|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
That the poor existed among the Hebrews we have abundant evidence (Exodus 23:11; Deuteronomy 15:11), but there is no mention of beggars properly so called in the Old Testament. The poor were provided for by the law of Moses (Leviticus 19:10; Deuteronomy 12:12; 14:29). It is predicted of the seed of the wicked that they shall be beggars (Psalm 37:25; 109:10).
In the New Testament we find not seldom mention made of beggars (Mark 10:46; Luke 16:20, 21; Acts 3:2), yet there is no mention of such a class as vagrant beggars, so numerous in the East. "Beggarly," in Galatians 4:9, means worthless.
Noah Webster's Dictionary
1. (n.) A title of honor in Turkey and in some other parts of the East.
2. (v. t.) To ask earnestly for; to entreat or supplicate for; to beseech.
3. (v. t.) To ask for as a charity, esp. to ask for habitually or from house to house.
4. (v. t.) To make petition to; to entreat; as, to beg a person to grant a favor.
5. (v. t.) To take for granted; to assume without proof.
6. (v. t.) To ask to be appointed guardian for, or to ask to have a guardian appointed for.
7. (v. i.) To ask alms or charity, especially to ask habitually by the wayside or from house to house; to live by asking alms.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
BEG; BEGGAR; BEGGING
1. No Law Concerning Beggars or Begging in Israel:
It is significant that the Mosaic law contains no enactment concerning beggars, or begging, though it makes ample provision for the relief and care of "the poor in the land." Biblical Hebrew seems to have no term for professional begging, the nearest approach to it being the expressions "to ask (or seek) bread" and "to wander." This omission certainly is not accidental; it comports with the very nature of the Mosaic law, the spirit of which is breathed in this, among other kindred provisions, that a poor Hebrew who even sold himself for debt to his wealthy brother was allowed to serve him only until the Jubilee (See JUBILEE), and his master was forbidden to treat him as a sl ave (Leviticus 25:39). These laws, as far as actually practiced, have always virtually done away with beggars and begging among the Jews.
2. Begging Not Unknown to the Ancient Jews:
Begging, however, came to be known to the Jews in the course of time with the development of the larger cities, either as occurring among themselves, or among neighboring or intermingling peoples, as may be inferred from Psalm 59:15; compare Psalm 109:10, where Yahweh is besought that the children of the wicked may be cursed with beggary, in contra-distinction to the children of the righteous, who have never had to ask bread (Psalm 37:25, "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed asking (English Versions, "begging") bread.") For the Hebrew expression not corresponding to "begging" see Psalm 59:15, "They shall wander up and down for food"; and compare Psalm 119:10, "Let me wander," etc.
3. Begging and Alms-taking Denounced in Jewish Literature:
The first clear denunciation of beggary and almstaking in Jewish literature is found in Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 40:28-30, where the Hebrew for "begging" is to "wander," ete, as in Psalm 59:15, according to the edition of Cowley and Neubauer; Oxford, 1897. There as well as in Tobit, and in the New Testament, where beggars are specifically mentioned, the word eleemosune has assumed the special sense of alms given to the begging poor (compare Tobit 4:7, 16, 17; 12:8-11; Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 3:14, 30; 7:10; 16:14; Matthew 6:2-4; Matthew 20:30-34 Mark 10:46-52 Luke 11:41; Luke 12:33 John 9:1-41 Acts 9:36; Acts 10:2, 4, 31; 24:17).
4. Professional Beggars a Despised Class: As to professional beggars, originally, certainly, and for a long time, they were a despised class among the Hebrews; and the Jewish communities are forbidden to support them from the general charity fund (BB, 9a; Yoreh De`ah, 250, 3). But the spirit of the law is evinced again in that it is likewise forbidden to drive a beggar away without an alms (ha-Yadh ha-Chazaqah, in the place cited 7 7).
5. In the Gospel Age:
Begging was well known and beggars formed a considerable class in the gospel age. Proof of this is found in the references to almsgiving in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7 and parallels), and in the accounts of beggars in connection with public places, e.g. the entrance to Jericho. (Matthew 20:30 and parallels), which was a gateway to pilgrims going up to Jerusalem to the great festivals and in the neighborhood of rich men's houses (Luke 16:20), and especially the gates of the Temple at Jerusalem (Acts 3:2). This prevalence of begging was due largely to the want of any adequate system of ministering relief, to the lack of any true medical science and the resulting ignorance of remedies for common diseases like ophthalmia, for instance, and to the impoverishment of the land under the excessive taxation of the Roman government (Hausrath, History of New Testament Times, I, 188 (Eng. translation Williams and Norgate), compare Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus, II, 178). That begging was looked down upon is incidentally evidenced by the remark of the unjust steward, "To beg I am ashamed" (Luke 16:3); and that, when associated with indolence, it was strongly condemned by public opinion appears from Sirach (40:28-30).
The words used for "beg," "beggar" of English Versions of the Bible in the New Testament differ radically in idea: in those formed from aiteo (Mark 10:46 Luke 16:3; Luke 18:35 John 9:8 the Revised Version (British and American)) the root idea is that of "asking," while ptochos (Luke 16:20, 22) suggests the cringing or crouching of a beggar. But see Matthew 5:3 where the word for "humble" is ptochos.
6. A Change in Modern Times:
A marked change has come over Jewish life in modern times, in this as well as in other respect. Since the 17th century the Jewish poor in many parts of the world have made it a practice, especially on Fridays and on the eves of certain festivals, to go systematically from house to house asking alms. In parts of Europe today it is a full-grown abuse: crowds of Jewish beggars push their way and ply their trade about the synagogue doors (Abrahams, EB, article "Alms," 310). So the Jewish beggar, in spite of the spirit of the law and ancient Jewish custom, has, under modern conditions too well known to require explanation here, become a troublesome figure and problem in modern Jewish society. For such beggars and begging, see Jew Encyclopedia, articles "Schnorrers," "Alms," etc., and for another kind of begging among modern Jews, and collections for poverty-stricken Jewish settlers in Palestine, see the articles "Chalukah," "Charity," etc.
Saalschiutz, Arch. der Hebraer, II, chapter xviii (Konigsberg, 1855-56); Riehm Handworterbuch zu den Buchern des A T, under the word "Almosen "; compare Jew Encyclopedia, HDB, and Encyclopedia B, arts, "Alms"; and Abrahams, Jewish Life in the Middle Ages, chapters xvii, xviii (Philadelphia, 1896); Mackie, Bible Manners and Customs; Day, The Social Life of the Hebrews.
George B. Eager
Beg (77 Occurrences)
Matthew 6:8 Be not ye therefore like them, for your Father knows of what things ye have need before ye beg anything of him. (DBY)
Matthew 27:20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds that they should beg for Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. (DBY)
Mark 5:17 They began to beg him to depart from their region. (Root in WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Mark 15:6 Now at the Festival it was customary for Pilate to release to the Jews any one prisoner whom they might beg off from punishment; (WEY DBY)
Mark 15:8 The multitude, crying aloud, began to ask him to do as he always did for them. (Root in WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)
Mark 15:43 Joseph of Arimathaea came, a highly respected member of the Council, who himself also was living in expectation of the Kingdom of God. He summoned up courage to go in to see Pilate and beg for the body of Jesus. (WEY DBY)
Luke 8:28 When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, "What do I have to do with you, Jesus, you Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don't torment me!" (WEB NAS NIV)
Luke 9:38 Behold, a man from the crowd called out, saying, "Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. (WEB WEY YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Luke 14:18 They all as one began to make excuses. "The first said to him,'I have bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please have me excused.' (Root in WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Luke 14:19 And another said, Five yoke of oxen I bought, and I go on to prove them; I beg of thee, have me excused: (YLT)
Luke 16:3 "The manager said within himself,'What will I do, seeing that my lord is taking away the management position from me? I don't have strength to dig. I am ashamed to beg. (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Luke 16:27 "He said,'I ask you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father's house; (See NAS RSV NIV)
John 9:8 The neighbors therefore, and those who saw that he was blind before, said, "Isn't this he who sat and begged?" (Root in WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
John 14:16 And I will beg the Father, and he will give you another Comforter, that he may be with you for ever, (DBY)
Acts 3:2 A certain man who was lame from his mother's womb was being carried, whom they laid daily at the door of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask gifts for the needy of those who entered into the temple. (See NAS NIV)
Acts 3:10 They recognized him, that it was he who used to sit begging for gifts for the needy at the Beautiful Gate of the temple. They were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. (Root in WEB NAS NIV)
Acts 21:39 But Paul said, "I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no insignificant city. I beg you, allow me to speak to the people." (WEB NAS RSV)
Acts 23:21 I beg you not to comply; for more than forty men among them are lying in wait for him, who have solemnly vowed that they will neither eat nor drink till they have assassinated him; and even now they are ready, in anticipation of receiving that promise of you." (WEY)
Acts 24:4 But--not to detain you too long--I beg you in your forbearance to listen to a brief statement from us. (WEY NAS RSV)
Acts 26:3 especially because you are expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews. Therefore I beg you to hear me patiently. (WEB NAS RSV NIV)
Acts 27:34 Therefore I beg you to take some food, for this is for your safety; for not a hair will perish from any of your heads." (WEB)
Acts 28:22 But we beg to hear of thee what thou thinkest, for as concerning this sect it is known to us that it is everywhere spoken against. (DBY)
Romans 15:30 Now I beg you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in your prayers to God for me, (WEB)
Romans 16:17 Now I beg you, brothers, look out for those who are causing the divisions and occasions of stumbling, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and turn away from them. (WEB)
1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I beg you, brothers, through the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (WEB)
1 Corinthians 4:16 I beg you therefore, be imitators of me. (WEB)
1 Corinthians 16:15 Now I beg you, brothers (you know the house of Stephanas, that it is the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have set themselves to serve the saints), (WEB)
2 Corinthians 2:8 Therefore I beg you to confirm your love toward him. (WEB WEY RSV)
2 Corinthians 5:20 We are therefore ambassadors on behalf of Christ, as though God were entreating by us: we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. (WEB NAS)
2 Corinthians 9:5 I thought it necessary therefore to beg the brethren that they would come to you, and complete beforehand your fore-announced blessing, that this may be ready thus as blessing, and not as got out of you. (DBY)
2 Corinthians 10:2 Yes, I beg you that I may not, when present, show courage with the confidence with which I intend to be bold against some, who consider us to be walking according to the flesh. (WEB RSV NIV)
Galatians 4:12 I beg you, brothers, become as I am, for I also have become as you are. You did me no wrong, (WEB NAS)
Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called, (WEB RSV)
Philippians 4:3 Yes, I beg you also, true yokefellow, help these women, for they labored with me in the Good News, with Clement also, and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. (WEB WEY)
1 Thessalonians 4:1 Finally then, brothers, we beg and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, that you abound more and more. (WEB WEY DBY)
1 Thessalonians 5:12 But we beg you, brothers, to know those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you, (WEB WEY DBY)
2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now we beg you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to him, (DBY RSV)
Philemon 1:9 yet for love's sake I rather beg, being such a one as Paul, the aged, but also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. (WEB)
Philemon 1:10 I beg you for my child, whom I have become the father of in my chains, Onesimus, (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS)
1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I beg you as foreigners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; (WEB)
2 John 1:5 Now I beg you, dear lady, not as though I wrote to you a new commandment, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. The Revelation to John (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 19:7 He said, "Please, my brothers, don't act so wickedly. (See RSV)
Genesis 50:17 'You shall tell Joseph, "Now please forgive the disobedience of your brothers, and their sin, because they did evil to you."' Now, please forgive the disobedience of the servants of the God of your father." Joseph wept when they spoke to him. (See NAS)
Numbers 12:11 Aaron said to Moses, "Oh, my lord, please don't count this sin against us, in which we have done foolishly, and in which we have sinned. (See NAS)
Numbers 12:13 Moses cried to Yahweh, saying, "Heal her, God, I beg you!" (WEB)
Numbers 22:16 They came to Balaam, and said to him, "Thus says Balak the son of Zippor,'Please let nothing hinder you from coming to me: (See NAS)
Judges 13:8 Then Manoah entreated Yahweh, and said, "Oh, Lord, please let the man of God whom you did send come again to us, and teach us what we shall do to the child who shall be born." (See NIV)
1 Samuel 23:11 Will the men of Keilah deliver me up into his hand? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? Yahweh, the God of Israel, I beg you, tell your servant." Yahweh said, "He will come down." (WEB)
2 Samuel 24:10 David's heart struck him after that he had numbered the people. David said to Yahweh, "I have sinned greatly in that which I have done. But now, Yahweh, put away, I beg you, the iniquity of your servant; for I have done very foolishly." (WEB NIV)
2 Kings 8:3 It happened at the seven years' end, that the woman returned out of the land of the Philistines. Then she went forth to cry to the king for her house and for her land. (See NIV)
2 Kings 8:5 It happened, as he was telling the king how he had restored to life him who was dead, that behold, the woman, whose son he had restored to life, cried to the king for her house and for her land. Gehazi said, "My lord, O king, this is the woman, and this is her son, whom Elisha restored to life." (See NIV)
2 Kings 19:19 Now therefore, Yahweh our God, save us, I beg you, out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, Yahweh, are God alone." (WEB)
2 Kings 20:3 "Remember now, Yahweh, I beg you, how I have walked before you in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in your sight." Hezekiah wept bitterly. (WEB)
1 Chronicles 21:8 David said to God, I have sinned greatly, in that I have done this thing: but now, put away, I beg you, the iniquity of your servant; for I have done very foolishly. (WEB NIV)
2 Chronicles 6:40 Now, my God, let, I beg you, your eyes be open, and let your ears be attentive, to the prayer that is made in this place. (WEB)
Nehemiah 1:5 and said, I beg you, Yahweh, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps covenant and loving kindness with those who love him and keep his commandments: (WEB)
Nehemiah 1:8 Remember, I beg you, the word that you commanded your servant Moses, saying, If you trespass, I will scatter you abroad among the peoples: (WEB)
Nehemiah 1:11 Lord, I beg you, let your ear be attentive now to the prayer of your servant, and to the prayer of your servants, who delight to fear your name; and please prosper your servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. Now I was cup bearer to the king. (WEB)
Esther 4:8 He also gave him the copy of the writing of the decree that was given out in Shushan to destroy them, to show it to Esther, and to declare it to her, and to urge her to go in to the king, to make supplication to him, and to make request before him, for her people. (See NIV)
Esther 7:7 The king arose in his wrath from the banquet of wine and went into the palace garden. Haman stood up to make request for his life to Esther the queen; for he saw that there was evil determined against him by the king. (See NAS RSV NIV)
Job 10:9 Remember, I beg you, that you have fashioned me as clay. Will you bring me into dust again? (WEB)
Job 19:16 I call to my servant, and he gives me no answer. I beg him with my mouth. (WEB NIV)
Psalms 80:14 Turn again, we beg you, God of Armies. Look down from heaven, and see, and visit this vine, (WEB)
Psalms 109:10 Let his children be wandering beggars. Let them be sought from their ruins. (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Psalms 116:4 Then I called on the name of Yahweh: "Yahweh, I beg you, deliver my soul." (WEB)
Psalms 118:25 Save us now, we beg you, Yahweh! Yahweh, we beg you, send prosperity now. (WEB)
Psalms 119:108 Accept, I beg you, the willing offerings of my mouth. Yahweh, teach me your ordinances. (WEB)
Proverbs 20:4 The sluggard will not plow by reason of the winter; therefore he shall beg in harvest, and have nothing. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS NAS)
Isaiah 38:3 and said, "Remember now, Yahweh, I beg you, how I have walked before you in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in your sight." Hezekiah wept bitterly. (WEB)
Isaiah 64:9 Don't be furious, Yahweh, neither remember iniquity forever: see, look, we beg you, we are all your people. (WEB)
Jeremiah 38:20 But Jeremiah said, They shall not deliver you. Obey, I beg you, the voice of Yahweh, in that which I speak to you: so it shall be well with you, and your soul shall live. (WEB)
Lamentations 4:4 The tongue of the sucking child cleaves to the roof of his mouth for thirst: The young children ask bread, and no man breaks it to them. (See RSV NIV)
Daniel 1:12 Prove your servants, I beg you, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. (WEB)
Amos 7:2 It happened that, when they made an end of eating the grass of the land, then I said, "Lord Yahweh, forgive, I beg you! How could Jacob stand? For he is small." (WEB)
Amos 7:5 Then I said, "Lord Yahweh, stop, I beg you! How could Jacob stand? For he is small." (WEB NIV)
Jonah 1:14 Therefore they cried to Yahweh, and said, "We beg you, Yahweh, we beg you, let us not perish for this man's life, and don't lay on us innocent blood; for you, Yahweh, have done as it pleased you." (WEB)
Jonah 4:3 Therefore now, Yahweh, take, I beg you, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live." (WEB)