International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
APPLE, OF THE EYE
ap'-'-l: The eyeball, or globe of the eye, with pupil in center, called "apple" from its round shape. Its great value and careful protection by the eyelids automatically closing when there is the least possibility of danger made it the emblem of that which was most precious and jealously protected. The Hebrew terms for it were, 'ishon, diminutive of 'ish, "man," little man or mannikin, referring perhaps specially to the pupil, probably from "the little image one sees of himself when looking into another's pupil" (Davies' Lexicon). "He kept him (Israel) as the apple of his eye" (Deuteronomy 32:10); "Keep me as the apple of the eye," literally, "as the apple, the daughter of the eye" (Psalm 17:8). "Keep my law (the Revised Version, margin "teaching") as the apple of thine eye" (Proverbs 7:2). Compare Proverbs 7:9 where it is used to denote what is the center (American Revised Version, "in the middle of the night"; the English Revised Version "in, the blackness of night"; margin "Hebrew pupil (of the eye)"); babhah perhaps an "opening," "gate"; others regard it as a mimetic word akin to Latin pupa, papilla ("He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye," i.e. Yahweh's; Zechariah 2:8); bath-`ayin, "daughter of the eye"; "Give thyself no respite, let not the apple of thine eye cease" (Lamentations 2:18), which means, either "sleep not," or "cease not to weep." kore, "young girl," "pupil of the eye": "He (the Lord) will keep the good deeds (the Revised Version (British and American) "bounty") of a man as the apple of the eye" (Ecclesiasticus 17:22); the Septuagint also has kore in all instances except Lamentations 2:18, where it has thugater, "daughter."
W. L. Walker
(ra` `ayin, "evil of eye"; ophthalmos poneros):
The superstition of the influence of the "evil eye," so widely spread over the earth, has had a mighty influence on life and language in Palestine, though direct references to it are not frequent in the Scriptures (Deuteronomy 15:9; Deuteronomy 28:54, 56 Proverbs 23:6; Proverbs 28:22 Matthew 20:15 (compare Matthew 6:23 Luke 11:34); Mark 7:22). In the Bible the expression is synonymous with envy, jealousy and some forms of covetousness. In comparing Romans 1:29 with Mark 7:22 we find that ophthalmos poneros corresponds to phthonos. See Trench, New Testament Synonyms, under the word The eye of the envious (as also the tongue of the invidious by an apparently appreciative word, which, however, only disguises the strong desire of possessing the object of comment or of destroying it for its rightful owner) was supposed to have a baneful influence upon the wellbeing of others, especially of children. Therefore mothers bestowed constant care against the frustration of such fancied designs by means of innumerable sorts of charms. They often allowed their darlings to appear as unlovely as possible, through uncleanliness or rags, so as to spare them the harmful rising of envy in the hearts of others.
Lane, Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, gives perhaps the most accessible account of this superstition as held at the present day in Egypt, and Thomson, The Land and the Book, does the same for Palestine, while an equal amount of evidence might be collected from every other oriental country. Instances of the same superstition, though possibly slightly disguised, are by no means wanting among ourselves. Compare the expression, "green-eyed jealousy" (Othello, III, iii; Merchant of Venice, III, ii), etc.
For certain Biblical phrases referring to the "evil eye" see ENVY; EYE.
F. T. Elworthy, The Evil Eye, London, 1895.
H. L. E. Luering
i (`ayin; ophthalmos):
(1) The physical organ of sight, "the lamp of the body" (Matthew 6:22), one of the chief channels of information for man. A cruel custom therefore sanctioned among heathen nations the putting out of the eyes of an enemy or a rival, because thus his power was most effectually shattered (Judges 16:21 2 Kings 25:7 Jeremiah 39:7). Such blinding or putting out of the "right eye" was also considered a deep humiliation, as it robbed the victim of his beauty, and made him unfit to take his part in war (1 Samuel 11:2 Zechariah 11:17).
The eye, to be useful, was to be "single," i.e. not giving a double or uncertain vision (Matthew 6:22 Luke 11:34). Eyes may grow dim with sorrow and tears (Job 17:7), they may "waste away with griefs" (Psalm 6:7; Psalm 31:9; Psalm 88:9). They may "pour down" (Lamentations 3:49), "run down with water" (Lamentations 1:16; Lamentations 3:48). Eyes may "wink" in derision (Psalm 35:19 Proverbs 6:13; Proverbs 10:10; compare also Proverbs 16:30; Proverbs 30:17), and the harlot takes the lustling "with her eyelids" (Proverbs 6:25). To `lift up the eyes' (Genesis 13:10 et passim) means to look up or around for information and often for help; to `turn away the eye' or `hide the eyes' indicates carelessness and lack of sympathy (Proverbs 28:27); to `cast about the eyes,' so that they "are in the ends of the earth" (Proverbs 17:24) is synonymous with the silly curiosity of a fool, and with the lack of attention of him who is everywhere but at his work. In the execution of justice the "eye shall not pity," i.e. not be deflected from the dictates of the law by favorable or unfavorable impressions (Deuteronomy 19:13 et passim), nor spare (Ezekiel 5:11 et passim), and the lexicon talionis demanded "life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot" (Exodus 21:24 Deuteronomy 19:21).
(2) Figurative: The eye of the heart or mind, the organ of spiritual perception, which may be enlightened or opened (Psalm 119:18). This is done by the law of God (19:8) or by the spirit of God (Ephesians 1:18), or it may be "darkened" and "holden" (Luke 24:16; compare Matthew 13:13 2 Corinthians 4:4).
(3) The eye as an index of the mind and disposition of man. The Bible speaks of the "good" margin, or "bountiful" eye, i.e. the kindly, disposition (Proverbs 22:9); of "proud", "haughty", "lofty eyes" (Psalm 18:27; Psalm 131:1 Proverbs 6:17); of the "lowly eyes" of the humble (Job 22:29 margin; compare also Luke 18:13); of "adulterous eyes", "eyes which play the harlot" (Ezekiel 6:9, in the sense of idolatrous inclinations; 2 Peter 2:14). Rage or anger is shown by the "sharpening" of the eyes (Job 16:9).
(4) The eyes of God, as well as the "seven eyes" of the Lamb (Revelation 5:6) and the `many eyes' of the four living creatures of the Apocalypse (Revelation 4:6; also Ezekiel 1:18; Ezekiel 10:12) are figurative expressions for the omniscience of God (compare Hebrews 4:13 Psalm 139:16) and of His watchfulness and loving care (Jeremiah 32:19). As the human eye may, with the slightest glance or motion, give an indication, a command, so God is able to "guide" or "counsel" His obedient child "with his eye" (Psalm 32:8).
(5) Three Hebrew expressions are translated by "apple of the eye":
(a) 'ishon, literally, "the little man," which probably means the "pupil of the eye," it being the part of the eye in which the close onlooker may see his image reflected en miniature. Several oriental languages have very similar expressions (Deuteronomy 32:10 Psalm 17:8 Proverbs 7:2).
(b) babhah, literally, "the gate of the eye" (Zechariah 2:8).
(c) bath-`ayin, literally, "the daughter of the eye" (Psalm 17:8 Lamentations 2:18).
All these three phrases seem to indicate the pupil rather than the "apple of the eye," and designate the most sensitive part of the eye, which we protect with the greatest care. Thus the Scriptures declare, for our great comfort, that God will protect and care for those that are His own.
To eye (`awan, "to watch closely," "to look maliciously at"): "Saul eyed David from that day and forward" (1 Samuel 18:9).
See ENVY; EVIL EYE.
H. L. E. Luering
sin'-g'-l: Matthew 6:22 parallel Luke 11:34: "If therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness." "Single" and "evil" here represent haplouis, and poneros. Poneros elsewhere in the New Testament means "wicked"; haplous occurs only here in the New Testament, but is very common in ordinary Greek and always has the meaning "simple." But in view of the context, most commentators take haplous here as meaning "normal," "healthy," and poneros as "diseased," so rendering "Just as physical enlightenment depends on the condition of the eye, so does spiritual enlightenment depend on the condition of the heart." This is natural enough, but it is not satisfactory, as it gives to haplous a unique sense and to poneros a sense unique in the 73 New Testament examples of the word. Moreover, the same expression, "evil eye," is found also in Matthew 20:15 Mark 7:22, where it means "jealousy" or "covetousness." With poneros = "covetous" haplous would = "generous"; and this rendition gives excellent sense in Matthew, where the further context deals with love of money. Yet in Luke it is meaningless, where the context is of a different sort, a fact perhaps indicating that Luke has placed the saying in a bad context. Or the Greek translation of Christ's words used by Matthew and Luke may have taken the moral terms haplous and poneros to translate physical terms ("healthy" and "diseased"?) employed in the original Aramaic. The Sinaitic Syriac version of Luke 11:36 may perhaps contain a trace of an older rendering. See Julicher, Die Gleichnisreden Jesu, II, 98-108.
Burton Scott Easton
DISEASES OF THE EYE
See EYES, DISEASES OF THE.