as a mineral, consists of carbonate of lime, its texture varying from the highly crystalline to the compact. In Esther 1:6 there are four Hebrew words which are rendered marble:, (1.) Shesh, "pillars of marble." But this word probably designates dark-blue limestone rather than marble. (2.) Dar, some regard as Parian marble. It is here rendered "white marble." But nothing is certainly known of it. (3.) Bahat, "red marble," probably the verd-antique or half-porphyry of Egypt. (4.) Sohareth, "black marble," probably some spotted variety of marble. "The marble pillars and tesserae of various colours of the palace at Susa came doubtless from Persia itself, where marble of various colours is found, especially in the province of Hamadan Susiana." The marble of Solomon's architectural works may have been limestone from near Jerusalem, or from Lebanon, or possibly white marble from Arabia. Herod employed Parian marble in the temple, and marble columns still exist in great abundance at Jerusalem.
- mar'-b'-l (shayish, shesh, 'abhne shayish, "stones of marble" (1 Ch 29:2
); ritspath bahat wa-shesh we-dhar we-cochareth, "a pavement of red, and white, and yellow, and black marble," or, according to the margin, "a pavement of porphyry, and white marble, and alabaster, and stone of blue color" (Est 1:6
); `ammudhe shesh, "pillars of marble" (Est 1:6
; Song 5:15
); compare shesh, the King James Version margin "silk" or the Revised Version (British and American) "fine linen" (Gen 41:42
; Ex 25:4
, etc.); shoshannim, "lilies" (Song 2:16
, etc.), apparently from a root signifying "white"; marmaros, "marble" (Rev 18:12
)): Marble is properly crystalline limestone, usually pure white or veined with black, the former being in demand for statuary, while the latter is used in architecture, especially for floors and pillars. True marble is not found in Palestine, but is obtained from Greece or Italy. Much of the stone described as marble is non-crystalline limestone capable of being smoothed and polished. White or yellow stone of this character is abundant in Palestine. Non-crystalline rocks of other colors are also sometimes called marble. In the passage from Esther cited above (compare margin), it is a question whether the reference is to marble and other stones or to marble of different colors. In 1 Ch 29:2
, "marble stones" are mentioned among the materials brought together by David for the building of the temple. In Est 1:6
, pillars and a pavement of marble are features of the palace of Ahasuerus. In Song 5:15
, the various parts of the body of the "beloved" are likened to gold, beryl, ivory, sapphire, and marble. In Rev 18:12
, marble occurs in the list of the merchandise of Babylon. All these references imply a costly stone, and therefore probably one imported from other countries, and make it likely that true crystalline marble is meant.
Alfred Ely Day