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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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GENTLENESS . The word ‘gentle’ occurs five times in NT (AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ). In 1 Thessalonians 2:7 and 2 Timothy 2:24 it corresponds to Gr. çpios ; it is the character proper to a nurse among trying children, or a teacher with refractory pupils. In Titus 3:2 , James 3:17 , 1 Peter 2:18 ‘gentle’ is the AV [Note: Authorized Version.] tr. [Note: translate or translation.] of epieikçs , which is uniformly so rendered in RV [Note: Revised Version.] . The general idea of the Gr. word is that which is suggested by equity as opposed to strict legal justice; it expresses the quality of considerateness, of readiness to look humanely and reasonably at the facts of a case. There is a good discussion of it in Trench, Syn . § xliii.; he thinks there are no words in English which answer exactly to it, the ideas of equity and fairness, which are essential to its import, usually getting less than justice in the proposed equivalents.

In 2 Samuel 22:36 = Psalms 18:35 (‘Thy gentleness hath made me great’) RV [Note: Revised Version.] keeps ‘gentleness’ in the text, but gives ‘condescension’ in the margin, which is much better. The key to the meaning is found in comparing such passages as Psalms 113:5 f., Isaiah 57:15 , Zechariah 9:9 , Matthew 11:29 .

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Gentleness'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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