Mortar

Mortar [N] [S]

(Heb. homer), cement of lime and sand ( Genesis 11:3 ; Exodus 1:14 ); also potter's clay ( Isaiah 41:25 ; Nahum 3:14 ). Also Heb. 'aphar, usually rendered "dust," clay or mud used for cement in building ( Leviticus 14:42 Leviticus 14:45 ).

Mortar for pulverizing ( Proverbs 27:22 ) grain or other substances by means of a pestle instead of a mill. Mortars were used in the wilderness for pounding the manna ( Numbers 11:8 ). It is commonly used in Palestine at the present day to pound wheat, from which the Arabs make a favourite dish called kibby.

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 Mortar". "Easton's Bible Dictionary". .

Mortar, [N] [E]

"a wide-mouthed vessel in form of an inverted bell, in which substances are pounded or bruised with a pestle." --Webster. The simplest and probably most ancient method of preparing corn for food was by pounding it between two stones. The Israelites in the desert appear to have possessed mortars and handmills among their necessary domestic utensils. When the manna fell they gathered it, and either ground it in the mill or pounded it in the mortar till it was fit for use. ( Numbers 11:8 ) So in the present day stone mortars are used by the Arabs to pound wheat for their national dish kibby . Another word occurring in ( Proverbs 27:22 ) probably denotes a mortar of a larger kind in which corn was pounded: "Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him." Corn may be separated from its husk and all its good properties preserved by such an operation, but the fools folly is so essential a part of himself that no analogous process can remove it from him. Such seems the natural interpretation of this remarkable proverb. The language is intentionally exaggerated, and there is no necessity for supposing an allusion to a mode of punishment by which criminals were put to death by being pounded in a mortar. A custom of this king existed among the Turks, but there is no distinct trace of it among the Hebrews. Such, however, is supposed to be the reference in the proverb by Mr. Roberts, who illustrates it from his Indian experience.


[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 'Mortar,'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary". . 1901.

Mortar. [N] [E]

( Genesis 11:3 ; Exodus 1:14 ; Leviticus 14:42 Leviticus 14:45 ; Isaiah 41:25 ; Ezekiel 13:10 Ezekiel 13:11 Ezekiel 13:14 Ezekiel 13:15 ; 22:28 ; Nehemiah 3:14 ) The various compacting substances used in Oriental buildings appear to be --

  1. Bitumen, as in the Babylonian structures;
  2. Common mud or moistened clay;
  3. A very firm cement compounded of sand, ashes and lime, in the proportions respectively of 1,2,3, well pounded, sometimes mixed and sometimes coated with oil, so as to form a surface almost impenetrable to wet or the weather. In Assyrian and also Egyptian brick buildings, stubble or straw, as hair or wool among ourselves, was added to increase the tenacity.

[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 'Mortar'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary". . 1901.

MORTAR

mor'-ter (medhokhah (Numbers 11:8), makhtesh (Proverbs 27:22)):

A hollowed stone or vessel in which grain or other substance was pounded or beaten with a pestle. The Israelites used a mortar in which to beat the manna in the wilderness (Numbers 11:8), and Proverbs 27:22 declares, "Though thou shouldst bray a fool in a mortar with a pestle .... yet will not his foolishness depart from him," i.e. it is inherent and ineradicable. Some have supposed an allusion to an oriental mode of punishment by pounding the criminal to death in a mortar, but this is unlikely. In illustration of Proverbs 27:22 such proverbs are quoted as "Though you beat that loose woman in a mortar, she will not leave her ways." See also BRAY. For "mortar" (the King James Version "morter").

See BITUMEN.

James Orr


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

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