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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature

Tongue

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Tongue is used,

literally, for the human tongue. 'Everyone that lappeth the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth' (). Various explanations have been offered, why Gideon's three hundred followers should have been selected because they lapped water out of their hands, standing or perhaps moving onward, while they who stayed and 'bowed down to drink' were rejected. Josephus says, that the former thereby showed their timorousness and fear of being overtaken by the enemy, and that these poor-spirited men were chosen on purpose to illustrate the power of God in the victory (Antiq. v. 6. 3).

It is personified. 'Unto me every tongue shall swear,' that is, every man (; comp. ; , ).

It is used by metonymy for speech generally. 'Let us not love in tongue only' ().

For a particular language or dialect, spoken by any particular people. 'Everyone after his tongue' (; ; ).

For the people speaking a language (; ; , etc.; ).

It is used figuratively for anything resembling a tongue in shape. Thus, 'a wedge of gold,' literally a 'tongue' (; ).

The miraculous gift of tongues, as well as its corresponding gift of interpretation, has been the subject of two opinions. It was promised by Christ to believers (); and fulfilled at Pentecost (; ). In ; , we have 'to pray in a tongue' (), 'to speak words in a tongue' (). The obvious explanation of most of these passages is, to speak in other living languages, the supernatural acquisition of which demonstrated the truth of the Gospel, and was a means of diffusing it. Some verses however in 1 Corinthians 14 have given rise to the notion of a strange, ecstatic, inspired, unearthly language; but these all admit of a different solution. In , 'he who speaketh in a tongue' evidently means, he who speaks some foreign living language; the supplied word 'unknown' in the Auth. Vers. is needless, and misleads the English reader. It is further said that 'he edifieth himself' (which, as Macknight justly pleads, required that he should understand himself), and edifieth the church also if an interpreter were present (). The key to the difficulties of this subject is the supposed absence of an inspired interpreter (), in which case the gift would not be profitable to the hearers. The gift of tongues was to cease ().

 

 

 

 


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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Tongue'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature". https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/kbe/t/tongue.html.


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Tuesday, October 17th, 2017
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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