Heb. 'eglah, ( Deuteronomy 21:4 Deuteronomy 21:6 ; Jeremiah 46:20 ). Untrained to the yoke ( Hosea 10:11 ); giving milk ( Isaiah 7:21 ); ploughing ( Judges 14:18 ); treading out grain ( Jeremiah 50:11 ); unsubdued to the yoke an emblem of Judah ( Isaiah 15:5 ; Jeremiah 48:34 ).
Heb. parah ( Genesis 41:2 ; Numbers 19:2 ). Bearing the yoke ( Hosea 4:16 ); "heifers of Bashan" ( Amos 4:1 ), metaphorical for the voluptuous females of Samaria. The ordinance of sacrifice of the "red heifer" described in Numbers 19:1-10 ; Compare Hebrews 9:13 .
( 1 Samuel 6:7-12 ; Job 21:10 ; Isaiah 7:21 ) The heifer or young cow was not commonly used for ploughing, but only for treading out the corn. ( Hosea 10:11 ) but see Judg 14:18 when it ran about without any headstall, ( 26:4 ) hence the expression an "unbroken heifer," ( Hosea 4:16 ) Authorized Version "backsliding" to which Israel is compared.
hef'-er (parah, in Numbers 19 (see following article) and Hosea 4:16; `eghlah, elsewhere in the Old Testament; damalis, in Hebrews 9:13):For the "heifer of three years old" in the King James Version, the Revised Version margin of Isaiah 15:5; Jeremiah 48:34, see EGLATH-SHELISHIYAH. A young cow (contrast BULLOCK). The `eghlah figures specifically in religious rites only in the ceremony of Deuteronomy 21:1-9 for the cleansing of the land, where an unexpiated murder had been committed. This was not a sacrificial rite--the priests are witnesses only, and the animal was slain by breaking the neck--but sacrificial purity was required for the heifer. Indeed, it is commonly supposed that the rite as it now stands is a rededication of one that formerly had been sacrificial. In the sacrifices proper the heifer could be used for a peace offering (Leviticus 3:1), but was forbidden for the burnt (Leviticus 1:3) or sin (Leviticus 4:3,14) offerings. Hence, the sacrifice of 1 Samuel 16:2 was a peace offering. In Genesis 15:9 the ceremony of the ratification of the covenant by God makes use of a heifer and a she-goat, but the reason for the use of the females is altogether obscure. Compare following article.
The heifer appears as representing sleekness combined with helplessness in Jeremiah 46:20 (compare the comparison of the soldiers to `stalled calves' in the next verse). In Jeremiah 50:11; Hosea 10:11, the heifer is pictured as engaged in threshing. This was particularly light work, coupled with unusually abundant food (Deuteronomy 25:4), so that the threshing heifer served especially well for a picture of contentment. ("Wanton" in Jeremiah 50:11, however, is an unfortunate translation in the Revised Version (British and American).) Hosea, in contrast, predicts that the "heifers" shall be set to the hard work of plowing and breaking the sods. In Judges 14:18, Samson uses "heifer" in his riddle to refer to his wife. This, however, was not meant to convey the impression of licentiousness that it gives the modern reader.
Burton Scott Easton
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