West (expressed in Heb. by אָחוֹר, behind; יָם, the sea; בּוֹא הִשֶּׁמֶשׁ , the going down of the sun [and so in Greek δυσμή, sunset]; מִעֲרָב, evening). The Shemite, in speaking of the quarters of the heavens, etc., supposes his face turned towards the east; so that the east is before him, קָדָם, strictly what is before or in front; the south on his right hand, תַּיטֹן, strictly what lies to the right; the north on his left hand, שַׂמאֹל, the left side; and the west behind him, אָחוֹר, literally the hinder side. The last Hebrew word, though never translated "west" in our version, means so: as in Isa 9:12, "the Philistines behind," opposed to the Syrians, קָדָם Sept. ἀφ᾿ ἡλίου δυσμῶν; Vulg. ab occidente; and in Job 23:8.The words (De 11:24) "the uttermost sea," הִיָּם הָאִחֲרוֹן, are rendered in the Sept. ἕως τῆς θαλάσσης τῆς ἐπὶ δυσμῶν; Vulg. ad mare occidentale (comp. 34:2; Joel 2, 20). The more general use of the word אָחוֹר for the west was doubtless superseded among the inhabitants of Palestine by יָם, literally "the sea," that is, the Mediterranean Sea, which lay to the west, and which, as a more palpable object, became to them the representative of the west generally, and chiefly associated with their ideas of it. Accordingly this word יַם and its derivatives, יָמָה, etc., are thirty-two times rendered by θάλασσα, in the Sept., and only once by δυσμαί; in the Vulg. by occidens and mare. It is used to signify a quarter of the heavens, or of the earth (Ge 28:14; De 33:23; 1Ki 7:25; 1Ch 9:24; 2Ch 4:4; Isa 11:14; Isa 49; Isa 12; Eze 48:1; Ho 11:10; Zec 14:4). It is used adjectively in the same sense; as, west border (Nu 34:6; Jos 15:12; Eze 45:7); western (Nu 34:6); west quarter (Jos 18:14); west side (Ex 26:12; Ex 38:12; Nu 2:18; Nu 35:5; Eze 48:3-8,23-24); westward (Ge 13:14; Nu 3; Nu 23; De 3; De 27; Eze 48:18; Da 8:4); west wind (Ex 10:19). Those words of Moses, "Naphtali, possess thou the west and the south" (De 33:23), seem to contradict the statement of Josephus, that this tribe possessed the east and the north in Upper Galilee (Ant. 5, 1, 22); but Bochart interprets "the south," not with regard to the whole land of Canaan, but to the Danites, mentioned in ver. 22; and by "the west" he understands the lake of Tiberias, otherwise called the sea of Tiberias, or Galilee, or Gennesaret; for the portion of Naphtali extended from the south of the city called Dan or Laish to the sea of Tiberias, which was in this tribe. So all the Chaldee paraphrasts expound the word יָם, here translated west; Sept. θάλασσαν καὶ Λίβα; Vulg. nare et meridiem (Hieroz. pt. 1, lib. 3, c. 18). In some passages the word signifies the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea, and "the islands of the sea" denotes the western part of the world, or European nations. Thus, in regard to the future restoration of the Jews to their own' land, it is said (Ho 11:10), "when the Lord shall roar, then the children shall tremble (that is, hasten; an allusion to the motion of a bird's wings in flying) from the west"(see ver. 11, and comp. Isa 24:14-15, with 11:11; 24:14). In the account given of the removal of the plague of locusts from Egypt, we are told (Ex 10:19), "the Lord turned a mighty strong west wind," יוּהִאּיָם, ἄνεμον ἀπὸ θαλάσσης. Supposing that these were the very words of Moses, or a literal rendering of his words, it follows that the Egyptians made a similar reference to the Mediterranean, since Moses, all Egyptian, would no doubt use the language of his country in describing an event, which occurred in it. If his words do not refer to the Mediterranean, they must refer to the far-distant Atlantic, which, however, according to Herodotus, was not known to the Egyptians till many ages afterwards. Moses also represents God as saying to Abram, in the land, "Lift up thine eyes and look northward, and southward and eastward, and westward, יָמָה (Ge 13:14). The allusion to the sea in the latter passage may be accounted for upon the supposition that the very words of God to Abram had been preserved, and were inserted by Moses in his history. In two passages (Ps 107:3; Isa 49:12) מִיַם stands opposed to מַצָּפוֹן , but ought still to be rendered "the west" comp. Am 8:12; De 33:23. The west is also indicated by the phrase אֶרֶ מַבּוֹא הִשֶּׁמֶשׁ, Sept. ἀπὸ γῆς δυσμῶν; Vulg. de terra occasus solis. These words are translated "the west country" in Zec 8:7, literally, the country of the going-down of the sun, and are fully translated in Ps 1:1; Ps 113:3; Mal 1:11; comp. De 11:30; Jos 1:4; Jos 23:4. Another word by which the west is denoted is מִעֲרָב, from עָרִב, to remove, pass away, disappear as the sun does; hence the quarter of the heavens, etc., where the sun sets, the west. The same idea is conveyed in. the Greek word δυσμαί, from δύω. It occurs in 1Ch 12:15; Ps 75:6; Ps 103:12; Ps 107:3; Isa 43:5; Isa 45:6; Isa 9:19; Sept. δυσμαί; Vulg. occidens: in Da 8:5, Sept. Λίψ; Vulg. occidens. It is used to denote the west quarter of the heavens or earth. In the Apocrypha and New Test. the word translated "west" invariably corresponds to δυσμαί (Jude 2:19; Mt 8:11; Mt 24:27; Lu 12:54; Lu 13:29; Re 21:13); Vulg. occidens, occasus. Our Lord's memorable words, "They shall come from the east and the west," etc. (Mt 8:11), to which Luke adds "and from the north and the south"(13, 29), signify all the regions of the world; as in classical writers also (Xenoph. Cyr. 1, 1, 3). Grotius thinks that this passage refers to the promise to Jacob (Ge 28:14). In our Lord's prediction of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans (Mt 24:27), "For as the lightning cometh out of the east and shineth even unto the west, so also shall the coming of the son of man be," he is supposed to have intimated the precise direction 'in which the Roman army conducted the invasion. His reference to the cloud, τὴν νεφέλην, rising out of the west, as the precursor of a shower (comp. 1Ki 18:43-46); still corresponds to the weather in Palestine. Volney says, "The west and south-west winds, which in Syria and Palestine prevail from November to February, are, to borrow an expression of the Arabs, "the fathers of showers" (Voyage en Syrie, 1, 297; comp. Shaw, Travels, p. 329). — Kitto. Notable instances of such showers are those at the battle of Bethhoron (Joshua 11), and Elijah's sacrifice on Mt. Carmel (1Ki 18:44).

Definition of west

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