Dung (prop. צָפַיעִ, tsaphi'a, Eze 4:15, spoken exclusively of animals, such as the cow or camel; also דֹּמֶן, do nen, ordure, as spread on land, 2Ki 9:37; Ps 83:10; Jer 8:2; Jer 9:22; Jer 16:4; Jer 25:33; while פֶּרֶשׁ, pe'resh, signifies feces as contained in the entrails of victims, Ex 29:14; Le 4:11; Le 8:17; Le 16:27; Nu 9:5; Mal 2:3. On the other hand, human excrement is specially denoted by, צֵאָה, tseah', De 23:13; Eze 4:12; a sense also applied to גֵּלֶל, ge'lel, Job 20:7; Eze 4:12,15; Zep 1:17; but not necessarily to גָּלָל, gal', 1Ki 14:10. The Greek word is ricorpo, whether of men or brutes; used in the Sept. for all the above, but found in the N.T. only in the form κοπρία, manure, Lu 13:8; while σκύβαλον, Php 3:8, properly signifies refuse. The use of such substances among the Jews was twofold.
1. As manure. This consisted either of straw steeped in liquid manure (בּמֵי מִדמֵנָה, lit. in dung-water, Isa 25:10), or. the sweepings (סוּחָה, Isa 5:25) of the streets and roads, which were carefully removed from about the houses and collected in heaps (אִשׁפֹּת) outside the walls of the towns at fixed spots (hence the dung-gate at Jerusalem, Ne 2:13), and thence removed in due course to the fields (Mishna, Shabb. 3, § 1-3). See below. The mode of applying manure to trees was by digging holes about their roots and inserting it (Lu 13:8), as still practiced in Southern Italy (Trench, Parables, page 356). In the case of sacrifices the dung was burned outside the camp (Ex 29:14; Le 4:11; Le 8:17; Nu 19:5) hence the extreme opprobrium of the threat in Mal 2:3. Particular directions were laid down in the law to enforce cleanliness with regard to human ordure (De 23:12 sq.) it was the grossest insult to turn a man's house into a receptacle for it (מִחֲרָאָת, 2Ki 10:27; נוָלוּ, Ezr 6:11; Da 2:5; Da 3:29, A.V., " dunghill"); public establishments of that nature are still found in the large towns of the East (Russell's Aleppo, 1:34). The expression to "cast out as dung" implied not only the offensiveness of the object, but also the ideas of removal (1Ki 14:10), and still more exposure (2Ki 9:37; Jer 8:2). The reverence of the later Hebrews would not permit the pronunciation of some of the terms used in Scripture, and accordingly more delicate words were substituted in the margin (צוֹאָה, tsoht', for חֲרָאַים, charaim, or חֲרַים, charim, 2Ki 6:25; 2Ki 10:27; 2Ki 18:27; Isa 36:12). The occurrence of such names as Gilalai, Dimnah, Madmenah, and Madmannah, shows that these ideas of delicacy did not extend to ordinary matters. The term σκύβαλα (A.V., "ldung," Php 3:8) im applied by Josephus (War, 5:13, 7) to ordure (comp. Ecclus 27:4). SEE MANURE.
2. As fuel. In a district where wood is scarce, dung is so valuable for this purpose that little of it is spared for the former. The difficulty of procuring firewood in Syria, Arabia, and Egypt has therefore made dung in all ages highly prized as a substitute it was used for heating lime kilns (Theophr. Lap. 69), ovens, and for baking cakes (Eze 4:12,15), the even heat which it produced adapting it peculiarly for the latter operation. Cows and camels dung is still used for a similar purpose by the Bedouins (Burckhardt's Notes, 1:57) they even form a species of pan for frying eggs out of it (Russell, Aleppo, 1:39); in Egypt the dung is mixed with straw and formed into flat, round cakes, which are dried in the sun (Lane, Mod. Eg. 1:252; 2:141). This use of dung for fuel by the ancient Israelites, however, is collected incidentally from the passage in which the prophet Ezekiel, being commanded, as a symbolical action, to bake his bread with human dung, excuses himself from the use of an unclean thing, and is permitted to employ cows dung instead (Eze 4:12-15). This shows that the dung of animals, at least of clean animals, was usual, and that no ideas of ceremonial uncleanness were attached to its employment for this purpose. The use of cow dung for fuel is known to European villagers, who, at least in the west of England, prefer it in baking their bread "under the crock," on account of the long continued and equable heat which it maintains. It is there also not unusual in a summer evening to see aged people traveling the green lanes with baskets to collect the cakes of cow dung which have dried upon the road. This helps out the ordinary fire of wood, and makes it burn longer. In many thinly wooded parts of south-western Asia, the dung of cows, camels, horses, asses, whichever may happen to be the most common, is collected with great zeal and diligence from the streets and highways, chiefly by young girls. They also hover on the skirts of travelers, and there are often amusing scrambles among them for the droppings of the cattle. The dung is mixed up with chopped straw and made into cakes, which are stuck up by their own adhesiveness against the walls of the cottages, or are laid upon the declivity of a hill, until sufficiently dried. It is not unusual to see a whole village with its walls thus garnished, which has a singular and not very agreeable appearance to a European traveler. Towards the end of autumn, the result of the summer collection of fuel for winter is shown in large conical heaps or stacks of dried dung upon the top of every cottage. The usages of the Jews in this matter were probably similar in kind, although the extent to which they prevailed cannot now be estimated. ( See Kitto, Pictorial Hist. of the Jews, 2, page 349.) SEE FUEL.