How was fire transported in ancient times?
THE Biblical account found at Genesis 22:6 states that, in order to prepare to offer a sacrifice at a distant location, Abraham “took the wood for the burnt offering and put it on his son Isaac. Then he took in his hands the fire and the knife, and the two of them walked on together.”
No mention is made in the Scriptures of the method used to light fires in ancient times. Regarding the account in question, at least one commentator believes that a flame could “scarcely have been kept going throughout the long journey” that Abraham and Isaac made. Thus, it may be that what is referred to is the equipment needed for producing fire.
Others point out, however, that it was not a simple thing to kindle a fire in ancient times. People would have found it easier, where possible, to get a hot ember from their neighbors rather than try to start a fire on their own. A number of scholars thus believe that what Abraham carried was a vessel—perhaps a pot suspended from a chain—that contained live coals or charcoal embers raked from the preceding night’s fire. (Isa. 30:14) Glowing embers transported in such a way could readily be used with tinder wood to rekindle a fire at any point along a journey.