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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia


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gōld´smith ( צורף , cōrēph ): Goldsmiths are first mentioned in connection with the building of the tabernacle ( Exodus 31:4 ; Exodus 36:1 ). Later, goldsmiths' guilds are mentioned (Nehemiah 3:8 , Nehemiah 3:32 ). The art of refining gold and shaping it into objects was probably introduced into Palestine from Phoenicia (see CRAFTS ). Examples of gold work from the earliest Egyptian periods are so numerous in the museums of the world that we do not have to draw on our imaginations to appreciate the wonderful skill of the ancient goldsmiths. Their designs and methods were those later used by the Jews. The goldsmiths' art was divided into (1) the refining of the impure gold (Job 28:1 ; Proverbs 17:3 ; Proverbs 25:4 ; Proverbs 27:21 ; Isaiah 1:25 ; Malachi 3:3 ); (2) shaping of objects, (a) casting idols (Numbers 33:52 ; Hosea 13:2 ), (b) making graven images (2 Chronicles 34:3 , 2 Chronicles 34:4 ; Jeremiah 10:14 ; Nahum 1:14 ), (c) the making of beaten or turned work (Exodus 25:18 ), (d) plating or overlaying (Exodus 25:11 ; 1 Kings 6:20 ), (e) soldering (Isaiah 41:7 ), (f) making of wire (Exodus 28:6 ; Exodus 39:3 ). Most of these processes are carried on in Bible lands today. In Damascus there is a goldsmiths' quarter where the refining, casting and beating of gold are still carried on, probably in much the same way as in Solomon's time. Jews are found among the goldsmiths. In Beirût, it is a Jew who is especially skilled in making refiners' pots. Daily, one can see the gold being refined, cast into lumps, beaten on an anvil, rolled between rollers into thin sheets, cut into narrow strips (wire), and wound on bobbins ready for the weaver. There are houses in Damascus and Aleppo still possessing beautiful gold overlaid work on wooden walls and ceilings, the work of goldsmiths of several centuries ago.

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

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