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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia


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( חול , ḥōl ; ἄμμος , ámmos ; a variant of the more usual ψάμαθος , psámmos ; compare ἄμαθος , ámathos , ψάμαθος , psámathos ):

Sand is principally produced by the grinding action of waves. This is accompanied by chemical solution, with the result that the more soluble constituents of the rock diminish in amount or disappear and the sands tend to become more or less purely silicious, silica or quartz being a common constituent of rocks and very Insoluble. The rocks of Palestine are so largely composed of limestone that the shore and dune sands are unusually calcareous, containing from 10 to 20 per cent of calcium carbonate. This is subject to solution and redeposition as a cement between the sand grains, binding them together to form the porous sandstone of the seashore, which is easily worked and is much used in building. See Rock, III, (2).


(1) Used most often as a symbol of countless multitude; especially of the children of Israel (Genesis 22:17 ; Genesis 32:12 ; 2 Samuel 17:11 ; 1 Kings 4:20 ; Isaiah 10:22 ; Isaiah 48:19 ; Jer 33:32; Hosea 1:10 ; Romans 9:27 ; Hebrews 11:12 ); also of the enemies of Israel (Joshua 11:4 ; Judges 7:12 ; 1 Samuel 13:5 ; compare Revelation 20:8 ). Joseph laid up gram as the sand of the sea (Genesis 41:49 ); God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding and largeness of heart as the sand that is on the seashore (1 Kings 4:29 ); Job says "I shall multiply my days as the sand" (Job 29:18 ); the multitude of quails provided for the Israelites in the desert is compared to the sand (Psalm 78:27 ); the Psalmist says of the thoughts of God, "They are more in number than the sand" (Psalm 139:18 ); Jeremiah, speaking of the desolation of Jerusalem, says that the number of widows is as the sand (Jeremiah 15:8 ). (2) Sand is also a symbol of weight (Job 6:3 ; Proverbs 27:3 ), and (3) of instability (Matthew 7:26 ).

It is a question what is meant by "the hidden treasures of the sand" in Deuteronomy 33:19 .

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

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