Dust (usually עָפָר, aphar', but אָבָק, abak, pulverulence, in Ex 9:9; Isa 5:24; Isa 29:5; Eze 26:10; Na 1:3; "powder," Deuteronomy 38:24; and שִׁחִק, shach'ak, or impalpable dust, Isa 40:15; דָּקִק, dakak', to triturate, 2Ch 34:4; Gr. κονιορτός; but χόος, dirt, in Mr 6:11; Re 18:19). In the immediate vicinity of Judaea there are vast plains or deserts of fine sand, which, when agitated by a violent wind, makes most terrific and desolating storms. Eastern travelers describe them particularly, and think them more dreadful than storms at sea. This affords us a striking illustration of the nature and horrors of the plague, mentioned in Ex 8:16-17, when, the extremely fine and penetrating dust of the land of Egypt was converted into gnats. Among the various fearful punishments denounced in the event of their forsaking Jehovah, the Hebrews are threatened that the rain of their land shall become "powder and dust" (De 28:24). SEE STORM. Among the Hebrews, to cast dust or ashes upon the head was a sign of mourning (Jos 7:6), and sitting in the dust was a sign of extreme affliction (Isa 47:1; La 3:29). SEE GRIEF. The term "dust" is often used figuratively, sometimes to denote the grave (Job 7:21) or death itself (Ge 3:19; Ps 22:15), sometimes to express a numerous people (Nu 23:10), and sometimes a low or mean condition (1Sa 2:8; Na 3:18). See Wemyss, Symbol. Dict. s.v. To shake or wipe off the dust of a place from one's feet marks the renouncing of all intercourse with it in future (Mt 10:14; Ac 13:51). To "lick the dust" signifies the most abject submission (Ps 72:9). In almost every part of Asia those who demand justice against a criminal throw dust upon him. Thus Shimei cast dust at David (2Sa 16:13), signifying by that action that David ought to be put to death. This view is confirmed by the conduct of the Jews to Paul; when they seized him in the Temple they cried out, "Away with such a fellow from the earth, for it is not fit that he should live; and as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air, the chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle" (Ac 22:23). SEE ASHES.

Bible concordance for DUST.

Definition of dust

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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