the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
a collection of houses less regular and important than a town (q.v.) or city (q.v.). (See TOPOGRAPHICAL TERMS).
I. Original Terms. — The word "village" stands in the A.V. as the rendering of many Heb. and Gr. words, several of which represent quite other ideas.
1. The proper Heb. term for village is כָּפָר , kaphâ r (from כָּפִר, to cover; Sept. κώμη; Vulg. villa), which appears also in the forms כְּפַיר, kephir (Nehemiah 6:2, κώμη, viculus), and כֹּפֶר, kô pher (1 Samuel 6:18, κώμη, villa), and is represented by the Arabic kefr, still so much in use. In the Heb. the prefix caphar implied a regular village, as Capernaum, which place, however, had in later times outgrown the limits implied by its original designation (Lightfoot, infra; Stanley, Sin; and Pal. p. 521-527; 1 Maccabees 7:31). (See CAPHAR).
Another term, חָצֵר, chatser (from חָצִר, to hedge in; Sept. ἔπαυλις or κώμη; Vulg. villa, castellum, or oppidum), properly an enclosure, is used of farm buildings enclosing a court of the encampment of nomads (Genesis 28:16; Deuteronomy 2:25, etc.); and of hamlets near towns (Joshua 13:23; Joshua 13:28; Joshua 15:32 sq.; 1 Chronicles 4:33; Nehemiah 11:2; Nehemiah 11:5), especially the un-walled suburbs near walled towns (Leviticus 25:31; comp. Leviticus 25:34). They were in reality "pastoral settlements," or little enclosures formed partly for shelter, and partly as a kind of defense from the wandering Arabs. The enclosures, sometimes, were nothing better than tents, but pitched in the form of an encampment, as in the case still of the Jehalin Arabs, who arrange their tents in a sort of circle for the sake of better security and mutual protection (Wilson, Lands of the Bible, 2, 710; Robinson, Res. 2, 468). In some parts of Syria the term haush is applied to a few houses, which are constructed so as to join together, and thereby present a defense against the Arab robbers, the entrance into the haush being usually through a strong wooden gate, which is firmly secured every evening (Burckhardt, Syria, p. 212). Such, probably, of whatever material formed, were the villages spoken of in connection with some of the ancient towns of the Israelites; those, especially, which bordered on pasture or desert lands. The places to which, in the Old Test., the term chatser is applied were mostly in the outskirts of the country (Stanley, Sin. and Pal. p. 526).
Different from these were the בְּנוֹת הָעַיר , daughters of the city, which were small towns or villages lying near to a great city, dependent on it, and included under its jurisdiction. (See DAUGHTER).
The term חִוָּה, chavoth, from חָוָה, to breathe, to live, qu. place of living, though others prefer to derive it from the Arabic chawa, convolvit, in gyrum se flexit, whence chewaon, a tent, or a cluster of tents, an abode of nomads, also denotes a village. The term occurs only in the plural, and only in reference to certain villages or small towns bearing the name of Havoth- jair. These are mentioned in Numbers 32:42 Deuteronomy 3:14; Joshua 13:30; Judges 10:4; 1 Kings 4:13. (See HAVOTH-JAIR).
In the New Test. the term κώμη is applied to Bethphage. (Matthew 21:2), Bethany (Luke 10:38; John 11:1), Emmaus (Luke 24:13), Bethlehem (John 7:42). A distinction between city or town (πόλις ) and village (κώμη ) is pointed out in Luke 8:1. On the other hand, Bethsaida is called πόλις (Luke 9:10; John 1:45), and, also κώμη (Mark 8:23; Mark 8:26), unless by the latter word we are to understand the suburbs of the town, which meaning seems to belong to "country" (Mark 6:56). The relation of dependence on a chief town of a district appears to be denoted by the phrase "villages of Caesarea Philippi" (Mark 8:27). Bethsaida of Gaulonitis, to which Herod Philip II allowed the dignity of a city (Josephus, Ant. v. 2,1), is called πόλις; unless these two are one and the same place (Thomson, Land and Book).
2. Other terms are improperly thus rendered. Thus Habakkuk 3:14, the plur. of פָּרָז, paraz (from פָּרִז, to separate, hence to judge, like κρίνω ), is rendered "villages." It should be "captains," or "eminent men," men separated by their rank or prowess from the mass (Sept. δυ νάσται;Vulg. princeps, prafectus). In Judges 5:7; Judges 5:11, the cognate פַּרָזוֹן, perazon, properly rulers (Sept. δυνα τοί ), is rendered "villages;" and Ezekiel 38:11^ פְּרָזוֹת, peramoth, means "open country." The cognate noun פְּרָזַי, however, signifying a countryman, a rustic, with כֹפֶר prefixed, signifies a "country village" (φερεζαῖος, oppidum).
The word מַגְרָשׁ, migrâ sh (from גָּרִשׁ, to draw out; περισπόριον; suburbanum), transl. "village" in Leviticus 25:31, is more correctly rendered in Leviticus 25:34 "suburb."
II. Comparative Statements. — There is little in the Old Test. to enable us more precisely to define a village of Palestine, beyond the fact that it was destitute of walls or external defenses. Persian villages are spoken of in similar terms (Ezekiel 38:11; Esther 9:19). The rabbins make the distinction between a city (עיר ) and a village (כפר ) to lie in the former having, and the latter wanting, the number of learned men (ten) deemed requisite to entitle a place to a synagogue (Lightfoot, Chorograph. Matthew Praemiss. c. 98; and Hor. Heb. in Matthew 4:23). This is a distinction, however, so purely arbitrary and artificial that it is worthless for any practical purpose. Galilee, in our Lord's time, contained many villages and village-towns; and Josephus says that in his time there were in Galilee two hundred and four towns and villages (πόλεις καὶ κώμαι ), some of which last had walls (Josephus, Life, § 45). At present the country is almost depopulated (Raumer, Palest. p. 105; Stanley. Sin. and Pal. p. 384). Most modern Turkish and Persian villages have a menil or medhâ fa, a house for travelers (Burckhardt, Syria, p. 295;. Robinson, 2, 19; Martyn, Life, p. 437). Arab villages, as found in Arabia, are often mere collections of stone huts "long, low, rude hovels, roofed only with the stalks of palm- leaves," or covered for a time with tent-cloths, which are removed when the tribe change their quarters. Others are more solidly built, as are most of the modern villages of Palestine, though in some the dwellings are mere mud-huts (Robinson, Res. 1, 167; 2, 13,14, 44, 387 Hasselquist, Trav. p. 155; Stanley, Sin. and Pal. p. 233; App. § 83, p. 525). Arab villages of the Hejaz and Yemen often consist of huts with circular roofs of leaves or grass, resembling the description given by Sallust of the Numidian mapalia, viz. ships with the keel uppermost (Sallust, Jug. 18; Shaw, Trav. p. 220; Niebuhr, Descr. de l'Arab. p. 54).
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Village'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​tce/​v/village.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.