Sacred Texts  Bible  Index 

Fountain (Heb. 'ain ; i.e., "eye" of the water desert), a natural source of living water. Palestine was a "land of brooks of water, of fountains, and depths that spring out of valleys and hills" (Deu 8:7; Deu 11:11). These fountains, bright sparkling "eyes" of the desert, are remarkable for their abundance and their beauty, especially on the west of Jordan. All the perennial rivers and streams of the country are supplied from fountains, and depend comparatively little on surface water. "Palestine is a country of mountains and hills, and it abounds in fountains of water. The murmur of these waters is heard in every dell, and the luxuriant foliage which surrounds and the luxuriant foliage which surrounds them is seen in every plain." Besides its rain-water, its cisterns and fountains, Jerusalem had also an abundant supply of water in the magnificent reservoir called "Solomon's Pools" (q.v.), at the head of the Urtas valley, whence it was conveyed to the city by subterranean channels some 10 miles in length. These have all been long ago destroyed, so that no water from the "Pools" now reaches Jerusalem. Only one fountain has been discovered at Jerusalem, one fountain has been discovered at Jerusalem, the so-called "Virgin's Fountains," in the valley of Kidron; and only one well (Heb. beer ), the Bir Eyub, also in the valley of Kidron, south of the King's Gardens, which has been dug through the solid rock. The inhabitants of Jerusalem are now mainly dependent on the winter rains, which they store in cisterns. (See WELL.)

Fountain of the Virgin The perennial source from which the Pool of Siloam (q.v.) is supplied, the waters flowing in a copious stream to it through a tunnel cut through the rock, the actual length of which is 1,750 feet. The spring rises in a cave 20 feet by 7. A serpentine tunnel 67 feet long runs from it toward the left, off which the tunnel to the Pool of Siloam branches. It is the only unfailing fountain in Jerusalem. The fountain received its name from the "fantastic legend" that here the virgin washed the swaddling-clothes of our Lord. This spring has the singular characteristic of being intermittent, flowing from three to five times daily in winter, twice daily in summer, and only once daily in autumn. This peculiarity is accounted for by the supposition that the outlet from the reservoir is by a passage in the form of a siphon.

Fowler The arts of, referred to Psa 91:3; Psa 124:7; Pro 6:5; Jer 5:26; Hos 9:8; Eze 17:20; Ecc 9:12. Birds of all kinds abound in Palestine, and the capture of these for the table and for other uses formed the employment of many persons. The traps and snares used for this purpose are mentioned Hos 5:1; Pro 7:23; Pro 22:5; Amo 3:5; Psa 69:22; compare Deu 22:6, Deu 22:7.

Fox (Heb. shu'al , a name derived from its digging or burrowing under ground), the Vulpes thaleb, or Syrian fox, the only species of this animal indigenous to Palestine. It burrows, is silent and solitary in its habits, is destructive to vineyards, being a plunderer of ripe grapes (Sol 2:15). The Vulpes Niloticus, or Egyptian dog-fox, and the Vulpes vulgaris, or common fox, are also found in Palestine. The proverbial cunning of the fox is alluded to in Eze 13:4, and in Luk 13:32, where our Lord calls Herod "that fox." In Jdg 15:4, Jdg 15:5, the reference is in all probability to the jackal. The Hebrew word shu'al through the Persian schagal becomes our jackal (Canis aureus), so that the word may bear that signification here. The reasons for preferring the rendering "jackal" are (1.) that it is more easily caught than the fox; (2.) that the fox is shy and suspicious, and flies mankind, while the jackal does not; and (3.) that foxes are difficult, jackals comparatively easy, to treat in the way here described. Jackals hunt in large numbers, and are still very numerous in Southern Palestine.

Frankincense (Heb. lebonah ; Gr. libanos , i.e., "white"), an odorous resin imported from Arabia (Isa 60:6; Jer 6:20), yet also growing in Palestine (Sol 4:14). It was one of the ingredients in the perfume of the sanctuary (Exo 30:34), and was used as an accompaniment of the meat-offering (Lev 2:1, Lev 2:16; Lev 6:15; Lev 24:7). When burnt it emitted a fragrant odor, and hence the incense became a symbol of the Divine name (Mal 1:11; Sol 1:3) and an emblem of prayer (Psa 141:2; Luk 1:10; Rev 5:8; Rev 8:3). This frankincense, or olibanum, used by the Jews in the temple services is not to be confounded with the frankincense of modern commerce, which is an exudation of the Norway spruce fir, the Pinus abies. It was probably a resin from the Indian tree known to botanists by the name of Boswellia serrata or thurifera, which grows to the height of forty feet.

Freedom The law of Moses pointed out the cases in which the servants of the Hebrews were to receive their freedom (Exo 21:2, Exo 21:7, Exo 21:8; Lev 25:39, Lev 25:47; Deu 15:12). Under the Roman law the "freeman" (ingenuus) was one born free; the "freedman" (libertinus) was a manumitted slave, and had not equal rights with the freeman (Act 22:28; compare Act 16:37; Act 21:39; Act 22:25; Act 25:11, Act 25:12).

Free-will Offering A spontaneous gift (Exo 35:29), a voluntary sacrifice (Lev 22:23; Ezr 3:5), as opposed to one in consequence of a vow, or in expiation of some offense.

Frog (Heb. tsepharde'a , meaning a "marsh-leaper"). This reptile is mentioned in the Old Testament only in connection with one of the plagues which fell on the land of Egypt (Exo 8:2; Psa 78:45; Psa 105:30). In the New Testament this word occurs only in Rev 16:13, where it is referred to as a symbol of uncleanness. The only species of frog existing in Palestine is the green frog (Rana esculenta), the well-known edible frog of the Continent.

Frontlets Occurs only in Exo 13:16; Deu 6:8; Deu 11:18. The meaning of the injunction to the Israelites, with regard to the statues and precepts given them, that they should "bind them for a sign upon their hand, and have them as frontlets between their eyes," was that they should keep them distinctly in view and carefully attend to them. But soon after their return from Babylon they began to interpret this injunction literally, and had accordingly portions of the law written out and worn about their person. These they called tephillin, i.e., "prayers." The passages so written out on strips of parchment were these, Exo 12:2; Exo 13:11; Deu 6:4; Deu 11:18. They were then "rolled up in a case of black calfskin, which was attached to a stiffer piece of leather, having a thong one finger broad and one cubit and a half long. Those worn on the forehead were written on four strips of parchment, and put into four little cells within a square case, which had on it the Hebrew letter called shin, the three points of which were regarded as an emblem of God." This case tied around the forehead in a particular way was called "the tephillah on the head." (See PHYLACTERY.)

Frost (Heb. kerah , from its smoothness) Job 37:10 (R.V., "ice"); Gen 31:40; Jer 36:30; rendered "ice" in Job 6:16; Job 38:29; and "crystal" in Eze 1:22. "At the present day frost is entirely unknown in the lower portions of the valley of the Jordan, but slight frosts are sometimes felt on the sea-coast and near Lebanon." Throughout Western Asia cold frosty nights are frequently succeeded by warm days. "Hoar frost" (Heb. kephor , so called from its covering the ground) is mentioned in Exo 16:14; Job 38:29; Psa 147:16. In Psa 78:47 the word rendered "frost" (R.V. marg., "great hail-stones"), hanamal, occurs only there. It is rendered by Gesenius, the Hebrew lexicographer, "ant," and so also by others, but the usual interpretation derived from the ancient versions may be maintained.