Swan Mentioned in the list of unclean birds (Lev 11:18; Deu 14:16), is sometimes met with in the Jordan and the Sea of Galilee.
Swelling Of Jordan (Jer 12:5), literally the "pride" of Jordan (as in R.V.), i.e., the luxuriant thickets of tamarisks, poplars, reeds, etc., which were the lair of lions and other beasts of prey. The reference is not to the overflowing of the river banks. (Compare Jer 49:19; Jer 50:44; Zac 11:3).
Swine (Heb. hazir ), regarded as the most unclean and the most abhorred of all animals (Lev 11:7; Isa 65:4; Isa 66:3, Isa 66:17; Luk 15:15, Luk 15:16). A herd of swine were drowned in the Sea of Galilee (Luk 8:32, Luk 8:33). Spoken of figuratively in Mat 7:6 (see Pro 11:22). It is frequently mentioned as a wild animal, and is evidently the wild boar (Arab. khanzir ), which is common among the marshes of the Jordan valley (Psa 80:13).
Sword Of the Hebrew was pointed, sometimes two-edged, was worn in a sheath, and suspended from the girdle (Exo 32:27; Sa1 31:4; Ch1 21:27; Psa 149:6; Pro 5:4; Eze 16:40; Eze 21:3). It is a symbol of divine chastisement (Deu 32:25; Psa 7:12; Psa 78:62), and of a slanderous tongue (Psa 57:4; Psa 64:3; Pro 12:18). The word of God is likened also to a sword (Heb 4:12; Eph 6:17; Rev 1:16). Gideon's watchword was, "The sword of the Lord" (Jdg 7:20).
Sycamine Tree Mentioned only in Luk 17:6. It is rendered by Luther "mulberry tree" (q.v.), which is most probably the correct rendering. It is found of two species, the black mulberry (Morus nigra) and the white mulberry (Mourea), which are common in Palestine. The silk-worm feeds on their leaves. The rearing of them is one of the chief industries of the peasantry of Lebanon and of other parts of the land. It is of the order of the fig-tree. Some contend, however, that this name denotes the sycamore-fig of Luk 19:4.
Sycamore More properly sycomore (Heb. shikmoth and shikmim , Gr. sycomoros ), a tree which in its general character resembles the fig-tree, while its leaves resemble those of the mulberry; hence it is called the fig-mulberry (Ficus sycomorus). At Jericho, Zacchaeus climbed a sycomore-tree to see Jesus as he passed by (Luk 19:4). This tree was easily destroyed by frost (Psa 78:47), and therefore it is found mostly in the "vale" (Kg1 10:27; Ch2 1:15 : in both passages the R.V. has properly "lowland"), i.e., the "low country," the shephelah, where the climate is mild. Amos (Amo 7:14) refers to its fruit, which is of an inferior character; so also probably Jeremiah (Jer 24:2). It is to be distinguished from our sycamore (the Acer pseudo-platanus), which is a species of maple often called a plane-tree.
Sychar Liar or drunkard (see Isa 28:1, Isa 28:7), has been from the time of the Crusaders usually identified with Sychem or Shechem (Joh 4:5). It has now, however, as the result of recent explorations, been identified with 'Askar , a small Samaritan town on the southern base of Ebal, about a mile to the north of Jacob's well.
Sychem See SHECHEM.
Syene Opening (Eze 29:10; Eze 30:6), a town of Egypt, on the borders of Ethiopia, now called Assouan, on the right bank of the Nile, notable for its quarries of beautiful red granite called "syenite." It was the frontier town of Egypt in the south, as Migdol was in the north-east.
Synagogue (Gr. sunagoge , i.e., "an assembly"), found only once in the Authorized Version of Psa 74:8, where the margin of Revised Version has "places of assembly," which is probably correct; for while the origin of synagogues is unknown, it may well be supposed that buildings or tents for the accommodation of worshippers may have existed in the land from an early time, and thus the system of synagogues would be gradually developed. Some, however, are of opinion that it was specially during the Babylonian captivity that the system of synagogue worship, if not actually introduced, was at least reorganized on a systematic plan (Eze 8:1; Eze 14:1). The exiles gathered together for the reading of the law and the prophets as they had opportunity, and after their return synagogues were established all over the land (Ezr 8:15; Neh 8:2). In after years, when the Jews were dispersed abroad, wherever they went they erected synagogues and kept up the stated services of worship (Act 9:20; Act 13:5; Act 17:1; Act 17:17; Act 18:4). The form and internal arrangements of the synagogue would greatly depend on the wealth of the Jews who erected it, and on the place where it was built. "Yet there are certain traditional peculiarities which have doubtless united together by a common resemblance the Jewish synagogues of all ages and countries. The arrangements for the women's place in a separate gallery or behind a partition of lattice-work; the desk in the centre, where the reader, like Ezra in ancient days, from his 'pulpit of wood,' may 'open the book in the sight of all of people and read in the book of the law of God distinctly, and give the sense, and cause them to understand the reading' (Neh 8:4, Neh 8:8); the carefully closed ark on the side of the building nearest to Jerusalem, for the preservation of the rolls or manuscripts of the law; the seats all round the building, whence 'the eyes of all them that are in the synagogue' may 'be fastened' on him who speaks (Luk 4:20); the 'chief seats' (Mat 23:6) which were appropriated to the 'ruler' or 'rulers' of the synagogue, according as its organization may have been more or less complete;", these were features common to all the synagogues. Where perfected into a system, the services of the synagogue, which were at the same hours as those of the temple, consisted, (1.) of prayer, which formed a kind of liturgy, there were in all eighteen prayers; (2.) the reading of the Scriptures in certain definite portions; and (3.) the exposition of the portions read. (See Luk 4:15, Luk 4:22; Act 13:14.) The synagogue was also sometimes used as a court of judicature, in which the rulers presided (Mat 10:17; Mar 5:22; Luk 12:11; Luk 21:12; Act 13:15; Act 22:19); also as public schools. The establishment of synagogues wherever the Jews were found in sufficient numbers helped greatly to keep alive Israel's hope of the coming of the Messiah, and to prepare the way for the spread of the gospel in other lands. The worship of the Christian Church was afterwards modeled after that of the synagogue. Christ and his disciples frequently taught in the synagogues (Mat 13:54; Mar 6:2; Joh 18:20; Act 13:5, Act 13:15, Act 13:44; Act 14:1; Act 17:2, Act 17:10, Act 17:17; Act 18:4, Act 18:26; Act 19:8). To be "put out of the synagogue," a phrase used by John (Joh 9:22; Joh 12:42; Joh 16:2), means to be excommunicated.