XXdi-zez, di-zez-iz (chalah, choli; nosos): Israel, from its position and physical conditions, ought to be a healthy country. That it is not so depends on the unsanitary conditions in which the people live and the absence of any attempts to check the introduction or development of zymotic diseases. The number of marshes or pools is fairly small, and the use of active measures to destroy the larvae of mosquitos might easily diminish or abolish the malarial fevers which now prevail all over the country. The freeing of Ismailieh and Port Said from these pests is an object-lesson in sanitation. When one examines the conditions of life in towns and villages all over the country, the evidences of the ravages of these fevers and their sequelae appear on every hand as they affect all ages from infancy to middle age, and one meets but few individuals of extreme old age. The absence of any adequate system of drainage and the pollution of the water supplies are also factors of great importance in preserving this unhealthiness.
In ancient times it was regarded as healthier than Egypt, as it well might be, hence, the diseases of Egypt are referred to as being worse than those of Israel (Dt 7:15; 28:60; Am 4:10). The sanitary regulations and restrictions of the Priestly Code would doubtless have raised the standard of public health, but it is unlikely that these were ever observed over any large area.
The types of disease which are referred to in the Bible are those that still prevail. Fevers of several kinds, dysentery, leprosy, intestinal worms, plague, nervous diseases such as paralysis and epilepsy, insanity, ophthalmia and skin diseases are among the commonest and will be described under their several names. Methods of treatment are described under MEDICINE; PHYSICIAN. The word "disease" or "diseases" in the King James Version is changed to "sickness" in the Revised Version (British and American) in 2 Ki 1:2; 8:8; Mt 9:35, and left out in Jn 5:4; while in Mt 8:17 "sicknesses" is replaced by "diseases." the Revised Version (British and American) also changes "infirmity" in Lk 7:21 to "diseases," and in Ps 38:7 "a loathsome disease" is changed to "burning."