Looking for authentic ancient oil lamps from Israel?
Clay oil lamps provided light throughout the history of the Holy Land. Read More...
Oil lamps were simple, utilitarian vessels, typically small enough to hold in one hand. They had their origins in simple bowls filled with oil. One end of a wick would be placed in the oil, and the other end would be lit with a flame. Over time, potters began pinching one or more sides of the bowl to create a secure place for the wick to rest. In the Greek period, lamps formed in molds became popular, and this style of lamp continued through the Roman period. Some of these lamps were plain, while others were highly decorated.
Lamps are mentioned throughout the Bible. The psalmist likened the word of God to a lamp “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105). A lamp from the time of the psalmists would have only put out enough light to luminate the path a few steps ahead of the one carrying it.
Jesus mentioned lamps frequently in his parables. He said, “Is a lamp to be put under a basket or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a lampstand?” (Mark 4:21). Underground silos carved into the bedrock below homes served as storage basements in the first century. In many of these, lampstands can be clearly seen, taking the form of triangular notches carved into the limestone walls of the space.
Jesus also said, “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light” (Matthew 6:22). In this passage, Jesus likens the eye to a lamp, shining light into a person to illuminate him or her. Jesus also spoke of a woman using a lamp to search for a missing coin, “What woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? (Luke 15:8).
Another parable of Jesus spoke of women bringing lamps to a wedding. Those who did not bring extra oil ran out before the bridegroom arrived. This parable reflects the small size of the oil lamps at the time, since they would not have held enough oil to burn for a long time.
Zak’s antiquities specializes in ancient pottery lamps going back to the Canaanite period through to the Roman period with items from the time of Jesus.
For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them (Matthew 25:3)
Ancient oil lamps: Lamps had their origins in simple bowls filled with oil. One end of a wick would be placed in the oil, and the other end would be lit with a flame. Over time, potters began pinching one side of the bowl to create a secure place for the wick to rest. In the Greek period, lamps formed in molds became popular, and this style of lamp continued through the Roman period. Although some molded lamps featured scenes or inscriptions, many, especially Jewish lamps, remained plain and undecorated. What woman, having ten silver coins, is she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? (Luke 15:8)
These rare collectible Biblical antiquities have been discovered on archaeological excavations in the Holy Land.
You are invited to visit Zak and feel the bustling surrounding his store. Come and enjoy a cup of tea and chat about the vast range of antiquity. His knowledge of antiquity shall fascinate you.
Every ancient artifact comes with a certificate of authenticity from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).