A single-or double-edged cutting implement. Knives used in Biblical lands in times past were made of stone (particularly of flint), copper, bronze and 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 (Gen. 22:6, 10), and the same type was used by a certain Levite to cut the body of his dead concubine into twelve pieces. (Judg. 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. (Josh. 5:2-4) The Hebrew term designating these knives is hheʹrev, generally rendered “sword,” and literally meaning here “daggers (swords) of rock.” The common “Canaanite” flint knife was about six inches (c. 15 centimeters) 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.
Ancient knives of copper found commonly have a straight blade from six to ten inches (c. 15 to 25 centimeters) in length, some with curved tips also being discovered. Handles were often one piece with the blade. Other handles were made of wood and fastened to the blade. Iron knives were similar, their blades being cast in limestone molds, like the mold discovered at Tell Beit Mirsim, in which a blade sixteen inches (c. 40.6 centimeters) in length could be cast.
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 circumstance.