Lime (שַׂיד, sid, perh. from its boiling or effervescing when slaked; Isa 33:12; Am 2:1; rendered "plaster" in De 2:2,4; the same word is used for lime in Arab. and Syr.), a well-known mineral substance, which is a very prevalent ingredient in rocks, and, combined with carbonic acid, forms marble, chalk, and limestone, of various degrees of hardness and every variety of color. Limestone is the prevailing constituent of the mountains of Syria; it occurs under various modifications of texture, color, form, and intermixture in different parts of the country. The purest carbonate of lime is found in calcareous spar, whose crystals assume a variety of forms, all, however, resulting from a primary rhomboid. Under the action of fire, carbonate of lime loses its carbonic acid and becomes caustic lime, which has a hot, pungent taste. SEE CHALK. If lime be subjected to an intense heat, it fuses into transparent glass. When heated under great pressure, it melts, but retains its carbonic acid. The modern mode of manufacturing common or "quick" lime was known in ancient times. Lime is obtained by calcining or burning marble, limestone, chalk, shells, bones, and other substances to drive off the carbonic acid. From Isa 32:12 it appears that lime was made in a kiln lighted with thorn-bushes. Dr. Thomson remarks, "It is a curious fidelity to real life that, when the thorns are merely to be destroyed, they are never cut up, but are set on fire where they grow. They are only cut up for the lime-kiln" (Land and Book, 1:81). SEE FURNACE. In Am 2:1 it is said that the king of Moab "burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime." The interpretation of the Targum and some of the rabbins is that the burnt bones were made into lime and used by the conqueror for plastering his palace. The same Hebrew word occurs in De 27:2-4: "Thou shalt set thee up great stones, and plaister them with plaister; and thou shalt write upon them all the words of this law." It is probable that the same mode of perpetuating inscriptions was followed as we know was customary in Egypt. In that country we find paintings and hieroglyphic writing upon plaster, which is frequently laid upon the natural rock, and, after the lapse of perhaps more than three thousand years, we find the plaster still firm, and the colors of the figures painted on it still remarkably fresh. The process of covering the rock with plaster is thus described: " 'The ground was covered with a thick laver of fine plaster, consisting of lime and gypsum, which was carefully smoothed and polished. Upon this a thin coat of lime white-wash was laid, and on it the colors were painted, which were bound fast either with animal glue or occasionally with wax" (Egyptian Antiq., in Lib. of Entertaining Knowl.). SEE PLASTER. If it be insisted that the words of the law were actually cut in the rock, it would seem best to understand that the Hebrew word sid does not here mean a "plaister," but indicates that the stones, after they had been engraved, were covered with a coat of tenacious lime white-wash, employed for similar purposes by the Egyptians, who, when the face of a rock had been sculptured in relievo, covered the whole with a coat of this wash, and then painted their sculptured figures (Kitto's Pict. Bible, note ad loc.). SEE MORTAR.

Bible concordance for LIME.

Definition of lime

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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