is the word employed by our translators for several terms in the original. The most proper of these appears to be' נאד: (nod, so called from being shaken in churning, SEE BUTTER ), Gr. ἄσκος, a vessel made of skin, used for milk (Jg 4:19), or wine (Jos 9:4,14; 1Sa 16:20; Mt 9:17; Mr 2:22; Lu 5:37-38).- For preserving the latter free from insects, they were often suspended in the smoke (Ps 119:83). The term occurs in a figurative sense in Ps 56:8. חֵמֶת (che'meth, so called from its usual rancidity) was also a leathern or skin bottle for holding water (Ge 21:14-15,19) or strong drink (Ho 2:15). Earthen vessels for liquids are denoted by בִּקבּוּק (bakbuk', Jer 19:1-10; " cruse" of honey, 1Ki 14:3) and נֵבֶל or נֶבֶל (ne'bel, Isa 30:14; for wine, 1Sa 1:24; 1Sa 10:3; 1Sa 25:18; 2Sa 16:1; Jer 13:12; Jer 48:12; figuratively, Job 38:37; "pitchers," Lamentaions 4:2). The term employed in Job 32:19, is אוֹב (ob, strictly a water-skin), and evidently refers to a wine-skin as bursting by fermentation. The word חֵמָה (chemah'), rendered "bottle" of wine in Ho 7:5, signifies rather its heat or intoxicating strength, as in the margin and elsewhere. SEE CRUSE; SEE CUP; SEE FLAGON; SEE PITCHER; SEE BOWL, etc.
1. The first bottles were probably made of the skins of animals. Accordingly, in the fourth book of the. Iliad (1. 247), the attendants are represented as bearing wine for use in a bottle made of goat-skin (ἀσκῷἐν αἰγείῳ). In Herodotus also (ii, 121) a passage occurs by which it appears that it was customary among the ancient Egyptians to use bottles made of skins; and from the language employed by him it may be inferred that a bottle was formed by sewing up the skin, and leaving the projection of the leg and foot to serve as a cock; hence it was termed ποδεών. This aperture was closed with a plug or a string. In some instances every part was sewed up except the neck; the neck of the animal thus became the neck of the bottle. (See Wilkinson, Anc. Eg. i, 148-158.) The Greeks and Romans also were accustomed to use bottles made of skins, chiefly for wine (see Smith, Dict. of Class. Antig. s.v. Vinum). SEE SKIN-BOTTLE.
Skin-bottles doubtless existed among the Hebrews even in patriarchal times; but the first clear notice of them does not occur till Jos 9:4, where it is said that the Gibeonites, wishing to impose upon Joshua as if they had come from a long distance, took "old sacks upon their asses, and wine-bottles, old, and rent, and bound up." So in the thirteenth verse of the same chapter: "these bottles of wine which we filled were new, and, behold, they be rent; and these our garments and our shoes are become old by reason of the very long journey." Age, then, had the effect of wearing and tearing the bottles in question, which must consequently have been of skin (see Hackett's Illustr. of Scripture, p. 44, 45). To the same effect is the passage in Job 32:19, "My belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles." Our Saviour's language (Mt 9:17; Lu 5:37-38; Mr 2:22) is thus clearly explained: ' Men do not put new wine into old bottles, else the bottles break and the wine runneth out, and the bottles perish;" "New wine must be put into new bottles, and both are preserved." To the conception of an English reader, who knows of no bottles but such as are made of clay or glass, the idea of bottles breaking through age presents an insuperable difficulty; but skins may become "old, rent, and bound up;" they also prove, in time, hard and inelastic, and would, in such a condition, be very unfit to hold new wine, probably in a state of active fermentation. Even new skins might be unable to resist the internal pressure caused by fermentation. If, therefore, by "new" is meant "untried," the passage just cited from Job presents no inconsistency.
As the drinking of wine is illegal among the Moslems who are now in possession of Western Asia, little is seen of the ancient use of skin-bottles for wine, unless among the Christians of Georgia, Armenia, and Lebanon, where they are still thus employed. In Georgia the wine is stowed in large ox-skins, and is moved or kept at hand for use in smaller skins of goats or kids. But skins are still most extensively used throughout Western Asia for water. The Arabs, and all those that lead a wandering life, keep their water, milk, and other liquors in leathern bottles. These are made of goat-skins. When the animal is killed, they cut off its feet and its head, and they draw it in this manner out of the skin without opening its belly. In Arabia they are tanned with acacia bark, and the hairy part left outside. If not tanned, a disagreeable taste is imparted to the water. They afterward sew up the places where the legs were cut off and the tail, and when it is filled they tie it about the neck. The great leathern bottles are made of the skin of a he- goat, and the small ones, that serve instead of a bottle of water on the road, are made of a kid's skin. These bottles, when rent, are repaired sometimes by setting in a piece, sometimes by gathering up the wounded place in the manner of a purse; sometimes they put in a round flat piece of wood, and by that means stop the hole (Chardin, ii, 405; 8:409; Wellsted, Arabia, i, 89; ii, 78; Lane, Mod. Eg. ii, c. 1; Harmer, ed. Clarke, i, 284). Bruce gives a description of a vessel of the same kind, but larger. "A gerba is an ox's skin squared, and the edges sewed together by a double seam, which does not let out water. An opening is left at the top, in the same manner as the bung-hole of a cask; around this the skin is gathered to the size of a large handful, which, when the gerba is full of water, is tied round with whip- cord. These gerbas contain about sixty gallons each, and two of them are the load of a camel. They are then all besmeared on the outside with grease, as well to hinder the water from oozing through as to prevent its being evaporated by the heat of the sun upon the gerba, which, in fact, happened to us twice, so as to put us in danger of perishing with thirst" (Travels, 4:334). Chardin says that wine in Persia-is preserved in skins saturated with pitch, which, when good, impart no flavor to the wine (Voyages, 4:75). Skins for wine or other liquids are in use to this day in Spain, where they are called borrachas.
2. It is an error to represent bottles as being made exclusively of dressed or undressed skins among the ancient Hebrews (Jones, Biblical Cyclopedia, s.v.). Among the Egyptians ornamental vases were of hard stone, alabaster, glass, ivory, bone, porcelain, bronze, silver, or gold; and also, for the use of the people generally, of glazed pottery or common earthenware. As early as Thotmes III, only two centuries later than the Exodus, B.C. 1490, vases art known to have existed of a shape so elegant and of workmanship so superior as to show that the art was not, even then, in its infancy (Wilkinson, Anc. Eg. ii, 59, 60). Glass bottles of the third or fourth century B.C. have been found at Babylon by Mr. Layard. At Cairo many persons obtain a livelihood by selling Nile water, which is carried by camels or asses in skins, or by the carrier himself on his back in pitchers of porous gray earth (Lane, Mod. Eg. ii, 153, 155; Burckhardt, Syria, p. 611; Maundrell, Journey, p. 407, Bohn). SEE GLASS.
Among the Israelites, as early as the days of the Judges (Jg 4:19; Jg 5:25), bottles or vases composed of some earthy material, and apparently of a superior make, were in use; for what in the fourth chapter is termed "a bottle," is in the fifth designated "a lordly dish." Isaiah (Isa 30:14) expressly mentions "the bottle of the potters," as the reading in the margin gives it, being a literal translation from the Hebrew, while the terms which the prophet employs shows that he could not have intended any thing made of skin: " He shall break it as the breaking of the potter's vessel that is broken in pieces, so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth, or to take water out of the pit." In Jer 19:1, he is commanded, "Go and get a potter's earthen bottle;" and (ver. 10) "break the bottle;" 'Even so, saith the Lord of Hosts (ver. 11), will I break this people and this city as one breaketh a potter's vessel, that cannot be made whole again" (see also Jer 13:12-14). Metaphorically the word bottle is used, especially in poetry, for the clouds considered as pouring out and pouring down water (Job 38:37), " Who can stay the bottles of heaven?" The passage in the Psalms (lvi, 8), "Put thou my tears into thy bottle," that is, " treasure them up," "have a regard to them as something precious," is illustrated by the custom of tying up in bags or small bottles, and secure with a seal, articles of value, such as precious stones; necklaces, and other ornaments. SEE TEAR.