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Holman Bible Dictionary


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The physical organ of hearing. In the Old Testament the ears are involved in several rites. The right ear of priests were consecrated with blood (Exodus 29:20 ; Leviticus 8:24 ). The right ears of lepers were also sprinkled with blood and oil as part of their cleansing (Leviticus 14:14 ,Leviticus 14:14,14:17 ). If a slave volunteered to serve a master for life, the slave's ear was pierced with an awl into the master's doorpost (Exodus 21:6 ; Deuteronomy 15:17 ).

The ears appear in a variety of expressions in both Testaments. To speak to someone's ears was to speak to them or speak in their hearing (Genesis 44:18 ; Genesis 50:4 ). To incline the ear was to listen (2 Kings 19:16 ) or even to obey (Jeremiah 11:8 ). To give ear was to pay careful attention (Job 32:11 ). To turn the ears toward wisdom (Proverbs 2:2 ) was to desire understanding. Dull, heavy, closed, or uncircumcised ears expressed inattentiveness and disobedience (Isaiah 6:10 ; Jeremiah 6:10 ; Acts 7:51 ). To stop the ears was to refuse to listen (Acts 7:57 ). Open ears were obedient, hearing ears. Open ears are a gift of God (Psalm 40:6 ) who sometimes uses adversity to open deaf ears (Job 36:15 ). To awake the ears was to make someone teachable (Isaiah 50:4 ). To uncover or open the ear was to reveal something (Isaiah 50:5 ). To let words sink into ones ears was to thoroughly understand (Luke 9:44 ). Sometimes the functions of the mind were attributed to the ear. Thus the ear exercised judgment (Job 12:11 ) and understanding (Job 13:1 ).

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Ear'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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