The art of pottery is one of the most common and most ancient of all manufactures. It is abundantly evident, both that the Hebrews used earthenware vessels in the wilderness and that the potter's trade was afterward carried on in Palestine. They had themselves been concerned in the potter's trade in Egypt, (Psalms 81:6) and the wall-paintings minutely illustrate the Egyptian process. The clay, when dug, was trodden by men's feet so as to form a paste, (Isaiah 41:25) Wisd. 15:7; then placed by the potter on the wheel beside which he sat, and shaped by him with his hands. How early the wheel came into use in Palestine is not known, but it seems likely that it was adopted from Egypt. (Isaiah 45:9; Jeremiah 15:3) The vessel was then smoothed and coated with a glaze, and finally burnt in a furnace. There was at Jerusalem a royal establishment of potters, (1 Chronicles 4:23) from whose employment, and from the fragments cast away in the process, the Potter's Field perhaps received its name. (Isaiah 30:11)
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