|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
From natural infirmity (Exodus 4:11); not knowing what to say (Proverbs 31:8); unwillingness to speak (Psalm 39:9; Leviticus 10:3). Christ repeatedly restored the dumb (Matthew 9:32, 33; Luke 11:14; Matthew 12:22) to the use of speech.
Noah Webster's Dictionary
1. (a.) Destitute of the power of speech; unable; to utter articulate sounds; as, the dumb brutes.
2. (a.) Not willing to speak; mute; silent; not speaking; not accompanied by words; as, dumb show.
3. (a.) Lacking brightness or clearness, as a color.
4. (v. t.) To put to silence.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
dum (alam, 'illem, literally, "tied in the tongue"; kophos): Used either as expressing the physical condition of speechlessness, generally associated with deafness, or figuratively as meaning the silence produced by the weight of God's judgments (Psalm 39:2-9 Daniel 10:15) or the oppression of external calamity (Psalm 38:13). As an adjective it is used to characterize inefficient teachers destitute of spirituality ("dumb dogs," Isaiah 56:10). The speechlessness of Saul's companions (Acts 9:7) was due to fright; that of the man without the wedding garment was because he had no excuse to give (Matthew 22:12). Idols are called mute, because helpless and voiceless (Habakkuk 2:18, 19 1 Corinthians 12:2). The dumbness of the sheep before the shearer is a token of submission (Isaiah 53:7 Acts 8:32).
Temporary dumbness was inflicted as a sign upon Ezekiel (3:26; 24:27:00; 33:22) and as a punishment for unbelief upon Zacharias (Luke 1:22). There are several cases recorded of our Lord's healing the dumb (Matthew 15:30 Mark 7:37 Luke 11:14, etc.). Dumbness is often associated with imbecility and was therefore regarded as due to demoniac possession (Matthew 9:32; Matthew 12:22). The evangelists therefore describe the healing of these as effected by the casting out of demons.
This is especially noted in the case of the epileptic boy (Mark 9:17). The deaf man with the impediment in his speech (Mark 7:32) is said to have been cured by loosening the string of his tongue. This does not necessarily mean that he was tongue-tied, which is a condition causing lisping, not stammering; he was probably one of those deaf persons who produce babbling, incoherent and meaningless sounds. I saw in the asylum in Jerusalem a child born blind and deaf, who though dumb, produced inarticulate noises.
In an old 14th-century psalter "dumb" is used as a verb in Psalm 39: "I doumbed and meked and was ful stille."
Dumb (34 Occurrences)
Matthew 9:32 As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)
Matthew 9:33 And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)
Matthew 12:22 Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)
Matthew 15:30 And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed them: (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)
Matthew 15:31 Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)
Mark 7:37 And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak. (KJV WEY ASV WBS YLT RSV)
Mark 9:17 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)
Mark 9:25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)
Luke 1:20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. (KJV WEY WBS)
Luke 1:22 When, however, he came out, he was unable to speak to them; and they knew that he must have seen a vision in the Sanctuary; but he kept making signs to them and continued dumb. (WEY ASV DBY YLT RSV)
Luke 11:14 And he was casting out a devil, and it was dumb. And it came to pass, when the devil was gone out, the dumb spake; and the people wondered. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)
Acts 8:32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)
Acts 9:7 Meanwhile the men who travelled with Saul were standing dumb with amazement, hearing a sound, but seeing no one. (WEY)
1 Corinthians 12:2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)
2 Peter 2:16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man's voice forbad the madness of the prophet. (KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)
Exodus 4:11 And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)
Job 17:9 And the righteous layeth hold 'on' his way, And the clean of hands addeth strength, And -- dumb are they all. (YLT)
Psalms 31:18 Let the lying lips be dumb, Which speak against the righteous insolently, With pride and contempt. (ASV DBY JPS YLT RSV)
Psalms 38:13 But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth. (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)
Psalms 39:2 I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred. (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)
Psalms 39:9 I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it. (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)
Psalms 56:1 To the Overseer. -- 'On the Dumb Dove far off.' -- A secret treasure of David, in the Philistines' taking hold of him in Gath. Favour me, O God, for man swallowed me up, All the day fighting he oppresseth me, (YLT)
Psalms 58:1 To the Overseer. -- 'Destroy not.' -- A secret treasure, by David. Is it true, O dumb one, righteously ye speak? Uprightly ye judge, O sons of men? (YLT)
Proverbs 31:8 Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)
Isaiah 35:6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)
Isaiah 56:10 His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber. (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)
Jeremiah 14:9 Why art Thou as one dumb? As a mighty one not able to save? And Thou 'art' in our midst, O Jehovah, And Thy name over us is called, leave us not. (YLT)
Ezekiel 3:26 And I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth, that thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be to them a reprover: for they are a rebellious house. (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)
Ezekiel 24:27 In that day shall thy mouth be opened to him which is escaped, and thou shalt speak, and be no more dumb: and thou shalt be a sign unto them; and they shall know that I am the LORD. (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS RSV)
Ezekiel 33:22 Now the hand of the LORD was upon me in the evening, afore he that was escaped came; and had opened my mouth, until he came to me in the morning; and my mouth was opened, and I was no more dumb. (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS RSV)
Daniel 4:19 Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was stricken dumb for a while, and his thoughts troubled him. The king answered and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation, trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine adversaries. (ASV)
Daniel 10:15 And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb. (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS RSV)
Habakkuk 2:18 What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)
Habakkuk 2:19 Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it. (KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT RSV)