PAINT. The Biblical references to paint and painting are comparatively few, in spite of the fact that the people of the Near E have always been fond of bright colors. Black paint was used to enlarge the eyes (
Painting played a large part in the life of the ancients. It began with the decoration of pottery and of the body. The colors, taken from nature, usually had religious and magical meaning. There is hardly any information of the painter’s craft from Mesopotamia. In Egypt, however, most of the craftsmen seem to have done their own painting for centuries. Individual painters and even easel painting and its products can be traced as far back as 2600 b.c. A picture of an artist’s workshop dates to the Amarna period (R. J. Forbes, Studies in Ancient Technology, III , p. 241). The color schemes varied in different periods. Early wall paintings at Hierakonpolis show the use of yellow, red, green, white, and black. The ancients painted pottery, plaster, stone, wood, canvas, papyrus, ivory, and semi-precious stones or metals (Forbes, op. cit., p. 242). Fragments of paint have been found by archeologists in houses from the period of the monarchy in Pal., e.g., by W. F. Albright at Tell Beit Mirsim. See Architecture.
R. J. Forbes, Studies in Ancient Technology III (1956).
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
(from Old French peinctre, frequentative of peindre, Latin pingo, "to paint"):
(1) From Hebrew verb mashach, "to smear," "to anoint," "to paint," describing the painting of interiors with vermilion, perhaps resembling lacquer: "ceiled with cedar, and painted with vermilion" (
(2) From noun pukh, "paint," "antimon," "stibium," "black mineral powder" used as a cosmetic, to lend artificial size and fancied beauty to the eye, always spoken of as a meretricious device, indicating light or unworthy character. Jezebel "painted her eyes, and attired her head" (
(3) From verb kachal, "to smear," "to paint." Ezekiel says to Oholah-Oholibah (Judah-Israel), "didst wash thyself, paint (kachal) thine eyes," as the adulteress prepares herself for her paramour (