The lamps of the ancients, sometimes called "candles" in our Bible, were cups and vessels of many convenient and graceful shapes; and might be carried in the hand, or set upon a stand. See CANDLESTICK. The lamp was fed with vegetable oils, tallow, wax, etc., and was kept burning all night. The poorest families, in some parts of the East, still regard this as essential to health and comfort. A darkened house therefore forcibly told of the extinction of its former occupants, Job 18:5-6; Pr 13:9; 20:20; Jer 25:10-11; while a constant light was significant of prosperity and perpetuity, 2Sa 21:17; 1Ki 11:36; Ps 132:17. Lamps to be carried in the streets presented a large surface of wicking to the air, and needed to be frequently replenished from a vessel of oil borne in the other hand, Mt 25:3-4. Torches and lanterns, Joh 18:3, were very necessary in ancient cities, the streets of which were never lighted.
(1.) That part of the candle-sticks of the tabernacle and the temple which bore the light (Ex 25:37; 1Ki 7:49; 2Ch 4:20; 13:11; Zec 4:2). Their form is not described. Olive oil was generally burned in them (Ex 27:20).
(4.) Lamps or torches were used in connection with marriage ceremonies (Mt 25:1).
(See CANDLE; CANDLESTICK.) The ordinary means of lighting apartments. In Jg 7:16,20, lamps mean torches; so Joh 18:3; Mt 25:1. The terra cotta and bronze handlamps from Nimrud and Koyunjik perhaps give a good idea of the Bible lamp. The Egyption kandeel or common lamp is a small glass vessel with a tube in the bottom in which is stuck a wick of cotton twisted round straw. Water is poured in first, then the oil. The usual symbols of the early Christian lamps found at Jerusalem are the cross, the seven branched candlestick, the palm (Joh 12:13; Re 7:9). The rudeness of the lamps indicates the poverty of the early saints at Jerusalem. The inscriptions that occur are "the light of Christ shineth to all," and the initials I. X. TH., "Jesus Christ God."
1. The earliest illuminant everywhere was supplied by pieces of resinous wood. Such probably were the torches of Gideon's adventure (Jg 7:16,20 RV for AV 'lamps') and other passages. There is no evidence of anything of the nature of our candles, which is a frequent AV rendering of the ordinary Heb. word (n
The lamp was commonly used to furnish artificial light, and numbers of them have been found in the ruins of Jerusalem and other cities, some being made of terra cotta and others of glass. In the 'golden candlestick' the light was obtained from lamps, and wherever the word 'candle' occurs a lamp is signified. The lamp is used symbolically for the light that is obtained from it; thus "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet." Ps 119:105; Pr 6:23. The ten virgins, when they went forth to meet the bridegroom, each took a lamp (more correctly a torch); but the issue made it manifest that the lamp without oil could give no light: a striking symbol of mere profession without the Holy Spirit. Mt 25:1-8. Oil for the light is further exemplified in the candlestick in Zech. 4, where the seven lamps are furnished with oil by pipes from two olive trees: to these God's two witnesses in a future day are compared. Re 11:4. See LIGHT.
1. That part of the golden candlestick belonging to the tabernacle which bore the light; also of each of the ten candlesticks placed by Solomon in the temple before the holy of holies.
The lamps were lighted every evening and cleansed every morning.
2. A torch or flambeau, such as was carried by the soldiers of Gideon.
comp. Judg 15:4 The use in marriage processions of lamps fed with oil is alluded to in the parable of the ten virgins.
Modern Egyptian lamps consist of small glass vessels with a tube at the bottom containing a cotton wick twisted around a piece of straw. For night travelling, a lantern composed of waxed cloth strained over a sort of cylinder of wire rings, and a top and bottom of perforated copper. This would, in form at least, answer to the lamps within pitchers of Gideon. "The Hebrews, like the ancient Greeks and Romans, as well as the modern Orientals, were accustomed to burn lamps all night. This custom, with the effect produced by their going out or being extinguished, supplies various figures to the sacred writers.
On the other hand, the keeping up of a lamp's light is used as a symbol of enduring and unbroken succession.
--McClintock and Strong.
LAMP, ??????. There is frequent mention of lamps in Scripture, and the word is often used figuratively. The houses in the east were, from the remotest antiquity, lighted with lamps; and hence it is so common in Scripture to call every thing which enlightens the body or mind, which guides or refreshes, by the name of a lamp. These lamps were sustained by a large candlestick set upon the ground. The houses of Egypt, in modern times, are never without lights: they burn lamps all the night long, and in every occupied apartment. So requisite to the comfort of a family is this custom reckoned, or so imperious is the power which it exercises, that the poorest people would rather retrench part of their food than neglect it. As this custom no doubt prevailed in Egypt and the adjacent regions of Arabia and Palestine in former times, it imparts a beauty and force to some passages of Scripture which have been little observed. Thus, in the language of Jeremiah, to extinguish the light in an apartment is a convertible phrase for total destruction; and nothing can more properly and emphatically represent the total destruction of a city than the extinction of the lights: "I will take from them the light of a candle, and this whole land shall be a desolation and an astonishment." Job describes the destruction of a family among the Arabs, and the desolation of their dwellings, in the very language of the prophet: "How oft is the candle of the wicked put out, and how oft cometh their destruction upon them!" Job 21:17. Bildad expresses the same idea in the following beautiful passage: "Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine. The light shall be dark in his tabernacle, and his candle shall be put out with him," Job 18:5-6. A burning lamp is, on the other hand, the chosen symbol of prosperity, a beautiful instance of which occurs in the complaint of Job: "O that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me; when his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness," Job 29:2-3. When the ten tribes were taken from Rehoboam, and given to his rival, Jehovah promised to reserve one tribe, and assigns this reason: "That David my servant may have a light always before me in Jerusalem," 1Ki 11:36. In many parts of the east, and in particular in the Indies, instead of torches and flambeaux, they carry a pot of oil in one hand, and a lamp full of oily rags in the other.