The Hebrew word so rendered means "boiling" or "effervescing." From Isaiah 33:12 it appears that lime was made in a kiln lighted by thorn-bushes. In Amos 2:1 it is recorded that the king of Moab "burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime." The same Hebrew word is used in Deuteronomy 27:2-4 , and is there rendered "plaster." Limestone is the chief constituent of the mountains of Syria.
(1) sidh; compare Arabic shad, "to plaster";
(2) gir; compare Arabic jir, "gypsum" or "quick-lime";
Sidh is translated "lime" in Isaiah 33:12, "And the peoples shall be as the burnings of lime, as thorns cut down, that are burned in the fire," and in Amos 2:1, "He burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime." It is translated "plaster" in Deuteronomy 27:2, "Thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaster them with plaster," also in Deuteronomy 27:4. Gir is translated "plaster" in Daniel 5:5, "wrote .... upon the plaster of the wall." In Isaiah 27:9 we have, "He maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones" ('abhene-ghir).
Everywhere in Palestine limestone is at hand which can be converted into lime. The lime-kiln is a thick-walled, cylindrical or conical, roofless structure built of rough stones without mortar, the spaces between the stones being plastered with clay. It is usually built on the side of a hill which is slightly excavated for it, so that the sloping, external wall of the kiln rises much higher from the ground on the lower side than on the upper. The builders leave a passage or tunnel through the base of the thick wall on the lower side. The whole interior is filled with carefully packed fragments of limestone, and large piles of thorny-burner and other shrubs to serve as fuel are gathered about the kiln. The fuel is introduced through the tunnel to the base of the limestone in the kiln, and as the fire rises through the mass of broken limestone a strong draft is created. Relays of men are kept busy supplying fuel day and night. By day a column of black smoke rises from the kiln, and at night the flames may be seen bursting from the top. Several days are required to reduce the stone to lime, the amount of time depending upon the size of the kiln and upon the nature of the fuel. At the present day, mineral coal imported from Europe is sometimes employed, and requires much less time than the shrubs which are ordinarily used.
See CHALKSTONE; CLAY.
Alfred Ely Day
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