Daughter (בִּת, bath, for בֶּנֶת, fem. of בֵּן, son; θυγατήρ), a word used in Scripture in a variety of senses, some of which are unknown to our own language, or have only become known through familiarity with scriptural forms of speech. SEE BEN-. Besides its usual and proper sense of
(1.) a daughter, born or adopted, we find it used to designate
(2.) a Uterine sister, niece, or any female descendant (Ge 20:12; Ge 24:48; Ge 28:6; Ge 36:2; Nu 25:1; De 23:17).
(3.) Women, as natives, residents, or professing the religion of certain places, as "the daughter of Zion" (Isa 3:16); "daughters of the Philistines" (2Sa 1:20); "daughter of a strange god" (Mal 2:11); daughters of men," i.e. carnal women (Ge 6:2), etc.
(4.) Metaphorically small towns are called daughters of neighboring large cities — metropoles, or mother cities — to which they belonged or from which they were derived, as "Heshbon and all the daughters [Auth. Vers. villages] thereof" (Nu 21:25); so Tyre is called the daughter of Sidon (Isa 22:12), as having been originally a colony from thence; and hence also the town of Abel is called "a mother in Israel" (2Sa 20:19); and Gath is in one place (comp. 2Sa 7:1; 1Ch 18:1) called Gath- Ammah, or Gath the mother town, metropolis, to distinguish it from its own dependencies, or from another place called Gath. SEE VILLAGE. Comp. other instances in Nu 21:32; Jg 11:26; Jos 15:45, etc.
(5.) The people collectively of any place, the name of which is given, as "the daughter (i.e. the people) of Jerusalem hath shaken her head at thee" (Isa 37:22; see also Ps 45:13; Ps 137:8; Isa 10:30; Jer 46:19; La 4:22; Zec 9:9). This metaphor is illustrated by the almost universal custom of representing towns under the figure of a woman.
(6.) The word "daughter," followed by a numeral, indicates a woman of the age indicated by the numeral, as when Sarah (in the original) is called "the daughter of ninety years" (Ge 17:17).
(7.) The word "daughter" is also applied to the produce of animals, trees, or plants. Thus, "daughter of the she-ostrich," (supposed) for "female ostrich" (Le 11:16); Joseph is called "a fruitful bough whose daughters (branches) run over the wall" (Ge 49:22). See further in Gesenius and Furst, s.v. בת.
The condition of daughters, that is, of young women, in the East, their employments, duties, etc., may be gathered from various parts of Scripture, and seems to have borne but little resemblance to that of young women of respectable parentage among ourselves. Rebekah drew and fetched water; Rachel kept sheep, as did the daughters of Jethro, though he was a priest, or a prince, of Midian. They superintended and performed domestic services for the family; Tamar, though a king's daughter, baked bread; and the same of others. We have the same occupations for the daughters of princes in the ancient poets, of which Homer is an unquestionable evidence. SEE CHILD; SEE EDUCATION; SEE WOMAN; SEE MARRIAGE.
The original terms rendered "daughter-in-law" are in the Hebrews כִּלָּה kallah'; Sept. and New Test. νύμφη, both literally meaning a bride (as elsewhere rendered), and applied to a son's wife.