From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Webster's Dictionary [1]

(1): ( n.) A specific internal application for the cure or relief of sickness; a remedy for disease; a medicine.

(2): ( n.) The art of healing diseases; the science of medicine; the theory or practice of medicine.

(3): ( n.) Specifically, a medicine that purges; a cathartic.

(4): ( n.) A physician.

(5): ( v. t.) To treat with physic or medicine; to administer medicine to, esp. a cathartic; to operate on as a cathartic; to purge.

(6): ( v. t.) To work on as a remedy; to heal; to cure.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [2]


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 of the use of artificial help and practiced midwives in childbirth and of the 'many medicines' which their medical practice had brought into use .

In the early stage of medical practice attention was confined among all nations to surgical aid and external applications even down to a comparatively late period outward maladies appear to have been the chief subjects of medical treatment among the Hebrews ; and although they were not altogether without remedies for internal or even mental disorders , they seem to have made but little progress in this branch of the healing art. The employment of the physician was, however, very general both before and after the Exile (;;;; comp.;; ).

The medicines most in use were salves, particularly balms , plasters or poultices , oil-baths, mineral baths, river bathing . The remedies for internal complaints were mostly very simple, such as our old herbalists would have been disposed to recommend.

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 .

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. This may in some degree be true; not because they were Levites, but because 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 leprosy belonged rather to sanitary police than to medicine—although it was certainly necessary that the inspecting priest should be able to discriminate, according to the rules laid down in the law, the diagnosis of the disease placed under his control . The priests themselves 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.

Of anatomical knowledge some faint traces may be discerned in such passages as , 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. But to the acquisition of such knowledge there were great obstacles among a people to whom simple contact with a corpse conveyed pollution.