Haem'orrhoids (טחוֹרִים techorim', prob. tumores ani i.e. the piles, so called as protruded [the root is טָחר, to stretch] from the fundament, or from the straining or tenesmus with flow of blood, which the Masorites have everywhere inserted in the margin for the textual [but apparently more vulgar and less proper] word עַפָלִים ophalim', lit hills, spoken also in the Arab. of a "tumor in ano virorum vel in pudendis mulierum" [see Schroeder, Orig. Hebrews 4:54; Schultens, ad Medianii Prov. p. 23]; Sept. and Vulg. understand a sore in the secret parts), a painful disease with which the Philistines were afflicted by God as a punishment for detaining the sacred ark at Ashdod after they had captured it in battle (2Sa 5:6). The word also occurs among the physical curses denounced upon the Israelites by Moses in case of apostacy (De 28:27). Interpreters are not agreed on the exact signification of the original terms, nor on the nature of the disease, although most think that those painful tumors in the fundament are meant which sometimes turn into ulcers, i.e. the piles (Ps 78:66). Others regard it as the name of the fundament itself, podex (Bochart, Hieroz, 1, 382; see Fuller in Miscel. Sac. v, 3; Kanne, Die Goldene Aerse der Philist. Nurimb. 1820). The Sept and Vulg. add to ver. 9 that the Philistines made seats of skins upon which to sit with more ease, by reason of their indisposition. Herodotus seems to have had some knowledge of this history, but has assigned another cause (1, 105). He says the Scythians, having plundered the temple of Venus at Askalon, a celebrated city of the Philistines, the goddess, who was worshipped there, afflicted them with a peculiar disease θήλεια νόσος. The Philistines, perhaps, thus related the story; but it evidently passed for truth that this disease was ancient, and had been sent among them by some avenging deity. To remedy this suffering, and to remove the ravages committed by rats, which wasted their country, the Philistines were advised by their priests and soothsayers to return the ark of God with the following offerings (1Sa 6:1-18): five figures of a golden emerod, that is the part afflicted, and five golden rats; hereby acknowledging that this plague was the effect of divine justice. This advice was followed; and Josephus (Ant. 6, 1, 1, δυσεντερία; Aquila, τὸ τῆς φαγεδαίνης ἕλκος and others believed that the five cities of the Philistines made each a statue, which they consecrated to God as votive offerings for their deliverance. This, however, seems to have originated from the figures of the rats. The heathen frequently offered to their gods figures representing those parts of the body which had been diseased (see Frey, De more simulacra membrorum consecrandi, Altd. 1746); and such kinds of ex votes are still frequent in Catholic countries, being consecrated in honor of some saint who is supposed to have wrought the cure: they are images of wax or of metal, exhibiting those parts of the body in which the disease was seated. The Scholiast on Aristophanes (Achara,231) mentions a similar plague (followed by a similar subsequent propitiation to that mentioned in Scripture), as sent upon the Athenians by Bacchus. The opinion mentioned by Winer (s.v. Philister), as advanced by Lichtenstein (in Eichhorn's Biblioth. 6, 405-467), that the plague of emerods and that of mice are one and the same, the former being caused by an insect (solpuga) as large as a field mouse, is hardly worth serious attention. Kitto thinks that they were rather talismans specially formed under astrological calculations for the purpose of obviating the effects of the disease (Daily Bible Illustr. ad loc.). The words of 1Sa 5:12, "The men that died not were smitten with emerods," show that the disease was not necessarily fatal. It is clear from its parallelism with "botch" and other diseases in De 28:27 that עַפָלִים is a disease, not a part of the body (see Beyer, De haemorrhoidibus ex lege Mosaica, Lips. 1792). Now 1Sa 5:11 speaks of the images of the emerods after they were actually made and placed in the ark. It thus appears probable that the former word means the disease and the latter the part affected, which must necessarily have been included in the actually existing image, and have struck the eye as the essential thing represented, to which the disease was an incident. As some morbid swelling, then, seems the most probable nature of the disease, so no more probable conjecture has been advanced than that hemorrhoidal tumors or bleeding piles, known to the Romans as mariscae (Juv. 2, 13) are intended. These are very common in Syria at present, Oriental habits of want of exercise and improper food, producing derangement of the liver, constipation, etc., being such as to cause them. SEE DISEASE.

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