lam (piceach, nakheh; cholos):
(1) The condition of being unable or imperfectly able to walk, which unfitted any descendant of Aaron so afflicted for service in the priesthood (Le 21:18), and rendered an animal unsuitable for sacrifice (De 15:21). The offering of animals so blemished was one of the sins with which Malachi charges the negligent Jews of his time (Mal 1:8-13).
(2) Those who suffered from lameness, such as Mephibosheth, whose limbs were injured by a fall in childhood (2Sa 4:4; 9:3). In the prophetic description of the completeness of the victory of the returning Israelites, it is predicted that the lame shall be made whole and shall leap like a hart (Jer 3:18; Isa 35:6). The unfitness of the lame for warfare gives point to the promise that the lame shall take the prey (Isa 33:23). Job in his graphic description of his helpfulness to the weak before his calamity says, "And feet was I to the lame" (Job 29:15). The inequality of the legs of the lame is used in Pr 26:7 as a similitude of the ineptness with which a fool uses a parable.
In the enigmatical and probably corrupt passage describing David's capture of Jerusalem, the lame and blind are mentioned twice. In 2 Sam 5:6 it was a taunt on the part of the Jebusites that even a garrison of cripples would suffice to keep out the Israelites. The allusion in 5:8 may be read, "Whosoever smiteth the Jebusites let him .... slay both the lame and blind, which hate David's soul" as it is in Septuagint. The Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) says, "David had offered a reward on that day to the man who should smite the Jebusite and reach the water pipes of the houses, and remove the blind and lame who hated David's soul." It is possible, however, that Budde's emendation is more correct and that it is a threat against the indiscriminate slaughter of the Jebusites: "Whoso slayeth a Jebusite shall bring his neck into peril; the lame and blind are not hated of David's soul." The proverbial saying quoted in 5:8 cannot be correct as rendered in the King James Version, for we read in Mt 21:14 that the lame came to our Lord in the temple and were healed.
The healing of the lame by our Lord is recorded in Mt 11:5; 15:30-31; 21:14; Lu 7:22; 14:13. For the apostolic miracles of healing the lame, see CRIPPLE. In Heb 21:13 the Christians are counseled to courage under chastisement, lest their despair should cause that which is lame to be "turned out of the way."