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Holman Bible Dictionary


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A disk or circular object capable of turning on a central axis. Archaeologists and historians believe that the wheel was probably invented in Mesapotamia before 3000 B.C.

The Bible describes both a functional use and symbolic meaning for the wheel. The wheel was indispensable for transportation. It was used on wagons, carts, and chariots, and the word wheel could be a synonym for any of these vehicles ( Ezekiel 23:24 ; Ezekiel 26:10 ; Nahum 3:2 ). In Solomon's Temple, there were ten stands upon which rested ten lavers. Each of the stands were adorned with four wheels each (1 Kings 7:30-33 ).

Ezekiel's vision of the great wheel in the sky (1 Kings 1:4-28 ; 1 Kings 10:1 ) was a symbol of God's presence. There were four cherubim around the throne. Beside each, there was a wheel which “sparkled like chrysolite” (1 Kings 1:16 NIV). Ezekiel described the rims of the wheel as “high and awesome,” and “full of eyes” ( 1 Kings 1:18 NIV). The exact meaning of these mysterious images is unknown. Perhaps they represented the wheels of God's invisible chariot moving across the sky (“chariots of the sun,” see 2 Kings 23:11 ) or the wheels of God's throne (Daniel 7:9 ).

Other symbolic uses of the wheel are a whirlwind (Psalm 77:18 NIV) and God's judgment, as a wheel is driven over the wicked ( Proverbs 20:26 ). Jeremiah described God's redemption as the reshaping of marred clay on a potter's wheel (Proverbs 18:13 ). See Chariots .

Brad Creed

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Wheel'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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