Sweat (זָעָה, Ge 3; Ge 19; יֶזִע, Eze 44:18; ἱδρώς, Lu 22:44) was one of the physical phenomena attending our Lord's agony in the garden of Gethsemane as described by Luke (Lu 22:44): "His sweat was as it were great drops (literally clots, θράμβοι) of blood falling down to the ground." The genuineness of this verse and of the preceding has been doubted, but is now generally acknowledged. They are omitted in A and B, but are found in the Codex Sinaiticus (א), Codex Bezae, and others, and in the Peshito, Philoxenian, and Curetonian Syriac. See Tregelles, Greek New Test.; Scrivener, Introd. to the Crit. of the New Test. p. 434), and Tregelles points to the notation of the section and canon in ver. 42 as a trace of the existence of the verse in the Codex Alexandrinus.
Of this malady, known in medical science by the term disapedesis, there have been examples recorded both in ancient and modern times. Aristotle was aware of it (De Part. Anim. 3, 5). The cause assigned is generally violent mental-emotion. "Kannegiesser," quoted by Dr. Stroud (Phys. Causef the Death of Christ, p. 86), remarks, 'Violent mental excitement, whether occasioned by uncontrollable anger or vehement joy, and in like manner sudden terror or intense fear, forces out a sweat, accompanied with signs either of anxiety or hilarity.' After ascribing this sweat to the unequal constriction of some vessels and dilatation of others, he further observes: 'If the mind is seized with a sudden fear of death, the sweat, owing to the excessive degree of constriction, often becomes bloody.' Dr. Millingen (Cariosities of Medical Experience, p. 489, 2nd ed.) gives the following explanation of the phenomenon: "It is probable that this strange disorder arises from a violent commotion of the nervous system, turning the streams of blood out of their natural course, and forcing the red particles into the cutaneous excretories. A mere relaxation of the fibers could not produce so powerful a revulsion. It may also arise in cases of extreme debility, in connection with a thinner condition of the blood." The following are a few of the instances on record which have been collected by Calmet (Diss. sur la Sueur du Sang), Millingen, Stroud, Trusen (Die Sitten, Gebrdiuche und Krankheiten d. alt. Hebr. [Breslau, 1853]), in addition to those given under BLOODY SWEAT SEE BLOODY SWEAT . Schekius (Obs. Med. 3, 458) says that in the plague of Miseno in 1554 a woman who was seized sweated blood for three days. In 1552 Conrad Lycosthenes (De Prodigiis, p. 623, ed. 1557) reports, a woman sick of the plague sweated blood from the upper part of her body. According to De Thou (I, 11:326, ed. 1626), the governor of Montemaro, being seized by stratagem and threatened with death, was so moved thereat that he sweated blood and water. In the Helanges d'Histoire, (3, 179), by Dom Bonaventure d'Argonne, the case is given of a woman who suffered so much from this malady that, after her death, no blood was found in her veins. Another case of a girl of eighteen who suffered in the same way is reported by Mesaporiti, a physician at Genoa, accompanied by the observations of Valisneri, professor of medicine at Padua. It occurred in 1703 (Phiil. Trans. No.303, p. 2144). There is still, however, wanted a well-authenticated instance in modern times observed with all the care and attested by all the exactness of later medical science. That given in Caspar's Wochenschrift, 1848, as having been observed by Dr. Schneider, appears to be the most recent, and resembles the phenomenon mentioned by Theophrastus (London Med. Gaz. 1848, 2, 953). For further reference to authorities, see Copeland, Dict. of Medicine, 2, 72.