Engraving | Free Online Biblical Library

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ENGRAVING (פִּתּוּחַ, H7334, engraving; from verb פָּתַח, H7338, engrave). The art of cutting letters or designs into a hard surface.

Mediums used included metal, stone and wood. An engraved plate of gold was worn by Aaron as high priest (Exod 28:36, 37). Designs were engraved as decorations on the bronze stands made for Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 7:29). Precious stones (gems) were engraved with inscrs. (Exod 28:9, onyx or carnelian; also Zech 3:9). There were engravings on the inside walls of the Temple (1 Kings 6:29), made of wood (v. 15), overlaid with gold (v. 21).

Tools used included stylus (עֵט, H6485), “pen,” “stylus,” of iron (19:24), and iron with a diamond or emery point (Jer 17:1); also חֶ֔רֶט, “stylus” (Exod 32:4 and Isa 8:1), file, wheel, and drill. The drill was attached to a stick which was twisted by the back-and-forth motion of a bow whose string was looped around the stick. Grinding was accomplished with the aid of an abrasive.


J. H. Middleton, The Engraved Gems of Classical Times (1891); ANEP (1954); C. Singer, et al. eds., A History of Technology, I (1954), 189, 190, 648, 649, 663-681.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)


See Carving; Crafts.