1Tim 5:19

2. In the case of the suspected wife, evidence besides the husband’s was desired.

Nu 5:13

3. The witness who withheld the truth was censured.

Le 5:1

4. False witness was punished with the penalty due to the offence which it sought to establish.

5. Slanderous reports and officious witness are discouraged.

Ex 20:16; 23:1; Le 18:16,18

etc.

6. The witnesses were the first executioners.

De 15:9; 17:7; Ac 7:58

7. In case of an animal left in charge and torn by wild beasts, the keeper was to bring the carcass in proof of the fact and disproof of his own criminality.

Ex 22:13

8. According to Josephus, women and slaves were not admitted to bear testimony. In the New Testament the original notion of a witness is exhibited in the special form of one who attests his belief in the gospel by personal suffering. Hence it is that the use of the ecclesiastical term ("martyr." the Greek word for "witness," has arisen.

Wizard.

[DIVINATION; MAGIC]

DIVINATION - See 6210

MAGIC - See 7781

Wolf.

There can be little doubt that the wolf of Palestine is the common Canis lupus, and that this is the animal so frequently mentioned in the Bible. (The wolf is a fierce animal of the same species as the dog, which it resembles. The common color is gray with a tinting of fawn, and the hair is long and black. The Syrian wolf is of lighter color than the wolf of Europe it is the dread of the shepherds of Palestine. —ED.) Wolves were doubtless far more common in biblical times than they are now, though they are occasionally seen by modern travellers. The following are the scriptural allusions to the wolf: Its ferocity is mentioned in

Ge 49:27, Eze 22:27

; Habb 1:8; Matt 7:15 its nocturnal habits, in

Jer 5:6; Zep 3:3

; Habb 1:8 its attacking sheep and lambs,

Mt 10:16; Lu 10:3; Joh 10:12

Isaiah

Isa 11:6; 65:25

foretells the peaceful reign of the Messiah under the metaphor of a wolf dwelling with a lamb: cruel persecutors are compared with wolves.

Mt 10:16; Ac 20:29

Women.

The position of women in the Hebrew commonwealth contrasts favorably with that which in the present day is assigned to them generally in eastern countries. The most salient point of contrast in the usages of ancient as compared with modern Oriental society was the large amount of liberty enjoyed by women. Instead of being immured in a harem, or appearing in public with the face covered. The wives and maidens of ancient times mingled freely and openly with the other sex in the duties and amenities of ordinary life. Rebekah travelled on a camel with her face unveiled until she came into the presence of her affianced.

Ge 24:64,65

Jacob saluted Rachel with a kiss in the presence of the shepherds.

Ge 29:11

Women played no inconsiderable part in public celebrations

Ex 15:20,21; Jud 11:34

The odes of Deborah, Judg 5, and of Hannah,

1Sa 2:1

etc., exhibit a degree of intellectual cultivation which is in itself a proof of the position of the sex in that period. Women also occasionally held public office, particularly that of prophetess or inspired teacher.

Ex 15:20; Jud 4:4; 2Ki 22:14; Ne 6:14; Lu 2:36

The management of household affairs devolved mainly on the women. The value of a virtuous and active housewife forms a frequent topic in the book of Proverbs. ch.

Pr 11:16; 12:4; 14:1; 31:10

etc. Her influence was of course proportionably great.

Wood.

[FOREST]

FOREST - See 6551

Wool

was an article of the highest value among the Jews, as the staple material for the manufacture of clothing.

Le 13:47; De 22:11; Job 31:20; Pr 31:13; Eze 34:3; Ho

2:5

The importance of wool is incidentally shown by the notice that Mesha’s tribute was paid in a certain number of rams "with the wool."

2Ki 3:1

The wool of Damascus was highly prized in the mart of Tyre.

Eze 27:18

Worm,

the representative in the Authorized Version of several Hebrew words. Sas, which occurs in

Isa 51:18

probably denotes some particular species of moth, whose larva is injurious to wool. Rimmah,

Ex 16:20

points evidently to various kinds of maggots and the larvae of insects which feed on putrefying animal matter, rather than to earthworms. Toleah is applied in

De 28:39

to some kinds of larvae destructive to the vines. In

Job 19:26; 21:26; 24:20

there is an allusion to worms (insect larvae) feeding on the dead bodies of the buried. There is the same allusion in

Isa 66:24

which words are applied by our Lord,

Mr 9:44,46,48

metaphorically to the torments of the guilty in the world of departed spirits. The valley of Hinnom near Jerusalem, where the filth of the city was cast, was alive with worms. The death of Herod Agrippa I, was caused by worms.

Ac 12:23

Wormwood.

Four kinds of wormwood are found in Palestine— Artemisia nilotica, A. Judaica, A. fructicosa and A. cinerea. The word occurs frequently in the Bible, and generally in a metaphorical sense. In

Jer 9:15; 23:15; La 3:15,19

wormwood is symbolical of bitter calamity and sorrow; unrighteous judges are said to "turn judgment to wormwood."

Am 5:7

The Orientals typified sorrows, cruelties and calamities of any kind by plants of a poisonous or bitter nature.

Worshipper,

a translation of the Greek word neocoros, used once only,

Ac 19:35

in the margin, "temple-keeper." The neocoros was originally an attendant in a temple probably intrusted with its charge. The term neocoros became thus applied to cities or communities which undertook the worship of particular emperors even during their lives. The first occurrence of the term in connection with Ephesus is on coins of the age of Nero, A.D. 54-68.

Wrestling.

[GAMES]

GAMES - See 6600

Writing.

There is no account in the Bible of the origin of writing. That the Egyptians in the time of Joseph were acquainted with writing of a certain kind there is evidence to prove, but there is nothing to show that up to this period the knowledge extended to the Hebrew family. At the same time there is no evidence against it. Writing is first distinctly mentioned in

Ex 17:14

and the connection clearly implies that it was not then employed for the first time but was so familiar as to be used for historic records. It is not absolutely necessary to infer from this that the art of writing was an accomplishment possessed by every Hebrew citizen. If we examine the instances in which writing is mentioned in connection with individuals, we shall find that in all cases the writers were men of superior position. In

Isa 29:11,12

there is clearly a distinction drawn between the man who was able to read and the man who was not, and it seems a natural inference that the accomplishments of reading and writing were not widely spread among the people, when we find that they are universally attributed to those of high rank or education-kings, priests, prophets and professional scribes. In the name Kirjathsepher (book-town),

Jos 15:15

there is an indication of a knowledge of writing among the Phoenicians. The Hebrews, then, a branch of the great Semitic family, being in possession of the art of writing, according to their own historical records, at a very early period, the further questions arise, what character they made use of, and whence they obtained it. Recent investigations have shown that the square Hebrew character is of comparatively modern date, and has been formed from a more ancient type by a gradual process of development. What then was this ancient type? Most probably the Phoenician. Pliny was of opinion that letters were of Assyrian origin. Dioderus Siculus (v. 74) says that the Syrians invented letters, and from them the Phoenicians, having learned them transferred them to the Greeks. According to Tacitus (Ann. xi. 14,, Egypt was believed to be the source whence the Phoenicians got their knowledge. Be this as it may, to the Phoenicians, the daring seamen and adventurous colonizers of the ancient world the voice of tradition has assigned the honor of the invention of letters. Whether it came to them from an Aramean or an Egyptian source can at best he but the subject of conjecture. It may, however, be reasonably inferred that the ancient Hebrews derived from or shared with the Phoenicians the knowledge of writing and the use of letters. The names of the Hebrew letters indicate that they must have been the invention of a Shemitic people, and that they were moreover a pastoral people may be inferred from the same evidence. But whether or not the Phoenicians were the inventors of the Shemitic alphabet, there can be no doubt of their just claim to being its chief disseminators; and with this understanding we may accept the genealogy of alphabets as given by Gesenius, and exhibited in the accompanying table. The old Semitic alphabets may he divided into two principal classes:

1. The Phoenician as it exists in the inscriptions in Cyprus, Malta, Carpentras, and the coins of Phoenicia and her colonies. From it are derived the Samaritan and the Greek character.

2. The Hebrew-Chaldee character; to which belong the Hebrew square character; the which has some traces of a cursive hand; the Estrangelo, or ancient Syriac; and the ancient Arabic or Cufic. It was probably about the first or second century after Christ that the square character assumed its present form; though in a question involved in so much uncertainty it is impossible to pronounce with great positiveness. The alphabet. —The oldest evidence on the subject of the Hebrew alphabet is derived from the alphabetical psalms and poems: Psal 25,34,37,111,112,119,145;

Pr 31:10-31; La 1:1-4

From these we ascertain that the number of the letters was twenty-two, as at present. The Arabic alphabet originally consisted of the same number. It has been argued by many that the alphabet of the Phoenicians at first consisted of only sixteen letters. The legend, as told by Pliny (vii. 56), is as follows; Cadmus brought with him into Greece sixteen letters; at the time of the Trojan war Palamedes added four others, theta, epsilon, phi, chi, and Simonides of Melos four more dzeta, eta, psi, omega. Divisions of words. —Hebrew was originally written, like most ancient languages, without any divisions between the words. The same is the case with the Phoenician inscriptions, The various readings in the LXX. show that, at the version was made, in the Hebrew MSS. which the translators used the words were written in a continuous series. The modern synagogue rolls and the MSS. of the Samaritan Pentateuch have no vowel-points, but the words are divided, and the Samaritan in this respect differs hut little from the Hebrew. Writing materials, etc. —The oldest documents which contain the writing of a Semitic race are probably the bricks of Nineveh and Babylon, on which are impressed the cuneiform Syrian inscriptions. There is, however, no evidence that they were ever used by the Hebrews. It is highly probable that the ancient as well as the most common material which the Hebrews used for writing was dressed skin in some form or other. We know that the dressing of skins was practiced by the Hebrews,

Ex 25:5; Le 13:48

and they may have acquired the knowledge of the art from the Egyptians, among whom if had attained great perfection, the leather-cutters constituting one of the principal subdivisions of the third caste. Perhaps the Hebrews may have borrowed among their either acquirements, the use of papyrus from the Egyptians, but of this we have no positive evidence. In the Bible the only allusions to the use of papyrus are in

2Jo 1:12

where chartes (Authorized Version "paper") occurs, which refers especially to papyrus paper, and 3 Macc. 4:20, where charteria is found in the same sense. Herodotus, after telling us that the Ionians learned the art of writing from the Phoenicians, adds that they called their books skins, because they made use of sheep-skins and goat-skins when short of paper. Parchment was used for the MSS. of the Pentateuch in the time of Josephus, and the membranae of

2Ti 4:13

were skins of parchment. It was one of the provisions in the Talmud that the law should be written on the skins of clean animals, tame or wild, or even of clean birds. The skins when written upon were formed into rolls (megilloth).

Ps 40:7

comp. Isai 34:4; Jere 36:14; Ezek 2:9; Zech 5:1 They were rolled upon one or two sticks and fastened with a thread, the ends of which were sealed.

Isa 29:11; Da 12:4; Re 5:1

etc. The rolls were generally written on one side only, except in

Eze 2:9; Re 5:1

They were divided into columns (Authorized Version "leaves,")

Jer 36:23

the upper margin was to be not less than three fingers broad, the lower not less than four; and a space of two fingers breadth was to be left between every two columns. But besides skins, which were used for the more permanent kinds of writing, tablets of wood covered with wax,

Lu 11:63

served for the ordinary purposes of life. Several of these were fastened together and formed volumes. They were written upon with a pointed style,

Job 19:24

sometimes of iron.

Ps 45:1; Jer 8:8; 17:1

For harder materials a graver,

Ex 32:4; Isa 8:1

was employed. For parchment or skins a reed was used.

3Jo 1:13

3 Macc. 5:20. The ink,

Jer 36:18

literally "black," like the Greek melan,

2Co 3:3; 2Jo 1:12; 3Jo 1:13

was of lampblack dissolved in gall-juice. It was carried in an inkstand which was suspended at the girdle,

Eze 9:2,3

as is done at the present day in the East. To professional scribes there are allusions in

Ezr 7:8; Ps 45:1

2 Esdr. 14:24.