pecham, "a black coal," and gachelath, "burning coals." Proverbs 26:21; "as coals (fuel) are to burning coals," etc.; so we speak of quarrelsome men "adding fuel to the flame." "Coals of fire" in 2 Samuel 22:9; 2 Samuel 22:13, represent the lightning of God's wrath. In Proverbs 25:22, "heap coals of fire upon thine enemy's head" (Romans 12:20), the meaning is, melt him into burning shame at his own unworthy hatred, and love for thee who hast overcome his evil with thy good. Either he shall be like metals melted by fire or like clay hardened by it. In Psalm 120:4 "coals of juniper" rather burning brands of broom, retamim. The Arabs regard the retem (broom) the best firewood.
As their slanders burnt like coals on fire, so, by righteous retribution in kind, God will give them hot coals. Psalm 140:10; Psalm 18:12-13; compare the same image of the tongue, James 3:6. In 2 Samuel 14:7 "they shall quench my coal that is left," i.e., extinguish the only surviving light of my home, my only son. In Isaiah 6:6 and 1 Kings 19:6 the "coals" are in the Hebrew (rezeph) hot stones, on which cakes were baked and flesh cooked. In Habakkuk 3:5 (resheph) "burning coals" poetically and figuratively express "burning diseases," as the parallel "pestilence" shows; also compare Deuteronomy 32:24; Psalm 91:6. In Lamentations 4:8 translate as margin darker than blackness." Mineral coal protrudes through the strata to the surface of parts of Lebanon, at Cornale, eight miles from Beirut, the coal seams are three feet thick; but it seems not to have been anciently known as fuel. Charcoal is what is meant by "coal."