From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [1]

in the Scriptures, signifies that which is separated or devoted. With regard to persons, it denotes the cutting off or separating any one from the communion of the church, the number of the living, or the privileges of society; and also the devoting an animal, city, or other thing to destruction. Anathema was a species of excommunication among the Jews, and was often practised after they had lost the power of life and death, against those persons who, according to the Mosaic law, ought to have been executed. A criminal, after the sentence of excommunication was pronounced, became anathema: and they had a full persuasion that the sentence would not be in vain; but that God would interfere to punish the offender in a manner similar to the penalty of the law of Moses: a man, for instance, whom the law condemned to be stoned, would, they believed, be killed by the falling of a stone upon him; a man to be hanged, would be choked; and one whom the law sentenced to the flames, would be burnt in his house, &c. Maranatha, a Syriac word, signifying the Lord cometh, was added to the sentence, to express their persuasion that the Lord God would come to take vengeance upon that guilt which they, circumstanced as they were, had not the power to punish,   1 Corinthians 16:22 .

According to the idiom of the Hebrew language, accursed and crucified were synonymous terms. By the Jews every one who died upon a tree was reckoned accursed,   Deuteronomy 21:23 .

Excommunication is a kind of anathema also among some Christians; and by it the offender is deprived, not only of communicating in prayers and other holy offices, but of admittance to the church, and of conversation with the faithful. The spirit of Judaism, rather than that of the Gospel, has in this been imitated; for among the Hebrews, they who were excommunicated could not perform any public duty of their employments; could be neither judges nor witnesses: neither be present at funerals, nor circumcise their own sons, nor sit down in the company of other men, nearer than within the distance of four cubits. If they died under excommunication, they were denied the rites of burial; and a large stone was left on their graves, or a heap of stones was thrown over them, as over Achan,  Joshua 7:26 . The Apostolical excommunication was simply to deny to the offender, after admonition, the right of partaking of the Lord's Supper, which was excision from the church of Christ.

Holman Bible Dictionary [2]

 Numbers 21:2 Deuteronomy 2:34 Deuteronomy 20:17 Joshua 6:21 Joshua 8:26 Leviticus 27:21 Judges 1:17 Leviticus 27:21 Leviticus 27:28-29 Numbers 21:2 Deuteronomy 2:34 Deuteronomy 7:2 Joshua 2:10 Judges 21:11 cherem  2 Kings 19:11 cherem   1 Chronicles 2:7 Deuteronomy 21:23  Isaiah 65:20 qalal

Paul used a technical Greek term, anathema, to call for persons to be put under a holy ban or be accursed ( Romans 9:3;  1 Corinthians 12:3;  Galatians 1:8-9; compare  1 Corinthians 16:22 ). Paul used the term in the sense of the Hebrew cherem . See Anathema .

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [3]

 Deuteronomy 21:23 (c) This word represents GOD's wrath against the sinner. It is manifest in many ways throughout the Scriptures.

  • Sometimes it is a nation that is accursed.
  • Sometimes it is an individual.
  • Sometimes it is that which the world would call a "blessing," for the Lord said, "I will curse your blessings,"  Malachi 2:2. This passage may refer to the so-called "blessings" given by great ecclesiastical leaders which frequently are cursed by GOD.

 Joshua 6:18 (c) In this passage all that was in the city of Jericho belonged to GOD. Not a bit of it was to be taken by any man. The word is used here to indicate that what is GOD's property becomes an accursed thing to the one who takes it unlawfully and wrongfully.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [4]

In Scripture language, this means, being separated from, and under the curse of God. ( Joshua 6:17;  Romans 9:13;  1 Corinthians 16:22;  Galatians 1:8-9.) What a sweet relief to a poor burdened soul, when led to see that curse done away in Christ! ( Galatians 3:13.)

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [5]

Something that lies under a curse or sentence of excommunication. In the Jewish idiom, accursed and crucified were synonymous among them, every one was accounted accursed who died on a tree. This serves to explain the difficult passage in  Romans 9:2 , where the apostle wishes himself accursed after the manner of Christ; 1:e. crucified, if happily he might by such a death save his countrymen. The preposition ano here is made use of is used in the same sense,  2 Timothy 1:3 . where it obviously signifies after the manner of.

King James Dictionary [6]

ACCURS'ED, pp. or a.

1. Doomed to destruction or misery:

The city shall be accursed.  John 6 .

2. Separated from the faithful cast out of the church excommunicated.

I could wish myself accursed from Christ.

3. Worthy of the curse detestable execrable.

Keep from the accursed thing.  Joshua 6 .


4. Wicked malignant in the extreme.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [7]

Accursed, Cursed . The Greek word anathema, and the Hebrew word answering to it, signify things accursed, set apart or devoted to destruction. But the phrase is variously rendered: 1.  Joshua 6:17, devoted to destruction. 2.  1 Corinthians 12:3, a deceiver. 3.  Galatians 1:8-9, separated from the church.

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [8]

See Accursed Curse

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [9]


Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [10]

Accursed . See Ban.

Webster's Dictionary [11]

(p. p. & a.) Alt. of Accurst

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [12]

See Anathema.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [13]


Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [14]

(in general designated by some form of קָלִל , Kalal', Gr. Καταράομαι , to "curse"), a term used in two senses. (See Oath).

1. Anathema ( חֵרֶם , Che'Rem, Ἀνάθεμα ), a vow ( Numbers 21:2), by which persons or things were devoted to Jehovah, whose property they became irrevocably and never to be redeemed (sacer, sacrum esto Jehovae; comp. Caesar, Bell. Gall. 6, 17; Tacit. Annal. 13, 57; Leviticus 3, 55; Diod. Sic. 11, 3; see Mayer, De Nomin. Piacularibus, in Ugolini Thesaur. 23). Persons thus offered were doomed to death ( Leviticus 27:29; see  Judges 11:31 sq.;  1 Samuel 14:44). Cattle, land, and other property were appropriated for the use of the temple, i.e. of the caste of the priests ( Leviticus 27:28;  Numbers 18:14; Ezekiel 24:29). Originally such vows were spontaneous on the part of the Israelites (see  Numbers 21:2;  1 Samuel 14:24 [in this latter case, all the individual warriors of an army were bound by the vow made by the leader]); but occasionally the anathema, losing its votive character, assumed that of a theocratic punishment (see  Ezra 10:8), in consequence of the prescriptions of the law, as, for example, in the case of the anathema (capital sentence) pronounced against an idolatrous Israelite ( Exodus 22:20), or against a whole idolatrous city ( Deuteronomy 13:10 sq.), which was ordered to be destroyed utterly by fire with all that was therein, and the inhabitants and all their cattle to be put to the sword (see  Judges 20:48;  Judges 21:10;  Judges 21:19; comp. Appian. Pun. 133; Mithrid. 45; Liv. 10, 29; see Miller, Devotiones Veterum In Bellis, Lips. 1730). Essentially identical with this was the anathema against the Canaanitish cities, to be executed by the Israelites when they should enter the land ( Deuteronomy 2:34;  Deuteronomy 3:6;  Joshua 6:17;  Joshua 10:28;  Joshua 10:35;  Joshua 10:37;  Joshua 10:40;  Joshua 11:11), [in consequence of a vow ( Numbers 21:2 sq.), or upon the express command of Jehovah ( Deuteronomy 7:2;  Deuteronomy 20:16 sq.; see  1 Samuel 15:3)], in order that they should be secured against all manner of temptation to enter into nearer relations with the idolatrous natives ( Deuteronomy 20:18; see  Exodus 23:32 sq.). Such city, therefore, was burned with all things therein, and the inhabitants and their cattle were killed, while all metals and metallic utensils were delivered up to the sanctuary ( Joshua 6:21;  Joshua 6:24). At times (when the wants of the army made it desirable?) the cattle was spared, and, like other spoils, divided among the warriors ( Joshua 8:26 sq.;  Deuteronomy 2:34;  Deuteronomy 3:6 sq.). Finally, in some cities merely the living things were destroyed ( Joshua 10:28;  Joshua 10:30;  Joshua 10:32;  Joshua 10:37;  Joshua 10:39-40), but the cities themselves were spared. Those who were guilty of any sort of violation of the laws of the anathema were put to death ( Joshua 7:11 sq.; see  Joshua 6:18;  Deuteronomy 13:17; Caesar, Bell. Gall. 6, 17). In the anathema pronounced by a zealous enforcer of the law ( Ezra 10:8) against the property of such Jews as had married foreign wives and refused to divorce them, the banishment of such persons themselves was comprehended. It does not appear, however, whether their property was destroyed or (as H. Michaelis understood) given to the priests: the latter case would be inconsistent with a strict interpretation of  Deuteronomy 13:16. (See Anathema).

2. Different from this is the Ban of the later Jews, mentioned in the New Testament as a sort of ecclesiastical punishment (for heresy),  Luke 6:22 ( Ἀφορίζειν ) ;  John 9:22;  John 12:42;  John 16:2 ( Ἀποσυνἀγωγον Γίνεσθαι or Ποιεῖν ), viz., the exclusion of a Jew from the congregation, and all familiar intercourse with others, by a resolution. "Excommunicated"

( מְנוּרֶה , Menudeh') and "excommunication" ( נַדּוּי , Niddu'Y) are also frequent terms in the Mishna (Taanith, 3, 8; Moed Katon, 3, 1). Stones were thrown (a mark of dishonor) over the graves of those who died in excommunication (Eduyoth, v. 6). The excommunicated person was not permitted to enter the Temple by the common door with others, but was admitted by a separate one (Middoth, 2, 2). He was also prohibited from shaving during the time of his excommunication (Moed. Kat. 3, 1; see Selden, Jus Nat. Et Gent. 4, 8 sq.). There is mention in the Gemara, as well as in other rabbinical writings, of another sort of excommunication, תֵרֶם , che'rem (the person thus excommunicated was called מוּתֲרָם , Mucharaam'), more severe than the נַדּוּי , Niddu'Y. The difference between the two according to Maimonides was,

(1.) that the Nidduy was valid only for the thirty days following its date, and was pronounced without accursing; but the Cherem was always connected with a curse:

(2.) that Cherem could be pronounced only by several, at least ten, members of the congregation; but the Nidduy even by a single Israelite (e.g. by a rabbi):

(3.) that the Mucharam was excluded from all intercourse with others; but it was permitted to converse with the Menudeh at a distance of four cubits, and his household was not subjected even to this restriction.

According to the Gemara, the latter was compelled to wear a mourning dress, in order to be distinguished outwardly from others. Elias Levita (in Tisbi, under נידוי ) and later rabbis speak of a third and still higher degree

of excommunication, שִׁמִּתָּא , Shammata', Execration (see Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. col. 2463 sq.), by which an obdurate sinner was delivered up to all sorts of perdition. It does not appear, however, that older Talmudists used this word in a sense different from Nidduy, [the formula declaration is quoted by Maimonides in the case of the latter, however, is יַהְיֶהּ בְשִׁמִּתָּא , let him be in "shammata,"] (see Selden, De Synedr. 1, 7, p. 64 sq; Ugolino, in Pfeiffer's Antiqu. Ebr. 4; Thesaur. p. 1294); or perhaps it was the generic term for excommunication (see Danz, in Meuschen, N.T. Talmn. p. 615 sq.), and the hypothesis of Elias seems, in fine, to have been founded upon a whimsical etymology of the word Shammata (q. d. שָׁם , There, and מוּתָא , The Death). But it may even be questioned whether Nidduy and Cherem were distinguished from each other in the age of Jesus, or in the first centuries after the destruction of Jerusalem, in the sense asserted by Maimonides. In general, it is not improbable that there were even then degrees of excommunication. The formal exclusion from the Hebrew congregation and nationality is mentioned already by  Ezra 10:8 (see above). In the passages of John foregoing a minor excommunication is spoken of; while in that of Luke, without doubt, a total exclusion is understood; even if we take merely the Ἀφορίζειν in this sense, or (with Lucke, Commentar Zum Ev. Joh. 2, 387) we suppose that there is a gradation in the passage, so that Ἀφοριζ . refers to נַדּוּי , Όνειδίζ . Καὶ Ἐκβάλλ . to חֵרֶם . Many were of the opinion that the highest degree of excommunication, שִׁמִּתָּא , according to the classification of Elias Levita, is to be found in the formula Παραδιδόναι Τῷ Σατανᾶ '/ ( 1 Corinthians 5:5;  1 Timothy 1:20). But there is no firm historical ground for such explanation, and the above expression should be explained rather from the usual idiomatic language of the apostle Paul, according to which it cannot mean, surely, a mere excommunication, as has been satisfactorily proved by Flatt (Vorles. ib. d. Br. an die Kor. 1, 102 sq.), and concurred in by later commentators. (See Devil). Finally, it is not less improbable that, in  Romans 9:3, Ἀνάθεμα Ἀπὸ Τοῦ Χριστοῦ should refer to the Jewish excommunication (as was asserted of late by Tholuck and Ruckert; see Fritzsche, in loc.). (See Execution). (For the Jewish excommunication in general, see Carpzov, Appar. p. 554 sq.; Witsii Miscell. 2, p. 47 sq.; Vitringa, De Synag. Vet. p. 739 sqq.; Pfeiffer, Antiqu. Ebr. c. 22; Bindrim, De Gradib. Excommunicat. Ap. Hebr. in Ugolini Thesaur. 26; Otho, Lexic. Rabb. p. 212 sq.; Beer, in the Hall. Encyklop. 16, 278 sq.; [the last very uncritical.]) (See Excommunication).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [15]

a - kûrs´ed , a - kûrst ´: In the Book of Josh ( Ezra 6:17 ,  Ezra 6:18;  Ezra 7:1 ,  Ezra 7:11 ,  Ezra 7:12 ,  Ezra 7:13 ,  Ezra 7:15 ) and 1 Ch ( Ezra 2:7 ) "accursed" (or "accursed thing" or "thing accursed") is the King James Version rendering of the Hebrew word, חום , ḥērem ̌ . The Revised Version (British and American) consistently uses "devoted" or "devoted thing," which the King James Version also adopts in  Leviticus 27:21 ,  Leviticus 27:28 ,  Leviticus 27:29 and in   Numbers 18:14 . "Cursed thing" is the rendering in two passages ( Deuteronomy 7:26;  Deuteronomy 13:17 ); and in one passage ( Ezekiel 44:29 the King James Version) "dedicated thing" is used. In four places the King James Version renders the word by "curse" (  Joshua 6:18;  Isaiah 34:5;  Isaiah 43:28; Mal 3:24; ( Malachi 4:6 )) whilst in, another passage ( Zechariah 14:11 ) "utter destruction" is adopted in translation. These various renderings are due to the fact that the word ḥērem sometimes means the act of devoting or banning (or the condition or state resulting therefrom and sometimes the object devoted or banned. We occasionally find periphrastic renderings, e.g.  1 Samuel 15:21 : "the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed," the King James Version (literally, "the chief part of the ban");   1 Kings 20:42 : "a man whom I appointed to utter destruction," the King James Version (literally, "a man of my ban" (or "banning"). The root-word meant "to separate," "shut off." The Arabic ḥarı̄m denoted the precincts of the temple at Mecca, and also the women's apartment (whence the word "harem"). In Hebrew the word always suggested "separating" or "devoting to God." Just as קדש , ḳādhōsh , meant "holy" or "consecrated to the service" of Yahweh, and so not liable to be used for ordinary or secular purposes, so the stem of ḥērem meant "devoting" to Yahweh anything which would, if spared, corrupt or contaminate the religious life of Israel, with the further idea of destroying (things) or exterminating (persons) as the surest way of avoiding such contamination. Everything that might paganize or affect the unique character of the religion of Israel was banned, e.g. idols ( Deuteronomy 7:26 ); idolatrous persons ( Exodus 22:20 ); idolatrous cities ( Deuteronomy 13:13-18 ). All Canaanite towns - where the cult of Baal flourished - were to be banned ( Deuteronomy 20:16-18 ). The ban did not always apply to the gold and silver of looted cities ( Joshua 6:24 ). Such valuable articles were to be placed in the "treasury of the house of Yahweh." This probably indicates a slackening of the rigid custom which involved the total destruction of the spoil. According to  Numbers 18:14 , "everything devoted in Israel" belonged to Aaron, and  Ezekiel 44:29 the King James Version ordained that "every dedicated thing" should belong to the priests (compare   Ezra 10:8 ). In the New Testament "accursed" is the King James Version rendering of Anathema (which see).

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [16]

Accursed [ANATHEMA]