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Smith's Bible Dictionary

The first and most frequent use of the word rendered coal is a live ember, burning fuel. (Proverbs 26:21) In (2 Samuel 22:9,13) "coals of fire" are put metaphorically for the lightnings proceeding from God. (Psalms 18:8,12,13; 140:10) In (Proverbs 26:21) fuel not yet lighted is clearly signified. The fuel meant in the above passage is probably charcoal, and not coal in our sense of the word.

ATS Bible Dictionary

Usually in Scripture, charcoal, or the embers of fire. Mineral coal is now procured in mount Lebanon, eight hours from Beirut; but we have no certainty that it was known and used by the Jews. The following passages are those which most strongly suggest this substance, 2 Samuel 22:9,13; Job 41:21.

Easton's Bible Dictionary
It is by no means certain that the Hebrews were acquainted with mineral coal, although it is found in Syria. Their common fuel was dried dung of animals and wood charcoal. Two different words are found in Hebrew to denote coal, both occurring in Proverbs 26:21, "As coal [Hebrews peham; i.e., "black coal"] is to burning coal [Hebrews gehalim]." The latter of these words is used in Job 41:21; Proverbs 6:28; Isaiah 44:19. The words "live coal" in Isaiah 6:6 are more correctly "glowing stone." In Lamentations 4:8 the expression "blacker than a coal" is literally rendered in the margin of the Revised Version "darker than blackness." "Coals of fire" (2 Samuel 22:9, 13; Psalm 18:8, 12, 13, etc.) is an expression used metaphorically for lightnings proceeding from God. A false tongue is compared to "coals of juniper" (Psalm 120:4; James 3:6). "Heaping coals of fire on the head" symbolizes overcoming evil with good. The words of Paul (Romans 12:20) are equivalent to saying, "By charity and kindness thou shalt soften down his enmity as surely as heaping coals on the fire fuses the metal in the crucible."
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (n.) A thoroughly charred, and extinguished or still ignited, fragment from wood or other combustible substance; charcoal.

2. (n.) A black, or brownish black, solid, combustible substance, dug from beds or veins in the earth to be used for fuel, and consisting, like charcoal, mainly of carbon, but more compact, and often affording, when heated, a large amount of volatile matter.

3. (v. t.) To burn to charcoal; to char.

4. (v. t.) To mark or delineate with charcoal.

5. (v. t.) To supply with coal; as, to coal a steamer.

6. (v. i.) To take in coal; as, the steamer coaled at Southampton.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

kol (pecham, "charcoal"; compare Arabic fachm, "charcoal"; gacheleth, "burning coal" or "hot ember"; compare Arabic jacham, "to kindle"; shechor, "a black coal" (Lamentations 4:8); compare Arabic shachchar, "soot" or "dark-colored sandstone"; retseph (1 Kings 19:6), and ritspah (= Rizpah) (Isaiah 6:6), margin "a hot stone"; compare resheph, "a flame" (Songs 8:6 Habakkuk 3:5); anthrax, "a live coal" (Romans 12:20) (= gacheleth in Proverbs 25:22); anthrakia, "a live coal" (John 18:18; John 21:9)): There is no reference to mineral coal in the Bible. Coal, or more properly lignite, of inferior quality, is found in thin beds (not exceeding 3 ft.) in the sandstone formation (see GEOLOGY OF PALESTINE, under Nubian Sandstone), but there is no evidence of its use in ancient times. Charcoal is manufactured in a primitive fashion which does not permit the conservation of any by-products. A flat, circular place (Arabic beidar, same name as for a threshing-floor) 10 or 15 ft. in diameter is prepared in or conveniently near to the forest. On this the wood, to be converted into charcoal, is carefully stacked in a dome-shaped structure, leaving an open space in the middle for fine kindlings. All except the center is first covered with leaves, and then with earth. The kindlings in the center are then fired and afterward covered in the same manner as the rest. While it is burning or smoldering it is carefully watched, and earth is immediately placed upon any holes that may be formed in the covering by the burning of the wood below. In several days, more or less, according to the size of the pile, the wood is converted into charcoal and the heap is opened. The charcoal floor is also called in Arabic mashcharah, from shachchar, "soot"; compare Hebrew shechor. The characteristic odor of the mashcharah clings for months to the spot.

In Psalm 120:4, there is mention of "coals of juniper," the Revised Version, margin "broom," rothem. This is doubtless the Arabic retem, Retama roetam, Forsk., a kind of broom which is abundant in Judea and Moab. Charcoal from oak wood, especially Quercus coccifera, L., Arabic sindyan, is much preferred to other kinds, and fetches a higher price.

In most of the passages where English versions have "coal," the reference is not necessarily to charcoal, but may be to coals of burning wood. Pecham in Proverbs 26:21, however, seems to stand for charcoal: "As coals are to hot embers, and wood to fire, So is a contentious man to inflame strife." The same may be true of pecham in Isaiah 44:12 and Isaiah 54:16; also of shechor in Lamentations 4:8.

Alfred Ely Day

440. anthrax -- coal, charcoal
... coal, charcoal. Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine Transliteration: anthrax Phonetic
Spelling: (anth'-rax) Short Definition: a coal Definition: coal, charcoal, a ...
// - 6k

439. anthrakia -- a heap of burning coals
... of Speech: Noun, Feminine Transliteration: anthrakia Phonetic Spelling:
(anth-rak-ee-ah') Short Definition: a heap of burning coals Definition: a coal-fire, ...
// - 6k

Strong's Hebrew
1513. gechel -- coal
... 1512, 1513. gechel or gacheleth. 1514 . coal. Transliteration: gechel or gacheleth
Phonetic Spelling: (geh'-khel) Short Definition: coals. ... burning coal. ...
/hebrew/1513.htm - 6k

7529. retseph -- coal
... retseph. 7530 . coal. Transliteration: retseph Phonetic Spelling: (reh'-tsef)
Short Definition: coal. ... coal For resheph; a red-hot stone (for baking) -- coal. ...
/hebrew/7529.htm - 5k

6352. pecham -- coal
... 6351, 6352. pecham. 6353 . coal. Transliteration: pecham Phonetic Spelling:
(peh-khawm') Short Definition: coals. Word Origin from ...
/hebrew/6352.htm - 5k

7531. ritspah -- a glowing stone
... 7530, 7531. ritspah. 7531a . a glowing stone. Transliteration: ritspah Phonetic
Spelling: (rits-paw') Short Definition: coal. live coal, pavement ...
/hebrew/7531.htm - 5k

7565. resheph -- flame
... sparks* (1). arrow, burning coal, burning heat, spark, hot thunderbolt. From
saraph; a live coal; by analogy lightning; figuratively ...
/hebrew/7565.htm - 6k

7815. shechor -- blackness
... Word Origin from shachar Definition blackness NASB Word Usage soot (1). coal. From
shachar; dinginess, ie Perhaps soot -- coal. see HEBREW shachar. 7814, 7815 ...
/hebrew/7815.htm - 6k

7531a. ritspah -- a glowing stone
... 7531, 7531a. ritspah. 7531b . a glowing stone. Transliteration: ritspah
Short Definition: coal. Word Origin from an unused word ...
/hebrew/7531a.htm - 5k

4730. miqtereth -- a censer
... censer. Feminine of miqtar; something to fume (incense) in, ie A coal-pan -- censer.
see HEBREW miqtar. 4729c, 4730. miqtereth. 4731 . Strong's Numbers.
/hebrew/4730.htm - 6k


A Coal From The Altar, To Kindle The Holy Fire of Zeale
A Coal From The Altar, To Kindle The Holy Fire of Zeale. ...
/.../ward/a coal from the altar to kindle the holy fire of zeale/

A Coal From The Altar, To Kindle The Holy Fire of Zeale
A Coal From The Altar, To Kindle The Holy Fire of Zeale. <. ... Title Page.
A COAL FROM THE ALTAR, TO KINDLE THE holy fire of Zeale. ...
/.../ward/a coal from the altar to kindle the holy fire of zeale/title page.htm

National Wealth
... You will all agree that God gives the first; that he gives the soil, the timber,
the fisheries, the coal, the iron. Do you believe it? ...
/.../kingsley/the gospel of the pentateuch/sermon xvi national wealth.htm

... MANY years ago, in the clay which in every part of the world is found underlying
beds of coal, a peculiar fossil was discovered and named by science Stigmaria. ...
/.../drummond/the lowell lectures on the ascent of man/chapter x involution.htm

Prayerlessness in the Pulpit
... in the seventh chapter of his prophecy when, as he waited, and confessed and prayed
before the throne, the angel touched his lips with a live coal from God's ...
/.../bounds/the weapon of prayer/viii prayerlessness in the pulpit.htm

Psalm CXX.
... Wonder not; he is a live coal. Thou rejoicest that he is alive, whom thou
wast mourning as dead. But when thou praisest the living ...
/.../ on the book of psalms/psalm cxx.htm

... When a piece of coal is thrown on the fire, we say that it will radiate
into the room a certain quantity of heat. This heat, in ...
/.../drummond/natural law in the spiritual world/environment.htm

Revel. 3. 19. Be Zealous.
A Coal From The Altar, To Kindle The Holy Fire of Zeale. <. ...
/.../revel 3 19 be zealous.htm

A Coale from the Altar.
A Coal From The Altar, To Kindle The Holy Fire of Zeale. <. ...
/.../a coale from the altar.htm

Concerning the Holy and Immaculate Mysteries of the Lord.
... form of the cross [2419] let us receive the body of the Crucified One: and let us
apply our eyes and lips and brows and partake of the divine coal, in order ...
/.../john/exposition of the orthodox faith/chapter xiii concerning the holy and.htm

Coal (7 Occurrences)
... Easton's Bible Dictionary It is by no means certain that the Hebrews were
acquainted with mineral coal, although it is found in Syria. ...
/c/coal.htm - 14k

Carbuncle (6 Occurrences)
... marg., "emerald." The Hebrew word is from a root meaning "to glitter," "lighten,"
"flash." When held up to the sun, this gem shines like a burning coal, a dark ...
/c/carbuncle.htm - 10k

Fault (42 Occurrences)
... 4. (n.) A dislocation of the strata of the vein. 5. (n.) In coal seams, coal rendered
worthless by impurities in the seam; as, slate fault, dirt fault, etc. ...
/f/fault.htm - 23k

Basin (37 Occurrences)
... or circumscribed formation, particularly where the strata dip inward, on all sides,
toward a center; -- especially applied to the coal formations, called coal...
/b/basin.htm - 26k

Fuel (13 Occurrences)
... (see COAL.). ... 1. (n.) Any matter used to produce heat by burning; that which feeds
fire; combustible matter used for fires, as wood, coal, peat, etc. ...
/f/fuel.htm - 12k

Coals (28 Occurrences)
... 47:14 Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not
deliver themselves from the power of the flame; it shall not be a coal to warm ...
/c/coals.htm - 14k

Quench (14 Occurrences)
... 4; Jeremiah 21:12). Quenching the coal or the light of Israel may mean slaying
a dear one or a brilliant leader. In the New Testament ...
/q/quench.htm - 12k

Feed (117 Occurrences)
... 4. (vt) To fill the wants of; to supply with that which is used or wasted; as, springs
feed ponds; the hopper feeds the mill; to feed a furnace with coal. ...
/f/feed.htm - 39k

Rib (5 Occurrences)
... 12. (n.) Solid coal on the side of a gallery; solid ore in a vein. 13. (n.)
An elongated pillar of ore or coal left as a support. 14. ...
/r/rib.htm - 11k

Mine (2991 Occurrences)
... 3. (vi) To dig a mine or pit in the earth; to get ore, metals, coal, or precious
stones, out of the earth; to dig in the earth for minerals; to dig a passage ...
/m/mine.htm - 10k

Bible Concordance
Coal (7 Occurrences)

Leviticus 16:12 He shall take a censer full of coals of fire from off the altar before Yahweh, and two handfuls of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the veil:

2 Samuel 14:7 Behold, the whole family has risen against your handmaid, and they say,'Deliver him who struck his brother, that we may kill him for the life of his brother whom he killed, and so destroy the heir also.' Thus they would quench my coal which is left, and would leave to my husband neither name nor remainder on the surface of the earth."

Proverbs 26:21 As coals are to hot embers, and wood to fire, so is a contentious man to kindling strife.

Isaiah 6:6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar.

Isaiah 47:14 Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: it shall not be a coal to warm at, nor a fire to sit before.

Isaiah 54:16 "Behold, I have created the smith who blows the fire of coals, and brings forth a weapon for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy.

Lamentations 4:8 Their visage is blacker than a coal; they are not known in the streets: Their skin cleaves to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick.



Coal: Figurative

Coal: Symbolical

Related Terms

Carbuncle (6 Occurrences)

Fault (42 Occurrences)

Basin (37 Occurrences)

Fuel (13 Occurrences)

Coals (28 Occurrences)

Quench (14 Occurrences)

Feed (117 Occurrences)

Rib (5 Occurrences)

Mine (2991 Occurrences)

Pit (110 Occurrences)

Breeze (2 Occurrences)

Bank (28 Occurrences)

Splint (1 Occurrence)

Slack (19 Occurrences)

Seraphim (2 Occurrences)

Screen (26 Occurrences)


Hod (1 Occurrence)

Palestine (1 Occurrence)

Quarter (33 Occurrences)

Quenched (22 Occurrences)

Visage (4 Occurrences)

Oneself (10 Occurrences)

Live (3203 Occurrences)

Lime (4 Occurrences)

Log (12 Occurrences)

Lump (7 Occurrences)

Glede (1 Occurrence)

Glowing (14 Occurrences)


Winning (3 Occurrences)

Wax (32 Occurrences)

Want (607 Occurrences)

Warming (7 Occurrences)

Win (27 Occurrences)

Firing (3 Occurrences)

Facing (79 Occurrences)

Float (4 Occurrences)

Flew (10 Occurrences)

Firepan (2 Occurrences)

Fire-spoon (1 Occurrence)

Tar (3 Occurrences)

Tongs (6 Occurrences)

Riddle (11 Occurrences)

Ravage (9 Occurrences)

Roof (55 Occurrences)

Rizpah (4 Occurrences)

Remainder (33 Occurrences)

Emerald (8 Occurrences)

Extinguish (6 Occurrences)

Duty (90 Occurrences)

Dan (71 Occurrences)

Dresser (2 Occurrences)

Descendant (32 Occurrences)

Damp (1 Occurrence)

Dump (1 Occurrence)

Drop (32 Occurrences)

Michmash (10 Occurrences)

Measure (269 Occurrences)

Parting (27 Occurrences)

Put (13688 Occurrences)

Breaker (2 Occurrences)

Break (257 Occurrences)

Bring (1372 Occurrences)

Bondmaid (18 Occurrences)

Breast (71 Occurrences)

Bozez (1 Occurrence)

Bucket (1 Occurrence)

Bed (142 Occurrences)

Blacker (1 Occurrence)

Black (52 Occurrences)

Censer (10 Occurrences)

Cleaves (11 Occurrences)

Consumes (21 Occurrences)


Charcoal (3 Occurrences)

Contentions (20 Occurrences)

Cni'dus (1 Occurrence)

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