Madness The words rendered by "mad," "madman," "madness," etc., in the A. Vers., vary considerably in the Hebrew of the O.T. In De 28:28,34; 1Sa 21:13-15, etc. (μανία, etc., in the Sept.), they are derivatives of the root שָׁגִע, shaga', "to be stirred or excited;" in Jer 25:16; Jer 1; Jer 38; Jer 51:7; Ec 1:17, etc. (Sept. περιφορά), from the root הָלִל, hal', "to flash out," applied (like the Greek φλέγειν) either to light or sound; in Isa 44:25, from סִכּל, sakkel', "to make void or foolish" (Sept. μωραίνειν); in Zec 12:4, from תָּמִתּ, tamah', "to wander" (Sept. ἔκστασις). In the N.T. they are generally used to render μαίνεσθαι or μανία (as in Joh 10:20; Ac 26:24; 1Co 14:23); but in 2Pe 2:16 the word is παραφρονία, and in Lu 6:11, ἄνοια The term is used in Scripture in its proper and old sense of a raving maniac or demented person (De 28:34; 1Sa 21:13; Joh 10:20; 1Co 14:23), and may be medically defined to be delirium without fever. Our Lord cured by his word several who were deprived of the exercise of their rational powers, and the circumstances of their histories prove that there could neither be mistake nor collusion respecting them. See LUNATIC. How far madness may be allied to, or connected with demoniacal possession (as implied in one passage, Joh 10:20), is a very intricate inquiry; and whether in the present day (as perhaps anciently) evil spirits may not take advantage from distemperature of the bodily frame to augment evils endured by the patient is more than may be affirmed, though the idea seems to be not absolutely repugnant to reason (see Thomson, Land and Book. 1:213). SEE DAEMONIAC. The term "mad" is likewise applied in Scripture, as in common life, to any subordinate but violent disturbance of the mental faculties, whether springing from a disordered intellect (as by over-study, Ac 26:24-25; from startling intelligence, Ac 12:15; from preternatural excitement, Ho 9:7; Isa 44:25; from resistance of oppression, Ec 7:7; from inebriety, Jer 25:16; Jer 51:7; or simple fatuity, 2Ki 9:11; Jer 29:26), or from irregular and furious passion (e.g. as a persecutor, Ac 26:11; Ps 102:8; from idolatrous hallucination, Jer 1; Jer 38; or wicked and extravagant jollity, Ec 2:2). In like manner, "madness" expresses not only proper insanity (De 28:28, and so "madman," 1Sa 21:15; Pr 26:18). but also a reckless state of mind (Ec 10:13), bordering on delirium (Zec 12:4), whether induced by overstrained intellectual efforts (Ec 1:17; Ec 2:12), from blind rage (Lu 6:12), or the effect of depraved tempers (Ec 7:25; Ec 9:3; 2Pe 2:6). David's madness (1Sa 21:13) is by many supposed not to have been feigned, but a real epilepsy or falling sickness; and the Sept. uses words which strongly indicate this sense (ἔπιπτεν ἐπὶ τὰς θύρας). It is urged in support of this opinion that the troubles which David underwent might very naturally weaken his constitutional strength, and that the force he suffered in being obliged to seek shelter in a foreign court would disturb his imagination in the highest degree. A due consideration, however, of the context and all the circumstances only serves to strengthen the opinion that it was feigned for obvious reasons (see Kitto's Daily Bible Illustr. ad loc.). "It is well known that among Oriental, as among most semi-civilized nations, madmen were looked upon with a kind of reverence, as possessed of a quasi-sacred character (see Lane, in od E. 2:346). This arises partly, no doubt, from the feeling that one on whom God's hand is laid heavily should be safe from all other harm, but partly also from the belief that the loss of reason and self- control opened the mind to supernatural influence, and gave it therefore a supernatural sacredness. This belief was strengthened by the enthusiastic expression of idolatrous worship (see 1Ki 18:26,28), and (occasionally) of real inspiration (see 1Sa 19:21-24; comp. the application of 'mad fellow' in 2Ki 9:11, and see Jer 29:26; Ac 2:13)."

Bible concordance for MADNESS.

Definition of madness

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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