Friday, October 29, 2010

Bible Culture and Customs Part 4

Referring to women. Amos gave a prophecy to the “cows of Bashan(Amos 4:1), referring to the ruling women of Israel, and Samson said the Philistines “plowed with my heifer(Judg. 14:18), referring to his young wife. Most cultures have idiomatic references to women, and one way women were referred to in the Bible was “cows,” with the young women being heifers. Biblically, this was not the insult that it seems to us today, because cows were valuable, closely watched over, and generally well cared for.

Foxes. The word “fox” is another word that does not translate well into English when used idiomatically. Jesus called Herod a “fox(Luke 13:32), meaning he was a pest. Biblically, the fox was not a dangerous animal like the lion or bear, but was more of a pest animal. In the English of the 20th century, someone who was a “fox” was considered a sly, sneaky person. Today, if you call a woman a “fox” it means she is sexy.

The last few postings have been tiny samplings about the details of scripture and the ways that their meanings are sometimes hidden from a casual reader. I hope some helpful tidbits were gleaned.


  1. You can keep throwing tidbits at us until the 'cows' come home...ha. I'm grateful to you for every single morsel.

  2. Thanks for the laugh re: cows, Jolene.