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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Hedge

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the rendering in the A.V. (besides derivatives from סוּךְ or סָכִךְ,. rendered as a verb), 1, of three words from the same root (גָּדִר ), which, as well as their Greek equivalent (φραγμός), denotes simply that which surrounds or encloses, whether it be a stone wall ( גֵּדֵר ge'der, Proverbs 24:31; Ezekiel 42:10) or a fence of other materials. גָּדֵר, gader', and גְּדֵרָה, gederah', are used of the hedge of a vineyard (Numbers 22:24; Psalms 89:40; 1 Chronicles 4:23); and the latter is employed to describe the wide walls of stone, or fences of thorn, which served as a shelter for sheep in winter and summer (Numbers 32:16). The stone walls which surround the sheepfolds of modern Palestine are frequently crowned with sharp thorns (Thomson, Land and Book, 1, 299), a custom at least as ancient as the time of Homer (Od. 14, 10), when a kind of prickly pear (ἄχερδος ) was used for that purpose, as well as for the fences of cornfields at a later period (Arist. Eccl. 355). In order to protect the vineyards from the ravages of wild beasts (Psalms 80:12), it was customary to surround them with a wall of loose stones or mud (Matthew 21:33; Mark 12:1), which was a favorite haunt of serpents (Ecclesiastes 10:8), and a retreat for locusts from the cold (Nahum 3:17). Such walls are described by Maundrell as surrounding the gardens of Damascus. "They are built of great pieces of earth, made in the fashion of brick and hardened in the sun. In their dimensions they are each two yards long and somewhat more than one broad, and half a yard thick. Two rows of these, placed one upon another, make a cheap, expeditious, and, in this dry country, a durable wall" (Early Travels in Pal. p. 487). A wall or fence of this kind is clearly distinguished in Isaiah 5:5 from the tangled hedge, 2, מְשׂוּכָה, mzesukah' 1(מְסוּכָח, Micah 7:4), which was planted as an additional safeguard to the vineyard (comp. Sirach 28:24), and was composed of the thorny shrubs with which Palestine abounds. The prickly pear, a species of cactus, so frequently employed for this purpose in the East at present, is believed to be of comparatively modern introduction. The aptness of the comparison of a tangled hedge of thorn to the difficulties which a slothful man conjures up as an excuse for his inactivity will at once be recognized (Proverbs 15:19; comp. Hosea 2:6). The narrow paths between the hedges of the vineyards and gardens, : with a fence on this side and a fence on that side" (Numbers 22:24), are distinguished from the ~" highways," or more frequented tracks, in Luke 14:23 (Hackett, Illustra. of Scripture, p. 166; Trench, On the Parables, p. 193). Smith, s.v.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Hedge'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/h/hedge.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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