(as a cosmetic). The use of cosmetic dyes has prevailed in all ages in eastern countries. We have abundant evidence of the practice of painting the eyes both in ancient Egypt and in Assyria; and in modern times no usage is more general. It does not appear, however, to have been by any means universal among the Hebrews. The notices of it are few; and in each instance it seems to have been used as a meretricious art, unworthy of a woman of high character. The Bible gives no indication of the substance out of which the dye was formed. The old versions agree in pronouncing the dye to have been produced from antimony. Antimony is still used for the purpose in Arabia and in Persia, but in Egypt the kohl is a root produced by burning either a kind of frankincense or the shells of almonds, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. The dye-stuff was moistened with oil and kept in a small jar. Whether the custom of staining the hands and feet, particularly the nails, now so prevalent in the past, was known to the Hebrews is doubtful. Painting as an art was not cultivated by the Hebrews, but they decorated their buildings with paint.
Main reference: Smith's Bible Dictionary (1860s)
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