American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - V

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With respect to the general features of the Holy Land, see CANAAN; and
for descriptions of some of its numerous valleys, see JERUSALEM,
shadow of death," is an expression denoting an extremely perilous and
cheerless condition of the soul, Ps 23:4, and may have been suggested
by the psalmist's experience with his flock in some of the deep,
narrow, and dark ravines of Syria.

Thus the entrance to Petra is by long winding defile, between rugged
precipices in some spots not more than twelve or fourteen feet apart
and two or three hundred feet high, and almost excluding the light of
day. See view in SELA. A similar pass south of mount Carmel is now
known as the "Valley of Death-shade."


Does not usually denote, in Scripture, self-conceit or personal pride,
2Pe 2:18, but sometimes emptiness and fruitlessness, Job 7:3 Ps 144:4
Ec 1:1-18. It often denotes wickedness, particularly falsehood, De
32:21 Ps 4:2 24:4 119:37, and sometimes idols and idol-worship, 2Ki
17:15 Jer 2:5 18:15 Jon 2:8. Compare Paul's expression, "they turned
the truth of God into a lie," Ro 1:25. "In vain," in the second
commandment, Ex 20:7, is unnecessarily and irreverently. "Vain men,"
2Sa 6:20 2Ch 13:7, are dissolute and worthless fellows.


The queen of Persia, divorced by Ahasuerus or Xerxes her husband for
refusing to appear unveiled before his reveling company, Ex 1:1- 22.


An indispensable part of the outdoor dress of Eastern Ladies, who live
secluded from the sight of all men except their own husbands and their
nearest relatives. If an Egyptian lady is surprised uncovered, she
quickly draws her veil over her face, with some exclamation like, "O
my misfortune." To lift or remove one's veil was to insult and degrade
her, Ge 24:65 So 5:7 1Co 11:5,10. The custom of wearing veils,
however, has not been prevalent at all times. Sarah the wife of
Abraham, and Rebekah and her companions at the well do not appear to
have worn them, Ge 12:14,15 24:16. Compare also Ge 38:14,15 Pr 7:13.

Veil were of different kinds. Those now worn in Syria and Egypt may be
divided into two classes, the one large and sometimes thick, the other
small and of lighter materials. The usual indoor veil is of thin
muslin, attached to the headdress, and falling over the back,
sometimes to the feet. A similar veil is added to the front of the
headdress on going abroad, partially covering the face and hanging
low. The other veil, to be worn in the street, is a large mantle or
sheet, of black silk, linen, or some coarse material, so ample as to
envelope the whole person and dress, leaving but one of the eyes
exposed, So 4:9. Such was the veil worn by Ru 3:15, translated
"mantle" in Isa 3:22. Many women wear no other veil than this. The
Greek word translated "power" in 1Co 11:10, probably means a veil, as
a token of her husband's rightful authority and her own subordination.
This was to be worn in their Christian assemblies "because of the
angels;" that is, because of the presence either of true angels, or of
the officers of the church, who being unaccustomed to see the unveiled
faces of women, might be distracted by them in the discharge of their
public duties.

For the "veil of the temple," see TABERNACLE and TEMPLE.


In De 32:35 Ro 12:19 Heb 10:30 Jude 1:7, means retributive justice- a
prerogative of God with which those interfere who seek to avenge
themselves. So also in Ac 28:4; though many suppose that the islanders
meant the goddess of justice, Dike, whom the Greeks and Romans
regarded as a daughter of Jupiter, and feared as an independent, just,
and unappeasable deity.


A brilliant red color, resembling scarlet, Jer 22:14; Eze 23:14. The
vermilion now used is a sulphuret of mercury.






Of this valuable and familiar plant there are several varieties, the
natural products of warm climates, where also it has been cultivated
from the earliest times. Hence the early and frequent mention of its
products in Scripture, Ge 9:20 14:18 19:22 Job 1:18. The grape-vine
grew plentifully in Palestine, De 8:8, and was particularly excellent
in some of the districts. The Scriptures celebrate the vines of Sibmah
and Eshcol; and profane authors mention the excellent wines of Gaza,
Sarepta, Lebanon, Sharon, Ascalon, and Tyre. See SOREK.

The grapes of Egypt, Ge 40:11, being small, we may easily conceive of
the surprise which was occasioned to the Israelites by witnessing the
bunch of grapes brought by the spies to the camp, from the valley of
Eshcol, Nu 13:23. The account of Moses, however, is confirmed by the
testimony of several travelers; and even in England a bunch of Syrian
grapes has been produced which weighed nineteen pounds, was
twenty-three inches in length, and nineteen and a half in its greatest
diameter. At the present day, although the Mohammedan religion does
not favor the cultivation of the vine, there is no want of vineyards
in Palestine. Besides the large quantities of grapes and raisins which
are daily sent to the markets of Jerusalem and other neighboring
places, Hebron alone in the first half of the eighteenth century,
annually sent three hundred camel loads, or nearly three hundred
thousand pounds weight of grape juice, or honey of raisins, to Egypt.

In the East, grapes enter very largely into the provisions at an
entertainment, and in various forms contribute largely to the
sustenance of the people. See GRAPES. To show the abundance of vines
which should fall to the lot of Judah in the partition of the promised
land, Jacob, in his prophetic benediction, says of this tribe, he
shall be found

Binding his colt to the vine,

And to the choice vine the foal of his ass;

Washing his garments in wine,

His clothes in the blood of the grape.

Ge 49:11.

In many places the vines spread over the ground and rocks unsupported.
Often, however, they are trained upon trellis-work, over walls, trees,
arbors, the porches and walls of houses, and at times within the house
on the side of the central court. Thus growing, the vine became a
beautiful emblem of domestic love, peace, and plenty, Ps 128:3 Mic

The law enjoined that he who planted a vine should not eat of the
produce of it before the fifth year, Le 19:23-25. Nor did they gather
their grapes on the sabbatical year; the fruit was then left for the
poor, the orphan, and the stranger, Ex 23:11 Le 25:4,5,11. See also Le
19:10 De 24:21. At any time a traveler was permitted to gather and eat
grapes in a vineyard, as he passed along, but was not permitted to
carry any away, De 23:24. Another generous provision of the Mosaic
code exempted from liability to serve in war a man who, after four
years of labor and of patience, was about to gather the first returns
from his vineyard, De 20:6.

Josephus describes a magnificent and costly vine of pure gold, with
precious stones for grapes, which adorned the lofty eastern gate of
the Holy Place. It was perhaps in view of this that our Savior said,
"I am the true Vine;" and illustrated the precious truth of his
oneness with his people, Joh 15:1-8.

In the expression, "The vine of Sodom," De 32:32, there does not seem
to be an allusion to any then existing degenerate species of vine. The
writer means rather to say that their vine, that is figuratively their
corrupt character, instead of yielding good grapes, bears only
poisonous fruit, like that for which the shores of the Dead Sea have
always been famed- such as "the apples of Sodom," for example, said to
be beautiful without, but nothing but shreds or ashes within.

For the "wild grapes" in Isa 5:2,4, see under GRAPES GRAPES.

The Jews planted their VINEYARDS most commonly on the side of a hill
or mountain, Jer 31:5, (See MOUNTAIN), the stones being gathered out,
and the space hedged round with thorns, or walled, Isa 5:1-6 Ps
80:1-19 Mt 21:33. Vineyards were sometimes rented for a share of their
produce, Mt 28:20; and from other passages we may perhaps infer that a
good vineyard consisted of a thousand vines, and produced a rent of a
thousand silverlings, or shekels of silver, Isa 7:23, and that it
required two hundred more to pay the dressers, So 8:11-12. In these
vineyards the keepers and vinedressers labored, digging, planting,
propping, and pruning or purging the vines, Joh 15:2, gathering the
grapes, and making wine. They formed a distinct class among
cultivators of the ground, and their task was sometimes laborious and
regarded as menial, 2Ki 25:12 2Ch 26:10 So 1:6 Isa 61:5. Scripture
alludes to the fragrance of the "vines with the tender grapes," So
2:13, and draws from the vineyard many illustrations and parables, Jud
9:12 Mt 20:1 21:28.

The vineyard of Naboth, 1Ki 21:1-29, has become a perpetual emblem of
whatever is violently taken from the poor by the rich or the powerful.
The deserted hut or tower, in which a watchman kept guard during, the
season of ripe grapes, Ps 80:12-13 So 2:15, becomes, when all are
gathered, an apt image of desolation, Isa 1:8. A beautiful allegory in
Ps 80:1-19 represents the church as a vineyard, planted, defended,
cultivated, and watered by God.

The VINTAGE followed the wheat harvest and the threshing, Le 26:5 Am
9:13. The "first ripe grapes" were gathered in June, or later on
elevated ground, Nu 13:20; and grapes continued to be gathered for
four months afterwards. The general vintage, however, was in
September, when the clusters of grapes were gathered with a sickle,
and put into baskets, Jer 6:9, carried and thrown into the wine-vat or
wine-press, where they were probably first trodden by men, and then
pressed, Re 14:18-20. It was a laborious task, lightened with songs,
jests, and shouts of mirth, Jer 25:30 48:33. It is mentioned as a mark
of the great work and power of the Messiah, that he had trodden the
figurative wine-press alone, and of the people there was none with
him, Isa 63:1-3 Re 19:15. The vintage was a season of great mirth, Isa
16:9,10, and often of excesses and idolatry, Jud 9:27; while the
mourning and languishing of the vine was a symbol of general distress,
Isa 24:7 Hab 3:17 Mal 3:11. Of the juice of the squeezed grapes were
formed wine and vinegar. See PRESS.

Grapes were also dried into raisins. A part of Abigail's present to
David was one hundred clusters of raisins, 1Sa 25:18; and when Zibah
met David, his present contained the same quantity, 2Sa 16:1 1Sa 30:12
1Ch 12:40. Respecting other uses of the fruits of the vine, see


Poor or sour wine, the produce of the second or acetous fermentation
of vinous liquors. The term sometimes designates a thin, sour wine,
much used by laborers and by the Roman soldiers, Nu 6:3 Ru 2:14 2Ch
2:10 Joh 19:29. See GALL. In other places it denotes the common sharp
vinegar, which furnished the wise man with two significant
illustrations, Pr 10:26 25:20.




Isa 5:12 Am 6:5, a stringed instrument of music, resembling the
psaltery. See MUSIC.


A genus of serpents noted for the virulence of their poison, which is
said to be one of the most dangerous in the animal kingdom. Hence the
viper is a symbol of whatever is most evil and destructive, Job 20:16
Isa 30:6. As such the term was applied by Christ and by John to
certain classes of the Jews, Mt 3:7 12:34 23:33 Lu 3:7. Paul's escape
from the bite of a viper in Malta led the people to believe that he
was a god in human form, Ac 28:3. A species of viper in Northern
Africa, though little more than a foot long is called the most
formidable serpent there; and Hasselquist speaks of a viper in Cyprus,
whose bits produces a universal gangrene, and occasions death within a
few hours. See SERPENTS.


A supernatural presentation of certain scenery or circumstances to the
mind of a person either while awake or asleep, Isa 6:1-13 Eze 1:1-28
Da 8:1-27 Ac 26:13. See DREAM.


A promise made to God of doing some good thing or abstaining from some
lawful enjoyment, under the influence of gratitude for divine
goodness, of imminent danger, the apprehension of future evils, or the
desire of future blessings. To fulfill a vow binding one to sin, was
to all sin to sin; but no considerations of inconvenience or loss
could absolve one from a vow, Ps 15:4 Mal 1:14. Jacob, going into
Mesopotamia, vowed the tenth of his estate, and promised to offer it
at Beth-el, to the honor of God, Ge 28:20-22. Moses enacted several
laws for the regulation and execution of vows. "If thou shalt forbear
to vow, it shall be no sin in thee; that which is gone out of thy lips
thou shalt keep and perform," De 23:21,23 Ec 5:4-5.

The vows of minors, etc., were not binding without the consent of the
head of the family, Nu 30:1-16. A man might devote himself or his
children to the Lord, Nu 6:2. Jephthah devoted his daughter, Jud
11:30-40; and Samuel was vowed and consecrated to the service of the
Lord, 1Sa 1:11,27,28. If men or women vowed themselves to the Lord,
they were obliged to adhere strictly to his service, according to the
conditions of the vow; but in some cases they might be redeemed, Le
27:1-34. These selfimposed services were more in keeping with the
ancient dispensation, in which outward sacrifices and observances had
so large a share, than with enlightened Christianity. See CORBAN, and


Is the name of the Latin version of the Scriptures used by the church
of Rome. The Old Testament was a very close translation of the Greek
Septuagint, not of the Hebrew. It was made at a very early period by
an unknown author. A part of this version was afterwards revised by
Jerome, and some of the books retranslated from the Hebrew.


A large bird of prey, belonging to the genus hawks, and including a
great many species. It is pronounced unclean by Moses, Le 11:14 De
14:13. See BIRDS. The vulture has a naked or downy head, a bare neck
and long wings, and is disgusting to every sense, especially to the
smell. It is a carrion bird, though not exclusively, and has
extraordinary powers of vision. Scarcely can an exhausted camel fall
on it route and die, before numbers of these filthy scavengers show
themselves in the distance, hastening to the spot, Job 28:7.

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