Hard bony structures in the jaws of persons and animals used to cut and grind food. In Old Testament thinking, the loss of a tooth was a serious matter subject to the law of retaliation (Exodus 21:23-25;
Deuteronomy 19:21; compare
Matthew 5:38-42). Teeth set on edge, that is made dull or insensitive, illustrates the concept of corporate or inherited guilt challenged by the prophets (Jeremiah 31:29-30;
Ezekiel 18:2-3). Gnashing of teeth displays the raging despair of those excluded from Christ's kingdom (Matthew 8:12;
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'TEETH'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".