Pr.31.10

Pr.31.10

Pr.31.10

Here is a lamp with the X (chi), p (rho) symbol. The previous lamp had the p (rho) symbol reversed. These letters are an abbreviation of the word Christos (anointed) or Christ. Messiah in the Jewish tongue refers to an “anointed one” and Christos in Greek is the translation. The New Testament  was all written in the Greek language. The Old Testament is written in both Hebrew and Aramaic while the Greek translation of the Old Testament  produced about 250 B.C.E. is known as the Septuagint and designated LXX (70).

Pr.29.5

Pr.29.5

Here is an North African oil lamp without Christian markings from the same period of 4th century. This picture was clear so I included it. It seemed this collection had more lamps with Christian symbols than generic ones, which, to me shows a possible prominence. At least it could be safely said that the prevalence of Christian symbols shows an important reference in this culture.

Pr.29.5

Here is an North African oil lamp without Christian markings from the same period of 4th century. This picture was clear so I included it. It seemed this collection had more lamps with Christian symbols than generic ones, which, to me shows a possible prominence. At least it could be safely said that the prevalence of Christian symbols in its found artifacts shows an important reference in this culture.

Pr.28.5

Pr.28.5

Pr.28.5

At the beginning of the 4th century, Christian symbols on oil lamps became a favored feature in many North African societies. During the last days of August, I will display the youngest lamps found in this collection, all from North Africa. This will close out my oil lamp posts. Not all the lamps from this period have Christian symbols, but those that do reflect the transformation of individuals in this part of the Roman world.

Roman civilization adopted the high culture of the Greeks or, at least, admired and tried to preserve much of the literature, art, language, and other aspects. The Greek and Roman world had similar gods which couldn’t give any hope, generate sincere love, or fill their hearts with peace. When the Christian message started to be proclaimed, it started a revolution in society, where the empty paganism was abandoned, which had previously pervaded these people’s lives. The new relationship with the one true God of the Old Testament was made possible when Jesus sent the Other Comforter to live and be with individuals forever. This was God, The Holy Spirit promised beforehand to indwell and teach those who trusted Christ.

Since the members of the Trinity indwell each other (see John 17), Christ could say to His disciples: “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Mt.28:18b-20 WEB). Jesus promised to be with the disciples along with both authorizing and enabling their ministry. The Christians who received this “light of the gospel” thought it fitting to put a Christian symbol on their light-giving lamps.

Pr.25.2

Pr.25.2

Pr.25.2

The depiction on the shoulder of grape leaves and fruit clusters cause me to think that the person on the discus of the lamp is possibly holding a cutting. As I understand it, grape vines are propagated from cuttings as trying to reproduce a plant from the seeds is very haphazard. Therefore a select and highly desired vine is first identified and then further produced by slips or cuttings. Though this is a Greek oil lamp, I am reminded of the verse in Psalm 80.8 “You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it.” (NIV). It is evident that this technology of vegetative cuttings, or cloning existed for at least 3000 years.

In Jn. 15 Jesus says He is the true vine and the Father is the vinedresser. To be fruitful, a Christian needs to abide in the vine (Jesus). Doing the work of God is intrinsically connected with God’s enabling of the Holy Spirit.

The Lily of the Valley: Sept.&Oct. Photoblog Preview

The Lily of the Valley: Sept.&Oct. Photoblog Preview

I have found a friend in Jesus, He’s everything to me,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul;
The Lily of the Valley, in Him alone I see
All I need to cleanse and make me fully whole.
In sorrow He’s my comfort, in trouble He’s my stay;
He tells me every care on Him to roll.

Refrain

He’s the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.

He all my grief has taken, and all my sorrows borne;
In temptation He’s my strong and mighty tower;
I have all for Him forsaken, and all my idols torn
From my heart and now He keeps me by His power.
Though all the world forsake me, and Satan tempt me sore,
Through Jesus I shall safely reach the goal.

Refrain

He will never, never leave me, nor yet forsake me here,
While I live by faith and do His blessèd will;
A wall of fire about me, I’ve nothing now to fear,
From His manna He my hungry soul shall fill.
Then sweeping up to glory to see His blessèd face,
Where the rivers of delight shall ever roll.

Refrain

The Lily of the Valley: Sept.&Oct. Photoblog Preview

I have found a friend in Jesus, He’s everything to me,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul;
The Lily of the Valley, in Him alone I see
All I need to cleanse and make me fully whole.
In sorrow He’s my comfort, in trouble He’s my stay;
He tells me every care on Him to roll.

Refrain

He’s the Lily of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.

He all my grief has taken, and all my sorrows borne;
In temptation He’s my strong and mighty tower;
I have all for Him forsaken, and all my idols torn
From my heart and now He keeps me by His power.
Though all the world forsake me, and Satan tempt me sore,
Through Jesus I shall safely reach the goal.

Refrain

He will never, never leave me, nor yet forsake me here,
While I live by faith and do His blessèd will;
A wall of fire about me, I’ve nothing now to fear,
From His manna He my hungry soul shall fill.
Then sweeping up to glory to see His blessèd face,
Where the rivers of delight shall ever roll.

Refrain

Charles W. Fry wrote this gospel song in 1881 while working for the Salvation Army. This song has always been a favorite of mine.

It is doubtful that Christ is spoken about in the Song of Solomon, but that is how Mr. Fry took the verse to mean. It is a great and rousing song regardless.

I have some wonderful pictures of lilies that show off this flower’s brilliance for my posts during Sept. and Oct. I will do a daily Psalm for Sept. and use Proverbs again for Oct. Whatever the year, the verses and pictures may be followed for daily inspiration.

 

Pr.20.4

Pr.20.4

Pr.20.4

Here is a very ornamented lamp featuring a soldier holding a spear with his horse. Notice the several “filling holes”. The lamp could be refilled by merely pouring the oil on the discus and it would drain into one of these holes filling the reservoir. The lack of soot seems to imply an unused lamp or possibly being buried in a wet environment.

Pr.19.5

Pr.19.5

Pr.19.5

Generally, the more decorated a clay lamp is, the more recent the artifact. As potter technology advanced and new techniques developed, the lamps began to feature a higher degree of artistry. It is safe to think that the most unique lamps would fetch a higher price or sell quicker than older styling or plainer lamps.

The Burning and Shining Lamp: John the Baptist

John the Baptist

Jesus used the figure of an oil lamp to speak about the revelation and ministry of John the Baptist. In responding to those Jews who opposed Him, Jesus claimed John’s witness: “You sent a delegation to John, and he testified to the truth. Although I don’t accept human testimony, I say these things so that you can be saved. John was a burning and shining lamp, and, at least for a while, you were willing to celebrate in his light.” (Jn.5:33-35 CEB)

In the Gospel of John, the apostle, introduces the Baptist in the first chapter and records the testimony John gave to the Jewish leaders: “The Jews of Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask John who he was. John gave witness to them. He did not try to hide the truth. He spoke to them openly. He said, ‘I am not the Christ.’” (Jn.1:19-20 NIRV). Upon further questioning, the Baptist quotes Isaiah 40:3 as who he was and describes his ministry as the Lord’s forerunner announcing His arrival: “John replied, using the words of Isaiah the prophet. John said, ‘I’m the messenger who is calling out in the desert, Make the way for the Lord straight.'” (Jn.1:23 NIRV). This “making the way straight” refers to the Jewish people’s spiritual condition that they should return to the Lord individually: “Before Jesus came, John preached that we should turn away from our sins and be baptized. He preached this to all Israel.” (Acts 13:24 NIRV).

John the Baptizer would be the “Elijah” sent before the Lord’s advent as announced to John’s father by the angel during the incense offering in the Holy Place: “He will bring many Israelites back to the Lord their God. He will go forth before the Lord, equipped with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will turn the hearts of fathers back to their children, and he will turn the disobedient to righteous patterns of thinking. He will make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Lk.1:16-17 CEB). The angel quotes some of Mal.4:6 and seems to refer to verse 5 also when he mentions John’s ministry: “Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the LORD arrives. His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.” (Mal.4:5-6 NLT). This section in Malachi constitutes the last verses of the Old Testament and seems expectant for the Messiah’s arrival.

Immediately after the revelation of God on the Mount of Transfiguration where Jesus appears glorified with Moses and Elijah speaking with Him, the disciples ask Jesus about the common understanding of the Elijah prophecy in Malachi, and Jesus seems to answer with possibly two Elijahs: “As they went back down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, ‘Don’t tell anyone what you have seen until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.’ Then his disciples asked him, ‘Why do the teachers of religious law insist that Elijah must return before the Messiah comes?’ Jesus replied, ‘Elijah is indeed coming first to get everything ready. But I tell you, Elijah has already come, but he wasn’t recognized, and they chose to abuse him. And in the same way they will also make the Son of Man suffer.’ Then the disciples realized he was talking about John the Baptist.” (Mt.17:9-13NLT). This seems to imply three Elijahs, since in The Transfiguration the Old Testament Elijah appeared.

Additionally, Jesus gives testimony to the importance of John and quotes Malachi 3:1: “He is the one written about in Scripture. It says, ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you. He will prepare your way for you.’ What I’m about to tell you is true. No one more important than John the Baptist has ever been born. But the least important person in the kingdom of heaven is more important than he is.” (Mt.11:10-11, Lk.7:28 NIRV). In one way, the Baptist was more important than other prophets because at least in two places in the Old Testament he was foretold.

The fact of John’s preparatory ministry before the Lord’s revelation to Israel also makes him supremely important. John’s message was the same as Jesus’ proclamation but from a different perspective as Jesus describes the general reception both received from the nation: “But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces, who call to their companions and say, ‘We played the flute for you, and you didn’t dance. We mourned for you, and you didn’t lament.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ But wisdom is justified by her children [actions].” (Mt.11:16-19 WEB).

John’s parents were told that he would be a Nazarite from birth, thus showing his separation from the world in a very outward, physical manner. John the Baptist would also be filled with the Holy Spirit while still in his mother’s womb: “for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.” (Lk.1:15 NIV). While John was in his mother Elizabeth’s womb he rejoiced when the virgin Mary, now pregnant with Jesus, greeted his mother: “For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.” (Lk.1:44ESV).

The questioning from the Pharisees seems to show that either they expected the Messiah or His forerunner to baptize: “The ones who had been sent were from the Pharisees. They asked him, ‘Why then do you baptize, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the prophet?’” (Jn.1:24-25 WEB). This raises the question of what John’s baptism actually signified. Some Bible students believe it pictured the experiences the Israelites went through in the Red Sea crossing and the Jordan River miracles. The idea is that The Prophet who would be like Moses in authority and other aspects needed to have this similarity somehow. Further, it is significant that Jesus’ name is the same as Joshua of the O.T. who took the Israelites into the promised land. In a future post, I plan to show the similarities of Jesus, the promised Prophet to Moses, but will focus on the Baptizer here.

John, of the house of Aaron, seemed to understand or it was revealed to him that the sacrificial system of the Jews was about to be fulfilled. Notice that he announced Jesus, not in the role of “the Son of David,” (and therefore King) though Jesus was David’s promised son, but as Jesus the substitute, for that was what the sacrificial system was all about: “The next day, he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who is preferred before me, for he was before me.’” (Jn.1:29-30 WEB). John also knew of Jesus’ divinity from this statement and Christ’s greater role of Savior of the “world.”

In another way, very possibly, that John recognized this ministry of Jesus’ sacrifice was in the words John used against the shallow professions of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and much of the crowds who came to be baptized of him: “He said therefore to the multitudes who went out to be baptized by him, ‘You offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?’” (Lk.3:7 WEB). This echoes the words of Gen.3:15: “I will put hatred between you and the woman. Your children and her children will be enemies. Her son will crush your head. And you will crush his heel.” (NIRV). In this passage, God both pronounces a curse on the serpent (the Devil) and promises redemption for humanity by the Seed of the woman (virgin birth). By calling the Jewish leaders and the fickle crowd viper offspring, was John prophesying to the nailing of Jesus’ heel in crucifixion? I plan to post a more detailed discussion of Gen. 3:15 in a future post, but, the Baptist’s words seem a striking fulfillment.

Oil Lamps in the Parables of Jesus

The Christian Life Typified

Christ often refers to a burning oil lamp in His instruction to the disciples signifying the Spirit’s indwelling. Jesus employed the metaphor of a shining lamp to picture the New Covenant’s operation in the life of a Christian.

When Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman, describing living water welling up to eternal life, which He would give (another image depicting the Spirit’s filling), He spoke of the new and advanced relationship He would now have with humanity: “But a new time is coming. In fact, it is already here. True worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. They are the kind of worshipers the Father is looking for.” (Jn.4:23 NIRV).

This new relationship of worshipping in spirit and truth is the promise of The New Covenant given in Jeremiah 31:

“‘A new day is coming,’ announces the Lord. ‘I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel. I will also make it with the people of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their people long ago. That was when I took them by the hand. I led them out of Egypt. But they broke my covenant. They did it even though I was like a husband to them,’ announces the Lord. ‘This is the covenant I will make with Israel after that time,’ announces the Lord. ‘I will put my law in their minds. I will write it on their hearts. I will be their God. And they will be my people. A man will not need to teach his neighbor anymore. And he will not need to teach his friend anymore. He will not say, ‘Know the Lord.’ Everyone will know me. From the least important of them to the most important, all of them will know me,’ announces the Lord. ‘I will forgive their evil ways. I will not remember their sins anymore.’” (31-34 NIRV).

This promise was what the disciples were to wait for at Pentecost: “‘Do not leave Jerusalem,’ he said. ‘Wait for the gift my Father promised. You have heard me talk about it. John baptized with water. But in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’” (Acts 1:4b-5 NIRV). The fact that it was to Jews exclusively at the primary Feast of Shavuot fulfills the promise that the covenant would be with the “the House of Israel and Judah.” It was a few years later that Gentiles also received this gift.

I have explained the gift, now I want to show its operation through the metaphor of the oil lamp in the parables of Jesus. First, Christ describes this new life in the Sermon on the Mount:

“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill can’t be hidden. Also, people do not light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand. Then it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine in front of others. Then they will see the good things you do. And they will praise your Father who is in heaven.” (Mt. 5:14-16 NIRV).

Here, Christ states three qualities of this light: (1) Significant and distinguished: set on a hill. At this point, I want to clarify that we are set on a hill because of the light, not anything intrinsic in our person, but only because of Christ’s indwelling by the Spirit. (2) We have a vital message to give to others: the lamp is placed on a stand. (3) This new life is abundant, victorious, and fruitful: they will see the good things. It is important to note that those who “see the good things . . . praise your Father who is in heaven,” showing that this power to live victorious is from God.

Second, another parable which features oil lamps is the “10 bridesmaids” of The Olivet Discourse when Christ teaches His disciples what the characteristics of the Kingdom will be like just before His return in judgment:

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten young bridesmaids who took their lamps and went out to meet the groom. Now five of them were wise, and the other five were foolish. The foolish ones took their lamps but didn’t bring oil for them. But the wise ones took their lamps and also brought containers of oil. When the groom was late in coming, they all became drowsy and went to sleep. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Look, the groom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. But the foolish bridesmaids said to the wise ones, ‘Give us some of your oil, because our lamps have gone out.’ But the wise bridesmaids replied, ‘No, because if we share with you, there won’t be enough for our lamps and yours. We have a better idea. You go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ But while they were gone to buy oil, the groom came. Those who were ready went with him into the wedding. Then the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came and said, ‘Lord, lord, open the door for us.’ But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’ Therefore keep alert because you don’t know the day or the hour.” (Mt.15:1-13 CEB).

An aspect of the parables of Jesus is that they generally intend to convey a single point and it is wrong to try to find applications from the various features of the story. The point of this parable, it seems to me, is to be in possession of that which produces God’s shining light: His Spirit. Notice that those who couldn’t produce the light were “foolish.” Also, Jesus said that “He never knew them.” In my mind, Christ is saying: “make sure you know Me.”

 Akeldama

 Akeldama: The Field of Blood

Matthew 27:3-10

Then Judas, who betrayed him, when he saw that Jesus was condemned, felt remorse, and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned in that I betrayed innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? You see to it.” He threw down the pieces of silver in the sanctuary, and departed. He went away and hanged himself. The chief priests took the pieces of silver, and said, “It’s not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is the price of blood.” They took counsel, and bought the potter’s field with them, to bury strangers in. Therefore that field was called “The Field of Blood” to this day. Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled, saying, “They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him upon whom a price had been set, whom some of the children of Israel priced, and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.” (WEB)

As I was researching aspects of pottery for my oil lamp posts I came across a conundrum in Mt. 27. I was familiar with the “problem” in the texts we have presently after nearly 2000 years removed from Matthew’s production.

To present the difficulty briefly: the text quotes a relatively long portion of Zechariah, yet it seems to say that the text comes from Jeremiah. Here is Zechariah’s passage with its immediate context from which Matthew quotes:

I said to them, “If you think it best, give me my wages; and if not, keep them.” So they weighed for my wages thirty pieces of silver. Yahweh said to me, “Throw it to the potter, the handsome price that I was valued at by them!” I took the thirty pieces of silver, and threw them to the potter, in the house of Yahweh. (11:12,13 WEB)

One fact that Zechariah doesn’t mention is the place of the field which is in the Valley of Ben Hinnom which was the garbage dump of that day. Jeremiah (ch. 19), however, was instructed by the Lord to go to this valley and break a jar of pottery, indicating the coming judgment in Jeremiah’s time. Therefore, this passage could be a strong allusion since, in the Hebrew mind and history, often reoccurring events feature prominently in prophetic fulfillment. This concept is fairly foreign to our present way of thinking but it wasn’t to Jews of the first century. To further clarify this point: a historical connection existed with the judgment in Jeremiah’s day to the coming judgment the nation would receive at the hands of Titus in 70 A.D. since instead of the leaders and the majority of the nation accepting the Messiah, they asked for Him to be crucified. Matthew is trying to show his readers the striking parallels of divine retribution. This is the view of some commentators of Matthew’s Gospel. I think, however, another explanation could provide a plausible solution.

Before I offer my solution concerning the Jeremiah reference, I want to address a further problem that some find in the reference to this event in Acts 1. Some commentators seem to find a variance to Matthew when, in my mind, there is none. Readers may think the account of Judas’ demise is why Luke (the writer of Acts) refers to the field as the “field of blood.” So, they will say: “it is Jesus’ blood in Matthew and Judas’ blood in Acts.” This is not what it says or not what Luke is saying. Yes, no doubt, blood was spilled when Judas committed suicide but the word “blood” is not even used in Acts. The antecedent of “field of blood” was Judas’ “wickedness” in betraying Jesus. The writers in the first century wrote, thought, and spoke very differently than we do today in that the antecedents oftentimes were well separated from the reference, contra our present custom of keeping them in close proximity.

Further, Judas didn’t commit suicide at Akeldama; it was the Temple priests and officers who bought and managed this field, probably well after Judas’ death. Luke says, “he bought a field,” but that is his way of expressing how the proceeds of betrayal were used, not the actual occurrence. Again, this is very much different from our way of expressing things 2000 years hence. To try and understand the Biblical text apart from some of these factors is to read it anachronistically and, as a result, misunderstand God’s revelation to our own detriment.

Now, to the matter of the Jeremiah reference in Matthew, when, for the most part, Zechariah is quoted in the text. Today when I read the Bible and compare other portions with it, it is easily accessed by mouse clicks using apps on my computer. Of course this technology was nonexistent during the first century and neither was printing or efficient paper production. Also, besides paper, sometimes animal skins were used to record text and this method too proved very labor-intensive.

Matthew’s Gospel, I believe, was inerrant when it was produced by Matthew’s hand or dictated to his amanuensis. Today, none of the extant codices or even any of the fragments is the original ones produced. All of our preserved manuscripts of the Biblical accounts are copies by a “further hand.” The New Testament is very reliable even though the copyists were not the meticulous scribal class of the Jews who diligently preserved the Old Testament. What makes the Christian writings reliable is the sheer number of portions, which, compared together, reveals the account.

So, this helps explain the conundrum of Jeremiah when, probably, Zechariah is meant. The explanation that the names sound the same in Greek (as they do in English) is most likely why an amanuensis miscopied the text. This was not Matthew’s writer but a later copyist wanting to produce this work for congregations of Christians in other places. Since the Old Testament text was scarce too because of the same technological deficiencies, the producers could not readily check the references. Jeremiah has several portions which refer to pottery and the potter, so, the Christian copyist innocently believed it was Jeremiah which spoke of this potter’s field in Matthew’s Gospel. The tremendous spread of Christianity in the first century during the Pax Romana meant that Christian communities needed their own copies for study. Since a great need existed, it is plausible to believe that the copyists possibly rushed their production and, therefore, errors were produced. It just so happens that the earliest extant manuscripts we have list Jeremiah instead of Zechariah.

Pr.11.3a

Pr.11.3a

Pr.11.3a

This is another early “molded type” of lamp with decorations on the shoulder and evidence of a seam on the side. The molded lamps began to be produced in about the 2nd century B.C. The difference in preservation, again, may be due to how it was buried in rubble and not because of longevity. So sometimes an earlier lamp may be cleaner or have more distinct features since it was preserved better because of how it was buried rather than when.

Pr.9.1

Pr.9.1

Pr.9.1

This is another “turned-type” of oil lamp on which a side nozzle for the wick is formed or added after turning the clay on the wheel.

In Luke, Jesus speaks to general practice of oil lamp usage and likens it to a believer’s walk in obedience and filling of the Holy Spirit. The idea is that Christ has enabled the Christian to live an abundant life for all to see. The Christian should cleanse themselves of greed and other sins for the Spirit to manifest itself in them so to walk in the light as He is in the light.

“No one, when he has lit a lamp, puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, that those who come in may see the light. The lamp of the body is the eye. Therefore when your eye is good, your whole body is also full of light; but when it is evil, your body also is full of darkness. Therefore see whether the light that is in you isn’t darkness. If therefore your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly full of light, as when the lamp with its bright shining gives you light” (Luke 11:33-36 WEB).

Early “molded type” lamp

Pr.8.r

Pr.8.r

Here is another molded lamp that is a bit worse for wear or was buried in a way so as to obscure some of its features. As I mentioned, these devices were ubiquitous as most folks would readily need lighting during the absence of natural illumination.

Proverbs 31:18, speaking of the excellent woman, says that “her lamp does not go out at night,” referring to her industriousness. Verse 15 speaks of her getting up before first light to start her duties in taking care of her household. So a lamp would be required both at night and early in the morning.

Also, in Ecclesiastes a man is told to hedge his bets in his vocational life: “In the morning plant your seeds. In the evening keep your hands busy. You don’t know what will succeed. It may be one or the other” (11:6 NIRV). This passage instructs the reader to diversify their efforts since the future is unclear. This was the typical practice of the Jewish males, in particular, as seen by the Apostle Paul, in that he was “instructed at the feet of Gamaliel,” as a rabbi, yet his vocation was the production of tents as is seen when he met Aquila and Priscilla at the Jewish tentmakers’ guild (Acts 18:2, 3). All these efforts would employ the use of oil lamps whether the work was before dawn or after sunset.

Early “Molded Type” Oil Lamp

Pr.7.1

Pr.7.1

Here is an example of an early “molded-type” of pottery used for oil lamps. It is probably later (younger) than the “turned type” of lamps. The artifact is just not in very good shape compared with older lamps using more primitive methods.

Clues which indicate it is produced from a mold are the faint decoration on its “shoulder” and the evidence of the joint on the lamp’s side. There were two molds at least and multiple tops if the potter wanted to feature various decorations (the bottom mold could be the same). The clay was pressed into the mold; then, after drying partially, the two pieces would be joined with the seam smoothed out.

It is hard to ascertain when the molded lamps developed but it is a later method of production. Also, in some places, oil lamp pottery could have been produced by molds while they may have still used the wheel in other places until the technology or economics caught up with the culture.