American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - O



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OAK

As many as six varieties of the oak are found in Palestine. Dr.
Robinson speaks of one at Hebron which had a trunk twenty-two and a
half feet in circumference; and saw the crests and sides of the hills
beyond the Jordan still clothed, as in ancient times, with magnificent
oaks, Isa 2:13 Zec 11:2. The oak is often referred to in Scripture, Ge
35:8 Isa 44:14 Am 2:9. There is, however, a second Hebrew word often
translated "oak," which is supposed to denote the terebinth or
turpentine-tree, called butm by the Arabs, Ge 35:4 Jud 6:11,19 2Sa
18:9,14. It is translated "elm" in Hosea 4.13, and "teil-tree" in Isa
6:13, in which passages the true oak is also mentioned. In many
passages where "plain" or "plains" occurs, we should probably
understand "terebinth" or "a grove of terebinths," Ge 12:6 13:18 14:13
18:1 De 11:30 Jud 9:6.


This tree was found in all countries around the Mediterranean, and in
Palestine grew to a large size. It was very long-lived. For many ages
after Christ, a tree of this kind near Heron was superstitiously
venerated as one of those under which Abraham dwelt at Mamre. Under
the welcome shade of oaks and other large trees many public affairs
were transacted; sacrifices were offered, courts were held, and kings
were crowned, Jos 24:26 Jud 6:11,19 9:6. See GROVE.


OATH

A solemn affirmation accompanied by an appeal to the Supreme Being.
God has prohibited all false oaths, and all useless and customary
swearing in ordinary discourse; but when the necessity or importance
of a matter requires an oath, he allows men to swear by his name, Ex
22:11 Le 5:1. To swear by a false god was an act of idolatry, Jer 5:7
12:16.


Among the Hebrews an oath was administered by the judge, who stood up,
and adjured the party who was to be sworn. In this manner our Lord was
adjured by Caiaphas, Mt 26:63. Jesus had remained silent under long
examination, when the high priest, rising up, knowing he had a sure
mode of obtaining an answer said, "I adjure thee by the living God,
that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ." To this oath, thus
solemnly administered, Jesus replied that he was indeed the Messiah.


An oath is a solemn appeal to God, as to an all-seeing witness that
what we say is true, and an almighty avenger if what we say be false,
Heb 6:16. Its force depends upon our conviction of the infinite
justice of God; that he will not hold those guiltless who take his
name in vain; and that the loss of his favor immeasurable outweighs
all that could be gained by false witness. It is an act of religious
worship; on which account God requires it to be taken in his name, De
10:20, and points out the manner in which it ought to be administered,
and the duty of the person who swears, Ex 22:11 De 6:18 Ps 15:4 24:4.
Hence atheists, who profess to believe that there is no God, and
persons who do not believe in a future state of reward and punishment,
cannot consistently take an oath. In their mouths an oath can be only
profane mockery.


God himself is represented as confirming his promise by oath, and thus
conforming to what is practiced among men, Heb 6:13,16-17. The oaths
forbidden in Mt 5:34-35 Jas 5:12, must refer to the unthinking, hasty,
and vicious practices of the Jews; otherwise Paul would have acted
against the command of Christ, Ro 1:9 Ga 1:20 2Co 1:23. That person is
obliged to take an oath whose duty requires him to declare the truth
in the most solemn and judicial manner; though undoubtedly oaths are
too often administered unnecessarily and irreverently, and taken with
but slight consciousness of the responsibility thus assumed. As we are
bound to manifest every possible degree of reverence towards God, the
greatest care is to be taken that we swear neither rashly nor
negligently in making promises. To neglect performance is perjury,
unless the promise be contrary to the law of nature and of God; in
which case no oath is binding. See CORBAN, and VOWS.


A customary formula of taking an oath was "The Lord do so to me, and
more also;" that is, the lord slay me, as the victim sacrificed on
many such occasions was slain, and punish me even more than this, if I
speak not the truth, Ru 1:17 1Sa 3:17. Similar phrases are these: "As
the Lord liveth," Jud 8:19 "Before God I lie not," Ro 9:1; "I say the
truth in Christ," 1Ti 2:7; "God is my record," Php 1.8. Several acts
are alluded to as accompaniments of an oath; as putting the hand under
the thigh, Ge 24:2 47:29; and raising the hand towards heaven, Ge
14:22,23 De 32:40 Re 10:5.


OBADIAH

1. The chief officer of king Ahab's household, who preserved the lives
of one hundred prophets from the persecuting Jezebel, by concealing
them in two caves and furnishing them with food, 1Ki 18:4.


2. The fourth of the minor prophets, supposed to have prophesied about
587 B. C. It cannot indeed be decided with certainty when he lived,
but it is probable that he was contemporary with Jeremiah and Ezekiel,
who denounced the same dreadful judgments on the Edomites, as the
punishment of their pride, violence, and cruel insulting over the Jews
after the destruction of their city. The prophecy, according to usher,
was fulfilled about five years after the destruction of Jerusalem.


3. Eight or ten others of this name are mentioned in 1Ch 3:21 7:3 8:38
9:16,44 12:9 27:19 2Ch 17:7 34:12 Ezr 8:9 Ne 10:5.


OBEDEDOM

A Levite, whose special prosperity while keeper of the ark after the
dreadful death of Uzziah encouraged David to carry it up to Jerusalem.
Obed-edom and his sons were made doorkeepers of the tabernacle at
Jerusalem, 2Sa 6:10-12; 1Ch 15:18-24; 16:38; 26:4- 8,15.


OBED

Son of Boaz and Ruth, and grandfather of David, Ru 4:17. See also the
genealogies of Christ, Mt 1:5 Lu 3:32.


ODED

A prophet of the Lord, who, being at Samaria when the Israelites under
king Pekah returned from the war against Judah and brought 200,000
captives, went to meet them, and remonstrated with them; so that the
principal men in Samaria took care of the prisoners, gave them
clothes, food, and other assistance, and carried the feeble on asses.
Thus they conducted them to Jericho, 2Ch 28:9, etc.


OFFENCE

This word answers to two different terms in the original, the one
signifying a breach of the law, Ro 5:15,17, the other a
stumbling-block or cause of sin to others, Mt 5:29; 18:6-9; or
whatever is perverted into an occasion or excuse for sin, Mt 15:12;
Joh 6:61; Ro 9:33; Ga 5:11.


OFFERING

In the Hebrew, an offering, minchah, is distinguished from a
sacrifice, zebah, as being bloodless. In our version, however, the
word offering is often used for a sacrifice, as in the case of peace
offerings, sin offerings, etc. Of the proper offerings, that is, the
unbloody offerings, some accompanied the sacrifices, as flour, wine,
salt; others were not connected with any sacrifices. Like the
sacrifices, some, as the first fruits and tenths, were obligatory;
other were voluntary offerings of devotion. Various sorts of offerings
are enumerated in the books of Moses. Among these are,


1. Fine flour, or meal;


2. Cakes baked in an oven;


3. Cakes baked on a plate or shallow pan;


4. Cakes cooked in deep vessel by frying in oil, (English version,
"frying pan," though some understand here a gridiron or a plate with
holes;)


5. First fruits of the new corn, either in the simple state or
prepared by parching or roasting in the ear, or out of the ear. The
cakes were kneaded with olive oil, or fried in a pan, or only dipped
in oil after they were baked. The bread offered for the altar was
without leaven; for leaven was never offered on the altar, nor with
the sacrifices, Le 2:11-12. But they might make presents of common
bread to the priests and ministers of the temple. Honey was never
offered with the sacrifices, but it might be presented alone, as first
fruits, Le 2:11-12. Those who offered living victims were not excused
from giving meal, wine, and salt, together with the greater
sacrifices. Those who offered only oblations of bread or of meal
offered also oil, incense, salt, and wine, which were in a manner
their seasoning. The priest in waiting received the offerings from the
hand of him who brought them, laid a part on the altar, and reserved
the rest for his own subsistence as a minister of the Lord. Nothing
was wholly burned up but the incense, of which the priest retained
none. See Le 2:2,13 Nu 15:4-5.


In some cases the law required only offerings of corn or bread, as
when they offered the first fruits of harvest, whether offered
solemnly by the nation, or as the devotion of private persons. The
unbloody offerings signified, in general, not so much expiation, which
was the peculiar meaning of the sacrifices, as the consecration of the
offerer, and all that he had to Jehovah. Only in the case of the poor
man, who could not afford the expense of sacrificing an animal, was an
unbloody offering accepted in its stead, Le 5:11. See SACRIFICES.


OG

An Amoritish king of Bashan east of the Jordan, defeated and slain by
the Israelites under Moses. He was a giant in stature, on e of the
last of the Rephaim who had possessed that region; and his iron
bedstead, fourteen feet long, was preserved after his death as a
relic. Ashtaroth-carnaim and Edrei were his chief cities; but there
were many other walled towns, and the land was rich in flocks and
herds. It was assigned by Moses to the half-tribe of Manasseh, Nu
21:33 32:33 De 1:4 3:1-13 4:47 31:4 Jos 2:10 12:4 13:30.


OIL

Was employed from the earliest periods in the east, not only for the
purpose of consecration, but to anoint the head, the beard, and the
whole person in daily life, Ge 28:18. See ANOINTING. It was also
universally used for food, Eze 16:13. Fresh and sweet olive oil was
greatly preferred to butter and animal fat as a seasoning for food,
and to this day in Syria almost every kind of food is cooked with oil.
It had a place also among the meat-offerings in the temple, being
usually mixed with the meal of the oblation, Le 5:11 6:21. For lamps,
also, pure olive oil was regarded as the best, and was used in
illuminating the tabernacle. These many uses for oil made the culture
of the olive-tree an extensive and lucrative business, 1Ch 27:28 Eze
27:17 Ho 12:1. Oil was as much an article of storage and of traffic as
corn and wine, 2Ch 32:28 Ezr 3:7.


The best oil was obtained from the fruit while yet green by a slight
beating or pressing, Ex 27:20 29:40. The ripe fruit is now, and has
been from ancient times, crushed by passing stone rollers over it. The
crushed mass is then subjected to pressure in the oil-mill, Hebrew,
gath-shemen. The olive-berries are not now trodden with the feet.
This, however seems to have been practiced among the Hebrews, at least
to some extent when the berries had become soft by keeping, Mic 6:15.
Gethsemane, that is, oil-press, probably took its name originally from
some oil-press in its vicinity. See OLIVE.


OINTMENTS

Were much used by the ancient Hebrews, not chiefly for medical
purposes as among us, but as a luxury, Ru 3:3 Ps 104:15 So 1:2 Mt 6:17
Lu 7:46. Their perfumery was usually prepared in olive oil, and not in
volatile extracts and essences. The sacred ointment is described in Ex
30:22-33. The ointments of the rich were made of very costly
ingredients, and their fragrance was highly extolled, Isa 39:2 Am 6:6
Mt 26:7-9 Joh 12:5. See ANOINTING.


OLIVE

This is one of the earliest trees mentioned in Scripture, and has
furnished, perhaps ever since he deluge the most universal emblem of
peace, Ge 8:11. It is always classed among the most valuable trees of
Palestine, which is described as a land of oil olive, and honey, De
6:11 8:8 Hab 3:17. No tree is more frequently mentioned in the Greek
and Roman classics. By the Greeks it was dedicated to Minerva, and
employed in crowning Jove, Apollo, and Hercules. The olive is never a
very large or beautiful tree, and seldom exceeds thirty feet in
height: its leaves are dark green on the upper surface, and of a
silvery hue on the under, and generally grow in pairs. Its wood is
hard, like that of box, and very close in the grain. It blossoms very
profusely, and bears fruit every other year.


The flower is at first yellow, but as it expands, it becomes whiter,
leaving a yellow center. The fruit resembles a plum in shape and in
color, being first green, then pale, and when ripe, black. It is
gathered by shaking the boughs and by beating them with poles, De
24:20 Isa 17:6, and is sometimes plucked in an unripe state, put into
some preserving liquid, and exported. It is principally valuable for
the oil it produces, which is an important article of commerce in the
east. A full-sized tree in full bearing vigor is said to produce a
thousand pounds of oil, Jud 9:8,9 2Ch 2:10. The olive delights in a
stony soil, and will thrive even on the sides and tops of rocky hills,
where there is scarcely any earth; hence the expression "oil out of
the flinty rock," etc., De 32:13 Job 29:6. It is an evergreen tree,
and very longlived, an emblem of a fresh and enduring piety, Ps 52:8.
Around an old trunk young plants shoot up from the same root, to adorn
the parent stock when living, and succeed it when dead; hence the
allusion in describing the family of the just, Ps 128:3. It is slow of
growth, and no less slow to decay. The ancient trees now in Gethsemane
are believed by many to have sprung from the roots of those, which
witnessed the agony of our Lord. The "wild olive-tree" is smaller than
the cultivated, and inferior in all its parts and products. A graft
upon it, from a good tree, bore good fruit; while a graft from a
"wild" olive upon a good tree, remains "wild" as before.


Yet, "contrary to nature," the sinner engrafted on Christ partakes of
His nature and bears good fruit, Ro 11:13-26.


OLIVES, MOUNT OF

Eze 11:23, called also OLIVET, 2Sa 15:30, a ridge running north and
south on the east side of Jerusalem, its summit about half a mile from
the city wall, and separated from it by the valley of the Kidron. It
is composed of chalky limestone, the rocks everywhere showing
themselves. The olive-trees that formerly covered it, and gave it its
name, are now represented by a few trees and clumps of trees which
ages of desolation have not eradicated. There are three prominent
summits on the ridge; of these the southernmost, which is lower than
the other two, is now known as the "Mount of Corruption," because
Solomon defiled it by idolatrous worship, 1Ki 11:5-7 2Ki 23:13. Over
this ridge passes the road to Bethany, the most frequented road to
Jericho and the Jordan. The sides of the Mount of Olives towards the
west contain many tombs, cut in the rocks.


The central summit rises two hundred feet above Jerusalem, and
presents a fine view of the city, and indeed of the whole region,
including the mountains of Ephraim on the north, the valley of the
Jordan on the east, a part of the Dead Sea on the southeast, and
beyond it Kerak in the mountains of Moab. Perhaps no spot on earth
unites so fine a view, with so many memorials of the most solemn and
important events. Over this hill the Savior often climbed in his
journey to and from the holy city. Gethsemane lay at its foot on the
west, and Bethany on its eastern slope, Mt 24:3 Mr 13:3. It was
probably near Bethany, and not as tradition says on the middle summit,
that our lord ascended to heaven, Lu 24:50 Ac 1:12, though
superstition has built the "Church of the Ascension" on the pretended
spot, and shows the print of his feet on the rock whence he ascended!
From the summit, three days before his death, he beheld Jerusalem, and
wept over it, recalling the long ages of his more than parental care
and grieving over its approaching ruin. Scarcely any thing in the
gospels moves the heart more than this natural and touching scene. No
one can doubt that it was God who there spoke; his retrospect, his
predictions of his future judgments in the earth, Zec 14:4. See view
of the central summit in GETHSEMANE. Also SEPULCHRES.


OMEGA

The last letter of the Greek alphabet. See A.


OMER

A measure of capacity among the Hebrews; the tenth part of an ephah; a
little more than five pints.


OMRI

Was general of the army of Elah king of Israel; but being at the siege
of Gibbethon, and hearing that his master Elah was assassinated by
Zimri who had usurped his kingdom, he raised the siege, and being
elected king by his army, marched against Zimri, attacked him at
Tirzah, and forced him to burn himself and all his family in the
palace in which he had shut himself up. After his death, half of
Israel acknowledged Omri for king, the other half adhered to Tibni,
son of Ginath, which division continued four years. When Tebni was
dead, the people united in Acknowledging Omri as king of all Israel,
who reigned twelve years, six years at Tirzah, and six at Samaria, 1Ki
16:8-28.


Tirzah had previously been the chief residence of the kings of Israel;
but when Omri purchased the hill of Shomeron, 1Ki 16:24, he built
there a new city, which he called Samaria, from the name of the
previous possessor, Shemer or Shomer, and here fixed his royal seat.
From this time Samaria was the capital of the Kingdom of the ten
tribes. It appears, under the name of Beth-Omri, on the stone tablets
recently exhumed by Layard from the ruins of Nineveh.


ON

See HELIOPOLIS.


ONESIMUS

Had been a slave to Philemon of Colosse, and had run away from him,
and fled to Rome; but being converted to Christianity through
preaching of Paul, he was the occasion of Paul's writing the epistle
to Philemon, Col 4:9 Phm 1:10.


ONESIPHORUS

A Christian friend of Paul at Ephesus, who came to Rome while the
apostle was imprisoned there for the faith, and at a time when almost
every one had forsaken him. This is supposed to have occurred during
Paul's last imprisonment, not long before his death. Having found Paul
in bonds, after long seeking him, he assisted him to the utmost of his
power, and without regard to danger; for which the apostle implored
the highest benedictions on him and his family, 2Ti 1:16-18 4:19.


ONION

One of the vegetables of Egypt for which the Hebrews murmured in the
desert, Nu 11:5. Hasselquist says that the onions of Egypt are
remarkably sweet, mild, and nutritious. Juvenal, Pliny, and Lucian
satirize the superstitious regard of the Egyptians for this bulb.


ONO

A town of Benjamin, near Lydda, 1Ch 8:12; Ezr 2:33. The "plain of Ono"
is supposed to denote a portion of the Plain of Sharon near Ono, Ne
6:2; 11:35.


ONYCHA

An ingredient of the sacred incense, whose fragrance perfumed the
sanctuary alone, Ex 30:34. It is conjectured to mean the Blatta
Bryzantina of the shops; an article which consists of the cover or lid
of a species of muscle, and when burnt emits a musky odor. The best
onycha is found in the Red Sea, and is white and large.


ONYX

A nail, the eleventh stone in the high priest's breastplate, Ex 28:20.
The modern onyx has some resemblance to the agate; and the color of
the body of the stone is like that of the human nail; hence its name.
The Hebrew word so translated is not known with certainty to signify
the onyx; but denoted some valuable stone, Ge 2:12; Ex 25:7;
28:9-12,20. A species of marble resembling the onyx was known to the
Greeks, and may have been the "onyx-stones" stored up by David for the
temple, 1Ch 29:2.


OPHEL

A quarter of Jerusalem adjacent to the temple, and therefore occupied
by the Nethinim, Ne 3:26,27 11:21. It appears to have been enclosed by
a wall, and fortified by a strong tower, 2Ch 27:3 33:14; and is
thought to be meant by the Hebrew OPHEL OPHEL, translated"
strong-hold," in Mic 4:8. There can be little doubt that the name
belongs to the lower ridge into which Mount Moriah sinks, south of the
area of the mosque. It is one hundred yards wide, and extends six
hundred yards to the south, terminating in a bluff forty or fifty feet
high above the pool of Siloam. It is separated from Mount Zion on the
west by the valley called Tyropoeon, and is now devoted to the culture
of olives, figs, and other fruit.


OPHIR

1. One of the sons of Joktan, who settled in southern Arabia, Ge
10:26-29.


2. A country to which the ships of Solomon traded, and which had for a
long time been celebrated for the purity and abundance of its gold,
Job 22:24 28:16. "Gold of Ophir" was proverbially the best gold, Ps
45:9 Isa 13:12. The only passages which give us any information as to
the location of Ophir are 1Ki 9:26-28 10:11,22 22:48, with the
parallel passages in 2Ch 8:18 9:10,21 20:36,37; from which it appears
that the so called "ships of Tarshish" went to Ophir; that these ships
sailed from Ezion-geber, a port of the Red Sea; that a voyage was made
once in three years; that the fleet returned freighted with gold,
peacocks, apes, spices, ivory, algumwood, and ebony. Upon these data
interpreters have undertaken to determine the situation of Ophir; but
they have arrived at different conclusions. Josephus places it in the
peninsula of Malacca. Others have placed it at Sofala, in South
Africa, three mines of God and silver have been found, which appear to
have been anciently and extensively worked. Others still suppose it to
have been Southern Arabia.


OPHRAH

1. A town of the Benjamites, located by Eusebius five miles east of
Bethel; near which site stands the modern village Taiyibeh, on a
conical hill, Jos 18:23; 1Sa 13:17.


2. A town of Manesseh where Gideon resided; and where after his death
his ephod was superstitiously adored, Jud 6:11-24; 8:27.


ORACLE

A supernatural communication; applied to single divine revelations and
to the entire word of god, Ac 7:38 Ro 3:2 Heb 5:12, etc. It is also
spoken of the covering of he ark of the covenant; as if God there sat
enthroned, and delivered his oracles, 2Sa 16:23. See MERCY SEAT. In
other places, it means the "Holy of Holies" in the temple, where the
ark was placed, 1Ki 6:5,16,19 8:6.


Strikingly unlike the true and living oracles of God were the famous
counterfeit oracles of numerous heathen temples. The priests who
pretended to convey to applicants the responses of their gods, often
gave a reply capable of two opposite interpretations, when neither
private information nor their own experience or sagacity gave them the
clue to a safe answer. Thus Pyrrhus, king of Epirus, was encouraged to
a war, with Rome, by an oracle which was found after his defeat to
foretell defeat as much as victory: Aio te, Aeacida, Romanos vincere
posse.


OREB AND ZEEB

Raven and wolf, two Midianite chiefs, captured after the victory of
Gideon, and slain at the spots whither they had fled, and which were
afterwards called in memory of them "the rock of Oreb" and the wine-
press or cellar of Zeeb, Jud 7:25. Their punishment foretells that of
all God's enemies, Ps 83:12; Isa 10:26.


ORGAN

Ps 150:4, a wind instrument apparently composed of several pipes. It
cannot, however, mean the modern organ, which was unknown to the
ancients; but refers probably to the ancient syrinx, or pipes, similar
to the Pandean pipes, a series of seven or more tubes of unequal
length and size, closed at one end, and blown into with the mouth at
the other, Ge 4:21 Job 21:12. See MUSIC.


ORION

Job 9:9, one of the brightest constellations of the Southern
Hemisphere. The Hebrew chesil signifies, according to the best
interpreters and the ancient versions, the constellation Orion, which,
on account of its supposed connection with storms and tempests, Virgil
calls "nimbosus Orion," stormy Orion. In Job 38:31, fetters are
ascribed to him; and this coincides with the Greek fable of the giant
Orion, bound in the heavens for an unsuccessful war against the gods.


ORNAN

See ARAUNAH.


ORPAH

The Moabites, Naomi's daughter-in-law, who remained with her people
and gods, when Ruth followed Naomi and the Lord, Ru 1:4-14. The one
was taken and the other left.


OSEE

The Greek form of Hosea, Ro 9:25.


OSPREY

A bird of the eagle kind, unfit for food, Le 11:13. It is thought to
be the sea eagle, or the black eagle of Egypt. See BIRDS.


OSSIFRAGE

Bone-breaker; in Hebrew Peries, to break; an unclean bird of the eagle
family, Le 11:13 De 14:12. Some interpreters think the vulture is
intended; others, a mountain bird like the lammergeyer of the Alps,
which breaks the bones of wild goats by hunting them over precipices.


OSTRICH

The largest of birds, and a sort of connecting link between fowls and
quadrupeds, termed by the Persians, Arabs, and by Greeks, the
"camel-bird." It is a native of the dry and torrid regions of Africa
and western Asia. The gray ostrich is seven feet high and its neck
three feet long; it weighs nearly eighty pounds, and is strong enough
to carry two men. The other species, with glossy black wings and white
tail, is sometimes ten feet high. The beautiful plumes so highly
valued are found on the wings, about twenty on each, those of the tail
being usually broken and worn. There are no feathers on the thighs, or
under the wings; and the neck is but scantily clothed with thin
whitish hairs. The weight of the body and the size and structure of
the wings show that the animal is formed for running rather than
flying.


The ostrich is described in Job 39:13-18; and in various places where
our translation calls it the "owl," Job 30:29 Jer 50:39; or "daughter
of the owl," Isa 13:21 34:13 43:20 Mic 1:8. In these and other
passages it figures as a bird of the desert. Shy and timorous, it is
occasionally driven by hunger to visit and ravage cultivated fields;
but is usually found only in the heart of the desert, in troops, or
small groups, or mingling familiarly with the herds of wild asses,
gnus, and quaggas. Its food is often scarce and poor, plants of the
desert "withered before they are grown up;" also snails, insects, and
various reptiles; for it has a voracious and indiscrimination
appetite, swallowing the vilest and the hardest substances. Job speaks
particularly of the speed of the ostrich," She scorneth the horse and
his rider." So Xenophon, the biographer of Cyrus, says of the
ostriches of Arabia, that none could overtake them, the baffled
horsemen soon returning from the chase; and the writer of a voyage to
Senegal says, "The ostrich sets off at a hard gallop; but after being
excited a little, she expands her wings as if to catch the wind, and
abandons herself to a speed so great, that she seems not to touch the
ground. I am persuaded she would leave far behind the swiftest English
courser."


She scoops out for herself a circular nest in the sand, and lays a
large number of eggs; some of which are placed without the nest, as
though intended for the nourishment of the young brood. The mother
bird, with the help of the sun in the tropics, and of her mate in the
cool nights, performs the process of incubation; but her timidity is
such that she flies from her nest at the approach of danger, and as
Dr. Shaw remarks, "forsakes her eggs or her young ones, to which,
perhaps, she never returns; or if she does, it may be too late either
to restore life to the one, or to preserve the lives of the others.
Agreeably to this account, the Arabs meet sometimes with whole nests
of these eggs undisturbed; some of them are sweet and good, others are
addled and corrupted. They often meet with a few of the little ones no
bigger than well-grown pullets, half starved, straggling and moaning
about, like so many distressed orphans for their mother. In this
manner the ostrich may be said to be 'hardened against her young ones,
as though they were not hers; her labor,' in hatching and attending
them so far, 'being vain, without fear,' or the least concern of what
becomes of them afterwards. This want of affection is also recorded in
La 4:3, 'The daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostriches
in the wilderness;' that is, apparently by deserting her own children,
and receiving others in return."


When the ostrich is provoked, she sometimes makes a fierce, angry, and
hissing noise, with her throat inflated, and her mouth open; at other
times she has a moaning and plaintive cry; and in the night the male
repels prowling enemies by a short roar which is sometimes taken for
that of a lion, Mic 1:8.


OTHNIEL

Son of Kenaz, and first judge of the Israelites, delivering them from
the tyranny of the king of Mesopotamia, and ruling them in peace forty
years. His wife Achsa, daughter of his uncle Caleb, was the reward of
his valor in taking the city of Debir, Jos 15:17; Jud 1:13; 3:9-10.


OUCHES

Sockets in which precious stones were set, Ex 28:11,25; 39:6.


OVEN

See BREAD.


OWL

A night bird of prey, unfit for food. Several species are found in
Palestine, and are mentioned in the Bible; as in Le 11:17 De 14:16 Isa
14:23 34:15 Zep 2:14. One of the words, however, translated "owl,"
probably means "OSTRICH," (which see;) and another, Le 11:17 De 14:16
Isa 34:11, the ibis or night heron.


OX

The male of the beeve kind when grown, synonymous in the Bible with
BULL; a clean animal, by the Levitical law; much used for food, 1Ki
19:21, and constituting no small part of the wealth of the Hebrews in
their pastoral life, Ge 24:35 Job 1:14 42:12. Oxen were used in
agriculture for ploughing, 1Ki 19:19; and for treading out the grain,
during which they were not to be muzzled, 1Co 9:9, but well fed, Isa
30:24. The testing of a new yoke of oxen is still a business of great
importance in the East, as of old, Lu 14:19. A passage in Campbell's
travels in South Africa well illustrates the proverbial expression,
"as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke," Jer 31:18: "I had frequent
opportunities of witnessing the conduct of oxen when for the first
time put into the yoke to assist in dragging the wagons. On observing
an ox that had been in yoke beginning to get weak, or his hoofs to be
worn down to the quick by treading on the sharp gravel, a fresh ox was
put into the yoke in his place. When the selection fell on an ox I had
received as a present from some African king, of course one completely
unaccustomed to the yoke, and attempting to make its escape. At other
times such bullocks say down upon their sides or back, and remained so
in defiance of the Hottentots, though two or three of them would be
lashing them with their ponderous whips. Sometimes, from pity to the
animal, I would interfere, and beg them to be less cruel. 'Cruel,'
they would say, 'it is mercy; for if we do not conquer him now, he
will require to be so beaten all his life.'"


The "wild ox," mentioned in De 14:5, is supposed to have been a
species of stag or antelope. See BULLS OF BASHAN.


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