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Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [1]

Sprinkle, Sprinkling

The Scripture sense of those acts being very interesting, renders it necessary that we should have a proper idea thereof; and therefore I have thought it not improper to detain the Reader with a short observation. The first account we meet with in the Bible concerning sprinkling as a religious ordinance, is at the institution of the Passover, when Moses, at the command of the Lord, enjoined the children of Israel to take of the blood of the lamb appointed to be slain, and strike the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, where they eat the Passover. And hence, in allusion to this, we find the Holy Ghost, by his servant the apostle, telling the church in after-ages that they were come to the blood of sprinkling. (Compare  Exodus 12:7 with  Hebrews 12:24) So that we cannot err in making application from the type to the thing signified; and as the Holy Ghost in so many words calls Christ our Passover, ( 1 Corinthians 5:7) hence the blood of sprinkling must mean the application of the whole benefits of Christ's sacrifice and death to the souls of his redeemed. And hence, when the Holy Ghost is recording the faith of Moses, in his view, of the Lord Jesus Christ, the blessed Spirit expresseth the whole of Moses's dependance upon Christ by this one act of the ordinance appointed—"Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the first born should touch them." ( Hebrews 11:28) We find the same blessed allusion to Christ and his blood in other acts of the Jewish law. (See  Leviticus 7:14;  Numbers 19:18, etc.) And the apostle Peter expresseth the whole of the fulness of Christ's salvation, and the two grand branches of it, the obedience and the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. That is, his active and his passive obedience. ( 1 Peter 1:2)

It may not be amiss to add that such was the custom in the eastern world in the article of sprinkling, that great part of their salutations and welcomes were manifested by this ceremony. One of our own countrymen in his travels saith that he was sprinkled with the water of orange flour, as a grateful refreshment. And a French author relates the same thing as a custom of the eastern manners, in courtesy and affection. I do not take upon me to determine the matter, but I would ask, is it not probable the custom was taken from Scripture? and is it not probable also that the meaning of it had an allusion to the precious doctrine of the application and sprinkling of the blood of Christ? It is worthy of farther remark, as an additional reason to this probability, that one of the prophets when speaking of Christ, said that he should sprinkle many nations. ( Isaiah 52:15) And another prophet was commissioned to teach the church that their recovery from sin and from all uncleanness should be accomplished by the Lord's sprinkling the people with the clean water of his covenant, even the blood of Christ. "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean from all your filthiness, and from all your idols will I cleanse you." ( Ezekiel 36:25)

Morrish Bible Dictionary [2]

This mode of applying blood as a witness of death was

1. For protection. when all the firstborn in Egypt were to be smitten, the Israelites were told to 'strike,' that is 'sprinkle,' the side posts and lintels of their doors with the blood of a lamb, and Jehovah said, "When I see the blood I will pass over you." Death had already nullified the power of death.  Exodus 12:7,13 .

2. For purification. Aaron and his sons were sprinkled with blood. Moses "sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry, and almost all things are by the law purged with blood." Death separated the priestly family from their own associations.  Exodus 29:21;  Hebrews 9:21,22 .

3. For presentation. In the burnt offering, the blood was sprinkled round about upon the altar; in the sin offering the blood was sprinkled seven times before the Lord before the vail of the sanctuary; and on the day of atonement the blood was sprinkled upon the mercy-seat eastward, and before the mercy-seat seven times.   Leviticus 1:5;  Leviticus 4:6;  Leviticus 16:14 . Death became the means of God accomplishing His purposes of grace. The believer is redeemed, purified, and sanctified by the precious blood of Christ, and is ever before God 'perfected' according to the preciousness of that blood.  Hebrews 9:14;  Hebrews 10:10,14;  1 Peter 1:19 .

4. For confirmation. The covenant was sealed, and the people bound to it, by blood. Moses "sprinkled both the book and all the people."  Hebrews 9:19 .

Webster's Dictionary [3]

(1): ( n.) Hence, a moderate number or quantity distributed like drops.

(2): ( n.) A small quantity falling in distinct drops or particles; as, a sprinkling of rain or snow.

(3): ( p. pr. & vb. n.) of Sprinkle

(4): ( n.) The act of one who, or that which, sprinkles.

King James Dictionary [4]

Sprinkling ppr.

1. Dispersing, as a liquid or as dust. 2. Scattering on, in fine drops or particles.


1. The act of scattering in small drops or parcels. 2. A small quantity falling in distinct drops or parts, or coming moderately as a sprinkling of rain or snow.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [5]

as a form of baptism, took the place of immersion after a few centuries in the early Church, not from any established rule, but by common consent, and it has since been very generally practiced in all but the Greek and Baptist churches, which insist upon immersion. In its defense the following considerations are offered:

(1.) The primary signification of the word baptize" ( Βαπτίζω ) cannot be of great importance, inasmuch as the rite itself is typical, and therefore derives its moment not from the literal import of the term, but from the significance and design of the ordinance.

(2.) Although no instance of sprinkling is expressly mentioned in the New Test., yet there are several cases in which immersion was hardly possible ( Acts 2:41;  Acts 10:47-48;  Acts 16:33).

(3.) In cases of emergency, baptism by aspersion was allowed at a period of high antiquity, especially in the case of Sick persons. (See Clinic Baptism). This form was also admitted when the baptismal font was too small for immersion, and generally, whenever considerations of convenience, health, or climate required (Walafrid Strabo, De Rebus Eccles. C. 26; Gerhard, Loc. Theol. 9, 146). Aspersion did not become common in the Western or Latin Church until the 13th century, although it appears to have been introduced much earlier (Aquinas, Summa, quaest. 66, art. 7). See Coleman, Christ. Antiq. p. 276 sq. (See Baptism).