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Compass; Compasses

COMPASS; COMPASSES

kum'-pas, kum'-pas-iz:

"Compass," noun, is the translation of chugh, "a circle," "vault" or "arch" ("when he set a compass upon the face of the depth" Proverbs 8:27 the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American), the American Standard Revised Version "circle"; compare Job 26:10; and see CIRCLE; VAULT OF EARTH); of karkobh, "a margin" "border" (Exodus 27:5, "the compass of the altar," the Revised Version (British and American) "the ledge round," so 38:4); the phrase "to fetch a compass" is the translation of sabhabh, "to turn about," "go round about" (Numbers 34:5; Joshua 15:3, the Revised Version (British and American) "turn about," 2 Samuel 5:23; 2 Kings 3:9, the Revised Version (British and American) "make a circuit"); of perierchomai, "to go about" (Acts 28:13, the Revised Version (British and American) "made a circuit"; margin "Some ancient authorities read cast loose"; see CIRCUIT).

"Compasses" is the Revised Version (British and American) for "compass," mechughah, an instrument for describing a circle:

"He marketh it out with the compasses" (Isaiah 44:13) in making an idol.

The verb "to compass" occurs frequently in the senses of "to surround" and "to go round about," e.g. Genesis 2:11, "which compasseth the whole land of Havilah," Deuteronomy 2:1, "We compassed (went around) mount Seir many days"; in Jeremiah 31:22 we have "A new thing on the earth:

a woman shall compass a man," the Revised Version (British and American) "encompass"; possibly as a suitor; but more probably as a protector. In those happy days, the protection of women (under God, 31:28) will be sufficient, while the men are at their work; "to encompass" ("The cords of death compassed me" Psalms 18:4; "the waves of death," 2 Samuel 22:5). "To gird" (Isaiah 50:11 the Revised Version (British and American)); "to lie around," "to be laid around" (Hebrews 5:2, "compassed with infirmity" (clothed with it); Hebrews 12:1, "compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses").

In Apocrypha we have "compassed about with yawning darkness" (The Wisdom of Solomon 19:17); "compassed the circuit of heaven" (Ecclesiasticus 24:5); "compassed with pomegranates of gold" (Ecclesiasticus 45:9); "The rainbow compasseth the heaven" (Ecclesiasticus 43:12); the course of the sun (1 Esdras 4:34).

W. L. Walker


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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'COMPASS; COMPASSES'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.