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Larry Kelsey

Shlama Akhay,

I was flipping through my Wilson's O. T. Word Studies and under the entry lmHx--Sept. jlektron --Vulg. electrum--it read as follows:
{Quote}*********..."meaning prob. thereby a bright metal compounded of gold and silver, much esteemed in ancient times; supposed to be compounded of Sxn and lm, a syllable which seems to imply smoothness and polish as combined in such words as Xlm and ??lm. There is apparently an allusion to it in Rev. 1:15, calkol??banon. The rendering of amber is, on the authority of Jerome, expressive of the colour, but not sufficiently setting forth the brilliancy implied. See Plin. 33:4, 23, etc.: Ges. Lexicon.: Ezek. 1:4, 27; 8:2. {End of Quote}

Well, to start with, I didn't think I would ever find "Plin. 33:4, 23, etc.," and when I did find "Pliny the Younger-chapter 33" it was all in Latin. The website referred me to a really nice pdf however. Here's an interesting portion--

Ezekiel's description of God's "Shekinah" is more detailed but very similar to what the 70 elders saw on Mount Sinai, as recorded in Exodus 24. Writes Fred Miller --
"Ezekiel's description of the "Shekinah" in chapter one of his prophecy is physically exciting just to read. Imagine actually seeing it! It is described as fire enfolding itself borne by cherubic creatures whose appearance pulsated with undulating light, themselves borne by gyroscopic double wheels. Lightning came out of the midst of the fire surrounded by clear sapphire where a man-like person on a throne sat in an electric eye. If electricity is anachronistic, the word is nonetheless "chashmal" which is the modern Hebrew word for electricity. The Septuagint has "electrum" and so does the Vulgate!Whatever "chashmal" and "electrum" meant to the ancients who used these words it can only be said that "eyn chashmal" in Hebrew and "opsin electrou" in Greek and "speciem electri" found in Latin in Eze. 1:27 is not "amber" as in the English translation. The word "color" does not appear in the text." -- Zechariah and Jewish Renewal.

'Chalkolibano' seems to be a very odd compound word that can mean either 'whitened brass' / 'brass of Lebanon' / or 'yellow frankincense'. What makes this word look even more homemade is the fact that Perseus has only two listings out of a virtual ocean of Greek sources--Rev. 1:15 & 2:18! Even so, 'whitened brass' compared with "chashmal" and "electrum" in Fred Miller's quote makes one think of a shining and flashing glory reminiscent of Shekhinah. <!-- sSmile --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/smile.gif" alt="Smile" title="Smile" /><!-- sSmile -->

Shlama w'Burkate, Larry Kelsey
chalkolibano is not found anywhere in greek literature, biblical or otherwise, except in Revelation and appears to be a word invented by the author of Revelation. He seems to know that his readers may need help with the term so he gives an explanation - (1:15) "his feet were like chalkolibano (something related to bronze), as glowing in a furnace". Bronze in a molten state is white-hot, and the Hebrew word for white is laban, so it may be that this writer, who is clearly a non-Greek speaker and whose work is riddled with Hebraisms, combined the Greek word for bronze - chalko, with a Hellenized form of the Hebrew adjective for white - libanos, to describe molten bronze. This makes far more sense than 'brass of Lebanon' or 'yellow frankincense', and explains why Jerome would not have a clue as to the exact meaning of this hapax legomenon, and renders it olichalcos - yellow copper alloy, another Latin word for bronze. The feet shimmering mysteriously like glowing white-hot metal would conjur images of the brightness of God's glory.