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The English word hearth originated from an old Anglo-Saxon word meaning the floor, or the soil (hence the earth in hearth) which indicated what a hearth originally was - simply a depression in the floor to safely hold a home's heating and cooking fire. Early hearths had no chimney, so smoke escaped by whatever means was made available. Eventually however hearths were equipped with chimneys and were made into "fire places." In its original form, "hearth" accurately translates a number of Hebrew words of the Holy Scriptures, pronounced mo-kade, meaning fire, yaw-cad, meaning to burn, awkh, meaning a fire pot, and kee-yore, meaning an excavation

"fire from the hearth"

Abraham and Sarah had a hearth in their tent.


"And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth" (Genesis 18:6 KJV)

Smoke and hearth (i.e. no chimney) were words that were often thought of together.

"For my days are consumed like smoke, and my bones are burned as an hearth." (Psalm 102:3 KJV)

Pottery was used for handling coals from one fire to another. Without matches or lighters, fire starting in ancient times was most-easily accomplished by preserving the fire that one, or someone else, already had going. Pottery was also used to remove hot ashes.

"And he shall break it as the breaking of the potters' vessel that is broken in pieces; he shall not spare: so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth, or to take water withal out of the pit." (Isaiah 30:14 KJV)

Hearths were used for both cooking and heating - and, as in this example, to destroy scrolls.

"Now the king sat in the winterhouse in the ninth month: and there was a fire on the hearth burning before him. And it came to pass, that when Jehudi had read three or four leaves, he cut it with the penknife, and cast it into the fire that was on the hearth, until all the roll was consumed in the fire that was on the hearth." (Jeremiah 36:22-23 KJV)

Fire in a hearth was also spoken of figuratively.

"In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem" (Zechariah 12:6 KJV)

Fact Finder: Is the climate in the land of Israel warm or cold? Does it ever snow in Israel?
See Climate Of The Holy Land

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