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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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חשמל , Ezekiel 1:4 ; Ezekiel 1:27 ; Ezekiel 8:2 . The amber is a hard inflammable bitumen. When rubbed it is highly endowed with that remarkable property called electricity, a word which the moderns have formed from its Greek name ηλεκτρον . But the ancients had also a mixed metal of fine copper and silver, resembling the amber in colour, and called by the same name. From the version of Ezekiel 1:4 , by the LXX, Και εν τω μεσω αυτου ως υρασις ηλεκτρου εν μεσψτον πυρος , "And in the midst of it as the appearance of electrum in the midst of the fire," it appears that those translators by ηλεκτρον , could not mean amber, which grows dim as soon as it feels the fire, and quickly dissolves into a resinous or pitchy substance; but the mixed metal above mentioned, which is much celebrated by the ancients for its beautiful lustre, and which, when exposed to the fire like other metals, grows more bright and shining. St. Jerom, Theodoret, St. Gregory and Origen think, that, in the above cited passages from Ezekiel, a precious and highly polished metal is meant.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Amber'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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