Goldsmiths are first mentioned in connection with the building of the tabernacle (Exodus 31:4; 36:1). Later, goldsmiths' guilds are mentioned (Nehemiah 3:8,32). 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; 25:4; 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 34:3,4; 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; 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 Beirut, 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. 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. grazing-ground of the nomads. Traces of ancient forests remain, but for the most part today it is treeless. To the East of the Sea of Galilee the soil is deep and rich. Splendid crops of wheat are grown here, and olives flourish in the hollows. The country is furrowed by deep valleys that carry the water southwestward into the Sea of Galilee. This region has not yet been subjected to thorough examination, but many important ruins have been found, which tell of a plentiful and prosperous population in times long past. The best description of these, and of the region generally, will be found in Schumacher's The Jaulan, and Across the Jordan. To him also we owe the excellent maps which carry us eastward to the province of el-Chauran.
James A. Patch