Lip (שָׂפָה, saphah', usually in the dual; Gr. χεῖλος), besides its literal sense (e.g. Isa 37:29; Song 4:3,11; Song 5:13; Pr 24:28), and (in the original) metaphorically for an edge or border, as of a cup (1Ki 7:26), of a garment (Ex 27:21), of a curtain (Ex 26:4; Ex 36:11), of the sea (Ge 22:17; Ex 2:3; Heb 11:12), of the Jordan (2Ki 2:13; Jg 7:22), is often put as an organ of speech, e.g. to "open the lips," 1. to begin to speak (Job 11:5; Job 32:20), also to "open the lips" of another, i.e. ecause him to speak (Ps 51:17), and to "refrain the lips," i.e. to keep silence (Ps 40:10; Pr 10:19). So speech or discourse is said to be "upon the lips" (Pr 16:10; Ps 16:4), once "under the lips" (Ps 140:4; Ro 3:13; comp. Eze 36:3), and likewise "sinning with lips" (Job 2:10; Job 12:20; Ps 45:3), and "uncircumcised of lips," i.e., not of ready speech (Ex 6:12), also "fruit of the lips," i.e., praise (Heb 13:15; 1Pe 3:5), and, by a bolder figure, "the calves of the lips," i.e., thank-offering (Ho 14:2); finally, the motion of the lips in speaking (Mt 15:8; Mr 7:6; from Isa 29:13). By metonomy, "lip" stands in Scripture for a manner of speech, e.g. in nations, a dialect (Ge 11:1,6-7,9; Isa 19:18; Eze 3:5-6; 1Co 14:21, alluding to Isa 28:11), or, in individuals, the moral quality of language, as "lying lips," etc., i.e., falsehood (Pr 10:18; comp. 17:4, 7) or wickedness (Ps 120:2), truth (Pr 12:19); "burning lips," i.e., ardent professions (Pr 26:23); "sweetness of lips," i.e., pleasant discourse (Pr 16:22; so Zep 3:9; Isa 6:5; Ps 12:3-4). To "shoot out the lip" at any one, i.q. to make mouths, has always been an expression of the utmost scorn and defiance (Ps 22:8). In like manner, "unclean lips" are put as a represelntation of unfitness to impart or receive the divine communications (Isa 6:5,7). Also the "word of one's lips," i.e. communication, e.g. Jehovah's precepts (Ps 17:4; comp. Pr 23:16: spoken of as something before unknown, Ps 81:6); elsewhere in a bad sense, i.q. lip-talk, i.e., vain and empty words (Isa 36:5; Pr 14:23), and so of the person uttering them, e.g. a man of talk, i.e., an idle talker (Job 11:2), a prating fool (Pr 10:8; comp. Le 5:4; Ps 106:33). SEE TONGUE.

The "upper lip" (שָׂפָם, saphats', a derivative of the above), which the leper was required to cover (Leviticus 42:45), refers to the lip-beard or mustachios, as the Venet. Greek (μύσταξ) there and the Sept. in 2Sa 19:24, render it, being the beard (in the latter passage), which Mephibosheth neglected to trim during David's absence in token of grief. The same practice of "covering the lip" with a corner of one's garment, as if polluted( (comp. "unclean lips"), as a sign of mourning, is allluded to in Eze 24:17,22; Mic 3:7, where the Sept. has στόμα, χείλη. SEE MOUTH

Definition of lip

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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