PLAGUE (plag). Several Hebrew and Greek words are rendered Plague in the Bible.
1. Neh'ghef (Heb. a stumbling). and so a divine infliction, mostly of a fatal disease (Exod. xii:13; xxx:12; Num viii:19; xvii:11, 12).
2. Deh'ber (Heb. destruction), is rendered "plague" only in Hos. xiii:14, in the passage, "0 death, I will be thy plagues." It means the cessa tion or annihilation of death (comp. 1 Cor. xv:55; Is. xxv:8).
3. Neh'gah (Heb. a stroke, blow), strokes, i.e., judgments, calamities, which God inflicts upon men (Gen. xii:17 ; Exod. xi:1; Ps. xxxviii: 12 ; xxxix: I I, etc.). The term is specially applied to the disease of leprosy (Lev. xiii:3).
4. Mag-gay-faw' (Heb. mainly pestilen tial and fatal diseases (Exod. ix:14; Num. xiv:37; xvi:48, sq.; xxv:8,9, 18; t Sam. vi:4; 2 Sam. xxiv :21, 25; 1 Chron. xx1:22, etc.).
5. Mak-kaw' (Heb. a beating, smiting), calamities inflicted of God (Lev. xxvi:21; Num. xi:33 ; Deut. xxviii:59, 61 : xxix:22 ; I Sam. iv:8 ; Jer. xix:8 ; xlix:17 ; 1:13).
6. Kad-dakh'ath (Heb. ague, R. V. fe ver), rendered (Lev. xxvi :16) 'burning ague,' and is said to 'consume the eyes and make the soul to pine away' (the Septuagint calls this disease bcrEpos, ik'ter-os, 'jaundice'). It may be the ma larial fever which occurs in the Jordan valley and the Lebanon valleys, in Jerusalem and in the Shep as well as around the Sea of Galilee. This disease is occasionally accompanied by jaundice. flupc-r6s, pu-re-tos', was the disease of the noble man's son at Capernaum (John iv :46) and of Si mon's mother-in-law (Luke iv:38 'a great fever') at the same place. (See Hippocrates, Epident. iii). The word in Matt. viii :14 and Mark i :30 is ruplocrovaa, ;bur-es'soo-sah. Fevers were malig nant and at times assumed the form of a plague in Palestine. .Kaddakhath may be considered as a generic term for all fevers, intermittent, remittent, typhoid, typhus, putrid, etc.
7. Khch'res (Heb. :77, itch, Deut. xxviii :27).
It is probable that the word translated itch in this passage refers to some other tormenting skin dis ease, as eczema or prurigo, while that translated in the A. V. "scab," and in the R. V. "scurvy" ( Neb. garahh, Arab. jarab), is the true itch. It is the parasitic disease of this name now known to be due to a small mite, Sarcoptes scabiei, which bur rows in the skin. In some cases, when neglected, it spreads over the whole body, which becomes covered with a rough crust adhering to the sur face. It is very easily communicated from person
to person, and cannot be healed unless the para site be destroyed. It disqualified its victims from the priesthood (Lev. xxi :2o). The Hebrew word is derived from a root which means to scratch, hence the Vulgate uses prurigo. It is not at all uncommon in Syria at the present day.
8. Palsy (Gr. vapaXvroc6s, pa loosened). The word 'palsy' is a corruption of the French paralysic, and came into use in English at any rate about the year 1500, for it is used in. the English translation of Mandeville's Travels.. The words palsy and paralysis are used to express loss of the power of motion, a common symptom in diseases of the central nervous system. This condition is usually serious, often intractable, and is generally fairly rapid in its onset, but slow in disappearing. Palsy in the New Testament de notes apoplexy, or paralysis of the whole system ; paralysis of one side; a paralysis affecting the whole body below the neck; and a paralysis caused by a contraction of the muscles, so that the limbs can be neither drawn up nor extended, and soon become emaciated and dried up (1 Kings xiii :4-6; Matt. iv :24; xii :10-13 ; Luke vi :6; John v :5-7) A fearful form of this disease is known in East ern countries. The limbs remain immovably fixed in the position in which they were at the time of the attack, and the suffering is so exquisitely se vere that death is often occasioned in 4 few days (Matt. viii :6).
9. The Greek words are Ad a 7 LE (mas'tix, whip), figuratively a disease (Matt. v: 29, 34 ; Mark ; Luke vii:21); and ir1ory7, (play-gay', stroke), a pub lic calamity, heavy affliction, sent by God as a pun ishment (Rev. ix: 18, zo ; xi:6 ; xv:t, 6, 8 ; xvi:9; xviii:4, 8 ; xxi:9 ; xxii:18). (Mc. & Str. Bib. Cyc.) (See PESTILENCE.) Figurative. (1) A person afflicted with leprous spots (Lev. xiii :4, 12, etc.). (2) The plague of the heart is its inward corruptions (1 Kings viii: 38). (3) The seven last plagues are those that shall come on the Antichristians for their ruin (Rev. xxi :9). (4) Christ is the plague of death and destruction of the grave; as by his death and interment he removed the curse and sting of death and the grave from his people, and rendered them noted blessings to them (Hos. xiii:14).