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Bible Dictionaries

Holman Bible Dictionary

Bronze

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See Genesis 4:22 ). Possible sources include Syria, northeastern Iran, and Armenia, all of which have adequate supplies of both copper and tin ores.

Outlining the use of bronze in Israel is complicated because the Hebrew word used to denote copper was also used for the new alloy when it appeared. The KJV translates the word most often as brass, but brass did not appear in Israel until introduced by the Romans shortly before the time of Christ. Certainly references to metals which were melted and poured into a mold concerned bronze, whereas beaten metals were copper, tin, or gold.

Introduction of bronze to Israel is demonstrated by a dramatic increase in the presence of bronze implements dating from 2000 BC. After this time, bronze was the preferred metal even well into the Iron Age. Typical finds include jewelry, spear heads (2 Samuel 21:16 ), daggers, axes, and depictions of gods. Armor was often made of bronze (1 Samuel 17:5-6 ; 1 Samuel 17:38 ; 1 Kings 14:27 ) and bows (2 Samuel 22:35 ).

Bronze was considered a precious metal and was a prized spoil of war (Joshua 6:19 ; 2 Samuel 8:8 ; Jeremiah 52:17 NAS). It was used in construction for hinges, pillars, and gates as well as for decoration in important buildings, such as the Tabernacle ( Exodus 25-27 ; Exodus 30:18 ; Exodus 31:4 ; Exodus 35-39 ), palace, and the Temple (1 Kings 7:13-47 NAS). Most jewelry mentioned in the Bible—rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings—are said to be gold, but based on archaeological finds, we can safely assume that bronze was a much more common metal for these items as well.

Bronze was also used symbolically to denote strength (Job 40:18 ; Psalm 107:16 ).

Tim Turnham


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 'Bronze'. Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/hbd/b/bronze.html. 1991.


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