Artificer (some form of the verb חָרִשׁ, charash', to engrave, as elsewhere), a person engaged in any kind of trade or manual occupation, SEE CARPENTER, SEE MASON, etc., Ge 4:22; Isa 3:3. SEE HANDICRAFT. In the early periods to which the scriptural history refers, we do not meet with those artificial feelings and unreasonable prejudices against hand-labor which prevail and are so banefully influential in modern society. SEE LABOR. Accordingly, even the creation of the world is spoken of as the work of God's hands, and the firmament is said to show his handiwork (Ps 8:3; Ps 19:1; Ge 2:2; Job 34:19). The primitive history, too, which the Bible presents is the history of hand-laborers. Adam dressed the garden in which God had placed him (Ge 2:15), Abel was a keeper of sheep, Cain a tiller of the ground (Ge 4:3), Tubal-Cain a smith (Ge 4:22). SEE ART. The shepherd-life which the patriarchs previously led in their own pasture-grounds was not favorable to the cultivation of the practical arts of life, much less of those arts by which it is embellished. Egypt, in consequence, must have presented to Joseph and his father not only a land of wonders, but a source of rich and attractive knowledge. Another source of knowledge to the Hebrews of handicrafts were the maritime and commercial Phoenicians. Commerce and navigation imply great skill in art and science; and the pursuits to which they lead largely increase the skill whence they emanate. SEE COMMERCE. It is not, therefore, surprising that the origin of so many arts has been referred to the north-eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea; nor is there any difficulty in understanding how arts and letters should be propagated from the coast to the interior, conferring hi-h advantages on the inhabitants of Syria in general, as well before as after the settlement of the Hebrew tribes in the land of promise. At first the division of labor was only very partial. The master of the family himself exercised such arts as were found of absolute necessity. Among these may be reckoned not only those which pasturage and tillage required, but most of those which were of that rough and severe nature which demand strength as well as skill; such, for instance, as the preparation of wood-work for the dwelling, the slaying of animals for food, which every householder understood, together with the art of extracting the blood from the entire carcass. The lighter labors of the hand fell to the share of the housewife; such as baking bread-for it was only in large towns that baking was carried on as a trade (2Sa 13:8)- such also as cooking in general, supplying the house with water-no very easy office, as the fountains often lay at a considerable distance from the dwelling; moreover, weaving, making of clothes for males as well as females, working in wool, flax, hemp, cotton, tapestry, richly-colored hangings, and that not only for domestic use, but for "merchandise," were carried on within the precincts of the house by the mistress and her maidens (Ex 35:25; 1 Samuel ii, 19; 2Ki 23:7; Pr 31). SEE WEAVING.
The skill of the Hebrews during their wanderings in the desert does not appear to have been inconsiderable; but the pursuits of war and the entire absorption of the energies of the nation in the one great work of gaining the land which had been given to them, may have led to their falling off in the arts of peace; and from a passage in 1 Samuel (1Sa 13:20) it would appear that not long after they had taken possession of the country they were in a low condition as to the instruments of handicraft. A comparatively settled state of society, however, soon led to the revival of skill by the encouragement of industry. A more minute division of labor ensued. Trades, strictly so called, arose, carried on by persons exclusively devoted to one pursuit. Thus, in Jg 17:4, and Jer 10:14, "the founder" is mentioned-a trade which implies a practical knowledge of metallurgy; the smelting and working of metals were well known to the Hebrews (Job 37:18); brass was in use before iron; arms and instruments of husbandry were made of iron. In Exodus (Ex 35:30-35) a passage occurs which may serve to specify many arts that were practised among the Israelites, though it seems also to intimate that at the time to which it refers artificers of the description referred to were not numerous: " See, the Lord hath called by name Bezaleel, and hath filled him with the spirit of God, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship, and to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work; and he hath put in his heart that he may teach; both he and Aholiab: them hath he filled with wisdom of heart to work all manner of work of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer in blue and in purple, in scarlet and in fine linen, and of the weaver." From the ensuing chapter (ver. 34) it appears that gilding was known before the settlement in Canaan. The ark (Ex 37:2) was overlaid with pure gold within and without. The cherubim were wrought ("beaten," Ex 37:7) in gold. The candlestick was of beaten gold (verses 17, 22). Wire-drawing was probably understood (Ex 38:4; Ex 39:3). Covering with brass (Ex 38:2) and with silver (Pr 26:23) was practised. Architecture and the kindred arts do not appear to have made much progress till the days of Solomon, who employed an incredible number of persons to procure timber (1Ki 5:13 sq.); but the men of skill for building his temple he obtained from Hiram, King of Tyre (1 Kings 5 sq.; 1Ch 14:1; 2Ch 2:7). Without pursuing the subject into all its details (see Scholz, Handb. der Bib. Archaol. p. 390 sq.; De Wette, Lehrb. der Archdol. p. 115 sq.), we remark that the intercourse which the Babylonish captivity gave the Jews seems to have greatly improved their knowledge and skill in both the practical and the fine arts, and to have led them to hold them in very high estimation. The arts were even carried on by persons of learning, who took a title of honor from their trade (Rosenmuller, Morganl. 6:42). It was held a sign of a bad education if a father did not teach his son some handicraft: " Whoever does not teach his son a trade, teaches him robbing" (Lightfoot, p. 616; Mishna, Pirke Aboth, ii, 2; Wagenseil's Sota, p. 597; Otho, Lex. Rabb. p. 491).
In the Apocrypha and New Testament there are mentioned tanners (Ac 9:41), tent-makers (Ac 18:3); in Josephus (War, v, 4, 1), cheese-makers; domestics (κουρεῖς, Ant. 16:11, 5); in the Talmud, with others, we find tailors, shoe-makers, blood-letters, glaziers, goldsmiths, plasterers. Certain hanfdicraftsmen could never rise to the rank of high- priest (Mishna, Kiddush, 82, 1), such as weavers, barbers, fullers, perfumers, cuppers, tanners; which pursuits, especially the last, were held in disesteem (Mishna, Megillah, iii, 2; Otho, Lex. Rabb. p. 155; Wetstein, N.T. ii, 516). In large cities particular localities were set apart for particular trades, as is the case in the East to the present day. Thus in Jeremiah (Jer 37:21) we read of "the bakers' street." So in the Talmud (Mishna, v, 169, 225) mention is made of a flesh-market; in Josephus
(War, v, 4, 1), of a cheese-market; and in the New Testament (Joh 5:2) we read of a sheep-market, or at least a sheep-gate, which, like several other gates, SEE JERUSALEM, appears to have been named from some special bazaar (q.v.) adjoining. (See Iken, Antiq. Hebr. 3-9, p. 578 sq.; Bellermann, Handb. i, 22 sq.) SEE MECHANIC.