A single- or double-edged cutting implement. Knives used in Biblical lands in times past were made of stone (particularly of flint), copper, bronze, or iron.
The Hebrew term ma·ʼakheʹleth, which literally refers to an instrument for eating, is also applied to large knives such as those employed in cutting up the carcasses of sacrificial animals. A “slaughtering knife” (Heb., ma·ʼakheʹleth) was the instrument faithful Abraham took in hand when about to sacrifice Isaac (Ge 22:6, 10), and the same type was used by a certain Levite to cut the body of his dead concubine into 12 pieces. (Jg 19:29) Also, Proverbs 30:14 speaks of “a generation whose teeth are swords and whose jawbones are slaughtering knives,” thus employing the same Hebrew term as a figure of rapaciousness.
“Flint knives” were made by Joshua for use in circumcising the sons of Israel at Gibeath-haaraloth. (Jos 5:2-4) Part of the Hebrew term designating these knives is cheʹrev, generally rendered “sword.” (Compare Jos 5:2, ftn.) The common “Canaanite” flint knife was about 15 cm (6 in.) in length and had a raised center ridge and a double edge.
Scribes and secretaries of ancient times used a type of knife to sharpen their reed pens and to make erasures. Jeremiah 36:23 tells of the use of a “secretary’s knife” to tear apart a roll of a book prepared by Jeremiah at Jehovah’s direction.
Many ancient knives of copper have a straight blade from 15 to 25 cm (6 to 10 in.) in length; some with curved tips have also been discovered. Handles were often one piece with the blade. Other handles were made of wood and were fastened to the blade.
Proverbs 23:1, 2 makes figurative reference to a knife, recommending the ‘putting of a knife to one’s throat’ when eating with a king, evidently emphasizing the need to restrain one’s appetite in such a circumstance.