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A Compendium of Bible Words
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE)
James Orr, M.A., D.D., General Editor - 1915
wid'-o ('almanah; chera): In the Old Testament widows are considered to be under the special care of Yahweh (Psalms 68:5; 146:9; Proverbs 15:25). Sympathetic regard for them comes to be viewed as a mark of true religion (Job 31:16; James 1:27). Deuteronomy is rich in counsel in their behalf (24:17, etc.).
The word is first mentioned in the New Testament in Acts 6:1: "There arose a murmuring of the Grecian Jews against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration." Paul charges that they be particularly cared for, especially those that are "widows indeed," i.e. poor, without support and old (1Timothy 5:2-16). Some try to find proof in this passage of that ecclesiastical order of widows mentioned in post-apostolic writings.
See LITERATURE, SUB-APOSTOLIC; WOMAN, IV, 5.
George B. Eager
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary
New York, American Tract society [c1859], Rand, W. W. (William Wilberforce), 1816-1909, ed.
A custom was prevalent in patriarchal times, Genesis 38:1-30, and was afterwards confirmed by the Mosaic law, Deuteronomy 25:5-10, that a widow without children, in order to preserve the family name and inheritance, should marry the brother of her deceased husband; or he failing his nearest kinsman, Ruth 3:12,13 4:1-11 Matthew 22:23-30. The high-priest was forbidden to marry a widow, Leviticus 21:14. The humanity and justice of true religion are shown in the Bible, as might be expected, by numerous indications that God and the friends of God sympathize with the sorrows, supply the wants, and defend the rights of the widow, Exodus 22:22-24 Deuteronomy 16:11 24:17,19 Psalms 68:5 Isaiah 1:17 10:2 Jeremiah 22:3 Matthew 23:14.
The apostolic church was not negligent in providing for widows, Acts 6:1-3 1Timothy 5:16; and James makes this duty an essential part of true piety, James 1:27. Heathenism, on the contrary, makes those who have been slaves to a husband’s caprices during his life, either victims upon the funeral pile at his death, or forlorn and hopeless sufferers under destitution and contempt. The duties of Christian widows are specified in 1Timothy 5:3-16.
Easton Bible Dictionary
M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., published by Thomas Nelson, 1897.
to be treated with kindness (Exodus 22:22; Deuteronomy 14:29; 16:11, 14; 24:17, 19-21; 26:12; 27:19, etc.). In the New Testament the same tender regard for them is inculcated (Acts 6:1-6; 1Timothy 5:3-16) and exhibited.
Smith's Bible Dictionary (1896)
Under the Mosaic dispensation no legal provision was made for the maintenance of widows. They were left dependent partly on the affection of relations, more especially of the eldest son, whose birthright, or extra share of the property, imposed such a duty upon him, and partly on the privileges accorded to other distressed classes, such as a participation in the triennial third tithe, (Deuteronomy 14:29; Deuteronomy 26:12) in leasing, (Deuteronomy 24:19-21) and in religious feasts. (Deuteronomy 16:11,14) With regard to the remarriage of widows, the only restriction imposed by the Mosaic law had reference to the contingency of one being left childless in which case the brother of the deceased husband had a right to marry the widow. (Deuteronomy 25:5,6; Matthew 22:23-30) In the apostolic Church the widows were sustained at the public expense, the relief being daily administered in kind, under the superintendence of officers appointed for this special purpose, (Acts 6:1-6) Particular directions are given by St.Paul as to the class of persons entitled to such public maintenance. (1Timothy 5:3-16) Out of the body of such widows a certain number were to be enrolled, the qualifications for such enrollment being that they were not under sixty years of age; that they had been "the wife of one man," probably meaning but once married ; and that they had led useful and charitable lives. vs. (1Timothy 5:9,10) We are not disposed to identify the widows of the Bible either with the deaconesses or with the presbutides Of the early Church. The order of widows existed as a separate institution, contemporaneously with these offices, apparently for the same eleemosynary purpose for which it was originally instituted.
Thompson Chain Topics
Frank Thompson's 1934 "The New Chain-Reference Bible". Copyright May 24 1934.
WIDOW AND FATHERLESS:
(1) Admonitions in regard to
Exodus 22:22; Deuteronomy 14:29; 24:17; 26:12; Proverbs 23:10; Isaiah 1:17; Jeremiah 22:3; James 1:27
SEE Benevolence, LIBERALITY
(2) God's Care for
Deuteronomy 10:18; Psalms 10:14; 68:5; 146:9; Proverbs 15:25; Jeremiah 49:11; Hosea 14:3
SEE Poor, POVERTY
The New Topical Textbook
Rev. R.A. Torrey- 1897 edition.
- Character of true
Surely hears the cry of
Establishes the border of
Will witness against oppressors of
- Exhorted to trust in God
- SHOULD NOT BE
Treated with violence
Deprived of raiment in pledge
- SHOULD BE
Honoured, if widows indeed
Relieved by their friends
Relieved by the Church
Visited in affliction
Allowed to share in our blessings
- Though poor, may be liberal
- When young, exposed to may temptations
Cause joy to
- THE WICKED
Do no good to
Send, away empty
Take pledges from
Reject the cause of
Make a prey of
- Curse for perverting judgment of
- Woe to those who oppress
- Blessings on those who relieve
- A type of Zion in affliction
- Were released from all obligation to former husbands
- Were clothed in mourning after the decease of husbands
- Reproach connected with
- Increase of, threatened as a punishment
Exodus 22:24; Jeremiah 15:8; 18:21
- LAWS RESPECTING
Not to be oppressed
Raiment of, not to be taken in pledge by creditors
Bound to perform their vows
Not to intermarry with priests
To be allowed to glean in fields and vineyards
To have a share of the triennial tithe
To share in public rejoicings
When daughters of priests and childless to partake of the holy things
When left childless, to be married by their husband's nearest of kin
- Allowed to marry again
- Intermarrying with, of kings considered treason
- Not to be deplored by, considered a great calamity
- Were under the special protection of God
- Were frequently oppressed and persecuted
- Specially taken care of by the Church
- Often devoted themselves entirely to God's service
- Instances of great liberality in
- ILLUSTRATIVE OF
A desolate condition
Zion in captivity