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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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SICKLE . The Hebrew sickles ( Deuteronomy 16:9; Deuteronomy 23:25 etc.) or reaping-hooks were successively of flint, bronze, and iron, and set in handles of bone or wood. In Palestine the flint sickle goes back to the later Stone age (Vincent, Canaan d’après t’exploration récente , 388 ff. with illust.); a specimen was found by Bliss at Lachish. Similar flint sickles, with bone hafts, have been found in Egypt. The ancient sickles were of two kinds, according as the cutting edge was plain or toothed; the modern Palestinian reaping-hook is of the latter kind and somewhat elaborately curved (illust. Benzinger, Heb. Arch. 2 141). In Jeremiah 50:16 the reaper is described as ‘he that handleth the sickle’ ( maggâl , AVm [Note: Authorized Version margin.] ‘scythe,’ which is also wrongly given as an alternative in AVm [Note: Authorized Version margin.] of Isaiah 2:4 , Micah 4:3 for ‘pruning hooks’). The same word is rendered ‘sickle’ in Joel 3:18 ‘put ye in the sickle, for the vintage is ripe’ (RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] ), where the context, the LXX [Note: Septuagint.] rendering, and the same figure in Revelation 14:19-20 all show that the reference is to the smaller but similarly shaped grape-knife , expressly named maggâl in the Mishna, with which the grape-gatherer cut off the bunches of ripe grapes.

A. R. S. Kennedy.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Sickle'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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