Dunghill (אשַפּוֹת, ashpoth, 1Sa 2:8; Ps 113:7; La 4:5; מִדמֵנָה, madmenah, a heap of compost, Isa 25:10; Chald. נוָלוּ, nevalu', Ezr 7:11 or נוָלַי, nevali', Da 2:5; Da 3:29, a sink; Greek κοπρία, Ecclus. 22:2; Lu 14:35). From Isa 25:10, we learn that the bulk of manure was increased by the addition of straw, which was, of course, as with us, left to rot in the dunghill. Some of the regulations connected with this use of dung we learn from the Talmud. The heaping up of a dunghill in a public place exposed the owner to the repair of any damage it might occasion, and any one was at liberty to take it away (Baba Kama, 1:3, 3). Another regulation forbade the accumulation of the dunghill to be removed in the seventh or sabbatic year to the vicinity of any ground under culture (Shabb. 3:1), which was equivalent to an interdiction of the use of manure in that year; and this must have occasioned some increase of labor in the year ensuing. SEE AGRICULTURE. To sit on a dung heap was a sign of the deepest dejection (1Sa 2:8; Ps 113:7; La 4:5; comp. Job 2:8, Sept. and Vulg.). We are informed by Plutarch (De Superstitione) that the Syrians were affected with a particular disease characterized by violent pains of the bones, ulcerations over the whole body, swelling of the feet and abdomen, and wasting of the liver. This malady was in general referred to the anger of the gods, but was supposed to be more especially inflicted by the Syrian goddess on those who had eaten some kinds of fish deemed sacred to her (Menander apud Porphyr.). In order to appease the offended divinity, the persons affected by this disorder were taught by the priests to put on sackcloth, or old tattered garments, and to sit on a dunghill; or to roll themselves naked in the dirt as a sign of humiliation and contrition for their offense (Persius, Sat. 5; Martial, Epigr. 4:4). This will remind the reader of Job's conduct under his affliction, and that of other persons mentioned in Scripture as rolling themselves in the dust, etc. SEE DUST.

Definition of dunghill

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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