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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia


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fı̄r´pan ( מחתּה , maḥtāh , "firepan," "censer," "snuffdish," from חתה , ḥāthāh , "to snatch up"): A vessel for carrying coals. Brazen firepans were part of the furnishings of the altar of burnt offerings (Exodus 27:3; Exodus 38:3 , and in Numbers 4:14 , where the King James Version wrongly reads "censers," the context indicating a vessel belonging to the brazen altar).

The same word is translated "snuffdishes" in Exodus 25:38; Exodus 37:23; Numbers 4:9 , where it refers to golden firepans which belonged to the golden candlestick or lamp stand, and were used to receive the burnt ends of the wicks. In 1 Kings 7:50 and 2 Chronicles 4:22 , although the King James Version reads "censers," the context points to the firepans belonging to the candlestick; as also in 2 Kings 25:15 and Jeremiah 52:19 , translated "firepans" in the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American). A similar firepan designated by the same Hebrew word but translated "censer" was used to carry the burning coals upon which the incense was thrown and burned (Leviticus 10:1; Leviticus 16:12; Numbers 16:6 , Numbers 16:17 ). See CENSER .

The firepan or censer of the Hebrews was doubtless similar to the censer of the Egyptians, pictures of which have been found. It consisted of a pan or pot for the coals, which was held by a straight or slightly curved long handle. The style of censer used in recent centuries, swung by three chains, came into use about the 12th century ad.

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Firepan'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 1915.

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