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Holman Bible Dictionary


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A device, generally of brick or stone, used to heat materials to high temperatures. In biblical times furnaces were not used for central heating. Rather furnaces were used to smelt ore, melt metal for casting, heat metal for forging, fire pottery or bricks, and to make lime. The furnace of Daniel 3:1 was probably a large furnace used for smelting ore or for firing bricks. Biblical references to furnaces are mostly figurative for experiences of testing (of the Egyptian bondage, Deuteronomy 4:20 ; 1 Kings 8:51 ; Jeremiah 11:4 ; of adversity, Isaiah 48:10 ). God's stubbornly rebellious people are pictured as “rejected silver” (Jeremiah 6:30 ) and as dross, the waste product of the smelting process (Ezekiel 22:17-22 ). Such pictures may form the background of the furnace of fire which symbolizes divine punishment (Matthew 13:42 ,Matthew 13:42,13:50 ).

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 'Furnace'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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