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Holman Bible Dictionary


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A striking tool. The earliest hammers were simply smooth or shaped stones. Beginning in the Bronze Age, stones were hallowed out to give a better grip or to receive a handle. Mallets of bone and wood were used (Judges 5:26 ), though these have not normally been preserved. Hammers with metal heads were rare in Palestine, possibly because metal was reserved for tools needing a cutting edge.

Hammers were used in cutting stone (1 Kings 6:7 ), working common and precious metals (Isaiah 41:7 ; Isaiah 44:12 ), and for woodworking (Jeremiah 10:4 ). A hammer-like weapon was also used in battle (Jeremiah 51:20 “shatterer” NAS margin; Ezekiel 9:2 “shattering weapon”). See Arms and Armor .

The hammer was a symbol of power. God's word is pictured as a hammer (Jeremiah 23:29 ). Babylon is mocked as a hammer whose strength has failed (Jeremiah 50:23 ). See Tools .

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 'Hammer'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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