Manners & Customs: Occupations
Occupations and Trades in the ancient Biblical world
Blacksmiths. In the days of King Saul the Philistines put a ban on Hebrew blacksmiths. "Now there was no smith found throughout all the land of Israel: for the Philistines said, Lest the Hebrews make them swords or spears" (I Samuel 13:19). The Philistines required the Hebrews to bring their coulters and mattocks to the vicinity of Ramle to be sharpened, and this district in the Valley of Ajalon for many years afterward came to be known as the Valley of Smiths.
But Jewish blacksmiths were active in the days of Isaiah, for he said: "The smith with the tongs both worketh in the coals, and fashioneth it with hammers" (Isaiah 44:12). Isaiah refers to the blacksmith's anvil (Isaiah 41:7), and Jeremiah makes mention of his bellows (Jeremiah 6:29). The primitive type of anvil that has been in use for centuries is simply a cube of iron that has been inserted in a block of oak log. The old type of bellows, which is worked by hand, is made of the skin either of a goat or of a cow with the hair left on it. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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 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.
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]
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
Coppersmiths. Moses described the land of Canaan as being "a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass [copper]" (Deuteronomy 8:9). Deposits of copper and iron have been discovered along the length of Wadi Araba which leads to the Gulf of Akaba. An excavation at Tel el Kheleifeh, which is the site of ancient Ezion-geber, King Solomon's port city, has revealed that some of Solomon's copper and iron refineries were located there. The builders of the smelters at Ezion-geber faced their furnaces toward the prevailing wind which was northwest. Winds that continued steadily blew through flue holes and kept the fire in the furnace rooms burning. Thus in those days the same principle essentially was employed as that of the Bessemer blast furnace of modern times.
Solomon must have carried on a thriving business in copper. Scripture says: "And the pots, and the shovels, and the basons: and all these vessels, which Hiram made to King Solomon for the house of the Lord, were of bright brass [i.e., burnished copper]" (I Kings 7:45).
[Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Drivers sometimes used for donkeys. When women rode on donkeys, it was customary at times to have a driver for the animal. Thus it says concerning the trip made by the woman of Shunem: "Then she saddled an ass, and said to her servant, Drive, and go forward; slack not thy riding for me, except I bid thee" (II Kings 4:24). On the journey made by Moses and his family (Exodus 4:20), his wife and sons were mounted on their donkey while Moses no doubt walked along beside the animal. Because of this arrangement of travel for the journey of Moses and his family, it is believed by many that Mary and the child JESUS rode on the donkey (Matthew 2:13-15), and Joseph walked alongside in their flight into Egypt.25
However, in the Orient, many times husband and wife are seen to ride both of them on the backs of a donkey.
[Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Oriental dyeing. The Orientals have some very fine dyes. Their favorite color is a bright crimson, and the dye they use to make this color comes from a worm or grub that feeds on oak and other plants. Indigo is made from the rind of pomegranate. Purple is made from the murex shellfish which can still be found on the beach at the city of Acre.
Luke tells of Lydia, "a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira" (Acts 16:14). She was a merchant who sold the purple dye to tanners, weavers, and others. This business of dyeing with which she was connected, had long been centered in the city of Thyatira. Inscriptions have been discovered that refer to "a guild of dyers" that was located in that vicinity. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Fisherman in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
fish'-er fish'-er-man (dayyagh, dawwagh; halieus; Westcott
and Hort, The New Testament in Greek haleeus): Although but
few references to fishermen are made in the Bible, these men
and their calling are brought into prominence by Jesus' call
to certain Galilee fishermen to become His disciples (Mt
4:18,19; Mk 1:16,17). Fishermen, then as now, formed a
distinct class. The strenuousness of the work (Lk 5:2) ruled
out the weak and indolent. They were crude in manner, rough
in speech and in their treatment of others (Lk 9:49,54; Jn
18:10). James and John before they became tempered by Jesus'
influence were nicknamed the "sons of thunder" (Mk 3:17).
The fishermen's exposure to all kinds of weather made them
hardy and fearless. They were accustomed to bear with
patience many trying circumstances. They often toiled for
hours without success, and yet were always ready to try once
more (Lk 5:5; Jn 21:3). Such men, when impelled by the same
spirit as filled their Master, became indeed "fishers of
men" (Mt 4:19; Mk 1:17).
One of the striking instances of the fulfillment of prophecy
is the use by the Syrian fishermen today of the site of
ancient Tyre as a place for the spreading of their nets
Figurative: Fish were largely used as food (Hab 1:16),
hence, the lamentation of the fishermen, who provided for
all, typified general desolation (Isa 19:8). On the other
hand, abundance of fish and many fishermen indicated general
abundance (Ezek 47:10). Our modern expression, "treated like
a dog," had its counterpart in the language of the Old
Testament writers, when they portrayed the punished people
of Judah as being treated like fish. Yahweh would send many
fishers to fish them up and put sticks or hooks through
their cheeks as a fisherman strings his fish (Jer 16:16; Job
41:2). Such treatment of the people of Judah is depicted on
some of the Assyrian monuments.
Places for fishing. In Israel the main fishing places have been along the Mediterranean coast, and in the Sea of Galilee, with some little done in the streams of water. The Israelites in the wilderness said: "We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt" (Numbers 11:5). Most interest centers in the Galilee fishing, because of the Gospel incidents connected with the LORD JESUS and his early fishermen disciples. The Jews engaged in a large fishing business in the days of JESUS in the waters of Galilee. A few years ago A. C. Haddad, a native of Syria and a twentieth century resident of Israel, counted sixty men, all of them Arabs, as earning their living as Peter did, by fishing in the Sea of Galilee.
Their methods of work have been very similar to those used by the disciples of JESUS. Such methods will fast disappear from this region now, since the new state of Israel controls this body of water, and up-to-date Western fishing equipment is taking the place of former more primitive methods. The new government has subsidized the fishing industry on Galilee.
[Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Fishermen in Naves Topical Bible
Mt 4:18-21; Mr 1:16,19; Joh 21:2,3
Jer 16:16; Mt 4:19
Fishermen Working Together
This way of fishing illustrates the value of co-operative effort. A number of men will work together. Some of them will row the boats, some will have to pull the rope with great strength, and some will throw stones or in other ways seek to keep the fish from getting away by frightening them. As they get close to the shore, the edges of the net are held, and it is dragged to land and the fish must be seized. Afterward the fish caught are sorted, as indicated in the parable of Jesus. What an illustrative lesson this is in co-operative soulwinning! [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Hunters Killed Fowl for Meat
Fowl killed for meat. GOD's wholesale supply of quail for Israel in the wilderness is indication of the popularity of that kind of meat among ancient hunters. The Arabs today have often captured quantities of this bird, and after much of the meat is consumed, the rest of it is preserved for future use by being split and then laid out for the sun to dry it.
This is just what Israel did with its excess supply of quail meat: "And they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp" (Numbers 11:32). Doves and pigeons were also popular as food among the Israelites. Many of them were tamed, but wild ones were often sought after for food as well as for sacrificial purposes. The Bible speaks of their nesting in the clefts and holes of the rocks. "O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock" (Song of Solomon 2:14).
[Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Mason in Naves Topical Bible
In the time of David
Of later times
2Ki 12:12; 22:6; 1Ch 14:1; Ezr 3:7
Mason in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
ma'-s'n: The translation of 4 Hebrew words: (1) charash
'ebhen, "graver of stone" (2 Sam 5:11); (2) (3) gadhar (2 Ki
12:12), charash qur (1 Ch 14:1), "maker of a wall (or hedge)";
(4) chatsabh, "a hewer or digger (of stones)" (1 Ch 22:2; Ezr
3:7). Lebanon still supplies the greater number of skilled
masons to Israel and Syria (see 2 Sam 5:11), those of Shweir
being in special repute.
Expert masons have always been in demand in Bible lands through the years. The building of house walls and terrace walls usual1y called for stone or brick. This trade is of interest to the student of Scripture because of the numerous illustrative references to it in the Bible.
[Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Masons 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.
Masons Scripture - 1 Chronicles 22:2
And David commanded to gather together the strangers that
[were] in the land of Israel; and he set masons to hew wrought
stones to build the house of God.
Masons 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.
Masons Scripture - 2 Kings 12:12
And to masons, and hewers of stone, and to buy timber and
hewed stone to repair the breaches of the house of the LORD,
and for all that was laid out for the house to repair [it].
Masons Scripture - 2 Kings 22:6
Unto carpenters, and builders, and masons, and to buy timber
and hewn stone to repair the house.
Masons 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
Masons 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
A study of working with metal would need to begin with "Tubal-cain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron" (Genesis 4:22). That is, he was the forger of every cutting instrument of brass [copper] and iron. The Orientals who lived three to four thousand years ago were very advanced in the mechanical arts. Some of the work of those skilled ancient workmen, as brought to light by archaeologists is superior to anything the world has produced since. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Place to Find Employment
Laborers in the market place. In the Eastern city men who want employment stand in groups in the market place, waiting for someone to hire them. It was here that the man in the parable of JESUS went to secure workmen for his vineyard. "And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the market place, and said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard" (Matthew 20:3, 4). These men do not apply for work as is done in the Occident, rather they wait in the market place for some man to come and hire them. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Porters and Heavy Burdens
The heavy-laden porter in the market place. In many Eastern cities, carriages or carts are not allowed to enter the city gates and carry loads to the market place. These loads of produce are carried by porters. These men are, as a role, taken from the poorest of men. What a sight it is to see them laden down with tremendous burdens on their backs! Sometimes two of these porters will stand back to back with their loads locked together and thus rest their tired bodies for a time before proceeding on their way.
JESUS condemned the lawyers of his day with words that doubtless refer to their treatment of these porters. "Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers" (Luke 11:46). Perhaps Paul was thinking of porters when he said to the Galatians, "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2). And JESUS must have had in mind especially the poor porters of his day so laden down with burdens, when he gave that most gracious invitation, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Potter in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
1. Historical Development
3. Methods of Production
5. Biblical Terms
6. Archaeological Significance
1. Historical Development:
The making of pottery ranks among the very oldest of the
crafts. On the rocky plateaus of Upper Egypt, overlooking
the Nile valley, are found the polished red earthenware pots
of the prehistoric Egyptians. These are buried in shallow
oval graves along with the cramped-up bodies of the dead and
their chipped flint weapons and tools. These jars are the
oldest examples of the potter's article It is inconceivable
that in the country of Babel, Egypt's great rival in
civilization, the ceramic arts were less developed at the
same period, but the difference in the nature of the country
where the first Mesopotamian settlement probably existed
makes it unlikely that relics of the prehistoric dwellers of
that country will ever be recovered from under the debris of
demolished cities and the underlying deposits of clay and
The oldest examples of Babylonian ceramics date from the
historical period, and consist of baked clay record tablets,
bricks, drainage pipes, household shrines, as well as
vessels for holding liquids, fruits and other stores. (See
Perrot and Chipiez, History of Art in Chaldea and Assyria,
I, figures 159, 160, II, figures 163, 168.) Examples of
pottery of this early period are shown in the accompanying
figures. By the 9th to the 7th century BC the shaping of
vessels of clay had become well developed. Fragments of
pottery bearing the name of Esarhaddon establish the above
With the close of the neolithic period in Egypt and the
beginning of the historical or dynastic period (4500-4000
BC) there was a decline in the pottery article The
workmanship and forms both became bad, and not until the
IVth Dynasty was there any improvement. In the meantime the
process of glazing had been discovered and the art of making
beautiful glazed faience became one of the most noted of the
ancient Egyptian crafts. The potter's wheel too was probably
an invention of this date.
The making of pottery in the land which later became the
home of the children of Israel began long before this people
possessed the land and even before the Phoenicians of the
coast cities had extended their trade inland and brought the
earthenware vessels of the Tyrian or Sidonian potters. As in
Egypt and Babylonia, the first examples were hand-made
without the aid of the wheel.
It is probable that Jewish potters learned their art from
the Phoenicians. They at least copied Phoenician...
THE GREAT DEMAND FOR POTTERS IN THE ORIENT. This is because copper vessels are so expensive, because leather bottles are not suitable for some domestic purposes, and because earthenware vessels are so easily broken and must therefore be replaced often. Porous earthenware jars are in much demand to keep drinking-water cool through the process of evaporation. In a warm climate, courtesy usually demands that "a cup of cold water" be given (Matthew 10:42). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Pottery in Easton's Bible Dictionary
the art of, was early practised among all nations. Various
materials seem to have been employed by the potter.
is mentioned in connection with the history of
14:18), of Abraham (18:4-8), of Rebekah (27:14), of
(29:2, 3, 8, 10). The potter's wheel is mentioned by
(18:3). See also 1 Chr. 4:23; Ps. 2:9; Isa. 45:9;
19:1; Lam. 4:2; Zech. 11:13; Rom. 9:21.
Pottery in Naves Topical Bible
Clay prepared for, by treading
-Vessels made of
-Place for manufacture of, outside the wall of Jerusalem,
bought as a burying ground for poor people
Isa 64:8; Ro 9:21
Of weakness, in the idol in Nebuchadnezzars vision
Pottery in Smiths Bible Dictionary
The art of pottery is one of the most common and most ancient
of all manufactures. It is abundantly evident, both that the
Hebrews used earthenware vessels in the wilderness and that
the potter's trade was afterward carried on in Israel. They
had themselves been concerned in the potter's trade in Egypt,
Ps 81:6 and the wall-paintings minutely illustrate the
Egyptian process. The clay, when dug, was trodden by men's
feet so as to form a paste, Isa 41:25 Wisd. 15:7; then placed
by the potter on the wheel beside which he sat, and shaped by
him with his hands. How early the wheel came into use in
Israel is not known, but it seems likely that it was adopted
from Egypt. Isa 45:9; Jer 15:3 The vessel was then smoothed
and coated with a glaze, and finally burnt in a furnace. There
was at Jerusalem a royal establishment of potters, 1Ch 4:23
from whose employment, and from the fragments cast away in the
process, the Potter's Field perhaps received its name. Isa
Tanner in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
tan'-er (burseus, from bursa "a hide"): The only references
to a tanner are in Acts 9:43; 10:6,32. The Jews looked upon
tanning as an undesirable occupation and well they might,
for at best it was accompanied with unpleasant odors and
unattractive sights, if not even ceremonially unclean. We
can imagine that Simon the tanner found among the disciples
of Jesus a fellowship which had been denied him before.
Peter made the way still easier for Simon by choosing his
house as his abode while staying in Joppa. Simon's house was
by the seashore, as is true of the tanneries along the
Syrian coast today, so that the foul-smelling liquors from
the vats can be drawn off with the least nuisance, and so
that the salt water may be easily accessible for washing the
skins during the tanning process. These tanneries are very
unpretentious affairs, usually consisting of one or two
small rooms and a courtyard. Within are the vats made either
of stone masonry, plastered within and without, or cut out
of the solid rock. The sheep or goat skins are smeared on
the flesh side with a paste of slaked lime and then folded
up and allowed to stand until the hair loosens. The hair and
fleshy matter are removed, the skins are plumped in lime,
bated in a concoction first of dog dung and afterward in one
of fermenting bran, in much the same way as in a modern
tannery. The bated skins are tanned in sumach (Arabic
summak), which is the common tanning material in Syria and
Israel. After drying, the leather is blackened on one side
by rubbing on a solution made by boiling vinegar with old
nails or pieces of copper, and the skin is finally given a
dressing of olive oil. In the more modern tanneries degras
is being imported for the currying processes. For dyeing the
rams' skins red (Ex 25 ff) they rub on a solution of qermes
(similar to cochineal; see DYEING), dry, oil, and polish
with a smooth stone.
Pine bark is sometimes used for tanning in Lebanon.
According to Wilkinson (Ancient Egypt, II, 186), the Arabs
use the juice of a desert plant for dehairing and tanning
skins. The skins for pouches are either tawed, i.e. tanned
with a mineral salt like alum, or treated like parchment
(see PARCHMENT). About Hebron oak branches, chopped into
small chips, are used for tanning the leather bottles or
water skins. In this case the hair is not removed. The
tanning is accomplished, after removing the fleshy matter,
by filling the skin with oak chips and water, tying up all
openings in the skins, and allowing them to lie in the open
on their "backs," with "legs" upright, for weeks. The field
near Hebron where they arrange the bulging skins in orderly
rows during the tanning process presents a weird sight.
These are the bottles referred to in the King James Version
(the Revised Version (British and American) "skins") (Josh
9:4,13; Hos 7:5; Mt 9:17; Mk 2:22; Lk 5:37).
Leather was probably used more extensively than any records
show. We know that the Egyptians used leather for ornamental
work. They understood the art of making stamped leather. The
sculptures give us an idea of the methods used for making
the leather into sandals, trimmings for chariots, coverings
of chairs, decorations for harps, sarcophagi, etc. There are
two Biblical references to leather, where leather girdles
are mentioned (2 Ki 1:8; Mt 3:4).
Tanner Scripture - Acts 10:32
Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname
is Peter; he is lodged in the house of [one] Simon a tanner by
the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.
Tanner Scripture - Acts 10:6
He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea
side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.
Tanner Scripture - Acts 9:43
And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with
one Simon a tanner.
TANNERS AND DYERS
The tanning business. This has always been an important business in Bible lands. Peter stayed at the house of Simon the tanner when he was at Joppa (Acts 9:43). In recent years the important tanneries have been located at Hebron and at Jaffa.
[Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Tanning in Naves Topical Bible
General scriptures concerning
Ac 9:43; 10:5,6
The Potters Work
The equipment and method of the potter. Today the potter plies his trade in many sections of the East, just like his predecessors have done for centuries. His workshop is very rude. He works behind a coarse wooden bench. His equivalent consists of two wooden discs or wheels, with an axle standing up from the center of the lower disc: The upper wheel thus turns horizontally when the lower one is put into action by the foot. He keeps a heap of clay lying on his bench, and from this he places a lump of clay that has been previously softened, upon the upper wheel. He makes this wheel spin around, as he shapes the clay with his hands into a coneshaped figure. Then he uses his thumb to make a hole in the top of the whirling clay, and keeps opening it until he can put his left hand inside of it. As it is necessary, he sprinkles the clay with water from a vessel which he keeps beside him.
He uses a small piece of wood with his righthand to smooth the outside of the vessel as it continues to rotate. He is thus able to make the vessel into whatever shape he desires in keeping with his individual skill.
Jeremiah referred to the work of the potter in his message, the inspiration of which came while he was visiting the potter's house: "O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as the potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel" (Jeremiah 18:6).
The Apocrypha contains an interesting description of the potter and his work in that day:
"So is the potter sitting at his work, and turning the wheel about with his feet, who is always anxiously set at his work, and all his handiwork is by number; he will fashion the clay with his arm, and he will bend its strength in front of his feet; he will apply his heart to finish the glazing; and will be wakeful to make clean the furnace" (Ecclesiasticus 38:29, 30).
[Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Workers of Silver and Gold
Silversmiths and goldsmiths. Nehemiah mentions the presence of goldsmiths (Nehemiah 3:8), and the most famous example of a silversmith is Demetrius, whose business was interfered with by the evangelistic work of the Apostle Paul (Acts 19:24). The Apostle Peter used the goldsmith's task as an illustration of the trial of the Christian's faith. "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth . . . might be found unto praise and honor" (I Peter 1:7). The apostle is describing an old-time goldsmith who places his crude ore in a crucible and then applies the heat to melt it. When the impurities come to the surface they are skimmed off. When the workman is able to see his face reflected clearly in the surface of the molten liquid, he takes it away from the fire, and knows that he has pure gold left. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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