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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Heb me'theg ha-anmmah', הָאִמָּה מֶתֶג, bridle [as in 2 Kings 19:28, etc.] of the mother [i.e. mother-city = אֵם, in 2 Samuel 20:19]; Sept. ἀρωρισμένη,Vulg. frenum tributi), a figurative term for a chief city, occurring in the statement (2 Samuel 8:1), " David took the bit of the metropolis (Auth. Vers. Metheg-Ammah') out of the hand of the Philistines," i.e. he subdued their capital or strongest town, meaning GATH, as is expressly affirmed in the parallel passage (1 Chronicles 18:1). Other interpretations may be seen in Glassii Philol. Sacr. ed. Dathe, p. 783. Gesenius (Thes. Hebrews p. 113) compares the Arabic proverb, "I give thee not my bridle," i.e. I do not submit to thee (see Schultens ad Job 20:11; and Hariri Cons. iv; Hist. Tamerl. p. 243; Vit. Tim. 1:50). On the other hand, Ewald (Gesch. 3:190) less naturally takes Ammah as meaning the "forearm," and treats the words as a metaphor to express the perfect manner in which David had smitten and humbled his foes, had torn the bridle from their arm, and thus broken forever the dominion with which they curbed Israel, as a rider manages his horse by the rein held fast on his arm. He objects to the other interpretation that Gath had its own king still in the days of Solomon; but it may be replied that the king in Solomon's time. may have been, and probably was, tributary to Israel, as the kings on this side the Euphrates" (1 Kings 4:24) were. It is an obvious objection to Ewald's interpretation, that to control his horse a rider must hold the bridle, not on his arm, but fast in his hand.

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

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