derived from the Greek kupros (the island of Cyprus), called "Cyprian brass," occurs only in the Authorized Version in Ezra 8:27 . Elsewhere the Hebrew word (nehosheth) is improperly rendered "brass," and sometimes "steel" ( 2 Samuel 22:35 ; Jeremiah 15:12 ). The "bow of steel" ( Job 20:24 ; Psalms 18:34 ) should have been "bow of copper" (or "brass," as in the RSV). The vessels of "fine copper" of Ezra 8:27 were probably similar to those of "bright brass" mentioned in 1 Kings 7:45 ; Daniel 10:6 .
Tubal-cain was the first artificer in brass and iron ( Genesis 4:22 ). Hiram was noted as a worker in brass ( 1 Kings 7:14 ). Copper abounded in Palestine ( Deuteronomy 8:9 ; Isaiah 60:17 ; 1 Chronicles 22:3 1 Chronicles 22:14 ). All sorts of vessels in the tabernacle and the temple were made of it ( Leviticus 6:28 ; Numbers 16:39 ; 2 Chr 4:16 ; Ezra 8:27 ); also weapons of war ( 1 Samuel 17:5 1 Samuel 17:6 1 Samuel 17:38 ; 2 Sam 21:16 ). Iron is mentioned only four times ( Genesis 4:22 ; Leviticus 26:19 ; Numbers 31:22 ; 35:16 ) in the first four books of Moses, while copper (rendered "brass") is mentioned forty times. (See BRASS .)
We find mention of Alexander (q.v.), a "coppersmith" of Ephesus ( 2 Timothy 4:14 ).
Heb. nechosheth , in the Authorized Version always rendered "brass," except in ( Ezra 8:27 ) and Jere 15:12 It was almost exclusively used by the ancients for common purposes, and for every kind of instrument, as chains, pillars, lavers and the other temple vessels. We read also of copper mirrors, ( Exodus 38:8 ) and even of copper arms, as helmets, spears, etc. ( 1 Samuel 17:5 1 Samuel 17:6 1 Samuel 17:38 ; 2 Samuel 21:16 )
The word is translated "copper" in only one passage (Ezra 8:27 the King James Version). In the American Standard Revised Version of this passage, "brass" has been substituted. Neither describes the actual alloy according to present definitions so well as the word "bronze." Copper was one of the earliest metals to be known and utilized in alloy, but copper, as a single metal, was probably little used. The remains of spears, balances, arms, vases, mirrors, statues, cooking utensils, implements of all kinds, etc., from Bible times are principally of an alloy of copper hardened with tin known today as bronze (see BRASS). In such passages as Deuteronomy 8:9, where reference is made to the native metal or ores, "copper" should be substituted for "brass" as in the American Standard Revised Version (compare Job 40:18). This is true also of coins as chalkos, in Matthew 10:9.
Our modern English word "copper" is derived from an old name pertaining to the island of Cyprus. Copper was known to the ancients as Cyprian brass, probably because that island was one of the chief sources for this metal. The Sinai peninsula and the mountains of northern Syria also contributed to the ancient world's supply (see Tell el-Amarna Letters). No evidences of copper ore in any quantity are found in Palestine proper.
James A. Patch.
The word is found in New Testament once only, in 2 Timothy 4:14: "Alexander the coppersmith did (margin "showed") me much evil." As the Bible word rendered "copper" (see Ezra 8:27 the King James Version) is translated "brass" by the Revised Version (British and American), so the word here rendered "c." should be rendered "brazier," or "worker in brass."
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