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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Corner, Corner-Stone

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CORNER, CORNER-STONE . 1. The special sanctity which in the Hebrew mind attached to corners is to be regarded as an inheritance from certain primitive and widely-spread animistic conceptions. Several of these were taken up and, so to say, ‘regularized’ in the later legislation (cf. the remarks on Azazel under Atonement [Day of]). Examples will be found in the ideas associated with the corners of the altar ( Zechariah 9:15 ), usually termed the ‘horns’ (Altar, § 7 ), the unreaped corners of the field ( Leviticus 19:9; Agriculture, § 3 ), the corners of the beard and head-hair ( Leviticus 19:27 ) and of the upper garment or cloak (Fringes).

2. Another illustration is found in the importance attached among many peoples to the corner-stone in the foundation course of every important building, which was laid with religious rites, including, in early times, the burial beneath it of a human victim (see House, § 3). The corrected text of Isaiah 28:16 speaks of ‘a precious foundation corner-stone,’ which is neither Zion (as usually interpreted), nor the future Messiah, but a calm trust in J″ [Note: Jahweh.]; hence the prophet adds ‘he that trusts shall not be moved’ or ‘put to shame’ (LXX [Note: Septuagint.] , cf. 1 Peter 2:6 and Kittel, Bib. Heb .). Jeremiah 51:26 and Job 38:6 both associate the corner-stone with the foundations. Hence the figurative use of the word for the chief men of the State, as its ‘corners,’ i.e. supports and defences ( Judges 20:2 , 1 Samuel 14:38 [cf. marg.], Isaiah 19:13 RV [Note: Revised Version.] , Zechariah 10:4 ). On the other hand, the stone of Psalms 118:22 which became ‘the head of the corner’ (RV [Note: Revised Version.] ) the reference is to Zion is understood by many to be the corner-stone of the topmost course. (cf. the head stone of Zechariah 4:7 , which is different from the ‘foundation’ of Zechariah 4:9 ). In NT this passage and Isaiah 28:16 receive a Messianic application, Jesus Christ being both the foundation and the head of His Church ( Matthew 21:42 ||, Acts 4:11 , 1 Peter 2:6 f.).

A. R. S. Kennedy.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Corner, Corner-Stone'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/c/corner-corner-stone.html. 1909.

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