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TONGS (Heb. melqāhayim). In the Hebrew the word usually means wicktrimmers (kjv “snuffers”), and is used with a tray (kjv “snuffdish”) (Exod.25.38; Num.4.9); in Isa.6.6 it is “tongs.” In 1Kgs.7.49 and 2Chr.4.21 it could be either. In Isa.44.12 the KJV “tongs” is translated “axe” in ASV, “tool” in NIV.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

This word is, where it occurs in the King James Version and the English Revised Version, with two exceptions, changed in the American Standard Revised Version into "snuffers" (Ex 25:38; Nu 4:9; 2Ch 4:21; see Snuffers), The exceptions are 1Ki 7:49, "tongs of gold," and Isa 6:6, "taken with the tongs from off the altar."

In Isa 44:12, where another word (ma`atsadh) is used, "the smith with the tongs" of the King James Version is changed in the Revised Version (British and American) into "the smith maketh an axe" (compare Jer 10:3).

See also ALTAR; TOOLS.