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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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דשא , Genesis 1:11 , the well known vegetable upon which flocks and herds feed, and which decks our fields, and refreshes our sight with its grateful verdure. Its feeble frame and transitory duration are mentioned in Scripture as emblematic of the frail condition and fleeting existence of man. The inspired poets draw this picture with such inimitable beauty as the laboured elegies on mortality of ancient and modern times have never surpassed. See Psalms 90:6 , and particularly Isaiah 40:6-8 : "The voice said, Cry! And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth, because the Spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it, Verily this people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand for ever." As, in their decay, the herbs of the fields strikingly illustrate the shortness of human life, so, in the order of their growth, from seeds dead and buried, they give a natural testimony to the doctrine of a resurrection. The Prophet Isaiah, and the Apostle Peter, both speak of bodies rising from the dead, as of so many seeds springing from the ground to renovated existence and beauty, although they do not, as some have absurdly supposed, consider the resurrection as in any sense analogous to the process of vegetation, Isaiah 26:19 ; 1 Peter 1:24-25 .

It is a just remark of Grotius, that the Hebrews ranked the whole vegetable system under two classes, עצ , and עשב . The first is rendered ξυλον , or δενδρον , tree: to express the second, the LXX have adopted χορτος , as their common way to translate one Hebrew word by one Greek word, though not quite proper, rather than by a circumlocution. It is accordingly used in their version of Genesis 1:11 , where the distinction first occurs, and in most other places. Nor is it with greater propriety rendered grass in English than χορτος in Greek. The same division occurs in Matthew 6:30 , and Revelation 8:7 , where our translators have in like manner had recourse to the term grass. Dr. Campbell prefers and uses the word herbage, as coming nearer the meaning of the sacred writer. Under the name herb is comprehended every sort of plant which has not, like trees and shrubs, a perennial stalk. That many, if not all, sorts of shrubs were included by the Hebrews under the denomination, tree, is evident from Jotham's apologue of the trees choosing a king, Judges 9:7 , where the bramble is mentioned as one. See HAY .

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Grass'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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Wednesday, November 20th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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