This obsolete word occurs twice:
(1) in Nahum 3:6, as the translation of ro'i, "a sight" or "spectacle" (from ra'ah, "to look," "see," also "to look down upon," "despise,"); "I will .... make thee vile, and will set thee as a gazing-stock," as one set up to be gazed at, mocked and despised--a form of punishment in olden times; compare "mocking stock" (2 Macc 7:7), and "laughing-stock" still in use. The Hebrew word occurs only here and in Genesis 16:13; 1 Samuel 16:12; Job 7:8; 33:21, in which places it does not have the same bad meaning; for a similar threatening compare Isaiah 14:16; Jeremiah 51:37.
(2) In Hebrews 10:33, it is the translation of theatrizo, "to bring upon the theater," "to be made a spectacle of," "made a gazing stock both by reproaches and afflictions"; compare 1 Corinthians 4:9, theatron ginomai, where Paul says the apostles were "made a spectacle unto the world," the King James Version margin "(Greek) theater." The reference in both instances is to the custom of exhibiting criminals, and especially gladiators, men doomed to death, in theaters. "In the morning men are exposed to lions and bears; at mid-day to their spectators; those that kill are exposed to one another; the victor is detained for another slaughter; the conclusion of the fight is death" (Seneca, Ep. vii, quoted by Dr. A. Clarke on 1 Corinthians 4:9). We are apt to forget what the first preachers and professors of Christianity had to endure.
W. L. Walker
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