"And there went a man of the house of Levi [see Levites], and took to wife a daughter of Levi. And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. And when she could not longer hide him, she took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with Pitch, and put the child therein; and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink. And his sister [see Miriam] stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him. And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river; and her maidens walked along by the river's side; and when she saw the ark among the flags, she sent her maid to fetch it. And when she had opened it, she saw the child: and, behold, the babe wept. And she had compassion on him, and said, This is one of the Hebrews' children." (Exodus 2:1-6 KJV)
During Bible History, baskets were common containers that were made from reeds or bulrushes (as in the above example with Moses), twigs or other natural materials. They varied widely in strength, shape and purpose, although they usually had handles of some sort, and sometimes lids. They were commonly used for such things as bread and fruit (due to their woven construction, they were usually not waterproof - the reason that "Moses' Ark" was coated with pitch, as was Noah's Ark which was made of wood - see How Big Was Noah's Ark?), but were also used as cages for pet birds or other small animals. They varied in size from small to medium (carried by hand, or on the shoulder or head) to large (carried on a pole between two people).
There were four different Hebrew words in the Old Testament, and two Greek words in the New Testament, that have been translated into English as basket. Some examples:
"When the chief baker saw that the interpretation was favorable, he said to Joseph [see Coat Of Many Colors], "I also had a dream: there were three cake baskets on my head, and in the uppermost basket there were all sorts of baked food for Pharaoh" (Genesis 40:16-17 RSV)
"The Lord [see Rock Of Ages and The Logos] said to Moses, "Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments, and the anointing oil, and the bull of the sin offering, and the two rams, and the basket of unleavened bread; and assemble all the congregation at the door of the tent of meeting." (Leviticus 8:1-3 RSV) (see The Tabernacle In The Wilderness)
"Thus the Lord God showed me: behold, a basket of summer fruit. And he said, "Amos, what do you see?" And I said, "A basket of summer fruit." (Amos 8:1-2 RSV)
"Then He ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass; and taking the five loaves and the two fish He looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over." (Matthew 14:19-20) (see Jesus Christ and Miracles Of Jesus Christ)
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