is the representative in the Auth. Version of several Heb. terms: הֶרֶב (che'reb, from its laying waste), a sharp instrument, e.g. for circumcising (Jos 5:2-3) a razor (Eze 5:1); a graving-tool or chisel (Ex 20:25); an axe (Eze 26:9); poet. of the curved tusks of the hippopotamus (Job 40:19); elsewhere usually a "sword." מִאֲכֶלֶת (nzaake'leth, so called from its use in eating), a large knife for slaughtering and cutting up food (Ge 22:6,10; Jg 19:29; Pr 30:14). שִׂכַּין (sakkin', so called from separating parts to the view), a knife for any purpose, perhaps a table-knife (Pr 23:2). מִחֲלָŠ (mnachalaph', so called from gliding through the flesh), a butcher's knife for slaughtering the victims in sacrifice (Ezr 1:9). SEE SWORD.
"The probable form of the knives of the Hebrews will be best gathered from a comparison of those of other ancient nations, both Eastern and Western, which have come down to us. No. 1 represents the Roman culter, used in sacrificing, which may be compared with No. 2, an Egyptian sacrificial knife. Nos. 3, 4, and 5 are also Egyptian knives, of which the most remarkable, No. 3, is from the Louvre collection; the others are from the Monumenti Reali of Rosellini. Nos. 6-9 are Roman, from Barthelemy. In No. 7 we have probably the form of the pruning-hook of the Jews (מזמַרָה, Isa 18:5), though some rather assimilate this to the sickle (מִגָּל). It was probably with some such instrument as No. 9 that the priests of Baal cut themselves." SEE ARMOR. The knife used by the fisherman for splitting his fish (q.v.) was of a circular form, with a handle, as likewise that used by the currier for cutting leather (q.v.), only larger and heavier. In the British Museum various specimens of ancient Egyptian knives may be seen. There are some small knives, the blades of bronze, the handles composed of agate or hematite. There is likewise a species of bronze knife with lunated blade; also the blade of a knife composed of steatite, inscribed on one side with hieroglyphics. There is also an iron knife of a late period and peculiar construction: it consists of a broad cutting-blade, moving on a pivot at the end, and working in a groove by means of a handle. The following summary comparison of the Biblical instruments of cutlery with those used at various times in the East, as to materials and application, is well illustrated from the Egyptian monuments.
1. The knives of the Egyptians, and of other nations in early times, were probably only of hard stone, and the use of the flint or stone knife was sometimes retained for sacred purposes after the introduction of iron and steel (Pliny, Hist. Nat. 35:12, § 165). Herodotus (ii, 86) mentions knives both of iron and of stone in different stages of the same process of embalming (see Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt. ii, 163). The same may perhaps be said, to some extent, of the Hebrews (compare Ex 4:25).
2. In their meals the Jews, like other Orientals, made little use of knives, but they were required for slaughtering animals either for food or sacrifice, as well as for cutting up the carcase (Le 7:33-34; Le 8:15,20,25; Le 9:13; Nu 18:18; 1Sa 9:24; Eze 24:4; Ezr 1:9; Mt 26:23; Russell, Aleppo, i, 172; Wilkinson, i, 169; Mishna, Tanid, 4:3). SEE EATING.
Asiatics usually carry about with them a knife or dagger, often with a highly-ornamented handle, which may be used when required for eating purposes (Jg 3:21; Layard, Nin. ii, 342. 299; Wilkinson, i, 358, 360; Chardin, Voyage, 4:18; Niebuhr, Voyage, i, 340, pi. 71). SEE GIRDLE.
3. Smaller knives were in use for paring fruit (Josephus, Ant. 17:7; War i, 33, 7) and for sharpening pens (Jer 36:23). SEE PENKNIFE.
4. The razor was often used for Nazaritish purposes, for which a special chamber was reserved in the Temple (Nu 6:5,9,19; Eze 5:1; Isa 7:20; Jer 36:23; Ac 18:18; Ac 21:24; Mishna, Midd. ii, 5). SEE RAZOR.
5. The pruning-hooks of Isa 18:5 were probably curved knives. SEE PRUNING-HOOK.
6. The lancets of the priests of Baal were doubtless pointed knives (1Ki 18:28). SEE LANCET.