Fuel (אָכלָה, oklah', and מִאֲכֹלֶת, maako'leth, both general terms for anything consumed, whether by eating or combustion). From the extreme scarcity of wood in many places, the Orientals are accustomed to use almost every kind of combustible matter for fuel; even the withered stalks of herbs and flowers (Mt 6:28,30), thorns (Ps 58:9; Ec 7:6), and animal excrements are thus used (Eze 4:12-15; Eze 15:4,6; Eze 21:32; Isa 9:19). Prof. Hackett speaks of seeing the inhabitants of Lebanon picking up died grass, roots and all, for fuel, and says that it even becomes an article of traffic (Illust. of Script. page 131). The inhabitants of Baku, a port of the Caspian, are supplied with scarcely any other fuel than that obtained from the naphtha and petroleum with which the neighboring country is highly impregnated. The Arabs in Egypt draw no inconsiderable portion of their fuel, with which they cook their victuals, from the exhaustless mummy-pits so often described by travelers. Wood or charcoal is still, as it was anciently, chiefly employed in the towns of Egypt and Syria. The roots of the rothem, a species of the broom-plant (called in the English Bible "juniper"), which abounds in the deserts, are regarded by the Arabs as yielding the best charcoal (Job 30:4; Ps 120:5). Although the coal of the ancients was that obtained from charring-wood (but fossil coal from Liguria and Elis was occasionally used by smiths, Theophrastus, Frag. 2:61, edit. Schneider), yet the inhabitants of Palestine now to some extent use anthracite coal, which crops out in some parts of Lebanon (Kitto, Phys. Hist. page 67). SEE COAL. Wood, however, is their chief article of fuel, especially at Jerusalem, and it is largely brought from the region of Hebron (Tobler, Denkblatter aus Jerusalem, page 180). SEE WOOD. As chimneys are but little known in the East, apartments are warmed in cold weather by means of pans, chafing-dishes, or braziers of valious kinds, and either of imetal or earthen-ware, which are set in the middle of the room after the fire of wood which it contains has been allowed to burn for some time in the open air, till the. flame and smoke have passed away. Charcoal is also extensively employed for the same purpose (Jer 36:22). Grates are not known even where chimneys are found, but the fuel is burnt on the hearth, or against the back of the chimney. In cottages, a fire of wood or animal dung is frequently burnt upon the floor, either in the middle of the room or against one of the side walls, with an opening above for the escape of the smoke. It is also common to have a fire in a pit sunk in the floor, and covered with a mat or carpet, so as not to be distinguished from any other portion of the floor. In all cases where wood is scarce, animal dung is used for fuel in the East. Cow-dung is considered much preferable to any other, but all animal dung is considered valuable (Eze 4:15). When collected it is made into thin cakes, which are stuck against the sunny side of the houses, giving them a curious and rather unsightly appearance. When it is quite dry and falls off, it is stored away in heaps for future use. It is much used for baking, being considered preferable to any other fuel for that purpose. SEE FIRE.

Bible concordance for FUEL.

Definition of fuel

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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