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Bible Dictionaries

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary


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The same Hebrew word means both eye and fountain. Besides its common use, to denote the organ of sight, it is often used figuratively in the Bible. Most of these passages, however, require no explanation. The custom of sealing up the eyes of criminals, still practiced in the East, is thought to be alluded to in Isaiah 6:10 44:18 . The expression, "As the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters," Psalm 123:2 , is elucidated by a knowledge of the fact that many eastern servants are taught to stand always upon the watch, and are in general directed by a nod, a wink, or some slight motion of the fingers imperceptible to strangers. Many Scripture phrases intimate the soul-like nature of the eye, quickly and truly expressing the thoughts of the heart: such as "the bountiful eye" and the "evil eye," Proverbs 22:9 23:6; "haughty eyes" and "wanton eyes," Proverbs 6:17 Isaiah 3:16 . "The lust of the eyes," 1 John 2:16 , expresses a craving for any of the gay vanities of this life. The threatening against "the eye that mocketh at his father," Proverbs 30:17 , is explained by the habit of birds of prey, which attack the eyes of a living enemy, and quickly devour those of the dead. A "single" eye, Matthew 6:22 , is one which is clear, and sees every object as it is.

There are allusions in the Bible, and in many ancient and modern writers, to the practice of painting the eyelids, to make the eyes appear large, lustrous, and languishing. Jezebel, 2 Kings 9:30 , is said to have "painted her face," literally, "put her eyes in paint." This was sometimes done to excess, Jeremiah 4:30; and was practiced by abandoned women, Proverbs 6:25 . A small probe of wood, ivory, or silver, is wet with rose water, and dipped in an impalpable powder; this is then drawn between the lids of the eye nearly closed, and leaves a narrow black border which is thought a great ornament. The powder for this purpose, called kohol, is made by burning a kind of aromatic resin, and sometimes of lead ore and other substances, for the benefit of the eyes. In Persia this custom is as common among the men as among the women; so also in ancient Egypt, as the Theban monuments show. "The females of Arabia," Niebuhr says, "color their nails blood-red, and their hands and feet yellow, with the herb Al-henna. (See CAMPHIRE .) They also tinge the inside of their eyelids coal-black with kochel, a coloring material prepared from lead ore. They not only enlarge their eyebrows, but also paint other figures of black, as ornaments, upon the face and hands. Sometimes they even prick through the skin, in various figures, and then lay certain substances upon the wounds, which eat in so deeply, that the ornaments thus impressed are rendered permanent for life. All this the Arabian women esteem as beauty."

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of the topics are from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary published in 1859.

Bibliography Information
Rand, W. W. Entry for 'Eye'. American Tract Society Bible Dictionary. 1859.

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