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by Wayne Blank
Glass was known to The Ancient Egyptians from at least 1500 BC when bottles, containers and ornaments such as beads were made. The ancient kingdoms of Mesopotamia (see Ancient Empires - Assyria and Ancient Empires - Babylon) also knew and made glass - a glass bottle with the name of King Sargon was found in the ruins of his palace.
The ancient Hebrew people seemed to use pottery much more than glass (mirrors in both the Old and New Testament times were most often made from polished metal). Surprisingly, glass is mentioned specifically only once in the Old Testament, where it was valued very highly:
"But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know the way to it, and it is not found in the land of the living. The deep says, 'It is not in me,' and the sea says, 'It is not with me.' It cannot be gotten for gold, and silver cannot be weighed as its price. It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, in precious onyx or sapphire. Gold and glass cannot equal it, nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold." (Job 28:12-17 RSV)
Glass is also mentioned infrequently in the New Testament - Paul and James, in 2 Corinthians 3:18 and James 1:23-24 respectively, were not speaking of a mirror of glass, but of polished bronze, since the original Greek word of the Scriptures meant bronze. Glass is actually mentioned only as an analogy in describing the area around the throne of God, and for the purity of the gold in the New Jerusalem:
"Round the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clad in white garments, with golden crowns upon their heads. From the throne issue flashes of lightning, and voices and peals of thunder, and before the throne burn seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God; and before the throne there is as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. And round the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle." (Revelation 4:4-7 RSV)
Fact Finder: Do humans live in figurative "glass houses"?
This Week's Bible Quiz
1. Which of the 4 rivers that flowed from the Garden of Eden had a name beginning with a "T"?
2. Which of the 4 rivers that flowed from the Garden of Eden had a name beginning with a "E"?
3. Which of the 4 rivers that flowed from the Garden of Eden had a name beginning with a "G"?
4. Which of the 4 rivers that flowed from the Garden of Eden had a name beginning with a "P"?
5. What great sea bordered the land of Israel on the west?
6. On what sea did Jesus walk on the water?
7. Near what sea were Sodom and Gomorrah located?
8. What river did the Israelites cross when they entered the Promised Land?
9. In what sea is the island of Patmos located?
10. What great African river flows through Egypt?
For the answers to this April 10 2001 quiz, see the Bible Quiz Answers Page