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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

glas (zekhukhith; hualos):

1. History:

Glass is of great antiquity. The story of its discovery by accident, as related by Pliny (NH, xxxvi.65), is apocryphal, but it was natural for the Greeks and Romans to ascribe it to the Phoenicians, since they were the producers of the article as known to them. The Egyptian monuments have revealed to us the manufacture in a time so remote that it must have preceded that of the Phoenicians. A representation of glass-blowing on monuments of the Old Empire, as formerly supposed, is now regarded as doubtful, but undoubted examples of glazed pottery of that age exist. A fragment of blue glass has been found inscribed with the name of Antef III, of the XIth Dynasty, dating from 2000 or more B.C. (Davis, Ancient Egypt, 324). The oldest dated bottle, or vase, is one bearing the name of Thothmes III, 1500 or more B.C., and numerous examples occur of later date. The close connection between Egypt and Syria from the time of Thothmes on must have made glass known in the latter country, and the Phoenicians, so apt in all lines of trade and manufacture, naturally seized on glass-making as a most profitable art and they became very proficient in it. The earliest glass was not very transparent, since they did not know how to free the materials used from impurities. It had a greenish or purplish tinge, and a large part of the examples we have of Phoenician glass exhibit this. But we have many examples of blue, red and yellow varieties which were purposely colored, and others quite opaque and of a whitish color, resembling porcelain (Perrot and Chipiez, Art in Ancient Phoenicia and Its Dependencies). But both they and the Egyptians made excellent transparent glass also, and decorated it with brilliant coloring on the surface (ib; Beni Hasan, Archeol. Survey of Egypt, Pt IV). Layard (Nineveh and Babylon) mentions a vase of transparent glass bearing the name of Sargon (522-505 B.C.), and glass was early known to the Babylonians.

2. Manufacture:

Phoenicia was the great center, and the quantities found in tombs of Syria and Palestine go to confirm the statement that this was one of the great industries of this people, to which ancient authors testify (Strabo, Geog.; Pliny, NH). Josephus refers to the sand of the Belus as that from which glass was made (BJ, II, x, 2). It seems to have been especially adapted for the purpose, but there are other places on the coast where plenty of suitable sand could be obtained. The potash required was obtained by burning certain marine and other plants, and saltpeter, or niter, was also employed. The manufacture began centuries B.C. on this coast, and in the 12th century A.D. a factory is mentioned as still being worked at Tyre, and the manufacture was later carried on at Hebron, even down to recent times (Perrot and Chipiez).

Both the Egyptians and Phoenicians gained such proficiency in making transparent and colored glass that they imitated precious stones with such skill as to deceive the unwary. Necklaces are found composed of a mixture of real brilliants and glass imitations. Cut glass was manufactured in Egypt as early as the XVIIIth Dynasty, and diamonds were made use of in the article Glass composed of different colors in the same piece was made by placing layers of glass wire, of different colors, one above the other and then fusing them so thar they became united in a solid mass without intermingling. Colored designs on the surface were produced by tracing the patterns, while the glass was still warm and plastic, deep enough to receive the threads of colored glass which were imbedded in them. The whole was heated again sufficiently to fuse the threads and attach them to the body. The surface was then made even by perishing. By this process vessels and ornaments of very beautiful design were produced. Many of the specimens, as found, are covered by an exquisite iridescence which is due wholly to the decomposition of the surface by chemical action, from lying buried for centuries in the soil which thus acts upon it. This is often lost in handling by the scaling off of the outer surface.

Glass, in the strict sense, is rarely mentioned in Scripture, but it was certainly known to the Hebrews, and occurs in Job 28:17 (translated "crystal" in the King James Version). Bottles, cups and other vessels in glass must have been in use to some extent. The wine cup of Proverbs 23:31 and the bottle for tears mentioned in Psalm 56:8 were most likely of glass. Tear bottles are found in great quantities in the tombs throughout the land and were undoubtedly connected with funeral rites, the mourners collecting their tears and placing them in these bottles to be buried with the dead. As mourners were hired for the purpose, the number of these bottles would indicate the extent to which the deceased was honored. These were, of course, small, some quite diminutive (see illustration), as also were the vials or pots to contain the ointment for the eyebrows and eyelashes, used to heighten the beauty of the women, which was probably a custom among the Hebrews as well as their neighbors. Rings, bracelets and anklets of glass are very common and were doubtless worn by the Hebrew women (see Isaiah 3:18). In the New Testament the Greek hualos occurs in Revelation 21:18, 21, and the adjective derived from it hualinos in 4:6 and 15:2. In the other passages, where in the King James Version "glass" occurs, the reference is to "looking-glass," or mirror, which was not made of glass, but of bronze, and polished so as to reflect the light similar to glass. The Hebrew word for this is gillayon (Isaiah 3:23), or mar'ah (Exodus 38:8), and the Greek esoptron (1 Corinthians 13:12 James 1:23; compare The Wisdom of Solomon 7:26; Sirach 12:11).

The composition of the Phoenician glass varies considerably. The analysis shows that, besides the ordinary constituents of silica, lime, lead, potash or soda, other elements are found, some being used for the purpose of coloring, such as manganese to give the purplish or violet hue, cobalt for blue, copper for red, etc. The articles illustrated above are of ordinary transparent glass with an iridescent surface, caused by decomposition, as mentioned above, indicated by the scaly appearance. Numbers 1, 4 and 5 are tear bottles, number 4 being only 1 3/4 inches in height; numbers 2 and 3 are ointment vases which were used for the ointment with which ladies were accustomed to color their eyebrows and eyelashes to enhance their beauty. This custom still prevails in the East. The small ladle by the side of the larger vase is of bronze, used in applying the ointment. This vase is double and 6 3/4 inches high, ornamented with glass wire wound upon it while plastic. The larger vases (numbers 6 and 7) are about 6 inches in height. The hand-mirror ("looking-glass" the King James Version) is bronze, and had originally a polished surface, but is now corroded.

H. Porter


(thalassa hualine; Revelation 4:6; Revelation 15:2): In the vision of heaven in these two apocalyptic passages a "glassy sea" is seen before the throne of God. The pure translucency of the sea is indicated in the former reference by the words, "like unto crystal"; and the fiery element that may symbolize the energy of the Divine holiness is suggested in the latter passage by the trait, "mingled with fire." On the margin of this sea-on the inner side-stood the victorious saints, with harps, singing the song of Moses and of the Lamb (Revelation 15:2-4). The imagery here points to a relation with the triumphal song in Exodus 15, after the deliverance from Pharaoh at the Red Sea. It is not easy to define the symbolism precisely. The sea, reflecting in its crystalline depths the purity and holiness of the Divine character and administration, speaks at the same time of difficulties surmounted, victory obtained and safety assured, the after-glow of the Divine judgments by which this result has been secured still illuminating the glassy expanse that has been crossed.

James Orr



5194. hualos -- a clear transparent stone, glass
... a clear transparent stone, glass. Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine Transliteration:
hualos Phonetic Spelling: (hoo'-al-os) Short Definition: glass Definition ...
// - 7k

5193. hualinos -- of glass, glassy
... of glass, glassy. Part of Speech: Adjective Transliteration: hualinos Phonetic Spelling:
(hoo-al'-ee-nos) Short Definition: glassy, transparent Definition ...
// - 7k

2072. esoptron -- a mirror (ie an object for looking into)
... Part of Speech: Noun, Neuter Transliteration: esoptron Phonetic Spelling:
(es'-op-tron) Short Definition: a mirror Definition: a mirror, looking-glass (made ...
// - 7k

2734. katoptrizo -- to reflect as a mirror
... voice from a compound of kata and a derivative of optanomai (compare esoptron);
to mirror oneself, ie To see reflected (figuratively) -- behold as in a glass. ...
// - 6k

Strong's Hebrew
2137. zekokith -- glass
... glass. Transliteration: zekokith Phonetic Spelling: (zek-oo-keeth) Short Definition:
glass. Word Origin from zakak Definition glass NASB Word Usage glass (1). ...
/hebrew/2137.htm - 6k

4759. mar'ah -- vision
mar'ah. 4758, 4759. mar'ah. 4759a . vision. Transliteration: mar'ah Phonetic
Spelling: (mar-aw') Short Definition: glass. looking glass, vision ...
/hebrew/4759.htm - 5k

7209. rei -- a mirror
... Word Origin from raah Definition a mirror NASB Word Usage mirror (1). looking glass.
From ra'ah; a mirror (as seen) -- looking glass. see HEBREW ra'ah. ...
/hebrew/7209.htm - 6k

1549. gillayon -- a table, tablet
... glass, roll. Or gilyown {ghil-yone'}; from galah; a tablet for writing (as bare);
by analogy, a mirror (as a plate) -- glass, roll. see HEBREW galah. ...
/hebrew/1549.htm - 6k


John Glass.
// book of religions/john glass.htm

The victors on the Sea of Glass.
... EXPOSITION OF THE APOCALYPSE. The Victors on the Sea of Glass. ... The "sea
of glass," must represent an elevation above the earth. ...
/.../bliss/a brief commentary on the apocalypse/the victors on the sea.htm

Seen in a Looking Glass
... Chapter 12. Wesley's Letter to an Editor; Impositions and Declarations; the
Speaking Statue; Wesley's Pentecost Seen in a Looking Glass. ...
/.../wesley/the journal of john wesley/seen in a looking glass.htm

The Sea of Glass
... SERMON XXXIV. THE SEA OF GLASS. (Trinity Sunday.) Revelation 4:9, 10, 11. ... And
before the throne is a sea of glass; the same sea which St. ...
/.../kingsley/the good news of god/sermon xxxiv the sea of.htm

Sight through a Glass, and Face to Face.
... the first and third lines of the stanza. Hymn 2:145. Sight through a glass,
and face to face. 1 I love the windows of thy grace ...
/.../watts/hymns and spiritual songs/hymn 0 184027778 sight through a.htm

July the Thirteenth Plain Glass
... JULY The Thirteenth PLAIN GLASS. "They were fishers." "Matthew 4:12-22. ... There
is nothing like plain glass for letting in the light! ...
/.../my daily meditation for the circling year/july the thirteenth plain glass.htm

Sight through a Glass, and Face to Face.
... Hymns, Book II HYMN 145 Sight through a glass, and face to face. CM Sight through
a glass, and face to face. I love the windows of thy grace,. ...
/.../watts/the psalms and hymns of isaac watts/hymn 145 sight through a.htm

Cliv My Glass is Half Unspent; Forbear T'Arrest
... The Treasury of Sacred Song. Book First CLIV My glass is half unspent; Forbear
t'arrest. ... Is that my glass may run but out the rest. ...
/.../palgrave/the treasury of sacred song/cliv my glass is half.htm

How the Apostle Says that God is Now Seen by us through a Glass.
... Book XV. Chapter 8."How the Apostle Says that God is Now Seen by Us Through
a Glass. 14. I know that wisdom is an incorporeal ...
/.../augustine/on the holy trinity/chapter 8 how the apostle says.htm

Lo, Now the Trinity Appears unto Me in a Glass Darkly...
... Book XIII Chapter V Lo, now the Trinity appears unto me in a glass darkly�
Lo, now the Trinity appears unto me in a glass darkly ...
/.../augustine/the confessions of saint augustine/chapter v lo now the.htm

Smith's Bible Dictionary

The Hebrew word occurs only in (Job 28:17) where in the Authorized Version it is rendered "crystal." In spite of the absence of specific allusion to glass in the sacred writings, the Hebrews must have been aware of the invention from paintings representing the process of glass-blowing, which have been discovered at Beni-hassan, and in tombs at other places, we know that the invention vas known at least 3500 years ago. Fragments too of wine-vases as old as the exodus have been discovered in Egypt. The art was also known to the ancient Assyrians. In the New Testament glass is alluded to as an emblem of brightness. (Revelation 4:6; 15:2; 21:18)

ATS Bible Dictionary

Was well known to the ancients, and no doubt to the Jews; its invention is traced to an incident on the coast to Phoenica, and the arts of blowing, coloring, and cutting it were familiar to the ancient Egyptians. The "looking glasses" of the Jews, however, were of highly polished metal, usually small and round, Exodus 38:8 Job 37:18 James 1:23. Glass does not appear to have been used at that time for mirrors, nor for windows; but for cups, bottles, vases, ornaments, sacred emblems, etc. It is alluded to in 1 1 Corinthians 13:12 Revelation 4:6 15:2:21:18,21; probably also in Job 28:17, where our English version has the word crystal.

Easton's Bible Dictionary
Was known to the Egyptians at a very early period of their national history, at least B.C. 1500. Various articles both useful and ornamental were made of it, as bottles, vases, etc. A glass bottle with the name of Sargon on it was found among the ruins of the north-west palace of Nimroud. The Hebrew word zekukith (Job 28:17), rendered in the Authorized Version "crystal," is rightly rendered in the Revised Version "glass." This is the only allusion to glass found in the Old Testament. It is referred to in the New Testament in Revelation 4:6; 15:2; 21:18, 21. In Job 37:18, the word rendered "looking-glass" is in the Revised Version properly rendered "mirror," formed, i.e., of some metal. (Comp. Exodus 38:8: "looking-glasses" are brazen mirrors, R.V.). A mirror is referred to also in James 1:23.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (n.) A hard, brittle, translucent, and commonly transparent substance, white or colored, having a conchoidal fracture, and made by fusing together sand or silica with lime, potash, soda, or lead oxide. It is used for window panes and mirrors, for articles of table and culinary use, for lenses, and various articles of ornament.

2. (v. t.) Any substance having a peculiar glassy appearance, and a conchoidal fracture, and usually produced by fusion.

3. (v. t.) Anything made of glass.

4. (n.) A looking-glass; a mirror.

5. (n.) A vessel filled with running sand for measuring time; an hourglass; and hence, the time in which such a vessel is exhausted of its sand.

6. (n.) A drinking vessel; a tumbler; a goblet; hence, the contents of such a vessel; especially; spirituous liquors; as, he took a glass at dinner.

7. (n.) An optical glass; a lens; a spyglass; -- in the plural, spectacles; as, a pair of glasses; he wears glasses.

8. (n.) A weatherglass; a barometer.

9. (v. t.) To reflect, as in a mirror; to mirror; -- used reflexively.

10. (v. t.) To case in glass.

11. (v. t.) To cover or furnish with glass; to glaze.

12. (v. t.) To smooth or polish anything, as leather, by rubbing it with a glass burnisher.

Glass (12 Occurrences)
... vases, etc. A glass bottle with the name of Sargon on it was found among
the ruins of the north-west palace of Nimroud. The Hebrew ...
/g/glass.htm - 21k

Looking-glass (1 Occurrence)
Looking-glass. Lookingglass, Looking-glass. Lookingglasses . Noah Webster's
Dictionary ... Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia. LOOKING-GLASS. ...
/l/looking-glass.htm - 7k

Crystal (7 Occurrences)
... 3. (n.) A species of glass, more perfect in its composition and manufacture than
common glass, and often cut into ornamental forms. See Flint glass. ...
/c/crystal.htm - 11k

Crafts (2 Occurrences)
... BIBLE 1. Brickmaking 2. Carpentering (Wood-Working) 3. Carving (Engraving) 4. Ceramics
5. Dyeing and Cleansing 6. Embroidering (Needlework) 7. Glass-Making 8 ...
/c/crafts.htm - 30k

Flashing (12 Occurrences)
... The reheating of an article at the furnace aperture during manufacture to restore
its plastic condition; esp., the reheating of a globe of crown glass to allow ...
/f/flashing.htm - 10k

Transparent (7 Occurrences)
... 1. (a.) Clearly transmitting rays of light; easy to understand or see through;
diaphanous; pellucid; as, transparent glass; a transparent diamond; -- opposed ...
/t/transparent.htm - 8k

Resembling (19 Occurrences)
... look at. (See NIV). Revelation 4:6 And in front of the throne there seemed
to be a sea of glass, resembling crystal. And midway between ...
/r/resembling.htm - 12k

Mirror (4 Occurrences)
... 1. (n.) A looking-glass or a speculum; any glass or polished substance that forms
images by the reflection of rays of light. ... MIRROR. mir'er. See LOOKING-GLASS. ...
/m/mirror.htm - 8k

Seemed (89 Occurrences)
... them; (BBE). Revelation 4:6 And in front of the throne there seemed to
be a sea of glass, resembling crystal. And midway between ...
/s/seemed.htm - 32k

Victorious (17 Occurrences)
... (WEY). Revelation 15:2 And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire; and
them that come off victorious from the beast, and from his image, and from the ...
/v/victorious.htm - 11k

Bible Concordance
Glass (12 Occurrences)

1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

James 1:23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:

Revelation 4:6 Before the throne was something like a sea of glass, similar to crystal. In the midst of the throne, and around the throne were four living creatures full of eyes before and behind.

Revelation 9:17 And so I saw the horses in the vision, and those who were seated on them, having breastplates of fire and glass and of burning stone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths came fire and smoke and a smell of burning.

Revelation 15:2 I saw something like a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who overcame the beast, his image, and the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, having harps of God.

Revelation 21:11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like a stone of great price, a jasper stone, clear as glass:

Revelation 21:18 The construction of its wall was jasper. The city was pure gold, like pure glass.

Revelation 21:21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls. Each one of the gates was made of one pearl. The street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.

Revelation 22:1 And I saw a river of water of life, clear as glass, coming out of the high seat of God and of the Lamb,

Job 28:17 Gold and glass can't equal it, neither shall it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.

Job 37:18 Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?



Glass: General Scriptures Concerning

Glass: Sea of

Glass: Symbolical

Related Terms

Looking-glass (1 Occurrence)

Crystal (7 Occurrences)

Crafts (2 Occurrences)

Flashing (12 Occurrences)

Transparent (7 Occurrences)

Resembling (19 Occurrences)

Mirror (4 Occurrences)

Seemed (89 Occurrences)

Victorious (17 Occurrences)

Victory (71 Occurrences)

Vial (12 Occurrences)

Overcame (84 Occurrences)

Lap (12 Occurrences)


Gotten (38 Occurrences)

Instruments (136 Occurrences)

Flash (19 Occurrences)

Flask (15 Occurrences)

Crack (5 Occurrences)

Conquered (20 Occurrences)

Spectacle (6 Occurrences)

Statue (15 Occurrences)

Stain (6 Occurrences)

Smooth (39 Occurrences)

Mingled (62 Occurrences)

Belonged (105 Occurrences)

Bottle (28 Occurrences)

Mixed (96 Occurrences)

Gained (66 Occurrences)


Phoenicia (6 Occurrences)

Rodanim (2 Occurrences)

Hebron (71 Occurrences)

Beside (326 Occurrences)

Pure (160 Occurrences)

Overcome (300 Occurrences)

Beast (243 Occurrences)

Holding (62 Occurrences)

Places (610 Occurrences)

Appeared (137 Occurrences)

Gain (142 Occurrences)

Wild (147 Occurrences)

Harps (27 Occurrences)

Quarrel (22 Occurrences)

Jasper (8 Occurrences)

Jar (45 Occurrences)

Jesse (45 Occurrences)


Lookingglasses (1 Occurrence)

Leech (1 Occurrence)

Lade (4 Occurrences)


Grind (12 Occurrences)

Gates (156 Occurrences)

Go (17871 Occurrences)

Glasses (1 Occurrence)

Glares (1 Occurrence)

Window (24 Occurrences)

Fill (126 Occurrences)

Flock (242 Occurrences)

Frost (9 Occurrences)

Flagon (4 Occurrences)

Ferret (1 Occurrence)

Furnace (35 Occurrences)

Fabric (8 Occurrences)

Trap (35 Occurrences)

Transmit (2 Occurrences)

Tyre (59 Occurrences)

Table (125 Occurrences)

Respectively (2 Occurrences)

Receiver (1 Occurrence)

Retort (1 Occurrence)

Exchanged (22 Occurrences)

Drop (32 Occurrences)

Darkly (1 Occurrence)

Mat (17 Occurrences)

Metal (69 Occurrences)

Misrephothmaim (2 Occurrences)

Misrephoth-maim (2 Occurrences)

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