The Iron Age in Palestine was from about 1200 to 330 BCE. The Philistines were makers of iron implements (1 Sam. 13: 19) which David encountered (1 Sam. 17: 7). Because of its hardness, iron is often used as a metaphor: the life of slavery in Egypt was like being in an iron furnace (Deut. 4: 20, cf. Jer. 28: 13) and the stones of Palestine are like iron (Deut. 8: 9); it is a symbol of strength (Isa. 48: 4); and dissidents can be threatened with a yoke of iron (Deut. 28: 48). Deutero-Isaiah describes the craft of an ironsmith (Isa. 44: 12). The iron gate of Acts 12: 10 is one of the few NT references to iron.

There was probably an iron mine at Gilead, and the smelting fuel was charcoal (cf. Ezek. 22: 20).