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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Abrahams Bosom

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( κόλπος Ἀβραάμ ): There was no name which conveyed to the Jews the same associations as that of Abraham. As undoubtedly he was in the highest state of felicity of which departed spirits are capable, "to be with Abraham" implied the enjoyment of the same felicity; and "to be in Abraham's bosom" meant to be in repose and happiness with him (comp. Josephus, De Macc. § 13; 4 Maccabees 13:16). The latter phrase is obviously derived from the custom of sitting or reclining at table which prevailed among the Jews in and before the time of Christ. (See ACCUBATION). By this arrangement the head of one person was necessarily brought almost into the bosom of the one who sat above him, or at the top of the triclinium, and the guests were so arranged that the most favored were placed so as to bring them into that situation with respect to the host (comp. John 13:23; John 21:20). (See BOSOM). These Jewish images and modes of thought are amply illustrated by Lightfoot, Schottgen, and Wetstein, who illustrate Scripture from rabbinical sources. It was quite usual to describe a just person as being with Abraham, or lying on Abraham's bosom; and as such images were unobjectionable, Jesus accommodated his speech to them, to render himself the more intelligible by familiar notions, when, in the beautiful parable of the rich man and Lazarus, he describes the condition of the latter after death under these conditions (Luke 16:22-23). (See HADES).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Abrahams Bosom'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/a/abrahams-bosom.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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