An Alphabetical Analysis
Volume 8 - Prophetic Truth - Page 162 of 304
and suggests deterioration and disappointment.  Clay can be heated a little
without becoming permanently hardened, but when burnt, clay acquires a
siliceous hardness, and can never be rendered plastic again.  The chief use
of clay is for the making of pottery, and a potter is a frequent figure in
the Scriptures.  We are particularly concerned in this study with the feet of
clay of the image of Daniel 2, but it will be of great help if before dealing
with that particular use of the figure we become acquainted with the figures
of clay and potter in other parts of the Scriptures, for Daniel's prophecy
comes near to the close of the Old Testament.  Seven words are employed in
the Old Testament which are translated clay.
Chomer.  This word means primarily 'to boil' or 'ferment', 'to be red'
from the idea of boiling, being inflamed; then 'to swell up', and so it comes
to mean 'wine', 'clay', 'cement' or 'mortar', 'a heap' or 'a mound', hence 'a
measure'.  It would be beside the point to occupy pages in the pursuit of
these ramifications, so we proceed:
Chasaph.  This is a Chaldee word, and occurs in Daniel 2.  It is
probably derived from a root word that means 'to peel', or 'to scale', and so
applied to earthenware, sherds, potter's ware, with special reference to its
liability to break.
This is clay in the form of mud or mire (Psa. 40:2).
Chaldee potter's clay (Dan. 2:41), 'miry clay'.
Melet.  Derived from a word meaning 'smooth'.
Only occurrence is in
Jeremiah 43:9.
Ab and Maabeh.
From abah, 'thick', 'gross' (1 Kings 7:46; 2 Chron.
A combination of two words meaning 'thick mire' (Hab. 2:6).
But one word is translated 'clay' in the New Testament, namely the
Greek pelos.  For our present study chomer, chasaph and pelos, that is one
word each from Hebrew, Chaldee and Greek, is all that we need consider.  The
first occurrence of chomer is in Genesis 11:3:
'They had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar'.
This is said of the building of the tower of Babel.  The word 'mortar' is in
some other passages translated 'clay'.  If the book of Job was written before
Moses penned the book of Genesis*  then, while the references to clay in Job
were not written before the actual building of Babel, they will represent to
us the earliest references in writing to this word.  Chomer occurs seven
times in Job (4:19; 10:9; 13:12; 27:16; 30:19; 33:6; 38:14).  Of these, four
references speak of the frailty of human nature, 'them that dwell in houses
of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth'.
The three references that speak of clay in other connections are Job 27:16;
30:19 and 38:14.
See The Book of Job, by Charles H. Welch.
'Though he heap up silver as the dust, and prepare raiment as the clay'
(Job 27:16).