PHYSIC, PHYSICIAN (fiz-ik, fi-zish'an),(Heb. raw-faw' , to heal, repair).
There can be no question that the Israelites brought some knowledge of medicine with them from Egypt, whose physicians were celebrated in all antiquity. To the state of medical knowledge in that country there are indeed some allusions in Scripture, as contained in the notice of the corps of physicians in the service of Joseph (Gen. 1:2) ; of the use of artificial help and practiced midwives in child birth (Exod. i:16) ; and of the copious materia medics, the 'many medicines.' which their medical practice had brought into use (Jer. xlvi In the early stage of medical practice attention was confined among all nations to surgical aid and external applications: even down to a com paratively late period outward maladies appear to have been the chief subjects of medical treatment among the Hebrews (Is. i :6; Ezek. xxx :21; 2 Kings viii:29; ix:15) ; and although they were not altogether without remedies for internal or even mental disorders (2 Chron. xvi :12; I Sam. xvi:16), they seem to have made but little prog ress in this branch of the healing art. The em ployment of the physician was, however, very general both before and after the Exile (2 Chron. xvi:12; Jer. viii :22; Sirach xxxviii:t ; Mark v: 26; comp. Luke iv:23; 11 :3/ ; V111:43).
The medicines most in use were salves, partic ularly balms (Jer. viii :22 ; xlvi :1 i ; comp. Prospero Alpinus, riled. /Egypt. p. 118), plasters or poul tices (2 Kings xx :7; comp. Plin. xxiii. 63), oil baths (Joseph. De Bell. furl. i. 33. 5; ii. 21. 6), mineral baths (Joseph. Antiq. xvii. 6. 5; Vita, 16; De Bell. Ind. i, 33, 5; ii, 21, 6; comp. Jahn 1r :2, sq.), river bathing (2 Kings v :io). Of remedies for internal complaints, some notion may be formed_ from the Talmudical intimations of things law ful and unlawful to be done on the Sabbath day. They were mostly very simple, such as our old herbalists would have been disposed to recom mend.
Amulets were also much in use among the Jews. Strict persons, however, discountenanced
such practices as belonging to 'the ways of the Amorites.' Enchantments were also employed by those who professed the healing art, especially in diseases of the mind; and they were much in the habit of laying their hands upon the patient (2 Kings v :it; Joseph. Antiq. ii. 5).
The part taken by the priest in the judgment on leprosy, etc., has led to an impression that the medical art was in the hands of the Levitical body. (See LEPROSY.) This may in some degree be true; not because they were Levites, but be cause they, more than any other Hebrews, had leisure, and sometimes inclination for learned pursuits. The acts prescribed for the priest by the law do not, however, of themselves, prove anything on this point, as the inspection of lep rosy belonged rather to sanitary police than to medicine—although it was certainly necessary that the inspecting priest should be able to discrimi nate, according to the rules laid down in the law, the diagnosis of the disease placed under his con trol (Lev. xiii :13; xiv :15). The priests them selves were apt to take colds, etc., from being obliged to minister at all times of the year with naked feet; whence there was in latter times a medical inspector attached to the temple to attend to their complaints (Kall, De ltforbis Socerdot. V. T.; Lightfoot, p. 781).
Of anatomical knowledge some faint traces may be discerned in such passages as Job ix:8, sq. It does not appear that the Hebrews were in the habit of opening dead bodies to ascertain the causes of death. We know that the Egyptians were so, and their practice of embalmment must have given them much anatomical knowledge (Wilkinson, Ant. Egypt, iii. 392). But to the acquisition of such knowledge there were great obstacles among a people to whom simple con tact with a corpse conveyed pollution. (See Dis EASES OF TITE JEWS; PLAGUE; LEI'ROSY ; JOB; BLA1NS ; etc.) (pi-be'seih), (Heb. n;: f? ee-beh' ; Sept. BaPaaros, Boo'bas-tos, Bubastos).