(מִרצֵעִ, martse'd, perforator, Sept. ὀπήτιον), an instrument for boring a small hole (Ex 21:6; De 15:17). Considering that the Israelites had recently withdrawn from their long sojourn in Egypt, there can be no doubt that the instruments were the same as those of that country, used by the sandalmakers and other workers in leather (Wilkinson, 2, 105). In the above passages the word is employed in reference to piercing the ear as a sign of perpetual servitude, which it seems was a custom among other Oriental nations (Petronius. Satyr. 102), and it was the practice in Lydia, India, and Persia to perforate the ears of boys dedicated to the service of the gods (Xen. Anab. 3, 1, 31; Plutarch, Sympos. 2, 1, 4). SEE SERVANT.

Bible concordance for AWL.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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