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Bible Dictionaries

Holman Bible Dictionary

Ivory

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is the English translation of the Hebrew word that means “tooth.” Ivory was used for decoration on thrones, beds, houses, and the decks of ships (1 Kings 10:18; 1 Kings 22:39; 2 Chronicles 9:17; Psalm 45:8; Ezekiel 27:6 ,Ezekiel 27:6,27:15; Amos 3:15; Amos 6:4 ). Archaeologists in Palestine have unearthed numerous articles made of ivory: boxes, gaming boards, figurines, spoons, and combs.

1 Kings 10:22 is cited by scholars as a possible explanation for the source of ivory in Palestine. Apparently, Solomon's ships returned with ivory as a part of their cargo. Sources outside the Old Testament, indicate that elephants existed in northern Syria during the second millennium B.C. Elephants were hunted into extinction in northern Syria by 800 B.C.

The prophet Amos mentioned ivory as a token of luxury and wealth (Amos 3:15; Amos 6:4 ). Lists of booty taken by victorious armies included ivory objects. Hezekiah was credited with giving Sennacherib tribute in 701 B.C. Sennacherib's account of the tribute included couches and chairs inlaid with ivory. Ivories have been found at Samaria that are thought to be from the time of Ahab, who reigned in Israel from about 869 to 850 B.C.

James Newell

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Ivory'. Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hbd/i/ivory.html. 1991.

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