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TORCH. In Biblical times torches, variously prepared, were appropriately used when stronger illumination was desired than that provided by lamps, as for night activities outdoors.

Since certain Heb. and Gr. words may be used of either a lamp or a torch, a careful study of the context is often necessary to determine if possible which is intended at a given place. In Judges 7:16 and 20 ERV, ASV, and RSV employ “torches” rather than the “lamps” of KJV in the account of Gideon’s dramatic conquest of the host of Midian. In John 18:3 “torches” is favored by KJV, ERV, ASV, and RSV: On the night of betrayal Judas, procuring a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came to the garden of Gethsemane with “lanterns and torches and weapons.” ERV, ASV, and RSV prefer “torch” to the “lamp” of KJV in Revelation 8:10: “...a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch....”

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

See Lamp; Lantern.

See also

  • Lamp