Mad

halal, shagha`; mania):

1. In the Old Testament:


This association of madness with inspiration is expressed in the name "this mad fellow" given to the prophet who came to anoint Jehu, which did not necessarily convey a disrespectful meaning (2Ki 9:11). The true prophetic spirit was, however, differentiated from the ravings of the false prophets by Isaiah (44:25), these latter being called mad by Jeremiah (29:26) and Hosea (9:7).

The most interesting case of real insanity recorded in the Old Testament is that of Saul, who, from being a shy, self-conscious young man, became, on his exaltation to the kingship, puffed up with a megalomania, alternating with fits of black depression with homicidal impulses, finally dying by suicide. The cause of his madness is said to have been an evil spirit from God (1Sa 18:10), and when, under the influence of the ecstatic mood which alternated with his depression, he conducted himself like a lunatic (1Sa 19:23 f), his mutterings are called "prophesyings." The use of music in his case as a remedy (1Sa 16:16) may be compared with Elisha’s use of the same means to produce the prophetic ecstasy (2Ki 3:15).

The story of Nebuchadnezzar is another history of a sudden accession of insanity in one puffed up by self-conceit and excessive prosperity. His delusion that he had become as an ox is of the same nature as that of the daughters of Procyus recorded in the So of Silenus by Virgil (Ecl. vi.48).

2. In the New Testament:


See also LUNATIC.