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The English word "slime" originated from an old Anglo-Saxon word which meant a soft, sticky, earthy material. The King James Version, which was published back in 1611, uses "slime" with that old definition in mind to translate the Hebrew word, pronounced khay-mar, which meant bitumen, petroleum tar, which was abundant in parts of the Middle East in ancient times, just as it still is today.

The King James translators were thinking of bitumen when they used "slime," because that's what it meant in their time (keeping in mind that there was no petroleum industry in 1611), while other translations use bitumen, or pitch, because that's what the same substance is known as today. Example:

"14:10 And the vale of Siddim was full of slimepits" (Genesis 14:10 KJV)

"14:10 Now the Valley of Siddim was full of bitumen pits" (Genesis 14:10 RSV)

"She took for him an ark of bulrushes and daubed it with slime and with pitch"

There are two references to slime, or bitumen, in the King James Version - one involving defiant, unrighteous people, the other by a righteous, faithful woman.

The Holy Scriptures The "tower of Babel" used bitumen for mortar.

"11:1 And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. 11:2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in The Land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.

11:3 And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. 11:4 And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

11:5 And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. 11:6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language [see The Origin Of Speaking In Tongues]; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. 11:7 Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech.

11:8 So the LORD [i.e. Jesus Christ - see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM'] scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. 11:9 Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth." (Genesis 11:1-9 KJV)

Jochebed, the mother of Moses, used bitumen to waterproof the "ark of bulrushes" into which she put her infant (Aaron and Miriam were also her children, but the Pharaoh's order only applied to newborn, male infants).

"1:8 Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph [see Joseph, Prime Minister Of Egypt]. 1:9 And he said unto his people, Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we: 1:10 Come on, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land." (Exodus 1:8-10 KJV)

"1:22 And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river [i.e. The Nile River], and every daughter ye shall save alive." (Exodus 1:22 KJV)

"2:1 And there went a man of the house of Levi [see Levites], and took to wife a daughter of Levi. 2:2 And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three months. 2:3 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. 2:4 And his sister stood afar off, to wit what would be done to him.

2:5 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. 2:6 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.

2:7 Then said his sister to Pharaoh's daughter, Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew women, that she may nurse the child for thee?

2:8 And Pharaoh's daughter said to her, Go. And the maid went and called the child's mother. 2:9 And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the woman took the child, and nursed it. 2:10 And the child grew, and she brought him unto Pharaoh's daughter, and he became her son. And she called his name Moses: and she said, Because I drew him out of the water." (Exodus 2:1-10 KJV)

Fact Finder: Was Noah's ark also waterproofed "inside and out" with pitch i.e. bitumen?
Genesis 6:14; see also How Big Was Noah's Ark?

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