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Swine [EBD]

(Heb. hazir), regarded as the most unclean and the most abhorred of all animals (Lev. 11:7; Isa. 65:4; 66:3, 17; Luke 15:15, 16). A herd of swine were drowned in the Sea of Galilee (Luke 8:32, 33). Spoken of figuratively in Matt. 7:6 (see Prov. 11:22). It is frequently mentioned as a wild animal, and is evidently the wild boar (Arab. khanzir), which is common among the marshes of the Jordan valley (Ps. 80:13).

Swine [NAVE]

Forbidden as food, Lev. 11:7; Deut. 14:8.
Used for food, Isa. 65:4; 66:17; for sacrifice, Isa. 66:3.
Wild boar, Psa. 80:13.
Jewels in the nose of, Prov. 11:22.
Viciousness of, Matt. 7:6.
Jesus sends devils into, Matt. 8:28-32; Mark 5:11-14; Luke 8:32, 33.
Feeding of, Luke 15:15, 16.
Sow returns to her wallow, 2 Pet. 2:22.


(Heb. chazir). The flesh of swine was forbidden as food by the Levitical law, (Leviticus 11:7; 14:8) the abhorrence which the Jews as a nation had of it may be inferred from (Isaiah 65:4) and 2 Macc 6:18,19. No other reason for the command to abstain from swine?s flesh is given in the law of Moses beyond the general one which forbade any of the mammalia as food which did not literally fulfill the terms of the definition of a clean animal" viz,, that it was to be a cloven-footed ruminant. It is, however, probable that dietetical considerations may have influenced Moses in his prohibition of swine?s flesh: it is generally believed that its use in hot countries is liable to induce cutaneous disorders; hence in a people liable to leprosy the necessity for the observance of a strict rule. Although the Jews did not breed swine during the greater period of their existence as a nation there can be little doubt that the heathen nations of Palestine used the flesh as food. At the time of our Lord?s ministry it would appear that the Jews occasionally violated the law of Moses with regard to swine?s flesh. Whether "the herd of swine" into which the devils were allowed to enter, (Matthew 8:32; Mark 5:13) were the property of the Jewish or of the Gentile inhabitants of Gadara does not appear from the sacred narrative. The wild boar of the wood, (Psalms 80:13) is the common Sus scrofa which is frequently met with in the woody parts of Palestine, especially in Mount Tabor.


SWINE - swin (chazir; compare Arabic khinzir; hus, Septuagint and New Testament; compare Greek sus, and Latin sus; adjective hueios, as a substantive, the Septuagint; choiros, Septuagint and New Testament): In both ancient and modern times domestic swine have been little kept in Palestine, but wild swine are well known as inhabitants of the thickets of the Chuleh, the Jordan valley, the Dead Sea, and some of the mountains. The species is Susanna scrofa, the wild pig of Europe, North Africa and Western Asia.

In the Old Testament the swine is mentioned in Lev 11:7 and Dt 14:8 as an unclean animal: "And the swine, because he parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, but cheweth not the cud, he is unclean unto you." In Isa 65:4 and 66:3,17 the eating of swine's flesh and the offering of oblations of swine's blood are referred to as abominations. Septuagint also refers to swine in three passages where these animals are not mentioned in the Hebrew and EV. In 2 Sam 17:8 where English Versions of the Bible has "as a bear robbed of her whelps in the field," Septuagint adds (translation) "and as a savage boar in the plain." In 1 Ki 21:19 Septuagint 20:19), where English Versions of the Bible has "in the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth," Septuagint has "where the swine and the dogs licked"; similarly in 1 Ki 22:38. In 1 Macc 1:47 there is reference to a decree of Antiochus ordering the sacrifice of swine. In 2 Macc 6 and 7 there are accounts of the torture and death of Eleazar, an aged scribe, and of a mother and her seven sons for refusing to taste swine's flesh. Swine, the property of Gentiles, are mentioned in the account of the Gadarene demoniac (Mt 8:30,31,32; Mk 5:11,12,13,14,16; Lk 8:32,33), and in the parable of the Prodigal Son (Lk 15:15,16).

Figurative: We find the following figurative references to swine:

"The boar out of the wood doth ravage it,

And the wild beasts of the field feed on it" (i.e. on the "vine out of Egypt") (Ps 80:13);

"As a ring of gold in a swine's snout,

So is a fair woman that is without discretion"

(Prov 11:22);

"The Carmonians (the King James Version Carmanians, perhaps of Kirman or Carmania, in Southwestern Persia) raging in wrath shall go forth as the wild boars of the wood"

(2 Esdras 15:30);

"The dog turning to his own vomit again, and the sow that had washed to wallowing in the mire"

(2 Pet 2:22; compare Prov 26:11).

Alfred Ely Day

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