This word is used of sediment found in pits or in streets ( Isaiah 57:20 ; Jeremiah 38:60 ), of dust mixed with spittle ( John 9:6 ), and of potter's clay ( Isaiah 41:25 ; Nahum 3:14 ; Jeremiah 18:1-6 ; Romans 9:21 ). Clay was used for sealing ( Job 38:14 ; Jeremiah 32:14 ). Our Lord's tomb may have been thus sealed ( Matthew 27:66 ). The practice of sealing doors with clay is still common in the East. Clay was also in primitive times used for mortar ( Genesis 11:3 ). The "clay ground" in which the large vessels of the temple were cast ( 1 Kings 7:46 ; 2 Chr 4:17 ) was a compact loam fitted for the purpose. The expression literally rendered is, "in the thickness of the ground,", meaning, "in stiff ground" or in clay.
As the sediment of water remaining in pits or in streets, the word is used frequently in the Old Testament. ( Psalms 18:42 ; Isaiah 57:20 ; Jeremiah 38:6 ) and in the New Testament, ( John 9:6 ) a mixture of sand or dust with spittle. It is also found in the sense of potters clay. ( Isaiah 41:25 ) The great seat of the pottery of the present day in Palestine is Gaza, where are made the vessels in dark-blue clay so frequently met with. Another use of clay was for sealing. ( Job 38:14 ) Our Lords tomb may have been thus sealed, ( Matthew 27:66 ) as also the earthen vessel containing the evidences of Jeremiahs purchase. ( Jeremiah 32:14 ) The seal used for public documents was rolled on the moist clay, and the tablet was then placed in the fire and baked.
kla (chomer, chacaph, TiT, meleT, `abhi, ma`abheh, abhTiT; pelos, "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. Chomer (compare chmar, "slime" or "bitumen") is rendered both "clay" and "mortar." TiT is rendered "clay" or "mire." In Isaiah 41:25 we have: "He shall come upon rulers as upon mortar (chomer), and as the potter treadeth clay" (TiT). In Nahum 3:14, "Go into the clay (TiT), and tread the mortar (chomer); make strong the brickkiln" (i.e. make the walls ready to withstand a siege). Chacaph is the clay of the image in Nebuchadnezzar's dream (Daniel 2:33). MeleT 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, `abhTiT (found only here) is rendered in the King James Version "thick clay," as if from `abhi and TiT, but the Revised Version (British and American) has "pledges," referring the word to the root `abhaT, "to give a pledge." In 1 Kings 7:46, ma`abheh ha-'adhamah (compare 2 Chronicles 4:17, `abhi ha-'adhamah) 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 9:6,11,14, Thayer gives "made mud of the spittle"; in Romans 9:21, "wet clay."
Alfred Ely Day
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