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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Clay

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klā ( חמר , ḥōmer , חסף , ḥăṣaph , טיט , ṭı̄ṭ , מלט , meleṭ , עבי , ‛ăbhı̄ , מעבה , ma‛ăbheh , עבטיט , ‛abhṭı̄ṭ ; πηλός , pēlós , "wet clay," "mud"): True clay, which is a highly aluminous soil, is found in certain localities in Palestine,and is used in making pottery. The Hebrew and Greek words, as well as the English "clay," are, however, used loosely for any sticky mud. In making mud bricks, true clay is not always used, but ordinary soil is worked up with water and mixed with straw, molded and left to dry in the sun. Ḥōmer (compare ḥēmār , "slime" or "bitumen") is rendered both "clay" and "mortar." Ṭı̄ṭ is rendered "clay" or "mire." In Isaiah 41:25 we have: "He shall come upon rulers as upon mortar ( ḥōmer ), and as the potter treadeth clay" (ṭı̄ṭ ). In Nahum 3:14 , "Go into the clay (ṭı̄ṭ ), and tread the mortar (ḥōmer ); make strong the brickkiln" (i.e. make the walls ready to withstand a siege). Ḥăṣaph is the clay of the image in Nebuchadnezzar's dream (Daniel 2:33 ). Meleṭ occurs only in Jeremiah 43:9 , where we find: the King James Version, "Take great stones ... and hide them in the clay in the brickkiln"; the Revised Version (British and American), "hide them in mortar in the brickwork"; the Revised Version, margin, "lay them with mortar in the pavement." In Habakkuk 2:6 , ‛abhṭı̄ṭ (found only here) is rendered in the King James Version "thick clay," as if from ‛ăbhı̄ and ṭı̄ṭ , but the Revised Version (British and American) has "pledges," referring the word to the root ‛ābhaṭ , "to give a pledge." In 1 Kings 7:46 , ma‛ăbheh hā -'ădhāmāh (compare 2 Chronicles 4:17 , ‛ăbhı̄ hā -'ădhāmāh ) is the compact or clayey soil in the plain of Jordan between Succoth and Zarethan, in which Hiram cast the vessels of brass for Solomon's temple. In John 9:6 , John 9:11 , John 9:14 , Thayer gives "made mud of the spittle"; in Romans 9:21 , "wet clay."

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Clay'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/isb/c/clay.html. 1915.

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