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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

 

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CANDLE; CANDLESTICK

kan'-d'-l, kan'-d'-l-stik (ner; luchnos; menorah; luchnia):
(1) "Candle" is found in the Old Testament, the King James Version, as the rendering of ner, and in the New Testament for luchnos. In all places except Jer 25:10 and Zeph 1:12 (see margin) the Revised Version (British and American) gives the more exact rendering "lamp." See LAMP. Candle, in our sense of the term, was unknown to antiquity.
(2) "Candlestick" stands for what was a common and indispensable article of ancient house furniture, a lamp-stand (menorah). Accordingly we find it mentioned in a case thoroughly representative of the furnishings of an oriental room of the plainer sort, in the account of "the prophet's chamber" given in 2 Ki 4:10. Here we find that the furniture consisted of a "bed," a "table," a "seat," and a "candlestick," or lamp-stand. The excavations of Petrie and Bliss at Lachish (Tell el-Hesy, 104), not to mention others, help to make it clear that a lamp-stand is meant in passages where the Hebrew word, menorah, or its Greek equivalent luchnia, is used. Accordingly throughout the New Testament, the Revised Version (British and American) has consistently rendered luchnia by "stand" (Mt 5:15; Mk 4:21; Lk 8:16; 11:33).
(3) The "candlestick" of Dan 5:5 is rather the candelabrum (nebhrashta') of Belshazzar's banqueting-hall. The "golden candlestick" of the tabernacle and the temple requires special treatment.
See CANDLESTICK, THE GOLDEN; TABERNACLE.
(4) Certain figurative uses of "candle" and "candlestick" in the Bible demand attention. The ancient and still common custom of the East of keeping a house lamp burning night and day gave rise to the figure of speech so universally found in oriental languages by which the continued prosperity of the individual or the family is set forth by the perennially burning lamp (see Job 29:3; "when his lamp shined upon my head"; Ps 18:28 "Thou wilt light my lamp"). The converse in usage is seen in many passages--(see Job 18:6; "His lamp above him shall be put out"; 21:17: "How oft is it that the lamp of the wicked is put out"; Prov 24:20; "The lamp of the wicked shall be put out"; Jer 25:10; "Take from them .... the light of the lamp"). The same metaphor is used in Rev 2:5 to indicate the judgment with which the church of Ephesus was threatened: "I will move thy candlestick out of its place." "The seven golden candlesticks" (Rev 1:20) which John saw were "the seven churches," the appointed light-bearers and dispensers of the religion of the risen Christ. Hence, the significance of such a threat.
George B. Eager

Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Definition for 'CANDLE; CANDLESTICK'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". bible-history.com - ISBE; 1915.

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