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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia


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ves´el : Is used freely in English Versions of the Bible to translate כּלי , kelı̄ , the Aramaic מאן , mā'n , and σκεῦος , skeúos , words all meaning "an implement or utensil" of any kind, when the context shows that a hollow utensil is meant. In 1 Samuel 21:5 , however, the translation of the plural of kelı̄ by "vessels" is dubious. English Versions of the Bible evidently intended something in the nature of provision wallets, and the "holiness" of such objects finds partial parallels in Numbers 19:15 ; Leviticus 11:32-34 , etc. But in 1 Samuel 21:8 , in the immediate context of the verse above, kelı̄ certainly means "weapons," and this translation is quite intelligible in 1 Samuel 21:5 also. For war among the Hebrews was a holy function, calling for extreme ceremonial purity ( Deuteronomy 23:9-14 ). See the commentaries. and especially RS2, 455-56. In addition, "vessel" appears in Isaiah 30:14 for נבל , nebhel , "jar"; in Matthew 13:48 for ἄγγος , ággos , "vessels"; and in Sirach 21:14; Matthew 25:4 for ἀγγεῖον , aggeı́on , a diminutive form of aggos . A different use is that of The Wisdom of Solomon 14:1, where "vessel" represents πλοῖον , ploı́on , "a boat," while The Wisdom of Solomon 14:5, 6 the King James Version has "weak vessel" for σχεδία , schedı́a , "raft" (so the Revised Version (British and American)). Vessels of all sorts and kinds and for all sorts of uses were so familiar as to make them natural illustrations for different sorts of human beings (Hosea 8:8 ; Isaiah 22:24 ; Jeremiah 22:28 , etc.; see POTTER ), and through Acts 9:15 the word "vessel" has passed into Christian theology as signifying simply a human being. But the figure of such "vessels" as (passively) filled with different contents is not Biblical. In 1 Thessalonians 4:4 "vessel" may be taken as a figure for either the man's own body or for his wife. Between these possibilities the commentaries are almost equally divided.

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

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