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Infirmity

INFIRMITY

in-fur'-mi-ti (dawah, chalah, machalah; astheneia):

This word is used either in the singular or plural (the latter only in the New Testament) and with somewhat varying signification.

(1) As sickness or bodily disease (John 5:5; Matthew 8:17; Luke 5:15; 8:2; 1 Timothy 5:23). In the last instance the affections seem to have been dyspeptic, the discomfort of which might be relieved by alcohol, although the disease would not be cured thereby. It is probable that this condition of body produced a certain slackness in Timothy's work against which Paul several times cautions him. In Luke 7:21 the Revised Version (British and American) has "diseases," which is a better rendering of the Greek noson, used here, than the King James Version "infirmities."

(2) Imperfections or weaknesses of body (Romans 6:19; 2 Corinthians 11:30 the King James Version; 2 Corinthians 12:5,9,10 the King James Version; Galatians 4:13).

(3) Moral or spiritual weaknesses and defects (Psalms 77:10; Romans 8:26; 15:1; Hebrews 4:15; 5:2; 7:28). In this sense it is often used by the classic English writers, as in Milton's "the last infirmity of noble minds"; compare Caesar, IV, iii, 86. The infirmity which a man of resolution can keep under by his will (Proverbs 18:14) may be either moral or physical. In Luke 13:11 the woman's physical infirmity is ascribed to the influence of an evil spirit.

Alexander Macalister


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