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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Lamb

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is the representative of several Hebrew and Greek words in the A.V., some of which have wide and others distinctive meanings. (See EWE).

1. The most usual term, כֶּבֶשׂ , ke'bes (with its transposed form כֶּשֶׂב, ke'seb, and the feminines בַּבְשָׂה, kibsah', or כִּבְשָׂה ' kabs, kabsh', and כַּשְׂבָּה, kisbah'), denotes a male lamb from the first to the third year. The former, perhaps, more nearly coincide with the provincial term hog or hogget, which is applied to a young ram before he is shorn. The corresponding word in Arabic, according to Gesenius, denotes a ram at that period when he has lost his first two teeth and four others make their appearance, which happens in the second or third year. Young rams of this age formed an important part of almost every sacrifice. They were offered at the daily morning and evening sacrifice (Exodus 29:38-41), on the Sabbath day (Numbers 28:9), at the feasts of the new moon (Numbers 28:11), of trumpets (Numbers 29:2), of tabernacles (Numbers 29:13-40), of Pentecost (Leviticus 23:18-20), and of the Passover (Exodus 12:5). They were brought by the princes of the congregation as burnt-offerings at the dedication of the tabernacle (Numbers 7), and were offered on solemn occasions like the consecration of Aaron (Leviticus 9:3), the coronation of Solomon (1 Chronicles 29:21), the purification of the Temple under Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 29:21), and the great Passover held in the reign of Josiah (2 Chronicles 35:7). They formed part of the sacrifice offered at the purification of women after childbirth (Leviticus 12:6), and at the cleansing of a leper (Leviticus 14:10-25). They accompanied the presentation of first-fruits (Leviticus 23:12). When the Nazarites commenced their period of separation they offered a he-lamb for a trespass-offering (Numbers 6:12), and at its conclusion a he-lamb was sacrificed as a burnt-offering, and a ewe-lamb as a sin-offering (Numbers 5:14). A ewe-lamb was also the offering for the sin of ignorance (Leviticus 4:32). (See SACRIFICE).

2. The corresponding Chaldee term to the above is אַמִּר, inmmar' (Ezra 6:9; Ezra 6:17; Ezra 7:17). In the Targum it assumes the form אַימְרָא

3. A special term is טָלֶה , taleh' (1 Samuel 7:9; Isaiah 65:25), a young sucking lamb; originally the young of any animal. The noun from the same root in Arabic signifies "a fawn," in Ethiopic "a kid," in Samaritan "a boy," while in Syriac it denotes "a boy," and in the feminine "a girl." Hence "Talitha kumi," "Damsel, arise!" (Mark 5:41). The plural of a cognate form occurs ( טְלַי tell') in Isaiah 40:11.

4. Less exact is כִּר, car, a fat ram, or, more probably, "wether," as the word is generally employed in opposition to ayil, which strictly denotes a "ram" (Deuteronomy 32:14, 2 Kings 3:4; Isaiah 34:6). Mesha, king of Moab, sent tribute to the king of Israel 100,000 fat wethers; and this circumstance is made use of by K. Joseph Kimchi to explain Isaiah 16:1, which he regards as an exhortation to the Moabites to renew their tribute. The Tyrians obtained their supply from Arabia and Kedar (Ezekiel 27:21), and the pastures of Bashan were famous as grazing- grounds (Ezekiel 39:18). (See RAM)

5. Still more general is צֹאן, tson, rendered "lamb" in Exodus 12:21, properly a collective term denoting a "flock" of small cattle, sheep and goats, in distinction from herds of the larger animals (Ecclesiastes 2:7; Ezekiel 45:15). (See FLOCK).

6. In opposition to this collective term the word שֶׂה , seh is applied to denote the individuals of a flock, whether sheep or goats; and hence, though "lamb" is in many passages the rendering of the A.V., the marginal reading gives "kid" (Genesis 22:7-8; Exodus 12:3; Exodus 22:1, etc.). Smith, s.v. (See KID).

7. In the N.T. we find ἀρνίον (strictly the diminutive of ἀρήν , which latter once occurs, Luke 10:1), a lambkisn, the almost exclusive word, ἄμνος being only employed in a few passages, directly referring to Christ, as noticed below.

It appears that originally the paschal victim might be indifferently of the goats or of the sheep (Exodus 12:3-5). In later times, however, the offspring of sheep appears to have been almost uniformly taken, and in sacrifices generally, with the exception of the sin-offering on the great day of atonement. Sundry peculiar enactments are contained in the same law respecting the qualities of the animal (Exodus 22:30; Exodus 33:19; Leviticus 22:27). (See PASSOVER).

In the symbolical language of Scripture the lamb is the type of meekness and innocence (Isaiah 11:6; Isaiah 65:25; Luke 10:3; John 21:15). (See SHEEP).

The hypocritical assumption of this meekness, and the carrying on of persecution under a show of charity to the souls of men, and bestowing absolutions and indulgences on those who conform to its rules, appears to have given rise to the application of this otherwise sacred title to Antichrist (Revelation 13:11): "And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon." This evidently has reference to the ostensibly mild and tolerant character of the pagan forms of religion, which nevertheless, in the end, were found cooperating with the relentless secular power. It finds a fit counterpart in the Jesuitical pretensions of Romanism. (See ANTICHRIST).

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

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