Wagon Heb. aghalah; so rendered in Gen. 45:19, 21, 27; 46:5; Num. 7:3, 7,8, but elsewhere rendered "cart" (1 Sam. 6:7, etc.). This vehicle was used for peaceful purposes. In Ezek. 23:24, however, it is the rendering of a different Hebrew word, and denotes a war-chariot.
Wailing-place, Jews' a section of the western wall of the temple area, where the Jews assemble every Friday afternoon to bewail their desolate condition (Ps. 79:1, 4, 5). The stones in this part of the wall are of great size, and were placed, as is generally believed, in the position in which they are now found in the time of Solomon. "The congregation at the wailing-place is one of the most solemn gatherings left to the Jewish Church, and as the writer gazed at the motley concourse he experienced a feeling of sorrow that the remnants of the chosen race should be heartlessly thrust outside the sacred enclosure of their fathers' holy temple by men of an alien race and an alien creed. Many of the elders, seated on the ground, with their backs against the wall, on the west side of the area, and with their faces turned toward the eternal house, read out of their well-thumbed Hebrew books passages from the prophetic writings, such as Isa. 64:9-12" (King's Recent Discoveries, etc.). The wailing-place of the Jews, viewed in its past spiritual and historic relations, is indeed "the saddest nook in this vale of tears." (See LAMENTATIONS, BOOK OF.)
Wall Cities were surrounded by walls, as distinguished from "unwalled villages" (Ezek. 38:11; Lev. 25:29-34). They were made thick and strong (Num. 13:28; Deut. 3:5). Among the Jews walls were built of stone, some of those in the temple being of great size (1 Kings 6:7; 7:9-12; 20:30; Mark 13:1, 2). The term is used metaphorically of security and safety (Isa. 26:1; 60:18; Rev. 21:12-20). (See FENCE.)
Wandering of the Israelites in the wilderness in consequence of their rebellious fears to enter the Promised Land (Num. 14:26-35). They wandered for forty years before they were permitted to cross the Jordan (Josh. 4:19; 5:6).
The record of these wanderings is given in Num. 33:1-49. Many of the stations at which they camped cannot now be identified.
Questions of an intricate nature have been discussed regarding the "Wanderings," but it is enough for us to take the sacred narrative as it stands, and rest assured that "He led them forth by the right way" (Ps. 107:1-7, 33-35). (See WILDERNESS.)
War The Israelites had to take possession of the Promised Land by conquest. They had to engage in a long and bloody war before the Canaanitish tribes were finally subdued. Except in the case of Jericho and Ai, the war did not become aggressive till after the death of Joshua. Till then the attack was always first made by the Canaanites. Now the measure of the iniquity of the Canaanites was full, and Israel was employed by God to sweep them away from off the face of the earth. In entering on this new stage of the war, the tribe of Judah, according to divine direction, took the lead.
In the days of Saul and David the people of Israel engaged in many wars with the nations around, and after the division of the kingdom into two they often warred with each other. They had to defend themselves also against the inroads of the Egyptians, the Assyrians, and the Babylonians. The whole history of Israel from first to last presents but few periods of peace.
The Christian life is represented as a warfare, and the Christian graces are also represented under the figure of pieces of armour (Eph. 6:11-17; 1 Thess. 5:8; 2 Tim. 2:3, 4). The final blessedness of believers is attained as the fruit of victory (Rev. 3:21).
Ward a prison (Gen. 40:3, 4); a watch-station (Isa. 21:8); a guard (Neh. 13:30).
Wars of the Lord, The Book of the (Num. 21:14, 15), some unknown book so called (comp. Gen. 14:14-16; Ex. 17:8-16; Num. 14:40-45; 21:1-3, 21-25, 33-35; 31. The wars here recorded might be thus designated).
Washing (Mark 7:1-9). The Jews, like other Orientals, used their fingers when taking food, and therefore washed their hands before doing so, for the sake of cleanliness. Here the reference is to the ablutions prescribed by tradition, according to which "the disciples ought to have gone down to the side of the lake, washed their hands thoroughly, 'rubbing the fist of one hand in the hollow of the other, then placed the ten finger-tips together, holding the hands up, so that any surplus water might flow down to the elbow, and thence to the ground.'" To neglect to do this had come to be regarded as a great sin, a sin equal to the breach of any of the ten commandments. Moses had commanded washings oft, but always for some definite cause; but the Jews multiplied the legal observance till they formed a large body of precepts. To such precepts about ceremonial washing Mark here refers. (See ABLUTION.)
Watches the periods into which the time between sunset and sunrise was divided. They are so called because watchmen relieved each other at each of these periods. There are frequent references in Scripture to the duties of watchmen who were appointed to give notice of the approach of an enemy (2 Sam. 18:24-27; 2 Kings 9:17-20; Isa. 21:5-9). They were sometimes placed for this purpose on watch-towers (2 Kings 17:9; 18:8). Ministers or teachers are also spoken of under this title (Jer. 6:17; Ezek. 33:2-9; Heb. 13:17).
The watches of the night were originally three in number, (1) "the beginning of the watches" (Lam. 2:19); (2) "the middle watch" (Judg. 7:19); and (3) "the morning watch" (Ex. 14:24; 1 Sam. 11:11), which extended from two o'clock to sunrise. But in the New Testament we read of four watches, a division probably introduced by the Romans (Matt. 14:25; Mark 6:48; Luke 12:38). (See DAY.)
Watchings (2 Cor. 6:5), lit. "sleeplessnesses," the result of "manual labour, teaching, travelling, meditating, praying, cares, and the like" (Meyer's Com.).