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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(prop. עֵגֶל , e'gel, μόσχος ; fem. עֶגְלָה, eglah', δάμαλις ; sometimes פִּו or פָּו par, a steer or young bullock; also periphrastically בֶּן בָּקָר, son of the herd), the young of the ox species. (See BEEVE); (See BULL,) etc. There is frequent mention in Scripture of calves, because they were made use of commonly in sacrifices. The "fatted calf" was regarded by the Hebrews as the choicest animal food. It was stall-fed, frequently with special reference to a particular festival or extraordinary sacrifice (1 Samuel 28:24; Amos 6:4; Luke 15:23). The allusion in Jeremiah 34:18-19, is to an ancient custom of ratifying a contract or covenant, in the observance of which an animal was slain and divided, and the parties passed between the parts (comp. Homer, II. in, 20'), signifying their willingness to be so divided themselves if they failed to perform their covenant (Genesis 15:9-10; Genesis 15:17-18). The expression "calves of our lips," in Hosea 14:2, is figurative, signifying the fruits of our lips (Wolf, Juvenci labiorum, Viteb. 1711). As calves were used in sacrifices, the injunction requires us to render the sacrifice of prayer and praise to God, instead of the animal sacrifice (Hebrews 13:15). (See HEIFER).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Calf'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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Caletti, Giuseppe
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