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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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LIVER ( kâbçdh ). 1 . In the great majority of cases where the liver is mentioned, it is in connexion with the law of sacrifice as prescribed in P [Note: Priestly Narrative.] ( Exodus 29:13 ; Exodus 29:22 , Leviticus 3:4 ; Leviticus 3:10 ; Leviticus 3:16 etc.), and always in association with the caul ( yôthereth ). The LXX [Note: Septuagint.] , followed by Josephus ( Ant . III. ix. 2), takes yôthereth to be a lobe of the liver; but it is now agreed that it denotes the fatty mass at the opening of that organ. According to Semitic ideas, a peculiar holiness belonged to the liver and kidneys (wh. see), together with the fat attached to them; the reason being that they were regarded as the special seats not only of emotion but of life itself. Because of its sacredness the liver with its fat was not to be eaten, but was to be offered in sacrifice to J″ [Note: Jahweh.] . 2 . Proverbs 7:23 ‘till a dart strike through his liver,’ Lamentations 2:11 ‘my liver is poured upon the earth’ (cf. Job 16:13 ‘he poureth out my gall upon the ground’) are further illustrations of the physiological ideas referred to above. Either they are strong expressions for a deadly disease, or they denote sorrowful emotion of the most poignant kind. 3 . In Ezekiel 21:21 the king of Babylon, at the parting of the way, ‘looked in the liver’ as one of the three forms of divination he employed. 4 . In Tob 6:4-16 ; Tob 8:2 the liver of a fish is used for the purpose of exorcism. See, further, art. Magic Divination and Sorcery, p. 568 b .

J. C. Lambert.

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

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

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the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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