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Holman Bible Dictionary

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Additional Resources
• Nave's Topical Bible
Dumb (deafness, mute)

The inability to hear. According to the Old Testament God makes persons deaf or hearing (Exodus 4:11). The deaf were protected by the Mosaic law (Leviticus 19:14). The inability to hear is used as an image for waiting on God rather than resisting attackers (Psalms 38:13-14). Deafness is also symbolic of inattentiveness to and rebellion against God (Isaiah 42:18-20; Isaiah 43:8). Part of the future hope of the prophets is that the deaf will hear (Isaiah 42:18-20; Isaiah 43:8). The enemies of Israel would experience deafness in response to God's restoration of Israel (Micah 7:16).

The New Testament interprets Jesus' healing of the deaf as evidence of Jesus's Messiahship (Matthew 11:5; Luke 7:22). Strangely, only Mark narrated the healing of a deaf person (Mark 7:33-35; compare Mark 9:14-29). Mark 9:25 attributes deafness to an evil spirit. The parallel narratives (Matthew 17:14-19; Luke 9:37-42) emphasize epilectic-like fits rather than deafness.

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'DEAFNESS'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".
<>. 1991.


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