Pesilim is elsewhere translated "graven images" (Deuteronomy 7:5; Psalms 78:58; Isaiah 10:10; Micah 5:13, etc.) and is a plural form of pecel, "graven image" (Exodus 20:4, etc.), from pacal, "to carve." It occurs in the story of Ehud and Eglon and refers to images or hewn stones in the vicinity of Gilgal, Shebharim is plural of shebher, "breach," "fracture," more often "destruction" (e.g. Proverbs 16:18), from shabhar, "to break." The form shebarim is also found in Job 41:25, "consternation," the King James Version "breakings." In Joshua 7:5 Shebarim is the point to which the Israelites were chased after their first attack upon Ai.
Quarries in Palestine are not usually very deep because there is plenty of good stone to be found at the surface. The quarryman seeks a thick stratum of firm limestone which has a favorable exposure. The vertical joint-planes divide the stratum into large blocks which the quarryman dislodges with the aid of crowbars. These great blocks he skillfully cleaves by inserting several wedges in a line in holes made by a pick, and driving the wedges in with a heavy hammer. In these days gunpowder is occasionally used, especially when there are not favorable joint-planes producing blocks capable of being moved by the crowbar.
Another method, which is employed where stones of great size are wanted, is to carve the stones out of the rock by cutting channels around them with the pick. In the limestone quarries of Ba`albek and the granite quarries of Acwan at the first cataract of the Nile, enormous stones may be seen which were abandoned while in process of being removed by this method. The channels are wide enough to admit the body of the workman, and the marks of the picks on the sides of the channels are plainly visible.
Alfred Ely Day
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