International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
pin'-ing, sik'-nes: In the account of the epileptic boy in Mark 9:18 it is said that "he pineth away." The verb used here (xeraino) means "to dry up," and is the same which is used of the withering of plants, but seldom used in this metaphorical sense. The English word is from the Anglo-Saxon pinjan and is often found in the Elizabethan literature, occurring 13 times in Shakespeare. In the Old Testament it is found in Leviticus 26:39 (bis) and in Ezekiel 24:23 and 33:10. In the Revised Version (British and American) it replaces "consume" in Ezekiel 4:17. In all these passages it is the rendering of the Hebrew maqaq, and means expressly being wasted on account of sin. In Leviticus 26:16 "pine away" is used in the Revised Version (British and American) to replace "cause sorrow of heart," and is the translation of the Hebrew dubh; and in Deuteronomy 28:65 "sorrow of mind" is also replaced in the Revised Version (British and American) by "pining of soul," the word so rendered being de'abhon, which in these two passages is expressive of homesickness. In Isaiah 24:16 the reduplicated exclamation, "my leanness," of the King James Version is changed into "I pine away," the word being razi. The starving people in Lamentations 4:9 are said to pine away, the word so translated being zubh. All these Hebrew words have a general meaning of to dry or to waste or wear away, or to be exhausted by morbid discharges.
Pining sickness in Isaiah 38:12 the King James Version is a mistranslation, the word so rendered, dallah, meaning here the thrum by which the web is tied to the loom. The figure in the verse is that Hezekiah's life is being removed from the earth by his sickness as the web is removed from the loom by having the thrums cut, and being then rolled up. Both the King James Version margin and the Revised Version margin have the correct reading, "from the thrum." Septuagint has erithou eggizouses ektemein, and Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) dum adhuc ordirer, succidit me. The other reading is due to another interpretation of the word which in a few passages, as Jeremiah 52:15, like its root dal, means something small, poor, and decaying or weak, such as the lean kine of Pharaoh's dream (Genesis 41:19).
sik, sik'-nes (chalah (Genesis 48:1, etc.), choli (Deuteronomy 28:61, etc.), tachalu' (Deuteronomy 29:21, etc.), machalah (Exodus 23:25, etc.), daweh (Leviticus 15:33, etc.), 'anash (2 Samuel 12:15, etc.); astheneo (Matthew 10:8, etc.; compare 2Ma 9:22), kakos echon (Luke 7:2), kakos echontas (Matthew 4:24, etc.), arrhostos (Sirach 7:35; Matthew 14:14, etc.), arrhostema (Sirach 10:10, etc.), with various cognates, kamno (James 5:15); Latin morbus (2 Esdras 8:31)): Compared with the number of deaths recorded in the historical books of the Bible the instances in which diseases are mentioned are few. "Sick" and "sickness" (including "disease," etc.) are the translations of 6 Hebrew and 9 Greek words and occur 56 times in the Old Testament and 57 times in the New Testament. The number of references in the latter is significant as showing how much the healing of the sick was characteristic of the Lord's ministry. The diseases specified are varied. Of infantile sickness there is an instance in Bath-sheba's child (2 Samuel 12:15), whose disease is termed 'anash, not improbably trismus nascentium, a common disease in Palestine. Among adolescents there are recorded the unspecified sickness of Abijah (1 Kings 14:1), of the widow's son at Zarephath (1 Kings 17:17), the sunstroke of the Shunammite's son (2 Kings 4:19), the epileptic boy (Matthew 17:15), Jairus' daughter (Matthew 9:18), and the nobleman's son (John 4:46). At the other extreme of life Jacob's death was preceded by sickness (Genesis 48:1). Sickness resulted from accident (Ahaziah, 2 Kings 1:2), wounds (Joram, 2 Kings 8:29), from the violence of passion (Amnon, 2 Samuel 13:2), or mental emotion (Daniel 8:27); see also in this connection Songs 2:5; Songs 5:8. Sickness the result of drunkenness is mentioned (Hosea 7:5), and as a consequence of famine (Jeremiah 14:18) or violence (Micah 6:13). Daweh or periodic sickness is referred to (Leviticus 15:33; Leviticus 20:18), and an extreme case is that of Luke 8:43.
In some examples the nature of the disease is specified, as Asa's disease in his feet (1 Kings 15:23), for which he sought the aid of physicians in vain (2 Chronicles 16:12). Hezekiah and Job suffered from sore boils, Jehoram from some severe dysenteric attack (2 Chronicles 21:19), as did Antiochus Epiphanes (2 Maccabees 9:5). Probably the sudden and fatal disease of Herod was similar, as in both cases there is reference to the presence of worms (compare Acts 12:23 and 2 Maccabees 9:9). The disease of Publius' father was also dysentery (Acts 28:8). Other diseases specified are paralysis (Matthew 8:6; Matthew 9:2), and fever (Matthew 8:14). Not improbably the sudden illness of the young Egyptian at Ziklag (1 Samuel 30:11), and the illness of Ben-hadad which weakened him so that he could not resist the violence of Hazael, were also the common Palestine fever (2 Kings 8:15) of whose symptoms and effects there is a graphic description in Psalm 38. Unspecified fatal illnesses were those of Elisha (2 Kings 13:14), Lazarus (John 11:1), Tabitha (Acts 9:37). In the language of the Bible, leprosy is spoken of as a defilement to be cleansed, rather than as a disease to be cured.
The proverb concerning the sick quoted by the Lord at Capernaum (Mark 2:17) has come down to us in several forms in apocryphal and rabbinical writings (Babha' Qamma' 26:13; Sanhedhrin 176), but is nowhere so terse as in the form in which He expresses it. The Lord performed His healing of the sick by His word or touch, and one of the most emphatic charges which He gave to His disciples when sending them out was to heal the sick. One of the methods used by them, the anointing with oil, is mentioned in Mark 6:13 and enjoined by James (5:15). In later times the anointing which was at first used as a remedial agent became a ceremonial in preparation for death, one of the seven sacraments of the Roman church (Aquinas, Summa Theologia suppl. ad Piii. 29).
The duty of visiting the sick is referred to in Ezekiel 34:4, 16, and by the Lord in the description of the Judgment scene (Matthew 25:36, 43). It is inculcated in several of the rabbinical tracts. "He that visits the sick lengthens his life, he who refrains shortens it," says Rabbi Ischanan in Nedharim 29. In Shulchan `Arukh, Yoreh De`ah there is a chapter devoted to this duty, which is regarded as incumbent on the Jew, even though the sick person be a Gentile (Gittin 61a). The church's duty to the sick, so long neglected, has, within the last century, been recognized in the mission field, and has proved, in heathen lands, to be the most important of all pioneer agressive methods.
While we find that the apostles freely exercised their gifts of healing, it is noteworthy that we read of the sickness of two of Paul's companions, Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:26) and Trophimus (2 Timothy 4:20), for whose recovery he seems to have used no other means than prayer.
See also DISEASE.
See DIAL OF AHAZ.