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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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This word, beside its common acceptation, is taken in Scripture for grandfather, great-grandfather, or the founder of a family, how remote soever. So the Jews in our Saviour's time called Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, their fathers. Jesus Christ is called the Son of David, though David was many generations distant from him. By father is likewise understood the institutor of a certain profession. Jabal "was father of such as dwell in tents, and such as have cattle." Jubal "was father of all such as handle the harp and organ," or flute, &c, Genesis 4:20-21 . Huram is called father of the king of Tyre, 2 Chronicles 2:13; and, 2 Chronicles 4:16 , even of Solomon, because he was the principal workman, and chief director of their undertakings. The principal prophets were considered as fathers of the younger, who were their disciples, and are called sons of the prophets, 2 Kings 2:12 . Father is a term of respect given by inferiors to superiors. "My father," said Naaman's attendants to him, "if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing," 2 Kings 5:13; and so the king of Israel addresses the prophet Elisha, 2 Kings 6:21 . Rechab, the founder of the Rechabites, is called their father, Jeremiah 35:6 . A man is said to be a father to the poor and orphans, when he supplies their necessities, and sympathizes with their miseries, as a father would do toward them: "I was a father to the poor," says Job 29:16 . God declares himself to be the "Father of the fatherless, and Judge of the widow," Psalms 68:5 . God is frequently called our heavenly Father, and simply our Father; eminently the Father, Preserver, and Protector of all, especially of those who invoke him, and serve him: "Is he not thy Father that bought thee?" says Moses, Deuteronomy 32:6 . Since the coming of Jesus Christ, we have a new right to call God our Father, by reason of the adoption which our Saviour has merited for us, by clothing himself in our humanity, and purchasing us by his death: "Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God," Romans 8:15 . Job entitles God "the Father of rain," Job 38:28; he produces it, and causes it to fall. The devil is called the father of the wicked and the father of lies, John 8:44 . He deceived Eve and Adam; he introduced sin and falsehood; he inspires his followers with his spirit and sentiments. The father of Sichem, the father of Tekoah, the father of Bethlehem, &c, signify the chief persons who inhabited these cities; he who built or rebuilt them. Adam is the first father, the father of the living; Abraham is the father of the faithful, the father of the circumcision; called also the "father of many nations," because many people sprung from him; as the Jews, Ishmaelites, Arabs, &c. God is called "the Father of spirits," Hebrews 12:9 . He not only creates them, but he justifies, sanctifies, and glorifies them, and thus confers upon them eternal happiness.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Father'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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