Utensils in the Hebrew Bible

The Het Oudtestamentisch Werkgezelschap (the Dutch Society for Old Testament Studies) has made available an important study resource that is available free online in PDF format.

This resource is called the כלי Database: Utensils in the Hebrew Bible. The Database provides information on tools, utensils and other implements mentioned in the Bible.

Below is an introduction to the Database:

The problem with identifying utensils in the Hebrew Bible is that their common everyday use made it superfluous to provide detailed descriptions of the vessels or implements in written form. Everyone knew from experience what was meant. As a result dictionaries of biblical Hebrew often have to content themselves with non-descript generalisations like “bowl”, “jar”, “pot”, “knife”. Mostly the shape and purpose of a given utensil can not be established on the basis of context alone because the number of occurrences is too low. Archaeology has brought to light large quantities of pottery and implements, but in many cases we do not know which word in ancient Hebrew was used for the object unearthed.

Meanwhile the possibilities for resolving such problems have increased dramatically. Not only archaeology, but also comparative linguistics, iconography, anthropology, improved understanding of the ancient versions of the Bible have enhanced our chances to come closer to the precise nature of the objects.

The Database will become an invaluable Hebrew resource for pastors and students of the Hebrew Bible. You can view the Database here.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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2 Responses to Utensils in the Hebrew Bible

  1. Rasonmagen says:

    This is very nice. However, after seeing this, I wish they had expanded beyond just utensils. It would be wonderful to have DB like this one for every Hebrew word.


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