M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.
Bibliography InformationEaston, Matthew George. "Entry for Wean". "Easton's Bible Dictionary".
"To wean" in English Versions of the Bible is always the translation of (gamal), but gamal has a much wider force than merely "to wean," signifying "to deal fully with," as in Psalms 13:6, etc. Hence, as applied to a child, gamal covers the whole period of nursing and care until the weaning is complete (1 Kings 11:20). This period in ancient Israel extended to about 3 years, and when it was finished the child was mature enough to be entrusted to strangers (1 Samuel 1:24). And, as the completion of the period marked the end of the most critical stage of the child's life, it was celebrated with a feast (Genesis 21:8), a custom still observed in the Orient. The weaned child, no longer fretting for the breast and satisfied with its mother's affection, is used in Psalms 131:2 as a figure for Israel's contentment with God's care, despite the smallness of earthly possessions. In Isaiah 28:9 there is an ironical question, `Is God to teach you knowledge as if you were children? You should have learned His will long ago!'
Burton Scott Easton
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