Heifer (עֶגלָה, eglah', fem. of עֵגֶל, "calf;" פָּרָה, parah', fern. of פָּר, "bullock;" Sept. and N.T. δάμαλις; Vulg. vacca). The Hebrew language has no expression that exactly corresponds to our "heifer," for both eglah and parah are applied to cows that have calved (1Sa 6:7-12; Job 21:10; Isa 7:21); indeed, eylah means a young animal of any species, the full expression being עֶגלִת בָּקָר, "heifer of kine" (De 21:3; 1Sa 16:2; Isa 7:21). The heifer or young cow was not commonly used for ploughing, but only for treading out the corn (Ho 10:11; but see Jg 14:18), when it ran about without any headstall (De 25:4); hence the expression an "unbroken heifer" (Ho 4:16; Auth. V. backsliding"), to which Israel is compared. A similar sense has been attached to the expression "calf of three years old," עֶגלִת שׁלַישַׁיָּה, i.e. unsubdued, in Isa 15:5; Jer 48:34: but it has by some been taken as a proper name, Eglath Shelishiyah, such names being not very uncommon. The sense of" dissolute" is conveyed undoubtedly in Am 4:1. The comparison of Egypt to a "fair heifer" (Jer 46:20) may be an allusion to the well- known form under which Apis was worshipped (to which we may also refer the words in ver. 15, as understood in the Sept., "Why is the bullock [μόσχος ἐκλεκτός] swept away?"), the "destruction" threatened being the bite of the gad-fly, to which the word keretz would fitly apply. "To plough with another man's heifer" (Jg 14:18) implies that an advantage has been gained by unfair means. The proper names Eglah, Eneglaim, and Parah are derived from the Hebrew terms at the head of this article. SEE RED HEIFER.

Bible concordance for HEIFER.

Definition of heifer

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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