Smith's Bible Dictionary - F



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FABLE


A fable is a narrative in which being irrational, and sometimes inanimate,
are, for the purpose of moral instruction, feigned to act and speak with
human interests and passions. -- Encyc. Brit. The fable differs from the
parable in that --

  • The parable always relates what actually takes place, and is true to
    fact, which the fable is not; and

  • The parable teaches the higher heavenly and spiritual truths, but the
    fable only earthly moralities. Of the fable, as distinguished from the
    parable [PARABLE], we have but two examples in the Bible:

  • That of the trees choosing their king, addressed by Jotham to the men
    of Shechem, (Judges 9:8-15)

  • That of the cedar of Lebanon and the thistle, as the answer of Jehoash
    to the challenge of Amaziah. (2 Kings 14:9) The fables of false teachers
    claiming to belong to the Christian Church, alluded to by writers of the
    New Testament, (1 Timothy 1:4; 4:7; Titus 1:14; 2 Peter 1:16) do not
    appear to have had the character of fables, properly so called.


FAIR HAVENS


a harbor in the island of Crete, (Acts 27:8) though not mentioned in any
other ancient writing, is still known by its own Greek name, and appears
to have been the harbor of Lasaea.


FAIRS


a word which occurs only in (Ezekiel 27:1) ... and there no less than
seven times, vs. (Ezekiel 27:12,14,16,19,22,27,33) in the last of these
verses it is rendered "wares," and this we believe to be the true meaning
of the word throughout.


FALLOW DEER


(called fallow from its reddish-brown color) (Heb. yachmur). The
Hebrew word, which is mentioned only in (14:5) and 1Kin 4:23 Probably
denotes the Alcelaphus bubalis (the bubale or wild cow) of Barbary
and North Africa. It is about the size of a stag, and lives in herds. It
is almost exactly like the European roebuck, and is valued for its
venison.


FAMINE


In the whole of Syria and Arabia, the fruits of the earth must ever be
dependent on rain; the watersheds having few large springs, and the small
rivers not being sufficient for the irrigation of even the level lands. If
therefore the heavy rains of November and December fail, the sustenance of
the people is cut off in the parching drought of harvest-time, when the
country is almost devoid of moisture. Egypt, again, owes all its fertility
to its mighty river, whose annual rise inundates nearly the whole land.
The causes of dearth and famine in Egypt are defective inundation,
preceded, accompanied and followed by prevalent easterly and southerly
winds. Famine is likewise a natural result in the East when caterpillars,
locusts or other insects destroy the products of the earth. The first
famine recorded in the Bible is that of Abraham after he had pitched his
tent on the east of Bethel, (Genesis 12:10) the second in the days of
Isaac, (Genesis 26:1) seq. We hear no more of times of scarcity until the
great famine of Egypt, which "was over all the face of the earth."
(Genesis 41:53-57) The modern history of Egypt throws some curious light
on these ancient records of famines; and instances of their recurrence may
be cited to assist us in understanding their course and extent. The most
remarkable famine was that of the reign of the Fatimee Khaleefeh,
El-Mustansir billah, which is the only instance on record of one of seven
years duration in Egypt since the time of Joseph (A.H. 457-464, A.D.
1064-1071). Vehement drought and pestilence continued for seven
consecutive years, so that the people ate corpses, and animals that died
of themselves. The famine of Samaria resembled it in many particulars; and
that very briefly recorded in (2 Kings 8:1,2) affords another instance of
one of seven years. In Arabia famines are of frequent occurrence.


FAN


a winnowing-shovel, with which grain was thrown up against the
wind to be cleansed from the chaff and straw. (Isaiah 30:24; Matthew 3:12)
A large wooden fork is used at the present day.


FARTHING


Two names of coins in the New Testament are rendered in the Authorized
Version by this word:

  • Quadrans, (Matthew 5:26; Mark 12:42) a coin current in the
    time of our Lord, equivalent to three-eights of a cent;

  • The assarion, equal to one cent and a half, (Matthew 10:29;
    Luke 12:6)


FASTS


  • One fast only was appointed by the Mosaic law, that on the day of
    atonement. There is no mention of any other periodical fast in the Old
    Testament except in (Zechariah 7:1-7; 8:19) From these passages it appears
    that the Jews, during their captivity, observed four annual fasts, -- in
    the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months.

  • Public fasts were occasionally proclaimed to express national
    humiliation and to supplicate divine favor. In the case of public danger
    the proclamation appears to have been accompanied with the blowing of
    trumpets. (Joel 2:1-15) (See (1 Samuel 7:6; 2 Chronicles 20:3; Jeremiah
    36:6-10)) Three days after the feast of tabernacles, when the second
    temple was completed, "the children of Israel assembled with fasting, and
    with sackclothes and earth upon them," to hear the law read and to confess
    their sins. (Nehemiah 9:1)

  • Private occasional fasts are recognized in one passage of the law --
    (Numbers 30:13) The instances given of individuals fasting under the
    influence of grief, vexation or anxiety are numerous.

  • In the New Testament the only reference to the Jewish fasts are the
    mention of "the fast" in (Acts 27:9) (generally understood to denote the
    day of atonement) an the allusions to the weekly fasts. (Matthew 9:14;
    Mark 2:18; Luke 5:33; 18:12; Acts 10:30) These fasts originated some time
    after the captivity.

  • The Jewish fasts were observed with various degrees of strictness.
    Sometimes there was entire abstinence from food. (Esther 4:16) etc. On
    other occasions there appears to have been only a restriction to a very
    plain diet. (Daniel 10:3) Those who fasted frequently dressed in sackcloth
    or rent their clothes, put ashes on their head and went barefoot. (1 Kings
    21:27; Nehemiah 9:1; Psalms 35:13)

  • The sacrifice of the personal will, which gives to fasting all its
    value, is expressed in the old term used in the law, afflicting the
    soul
    .


FAT


The Hebrews distinguished between the suet or pure fat of an animal and
the fat which was intermixed with the lean. (Nehemiah 8:10) Certain
restrictions were imposed upon them in reference to the former; some parts
of the suet, viz., about the stomach, the entrails, the kidneys, and the
tail of a sheep, which grows to an excessive size in many eastern
countries, and produces a large quantity of rich fat, were forbidden to be
eaten in the case of animals offered to Jehovah in sacrifice. (Leviticus
3:3,9,17; 7:3,23) The ground of the prohibition was that the fat was the
richest part of the animal, and therefore belonged to him. (Leviticus
3:16) The burning of the fat of sacrifices was particularly specified in
each kind of offering.


FAT


i.e. VAT, the word employed in the Authorized Version to translate the
Hebrew term yekeb, in (Joel 2:24; 3:13) The word commonly used for
yekeb is "winepress" or "winefat," and once "pressfat." (Haggai
2:16) The "vats" appear to have been excavated out of the native rock of
the hills on which the vineyards lay.


FATHER


The position and authority of the father as the head of the family are
expressly assumed and sanctioned in Scripture, as a likeness of that of
the Almighty over his creatures. It lies of course at the root of that
so-called patriarchal government, (Genesis 3:16; 1 Corinthians 11:3) which
was introductory to the more definite systems which followed, and which in
part, but not wholly, superseded it. The father's blessing was regarded as
conferring special benefit, but his malediction special injury, on those
on whom it fell, (Genesis 9:25,27; 27:27-40; 48:15,20; 49:1) ... and so
also the sin of a parent was held to affect, in certain cases, the welfare
of his descendants. (2 Kings 5:27) The command to honor parents is noticed
by St. Paul as the only one of the Decalogue which bore a distinct
promise, (Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:2) and disrespect towards them was
condemned by the law as one of the worst crimes. (Exodus 21:15,17; 1
Timothy 1:9) It is to this well-recognized theory of parental authority
and supremacy that the very various uses of the term "father" in Scripture
are due. "Fathers" is used in the sense of seniors, (Acts 7:2; 22:1) and
of parents in general, or ancestors. (Daniel 5:2; Jeremiah 27:7; Matthew
23:30,32)


FATHOM


[WEIGHTS AND MEASURES AND MEASURES]


FEASTS


[FESTIVALS; MEALS]


FELIX


(happy), a Roman procurator of Judea appointed by the emperor
Claudius in A.D. 53. He ruled the province in a mean, cruel and profligate
manner. His period of office was full of troubles and seditions. St. Paul
was brought before Felix in Caesarea. He was remanded to prison, and kept
there two years in hopes of extorting money from him. (Acts 24:26,27) At
the end of that time Porcius Festus [FESTUS, PORCIUS] was appointed to
supersede Felix, who, on his return to Rome, was accused by the Jews in
Caesarea, and would have suffered the penalty due to his atrocities had
not his brother Pallas prevailed with the emperor Nero to spare him. This
was probably about A.D. 60. The wife of Felix was Drusilla, daughter of
Herod Agrippa I., who was his third wife and whom he persuaded to leave
her husband and marry him.


FENCED CITIES


i.e. cities fortified or defended. The fortifications of the cities of
Palestine, thus regularly "fenced," consisted of one or more walls
(sometimes of thick stones, sometimes of combustible material), crowned
with battlemented parapets, having towers at regular intervals, (2
Chronicles 32:5; Jeremiah 31:38) on which in later times engines of war
were placed, and watch was kept by day and night in time of war. (Judges
9:45; 2 Kings 9:17; 2 Chronicles 26:9,15)


FERRET


one of the unclean creeping things mentioned in (Leviticus 11:30) The
animal referred to was probably a reptile of the lizard tribe (the
gecko). The rabbinical writers seen to have identified this animal
with the hedgehog.


FESTIVALS


I. The religious times ordained int he law fall under three heads:

  • Those formally connected with the institution of the Sabbath;

  • This historical or great festivals;

  • The day of atonement.

  • Immediately connected with the institution of the Sabbath are -- a.
    The weekly Sabbath itself. b. The seventh new moon, or feast of trumpets.
    c. The sabbatical year. d. The year of jubilee.

  • The great feasts are -- a. The passover. b. The feast of pentecost, of
    weeks, of wheat-harvest or of the first-fruits. c. The feast of
    tabernacles or of ingathering. On each of these occasions every male
    Israelite was commanded to "appear before the Lord," that is, to attend in
    the court of the tabernacle or the temple, and to make his offering with a
    joyful heart. (27:7; Nehemiah 8:9-12) The attendance of women was
    voluntary, but the zealous often went up to the passover. On all the days
    of holy convocation there was to be an entire suspension of ordinary labor
    of all kinds, (Exodus 12:16; Leviticus 16:29; 23:21,24,25,35) but on the
    intervening days of the longer festivals work might be carried on. The
    agricultural significance of the three great festivals is clearly set
    forth int he account of the Jewish sacred year contained in (Leviticus
    23:1) ... The times of the festivals were evidently ordained in wisdom, so
    as to interfere as little as possible with the industry of the people. The
    value of these great religious festivals was threefold. (1) Religious
    effects.
    -- They preserved the religious faith of the nation and
    religious unity among the people. They constantly reminded the people of
    the divinely-wrought deliverances of the past; promoted gratitude and
    trust; and testified the reverence of the people for the temple and its
    sacred contents. Besides this was the influence of well-conducted temple
    services upon the synagogues through the land. (2) Political
    effects.
    -- The unity of the nation would be insured by this fusion of
    the tribes; otherwise they would be likely to constitute separate tribal
    states. They would carry back to the provinces glowing accounts of the
    wealth, power and resources of the country. (3) Social effects. --
    They promoted friendly intercourse between travelling companions;
    distributed information through the country at a time when the
    transmission of news was slow and imperfect; and imported into remote
    provincial districts a practical knowledge of all improvements in arts and
    sciences.

  • For the day of atonement see that article. II. After the captivity,
    the feast of purim, (Esther 9:20) seq., and that of the dedication, 1Macc
    4:56, were instituted.


FESTUS, PORCIUS


(Festus means festival), successor of Felix as procurator of Judea,
(Acts 24:27) sent by Nero probably in the autumn of A.D. 60. A few weeks
after Festus reached his province he heard the cause of St. Paul, who had
been left a prisoner by Felix, in the presence of Herod Agrippa II and
Bernice his sister, (Acts 25:11,12) Judea was in the same disturbed state
during the procuratorship of Festus which had prevailed through that of
his predecessor. He died probably in the summer of A.D. 60, having ruled
the province less than two years.


FETTERS


Fetters were for the feet only, while chains were for any part of the
body. They were usually made of brass, and also in pairs, the word being
in the dual number. Iron was occasionally employed for the purpose.
(Psalms 105:18; 149:8)


FIELD


The Hebrew sadeh is applied to any cultivated ground, and in some
instances in marked opposition to the neighboring wilderness. On the other
hand the sadeh is frequently contrasted with what is enclosed,
whether a vineyard, a garden or a walled town. In many passages the term
implies what is remote from a house, (Genesis 4:8; 24:63; 22:25) or
settled habitation, as in the case of Esau. (Genesis 25:27) The separate
plots of ground were marked off by stones, which might easily be removed,
(19:14; 27:17) cf. Job 24:2; Prov 22:28; 23:10 The absence of fences
rendered the fields liable to damage from straying cattle, (Exodus 22:5)
or fire, (Exodus 22:6; 2 Samuel 14:30) hence the necessity of constantly
watching flocks and herds. From the absence of enclosures, cultivated land
of any size might be termed a field.


FIG, FIG TREE


The fig tree (Ficus carica) is very common in Palestine. (8:8)
Mount Olivet was famous for its fig trees in ancient times, and they are
still found there. To "sit under one's own vine and one's own fig tree"
became a proverbial expression among the Jews to denote peace and
prosperity. (1 Kings 4:25; Micah 4:4; Zechariah 3:10) The fig is a
pear-shaped fruit, and is much used by the Orientals for food. The young
figs are especially prized for their sweetness and flavor. The fruit
always appears before the leaves; so that when Christ saw leaves on the
fig tree by the wayside, (Mark 11:13) he had a right to expect fruit. The
usual summer crop of fruits is not gathered till May or June; but in the
sunny ravines of Olivet fig trees could have ripe fruit some weeks earlier
(Dr. Thomson), and it was not strange so early as Easter Christ might find
the young eatable figs, although it was not the usual season for gathering
the fruit.


FIR


(Isaiah 14:8; Ezekiel 27:5) etc. As the term "cedar" is in all probability
applicable to more than one tree, so also "fir" in the Authorized Version
represents probably one or other of the following trees:

  • Pinus sylvestris, or Scotch fir;

  • Larch;

  • Cupressus sempervirens, or cypress, all which are at this day
    found in the Lebanon. The wood of the fir was used for ship-building,
    (Ezekiel 27:5) for musical instruments, (2 Samuel 6:5) for beams and
    rafters of houses, (1 Kings 5:8,10; 2 Chronicles 2:8) It was a tall
    evergreen tree of vigorous growth.


FIRE


is represented as the symbol of Jehovah's presence and the instrument of
his power, in the way either of approval or of destruction. (Exodus 3:2;
14:19) etc. There could not be a better symbol for Jehovah than this of
fire, it being immaterial, mysterious, but visible, warming, cheering,
comforting, but also terrible and consuming. Parallel with this
application of fire and with its symbolical meaning are to be noted the
similar use for sacrificial purposes and the respect paid to it, or to the
heavenly bodies as symbols of deity, which prevailed among so many nations
of antiquity, and of which the traces are not even now extinct; e.g. the
Sabean and Magian systems of worship. (Isaiah 27:9) Fire for sacred
purposes obtained elsewhere than from the altar was called "strange fire,"
and for the use of such Nadab and Abihu were punished with death by fire
from God. (Leviticus 10:1,2; Numbers 3:4; 26:61)


FIREPAN


one of the vessels of the temple service. (Exodus 27:3; 38:3; 2 Kings
25:15; Jeremiah 52:19) The same word is elsewhere rendered "snuff-dish,"
(Exodus 25:38; 37:23; Numbers 4:9) and "censer." (Leviticus 10:1; 16:12;
Numbers 16:6) ff. There appear, therefore, to have been two articles so
called: one, like a chafing-dish, to carry live coals for the purpose of
burning incense; another, like a snuffer-dish, to be used in trimming the
lamps, in order to carry the snuffers and convey away the snuff.


FIRKIN


[WEIGHTS AND MEASURES AND MEASURES]


FIRMAMENT


In Scripture the word denotes an expanse, a wide extent; for such is the
signification of the Hebrew word. The original, therefore, does not convey
the sense of solidity, but of stretching, extension; the great arch of
expanse over our heads, in which are placed the atmosphere and the clouds,
and in which the stars appear to be placed, and are really
seen. -- Webster.


FIRSTBORN


Under the law, in memory of the exodus (when the first-born of the
Egyptians were slain), the eldest son was regarded as devoted to God, and
was in very case to be redeemed by an offering not exceeding five shekels,
within one month from birth. If he died before the expiration of thirty
days, the Jewish doctors held the father excused, but liable to the
payment if he outlived that time. (Exodus 13:12-15,16; Leviticus 27:6) The
eldest son received a double portion of the father's inheritance, (21:17)
but not of the mother's. Under the monarchy the eldest son usually, but no
always, as appears in the case of Solomon, succeeded his father in the
kingdom. (1 Kings 1:30; 2:22) The male first-born of animals was also
devoted to God. (Exodus 13:2,12,13; 22:29; 34:19,20) Unclean animals were
to be redeemed with the addition of one-fifth of the value, or else put to
death; or, if not redeemed, to be sold, and the price given to the
priests. (Leviticus 27:13,27,28)


FIRSTFRUITS


  • The law ordered in general that the first of all ripe fruits and of
    liquors, or, as it is twice expressed, the first of first-fruits, should
    be offered in God's house. (Exodus 22:29; 23:19; 34:27) It was an act of
    allegiance to God as the giver of all. No exact quantity was commanded,
    but it was left to the spiritual and moral sense of each individual.

  • On the morrow after the passover sabbath, i.e. on the 16th of Nisan, a
    sheaf of new corn was to be brought to the priest and waved before the
    altar, in acknowledgment of the gift of fruitfulness. (Leviticus 2:12;
    23:5,6,10,12)

  • At the expiration of seven weeks from this time, i.e. at the feast of
    pentecost, an oblation was to be made from the new flour, which were to be
    waved in like manner with the passover sheaf. (Exodus 34:22; Leviticus
    23:15,17; Numbers 28:26)

  • The feast of ingathering, i.e. the feast of tabernacles, in the
    seventh month, was itself an acknowledgment of the fruits of the harvest.
    (Exodus 23:16; 34:22; Leviticus 23:39) These four sorts of offerings were
    national. Besides them, the two following were of an individual kind.

  • A cake of the first dough that was baked was to be offered as a
    heave-offering. (Numbers 15:19,21)

  • The first-fruits of the land were to be brought in a basket to the
    holy place of God's choice, and there presented to the priest, who was to
    set the basket down before the altar. (26:2-11) The offerings were the
    perquisite of the priests. (Numbers 18:11; 18:4) Nehemiah, at the return
    from captivity, took pains to reorganize the offerings of first-fruits of
    both kinds, and to appoint places to receive them. (Nehemiah 10:35,37;
    12:44) An offering of first-fruits is mentioned as an acceptable one to
    the prophet Elisha. (2 Kings 4:42)


FISH


The Hebrews recognized fish as one of the great divisions of the animal
kingdom, and as such gave them a place in the account of the creation,
(Genesis 1:21,28) as well as in other passages where an exhaustive
description of living creatures is intended. (Genesis 9:2; Exodus 20:4;
4:18; 1 Kings 4:33) The Mosaic law, (Leviticus 11:9,10) pronounced unclean
such fish as were devoid of fins and scales; these were and are regarded
as unwholesome in Egypt. Among the Philistines Dagon was represented by a
figure half man and half fish. (1 Samuel 5:4) On this account the worship
of fish is expressly prohibited. (4:18) In Palestine, the Sea of Galilee
was and still is remarkable well stored with fish. (Tristram speaks of
fourteen species found there, and thinks the number inhabiting it at least
three times as great.) Jerusalem derived its supply chiefly from the
Mediterranean. Comp. (Ezekiel 47:10) The existence of a regular
fish-market is implied in the notice of the fish-gate, which was probably
contiguous to it. (2 Chronicles 33:14; Nehemiah 3:3; 12:39; Zephaniah
1:10) The Orientals are exceedingly fond of fish as an article of diet.
Numerous allusions to the art of fishing occur in the Bible. The most
usual method of catching fish was by the use of the net, either the
casting net, (Ezekiel 26:5,14; 47:10); Habb 1:15 Probably
resembling the one used in Egypt, as shown in Wilkinson (iii. 55), or the
draw or drag net, (Isaiah 19:8); Habb 1:15 Which was larger,
and required the use of a boat. The latter was probably most used on the
Sea of Galilee, as the number of boats kept on it was very
considerable.


FITCHES


(i.e. VETCHES), without doubt the Nigella sativa, an herbaceous
annual plant belonging to the natural order Ranunculaceoe (the
buttercup family), which grows in the south of Europe and in the north of
Africa. Its black seeds are used like pepper, and have almost as pungent a
taste. The Syrians sprinkle these seeds over their flat cakes before they
are baked. [SEE RYE]


FLAG


There are two Hebrew words rendered "flag" in our Bible:

  • A word of Egyptian origin, and denoting "any green and course herbage,
    such as rushes and reeds, which grows in marshy places." (Genesis 41:2,18)
    (here translated meadow). It is perhaps the Cyperus esculentus
    .

  • A word which appears to be used in a very wide sense to denote "weeds
    of any kind." (Exodus 2:3,5; Isaiah 19:6)


FLAGON


a word employed in the Authorized Version to render two distinct Hebrew
terms:

  • Ashishah, (2 Samuel 6:19; 1 Chronicles 16:3; Solomon 2:5;
    Hosea 3:1) It really means a cake of pressed raisins. Such cakes were
    considered as delicacies; they were also offered to idols.

  • Nebel, (Isaiah 22:24) is commonly used for a bottle or vessel,
    originally probably a skin, but in later times a piece of pottery. (Isaiah
    30:14)


FLAX


a well-known plant with yellowish stem and bright-blue flowers. Its fibres
are employed in the manufacture of linen. The root contains an oil, and
after the oil is expressed is sued as a food for cattle. Egypt was
celebrated for the culture of flax and the manufacture of linen. The
spinning was anciently done by women of noble birth. It seems probable
that the cultivation of flax for the purpose of the manufacture of linen
was by no means confined to Egypt, but that, originating in India, it
spread over Asia at a very early period of antiquity. That it was grown in
Palestine even before the conquest of that country by the Israelites
appears from (Joshua 2:6) The various processes employed in preparing the
flax for manufacture into cloth are indicated:

  • The drying process.

  • The peeling of the stalks and separation of the fibres.

  • The hackling. (Isaiah 19:9) That flax was one of the most important
    crops in Palestine appears from (Hosea 2:5,9)


FLEA


an insect but twice mentioned in Scripture, viz., in (1 Samuel 24:14;
26:20) Fleas are abundant in the East, and afford the subject of many
proverbial expressions.


FLESH


[FLOOD]


FLINT


a well-known stone, a variety of quartz. It is extremely hard, and strikes
fire. It was very abundant in and about Palestine.


FLOOD


[NOAH]


FLOOR


[GABBATHA]


FLOUR


[BREAD]


FLUTE


(1 Kings 1:40) (marg., PIPE), A musical instrument mentioned amongst
others, (Daniel 3:5,7,10,15) as used at the worship of the golden image
which Nebuchadnezzar had set up. It bore a close resemblance to the modern
flute, and was made of reeds, of copper, and other material. It was the
principal wind-instrument.


FLUX, BLOODY


(Acts 28:8) the same as our dysentery, which in the East is, though
sometimes sporadic, generally epidemic and infectious, and then assumes
its worst form.


FLY, FLIES


The two following Hebrew terms denote flies of some kind:

  • Zebub, which occurs only in (Ecclesiastes 10:1) and in Isai
    7:18 And is probably a generic name for an insect.

  • ’Arob ("swarms of flies," "divers sorts of
    flies," Authorized Version), the name of the insect or insects
    which God sent to punish Pharaoh; see (Exodus 8:21-31; Psalms 78:45;
    105:31) The question as to what particular species is denoted, or whether
    any one species is to be understood, has long been a matter of dispute. As
    the arob are said to have filled the houses of the Egyptians, it
    seems not improbable that common flies (Muscidae) are more
    especially intended. The arob may include various species of
    Culicidae (gnats), such as the mosquito; but the common flies are
    to this day in Egypt regarded as a "plague," and are the great instrument
    of spreading the well-known ophthalmia, which is conveyed from one
    individual to another by these dreadful pests. "It is now generally
    supposed that the dog-fly is meant, which at certain seasons is
    described as a far worse plague than mosquitos. The bite is exceedingly
    sharp and painful, causing severe inflammation, especially in the eyelids.
    Coming in immense swarms, they cover all objects in black and loathsome
    masses, and attack every exposed part of a traveller's person with
    incredible pertinacity." -- Cook.


FOOD


The diet of eastern nations has been in all ages light and simple.
Vegetable food was more used than animal. The Hebrews used a great variety
of articles, (John 21:5) to give a relish to bread. Milk and its
preparations hold a conspicuous place in eastern diet, as affording
substantial nourishment; generally int he form of the modern leben
, i.e. sour milk. Authorized Version "butter;" (Genesis 18:8; Judges 5:25;
2 Samuel 17:29) Fruit was another source of subsistence: figs stood first
in point of importance; they were generally dried and pressed into cakes.
Grapes were generally eaten in a dried state as raisins. Of vegetables we
have most frequent notice of lentils, beans, leeks, onions and garlic,
which were and still are of a superior quality in Egypt. (Numbers 11:5)
Honey is extensively used, as is also olive oil. The Orientals have been
at all times sparing in the use of animal food; not only does the
extensive head of the climate render it both unwholesome to eat much meat
and expensive from the necessity of immediately consuming a whole animal,
but beyond this the ritual regulations of the Mosaic law in ancient, as of
the Koran in modern, times have tended to the same result. The prohibition
expressed against consuming the blood of any animal, (Genesis 9:4) was
more fully developed in the Levitical law, and enforced by the penalty of
death. (Leviticus 3:17; 7:26; 19:26; 12:16) Certain portions of the fat of
sacrifices were also forbidden, (Leviticus 3:9,10) as being set apart for
the altar, (Leviticus 3:16; 7:25) In addition to the above, Christians
were forbidden to eat the flesh of animals portions of which had been
offered to idols. All beasts and birds classed as unclean, (Leviticus
11:1) ff.; Deuteronomy 14:4 ff., were also prohibited. Under these
restrictions the Hebrews were permitted the free use of animal food:
generally speaking they only availed themselves of it in the exercise of
hospitality or at festivals of a religious, public or private character.
It was only in royal households that there was a daily consumption of
meat. The animals killed for meat were -- calves, lambs, oxen not above
three years of age, harts, roebucks and fallow deer; birds of various
kinds; fish, with the exception of such as were without scales and fins.
Locusts, of which certain species only were esteemed clean, were
occasionally eaten, (Matthew 3:4) but were regarded as poor fare.


FOOTMAN


a word employed in the English Bible in two senses:

  • Generally, to distinguish those of the fighting men who went on foot
    from those who were on horseback or in chariots;

  • In a more special sense, in (1 Samuel 22:17) only, and as the
    translation of a different term from the above -- a body of swift runners
    in attendance on the king. This body appears to have been afterwards kept
    up, and to have been distinct from the body-guard -- the six hundred and
    thirty -- who were originated by David. See (1 Kings 14:27,28; 2 Kings
    11:4,6,11,13,19; 2 Chronicles 12:10,11) In each of these cases the word is
    the same as the above, and is rendered "guard," with "runners" in the
    margin in two instances - (1 Kings 14:27; 2 Kings 11:13)


FOREHEAD


The practice of veiling the face (forehead) in public for women of the
high classes, especially married women, in the East, sufficiently
stigmatizes with reproach the unveiled face of women of bad character.
(Genesis 24:64; Jeremiah 3:3) The custom among many Oriental nations both
of coloring the face and forehead and of impressing on the body marks
indicative of devotion to some special deity or religious sect is
mentioned elsewhere. The "jewels for the forehead," mentioned by Ezekiel,
(Ezekiel 16:12) and in margin of Authorized Version, (Genesis 24:22) were
in all probability nose-rings. (Isaiah 3:21)


FOREST


Although Palestine has never been in historical times a woodland country,
yet there can be no doubt that there was much more wood formerly than
there is a t present, and that the destruction of the forests was one of
the chief causes of the present desolation.


FORTIFICATIONS


[FENCED CITIES CITIES]


FORTUNATUS


(fortunate) (1 Corinthians 16:17) one of the three Corinthians the
others being Stephanas and Achaicus, who were at Ephesus when St. Paul
wrote his first epistle. There is a Fortunatus mentioned in the end of
Clement's first epistle to the Corinthians, who was possibly the same
person.


FOUNTAIN


(a spring in distinction from a well). The springs of Palestine, though
short-lived, are remarkable for their abundance and beauty, especially
those which fall into the Jordan and into its lakes, of which there are
hundreds throughout its whole course. The spring or fountain of living
water, the "eye" of the landscape, is distinguished in all Oriental
languages from the artificially-sunk and enclosed well. Jerusalem appears
to have possessed either more than one perennial spring or one issuing by
more than one outlet. In Oriental cities generally public fountains are
frequent. Traces of such fountains at Jerusalem may perhaps be found in
the names of Enrogel, (2 Samuel 17:17) the "Dragon well" or fountain, and
the "gate of the fountain." (Nehemiah 2:13,14)


FOWL


Several distinct Hebrew and Greek words are thus rendered in the English
Bible. Of these the most common is ’oph, which is usually a
collective term for all kinds of birds. In (1 Kings 4:23) among the daily
provisions for Solomon's table "fatted fowl" are included. In the New
Testament the word translated "fowls" is most frequently that which
comprehends all kinds of birds (including ravens, (Luke 12:24)
[SPARROW]


FOX


(Heb. shu’al). Probably the jackal is the animal signified in
almost all the passages in the Old Testament where the Hebrew term occurs.
Though both foxes and jackals abound in Palestine, the
shu’alim (foxes) of (Judges 15:4) are evidently jackals and
not foxes, for the former animal is gregarious, whereas the latter is
solitary in its habits; and Samson could not, for that reason, have easily
caught three hundred foxes, but it was easy to catch that number of
jackals, which are concealed by hundreds in caves and ruins of Syria. It
is not probable, however, that Samson sent out the whole three hundred at
once. With respect to the jackals and foxes of Palestine, there is no
doubt that the common jackal of the country is the Canis aureus,
which may be heard every night in the villages. It is like a medium-sized
dog, with a head like a wolf, and is of a bright-yellow color. These
beasts devour the bodies of the dead, and even dig them up from their
graves.


FRANKINCENSE


a vegetable resin, brittle, glittering, and of a bitter taste, used for
the purpose of sacrificial fumigation. (Exodus 30:34-36) It was called
frank because of the freeness with which, when burned, it gives
forth its odor. It burns for a long time, with a steady flame. It is
obtained by successive incisions in the bark of a tree called Arbor
thuris
. The first incision yields the purest and whitest resin, while
the product of the after incisions is spotted with yellow, and loses its
whiteness altogether as it becomes old. The Hebrews imported their
frankincense from Arabia, (Isaiah 60:6; Jeremiah 6:20) and more
particularly from Saba; but it is remarkable that at present the Arabian
libanum or olibanum is a very inferior kind, and that the finest
frankincense imported into Turkey comes through Arabia from the islands of
the Indian Archipelago. There can be little doubt that the tree which
produces the Indian frankincense is the Boswellia serrata of
Roxburgh, or Boswellia thurifera of Colebrooke, and bears some
resemblance when young to the mountain ash. It grows to be forty feet
high.


FROG


a well-known amphibious animal of the genus Rana. The mention of
this reptile in the Old Testament is confined to the passage in (Exodus
8:2-7) etc., in which the plague of frogs is described, and to (Psalms
78:45; 105:30) In the New Testament the word occurs once only, in
(Revelation 16:13) There is no question as to the animal meant. The only
known species of frog which occurs at present in Egypt is the Rana
esculenta
, the edible frog of the continent.


FRONTLETS, OR PHYLACTERIES


(Exodus 13:16; 6:8; 11:18; Matthew 23:5) These "frontlets" or
"phylacteries" were strips of parchment, on which were written four
passages of Scripture, (Exodus 13:2-10,11-17; Deuteronomy 6:4-9,13-23) in
an ink prepared for the purpose. They were then rolled up in a case of
black calfskin, which was attached to a stiffer piece of leather, having a
thong one finger broad and one and a half cubits long. They were placed at
the bend of the left arm. Those worn on the forehead were written on four
strips of parchment, and put into four little cells within a square case
on which the letter was written. The square had two thongs, on which
Hebrew letters were inscribed. That phylacteries were used as amulets is
certain, and was very natural. The expression "they make broad their
phylacteries," (Matthew 23:5) refers not so much to the phylactery itself,
which seems to have been of a prescribed breadth, as to the case in which
the parchment was kept, which the Pharisees, among their other pretentious
customs, (Mark 7:3,4; Luke 5:33) etc., made as conspicuous as they could.
It is said that the Pharisees wore them always, whereas the common people
only used them at prayers.


FULLER


The trade of the fullers, so far as it is mentioned in Scripture, appears
to have consisted chiefly in cleansing garments and whitening them. The
process of fulling or cleansing clothes consisted in treading or stamping
on the garments with the feet or with bats in tubs of water, in which some
alkaline substance answering the purpose of soap had been dissolved. The
substances used for this purpose which are mentioned in Scripture are
natron, (Proverbs 25:20; Jeremiah 2:22) and soap. (Malachi 3:2) Other
substances also are mentioned as being employed in cleansing, which,
together with alkali, seem to identify the Jewish with the Roman process,
as urine and chalk. The process of whitening garments was performed by
rubbing into them calk or earth of some kind. Creta cimolia
(cimolite) was probably the earth most frequently used. The trade of the
fullers, as causing offensive smells, and also as requiring space for
drying clothes, appears to have been carried on at Jerusalem outside the
city.


FULLERS FIELD, THE


a spot near Jerusalem, (2 Kings 8:17; Isaiah 7:3; 36:2) so close to the
walls that a person speaking from there could be heard on them. (2 Kings
18:17,26) One resort of the fullers of Jerusalem would seem to have been
below the city on the southeast side. But Rabshakeh and his "great host"
must have come from the north; and the fuller's field was therefore, to
judge from this circumstance, on the table-land on the northern side of
the city.


FUNERALS


[BURIAL, SEPULCHRES]


FURLONG


[WEIGHTS AND MEASURES AND MEASURES]


FURNACE


Various kinds of furnaces are noticed in the Bible, such as a smelting or
calcining furnace, (Genesis 19:28; Exodus 9:8,10; 19:18) especially a
lime-kiln, (Isaiah 33:12; Amos 2:1) a refining furnace, (Proverbs 17:3)
Nebuchadnezzar's furnace, a large furnace built like a brick-kiln, (Daniel
3:22,23) with two openings one at the top for putting in the materials,
and another below for removing them; the potter's furnace, Ecclus. 27:5;
The blacksmith's furnace. Ecclus. 38:28. The Persians were in the habit of
using the furnace as a means of inflicting punishment. (Daniel 3:22,23;
Jeremiah 29:22)


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