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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Sickle

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(δρέπανον)

In the NT the sickle is referred to only in St. Mark’s Gospel (Mark 4:29) and in the Apocalypse (Revelation 14:14-19). In the latter passage the victorious Christ comes with a sharp sickle in His hand to gather in the fruits of His triumph. For the simile cf. Joel 3:13, Jeremiah 51:33. In the earliest times sickles were made of flint. They had only one cutting edge, which was generally slightly concave and serrated. As a rule the back edge was quite thick. The bone or wooden handle in which they were set followed approximately the curve of the flint edges. The flints projected from the hafts about half an inch or less. Flint sickles continued to be used throughout the Bronze Age. The reason probably was that they were on the one hand comparatively inexpensive, and on the other hand quite as efficacious as sickles made of bronze. It was not until iron came into general use in the Fourth Semitic period that flint sickles were entirely superseded. Iron sickles are confined to the Fourth Semitic and the Hellenistic periods. The breadth of the blade varies from ¾ to 2½ ins., the commonest breadth being from about 1 to 1¼ in. The handle sometimes consisted of two hafting plates secured by thongs or metal pins; occasionally, however, the butt-end of the sickle was tanged, while socketed sickles also sometimes occur. See, further, Harvest.

Literature.-R. A. S. Macalister, The Excavation of Gezer, 3 vols., London, 1912, i. 335, 342, ii. 32-34, 124, 127; F. J. Bliss, A Mound of Many Cities, do., 1894, pp. 105, 107 (with fig. 210), 108, 123; H. Vincent, Canaan, d’après l’exploration récente, Paris, 1907, p. 388 f.; C. Steuernagel, Tell el-mutesellim, Leipzig, 1908, plate xxvii.; H. B. Swete, The Apocalypse of St. John 2, London, 1907, pp. 188-191; Hastings’ Single-vol. Dictionary of the Bible , pp. 852-853; P. S. P. Handcock, The Archaeology of the Holy Land, London, 1916, pp. 148-149, 188, 208.

P. S. P. Handcock.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Sickle'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdn/s/sickle.html. 1906-1918.

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