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Easton's Bible Dictionary

 

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Coal
        It is by no means certain that the Hebrews were acquainted with
        mineral coal, although it is found in Syria. Their common fuel
        was dried dung of animals and wood charcoal. Two different words
        are found in Hebrew to denote coal, both occurring in Prov.
        26:21, "As coal [Heb. peham; i.e., "black coal"] is to burning
        coal [Heb. gehalim]." The latter of these words is used in Job
        41:21; Prov. 6:28; Isa. 44:19. The words "live coal" in Isa. 6:6
        are more correctly "glowing stone." In Lam. 4:8 the expression
        "blacker than a coal" is literally rendered in the margin of the
        Revised Version "darker than blackness." "Coals of fire" (2 Sam.
        22:9, 13; Ps. 18:8, 12, 13, etc.) is an expression used
        metaphorically for lightnings proceeding from God. A false
        tongue is compared to "coals of juniper" (Ps. 120:4; James 3:6).
        "Heaping coals of fire on the head" symbolizes overcoming evil
        with good. The words of Paul (Rom. 12:20) are equivalent to
        saying, "By charity and kindness thou shalt soften down his
        enmity as surely as heaping coals on the fire fuses the metal in
        the crucible."

Bibliography Information
Easton, Matthew George. M.A., D.D., "Biblical Meaning for 'Coal' Eastons Bible Dictionary".
bible-history.com - Eastons; 1897.

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