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The English word "mute" is derived from a Latin word, mutus, which means silent. The English word "dumb" originated from an old Anglo-Saxon word, dumb, which means stupid. Unfortunately, "dumb" has been traditionally used to refer to those who are mute, which is grossly unfair because the inability to speak is no more a proof of a lack of intelligence than an ability to speak is a proof of intelligence. Nevertheless, English language translations of the Word of God variously use "mute" or "dumb" to translate the original words of the Scriptures that simply mean an inability or refusal to speak. Some of the greatest people of God were "dumb" on occasion - including Jesus Christ (see below).

"He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth"

Although not mute, with his disability in speaking Moses is one of a number of instances of how sometimes The Lord chose unlikely people to deliver His Word (the apostle Paul is another example of that; Paul at first attempted to destroy Christianity, even taking part in the martyrdom of Christ's people, and yet after his conversion Paul developed into one the greatest Christians that the world will ever know - a man who actually wrote much of what became the New Testament - see Paul's Ministry).

Proclaiming The Gospel

"And Moses said unto The Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. And The Lord said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? Have not I The Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee [see The Education Of Moses] what thou shalt say." (Exodus 4:10-12 KJV)

After the return of Christ, the world will be healed of all physical and spiritual in abilities to "see" and "hear":

"Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters [see Living Waters] break out, and streams in the desert" (Isaiah 35:5-6 KJV)

Jesus Christ was "dumb" before His accusers, thereby fulfilling a prophecy from Isaiah (see the Fact Finder question below to see why He then answered them):

"But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and The Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth." (Isaiah 53:5-7 KJV)

Daniel was a wise prophet of God who became "dumb" out of shock when the angel Gabriel first appeared to him:

"His body also was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning, and his eyes as lamps of fire, and his arms and his feet like in colour to polished brass, and the voice of his words like the voice of a multitude. And I Daniel alone saw the vision: for the men that were with me saw not the vision; but a great quaking fell upon them, so that they fled to hide themselves ... And when he had spoken such words unto me, I set my face toward the ground, and I became dumb. And, behold, one like the similitude of the sons of men touched my lips: then I opened my mouth, and spake, and said unto him that stood before me, O my lord, by the vision my sorrows are turned upon me, and I have retained no strength." (Daniel 10:6-7,15-16 KJV)

Although idols are lifeless and dumb (in the case of idols, the literal meaning of dumb is correct; see "Thou shalt not make any graven image" and "Thou shalt have no other gods before Me"), a vast number of people have always worshipped them.

"What profiteth the graven image that the maker thereof hath graven it; the molten image, and a teacher of lies, that the maker of his work trusteth therein, to make dumb idols? Woe unto him that saith to the wood, Awake; to the dumb stone, Arise, it shall teach! Behold, it is laid over with gold and silver, and there is no breath at all in the midst of it." (Habakkuk 2:18-19 KJV)

Jesus Christ healed many who were suffering from various physical maladies, including muteness.

"As they went out, behold, they brought to Him a dumb man possessed with a devil. And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel." (Matthew 9:32-33 KJV)

"Then was brought unto Him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and He healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?" (Matthew 12:22-23 KJV)

"And great multitudes came unto Him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and He healed them: Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel." (Matthew 15:30-31 KJV)

Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, was made temporarily "dumb and not able to speak" after he did not at first believe the message about the coming miraculous birth of his son.

"And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple. And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless." (Luke 1:20-22 KJV)

"Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had showed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her. And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John. And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all. And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God" (Luke 1:57-64 KJV)

Fact Finder: What made Jesus Christ end His silence to His accusers?
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