|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
Frequently mentioned both in the Old and New Testaments. Dogs were used by the Hebrews as a watch for their houses (Isaiah 56:10), and for guarding their flocks (Job 30:1). There were also then as now troops of semi-wild dogs that wandered about devouring dead bodies and the offal of the streets (1 Kings 14:11; 16:4; 21:19, 23; 22:38; Psalm 59:6, 14).
As the dog was an unclean animal, the terms "dog," "dog's head," "dead dog," were used as terms of reproach or of humiliation (1 Samuel 24:14; 2 Samuel 3:8; 9:8; 16:9). Paul calls false apostles "dogs" (Philippians 3:2). Those who are shut out of the kingdom of heaven are also so designated (Revelation 22:15). Persecutors are called "dogs" (Psalm 22:16). Hazael's words, "Thy servant which is but a dog" (2 Kings 8:13), are spoken in mock humility=impossible that one so contemptible as he should attain to such power.
Noah Webster's Dictionary
1. (n.) A quadruped of the genus Canis, esp. the domestic dog (C. familiaris).
2. (n.) A mean, worthless fellow; a wretch.
3. (n.) A fellow; -- used humorously or contemptuously; as, a sly dog; a lazy dog.
4. (n.) One of the two constellations, Canis Major and Canis Minor, or the Greater Dog and the Lesser Dog. Canis Major contains the Dog Star (Sirius).
5. (n.) An iron for holding wood in a fireplace; a firedog; an andiron.
6. (n.) A grappling iron, with a claw or claws, for fastening into wood or other heavy articles, for the purpose of raising or moving them.
7. (n.) An iron with fangs fastening a log in a saw pit, or on the carriage of a sawmill.
8. (n.) A piece in machinery acting as a catch or clutch; especially, the carrier of a lathe, also, an adjustable stop to change motion, as in a machine tool.
9. (v. t.) To hunt or track like a hound; to follow insidiously or indefatigably; to chase with a dog or dogs; to worry, as if by dogs; to hound with importunity.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
kelebh; (compare Arabic kelb, "dog"); kuon; (and diminutive kunarion): References to the dog, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, are usually of a contemptuous character. A dog, and especially a dead dog, is used as a figure of insignificance. Goliath says to David (1 Samuel 17:43): "Am I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves?" David says to Saul (1 Samuel 24:14): "After whom dost thou pursue? after a dead dog, after a flea." Mephibosheth says to David (2 Samuel 9:8): "What is thy servant, that thou shouldest look upon such a dead dog as I am?" The same figure is found in the words of Hazael to Elisha (2 Kings 8:13). The meaning, which is obscure in the King James Version, is brought out well in the Revised Version: "But what is thy servant, who is but a dog, that he should do this great thing?" The characteristically oriental interrogative form of these expressions should be noted.
Other passages express by inference the low esteem in which dogs are held. Nothing worse could happen to a person than that his body should be devoured by dogs (1 Kings 14:11; 1 Kings 16:4; 1 Kings 21:19, 23, etc.). Job 30:1 says of the youth who deride him that he disdained to set their fathers with the dogs of his flock. In Philippians 3:2 and Revelation 22:15, dogs are coupled with evil-workers, sorcerers, etc. In Matthew 7:6 we read: "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before the swine." Job 30:1 (cited above) refers to the use of dogs to guard flocks; and the comparison of inefficient watchmen with dumb dogs (Isaiah 56:10) implies that at least some dogs are useful. In the apocryphal Book of Tob, Tobias' dog is his companion on his travels (Tobit 5:16; 11:04; on this see Expository Times, XI, 258; HDB, IV, 989; Geiger, Civilization of E. Iranians, I, 85).
There is further the reference to the greyhound (Proverbs 30:31 English Versions) as one of the four things which are "stately in their going." But the rendering, "greyhound," rests solely upon inference, and is contrary to the Septuagint and Vulgate, which have respectively alektor and gallus, i.e. "cock," the King James Version margin "horse." The Hebrew has zarzir mothnayim, which the King James Version margin renders "girt in the loins." the Revised Version, margin has "warhorse," Hebrew "well girt (or, well knit) in the loins." In support of the meaning, "girt," for zarzir, there is the word zer, which, with zarzir, is assigned to the obsolete root zarar and the Arabic zirr, "button," from zarr, "to button", "to compress." Further, to render zarzir by "cock" logically requires a change in the text, for mothnayim, "loins," becomes superlative and inappropriate (see Encyclopedia Biblica, under the word "Cock"). On the other hand, the Arabic zarzur is a starling (compare Arabic zarzar, "to utter cries," said of birds; carcar, "to cry out"; carcar, "cockroach," or "cricket"). Also, according to Encyclopedia Biblica (s. v. "Cock"), "the Talmudic zarzir. means some bird (a kind of raven)." If the text stands, there appears to be no better rendering than "girt in the loins," which might fairly be taken to refer to a war horse or to a greyhound. The Persian greyhound would in that case be understood, a hairy race, which, according to the Royal Natural History, is less fleet than the English breed and is used in chasing gazelles and in hunting the wild ass, and which according to Doughty (Arabia Deseria) is kept by the Bedouin. "These dogs are said to be sometimes girdled by their owners to prevent them from over-eating and becoming fat" (L. Fletcher, British Museum (Natural History)).
Domestic dogs have probably been derived from various species of wolves and jackals. In this connection, it is noteworthy that the dogs of certain regions greatly resemble the wolves of those regions. The pariah dogs of Syria and Palestine resemble the jackals, especially in color and in the tail, differing in their greater size and in the shape of muzzle and ears. It is fair to assume that they are much the same as existed in Bible times. They are in general meek and harmless creatures, and are valuable as scavengers, but disturb the night with their barking. Each quarter of the city has its own pack of dogs, which vigorously resents any invasion of its territory. A dog which for any reason finds itself in foreign territory gets home as quickly as possible, and is lucky if it does not have to run the gauntlet of a pack of vicious foes. The pariah dog is sometimes brought up to be a sheep dog, but the best shepherd dogs are great wolfish creatures, which are usually obtained from Kurdistan.
Alfred Ely Day
Dog (19 Occurrences)
2 Peter 2:22 But it has happened to them according to the true proverb, "The dog turns to his own vomit again," and "the sow that has washed to wallowing in the mire." (WEB KJV WEY ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Exodus 11:7 But against any of the children of Israel a dog won't even bark or move its tongue, against man or animal; that you may know that Yahweh makes a distinction between the Egyptians and Israel. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Exodus 22:31 "You shall be holy men to me, therefore you shall not eat any flesh that is torn by animals in the field. You shall cast it to the dogs. (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Deuteronomy 23:18 You shall not bring the hire of a prostitute, or the wages of a dog, into the house of Yahweh your God for any vow: for even both these are an abomination to Yahweh your God. "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)
Judges 7:5 So he brought down the people to the water; and Yahweh said to Gideon, "Everyone who laps of the water with his tongue, like a dog laps, you shall set him by himself; likewise everyone who bows down on his knees to drink." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 17:43 The Philistine said to David, "Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?" The Philistine cursed David by his gods. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Samuel 24:14 Against whom has the king of Israel come out? Whom do you pursue? A dead dog? A flea? (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Samuel 3:8 Then was Abner very angry for the words of Ishbosheth, and said, "Am I a dog's head that belongs to Judah? Today I show kindness to the house of Saul your father, to his brothers, and to his friends, and have not delivered you into the hand of David; and yet you charge me this day with a fault concerning this woman! (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Samuel 9:8 He did obeisance, and said, "What is your servant, that you should look on such a dead dog as I am?" (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Samuel 16:9 Then Abishai the son of Zeruiah said to the king, "Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Please let me go over and take off his head." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Kings 8:13 Hazael said, "But what is your servant, who is but a dog, that he should do this great thing?" Elisha answered, "Yahweh has shown me that you will be king over Syria." (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Job 18:11 Terrors shall make him afraid on every side, and shall chase him at his heels. (See NIV)
Psalms 22:20 Deliver my soul from the sword, my precious life from the power of the dog. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Psalms 59:6 They return at evening, howling like dogs, and prowl around the city. (Root in WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Psalms 59:14 At evening let them return. Let them howl like a dog, and go around the city. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Proverbs 26:11 As a dog that returns to his vomit, so is a fool who repeats his folly. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Proverbs 26:17 Like one who grabs a dog's ears is one who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Ecclesiastes 9:4 For to him who is joined with all the living there is hope; for a living dog is better than a dead lion. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Isaiah 66:3 He who kills an ox is as he who kills a man; he who sacrifices a lamb, as he who breaks a dog's neck; he who offers an offering, as he who offers pig's blood; he who burns frankincense, as he who blesses an idol. Yes, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delights in their abominations: (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)