Cuttings in the Flesh
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The Seventh Commandment
... While the adulterer feeds on strange flesh, the sword of God's justice hangs ... Cuttings
and braidings of the hair, a painted face, naked breasts, are allurements ...
/.../watson/the ten commandments/2 7 the seventh commandment.htm

A Provision Ground
... 311d} and that with leaves like a great myrtle, and bright flesh-coloured fruit ... and
fruits, it seldom or never seeds, and is propagated entirely by cuttings. ...
// last/chapter xvi a provision ground.htm

Profit and Loss
... flagellations of vengeance beat the flesh; where the perpetual pourings out of the
vials of eternal wrath scald the spirit, and where the cuttings of the sword ...
/.../spurgeon/spurgeons sermons volume 2 1856/profit and loss.htm

How Christ is Made Use of for Justification as a Way.
... we would put ourselves to much pain and torment by whippings, cuttings, fastings,
watchings ... law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending ...
/.../brown/christ the way the truth and the life/chapter iv how christ is.htm

Why are Men Saved?
... dozen times over, but "that which is born of the flesh is flesh," and "cannot ... still
piercing and thrilling"a voice whose whispers were like the cuttings of a ...
/.../spurgeon/spurgeons sermons volume 3 1857/why are men saved.htm

The Church as She Should Be
... A church is not a bundle of cuttings in the gardener's hand: it is a vine ... is decreed
of God, and fixed by his predestinating purpose, that all flesh shall see ...
/.../spurgeon/spurgeons sermons volume 17 1871/the church as she should.htm

The Barren Fig-Tree;
... forth as a profession is got into; it is easy for a man to clothe himself with a
fair show in the flesh, to word ... There are two manner of cuttings down; First. ...
/.../bunyan/the works of john bunyan volumes 1-3/the barren fig-tree.htm

The Rise of the Assyrian Empire
... Drawn by Faucher-Gudin, from the restoration by Thobois, as given in Renan. The
cuttings made in the lower stonework appear to be traces of unfinished steps. ...
/.../chapter iithe rise of the.htm

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
Cuttings in the Flesh


(sereT, sareTeth): For relatives or friends to cut or beat themselves even to free blood-flowing, especially in the violence of grief in mourning for their dead (see BURIAL; MOURNING), was a widely prevalent custom among ancient peoples, and is well-nigh universal among uncivilized races today (see Spencer, Prin. of Soc., 3rd edition, I, 163). The fact is abundantly attested for most of the nations of antiquity, but there are two notable exceptions, the Egyptians (Herod. ii.61, 85; Wilkinson, Anc. Egyptian II, 374), and the Hebrews (Deuteronomy 14:1 Leviticus 21:5). According to Plutarch (Sol. 21) Solon forbade the women of Athens to beat themselves to the effusion of blood, and the laws of the Twelve Tables, quoted by Cic. (De leg. ii.23) contained a like injunction. Among the ancient Arabs the forbidden practice was associated, as among the Hebrews, with the cutting off of the hair (Wellhausen, Skizzen, III, 160).

That the prohibition among the Hebrews was urgently called for is made clear by the way it is dealt with by the Law and the prophets. The Law of Holiness reads: "Ye are the children of Yahweh your God: ye shall not cut yourselves" (Deuteronomy 14:1), or "make any incision" (sereT; Leviticus 19:28, sareTeth; Septuagint entomis) in the flesh "for the dead." Probably the earliest reference to the custom as actually prevalent among the Hebrews is in Hosea 7:14 (ERVm). It was widely prevalent in the time of Jeremiah among his countrymen, even as among the Philistines (Jeremiah 47:5) and the Moabites (Jeremiah 48:37; compare Amos 8:10 Isaiah 3:24; Isaiah 15:2; Isaiah 22:12 Micah 1:16 Ezekiel 7:18).

In seeking for the reason or purpose underlying all such prohibitions, we may note, first, that the "cuttings" and "baldness" forbidden are alike said to be "for the dead." Not less explicitly are they said to be incompatible with Israel's unique relation to Yahweh-a relation at once of sonship (Deuteronomy 14:1) and of consecration (Deuteronomy 14:2). Moreover such mutilations of the body are always dealt with as forming part of the religious rites of the heathen (as of the Canaanitish Baal (1 Kings 18:28) note "after their manner," see article in HDB, under the word). Both such shedding of blood and the dedication of the hair are found in almost all countries of that day in intimate connection with the rituals of burial and the prevailing belief in the necessity of propitiating the spirit of the deceased. The conclusion, then, seems clearly warranted that such tokens of grief were prohibited because they carried with them inevitably ideas and associations distinctly heathen in character and so incompatible with the pure religion of Yahweh, and unworthy of those who had attained to the dignity of the sons ("children") of Yahweh.



Benzinger, Heb Arch., section 23; Nowack, Heb Arch., I, 33; Tylor, Prim. Cult.; W. R. Smith, Rel Semitic, Lect IX; and Comm., Knobel-Dillmann, Exodus-Leviticus on Leviticus 19:28; Driver, De on 14:1; and Lightfoot, Galatians on 6:17.

George B. Eager



Cuttings [In the Flesh]

Cuttings in the Flesh

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