Easton's Bible Dictionary
Used frequently in a figurative sense ( Psalms
|To "uncover the ear" is to show respect to a person
Samuel 20:2 marg.).
To have the "ear heavy", or to have "uncircumcised ears" ( Isaiah
6:10 ), is to be inattentive and disobedient.
To have the ear "bored" through with an awl was a sign of perpetual servitude
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
Smith's Bible Dictionary
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
er ('ozen; ous, otion, the latter word (literally, "earlet")
in all the Gospels only used of the ear of the high priest's servant, which was
cut off by Peter: Matthew 26:51 ; Mark 14:47 ; Luke 22:51 (not 22:50); John 18:10
(1) The physical organ of hearing which was considered of peculiar importance
as the chief instrument by which man receives information and commandments. For
this reason the ear of the priest had to be specially sanctified, the tip of the
right ear being touched with sacrificial blood at the consecration (Leviticus
8:23). Similarly the ear of the cleansed leper had to be rededicated to the service
of God by blood and oil (Leviticus 14:14 , 17 , 25 , 28). The ear-lobe of a servant,
who preferred to remain with the family of his master rather than become free
in the seventh year, was to be publicly bored or pierced with an awl in token
of perpetual servitude (Exodus 21:6). It has been suggested that Psalms 40:6 should
be interpreted in this sense, but this is not probable (see below). The cutting
off of the ears and noses of captives was an atrocious custom of war frequently
alluded to in oriental literature, (Ezekiel 23:25). The phrase "to open the ear,"
which originally means the uncovering of the ear by partially removing the turban,
so as to permit a clearer hearing, is used in the sense of revealing a secret
or of giving important (private) information (1 Samuel 9:15 ; 20:2 , 12 , 13 ;
2 Samuel 7:27 ; 1 Chronicles 17:25 ; Psalms 40:6), and the New Testament promises
similarly that "things which eye saw not, and ear heard not" are to be revealed
by the reconciled God to the heart that in gladsome surrender has come to Him
to be taught by His spirit (1 Corinthians 2:9).
(2) The inner ear, the organ of spiritual perception. If the ear listens, the
heart willingly submits, but often the spiritual ear is "hardened" (Isaiah 6:10
; Zechariah 7:11 ; Matthew 13:15 ; Acts 28:27), or "heavy" (Isaiah 6:10 ; Deuteronomy
29:4), either by self-seeking obstinacy or by the judgment of an insulted God.
Such unwilling hearers are compared to the "deaf adder .... which hearkeneth not
to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely" (Psalms 58:4 , 5 ; Proverbs
21:13 ; 28:9 ; Acts 7:57). The expression "He that hath ears to hear let him hear"
is frequent in the Synoptic Gospels, occurring 7 or 8 times: Matthew 11:15 ; 13:9
, 43 ; Mark 4:9 , 23 (Mark 7:16 the Revised Version (British and American) omits);
Luke 8:8 ; 14:35, and while not found in the Fourth Gospel, it occurs seven times
in Revelation 2 and 3. "Itching ears," on the other hand, are those that have
become tired of the sound of oft-repeated truth and that long for new though deceitful
teaching (2 Timothy 4:3). Ears may "tingle" at startling news, especially of disaster
(1 Samuel 3:11 ; 2 Kings 21:12 ; Jeremiah 19:3).
(3) God's ears are often mentioned in the anthropopathic style of Scripture, signifying
the ability of God to receive the petitions of His people, for "He that planted
the ear, shall he not hear?" (Psalms 94:9 also Psalms 10:17 ; 34:15 ; 130:2 ;
Isaiah 59:1 ; 1 Peter 3:12). But God also hears the murmurings of the wicked against
Him (Numbers 11:1 ; 2 Kings 19:28 ; Wisdom of Solomon 1:10 ; James 5:4); still
it lies in His power to refuse to hear (Ezekiel 8:18 ; Lamentations 3:8 compare
also Lamentations 3:56).
H. L. E. Luering
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