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Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Nail

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1. Deuteronomy 21:12, "pare her (a captive woman's) nails," namely, in order that she might lay aside all belonging to her condition as an alien, to become a wife among the covenant people. Margin: "suffer to grow," the opposite sense, will refer to her seclusion a month in mourning with shaven head and unpared nails. The former seems preferable, answering to her "putting the raiment of her captivity from her."

2. Μismerim , masmerim , masmerot . Isaiah 41:7; "fastened (the idol) with nails" to keep it steady in its place! Jeremiah 10:4; 1 Chronicles 22:3; 2 Chronicles 3:9, where the "fifty shekels of gold" were to gild the nails fastening the sheet gold on the wainscoting; Ecclesiastes 12:11, "words of the wise are as nails fastened (by) the master of assemblies," rather "the masters" or "associates in the collection (of the canonical Scriptures), i.e. authors of the individual books, are as nails driven in." (Hengstenberg).

Scripture has a power penetrating as a nail the depths of the soul, worldly literature reaches only the surface. So Revelation 1:16; Hebrews 4:12; though the associated sacred writers are many, yet they "are given from One Shepherd," Jesus (Ephesians 4:11), the Inspirer of the word, from whom comes all their penetrating power (2 Timothy 3:16). A canon whereby to judge sermons: they are worth nothing unless, like Scripture, they resemble goads and nails. The hearers too, instead of being vexed, should feel thankful when by the word they are "pricked in their heart" (Acts 2:37; Ephesians 6:17; Psalms 45:3).

3. The large pin (Judges 4:21-22; Judges 5:26) by which the tent cords were fastened, giving shape and security to the tent. Jael drove it into Sisera's temples. The tabernacle curtains were fastened with brass pins (Exodus 27:19). In Zechariah 10:4, "out of him (Judah) shall come forth the nail," namely, the large peg inside the Eastern tent, on which is hung most of its valuable furniture. Judah shall be under a native ruler, not a foreigner; the Maccabees primarily, Judah's deliverers from the oppressor Antiochus Epiphanes: antitypically Messiah of the tribe of Judah.

On Messiah hang all the glory and hope of His people. The "nail," as expressing firmness, stands for a secure abode (Ezra 9:8), "grace hath been showed from the Lord ... to give us a nail in His holy place" So Isaiah 22:23-25, "I will fasten him (Eliakim) as a nail in a sure place ... and they shall hang upon him all the glory of his father's house, the offspring and the issue (high and low), all vessels of small quantity ... cups ... flagons (compare Song of Solomon 4:4; 1 Kings 10:16-17; 1 Kings 10:21). The nail fastened in the sure place (Shebna) shall be ... cut down and fall, and the burden that was upon it shall be cut off," i.e. all Shebna's offspring and dependants and all his emoluments and honours shall fall with himself, as the ornaments hanging upon a peg fall when it falls.

Vessels of glory hanging on Christ vary in capacity; but each shall be filled as full of bliss as the respective capacity admits (Luke 19:17; Luke 19:19). The print of the nails in Jesus' hands and feet were Thomas' test of the reality of the resurrection (John 20:25). In Christ's person "nailed to the cross," the law (Romans 3:21; Romans 7:2-6; Colossians 2:14) and the old serpent (John 3:14; John 12:31-32) were nailed to it. A mode of canceling bonds in Asia was by striking a nail through the writing (Grotius).


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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Nail'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/fbd/n/nail.html. 1949.

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