How do We Recognize and Read Metaphors in Ancient Texts?

How does a scholar reading an ancient text know that a word is being used metaphorically? I don’t think that we have the intuitive luxury in reading an ancient text that we have with our native language. I don’t think we can accurately make intuitive determinations when studying word forms that come to us, so to speak, out of nowhere. Instead we must rely soley on a mechanical procedure which mimics intuition.