Stumbling Block

Stumbling block (מַכשׁוֹל, mikshol, πρόσκομμα, which literally denote any object over which a person may trip the foot, and hence, figuratively, a cause of ruin or disgust; but מִכשֵׁלָה, makshelah, is only used of a physical "ruin" [Isa 3; Isa 6], or an idol ["stumbling block," i.e. incitement to apostasy, Zep 1:6]; and σκάνδαλον [1Co 1:23; 1Jo 2:10; Re 2:14; elsewhere "offense"] is properly the trap stick to which the bait is fastened in a snare). The roads in Eastern countries are, for the most part, nothing more than accustomed tracks, worn to something like a level by the passing of travelers and caravans. SEE ROAD. When rocks and stones are placed in these tracks, riders are exposed to great danger from the stumbling of the horses; and hence Isaiah (Isa 43:13), describing God's glorious deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, says, "He led them through the deep, as a horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble." Robbers and plundering hordes frequently placed huge stones and branches of trees across the roads, as stumbling blocks to check and perplex caravans, in order that they might attack them during the confusion which such impediments would necessarily create. Thus (Jer 6:21), "Therefore thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will lay stumbling blocks before this people, and the father and the sons together shall fall upon them; the neighbor and his friend shall perish" (see Hackett, Illust. of Script. p. 19, 22). SEE OFFENSE.

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