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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary
ופת , Exodus 2:3; Isaiah 34:9; Septuagint ασφαλτος ; a fat, combustible, oily matter, sometimes called asphaltos, from the lake Asphaltites, or Dead Sea, in Judea, on the surface of which it rises in the nature of liquid pitch, and floats like other oleaginous bodies; but is condensed by degrees, through the heat of the sun, and grows dry and hard. The word which our translators have rendered pitch in Genesis 6:14 , and חמר , slime, Genesis 11:3; Genesis 14:10 , is generally supposed to be bitumen. In the first of these places it is mentioned as used for smearing the ark, and closing its interstices. It was peculiarly adapted to this purpose. Being at first soft, viscous, and pliable, it might be thrust into every chasm and crevice with the greatest ease; but would soon acquire a tenacity and hardness superior to those of our pitch. A coat of it spread over both the inside and outside of the ark would make it perfectly water proof. The longer it was kept in the water, the harder and stronger it would grow. The Arabs still use it for careening their vessels. In the second passage it is described as applied for cement in building the tower of Babel. It was much used in ancient buildings in that region; and, in the ruins of Babylon, large masses of brick work cemented with it are discovered. It is known that the plain of Shinar did abound with it, both in its liquid and solid state; that there was there a cave and fountain which was continually casting it out; and that the famous tower and no less famous walls of Babylon were built by this kind of cement, is confirmed by the testimony of several ancient authors. The slime pits of Siddim, Genesis 14:10 , were holes out of which issued this liquid bitumen, or naphtha. Bitumen was formerly much used by the Egyptians and Jews in the embalming the bodies of their dead.
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Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Pitch'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/wtd/p/pitch.html. 1831-2.