1. A vessel in which substances are crushed with a pestle. Mortars were frequently fashioned from basalt or limestone. They were used to grind grain for flour, herbs for medicine, olives for oil (Exodus 27:20). By extension mortar designates a hollow place (Joshua 15:19). Mortar is used as a proper name for a district of Jerusalem in
Zephaniah 1:11. 2. A building material, usually clay (Exodus 1:14;
Nahum 3:14), though sometimes bitumen (Genesis 11:3; KJV “slime”), used to secure joints in brick or stone. Modern translations sometimes replace the mortar of the KJV with another term, for example, plaster (Leviticus 14:42,Leviticus 14:45) or whitewash (Ezekiel 13:10-11,Ezekiel 13:14-15).
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'MORTAR'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".