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The following alphabetical survey is not exhaustive:


Add to above the baskets mentioned in connection with the feeding of the 5,000 and the 4,000. The former instance (Matt 14:20) has the word kophinos, a rush or wicker basket used by Jews to contain food free from alien pollution. Juvenal mentions the word in a reference to the Jews in the slum ghetto outside Rome’s Capena Gate (Sat. 3. 14). Curiously, the second instance (Matt 15:37) has a word which appears to describe the large bottle-shaped Gentile basket. The incident took place in the predominantly Gentile territory of the Decapolis.



Perhaps pitchers were used for drawing water from wells. They could be lowered by a rope through the handles; it is not known whether these were buckets of leather or of wood (Gen 24:14-19; John 4:11).

Baths and bushels

(1 Kings 7:26, 38; 2 Chron 2:10; Isa 5:10; Matt 5:15) are rather measures of capacity than containers.

Basins (or bowls).

Mainly for libation, and mentioned frequently in connection with the ritual utensils of Tabernacle and Temple (e.g. Num 7:13; 1 Kings 7:42, 50), but also in domestic contexts (2 Sam 17:28; John 13:5).



Usually for food on the table, a large deep container commonly of bronze, still used for the common meal of the Bedouin. (See T. E. Lawrence’s account of the feast in Abdullah’s tent in the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, ch. 64.) Jael’s “lordly dish” was similar. Some such dish was used at the Last Supper as at all Passover feasts. (See Judg 5:25; Prov 19:24; 26:15; Matt 26:23.)


Commonly with two handles, jugs large and small, flat, rounded, or pointed bottoms for insertion in a perforated board, like the wine jars in the taverns of Pompeii and those in the hold of the sunken Rom. ship near Marseilles. Normally carried by women going after water (Gen 24:14-19), rarely by men (Luke 22:10). People slept with a pitcher of water near at hand (1 Sam 26:7-11). Used for solids as well as liquids (1 Kings 17:12). A fig. expression of life’s fragility (Eccl 12:6).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

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