From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

Deber , "destruction." Any sudden, severe, and dangerous disease. Μaweth ," death," i.e. deadly disease; so "the black death" of the middle ages. Νega' , "a stroke" from God, as leprosy (Leviticus 13). Μageephah , Qeteb , "pestilence" ( Psalms 91:6), "that walketh in darkness," i.e. mysterious, sudden, severe, especially in the night, in the absence of the light and heat of the sun. Rosheph , "flame," i.e. burning fever; compare  Habakkuk 3:5 margin (See Egypt and Exodus on the ten plagues.)

A close connection exists between the ordinary physical visitations of Egypt and those whereby Pharaoh was constrained to let Israel go. It attests the sacred author's accurate acquaintance with the phenomena of the land which was the scene of his history. "The supernatural presents in Scripture generally no violent opposition to the natural, but rather unites in a friendly alliance with it" (Hengstenberg). A special reason why in this case the natural background of the miracles should appear was in order to show that Jehovah was God of Egypt as much as of Israel, and rules "in the midst of the earth" ( Exodus 8:22)

By exhibiting Jehovah through Moses at will bringing on with unusual intensity, and withdrawing in answer to intercession at once and completely, the well known Egyptian periodical scourges which their superstition attributed to false gods, Jehovah was proved more effectively to be supreme than He could have been by inflicting some new and strange visitation. The plagues were upon Egypt's idols, the Nile water, the air, the frog, the cow, the beetle, etc., as Jehovah saith ( Exodus 12:12), "against all the gods of Egypt will I execute judgment" ( Exodus 18:11;  Exodus 15:11;  Numbers 33:4). Ten is significant of completeness, the full flood of God's wrath upon the God-opposed world power. The magicians initiate no plague; in producing the same plague by their enchantments (Which Seem Real, As Demoniacal Powers Have Exerted Themselves In Each Crisis Of The Kingdom Of God) as Moses by God's word, they only increase the visitation upon themselves. The plagues as they progress prove:

(1) Jehovah's infinite power over Egypt's deified powers of nature. The first stroke affects the very source of the nation's life, the Nile; then the soil (The Dust Producing The Plague) ; then the irrigating canals breeding flies.

(2) The difference marked between Israel and Egypt; the cattle, the crops, the furnaces (Wherein Israel Was Worn With Bondage) represent all the industrial resources of the nation. The stroke on the firstborn was the crowning one, altogether supernatural, whereas the others were intensifications of existing scourges. The firstborn, usually selected for worship, is now the object of the stroke. The difference marked all along from the third plague was most marked in that on the firstborn ( Exodus 11:7). The plague was national, the firstborn representing Egypt:  Isaiah 43:3, "I gave Egypt for thy ransom."

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [2]

The word πληγή, ‘stroke,’ occurs in the NT only in the Apocalypse ( Revelation 8:8;  Revelation 9:18;  Revelation 9:20;  Revelation 11:6;  Revelation 13:3;  Revelation 13:12;  Revelation 13:14;  Revelation 15:1;  Revelation 15:6;  Revelation 15:8;  Revelation 16:9;  Revelation 16:21;  Revelation 18:4;  Revelation 18:8;  Revelation 21:9;  Revelation 22:18). It was used by the LXX_ for the ‘plagues’ of Egypt and the later visitations of God upon His people and their enemies, which made a profound impression upon the Hebrews (cf.  Leviticus 26:2;  Leviticus 26:24,  Numbers 25:8 f.,  2 Samuel 24:21). In the Apocalypse the plagues are unforeseen, sudden occurrences, greater and more terrible than those in Egypt, which will disclose God’s purpose and providence concerning His own. However violent the opposition, or bitter the persecution, or extreme the danger to which God’s people are exposed, they have nothing to fear. The Seer beholds successive Divine judgments fall upon the earth, the sea, the rivers, the sun, moon, and stars. Instruments of Divine punishment are insects, beasts, angels, hail-stones, death, mourning, want, and fire. In a word, all the forces and agencies of the world which are naturally friendly to man are turned into hostile and destructive action against those who dishonour God and would destroy His Kingdom. Even the people of God are secure against the same fate only by faith and obedience.

C. A. Beckwith.

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [3]

Different versions of the Bible use a variety of words to describe the many disasters, plagues, diseases and sicknesses that afflict people (e.g.  Exodus 8:2;  Exodus 9:3;  1 Kings 8:37;  Psalms 91:6;  Psalms 91:10;  Jeremiah 14:12;  Luke 7:21;  Luke 21:11; see also Disease ).

The ten plagues of Egypt were judgments of God on the stubborn nation and its king. Both people and king were bitterly opposed to Yahweh, the God of Israel, and were devoted followers of Yahweh’s real enemies, the Egyptian gods ( Exodus 9:27;  Exodus 12:12). These were gods of nature and were therefore connected with the Nile River, upon which Egypt depended entirely for its agricultural life. God may have used the physical characteristics of the Nile Valley to produce the plagues, but the timing, intensity and extent of the plagues showed clearly that they were judgments sent directly by God ( Exodus 8:21-23;  Exodus 8:31;  Exodus 9:1-6;  Exodus 9:22;  Exodus 9:33).

God in his mercy gave advance notice of the plagues and consistently gave Pharaoh the chance to repent; but the longer Pharaoh delayed, the more he increased the judgment that was to fall on him ( Exodus 9:15-19). The tenth plague was God’s final great judgment on Egypt and at the same time his act of redemption for his people. Previously the Israelites escaped the plagues without having to do anything, but this time their safety depended upon carrying out God’s commands. Their redemption involved faith and obedience ( Exodus 12:1-13; see Passover ).

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [4]

1: Μάστιξ (Strong'S #3148 — Noun Feminine — mastix — mas'-tix )

"a whip, scourge,"  Acts 22:24 , "by scourging;"  Hebrews 11:36 , "scourgings," is used metaphorically of "disease" or "suffering,"  Mark 3:10;  5:29,34;  Luke 7:21 . See Scourging.

2: Πληγή (Strong'S #4127 — Noun Feminine — plege — play-gay' )

"a stripe, wound" (akin to plesso, "to smite"), is used metaphorically of a calamity, "a plague,"  Revelation 9:20;  11:6;  15:1,6,8;  16:9,21 (twice); 18:4,8; 21:9; 22:18. See Stripe , Wound.

King James Dictionary [5]

Plague n. plag. L. plaga, a stroke Gr. See Lick and Lay. The primary sense is a stroke or striking. So afflict is from the root of flog, and probably of the same family as plague.

1. Any thing troublesome or vexatious but in this sense, applied to the vexations we suffer from men, and not to the unavoidable evils inflicted on us by Divine Providence. The application of the word to the latter, would now be irreverent and reproachful. 2. A pestilential disease an acute, malignant and contagious disease that often prevails in Egypt, Syria and Turkey, and has at times infected the large cities of Europe with frightful mortality. 3. A state of misery.  Psalms 38 4. Any great natural evil or calamity as the ten plagues of Egypt.

PLAGUE, plag.

1. To infest with disease, calamity or natural evil of any kind.

Thus were they plagued

And worn with famine.

2. To vex to tease to harass to trouble to embarrass a very general and indefinite signification.

If her nature be so,

That she will plague the man that loves her most--

Easton's Bible Dictionary [6]

  • The last and most fearful of these plagues was the death of the first-born of man and of beast ( Exodus 11:4,5;  12:29,30 ). The exact time of the visitation was announced, "about midnight", which would add to the horror of the infliction. Its extent also is specified, from the first-born of the king to the first-born of the humblest slave, and all the first-born of beasts. But from this plague the Hebrews were completely exempted. The Lord "put a difference" between them and the Egyptians. (See Passover .)

    Copyright Statement These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., DD Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Plague'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. 1897.

  • Webster's Dictionary [7]

    (1): ( n.) That which smites, wounds, or troubles; a blow; a calamity; any afflictive evil or torment; a great trail or vexation.

    (2): ( n.) An acute malignant contagious fever, that often prevails in Egypt, Syria, and Turkey, and has at times visited the large cities of Europe with frightful mortality; hence, any pestilence; as, the great London plague.

    (3): ( v. t.) Fig.: To vex; to tease; to harass.

    (4): ( v. t.) To infest or afflict with disease, calamity, or natural evil of any kind.

    Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [8]

     1 Kings 8:38 (a) This name is applied to the sins that curse the soul, hinder the life, and hurt the heart.

     Psalm 91:10 (a) The believer that walks with the Lord, and dwells in His presence, is safe from the attacks of Satan, and from the thorns and thistles that are in this life to hurt and hinder.

    Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [9]

    PLAGUE . See Medicine, p. 598 b .

    American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [10]

    See Pestilence

    Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [11]

    is used in the A. V. as the rendering of five Hebrew words:

    1. De'Ber, דֶּבֶר , which properly means Destruction, Death (as  Hosea 13:14), and is hence applied to pestilence (as  Leviticus 26:25;  Deuteronomy 28:21;  2 Samuel 24:13;  1 Kings 8:37), and to a murrain among beasts (as  Exodus 3:9). The Sept. mostly has Θάνατος .

    2. Maggephah', מִגֵּפָה , from the root נָגִ , To Smite; hence a plague as actively considered, a pestilence sent from God ( Exodus 9:14; comp.  Numbers 14:37;  Numbers 17:13;  Numbers 25:18, etc.). It is also used of Slaughter in battle ( 1 Samuel 4:17;  2 Samuel 17:9).

    3. Makkah', מִכָּה , from the root נָכָה , To Smite, properly the act of smiting; hence A Blow, A Stroke; and so it should be rendered, rather than plague ( Leviticus 26:21;  Numbers 11:33;  Deuteronomy 28:59;  Deuteronomy 28:61;  Deuteronomy 29:22;  1 Samuel 4:8;  Jeremiah 19:8;  Jeremiah 49:17;  Jeremiah 1:13).

    4. Ne'Ga, נֶגִע , from נָגִע , to smite; hence the meaning is like that of the foregoing. But it is often used to mean a Spot, Mark, Cut, upon the skin, from the common effects of a blow. This is its meaning throughout the 13th and 14th chapters of Leviticus, where it is rendered plague in the A.V.

    5. Ne'Geph, נֶגֶפ , from נָגִפ , To Strike, as above; hence a Plague, as a divine judgment ( Exodus 12:13, and often). (See Plagues Of Egypt). To these should be added the following Greek words, which are usually translated "plague" in the A.V.: Μάστιξ , properly a Scourge or whip ( Mark 3:10;  Mark 5:29;  Mark 5:34;  Luke 7:21); and Πλήγη , a Stroke or wound, whether of natural or artificial infliction ( Revelation 9:20;  Revelation 11:6;  Revelation 15:1;  Revelation 15:6;  Revelation 15:8;  Revelation 16:9;  Revelation 16:21;  Revelation 18:4;  Revelation 18:8;  Revelation 21:9;  Revelation 22:18). It is evident that not one of these words can be considered as designating by its signification the plague. Whether the disease be mentioned must be judged from the sense of passages, not from the sense of words. The discrimination has already been pretty fully considered under the word PESTILENCE (See Pestilence) (q.v.). In the following treatment of the term we use it in its strict medical application.

    In noticing the places in the Bible which might be supposed to refer to the plague, we must bear in mind that, unless some of its distinctive characteristics arc mentioned, it is not safe to infer that this disease is intended. In the narrative of the Ten Plagues there is none corresponding to the modern plague. The plague of boils has indeed some resemblance, and it might be urged that as in other cases known scourges were sent, (their miraculous nature being shown by their opportune occurrence and their intense character), so in this case a disease of the country, if indeed the plague anciently prevailed in Egypt, might have been employed. Yet the ordinary plague would rather exceed in severity this infliction than the contrary, which seems fatal to this supposition. Those pestilences which were sent as special judgments, and were either supernaturally rapid in their effects, or in addition directed against particular culprits, are beyond the reach of human inquiry. But we also read of pestilences which, although sent as judgments, have the characteristics of modern epidemics, not being rapid beyond nature, nor directed against individuals. Thus in the remarkable threatenings in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, pestilence is spoken of as one of the enduring judgments that were gradually to destroy the disobedient. This passage in Leviticus evidently refers to pestilence in besieged cities: "And I will bring a sword upon you, that shall avenge the quarrel of [my] covenant: and when ye are gathered together in your cities, I will send the pestilence among you; and ye shall be delivered into the hand of the enemy" (Deuteronomy 26:25).

    Famine in a besieged city would occasion pestilence. A special disease may be indicated in the parallel portion of Deuteronomy ( Deuteronomy 28:21): "The Lord shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he [or "it"] have consumed thee from off the land whither-thou goest to possess it." The word rendered "pestilence" may, however, have a general signification, and comprise calamities mentioned afterwards, for there follows an enumeration of several other diseases and similar scourges ( Deuteronomy 28:21-22). The first disease here mentioned has been supposed to be the plague (Bunsen, Bibelwerk). It is to be remembered that "the botch of Egypt" is afterwards spoken of ( Deuteronomy 28:27), by which it is probable that ordinary boils are intended, which are especially severe in Egypt in the present day, and that later still "all the diseases of Egypt" are mentioned ( Deuteronomy 28:60). It therefore seems unlikely that so grave a disease as the plague, if then known, should not be spoken of in either of these two passages. In neither place does it seem certain that the plague is specified, though in the one, if it were to be in the land, it would fasten upon the population of besieged cities, and in the other, if then known, it would probably be alluded to as a terrible judgment in an enumeration of diseases. The notices in the prophets present the same difficulty; for they do not seem to afford sufficiently positive evidence that the plague was known in those times. With the prophets, as in the Pentateuch, we must suppose that the diseases threatened or prophesied as judgments must have been known, or at least called by the names used for those that were known. Two passages might seem to be explicit. In Amos we read, "I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up into your nostrils" ( Amos 4:10). Here the reference is perhaps to the death of the first-born, for the same phrase, "after the manner of Egypt," is used by Isaiah ( Isaiah 10:24;  Isaiah 10:26), with a reference to the Exodus, and perhaps to the oppression preceding it; and an allusion to past history seems probable, as a comparison with the overthrow of the cities of the plain immediately follows ( Amos 4:11). The prophet Zechariah also speaks of a plague with which the Egyptians, if refusing to serve God, should be smitten (Amos 4:14, 18); but the name and the description which appears to apply to this scourge seem to show that it cannot be the plague ( Amos 4:12).

    Hezekiah's disease has been thought to have been the plague, and its fatal nature, as well as the mention of a boil, makes this not improbable. On the other hand, there is no mention of a pestilence among his people at the time, unless we so regard the sudden destruction of Sennacherib's army ( 2 Kings 20:1-11). Severe epidemics are the common accompaniments of dense crowding in cities and of famine; and we accordingly often find them mentioned in connection ( Leviticus 26:25;  Jeremiah 14:12;  Jeremiah 29:18;  Matthew 24:7;  Luke 21:11). But there is no better argument for believing that "pestilence" in these instances means the glandular plague, than the fact of its being at present a prevalent epidemic of the East. It is also remarkable that the Mosaic law, which contains such strict rules for the seclusion of lepers, should have allowed a disease to pass unnoticed, which is above all others the most deadly, and at the same time the most easily checked by sanatory regulations of the same kind. Michaelis endeavors to explain why the Law contained no ordinances about the plague by arguing that, on account of the sudden appearance and brief duration of the disease, no permanent enactments could have been efficient in moderating its ravages, but only such preventive measures as varied according to the ever-varying circumstances of the origin and course of its visitations (Mos. Recht, 4, 290). The destruction of Sennacherib's army ( 2 Kings 19:35) has also been ascribed to the plague. But-not to insist on the circumstance that this awfully sudden annihilation of 185,000 men is not ascribed to any disease, but to the agency of an angel (since such passages as  2 Samuel 24:15-16, weaken this objection, and even Josephus understood the cause to be a pestilence, Ant. 10, 1, 5)-it is impossible that such a mortality could have been produced, in one night, by a disease which spread itself by contagion, like the Oriental plague; and the same remark applies, though in a less degree, to the three days' pestilence in the reign of David ( 2 Samuel 24:13). There does not seem, therefore, to be any distinct notice of the plague in the Bible, and it is most probable that this can be accounted for by supposing either that no pestilence of antiquity in the East was as marked in character as the modern plague, or that the latter disease then frequently broke out there as an epidemic in crowded cities, instead of following a regular course. (See Disease).

    The disease now called the plague, which has ravaged Egypt and neighboring countries in modern times, is supposed to have prevailed there in former ages. Manetho, the Egyptian historian, speaks of "a very great plague" in the reign of Semempses, the seventh king of the first dynasty, B.C. cir. 2275. The difficulty of determining the character of the pestilences of ancient and mediaeval times, even when carefully described, warns us not to conclude that every such mention refers to the plague, especially as the cholera has, since its modern appearance, been almost as severe a scourge to Egypt as the more famous disease, which indeed, as an epidemic seems there to have been succeeded by it. Moreover, if we admit, as we must, that there have been anciently pestilences very nearly resembling the modern plague, we must still hesitate to pronounce any recorded pestilence to be of this class unless it be described with some distinguishing particulars. The plague in recent times has not extended far beyond the Turkish Empire and the kingdom of Persia. It has been asserted that Egypt is its cradle, but this does not seem to be corroborated by the later history of the disease. It is there both sporadic and epidemic; in the first form it has appeared almost annually, in the second at rarer intervals. As an epidemic it takes the character of a pestilence, sometimes of the greatest severity. Our subsequent remarks apply to it in this form. It is a much-vexed question whether it is ever endemic: that such is the case is favored by its rareness since sanitary measures have been enforced. Respecting the causes and origin of plague nothing is known.

    There cannot be the slightest doubt that it is propagated by absolute contact with, or a very near approach to, the bodies or clothes of persons infected; but we are entirely at a loss to know how it is generated afresh. Extremes of temperature have a decided effect in putting a stop to it; but Dr. Russell observed that in the year 1761 the plague at Aleppo was mild in 1762 it was severer, and in 1763 it was very fatal; and yet there was no appreciable difference in the respective seasons of these years. In Egypt, the plague commences in autumn, and is regularly put an end to by the heats of summer; and it is even asserted that contaminated goods are also disinfected at this time (see Russegger, Reisen, 1, 236 sq.; Mariti, Trav. p. 199; Prosp. Alp. Rer. AEg. 1, 19). In Europe the plague disappeared during the winter. This was remarked in all the epidemics except that from 1636 to 1648, called the Great Plague, on account of its long duration; but even in this instance it abated considerably during the winter. It was a common superstition that the plague abated on St. John's day. The plague when most severe usually appears first on the northern coast of Egypt, having previously broken out in Turkey or North Africa west of Egypt. It ascends the river to Cairo, rarely going much farther. Thus Mr. Lane has observed that the great plague of 1835 "was certainly introduced from Turkey" (Modern Egyptians, 5th ed., p. 3, note 1). It was first noticed at Alexandria, ascended to Cairo, and farther to the southern part of Egypt, a few cases having occurred at Thebes; and it "extended throughout the whole of Egypt, though its ravages were not great in the southern parts" (ibid.). The mortality is often enormous, and Mr. Lane remarks of the plague just mentioned: "It destroyed not less than eighty thousand persons in Cairo, that is, one third of the population; and far more, I believe, than two hundred thousand in all Egypt" (ibid.).

    When this pestilence visited Egypt, in the summer of 1843, the deaths were not numerous, although, owing to the government's posting a sentry at each house in which any one had died of the disease, to enforce quarantine, there was much concealment, and the number was not accurately known (Mrs. Poole, Englishman in Egypt, 2, 32-35). Although since then Egypt has been free from this scourge, Benghazi (Hesperides), in the pashalic of Tripoli, was almost depopulated by it during part of the years 1860 and 1861. The most fatal, and at the same time the most general epidemic, was that which ravaged Asia, Africa, and the .whole of Europe in the 14th century. It was called by the northern European nations "the Black Death," and by the Italians "la Mortilega Grande" the great mortality. According to Dr. Hecker, not less than twenty-five millions perished by it in the short space of three years, from 1347 to 1350. Since the commencement of this century Europe has been free from the plague, with the exception of two or three instances. It occurred at Noja, in the kingdom of Naples, in 1815 and 1816; at the Lazaretto of Venice in 1818; in Greifenberg, in Silesia, in 1819. It has not been seen in Great Britain since the great epidemic of 1665, which is stated to have carried off eight thousand in one week. Quarantine was first performed in one of the islands near Venice in 1485. Persons who had been cured of plague in the Lazaretto on one of the adjoining islands were sent there, and all those with whom they had had intercourse, where they were detained forty days. This period was probably fixed upon on account of some medical hypothesis. The fortieth day was regarded as the last day of ardent diseases, and that which separated them from chronic. Forty days constituted the philosophical month of alchemists. Theological, and even legal derivations have also been given. The forty days of the flood; Moses's sojourn on Mount Sinai; our Lord's fast; and, lastly, what is called the "Saxon term" (Sachsische Frist), which also lasts forty days. Bills of health were probably first established in 1507, by a council of health established at Venice during a fatal plague that visited Italy for five years; but they were not generally used until 1665. It is to these great measures that Europe is indebted for its present immunity from this terrible scourge; and it cannot be doubted that but for the callous indifference of the Orientals (which proceeds from their fatalism, love of gain, and ignorance), the same measures would be adopted in the East with the same success (Hecker's Hist. of the Epidemics of the Middle Ages; Dr. Brown, art. Plague, in Cyclop. of Pract. Med.). (See Pestilence).

    The glandular plague, like the small-pox, is an eruptive fever, and is the most virulent and most contagious disease with which we are acquainted. The eruption consists of buboes, carbuncles, and petechiae. Buboes are inflamed and swollen glands; and the glands so affected are generally those of the groin, axilla, neck, and the parotid glands. More frequently there are two, three, or even four such tumors. They sometimes subside of themselves; or, what is more commonly the case, they suppurate; and as this process seldom commences before the disease has taken a favorable turn, it is regarded as the cause, but more correctly as a sign, of approaching recovery. A carbuncle is an inflammation of the skin, giving rise to a hard tumor, with pustules or vesicles upon it. It resembles a common boil, but differs from it in this important respect. The carbuncle becomes gangrenous throughout its whole ex-tent, so that when the eschar separates a large deep ulcer is left. Under the term petechiae are included evanescent spots and streaks of various hues, from a pale blue to a deep purple, which give a marbled appearance to the skin. When such livid streaks occur in the face, they disfigure the countenance so much that a patient can hardly be recognized by his friends. The disease varies so considerably in its symptoms and course that it is impossible to give one description that will suit even the majority of cases. Sometimes the eruption does not appear at all, and even the general symptoms are not of such violence as to lead an ignorant person to suspect the least danger.

    The patient is suddenly attacked with a loss of strength, a sense of confusion, weight in the head, oppression at the heart, and extreme dejection of spirits. Such cases sometimes terminate fatally within twenty-four hours, and occasionally on the second or third day. Generally, however, the patient is attacked with shivering or coldness, which is soon followed by fever, giddiness, pain in the head, occasionally also by vomiting. Buboes and carbuncles in most cases make their appearance on the first day; and successive eruptions of them are not unusually observed during the course of the disease. There is a peculiar and characteristic muddiness of the eye, which has been described by Dr. Russell as a muddiness and luster strangely blended together. The fever remits every morning, and increases during the day and night. The vomiting then increases; the tumors become painful; and the patient wanders, and is inclined to stupor. On the morning of the third day, in favorable cases, a sweat breaks out, which produces great relief, and sometimes even proves critical. The exacerbation on the fourth day is more severe than on the preceding ones, and continues intense until it is terminated by the sweat on the morning of the fifth day, which leaves the patient weak, but in every respect relieved. After this the exacerbations become slighter and slighter; and the buboes, advancing favorably to suppuration, little or no fever remains after the beginning of the second week. In other cases, again, the symptoms are -far more urgent. Besides vomiting, giddiness, and headache, there is also diarrhea at the outbreak of the fever. During the night the patient becomes delirious or comatose. The pulse is full and strong; and though the tongue is not dry, the thirst is excessive. The fever abates somewhat on the succeeding morning, but the pulse is frequent, the skin hot and dry, and the patient dejected. As the second day advances, the vomiting and diarrhea become urgent, the eyes are muddy, the expression of countenance confused, the pulse quick, and sometimes low and fluttering, external heat moderately feverish, or occasionally intense in irregular flushings.

    There is pain at the heart, burning pain at the pit of the stomach, and incessant restlessness. When to these symptoms are joined faltering of the tongue or loss of speech, and the surface of the body becomes cold or covered with clammy sweats, death is inevitable, although it may still be at some distance. When the patient has been much weakened by the vomiting, diarrhea, or hemorrhage, the third day proves fatal; but more commonly the disease is prolonged two or three days longer. In this form of plague buboes appear on the second or third day, and sometimes later; but whether they advance towards suppuration or not, they seem to have no effect in hastening or retarding the termination of the disease. Lastly, in some cases, the eruption of buboes and carbuncles constitute the principal symptoms of the disease; and patients are so little indisposed that they are able to go about the streets, or attend to their usual avocations, if not prevented by the inflammation of inguinal tumors. The disease has never been successfully treated, except in isolated cases, or when the epidemic has seemed to have worn itself out. Depletion and stimulants have been tried, as with cholera, and stimulants with far better results.

    See Ludecke, Beschreib. des t Ü rk. Reichs, p. 62 sq.; Olivier, Voyage, vol. 1, c. 18; Soninii, Reise nach Griechenland. p. 358 sq.; Descript. de t'Egypte, 13:81 sq.; Bulard de Mern; De la Peste Orient. (Paris, 1839); L'Aubert, De la Peste, ou Typhus (ibid. 1840); Russell, Nat. Hist. of Aleppo; Clot-Bey, De la Peste en Egypte (1840), and Apersu general sur l'Egypte, 2, 348-350. (See Medicine).

    International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [12]

    plāg ( נגע , negha‛ , מכּה , makkāh , מגּפה , maggēphāh  ; μάστιξ , mástix , πληγή , plēgḗ ): This word which occurs more than 120 times is applied, like pestilence, to such sudden outbursts of disease as are regarded in the light of divine visitations. It is used in the description of leprosy about 60 times in   Leviticus 13,14 , as well as in  Deuteronomy 24:8 . In the poetical, prophetic and eschatological books it occurs about 20 times in the general sense of a punitive disaster. The Gospel references ( Mark 3:10;  Mark 5:29 ,  Mark 5:34;  Luke 7:21 ) use the word as a synonym for disease.

    The specific disease now named "plague" has been from the earliest historic times a frequent visitant to Palestine and Egypt. Indeed in the Southeast between Gaza and Bubastis it has occurred so frequently that it may almost be regarded as endemic. The suddenness of its attack, the shortness of its incubation period and the rapidity of its course give it the characters which of old have been associated with manifestations of divine anger. In the early days of an epidemic it is no infrequent occurrence that 60 per cent of those attacked die within three days. I have seen a case in which death took place ten hours after the first symptoms. In the filthy and insanitary houses of eastern towns, the disease spreads rapidly. In a recent epidemic in one village of 534 inhabitants 311 died within 21 days, and I once crossed the track of a party of pilgrims to Mecca of whom two-thirds died of plague on the road. Even with modern sanitary activity, it is very difficult to root it out, as our recent experiences in Hong Kong and India have shown.

    Of the Biblical outbreaks that were not improbably bubonic plague, the first recorded is the slaughter of the firstborn in Egypt - the 10th plague. We have too little information to identify it ( Exodus 11:1 ). The Philistines, however, used the same name, negha‛ , for the Egyptian plagues ( 1 Samuel 4:8 ) as is used in Ex. The next outbreak was at Kibroth-hataavah ( Numbers 11:33 ). This was synchronous with the phenomenal flight of quails, and if these were, as is probable, driven by the wind from the plague-stricken Serbonian region, they were equally probably the carriers of the infection. Experience in both India and China has shown that animals of very diverse kinds can carry germs of the disease. A third visitation fell on the spies who brought back an evil report ( Numbers 14:37 ). A fourth destroyed those who murmured at the destruction of Korah and his fellow-rebels ( Numbers 16:47 ). These may have been recrudescences of the infection brought by the quails. The fifth outbreak was that which followed the gross religious and moral defection at, Baal-peor ( Numbers 25:8 ,  Numbers 25:9 ,  Numbers 25:18;  Numbers 26:1;  Numbers 31:16;  Joshua 22:17;  Psalm 106:29 ,  Psalm 106:30 ). Here the disease was probably conveyed by the Moabites.

    A later epidemic, which was probably of bubonic plague, was that which avenged the capture of the ark ( 1 Samuel 5:6 ). We read of the tumors which were probably the glandular enlargements characteristic of this disease; also that at the time there was a plague of rats ( 1 Samuel 6:5 ) - "mice," in our version, but the word is also used as the name of the rat. The cattle seem to have carried the plague to Beth-shemesh, as has been observed in more than one place in China ( 1 Samuel 6:19 ). Concerning the three days' pestilence that followed David's census ( 2 Samuel 24:15;  1 Chronicles 21:12 ), see Josephus, Ant. , VII, xiii, 3. The destruction of the army of Sennacherib may have been a sudden outbreak of plague ( 2 Kings 19:35;  Isaiah 37:36 ). It is perhaps worthy of note that in Herodotus' account of the destruction of this army (ii. 141) he refers to the incursion of swarms of mice.

    One of the latest prophetic mentions of plague is  Hosea 13:14 , where the plague ( debher , Septuagint dı́kē ) of death and the destruction ( ḳāṭābh , Septuagint kéntron ) of the grave are mentioned. From this passage Paul quotes his apostrophe at the end of  1 Corinthians 15:55 , but the apostle correlates the sting ( kéntron ) with death, and changes the dı́kē into nı́kos .

    Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [13]