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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible
ASHES . Ashes on the head formed one of the ordinary tokens of mourning for the dead (see Mourning Customs as of private ( 2 Samuel 13:19 ) and national humiliation ( Nehemiah 9:1 , 1Ma 3:47 ). The penitent and the afflicted might also sit ( Job 2:8 , Jonah 3:6 ) or even wallow in ashes ( Jeremiah 6:25 , Ezekiel 27:30 ). In 1 Kings 20:38; 1 Kings 20:41 we must, with RV [Note: Revised Version.] , read ‘Headband’ (wh. see) for ‘ashes.’
In a figurative sense the term ‘ashes’ is often used to signify evanescence, worthlessness, insignificance (Genesis 18:27 , Job 30:19 ). ‘Proverbs of ashes’ ( Proverbs 13:12 RV [Note: Revised Version.] ) is Job’s equivalent for the modern ‘rot.’ For the use of ashes in the priestly ritual see Red Heifer.
A. R. S. Kennedy.
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Hastings, James. Entry for 'Ashes'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/a/ashes.html. 1909.