frequently mentioned both in the Old and New Testaments. Dogs were used by the Hebrews as a watch for their houses (Isa 56:10), and for guarding their flocks (Job 30:1). There were also then as now troops of semi-wild dogs that wandered about devouring dead bodies and the offal of the streets (1Ki 14:11; 16:4; 21:19,23; 22:38; Ps 59:6,14).
As the dog was an unclean animal, the terms "dog," "dog's head," "dead dog," were used as terms of reproach or of humiliation (1Sa 24:14; 2Sa 3:8; 9:8; 16:9). Paul calls false apostles "dogs" (Php 3:2). Those who are shut out of the kingdom of heaven are also so designated (Re 22:15). Persecutors are called "dogs" (Ps 22:16). Hazael's words, "Thy servant which is but a dog" (2Ki 8:13), are spoken in mock humility=impossible that one so contemptible as he should attain to such power.
The watch of the house, and of the flock (Isa 56:10-11; Job 30:1). Sometimes domesticated, as the Syrophoenician woman's comparison and argument imply, "the household (kunaria, 'little' or 'pet') dogs eat of the crumbs (Mt 15:26-27; Mr 7:27-28) which fall from their master's table." More commonly ownerless, and banded in troops which divide cities into so many quarters; each half-starved, ravenous troop keeps to its own quarter, and drives off any intruder; feeding on blood, dead bodies, and offal; therefore regarded as "unclean" (1Ki 14:11; 16:4; 21:19,23; 22:38; 2Ki 9:10,35-36). Their dismal howlings at night are alluded to in Ps 59:6,14-15; "they return at evening, they make a noise like a dog, and go round about the city"; perhaps in allusion to Saul's agents thirsting for David's blood coming to Michal's house at evening, and to the retribution on Saul in kind, when he who had made David a wanderer himself wandered about seeking vainly for help against the Philistines, and went at last by night to the witch of Endor. As unclean (Isa 66:3), dog, dead dog, dog's head, are terms of scorn or else self-abasement (1Sa 24:14; 2Sa 3:8; 9:8; 16:9; 2Ki 8:13). A wanton, self-prostituting man is called a "dog" (De 23:18). One Egyptian god had a dog form. "Beware of the (Greek) dogs," those impure persons of whom I told you often" (Php 3:2,18-19); "the abominable" (Re 21:8; compare Re 22:15; Mt 7:6); pagan in spirit (Tit 1:15-16); dogs in filthiness, snarling, and ferocity against the Lord and His people (Ps 22:16,20); backsliding into former carnality, as the dog "is turned to his own vomit again" (2Pe 2:22). The Jews regarded the Gentiles as "dogs," but by unbelief they ceased to be the true Israel and themselves became dogs (Isa 56:10-11). "Deliver my darling from the power of the dog," i.e. my soul (literally, my unique one, unique in its preciousness) from the Jewish rabble; as "deliver My soul from the sword" is Messiah's cry for deliverance from the Roman soldiery and governor. The Assyrian hunting dog as vividly depicted on Assyrian sculptures resembled exactly our harrier or foxhound.
All the Bible references to dogs breathe the modern Oriental feeling with regard to them; they refer to the common pariah dogs. These creatures are in all their ways repulsive, and in the majority of cases they have not even outward attractiveness. They live in and around the streets, and act as scavengers. In the environs of Jerusalem, e.g. the Valley of Hinnom, where carcases are cast out, they may be seen prowling around and consuming horrible, putrid bodies, or lying stretched near the remains of their meal, satiated with their loathsome repast. Whole companies of dogs consume the offal of the slaughter-house. There is not the slightest doubt that they would consume human bodies to-day had they the opportunity; indeed, cases do occur from time to time (cf. 1Ki 14:11; 16:4; 21:19,23; 22:38; 2Ki 9:10,36; Jer 15:3; Ps 68:23). All night they parade the streets (Ps 59:6,14-15), each company jealously guarding that district which they have annexed, and fighting with noisy onslaught any canine stranger who ventures to invade their territory. Such a quarrel may start all the dogs in the city into a hideous chorus of furious barks. In many parts these creatures are a real danger, and the wise man leaves them alone (Pr 26:17). When they attach themselves, quite uninvited, to certain houses or encampments, they defend them from all intruders (Isa 56:10). To call a man a 'dog' is a dire insult, but by no means an uncommon one from an arrogant superior to one much below him, and to apply such an epithet to himself on the part of an inferior is an expression of humility (2Ki 8:13 etc.). A 'dead dog' is an even lower stage; it is an all too common object, an unclean animal in a condition of putridity left unconsumed even by his companions (1Sa 24:14 etc.). The feeling against casting bread to a dog is a strong one; bread is sacred, and to cast it to dogs is even to-day strongly condemned in Palestine (Mr 7:27).
The shepherd dog (Job 30:1) is, as a rule, a very superior animal; many of these are handsome beasts of a Kurdish breed, and have the intelligent ways and habits of our best shepherds' dogs at home.
Greyhounds are still bred by some Bedouin in S. Palestine, and are used for hunting the gazelle; they are treated very differently from the pariah dogs. Pr 30:31 is a very doubtful reference to the greyhound; Revised Version margin has 'war horse,' Septuagint 'cock.'
The 'price of a dog' (De 23:18) evidently has reference to degraded practices of the qed
Constantly referred to in scripture as an unclean and debased animal: hence the unclean Gentiles or heathen are compared to dogs. Ps 22:16; 59:6,14. The price of a dog was forbidden to be put into the Lord's treasury, it was an abomination. De 23:18. Hazael, a heathen, said, "Is thy servant a dog?" and the most offensive epithet was to call a man a dead dog. They were, and are, the scavengers of Eastern cities. All refuse is thrown into the streets and the dogs eat it. It was the dogs who ate the body of Jezebel, and licked up the blood of Naboth and of Ahab. In the N.T. it is the same: 'without are dogs,' ' beware of dogs' used symbolically of those cut off and of the unclean: they return to their vomit again. The only apparent exception to the above is when the Lord compared the Syrophenician woman to a dog, and she said, "Yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." In these passages the diminutive of the word is used, implying 'little dogs or puppies,' and these are often kept in houses until they grow up. But this does not remove the contempt implied in the term. Mt 15:27. Wyclif translated 'houndis' and 'litil whelpis' in Mr 7:27-28.
an animal frequently mentioned in Scripture. It was used by the hebrews as a watch for their houses,
and for guarding their flocks.
Then also, as now troops of hungry and semi-wild dogs used to wander about the fields and the streets of the cities, devouring dead bodies and other offal,
and thus became so savage and fierce and such objects of dislike that fierce and cruel enemies are poetically styled dogs in
moreover the dog being an unclean animal,
the epithets dog, dead dog, dog's head, were used as terms of reproach or of humility in speaking of one's self.
DOG, ???, an animal well known. By the law of Moses, the dog was declared unclean, and was held in great contempt among the Jews, 1Sa 17:43; 24:14; 2Sa 9:8; 2Ki 8:13. Yet they had them in considerable numbers in their cities. They were not, however, shut up in their houses or courts, but forced to seek their food where they could find it. The Psalmist compares violent men to dogs, who go about the city in the night, prowl about for their food, and growl, and become clamorous if they be not satisfied, Ps 59:6,14-15. Mr. Harmer has illustrated this by quotations from travellers into the east. The Turks also reckon the dog a filthy creature, and therefore drive him from their houses; so that with them dogs guard rather the streets and districts, than particular houses, and live on the offals that are thrown abroad. In 1Sa 25:3, Nabal is said to have been "churlish and evil in his manners; and he was of the house of Caleb;" but Caleb here is not a proper name. Literally, it is, "He was the son of a dog;" and so the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic render it,