Boyd's Bible Dictionary: W

Table of Contents

1. Wafer
2. Wages
3. Wagon
4. Walk
5. Well of Partition
6. Walls
7. Wanderings
8. War
9. Ward
10. Wardrobe
11. Wares
12. Washing
13. Watch
14. Water of Jealousy
15. Water of Separation
16. Waterspouts
17. Wave-offering
18. Wax
19. Wean
20. Weapons
21. Weasel
22. Weave
23. Wedding
24. Wedding-garment
25. Week
26. Weights and Measures
27. Well
28. Whale
29. Wheat
30. Whirlwind
31. Whited Sepulchres
32. Widow
33. Wife
34. Wilderness
35. Will
36. Willow
37. Wimple
38. Wind
39. Window
40. Wine
41. Wine-fat, Wine-press
42. Winnow
43. Winter
44. Wise Men
45. Wist
46. Wit
47. Witch
48. Witchcraft
49. Witness
50. Wizard
51. Wolf
52. Woman
53. Wool
54. Word
55. Worm
56. Wormwood
57. Worshipper
58. Wot
59. Writing


(waffle). Among Hebrews a thin cake of fine flour used in offerings. The flour was wheaten and the wafers were unleavened and anointed with oil (Ex. 16:31; 29:2,23; Lev. 2:4; 7:12; 8:26; Num. 6:15,19).


(pledges). The earliest O. T. mention of wages shows that they were paid in kind and not in money (Gen. 29:15,20; 30:28; 31:7-8,41). Wages paid in money are mentioned in N. T. (Matt. 20:2). The Mosaic law was very strict in requiring daily payment of wages (Lev. 19:13; Deut. 24:14-15).


(mover). Wagons of the Hebrews, like those of the ancient Egyptians, were carts, consisting of planks or at most of crude box-like bodies, supported upon axles which connected two solid wooden wheels. They were mostly drawn by oxen or kine (Num. 7:3,8; 1 Sam. 6:3-14).


(move). Walk has figurative use in the Bible to denote the behavior and spiritual character of a person (Ezek. 11:20; Rom. 8:1).

Well of Partition

The allusion in Ephesians 2:14 is to the “wall of partition” which separated the holy of holies from the holy place in Solomon’s temple
(1 Kings 6:31,35).


(palisades). Solid walls limitedly used in Oriental countries for ordinary dwellings, but at times solidly laid and strongly built for palaces and temples, and as a protection to cities. They were of various materials, palisades, clay, cemented pebbles, brick and stone. Houses were frequently erected on the walls of cities, and towers for archers and slingers (Josh. 2:15; Psa. 62:3; Isa. 30:13; Luke 6:48).


(windings). The wilderness wanderings of the Israelites began at Rameses, the place of rendezvous, west of the Red Sea. The time as fixed by modern Egyptologists was during the reign of the Pharaoh Menephthah, B. C. 1317, though another date, B. C. 1491, was for a long time received. After crossing into Arabia, the line of march was southerly to the wilderness of Sinai, where a long halt was made, the law given, the tabernacle built, and the people were numbered (Ex. 15:23,27; 16-40; Lev.; Num. 1-10:12). From Sinai the route was northward to Kadesh near the southern border of Canaan, the time thus far consumed being two years (Num. 13:26). Here they were condemned to further wilderness wanderings for a period of thirty-eight years. This period was seemingly one devoted to nomadic existence like that of other Arabian tribes. When the time came for another move on Canaan, the route lay around the head of the Gulf of Akaba and thence eastward and northward to Moab and the Jordan crossing (Num. 33:48-49).


(embroil). Primitive Hebrew weapons were clubs, arrows, slings, swords, and spears. No army divisions except those indicated by the tribes. The contests of this period often hand-to-hand and brutal (2 Sam. 1:23; 2:18; 1 Chron. 12:8; 2 Chron. 13:17). Many of the modern stratagems employed, as the double attack (Gen. 14:15); ambush (Josh. 8:12); false retreat (Judg. 20:37); night attack (2 Kings 7:12). Sometimes battles were settled by single-handed combats (1 Sam. 17; 2 Sam. 2:15-16; 1 Chron. 11:6). King David’s army was divided into regularly disciplined and officered bands under a general-in-chief (2 Sam. 18:1-2; 23:8-39; 1 Chron. 11:25-47; 12; 27). He introduced the heavier weapons, such as catapults and battering-rams for siege-work and chariots for fieldwork (2 Sam. 8:4). Soldiers killed in action were plundered (1 Sam. 31:8); survivors were mutilated or killed (Judg. 1:6; 9:45; 2 Sam. 12:31; 2 Chron. 25:12); or carried into captivity (Num. 31:26).


(watch). A guard-room or lock-up (Gen. 40:3; Acts 12:10). A garrison or military post (Neh. 12:25). A detachment of persons, guard, for any purpose (1 Chron. 9:23; Neh. 13:30).


(watch-robe). Place where the royal robes and priest’s vestments were kept under watch or care (2 Kings 22:14).




The custom of washing hands before meals or of feet after a journey or on entering a stranger’s house was not only a polite ceremony but a religious observance
(Matt. 15:2; Mark 7:3; Luke 11:38). After the salutation the first act of hospitality was to proffer a basin of water to the guest for washing the feet (Gen. 18:4; Ex. 30:19,21; Judg. 19:21; 1 Sam. 25:41; Luke 7:37-38,44; John 13:5-14).


(wake). The Hebrew night was divided into three watches, indeed of hours. The first was called “the beginning of watches,” beginning at sunset and lasting till 10 P. M. (Lam. 2:19): the second, the “middle watch,” from 10 P. M till 2 A. M. (Judg. 7:19); the “morning watch,” from 2 A. M. till sunrise (Ex. 14:24; 1 Sam. 11:11). After the captivity the Jews gradually adopted the Greek and Roman division of the eight into twelve hours of four watches; “evening,” 6 to 9; “midnight,” 9 to 12; “cock-crowing,” 12 to 3; “morning,” 3 to 6 (Matt. 14:25; Mark 13:35; Luke 12:38).

Water of Jealousy

The jealous husband brought his suspected wife before the priest, with her offering of barley meal, without oil or frankincense, in her hand
The priest took holy water in an earthen vessel in his hand and sprinkled it with the dust of the floor. Then the priest administered the oath to her. If she confessed to guilt she was compelled to drink the water, and stood accursed. If otherwise, she was allowed to go free (Num. 5:12-31).

Water of Separation

The preparation and use of the water of separation are described
(Num. 19).


The word translated “waterspouts”
(Psa. 42:7) is rendered “gutter” (2 Sam. 5:8).


The wave-offering, together with the heave-offering, was a part of the peace-offering
The right shoulder of the victim, which was considered the choicest part, was “heaved” or held up in the sight of the Lord, and was to be eaten only by the priests and their families. The breast portion was “waved” before the Lord and eaten by the worshippers. On the second day of the passover feast, a sheaf of wheat and an unblemished lamb of the first year were waved (Ex. 29:24-27; Lev. 7:30-34; 8:27; 9:21; 10:14-15; 23:10-20; Num. 6:20; 18:11-18,26-29).


Wax in its original sense, an animal product as of bees, is frequently used in Scripture as a means of illustration
(Psa. 68:2; 97:5; Mic. 1:4).


(accustom). Weaning-time a festal occasion, and probably late (Gen. 21:8; 2 Chron. 31:16).




It is thought that “mole” would be a better translation
(Lev. 11:29).


Most ancient nations knew the art of weaving
The Egyptians were skilled weavers (Gen. 41:42). That the Hebrews brought the art along with them from bondage is clear from the fabrics manufactured in the wilderness: goat-hair covers, linen curtains (Ex. 26:1-13); embroidered raiment (Ex. 28:4,39); woolen garments (Lev. 13:47). Though the loom is not mentioned, its various parts are, as the shuttle, beam (1 Sam. 17:7; 2 Kings 23:7; 1 Chron. 4:21; Job 7:6; Prov. 31:13,24; Isa. 38:12).




A special garment, required to be worn at marriage-suppers, seems to have been furnished by the host
(Matt. 22:11).


The division of time into weeks of seven days each dates from the earliest historic times among many and wide-apart nations
The Hebrew week began on our Sunday, their Sabbath being the seventh day or Saturday. The only day of their week they named was the Sabbath. The rest ran by numbers, as first, second, third, and so forth. Besides their week of days, Hebrews had their week of years, every seven years, and their week of seven times seven years, or year of jubilee, every fiftieth year (Gen. 8:10; 29:27). The “feast of weeks” corresponded with Pentecost (Ex. 23:15; 34:22; Lev. 23:15-22; Num. 28).

Weights and Measures

The standard of Hebrew weights and measures was kept in the sanctuary
(Lev. 19:35-36). A copy of said standard was kept in the household (Deut. 25:13-16). The destruction of the ancient standard with the tabernacle led to the adoption of the various weights and measures of such countries as the Hebrews happened to be subject to or in commercial interaction with. Hence the subject of Hebrew weights and measures is full of perplexity and uncertainty. See various weights and measures under their respective headings.


(boil). Wells were of great importance in Palestine (Gen. 24:11; Num. 20:17-19; Judg. 7:1). They were sometimes deep (John 4:11); frequently owned in common (Gen. 29:2-3); covered at times with a stone and surrounded by a low wall to protect them from drifting sand (Gen. 29:2-8); to stop them up an act of hostility (Gen. 26:15-16); to invade them a cause for contention (Gen. 21:25); water sometimes drawn by sweeps or windlasses, but generally by a bucket attached to a rope, and in some cases steps led down to them (Gen. 21:25-31; Judg. 1:13-15; 1 Sam. 29:1); emblem of blessings (Jer. 2:13; 17:13).
Ancient Well


The Hebrew original translated “great whales”
(Gen. 1:21) is used of “serpents” (Ex. 7:9; Deut. 32:33), and of the “crocodile” (Ezek. 29:3; 32:2). The name belongs to sea monsters (Job 7:12; Isa. 27:1). It is thought that the shark of the Mediterranean is meant (Jonah 1:17; Matt. 12:40).


This well-known cereal was cultivated in the East from the earliest times
(Gen. 30:14), and grew luxuriantly and of many varieties in Egypt (Gen. 41:22). Syria and Palestine were both fine wheat-growing countries (Psa. 81:16; 147:14; Matt. 13:8). Wheat-harvest denoted a well-known season (Gen. 30:14).


Whirlwinds of great violence and frequency were well-known desert visitations and gave rise to many Scripture metaphors
(Job 37:9; Isa. 17:13).

Whited Sepulchres

Inasmuch as contact with the burial place was a cause of ceremonial defilement
(Num. 19:16), sepulchres were whitewashed that they might be seen and avoided (Matt. 23:27).


(lack). When a married man died without children, his brother, if still living with the family, had a right under the law to marry the widow in order to preserve the family name and inheritance (Deut. 25:5-6; Matt. 22:23-30). Other provisions of the Mosaic law show great consideration for widows (Ex. 22:22; Deut. 14:29; 16:11,14; 24:19-21; 26:12; 27:19).




(place of wild beasts). Like the word desert, wilderness does not necessarily imply an absolutely arid, sandy, and uninhabitable place, but an uncultivated waste, which it was possible for pastoral tribes to occupy, and with stretches of pasturage (Josh. 15:61; Isa. 42:11). The wilderness of wandering in which the Israelites spent forty years (Deut. 1:1; Josh. 5:6; Neh. 9:19,21; Psa. 78:40-52; 107:4; Jer. 2:2), was practically the great peninsula of Sinai lying between Seir, Edom, and Gulf of Akaba on the east, and Gulf of Suez and Egypt on the west. It embraced many minor divisions or wildernesses, as those of Sin or Zin, Paran, Shur, Etham, and Sinai. [WANDERINGS.]


The laws respecting realty rendered wills useless, but nuncupative disposition of personalty seems to be implied
(2 Sam. 17:23; 2 Kings 20:1; Isa. 38:1).


Before the captivity the willow was an emblem of joy
(Lev. 23:40; Job 40:22; Isa. 44:4); but in allusion to the captivity, the weeping willow of Babylonia became the poetical type of sorrow (Psa. 137:2). The “brook of willows” (Isa. 15:7), was in the land of Moab, and is called “valley of Arabians” in margin.


In a Bible sense, a hood or veil
(Isa. 3:22), or a mantle or shawl (Ruth 3:15).


(blow). Hebrews recognized the cardinal winds in their “four winds,” north, south, east, west (Ezek. 37:9; Dan. 8:8; Zech. 2:6; Matt. 24:31). The east wind injured vegetation (Gen. 41:6; Job 1:19; Isa. 27:8). The south wind brought heat (Luke 12:55). The southwest and north winds brought clear cool weather (Job 37:9,22; Prov. 25:23). The west wind, coming from the Mediterranean, brought rain.


(wind-eye). In primitive Oriental houses the windows were simply openings upon the inner or court side of houses. But on the street or public side there were frequently latticed projections both for ventilation and sitting purposes (2 Kings 9:30; Judg. 5:28); probably the casements of Prov. 7:6; Song of Sol. 2:9).


(drink). The Hebrews manufactured and used wine from earliest times (Gen. 9:20-21; 19:32; 27:25; 49:12; Job 1:18; Prov. 23:30-31; Isa. 5:11). A usual drink-offering at the daily sacrifices (Ex. 29:40); at the presentation of first fruits (Lev. 23:13); and at other offerings (Num. 15:5). It was tithable (Deut. 18:4). Nazarites could not drink it during their vow (Num. 6:3), nor priests before service (Lev. 10:9).

Wine-fat, Wine-press

The Hebrew wine-fat, vat, or press, consisted of an upper and lower receptacle, the former for treading the grapes, the latter for catching the juice
(Isa. 63:3; Joel 3:13; Hag. 2:16).


(wind). The process of winnowing or winding grain was that of tossing the mixed chaff and kernels into the air, on a high, windy spot, with a fork or shovel, so that the wind could carry the chaff away. The floor on which the kernels fell was usually clean and solid, and when not so, a sheet was used to catch the grains (Isa. 30:24; 41:16; Matt. 3:12). Evening was the favorite winnowing time because the breezes were then steadiest (Ruth 3:2).


Winters in Palestine are short, lasting from December till February
(Song of Sol. 2:11).

Wise Men

(Matt. 2:1). [MAGI.]


Same as “knew”
(Ex. 16:15; Acts 12:9; 23:5).


(know). To become aware, learn, know (Gen. 24:21; Ex. 2:4).


(wizard). One who pretends to deal with evil spirits in order to work a spell on persons or their belongings; conjurer, fortune-teller, exorcist, supernatural curer of diseases (Deut. 18:10; 1 Sam. 28:3-25). The word formerly embraced both sexes, but is now applied to women. Witches were not allowed to live (Ex. 22:18).


The occult practices of witches and wizards
(1 Sam. 15:23). The art, the pretender, and the person deceived were alike denounced (Lev. 20:6; Nah. 3:4; Gal. 5:20).


(see). Under the Mosaic law at least two witnesses were required to establish a capital charge (Num. 35:30; Deut. 17:6-7). False swearing forbidden (Ex. 20:16; Lev. 6:1-7).


(cunning). A male witch (Lev. 20:27).


Wolves of Palestine were numerous and the dread of shepherds, as they were a terrible enemy to sheep
(Matt. 7:15; 10:16; John 10:12; Acts 20:29). A wolf typed the rapacity of Benjamin (Gen. 49:27); and the cruelty of Israel’s oppression (Ezek. 22:27); and the destruction of the wicked (Jer. 5:6).


(wife-man). Hebrew women cared for the household (Gen. 18:6); carried water (Gen. 24:15); tended flocks (Gen. 29:6); spun (Ex. 35:26); made clothes (1 Sam. 2:19); acted as hostess and guest on social occasions (Job 1:4; John 2:3; 12:2); prophesied, composed, sang, and danced (Ex. 15:20-21; Judg. 11:31; 21:21); feted (1 Sam. 18:6-7); held public positions (Judg. 4; 5; 2 Kings 22:14; Neh. 6:14; Luke 2:36); were workers in the Church (Acts 18:18,26; Rom. 16:1).


A highly prized material for clothing among Hebrews
(Lev. 13:47; Job 31:20; Prov. 31:13; Ezek. 27:18; 34:3). Mixed woolen and linen fabrics forbidden (Lev. 19:19; Deut. 22:11).


The logos, or Word, in John 1:1-14; 1 John 1:1; Revelation 19:13, stands for the Son of God, the Word incarnate


Many Hebrew words are translated worm, all indicative of something loathsome, destructive, helpless, or insignificant, as the moth
(Isa. 51:8); maggot (Job 19:26); possibly the serpent (Mic. 7:17). The allusion (Isa. 64:24; Mark 9:44-48), is thought to be to the valley near Jerusalem where the refuse of the city constantly bred worms and where fires were kept burning to consume the collections. The helplessness of the worm affords the figures (Job 25:6; Psa. 22:6; Isa. 41:14).


A bitter plant found in Palestine, and often mentioned in Scripture in connection with gall to denote what is offensive and nauseous
(Deut. 29:18; Prov. 5:4; Jer. 9:15; 23:15; Lam. 3:15,19; Amos 5:7).


(Acts 19:35). The word should be temple-keeper as in marg. and in R. V.


“Wotteth not”
(Gen. 39:8), means “knows not.”


The first mention of writing in the Bible is in Exodus 17:14
The art among Hebrews was limited to persons of learning and position and to the class of scribes (Isa. 29:11-12). [SCRIBE.] The oldest Semitic writings are the bricks and tablets of Nineveh and Babylon. The Hebrew alphabet was a development of the Phoenician, and it underwent many changes in the course of time. The record of Sinai was written on stone with the finger of God (Ex. 31:18; 32:15-19; 34:1-29). Later materials were wax, wood, metal, or plaster (Deut. 27:2; Josh. 8:32; Luke 1:63); and perhaps vellum, or fine parchment from skins, and linen were in early use for other than monumental writings, as they surely were at a later day (2 Tim. 4:13). Pliable substances, when written upon, were rolled on sticks, sealed and preserved as books (Psa. 40:7; Isa. 29:11; Dan. 12:4; Rev. 5:1). Hebrews doubtless knew the use of papyrus (2 John 12). Rolls were generally written upon one side only, except (Ezek. 2:9-10; Rev. 5:1). Hebrew instruments of writing were the stylus and graver for hard materials (Ex. 32:4; Job 19:24; Psa. 45.1; Isa. 8:1; Jer. 8:8; 17:1); and for pliable materials, a reed pen (2 Cor. 3:3; 2 John 12; 3 John 13). Paul used an amanuensis, but authenticated his letters in a few lines with his own pen (1 Cor. 16:21; Col. 4:18; 2 Thess. 3:17). Ancient ink was made of pulverized charcoal or burnt ivory in water to which gum had been added. It was carried in an ink-horn suspended to the girdle (Ezek. 9:3-4
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