760. The "Bosom.”

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The term “bosom” frequently refers, in Oriental usage, to the folds of the garment as they extend beyond and droop over the girdle. This part of the dress is also called the “lap.”‘ See 2 Kings 4:3939And one went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine, and gathered thereof wild gourds his lap full, and came and shred them into the pot of pottage: for they knew them not. (2 Kings 4:39), and see also note on Neh. 5:1313Also I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labor, that performeth not this promise, even thus be he shaken out, and emptied. And all the congregation said, Amen, and praised the Lord. And the people did according to this promise. (Nehemiah 5:13) (#380). It is used as a receptacle for various articles, as pockets are used with us; though some things are deposited there which we would not put into our pockets. Fathers sometimes carried their children here. See Numbers 11:1212Have I conceived all this people? have I begotten them, that thou shouldest say unto me, Carry them in thy bosom, as a nursing father beareth the sucking child, unto the land which thou swarest unto their fathers? (Numbers 11:12) and note on Isaiah 49:2222Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and set up my standard to the people: and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders. (Isaiah 49:22) (#522). Here also the shepherd carried the lambs. See 2 Sam 12:3; Isaiah 40:1111He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. (Isaiah 40:11). To this custom of making a receptacle of the folds of the dress there are frequent allusions. See Job 31:3333If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom: (Job 31:33); Psalm 79:12; 89:50; 129:712And render unto our neighbors sevenfold into their bosom their reproach, wherewith they have reproached thee, O Lord. (Psalm 79:12)
50Remember, Lord, the reproach of thy servants; how I do bear in my bosom the reproach of all the mighty people; (Psalm 89:50)
7Wherewith the mower filleth not his hand; nor he that bindeth sheaves his bosom. (Psalm 129:7)
; Proverbs 6:27; 17:23; 21:1427Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? (Proverbs 6:27)
23A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment. (Proverbs 17:23)
14A gift in secret pacifieth anger: and a reward in the bosom strong wrath. (Proverbs 21:14)
; Isaiah 65:66Behold, it is written before me: I will not keep silence, but will recompense, even recompense into their bosom, (Isaiah 65:6).
This is the custom referred to in the text; though we are not authorized to infer, as some have strangely done, that grain and other articles that are measured in the way suggested in the text were literally carried in the bosom. The figure is double, and the design is to express the reflex benefits of good deeds; they will come back in full measure to bless the giver.