Manners & Customs: Carpenters
Carpenters in the Ancient World
Carpenter in Easton's Bible Dictionary
an artificer in stone, iron, and copper, as well as in wood (2
Sam. 5:11; 1 Chr. 14:1; Mark 6:3). The tools used by
are mentioned in 1 Sam. 13:19, 20; Judg. 4:21; Isa.
44:13. It was said of our Lord, "Is not this the
son?" (Matt. 13:55); also, "Is not this the carpenter?
6:3). Every Jew, even the rabbis, learned some
was a tentmaker. "In the cities the carpenters would
and skilled workmen; the carpenter of a provincial
only have held a very humble position, and secured a
Carpenter in Smiths Bible Dictionary
Carpenter in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
kar'-pen-ter (charash; tekton): This word, which is a general
word for graver or craftsman, is translated "carpenter" in 2
Ki 22:6; 2 Ch 24:12; Ezr 3:7; Isa 41:7. The same word is
rendered "craftsman" in the American Standard Revised Version
of Jer 24:1 and 29:2 and "smith" in the American Standard
Revised Version of Zec 1:20. In 2 Sam 5:11; 2 Ki 12:11; 1 Ch
14:1; and Isa 44:13, charash occurs with `ets (wood), and is
more exactly translated "carpenter" or "worker in wood."
Tekton, the corresponding Greek word for artificer, is
translated "carpenter" in Mt 13:55 and Mk 6:3.
Products of the carpenter. There are several products of the Eastern carpenter's skill. Many have wondered what JESUS as a carpenter made. There is an old tradition that has come down to us, that he was a maker of plows and yokes.
The yoke, and most of the plow, with the exception of the iron ploughshare, are constructed of wood, and so would be the task of the carpenters. As there were many farmers among the ancient Hebrews, as there are among the Arab peasants today, there would be a great demand for yokes and plows. Other products of the carpenter would include wooden locks and wooden keys for houses, doors, roofs, windows, low tables, chairs or stools and chests for storage use. The carpenter's most ornamental work would include paneling of the roof, latticework for windows, and decorative art on house doors. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Carpenter Scripture - Isaiah 41:7
So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, [and] he that
smootheth [with] the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying,
It [is] ready for the sodering: and he fastened it with nails,
[that] it should not be moved.
Carpenter Scripture - Isaiah 44:13
The carpenter stretcheth out [his] rule; he marketh it out
with a line; he fitteth it with planes, and he marketh it out
with the compass, and maketh it after the figure of a man,
according to the beauty of a man; that it may remain in the
Carpenter Scripture - Mark 6:3
Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of
James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his
sisters here with us? And they were offended at him.
The skill of the Oriental carpenter. Because of the use of what seems to the Westerner to be very crude and primitive tools, some have thought that these workmen are lacking in skill, but this is not so. In many ways he is able to use his simple tools in a way that displays great skill. Much personal attention is given the product, and great pride is taken in the resulting handiwork. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Carpenter's tools. With but few exceptions, the tools used by the carpenter in Bible times are those used by these primitive Palestinian carpenters of today. The prophet Isaiah names four instruments used by the carpenter of his day. "The carpenter stretcheth out his rule; he marketh it out with a line; he fitteth it with planes, and he marketh it out with the compass" (Isaiah 44:13). The "rule" was no doubt a measuring line; the "line" was a marking tool or stylus, taking the place of our pencil; the "plane" was a scraping tool; and the "compass" was an instrument for making a circle, as it is today.
The "ax" was used in olden times to shape timber as well as to fell trees. It had an iron head usually fastened by means of thongs to a wooden handle, and so it was easy for the head to slip off. Deuteronomy 19:5 and II Kings 6:5).
Excavations at the city of Gezer revealed that the people of Israel in Bible times had developed ribbon-flint knives into saws by making their edges irregular. Finds there also indicate that they used saws that were made of thin, flexible strips of metal that had been set in frames of wood.
Isaiah mentions the use of the saw: "Shall the saw magnify itself against him that shaketh it?" (Isaiah 10:15). Jeremiah refers to the use of hammer and nails: "They fasten it with nails and with hammers that it move not" (Jeremiah 10:4). The archaeologists have found an abundance of bronze and iron nails. The hammers they have brought to light were made mostly of stone. Thus CHRIST must have made use of both hammer and nails in his Nazareth carpenter shop.
The Bible mentions twice the use of the awl (Exodus 21:6; Deuteronomy 15:17). these boring instruments as found at Gezer were usually set in bone handles. Chisels found there were made either of bronze or iron. CHRIST must have used this tool also. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Carpenters in Ancient Israel
Israel carpenters. Oriental carpenters have plied their trade in the Holy Land in much the same way through the centuries. Visitors to towns like Nazareth or Tiberias have found these workmen to be quite primitive. About the only modern innovation they have adopted has been to have a workbench instead of sitting on the floor beside their working board, as some men, engaged in related crafts, actually do even in modern times. Instead of working, however, always at this bench, they are seen to do much of their work at the doorsill where the light is much better.10
This occupation has undergone little change from the days when they said of the young Messiah, "Is not this the carpenter?" (Mark 6:3).
[Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Carpenters Scripture - 1 Chronicles 14:1
Now Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and timber of
cedars, with masons and carpenters, to build him an house.
Carpenters Scripture - 2 Chronicles 24:12
And the king and Jehoiada gave it to such as did the work of
the service of the house of the LORD, and hired masons and
carpenters to repair the house of the LORD, and also such as
wrought iron and brass to mend the house of the LORD.
Carpenters Scripture - 2 Kings 12:11
And they gave the money, being told, into the hands of them
that did the work, that had the oversight of the house of the
LORD: and they laid it out to the carpenters and builders,
that wrought upon the house of the LORD,
Carpenters Scripture - 2 Kings 22:6
Unto carpenters, and builders, and masons, and to buy timber
and hewn stone to repair the house.
Carpenters Scripture - 2 Samuel 5:11
And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar
trees, and carpenters, and masons: and they built David an
Carpenters Scripture - Ezra 3:7
They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters;
and meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon, and to them
of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of
Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of
Carpenters Scripture - Jeremiah 24:1
The LORD shewed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs [were]
set before the temple of the LORD, after that Nebuchadrezzar
king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of
Jehoiakim king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the
carpenters and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to
Carpenters Scripture - Jeremiah 29:2
(After that Jeconiah the king, and the queen, and the eunuchs,
the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, and the carpenters, and
the smiths, were departed from Jerusalem;)
Carpenters Scripture - Zechariah 1:20
And the LORD shewed me four carpenters.
Carpentry in Naves Topical Bible
Building the ark of Noah
-Tabernacle, and furniture of
2Ki 12:11; 22:6
Isa 41:7; 44:13
Jer 24:1; Zec 1:20
The use of olive wood. Wood from the olive tree is often used in the East. It is close-grained and has a yellow tint. The Oriental carpenter is fond of using it. It is especially utilized in the construction of cabinets. King Solomon had the cherubim of the temple, and the inner and outer doors and posts of the sanctuary, all made of olive wood. (I Kings 6:23, 31, 33). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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