nif: (1) ma'akheleth, literally, an instrument for eating; but used of large knives for slaying animals, cutting up a carcass or a sacrificial victim (Ge 22:6,10; Jg 19:29; Pr 30:14). (2) cherebh, rendered generally "sword," but in Jos 5:2-3 of stone knives for circumcision (compare Ex 4:25), probably of similar knives in 1Ki 18:28, used by Baal prophets in gashing themselves. In Eze 5:12 the King James Version, "knife," probably better the Revised Version (British and American), "sword." (3) ta`ar, usually rendered "razor," in combination with ha-copher, "knife of the writer," or "penknife" (Jer 36:23). (4) machalaphim, "slaughter-knives" (Ezr 1:9). (5) sakkin, Aramaic, "knife" (Pr 23:2). Early knives were commonly made of sharp stones, especially of flint, later of bronze and iron. The-former remained in use in religious ceremonies long after the latter were in common use. Knives were not generally used at meals, meats being cut into bits before served, and bread being. broken into fragments. Herod used a knife for paring apples, and attempted suicide with the instrument (Josephus, Ant, XVII, vii, 1; BJ, I, xxxiii, 7).
Edward Bagby Pollard