Potsherd (חֶרֶשׂ, chires, from the root חָרִס, to scrape or scratch; Sept. ὄστρακον; Vulg. testa, vas fictile; "sherd" in two places, once "stone," often "earthen vessel"), a bit of pottery ware (Job 2:8), is figuratively used in Scripture to denote a thing worthless and insignificant (Ps 22:15; Pr 26:23: Isa 45:9). It may illustrate some of these allusions to remind the reader of the fact that the sites of ancient towns are often covered at the surface with great quantities of broken pottery, usually of coarse texture, but coated and protected with a strong and bright colored glaze, mostly bluish-green, and sometimes yellow. These fragments give to some of the most venerable sites in the world the appearance of a deserted pottery rather than of a town. The fact is, however, that they occur only upon the sites of towns which were built with crude brick; and this suggests that the heaps of ruin into which these had fallen being disintegrated, and worn at the surface by the action of the weather, bring to view and leave exposed the broken pottery, which is not liable to be thus dissolved and washed away. It is certainly remarkable that of the more mighty cities of old time, nothing but potsherds now remains visible at the surface of the ground. Towns built with stone, or kiln-burnt bricks, do not exhibit this form of ruin, which is therefore not usually met with in Palestine. SEE POTTER.

Bible concordance for POTSHERD.

Definition of potsherd

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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