The meaning of Ax (axe); Ax-head in the Bible
(From International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)
aks; aks'hed: Nine different Hebrew words have been rendered "ax":
(1) garzen. This unquestionably was one of the larger chopping instruments, as the uses to which it was put would imply (Deuteronomy 19:5; Deuteronomy 20:19; I Kings 6:7; Isaiah 10:15). The modern ax used by the woodchoppers in Syria has a shape much like the ancient stone and bronze axes, with the exception that it is fastened to the handle by passing the latter through a hole in the ax-head, whereas the Egyptian sculptures show that their ax-heads were held to the handles by means of thongs. The so-called battle-ax found at Tell el-Chesy was probably fastened in this way. Syrian peasants are frequently seen carrying in their belts small hatchets the heads of which are shaped like a battle-ax and which are bound to the handles by thongs.
(2) ma'atsar, is used in Isaiah 44:12 (King James Version renders "tongs") and in Jeremiah 10:3.
(3) qardom, is used in Judges 9:48; I Samuel 13:20-21; Psalms 74:5; Jeremiah 46:22. The present Arabic word, qudum, which is the name for the native adze, is from the same origin. The adze is the only chopping instrument of the Syrian carpenter. He uses it for many purposes, where a foreigner would use a saw or chisel or plane, and with a skill which the foreigner envies. Many students of Syrian life believe that the adze is a tool which has survived from the early Hebrew times.
(4) barzel (Deuteronomy 19:5; II Kings 6:5): The interest associated with this word is that it literally means "iron," although the context indicates that it means "ax." If the word iron was not used here to mean "metal," then iron axes were used by the children of Israel. If iron axes existed, however, they have long since disappeared as the result of corrosion, since the only ones discovered have been of stone, copper or bronze.
(5) maghzirah (II Samuel 12:31) is literally, "a cutting instrument," and might be rendered, "a blade" or sickle.
(6) megherah (I Chronicles 20:2), translated in this one passage as axes, but better translated "saws."
(7) cherebh (Ezekiel 26:9), rendered ax in this passage only. It is usually translated sword. It could also mean pick-axe.
(8) kashil (Psalms 74:6 the King James Version), literally, "a feller," hence, an axe.
(9) mapets (Jeremiah 51:20), literally, "a smiter," hence, a war club or battle-axe. The Greek word used in the New Testament is axine (Matthew 3:10; Luke 3:9).
James A. Patch
DISCLAIMER: Church of the Great God (CGG) provides these resources to aid the individual in studying the Bible. However, it is up to the individual to "prove all things, and hold fast to that which is good" (I Thessalonians 5:21). The content of these resources does not necessarily reflect the views of CGG. They are provided for information purposes only.