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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
Aside from the limited supply of iron ore in Mt. Lebanon (compare Deuteronomy 8:9 ), probably no iron was found in Syria and Palestine. It was brought from Tarshish (Ezekiel 27:12 ) and Vedan and Jayan (Ezekiel 27:19 ), and probably Egypt (Deuteronomy 4:20 ).
The first mention of iron made in the Bible is in Genesis 4:22 , where Tubal-Cain is mentioned as "the forger of every cutting instrument of brass and iron." It is likely that the Jews learned the art of metallurgy from the Phoenicians (2 Chronicles 2:14 ) (see CRAFTS ). Iron was used in Biblical times much as it is today. For a description of a smith at work see Ecclesiasticus 38:28. Huge city gates, overlaid with strips of iron (Psalm 107:16; Isaiah 45:2 ), held in place by crude square-headed nails (1 Chronicles 22:3 ), are still a familiar sight in the larger cities of Palestine and Syria (Acts 12:10 ). Threshing instruments were made of iron (Amos 1:3 ); so also harrows (2 Samuel 12:31 ), axes (ib; 2 Kings 6:6; see Ax), branding irons (1 Timothy 4:2 ), and other tools (1 Kings 6:7 ). There were iron weapons (Numbers 35:16; Job 20:24 ), armor (2 Samuel 23:7 ), horns (1 Kings 22:11 ), fetters (Psalm 105:18 ), chariots (Joshua 17:16 ), yokes (Jeremiah 28:14 ), breastplates (Revelation 9:9 ), pens (chisels) (Job 19:24; Jeremiah 17:1 ), sheets or plates (Ezekiel 4:3 ), gods (Daniel 5:4 ), weights (1 Samuel 17:7 ), bedsteads (Deuteronomy 3:11 ). Iron was used extensively in building the temple. See METALS .
Figurative: "The iron furnace" is used metaphorically for affliction, chastisement ( Deuteronomy 4:20; Ezekiel 22:18-22 ). Iron is also employed figuratively to represent barrenness ( Deuteronomy 28:23 ), slavery ("yoke of iron," Deuteronomy 28:48 ), strength ("bars of iron," Job 40:18 ), severity ("rod of iron," Psalm 2:9 ), captivity (Psalm 107:10 ), obstinacy ("iron sinew," Isaiah 48:4 ), fortitude ("iron pillar," Jeremiah 1:18 ), moral deterioration (Jeremiah 6:28 ), political strength (Daniel 2:33 ), destructive power ("iron teeth," Daniel 7:7 ); the certainty with which a real enemy will ever show his hatred is as the rust returning upon iron (Ecclesiasticus 12:10 the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) "brass"); great obstacles ("walls of iron," 2 Macc 11:9).
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Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Iron (1)'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/isb/i/iron-1.html. 1915.