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English Bible Dictionary

Bottle

 

The Arabs keep their water, milk and other liquids in leathern bottles. These are made of goatskins. When the animal is killed they cut off its feet and its head, and draw it in this manner out of the skin without opening its belly. The great leathern bottles are made of the skin of a he-goat, and the small ones, that serve instead of a bottle of water on the road, are made of a kid's skin, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. The effect of external heat upon a skin bottle is indicated in (Psalms 119:83) "a bottle in the smoke," and of expansion produced by fermentation in (Matthew 9:17) "new wine in old bottles." Vessels of metal, earthen or glassware for liquids were in use among the Greeks, Egyptians, Etruscans and Assyrians, and also no doubt among the Jews, especially in later times. Thus (Jeremiah 19:1) "a potter's earthen bottle." (Bottles were made by the ancient Egyptians of alabaster, gold, ivory and stone. They were of most exquisite workmanship and elegant forms. Tear-bottles were small urns of glass or pottery, made to contain the tears of mourners at funerals, and placed in the sepulchres at Rome and in Palestine. In some ancient tombs they are found in great numbers. (Psalms 56:8) refers to this custom: ED.)

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