Knife [N] [S]

  • Heb. hereb, "the waster," a sharp instrument for circumcision ( Joshua 5:2 Joshua 5:3 , lit. "kes of flint;" Compare Exodus 4:25 ); a razor ( Ezekiel 5:1 ); a graving tool ( Exodus 20:25 ); an axe ( Ezekiel 26:9 ).

  • Heb. maakeleth, a large knife for slaughtering and cutting up food ( Genesis 22:6 Genesis 22:10 ; Proverbs 30:14 ).

  • Heb. sakkin, a knife for any purpose, a table knife ( Proverbs 23:2 ).

  • Heb. mahalaph, a butcher's knife for slaughtering the victims offered in sacrifice ( Ezra 1:9 ).

  • Smaller kes (Heb. ta'ar, Jeremiah 36:26 ) were used for sharpening pens. The pruning-kes mentioned in Isaiah 18:5 (Heb. mizmaroth) were probably curved kes.

    These dictionary topics are from
    M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
    published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.

    [N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
    [S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

    Bibliography Information

    Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for Knife". "Easton's Bible Dictionary". .

  • Knife. [N] [E]

    1. The kes of the Egyptians, and of other nations in early times, were probably only of hard stone, and the use of the flint or stone knife was sometimes retained for sacred purposes after the introduction of iron and steel.
    2. In their meals the Jews, like other Orientals, made little use of kes, but they were required both for slaughtering animals, either for food or sacrifice, and for cutting up the carcass. ( Leviticus 7:33 Leviticus 7:34 ; Leviticus 8:15 Leviticus 8:20 Leviticus 8:25 ; 9:13 ; Numbers 18:18 ; 1 Samuel 9:24 ) etc.
    3. Smaller kes were in use for paring fruit (Josephus) and for sharpening pens. ( Jeremiah 36:23 )
    4. The razor was often used for Nazarite purposes, for which a special chamber was reserved in the temple. ( Numbers 6:5 Numbers 6:9 Numbers 6:19 ; Ezekiel 5:1 ), etc.
    5. The pruning-hooks of ( Isaiah 18:5 ) were probably curved kes.
    6. The lancets of the priests of Baal were doubtless pointed kes. ( 1 Kings 18:28 )

    [N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
    [E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary

    Bibliography Information

    Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Knife'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary". . 1901.



    (1) ma'akheleth, literally, an instrument for eating; but used of large kes for slaying animals, cutting up a carcass or a sacrificial victim (Genesis 22:6,10; Judges 19:29; Proverbs 30:14).

    (2) cherebh, rendered generally "sword," but in Joshua 5:2,3 of stone kes for circumcision (compare Exodus 4:25), probably of similar kes in 1 Kings 18:28, used by Baal prophets in gashing themselves. In Ezekiel 5:12 the King James Version, "knife," probably better the Revised Version (British and American), "sword."

    (3) ta`ar, usually rendered "razor," in combination with ha-copher, "knife of the writer," or "penknife" (Jeremiah 36:23).

    (4) machalaphim, "slaughter-kes" (Ezra 1:9).

    (5) sakkin, Aramaic, "knife" (Proverbs 23:2). Early kes were commonly made of sharp stones, especially of flint, later of bronze and iron. The-former remained in use in religious ceremonies long after the latter were in common use.

    Kes were not generally used at meals, meats being cut into bits before served, and bread being. broken into fragments. Herod used a knife for paring apples, and attempted suicide with the instrument (Josephus, Ant, XVII, vii, 1; BJ, I, xxxiii, 7).

    Edward Bagby Pollard

    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.

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