Weeks, Feast of See PENTECOST.
Weights Reduced to English troy-weight, the Hebrew weights were: (1.) The gerah (Lev. 27:25; Num. 3:47), a Hebrew word, meaning a grain or kernel, and hence a small weight. It was the twentieth part of a shekel, and equal to 12 grains.
(2.) Bekah (Ex. 38:26), meaning "a half" i.e., "half a shekel," equal to 5 pennyweight.
(3.) Shekel, "a weight," only in the Old Testament, and frequently in its original form (Gen. 23:15, 16; Ex. 21:32; 30:13, 15; 38:24-29, etc.). It was equal to 10 pennyweight.
(4.) Ma'neh, "a part" or "portion" (Ezek. 45:12), equal to 60 shekels, i.e., to 2 lbs. 6 oz.
(5.) Talent of silver (2 Kings 5:22), equal to 3,000 shekels, i.e., 125 lbs.
(6.) Talent of gold (Ex. 25:39), double the preceding, i.e., 250 lbs.
Well (Heb. beer), to be distinguished from a fountain (Heb. 'ain). A "beer" was a deep shaft, bored far under the rocky surface by the art of man, which contained water which percolated through the strata in its sides. Such wells were those of Jacob and Beersheba, etc. (see Gen. 21:19, 25, 30, 31; 24:11; 26:15, 18-25, 32, etc.). In the Pentateuch this word beer, so rendered, occurs twenty-five times.
Westward sea-ward, i.e., toward the Mediterranean (Deut. 3:27).
Whale The Hebrew word tan (plural, tannin) is so rendered in Job 7:12 (A.V.; but R.V., "sea-monster"). It is rendered by "dragons" in Deut. 32:33; Ps. 91:13; Jer. 51:34; Ps. 74:13 (marg., "whales;" and marg. of R.V., "sea-monsters"); Isa. 27:1; and "serpent" in Ex. 7:9 (R.V. marg., "any large reptile," and so in ver. 10, 12). The words of Job (7:12), uttered in bitter irony, where he asks, "Am I a sea or a whale?" simply mean, "Have I a wild, untamable nature, like the waves of the sea, which must be confined and held within bounds, that they cannot pass?" "The serpent of the sea, which was but the wild, stormy sea itself, wound itself around the land, and threatened to swallow it up...Job inquires if he must be watched and plagued like this monster, lest he throw the world into disorder" (Davidson's Job).
The whale tribe are included under the general Hebrew name tannin (Gen. 1:21; Lam. 4:3). "Even the sea-monsters [tanninim] draw out the breast." The whale brings forth its young alive, and suckles them.
It is to be noticed of the story of Jonah's being "three days and three nights in the whale's belly," as recorded in Matt. 12:40, that here the Gr. ketos means properly any kind of sea-monster of the shark or the whale tribe, and that in the book of Jonah (1:17) it is only said that "a great fish" was prepared to swallow Jonah. This fish may have been, therefore, some great shark. The white shark is known to frequent the Mediterranean Sea, and is sometimes found 30 feet in length.
Wheat one of the earliest cultivated grains. It bore the Hebrew name hittah, and was extensively cultivated in Palestine. There are various species of wheat. That which Pharaoh saw in his dream was the Triticum compositum, which bears several ears upon one stalk (Gen. 41:5). The "fat of the kidneys of wheat" (Deut. 32:14), and the "finest of the wheat" (Ps. 81:16; 147:14), denote the best of the kind. It was exported from Palestine in great quantities (1 Kings 5:11; Ezek. 27:17; Acts 12:20).
Parched grains of wheat were used for food in Palestine (Ruth 2:14; 1 Sam. 17:17; 2 Sam. 17:28). The disciples, under the sanction of the Mosaic law (Deut. 23:25), plucked ears of corn, and rubbing them in their hands, ate the grain unroasted (Matt. 12:1; Mark 2:23; Luke 6:1). Before any of the wheat-harvest, however, could be eaten, the first-fruits had to be presented before the Lord (Lev. 23:14).
Wheel (Heb. galgal; rendered "wheel" in Ps. 83:13, and "a rolling thing" in Isa. 17:13; R.V. in both, "whirling dust"). This word has been supposed to mean the wild artichoke, which assumes the form of a globe, and in autumn breaks away from its roots, and is rolled about by the wind in some places in great numbers.
White a symbol of purity (2 Chr. 5:12; Ps. 51:7; Isa. 1:18; Rev. 3:18; 7:14). Our Lord, at his transfiguration, appeared in raiment "white as the light" (Matt. 17:2, etc.).
Widows to be treated with kindness (Ex. 22:22; Deut. 14:29; 16:11, 14; 24:17, 19-21; 26:12; 27:19, etc.). In the New Testament the same tender regard for them is inculcated (Acts 6:1-6; 1 Tim. 5:3-16) and exhibited.
Wife The ordinance of marriage was sanctioned in Paradise (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:4-6). Monogamy was the original law under which man lived, but polygamy early commenced (Gen. 4:19), and continued to prevail all down through Jewish history. The law of Moses regulated but did not prohibit polygamy. A man might have a plurality of wives, but a wife could have only one husband. A wife's legal rights (Ex. 21:10) and her duties (Prov. 31:10-31; 1 Tim. 5:14) are specified. She could be divorced in special cases (Deut. 22:13-21), but could not divorce her husband. Divorce was restricted by our Lord to the single case of adultery (Matt. 19:3-9). The duties of husbands and wives in their relations to each other are distinctly set forth in the New Testament (1 Cor. 7:2-5; Eph. 5:22-33; Col. 3:18, 19; 1 Pet. 3:1-7).