Wean

WEAN, WEANING (Heb. gāmal, to complete, wean). To wean is to accustom a child to depend on other food than his mother’s milk. In the East weaning is often deferred for as long as three years (1Sam.1.22; 1Sam.2.11). The weaning of a child was celebrated by a feast (Gen.21.8) and with an offering (1Sam.1.24).


WEAN (גָּמַל, H1694). In ancient times a child was not fully weaned for two or three years. This is clear from the story of Hannah and Samuel (2 Sam 1:21-24) and also of the woman who saw seven of her sons killed by Antiochus Epiphanes and then urged her last son to hold fast to his Jewish faith against the threats of the king who tried to persuade him to repudiate his faith. She said to him, “I carried you nine months in my womb, and nursed you for three years, and have reared you and brought you up to this point in your life, and have taken care of you” (2 Macc 7:27). The completion of weaning was sometimes celebrated by a feast (Gen 21:8). The word is also used in a metaphorical sense (Ps 131:2; Isa 28:9).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

wen: "To wean" in English Versions of the Bible is always the translation of (gamal), but gamal has a much wider force than merely "to wean," signifying "to deal fully with," as in Ps 13:6, etc. Hence, as applied to a child, gamal covers the whole period of nursing and care until the weaning is complete (1Ki 11:20). This period in ancient Israel extended to about 3 years, and when it was finished the child was mature enough to be entrusted to strangers (1Sa 1:24). And, as the completion of the period marked the end of the most critical stage of the child’s life, it was celebrated with a feast (Ge 21:8), a custom still observed in the Orient. The weaned child, no longer fretting for the breast and satisfied with its mother’s affection, is used in Ps 131:2 as a figure for Israel’s contentment with God’s care, despite the smallness of earthly possessions. In Isa 28:9 there is an ironical question, `Is God to teach you knowledge as if you were children? You should have learned His will long ago!’Burton Scott Easton