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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(עֶגְלָה, eglah', fem. of עֵגֶל, "calf;" פָּרָה, parah', fern. of פָּר, "bullock;" Sept. and N.T. δάμαλις; Vulg. vacca). The Hebrew language has no expression that exactly corresponds to our "heifer," for both eglah and parah are applied to cows that have calved (1 Samuel 6:7-12; Job 21:10; Isaiah 7:21); indeed, eylah means a young animal of any species, the full expression being עֶגְלִת בָּקָר, "heifer of kine" (Deuteronomy 21:3; 1 Samuel 16:2; Isaiah 7:21). The heifer or young cow was not commonly used for ploughing, but only for treading out the corn (Hosea 10:11; but see Judges 14:18), when it ran about without any headstall (Deuteronomy 25:4); hence the expression an "unbroken heifer" (Hosea 4:16; Auth. V. backsliding"), to which Israel is compared. A similar sense has been attached to the expression "calf of three years old," עֶגְלִת שְׁלַישַׁיָּה, i.e. unsubdued, in Isaiah 15:5; Jeremiah 48:34 : but it has by some been taken as a proper name, Eglath Shelishiyah, such names being not very uncommon. The sense of" dissolute" is conveyed undoubtedly in Amos 4:1. The comparison of Egypt to a "fair heifer" (Jeremiah 46:20) may be an allusion to the well- known form under which Apis was worshipped (to which we may also refer the words in Jeremiah 46:15, as understood in the Sept., "Why is the bullock [μόσχος ἐκλεκτός] swept away?"), the "destruction" threatened being the bite of the gad-fly, to which the word keretz would fitly apply. "To plough with another man's heifer" (Judges 14:18) implies that an advantage has been gained by unfair means. The proper names Eglah, Eneglaim, and Parah are derived from the Hebrew terms at the head of this article. (See RED HEIFER).

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

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Thursday, November 26th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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