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ANVIL. The Heb. pa‘am originally meant “strike,” “hit.” The word occurs in several senses in the OT, but only once with the meaning “anvil” (Isa.41.7), in a passage concerning the encouragement given by one workman to another.

ANVIL (פָּ֑עַם). A word found only in Isaiah 41:7, where reference is made to the custom of workmen encouraging one another with their work. The metal anvil was driven into a block of wood or into the ground to keep it stable. It was used by various artificers: blacksmiths, silversmiths, tinsmiths, and shoemakers.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

The word is used only once to mean anvil. The passage (Isa 41:7) refers to the custom still very common of workmen encouraging each other at their work. See Crafts. Just how pretentious the anvil of the ancients was we do not know. Most work requiring striking or beating, from the finest wrought jewelry to the largest copper vessels, is now done on an anvil shaped like an inverted letter L which is driven into a block of wood, or into the ground, or into a crack between two of the stone slabs of the workman’s floor. The only massive anvils seen in the country today are modern and of foreign make.

James A. Patch

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