used frequently in a figurative sense (Ps 34:15). To "uncover the ear" is to show respect to a person (1Sa 20:2 marg.). To have the "ear heavy", or to have "uncircumcised ears" (Isa 6:10), is to be inattentive and disobedient. To have the ear "bored" through with an awl was a sign of perpetual servitude (Ex 21:6).
Both in OT and NT the spiritual disposition to attend, which issues in obedience, is thus designated (e.g. Isa 6:10; Mt 11:15; Re 2:7). Hence 'to uncover the ear' (Revised Version margin, 1Sa 9:15 etc.) = to reveal; the 'uncircumcised ear' (Jer 6:10) = the ear which remains unpurified and clogged and therefore unable to perceive: hence 'mine ears hast thou opened' (Ps 40:6) = Thou hast enabled me to understand. The perforated ear was a sign of slavery or dependence, indicating the obligation to attend (Ex 21:6; De 15:16 f.). The tip of the priest's right ear was touched with blood in token that the sense of hearing was consecrated to God's service (Ex 29:20; Le 8:23).
The organ of hearing is often used symbolically in scripture. When a servant, whose time of service had expired, preferred to stop with his master, saying, "I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free," his ear was bored with an awl to the door post, and his ear belonged to his master perpetually, he was to hear only that one as master: type of Christ and His love to the church. Ex 21:5-6; De 15:17. Of Christ also it is said, "mine ears hast thou opened." Ps 40:6; quoted in Heb 10:5 from the LXX, "a body hast thou prepared me," both signifying that He was the obedient one. "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear" was said by the Lord to His hearers, and to each of the seven churches in Asia, and also said when the beast, representing the future Roman power, is worshipped, signifying that a spiritual discernment was needed to catch the meaning of what was uttered. Mt 13:9,43; Re 2:7,11,17,29; 3:6,13,22; 13:9.
EAR, the organ of hearing. The Scripture uses the term figuratively. Uncircumcised ears are ears inattentive to the word of God. To signify God's regard to the prayers of his people, the Psalmist says, His cars are open to their cry," Ps 34:15. Among the Jews, the slave, who renounced the privilege of being made free from servitude in the sabbatical year, submitted to have his ear bored through with an awl; which was done in the presence of some judge, or magistrate, that it might appear a voluntary act. The ceremony took place at his master's door, and was the mark of servitude and bondage. The Psalmist says, in the person of the Messiah, "Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened." Hebrews "Thou hast digged my ears." This either means, Thou hast opened them, removed impediments, and made them attentive; or, thou hast pierced them, as those of such servants were pierced, who chose to remain with their masters; and therefore imports the absolute and voluntary submission of Messiah to the will of the Father. "Make the ears of this people heavy," Isa 6:10; that is, render their minds inattentive and disobedient; the prophets being said often to do that of which they were the innocent occasion.