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DEFINITION OF THE DAY (FIRE)

The word “fire” in our English Bibles normally translates the Hebrew word esh in the Old Testament and the Greek word pur (the root from which such English term as “pyromaniac” and “pure” are derived) in the NT. Both terms signify the physical manifestations of burning heat:, light, and flame. Ancient peoples kindled fire either by rapidly rubbing dry pieces of wood together creating enough fiction to ignite dry vegetation or by striking flint rocks thus creating sparks (cp. 2 Macc 10:3). Normally, fires were maintained and perpetuated to avoid the need for kindling. Abraham, for example, apparently carried a torch with him on his way to sacrifice Isaac in order to prevent having to kindle one at the altar (Gen 22:6-7).

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