Manners & Customs: Dogs
Dogs in the Ancient World
Dog Scripture - 1 Kings 21:19
And thou shalt speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD,
Hast thou killed, and also taken possession? And thou shalt
speak unto him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, In the place
where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy
blood, even thine.
Dog Scripture - 1 Kings 22:38
And [one] washed the chariot in the pool of Samaria; and the
dogs licked up his blood; and they washed his armour;
according unto the word of the LORD which he spake.
Dog Scripture - 2 Peter 2:22
But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb,
The dog [is] turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that
was washed to her wallowing in the mire.
Dog Scripture - Deuteronomy 23:18
Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a
dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even
both these [are] abomination unto the LORD thy God.
Dog Scripture - Isaiah 56:10
His watchmen [are] blind: they are all ignorant, they [are]
all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving
Dog Scripture - Isaiah 56:11
Yea, [they are] greedy dogs [which] can never have enough, and
they [are] shepherds [that] cannot understand: they all look
to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.
Dog Scripture - Job 30:1
But now [they that are] younger than I have me in derision,
whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs
of my flock.
Dog Scripture - Luke 16:21
And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the
rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
Dog Scripture - Matthew 15:26
But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the
children's bread, and to cast [it] to dogs.
Dog Scripture - Proverbs 26:11
As a dog returneth to his vomit, [so] a fool returneth to his
Dog's in Biblical Times
There are two kinds of dogs that are referred to in the Bible.
First, There is the wolf-like, short-haired creature, that stands guard over the tent or the house, and which barks fiercely at strangers that come that way. He will eat whatever garbage is tossed to him, and in the evening he is usually heard barking about the city (cf. Psalm 59:6). Sometimes he is allowed to be under the table ready to receive scraps given to him (cf. Matthew 15:27).
Second, there is the shepherd dog that goes out with the shepherd to help him in rounding up the sheep. Job speaks of these animals as "the dogs of my flock" (Job 30:1). Because dogs were so often regarded as mere scavengers, the Bible does not use the word "dog" as Westerners are accustomed to think of this animal. The price of a dog was never brought to the house of the LORD (Deuteronomy 23:18). To call anybody "a dog" was to consider him as very low down indeed (Revelation 22:15).
The attitude of the Orientals toward dogs needs to be kept in mind in interpreting the Scriptures that refer to them. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Dogs in Easton's Bible Dictionary
frequently mentioned both in the Old and New Testaments.
were used by the Hebrews as a watch for their houses
56:10), and for guarding their flocks (Job 30:1).
also then as now troops of semi-wild dogs that
devouring dead bodies and the offal of the streets
14:11; 16:4; 21:19, 23; 22:38; Ps. 59:6, 14).
As the dog was an unclean animal, the terms "dog,"
head," "dead dog," were used as terms of reproach or
humiliation (1 Sam. 24:14; 2 Sam. 3:8; 9:8; 16:9).
false apostles "dogs" (Phil. 3:2). Those who are
shut out of the
kingdom of heaven are also so designated (Rev.
Persecutors are called "dogs" (Ps. 22:16). Hazael's
servant which is but a dog" (2 Kings 8:13), are
spoken in mock
humility=impossible that one so contemptible as he
to such power.
Dogs in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
The watch of the house, and of the flock (Isaiah 56:10-11;
Job 30:1). Sometimes domesticated, as the Syrophoenician
woman's comparison and argument imply, "the household
(kunaria, 'little' or 'pet') dogs eat of the crumbs (Matthew
15:26-27; Mark 7:27-28) which fall from their master's
table." More commonly ownerless, and banded in troops which
divide cities into so many quarters; each half-starved,
ravenous troop keeps to its own quarter, and drives off any
intruder; feeding on blood, dead bodies, and offal;
therefore regarded as "unclean" (1 Kings 14:11; 1 Kings
16:4; 1 Kings 21:19; 1 Kings 21:23; 1 Kings 22:38; 2 Kings
9:10; 2 Kings 9:35-36). Their dismal howlings at night are
alluded to in Psalm 59:6; Psalm 59:14-15; "they return at
evening, they make a noise like a dog, and go round about
the city"; perhaps in allusion to Saul's agents thirsting
for David's blood coming to Michal's house at evening, and
to the retribution on Saul in kind, when he who had made
David a wanderer himself wandered about seeking vainly for
help against the Philistines, and went at last by night to
the witch of Endor. As unclean (Isaiah 66:3), dog, dead dog,
dog's head, are terms of scorn or else self-abasement (1
Samuel 24:14; 2 Samuel 3:8; 2 Samuel 9:8; 2 Samuel 16:9; 2
Kings 8:13). A wanton, self-prostituting man is called a
"dog" (Deuteronomy 23:18). One Egyptian god had a dog form.
"Beware of the (Greek) dogs," those impure persons of whom I
told you often" (Philemon 3:2; Philemon 3:18-19); "the
abominable" (Revelation 21:8; compare Revelation 22:15;
Matthew 7:6); pagan in spirit (Titus 1:15-16); dogs in
filthiness, snarling, and ferocity against the Lord and His
people (Psalm 22:16; Psalm 22:20); backsliding into former
carnality, as the dog "is turned to his own vomit again" (2
Peter 2:22). The Jews regarded the Gentiles as "dogs," but
by unbelief they ceased to be the true Israel and themselves
became dogs (Isaiah 56:10-11). "Deliver my darling from the
power of the dog," i.e. my soul (literally, my unique one,
unique in its preciousness) from the Jewish rabble; as
"deliver My soul from the sword" is Messiah's cry for
deliverance from the Roman soldiery and governor. The
Assyrian hunting dog as vividly depicted on Assyrian
sculptures resembled exactly our harrier or foxhound.
Dogs in Naves Topical Bible
Price of, not to be brought into the sanctuary
1Ki 21:19; 22:38
Returns to eat his own vomit
Pr 26:11; 2Pe 2:22
-Dumb and sleeping
-Epithet of contempt
1Sa 17:43; 24:14; 2Sa 3:8; 9:8; 16:9; 2Ki 8:13; Isa
56:10,11; Mt 15:26
Php 3:2; Re 22:15
Dogs in Smiths Bible Dictionary
an animal frequently mentioned in Scripture. It was used by
the hebrews as a watch for their houses, Isa 56:10 and for
guarding their flocks. Job 30:1 Then also, as now troops of
hungry and semi-wild dogs used to wander about the fields and
the streets of the cities, devouring dead bodies and other
offal, 1Ki 14:11; 21:19,23; 22:38; Ps 59:6 and thus became so
savage and fierce and such objects of dislike that fierce and
cruel enemies are poetically styled dogs in Ps 22:16,20
moreover the dog being an unclean animal, Isa 66:3 the
epithets dog, dead dog, dog's head, were used as terms of
reproach or of humility in speaking of one's self. 1Sa 24:14;
2Sa 3:8; 9:8; 16:9; 2Ki 8:13
Dogs in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
kelebh; (compare Arabic kelb, "dog"); kuon; and diminutive
kunarion): References to the dog, both in the Old Testament
and in the New Testament, are usually of a contemptuous
character. A dog, and especially a dead dog, is used as a
figure of insignificance. Goliath says to David (1 Sam 17:43
): "Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves?" David
says to Saul (1 Sam 24:14): "After whom dost thou pursue?
after a dead dog, after a flea." Mephibosheth says to David
(2 Sam 9:8): "What is th servant, that thou shouldest look
upon such a dead dog as I am?" The same figure is found in
the words of Hazael to Elisha (2 Ki 8:13). The meaning,
which is obscure in the King James Version, is brought out
well in the Revised Version: "But what is thy servant, who
is but a dog, that he should do this great thing?" The
characteristically oriental interrogative form of these
expressions should be noted.
Other passages express by inference the low esteem in which
dogs are held. Nothing worse could happen to a person than
that his body should be devoured by dogs (1 Ki 14:11; 16:4;
21:19,23, etc.). Job 30:1 says of the youth who deride him
that he disdained to set their fathers with the dogs of his
flock. In Phil 3:2 and Rev 22:15, dogs are coupled with
evil-workers, sorcerers, etc. In Mt 7:6 we read: "Give not
that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls
before the swine."
Job 30:1 (cited above) refers to the use of dogs to guard
flocks; and the comparison of inefficient watchmen with dumb
dogs (Isa 56:10) implies that at least some dogs are useful.
In the apocryphal Book of Tob, Tobias' dog is his companion
on his travels (Tobit 5:16; 11:4; on this see Expository
Times, XI, 258; HDB, IV, 989; Geiger, Civilization of E.
Iranians, I, 85 ff).
There is further the reference to the greyhound (Prov 30:31
English Versions) as one of the four things which are
"stately in their going." But the rendering, "greyhound,"
rests solely upon inference, and is contrary to the
Septuagint and Vulgate, which have respectively alektor and
gallus, i.e. "cock," the King James Version margin "horse."
The Hebrew has zarzir mothnayim, which the King James
Version marginrenders "girt in the loins." the Revised
Version, margin has "warhorse," Hebrew "well girt (or, well
knit) in the loins." In support of the meaning, "girt," for
zarzir, there is the word zer, which, with zarzir, is
assigned to the obsolete root zarar and the Arabic zirr,
"button," from zarr, "to button, "to compress." Further, to
render zarzir by "cock" logically requires a change...
The use of dogs. Some shepherds make use of dogs. When dogs are possessed, they are of value in handling the flock. When traveling, the shepherd usually walks ahead, and the dogs are allowed to bring up the rear. They bark furiously at any intruder among them, and therefore warn of possible danger to the flock. When the sheep are in the fold, then the dogs become the guardians against any possible attack by an enemy. Many a foe of the sheep has been frightened away by the defiant barking of these animals.
The patriarch Job spoke of shepherd dogs: "They that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock" (Job 30:1).
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