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Bible Dictionaries

People's Dictionary of the Bible


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Handicraft. Acts 18:3; Acts 19:25; Revelation 18:22. Says Rabbi Jehuda, "He who does not teach his son a trade is much the same as if he taught him to be a thief." Metalworkers. The preparation of iron for use either in war, in agriculture, together with iron, working in brass, or rather copper alloyed with tin (bronze), is mentioned as practiced in antediluvian times. Genesis 4:22. After the establishment of the Jews in Canaan, the occupation of a smith became a distinct employment. 1 Samuel 13:19. The smith's work and its results are often mentioned in Scripture, 2 Samuel 12:31; 1 Kings 6:7; 2 Chronicles 26:14; Isaiah 44:12; Isaiah 54:1-17; Isaiah 16:1-14. The worker also in gold and silver must have found employment among the Hebrews in very early times. Genesis 24:22; Genesis 24:53; Genesis 35:4; Genesis 38:18. Various processes of the goldsmith's work are illustrated by Egyptian monuments. After the conquest frequent notices are found of both moulded and wrought metal, including soldering. Carpenters are often mentioned in Scripture. Genesis 6:14; Exodus 37:1-29; Isaiah 44:13. In the palace built by David for himself the workmen employed were chiefly foreigners. 2 Samuel 6:11. That the Jewish carpenters must have been able to carve with some Skill is evident from Isaiah 41:7; Isaiah 44:13. In the New Testament the occupation of a carpenter is mentioned in connection with Joseph the husband of Mary, and our Lord himself was a carpenter. Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3. Masons and stone-cutters were employed by David and Solomon, many of whom were Phœnicians. 1 Kings 5:18. The large stones used in Solomon's temple are said by Josephus to have been fitted together exactly without either mortar or clamps, but the foundation stones to have been fastened with lead. For ordinary building mortar was used; sometimes bitumen, as at Babylon. Genesis 11:3; Ezekiel 13:10. The use of whitewash on tombs is noticed by our Lord. Matthew 23:27. Shipboat-building was common to some extent, for there were the fishing-vessels on the Lake of Gennesaret. Matthew 8:23; Matthew 9:1; John 21:3; John 21:8. Solomon built ships for his foreign trade. 1 Kings 9:26-27; 1 Kings 22:48; 2 Chronicles 20:36-37. Apothecaries or perfumers appear to have formed a guild or association. Exodus 30:25; Exodus 30:35; 2 Chronicles 16:14; Nehemiah 3:8; Ecclesiastes 7:1; Ecclesiastes 10:1. The arts of spinning and weaving both wool and linen were carried on in early times by women. Exodus 35:25-26; Leviticus 19:19; Deuteronomy 22:11; 2 Kings 23:7; Ezekiel 16:16; Proverbs 31:13; Proverbs 31:24. The loom with Its beam, 1 Samuel 17:7, pin, Judges 16:14, and shuttle, Job 7:6, was perhaps introduced later, but as early as David's time. 1 Samuel 17:7. Dyeing and dressing cloth were practiced in Palestine, as were also tanning and dressing leather. Joshua 2:15-18; 2 Kings 1:8; Matthew 3:4; Acts 9:43. Barbers. Numbers 6:5; Numbers 6:19; Ezekiel 5:1. Tentmakers are noticed in Acts 18:3. Potters are frequently alluded to. Jeremiah 18:2-6. Bakers are noticed in Scripture, Jeremiah 37:21; Hosea 7:4; and the well-known valley Tyropœon probably derived its name from the occupation of the cheese-makers, its inhabitants. Dealers in meat, not Jewish, are spoken of in 1 Corinthians 10:25.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Handicraft'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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