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Bible Dictionaries

People's Dictionary of the Bible


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Dog. This well-known animal is frequently mentioned in the Bible. But, though it was employed to watch the flocks, Job 30:1, and to guard the house, Isaiah 56:10, it was by no means regarded as we regard it, the companion and friend of man, but was an unclean animal under Jewish law and regarded with contempt. Exodus 22:31; Deuteronomy 23:18; 1 Samuel 17:43; 1 Samuel 24:14. Dogs were scavengers, half wild, prowling about the fields and the towns, devouring offal and dead bodies, and disturbing the night with their howlings. This is the case now in the east; troops of dogs abounding, recognized in a degree by food and water being occasionally given them, and, according to the instincts of their nature, guarding the place where they congregate, but deemed impure and unclean, just as among the ancient Hebrews. Hence we can understand the comparison of savage and cruel men to dogs, Psalms 22:16; Philippians 3:2, and the contempt and dislike attached to the name of a dog. 1 Samuel 24:14; 2 Samuel 3:8; 2 Samuel 9:8. Solomon contrasts a living dog with a dead lion, Ecclesiastes 9:4, and Abner exclaims: "Am I a dog's head?" 2 Samuel 8:8, implying that a dog is the meanest thing alive. The same contempt is implied in the charge: "He that sacrifices a lamb,... as if he cut off a dog's neck." Isaiah 66:3. In the New Testament it is used to designate vile persons who are shut out of heaven, Revelation 22:15, and foolish persons devoted to their folly. 2 Peter 2:22. To the present day the word is applied by Jews to Gentiles, and by Mohammedans to Christians, as a term of reproach.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Dog'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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