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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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1. Literal . (1) The choice portions of animals sacrificed to J″ [Note: Jahweh.] included the kidneys ( Exodus 29:13 ; Exodus 29:22 , Leviticus 3:4 ; Leviticus 3:10 ; Leviticus 3:15 ; Leviticus 4:9 ; Leviticus 7:4 ; Leviticus 8:16 ; Leviticus 8:25 ; Leviticus 9:10 ; Leviticus 9:19 ; cf. Isaiah 34:6 ). The term is even transferred (if the text is correct) to choice wheat ( Deuteronomy 32:14 ). (2) Limited to poetry is the use of this term in regard to human beings, and the rendering is always ‘reins’ (see below). They are ‘possessed’ (RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] ‘formed’) by J″ [Note: Jahweh.] ( Psalms 139:13 ), and are, metaphorically, wounded by J″ [Note: Jahweh.] ’s arrows ( Job 16:13 ; cf. Job 19:27 , Lamentations 3:13 ). (3) AVm [Note: Authorized Version margin.] of Leviticus 15:2 ; Leviticus 22:4 is incorrect; there is no mention of reins; and in Isaiah 11:5 the “word so rendered means ‘loins.’

2. Figurative . Here the EV [Note: English Version.] rendering is always ‘ reins ’ (Lat. renes , pl.; the Gr. equivalent being nephroi , whence ‘nephritis,’ etc.). The avoidance of the word ‘kidneys’ is desirable, because we do not regard them as the seat of emotion. But the Biblical writers did so regard them. It was as natural for them to say ‘This gladdens my reins’ as it is natural and incorrect for us to say ‘This gladdens my heart.’ And, in fact, in the passages now cited the terms ‘reins’ and ‘heart’ are often parallel: Psalms 7:9 ; Psalms 16:7 ; Psalms 26:2 ; Psalms 73:21 , Proverbs 23:16 , Jeremiah 11:20 ; Jeremiah 12:2 ; Jeremiah 17:10 ; Jeremiah 20:12 , Wis 1:6 , 1Ma 2:24 , Revelation 2:23 .

H. F. B. Compston.

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

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