Lamps in the Ancient World
During the time of the Bible lamps were used, in order to illuminate the house or any building there were lamps. The most ancient lamps that have been discovered in archaeology were actually made of stone, and people filled them with animal fat. They placed a floating wick inside the bowl which was made of plant fibers finely twisted.
John 8:12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life."
As time progressed people started making their lamp bowls with pottery and used olive oil for fuel and these were the lamps mentioned in the Bible.
Olive oil was actually a very desirable fuel in the ancient Near East because it did not produce much smoke, it burned smoothly, and the smell was desirable which was not the case with other oils and animal fat.
Throughout time lamp pottery changed from an open bowl to a more closed shape, sort of like a pear and a smaller end was used to contain the wick.
Inside the home lamps were burning all day and all night. It was very convenient when someone needed to light a fire.
Lamps were usually placed on a lampstand, or somewhere high to illuminate the house. Lampstands were usually very ornamental, sometimes made of wood, bronze, silver, or even gold as in the case of the Tabernacle and Temple. The seven branched menorah had bowls in the shape of flowers at the top of each branch, which offered a wealth of symbolism for Israel reminding them of the coming Messiah who would be the light of the world and the desire of the ages.
There have been many thousands of lamps discovered from the ancient world in the land of Israel. Excavations of tombs, and even cities have uncovered myriads of lamps dating back to the time of Abraham and throughout biblical history. Every age revealed different lamp shapes which helps archaeologists in dating various finds.
Archaeologists generally conclude that lamps began to develop around 2000 BC which was near the time of Abraham. They were handmade clay lamps which were bowl shaped with floating wick. After they were shaped like a saucer or pear and later with the nozzle, and then the ball was pinched closed with one end forming a spout.
The Bible often talks about lamps:
Psalms 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.
NOTE (This is part of the BKA Series)
BKA 280 Ancient Oil Lamps
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Table of Contents
- Ancient Assyrian Social Structure
- Ancient Babylonia
- Ancient Canaan During the Time of Joshua
- Ancient History Timeline
- Ancient Oil Lamps
- Antonia Fortress
- Archaeology of Ancient Assyria
- Assyria and Bible Prophecy
- Augustus Caesar
- Background Bible Study
- Biblical Geography
- Fallen Empires - Archaeological Discoveries and the Bible
- First Century Jerusalem
- Glossary of Latin Words
- Herod Agrippa I
- Herod Antipas
- Herod the Great
- Herod's Temple
- High Priest's in New Testament Times
- Jewish Literature in New Testament Times
- Library collection
- Map of David's Kingdom
- Map of the Divided Kingdom - Israel and Judah
- Map of the Ministry of Jesus
- Matthew Henry Bible Commentary
- Messianic Prophecy
- Nero Caesar Emperor
- Online Bible Maps
- Paul's First Missionary Journey
- Paul's Second Missionary Journey
- Paul's Third Missionary Journey
- Pontius Pilate
- Questions About the Ancient World
- Tabernacle of Ancient Israel
- Tax Collectors in New Testament Times
- The Babylonian Captivity
- The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser
- The Books of the New Testament
- The Court of the Gentiles
- The Court of the Women in the Temple
- The Destruction of Israel
- The Fall of Judah with Map
- The History Of Rome
- The Incredible Bible
- The Jewish Calendar in Ancient Hebrew History
- The Life of Jesus in Chronological Order
- The Life of Jesus in Harmony
- The Names of God
- The New Testament
- The Old Testament
- The Passion of the Christ
- The Pharisees
- The Sacred Year of Israel in New Testament Times
- The Samaritans
- The Scribes
- How did the ancient Greeks and Romans practice medicine and treat illnesses?
- What were the major contributions of ancient Babylon to mathematics and astronomy?
- How did the ancient Persians create and administer their vast empire?
- What were the cultural and artistic achievements of ancient India, particularly during the Gupta Empire?
- How did ancient civilizations like the Incas and Aztecs build their remarkable cities and structures?
- What were the major trade routes and trading practices of the ancient world?
- What was the role of slavery in ancient societies like Rome and Greece?
- How did the ancient Mayans develop their sophisticated calendar system?
- What were the key events and significance of the Battle of Thermopylae in ancient Greece?
- What was life like for women in ancient Rome?
Bible Study Questions
- What does biblical archaeologist said about hieroglyphics?
- Where is the Negev where Abram went to in Genesis?
- What is the name of Ramallah in the Bible?
- How do we approach and study the historical and cultural context of biblical passages?
- What is the significance of the Psalms in personal and corporate worship?
- How do we discern and apply biblical principles to contemporary ethical issues?
- What is the biblical perspective on the nature of God's love and mercy?
- How do we interpret and understand apocalyptic literature in the Bible?
- What are the different covenants in the Bible and their significance?
- How do we grow in spiritual maturity and develop a deeper understanding of the Word?
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