Black - properly the absence of all colour. In Prov. 7:9 the Hebrew word means, as in the margin of the Revised Version, "the pupil of the eye." It is translated "apple" of the eye in Deut. 32:10; Ps. 17:8; Prov. 7:2. It is a different word which is rendered "black" in Lev. 13:31,37; Cant. 1:5; 5:11; and Zech. 6:2, 6. It is uncertain what the "black marble" of Esther 1:6 was which formed a part of the mosaic pavement.
Blade - applied to the glittering point of a spear (Job 39:23) or sword (Nah. 3:3), the blade of a dagger (Judg. 3:22); the "shoulder blade" (Job 31:22); the "blade" of cereals (Matt. 13:26).
Blains - occurs only in connection with the sixth plague of Egypt (Ex. 9:9, 10). In Deut. 28:27, 35, it is called "the botch of Egypt." It seems to have been the fearful disease of black leprosy, a kind of elephantiasis, producing burning ulcers.
Blasphemy - In the sense of speaking evil of God this word is found in Ps. 74:18; Isa. 52:5; Rom. 2:24; Rev. 13:1, 6; 16:9, 11, 21. It denotes also any kind of calumny, or evil-speaking, or abuse (1 Kings 21:10; Acts 13:45; 18:6, etc.). Our Lord was accused of blasphemy when he claimed to be the Son of God (Matt. 26:65; comp. Matt. 9:3; Mark 2:7). They who deny his Messiahship blaspheme Jesus (Luke 22:65; John 10:36).
Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost (Matt. 12:31, 32; Mark 3:28, 29; Luke 12:10) is regarded by some as a continued and obstinate rejection of the gospel, and hence is an unpardonable sin, simply because as long as a sinner remains in unbelief he voluntarily excludes himself from pardon. Others regard the expression as designating the sin of attributing to the power of Satan those miracles which Christ performed, or generally those works which are the result of the Spirit's agency.
Blastus - chamberlain to king Herod Agrippa I. (Acts 12:20). Such persons generally had great influence with their masters.
Blemish - imperfection or bodily deformity excluding men from the priesthood, and rendering animals unfit to be offered in sacrifice (Lev. 21:17-23; 22:19-25). The Christian church, as justified in Christ, is "without blemish" (Eph. 5:27). Christ offered himself a sacrifice "without blemish," acceptable to God (1 Pet. 1:19).
Bless - (1.) God blesses his people when he bestows on them some gift temporal or spiritual (Gen. 1:22; 24:35; Job 42:12; Ps. 45:2; 104:24, 35).
(2.) We bless God when we thank him for his mercies (Ps. 103:1, 2; 145:1, 2).
(3.) A man blesses himself when he invokes God's blessing (Isa. 65:16), or rejoices in God's goodness to him (Deut. 29:19; Ps. 49:18).
(4.) One blesses another when he expresses good wishes or offers prayer to God for his welfare (Gen. 24:60; 31:55; 1 Sam. 2:20). Sometimes blessings were uttered under divine inspiration, as in the case of Noah, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses (Gen. 9:26, 27; 27:28, 29, 40; 48:15-20; 49:1-28; Deut. 33). The priests were divinely authorized to bless the people (Deut. 10:8; Num. 6:22-27). We have many examples of apostolic benediction (2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 6:23, 24; 2 Thess. 3:16, 18; Heb. 13:20, 21; 1 Pet. 5:10, 11).
(5.) Among the Jews in their thank-offerings the master of the feast took a cup of wine in his hand, and after having blessed God for it and for other mercies then enjoyed, handed it to his guests, who all partook of it. Ps. 116:13 refers to this custom. It is also alluded to in 1 Cor. 10:16, where the apostle speaks of the "cup of blessing."
Blind - Blind beggars are frequently mentioned (Matt. 9:27; 12:22; 20:30; John 5:3). The blind are to be treated with compassion (Lev. 19:14; Deut. 27:18). Blindness was sometimes a punishment for disobedience (1 Sam. 11:2; Jer. 39:7), sometimes the effect of old age (Gen. 27:1; 1 Kings 14:4; 1 Sam. 4:15). Conquerors sometimes blinded their captives (2 Kings 25:7; 1 Sam. 11:2). Blindness denotes ignorance as to spiritual things (Isa. 6:10; 42:18, 19; Matt. 15:14; Eph. 4:18). The opening of the eyes of the blind is peculiar to the Messiah (Isa. 29:18). Elymas was smitten with blindness at Paul's word (Acts 13:11).
Blood - (1.) As food, prohibited in Gen. 9:4, where the use of animal food is first allowed. Comp. Deut. 12:23; Lev. 3:17; 7:26; 17:10-14. The injunction to abstain from blood is renewed in the decree of the council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:29). It has been held by some, and we think correctly, that this law of prohibition was only ceremonial and temporary; while others regard it as still binding on all. Blood was eaten by the Israelites after the battle of Gilboa (1 Sam. 14:32-34).
(2.) The blood of sacrifices was caught by the priest in a basin, and then sprinkled seven times on the altar; that of the passover on the doorposts and lintels of the houses (Ex. 12; Lev. 4:5-7; 16:14-19). At the giving of the law (Ex. 24:8) the blood of the sacrifices was sprinkled on the people as well as on the altar, and thus the people were consecrated to God, or entered into covenant with him, hence the blood of the covenant (Matt. 26:28; Heb. 9:19, 20; 10:29; 13:20).
(3.) Human blood. The murderer was to be punished (Gen. 9:5). The blood of the murdered "crieth for vengeance" (Gen. 4:10). The "avenger of blood" was the nearest relative of the murdered, and he was required to avenge his death (Num. 35:24, 27). No satisfaction could be made for the guilt of murder (Num. 35:31).
(4.) Blood used metaphorically to denote race (Acts 17:26), and as a symbol of slaughter (Isa. 34:3). To "wash the feet in blood" means to gain a great victory (Ps. 58:10). Wine, from its red colour, is called "the blood of the grape" (Gen. 49:11). Blood and water issued from our Saviour's side when it was pierced by the Roman soldier (John 19:34). This has led pathologists to the conclusion that the proper cause of Christ's death was rupture of the heart. (Comp. Ps. 69:20.)
Bloody sweat - the sign and token of our Lord's great agony (Luke 22:44).
Blot - a stain or reproach (Job 31:7; Prov. 9:7). To blot out sin is to forgive it (Ps. 51:1, 9; Isa. 44:22; Acts 3:19). Christ's blotting out the handwriting of ordinances was his fulfilling the law in our behalf (Col. 2:14).
Blue - generally associated with purple (Ex. 25:4; 26:1, 31, 36, etc.). It is supposed to have been obtained from a shellfish of the Mediterranean, the Helix ianthina of Linnaeus. The robe of the high priest's ephod was to be all of this colour (Ex. 28:31), also the loops of the curtains (26:4) and the ribbon of the breastplate (28:28). Blue cloths were also made for various sacred purposes (Num. 4:6, 7, 9, 11, 12). (See COLOUR.)
Boanerges - sons of thunder, a surname given by our Lord to James and John (Mark 3:17) on account of their fervid and impetuous temper (Luke 9:54).
Boar - occurs only in Ps. 80:13. The same Hebrew word is elsewhere rendered "swine" (Lev. 11:7; Deut. 14:8; Prov. 11:22; Isa. 65:4; 66:3, 17). The Hebrews abhorred swine's flesh, and accordingly none of these animals were reared, except in the district beyond the Sea of Galilee. In the psalm quoted above the powers that destroyed the Jewish nation are compared to wild boars and wild beasts of the field.
Boaz - alacrity.
(1.) The husband of Ruth, a wealthy Bethlehemite. By the "levirate law" the duty devolved on him of marrying Ruth the Moabitess (Ruth 4:1-13). He was a kinsman of Mahlon, her first husband.
(2.) The name given (for what reason is unknown) to one of the two (the other was called Jachin) brazen pillars which Solomon erected in the court of the temple (1 Kings 7:21; 2 Chr. 3:17). These pillars were broken up and carried to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar.
Bochim - weepers, a place where the angel of the Lord reproved the Israelites for entering into a league with the people of the land. This caused them bitterly to weep, and hence the name of the place (Judg. 2:1, 5). It lay probably at the head of one of the valleys between Gilgal and Shiloh.
Boil - (rendered "botch" in Deut. 28:27, 35), an aggravated ulcer, as in the case of Hezekiah (2 Kings 20:7; Isa. 38:21) or of the Egyptians (Ex. 9:9, 10, 11; Deut. 28:27, 35). It designates the disease of Job (2:7), which was probably the black leprosy.
Bolled - (Ex. 9:31), meaning "swollen or podded for seed," was adopted in the Authorized Version from the version of Coverdale (1535). The Revised Version has in the margin "was in bloom," which is the more probable rendering of the Hebrew word. It is the fact that in Egypt when barley is in ear (about February) flax is blossoming.
Bolster - The Hebrew word kebir, rendered "pillow" in 1 Sam. 19:13, 16, but in Revised Version marg. "quilt" or "network," probably means some counterpane or veil intended to protect the head of the sleeper. A different Hebrew word (meraashoth') is used for "bolster" (1 Sam. 26:7, 11, 16). It is rightly rendered in Revised Version "at his head." In Gen. 28:11, 18 the Authorized Version renders it "for his pillows," and the Revised Version "under his head." In Ezek. 13:18, 20 another Hebrew word (kesathoth) is used, properly denoting "cushions" or "pillows," as so rendered both in the Authorized and the Revised Version.
Bond - an obligation of any kind (Num. 30:2, 4, 12). The word means also oppression or affliction (Ps. 116:16; Phil. 1:7). Christian love is the "bond of perfectness" (Col. 3:14), and the influences of the Spirit are the "bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3).
Bondage - of Israel in Egypt (Ex. 2:23, 25; 5), which is called the "house of bondage" (13:3; 20:2). This word is used also with reference to the captivity in Babylon (Isa. 14:3), and the oppression of the Persian king (Ezra 9:8, 9).
Bonnet - (Heb. peer), Ex. 39:28 (R.V., "head-tires"); Ezek. 44:18 (R.V., "tires"), denotes properly a turban worn by priests, and in Isa. 3:20 (R.V., "head-tires") a head-dress or tiara worn by females. The Hebrew word so rendered literally means an ornament, as in Isa. 61:10 (R.V., "garland"), and in Ezek. 24:17, 23 "tire" (R.V., "head-tire"). It consisted of a piece of cloth twisted about the head. In Ex. 28:40; 29:9 it is the translation of a different Hebrew word (migba'ah), which denotes the turban (R.V., "head-tire") of the common priest as distinguished from the mitre of the high priest. (See MITRE.)
Book - This word has a comprehensive meaning in Scripture. In the Old Testament it is the rendering of the Hebrew word sepher, which properly means a "writing," and then a "volume" (Ex. 17:14; Deut. 28:58; 29:20; Job 19:23) or "roll of a book" (Jer. 36:2, 4).
Books were originally written on skins, on linen or cotton cloth, and on Egyptian papyrus, whence our word "paper." The leaves of the book were generally written in columns, designated by a Hebrew word properly meaning "doors" and "valves" (Jer. 36:23, R.V., marg. "columns").
Among the Hebrews books were generally rolled up like our maps, or if very long they were rolled from both ends, forming two rolls (Luke 4:17-20). Thus they were arranged when the writing was on flexible materials; but if the writing was on tablets of wood or brass or lead, then the several tablets were bound together by rings through which a rod was passed.
A sealed book is one whose contents are secret (Isa. 29:11; Rev. 5:1-3). To "eat" a book (Jer. 15:16; Ezek. 2:8-10; 3:1-3; Rev. 10:9) is to study its contents carefully.
The book of judgment (Dan. 7:10) refers to the method of human courts of justice as illustrating the proceedings which will take place at the day of God's final judgment.
The book of the wars of the Lord (Num. 21:14), the book of Jasher (Josh. 10:13), and the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah and Israel (2 Chr. 25:26), were probably ancient documents known to the Hebrews, but not forming a part of the canon.
The book of life (Ps. 69:28) suggests the idea that as the redeemed form a community or citizenship (Phil. 3:20; 4:3), a catalogue of the citizens' names is preserved (Luke 10:20; Rev. 20:15). Their names are registered in heaven (Luke 10:20; Rev. 3:5).
The book of the covenant (Ex. 24:7), containing Ex. 20:22-23:33, is the first book actually mentioned as a part of the written word. It contains a series of laws, civil, social, and religious, given to Moses at Sinai immediately after the delivery of the decalogue. These were written in this "book."
Booth - a hut made of the branches of a tree. In such tabernacles Jacob sojourned for a season at a place named from this circumstance Succoth (Gen. 33:17). Booths were erected also at the feast of Tabernacles (q.v.), Lev. 23:42, 43, which commemorated the abode of the Israelites in the wilderness.
Booty - captives or cattle or objects of value taken in war. In Canaan all that breathed were to be destroyed (Deut. 20: 16). The "pictures and images" of the Canaanites were to be destroyed also (Num. 33:52). The law of booty as to its division is laid down in Num. 31:26-47. David afterwards introduced a regulation that the baggage-guard should share the booty equally with the soldiers engaged in battle. He also devoted of the spoils of war for the temple (1 Sam. 30:24-26; 2 Sam. 8:11; 1 Chr. 26:27).
Borrow - The Israelites "borrowed" from the Egyptians (Ex. 12:35, R.V., "asked") in accordance with a divine command (3:22; 11:2). But the word (sha'al) so rendered here means simply and always to "request" or "demand." The Hebrew had another word which is properly translated "borrow" in Deut. 28:12; Ps. 37:21. It was well known that the parting was final. The Egyptians were so anxious to get the Israelites away out of their land that "they let them have what they asked" (Ex. 12:36, R.V.), or literally "made them to ask," urged them to take whatever they desired and depart. (See LOAN.)
Bosom - In the East objects are carried in the bosom which Europeans carry in the pocket. To have in one's bosom indicates kindness, secrecy, or intimacy (Gen. 16:5; 2 Sam. 12:8). Christ is said to have been in "the bosom of the Father," i.e., he had the most perfect knowledge of the Father, had the closest intimacy with him (John 1:18). John (13:23) was "leaning on Jesus' bosom" at the last supper. Our Lord carries his lambs in his bosom, i.e., has a tender, watchful care over them (Isa. 40:11).
Bosor - the Chaldee or Aramaic form of the name Beor, the father of Balaam (2 Pet. 2:15).
Bosses - the projecting parts of a shield (Job 15:26). The Hebrew word thus rendered means anything convex or arched, and hence the back, as of animals.
Botch - the name given in Deut. 28:27, 35 to one of the Egyptian plagues (Ex. 9:9). The word so translated is usually rendered "boil" (q.v.).
Bottle - a vessel made of skins for holding wine (Josh. 9:4. 13; 1 Sam. 16:20; Matt. 9:17; Mark 2:22; Luke 5:37, 38), or milk (Judg. 4:19), or water (Gen. 21:14, 15, 19), or strong drink (Hab. 2:15).
Earthenware vessels were also similarly used (Jer. 19:1-10; 1 Kings 14:3; Isa. 30:14). In Job 32:19 (comp. Matt. 9:17; Luke 5:37, 38; Mark 2:22) the reference is to a wine-skin ready to burst through the fermentation of the wine. "Bottles of wine" in the Authorized Version of Hos. 7:5 is properly rendered in the Revised Version by "the heat of wine," i.e., the fever of wine, its intoxicating strength.
The clouds are figuratively called the "bottles of heaven" (Job 38:37). A bottle blackened or shrivelled by smoke is referred to in Ps. 119:83 as an image to which the psalmist likens himself.
Bow - The bow was in use in early times both in war and in the chase (Gen. 21:20; 27:3; 48:22). The tribe of Benjamin were famous for the use of the bow (1 Chr. 8:40; 12:2; 2 Chr. 14:8; 17:17); so also were the Elamites (Isa. 22:6) and the Lydians (Jer. 46:9). The Hebrew word commonly used for bow means properly to tread (1 Chr. 5:18; 8:40), and hence it is concluded that the foot was employed in bending the bow. Bows of steel (correctly "copper") are mentioned (2 Sam. 22:35; Ps. 18:34).
The arrows were carried in a quiver (Gen. 27:3; Isa. 22:6; 49:2; Ps. 127:5). They were apparently sometimes shot with some burning material attached to them (Ps. 120:4).
The bow is a symbol of victory (Ps. 7:12). It denotes also falsehood, deceit (Ps. 64:3, 4; Hos. 7:16; Jer. 9:3).
"The use of the bow" in 2 Sam. 1:18 (A.V.) ought to be "the song of the bow," as in the Revised Version.
Bowels - (Phil. 1:8; 2:1; Col. 3:12), compassionate feelings; R.V., "tender mercies."
Bowing - a mode of showing respect. Abraham "bowed himself to the people of the land" (Gen. 23:7); so Jacob to Esau (Gen. 33:3); and the brethren of Joseph before him as the governor of the land (Gen. 43:28). Bowing is also frequently mentioned as an act of adoration to idols (Josh. 23:7; 2 Kings 5:18; Judg. 2:19; Isa. 44:15), and to God (Josh. 5:14; Ps. 22:29; 72:9; Micah 6:6; Ps. 95:6; Eph. 3:14).
Bowl - The sockets of the lamps of the golden candlestick of the tabernacle are called bowls (Ex. 25:31, 33, 34; 37:17, 19, 20); the same word so rendered being elsewhere rendered "cup" (Gen. 44:2, 12, 16), and wine "pot" (Jer. 35:5). The reservoir for oil, from which pipes led to each lamp in Zechariah's vision of the candlestick, is called also by this name (Zech. 4:2, 3); so also are the vessels used for libations (Ex. 25:29; 37:16).
Box - for holding oil or perfumery (Mark 14:3). It was of the form of a flask or bottle. The Hebrew word (pak) used for it is more appropriately rendered "vial" in 1 Sam. 10:1, and should also be so rendered in 2 Kings 9:1, where alone else it occurs.
Box-tree - (Heb. teashshur), mentioned in Isa. 60:13; 41:19, was, according to some, a species of cedar growing in Lebanon. The words of Ezek. 27:6 literally translated are, "Thy benches they have made of ivory, the daughter of the ashur tree," i.e., inlaid with ashur wood. The ashur is the box-tree, and accordingly the Revised Version rightly reads "inlaid in box wood." This is the Buxus sempervirens of botanists. It is remarkable for the beauty of its evergreen foliage and for the utility of its hard and durable wood.
Bozrah - enclosure; fortress.
(1.) The city of Jobab, one of the early Edomite kings (Gen. 36:33). This place is mentioned by the prophets in later times (Isa. 34:6; Jer. 49:13; Amos 1:12; Micah 2:12). Its modern representative is el-Busseireh. It lies in the mountain district of Petra, 20 miles to the south-east of the Dead Sea.
(2.) A Moabite city in the "plain country" (Jer. 48:24), i.e., on the high level down on the east of the Dead Sea. It is probably the modern Buzrah.
Bracelet - (1.) Anklets (Num. 31:50; 2 Sam. 1:10), and with reference to men.
(2.) The rendering of a Hebrew word meaning fasteners, found in Gen. 24:22, 30, 47.
(3.) In Isa. 3:19, the rendering of a Hebrew word meaning chains, i.e., twisted or chain-like bracelets.
(4.) In Ex. 35:22 it designates properly a clasp for fastening the dress of females. Some interpret it as a nose-ring.
(5.) In Gen. 38:18, 25, the rendering of a Hebrew word meaning "thread," and may denote the ornamental cord with which the signet was suspended from the neck of the wearer.
Bracelets were worn by men as well as by women (Cant. 5:14, R.V.). They were of many various forms. The weight of those presented by Eliezer to Rebekah was ten shekels (Gen. 24:22).
Bramble - (1.) Hebrew atad, Judg. 9:14; rendered "thorn," Ps. 58:9. The LXX. and Vulgate render by rhamnus, a thorny shrub common in Palestine, resembling the hawthorn.
(2.) Hebrew hoah, Isa. 34:13 (R.V. "thistles"); "thickets" in 1 Sam. 13:6; "thistles" in 2 Kings 14:9, 2 Chr. 25:18, Job 31:40; "thorns" in 2 Chr. 33:11, Cant. 2:2, Hos. 9:6. The word may be regarded as denoting the common thistle, of which there are many species which encumber the corn-fields of Palestine. (See THORNS.)
Branch - a symbol of kings descended from royal ancestors (Ezek. 17:3, 10; Dan. 11:7); of prosperity (Job 8:16); of the Messiah, a branch out of the root of the stem of Jesse (Isa. 11:1), the "beautiful branch" (4:2), a "righteous branch" (Jer. 23:5), "the Branch" (Zech. 3:8; 6:12).
Disciples are branches of the true vine (John 15:5, 6). "The branch of the terrible ones" (Isa. 25:5) is rightly translated in the Revised Version "the song of the terrible ones," i.e., the song of victory shall be brought low by the destruction of Babylon and the return of the Jews from captivity.
The "abominable branch" is a tree on which a malefactor has been hanged (Isa. 14:19). The "highest branch" in Ezek. 17:3 represents Jehoiakim the king.
Brass - which is an alloy of copper and zinc, was not known till the thirteenth century. What is designated by this word in Scripture is properly copper (Deut. 8:9). It was used for fetters (Judg. 16:21; 2 Kings 25:7), for pieces of armour (1 Sam. 17:5, 6), for musical instruments (1 Chr. 15:19; 1 Cor. 13:1), and for money (Matt. 10:9).
It is a symbol of insensibility and obstinacy in sin (Isa. 48:4; Jer. 6:28; Ezek. 22:18), and of strength (Ps. 107:16; Micah 4:13).
The Macedonian empire is described as a kingdom of brass (Dan. 2:39). The "mountains of brass" Zechariah (6:1) speaks of have been supposed to represent the immutable decrees of God.
The serpent of brass was made by Moses at the command of God (Num. 21:4-9), and elevated on a pole, so that it might be seen by all the people when wounded by the bite of the serpents that were sent to them as a punishment for their murmurings against God and against Moses. It was afterwards carried by the Jews into Canaan, and preserved by them till the time of Hezekiah, who caused it to be at length destroyed because it began to be viewed by the people with superstitious reverence (2 Kings 18:4). (See NEHUSHTAN.)
The brazen serpent is alluded to by our Lord in John 3:14, 15. (See SERPENT.)
Bravery - (Isa. 3:18), an old English word meaning comeliness or beauty.
Breach - an opening in a wall (1 Kings 11:27; 2 Kings 12:5); the fracture of a limb (Lev. 24:20), and hence the expression, "Heal, etc." (Ps. 60:2). Judg. 5:17, a bay or harbour; R.V., "by his creeks."
Bread - among the Jews was generally made of wheat (Ex. 29:2; Judg. 6:19), though also sometimes of other grains (Gen. 14:18; Judg. 7:13). Parched grain was sometimes used for food without any other preparation (Ruth 2:14).
Bread was prepared by kneading in wooden bowls or "kneading troughs" (Gen. 18:6; Ex. 12:34; Jer. 7:18). The dough was mixed with leaven and made into thin cakes, round or oval, and then baked. The bread eaten at the Passover was always unleavened (Ex. 12:15-20; Deut. 16:3). In the towns there were public ovens, which were much made use of for baking bread; there were also bakers by trade (Hos. 7:4; Jer. 37:21). Their ovens were not unlike those of modern times. But sometimes the bread was baked by being placed on the ground that had been heated by a fire, and by covering it with the embers (1 Kings 19:6). This was probably the mode in which Sarah prepared bread on the occasion referred to in Gen. 18:6.
In Lev. 2 there is an account of the different kinds of bread and cakes used by the Jews. (See BAKE.)
The shew-bread (q.v.) consisted of twelve loaves of unleavened bread prepared and presented hot on the golden table every Sabbath. They were square or oblong, and represented the twelve tribes of Israel. The old loaves were removed every Sabbath, and were to be eaten only by the priests in the court of the sanctuary (Ex. 25:30; Lev. 24:8; 1 Sam. 21:1-6; Matt. 12:4).
The word bread is used figuratively in such expressions as "bread of sorrows" (Ps. 127:2), "bread of tears" (80:5), i.e., sorrow and tears are like one's daily bread, they form so great a part in life. The bread of "wickedness" (Prov. 4:17) and "of deceit" (20:17) denote in like manner that wickedness and deceit are a part of the daily life.
Breastplate - (1.) That piece of ancient armour that protected the breast. This word is used figuratively in Eph. 6:14 and Isa. 59:17. (See ARMOUR.)
(2.) An ornament covering the breast of the high priest, first mentioned in Ex. 25:7. It was made of embroidered cloth, set with four rows of precious stones, three in each row. On each stone was engraved the name of one of the twelve tribes (Ex. 28:15-29; 39:8-21). It was in size about ten inches square. The two upper corners were fastened to the ephod by blue ribbons. It was not to be "loosed from the ephod" (Ex. 28:28). The lower corners were fastened to the girdle of the priest. As it reminded the priest of his representative character, it was called the memorial (28:29). It was also called the breastplate of judgment (28:15). (See PRIEST.)
Breeches - (Ex. 28:42), rather linen drawers, reaching from the waist to a little above the knee, worn by the priests (Ezek. 44:17, 18).
Bribe - None to be taken; "for the gift maketh open eyes blind, and perverteth the cause of the righteous" (Ex. 23:8, literally rendered).
Bricks - the making of, formed the chief labour of the Israelites in Egypt (Ex. 1:13, 14). Those found among the ruins of Babylon and Nineveh are about a foot square and four inches thick. They were usually dried in the sun, though also sometimes in kilns (2 Sam. 12:31; Jer. 43:9; Nah. 3:14). (See NEBUCHADNEZZAR.)
The bricks used in the tower of Babel were burnt bricks, cemented in the building by bitumen (Gen. 11:3).
Bride - frequently used in the ordinary sense (Isa. 49:18; 61:10, etc.). The relation between Christ and his church is set forth under the figure of that between a bridegroom and bride (John 3:29). The church is called "the bride" (Rev. 21:9; 22:17). Compare parable of the Ten Virgins (Matt. 25:1-13).
Bridle - Three Hebrew words are thus rendered in the Authorized Version.
(1.) Heb. mahsom' signifies a muzzle or halter or bridle, by which the rider governs his horse (Ps.39:1).
(2.) Me'theg, rendered also "bit" in Ps. 32:9, which is its proper meaning. Found in 2 Kings 19:28, where the restraints of God's providence are metaphorically styled his "bridle" and "hook." God's placing a "bridle in the jaws of the people" (Isa. 30:28; 37:29) signifies his preventing the Assyrians from carrying out their purpose against Jerusalem.
(3.) Another word, re'sen, was employed to represent a halter or bridle-rein, as used Ps. 32:9; Isa. 30:28. In Job 30:11 the restraints of law and humanity are called a bridle.
Brier - This word occurs frequently, and is the translation of several different terms.
(1.) Micah 7:4, it denotes a species of thorn shrub used for hedges. In Prov. 15:19 the word is rendered "thorn" (Heb. hedek, "stinging"), supposed by some to be what is called the "apple of Sodom" (q.v.).
(2.) Ezek. 28:24, sallon', properly a "prickle," such as is found on the shoots of the palm tree.
(3.) Isa. 55:13, probably simply a thorny bush. Some, following the Vulgate Version, regard it as the "nettle."
(4.) Isa. 5:6; 7:23-25, etc., frequently used to denote thorny shrubs in general. In 10:17; 27:4, it means troublesome men.
(5.) In Heb. 6:8 the Greek word (tribolos) so rendered means "three-pronged," and denotes the land caltrop, a low throny shrub resembling in its spikes the military "crow-foot." Comp. Matt. 7:16, "thistle."
Brigandine - (Jer. 46:4; 51:3), an obsolete English word denoting a scale coat of armour, or habergeon, worn by light-armed "brigands." The Revised Version has "coat of mail."
Brimstone - an inflammable mineral substance found in quantities on the shores of the Dead Sea. The cities of the plain were destroyed by a rain of fire and brimstone (Gen. 19:24, 25). In Isa. 34:9 allusion is made to the destruction of these cities. This word figuratively denotes destruction or punishment (Job 18:15; Isa. 30:33; 34:9; Ps. 11:6; Ezek. 38:22). It is used to express the idea of excruciating torment in Rev. 14:10; 19:20; 20:10.
Brook - a torrent.
(1.) Applied to small streams, as the Arnon, Jabbok, etc. Isaiah (15:7) speaks of the "book of the willows," probably the Wady-el-Asha.
(2.) It is also applied to winter torrents (Job 6:15; Num. 34:5; Josh. 15:4, 47), and to the torrent-bed or wady as well as to the torrent itself (Num. 13:23; 1 Kings 17:3).
(3.) In Isa. 19:7 the river Nile is meant, as rendered in the Revised Version.
Brother - (1.) In the natural and common sense (Matt. 1:2; Luke 3:1, 19).
(2.) A near relation, a cousin (Gen. 13:8; 14:16; Matt. 12:46; John 7:3; Acts 1:14; Gal. 1:19).
(3.) Simply a fellow-countryman (Matt. 5:47; Acts 3:22; Heb. 7:5).
(4.) A disciple or follower (Matt. 25:40; Heb. 2:11, 12).
(5.) One of the same faith (Amos 1:9; Acts 9:30; 11:29; 1 Cor. 5:11); whence the early disciples of our Lord were known to each other as brethren.
(6.) A colleague in office (Ezra 3:2; 1 Cor. 1:1; 2 Cor. 1:1).
(7.) A fellow-man (Gen. 9:5; 19:7; Matt. 5:22, 23, 24; 7:5; Heb. 2:17).
(8.) One beloved or closely united with another in affection (2 Sam. 1:26; Acts 6:3; 1 Thess. 5:1). Brethren of Jesus (Matt. 1:25; 12:46, 50: Mark 3:31, 32; Gal. 1:19; 1 Cor. 9:5, etc.) were probably the younger children of Joseph and Mary. Some have supposed that they may have been the children of Joseph by a former marriage, and others that they were the children of Mary, the Virgin's sister, and wife of Cleophas. The first interpretation, however, is the most natural.
Bruit - a rumour or report (Jer. 10:22, R.V. "rumour;" Nah. 3:19).
Bucket - a vessel to draw water with (Isa. 40:15); used figuratively, probably, of a numerous issue (Num. 24:7).
Buckler - (1.) A portable shield (2 Sam. 22:31; 1 Chr. 5:18).
(2.) A shield surrounding the person; the targe or round form; used once figuratively (Ps. 91:4).
(3.) A large shield protecting the whole body (Ps. 35:2; Ezek. 23:24; 26:8).
(4.) A lance or spear; improperly rendered "buckler" in the Authorized Version (1 Chr. 12:8), but correctly in the Revised Version "spear."
The leather of shields required oiling (2 Sam. 1:21; Isa. 21:5), so as to prevent its being injured by moisture. Copper (= "brass") shields were also in use (1 Sam. 17:6; 1 Kings 14:27). Those spoken of in 1 Kings 10:16, etc.; 14:26, were probably of massive metal.
The shields David had taken from his enemies were suspended in the temple as mementoes (2 Kings 11:10). (See ARMOUR, SHIELD.)
Building - among the Jews was suited to the climate and conditions of the country. They probably adopted the kind of architecture for their dwellings which they found already existing when they entered Canaan (Deut. 6:10; Num. 13:19). Phoenician artists (2 Sam. 5:11; 1 Kings 5:6, 18) assisted at the erection of the royal palace and the temple at Jerusalem. Foreigners also assisted at the restoration of the temple after the Exile (Ezra 3:7).
In Gen. 11:3, 9, we have the first recorded instance of the erection of buildings. The cities of the plain of Shinar were founded by the descendants of Shem (10:11, 12, 22).
The Israelites were by occupation shepherds and dwellers in tents (Gen. 47:3); but from the time of their entering Canaan they became dwellers in towns, and in houses built of the native limestone of Palestine. Much building was carried on in Solomon's time. Besides the buildings he completed at Jerusalem, he also built Baalath and Tadmor (1 Kings 9:15, 24). Many of the kings of Israel and Judah were engaged in erecting various buildings.
Herod and his sons and successors restored the temple, and built fortifications and other structures of great magnificence in Jerusalem (Luke 21:5).
The instruments used in building are mentioned as the plumb-line (Amos 7:7), the measuring-reed (Ezek. 40:3), and the saw (1 Kings 7:9).
Believers are "God's building" (1 Cor. 3:9); and heaven is called "a building of God" (2 Cor. 5:1). Christ is the only foundation of his church (1 Cor. 3:10-12), of which he also is the builder (Matt. 16:18).
Bul - rainy, the eighth ecclesiastical month of the year (1 Kings 6:38), and the second month of the civil year; later called Marchesvan (q.v.). (See MONTH.)
Bullock - (1.) The translation of a word which is a generic name for horned cattle (Isa. 65:25). It is also rendered "cow" (Ezek. 4:15), "ox" (Gen. 12:16).
(2.) The translation of a word always meaning an animal of the ox kind, without distinction of age or sex (Hos. 12:11). It is rendered "cow" (Num. 18:17) and "ox" (Lev. 17:3).
(3.) Another word is rendered in the same way (Jer. 31:18). It is also translated "calf" (Lev. 9:3; Micah 6:6). It is the same word used of the "molten calf" (Ex. 32:4, 8) and "the golden calf" (1 Kings 12:28).
(4.) In Judg. 6:25; Isa. 34:7, the Hebrew word is different. It is the customary word for bulls offered in sacrifice. In Hos. 14:2, the Authorized Version has "calves," the Revised Version "bullocks."
Bulrush - (1.) In Isa. 58:5 the rendering of a word which denotes "belonging to a marsh," from the nature of the soil in which it grows (Isa. 18:2). It was sometimes platted into ropes (Job. 41:2; A.V., "hook," R.V., "rope," lit. "cord of rushes").
(2.) In Ex. 2:3, Isa. 18:2 (R.V., "papyrus") this word is the translation of the Hebrew gome, which designates the plant as absorbing moisture. In Isa. 35:7 and Job 8:11 it is rendered "rush." This was the Egyptian papyrus (papyrus Nilotica). It was anciently very abundant in Egypt. The Egyptians made garments and shoes and various utensils of it. It was used for the construction of the ark of Moses (Ex. 2:3, 5). The root portions of the stem were used for food. The inside bark was cut into strips, which were sewed together and dried in the sun, forming the papyrus used for writing. It is no longer found in Egypt, but grows luxuriantly in Palestine, in the marshes of the Huleh, and in the swamps at the north end of the Lake of Gennesaret. (See CANE.)
Bulwarks - mural towers, bastions, were introduced by king Uzziah (2 Chr. 26:15; Zeph. 1:16; Ps. 48:13; Isa. 26:1). There are five Hebrew words so rendered in the Authorized Version, but the same word is also variously rendered.
Bunch - (1.) A bundle of twigs (Ex. 12:22).
(2.) Bunch or cake of raisins (2 Sam. 16:1).
(3.) The "bunch of a camel" (Isa. 30:6).
Burden - (1.) A load of any kind (Ex. 23:5).
(2.) A severe task (Ex. 2:11).
(3.) A difficult duty, requiring effort (Ex. 18:22).
(4.) A prophecy of a calamitous or disastrous nature (Isa. 13:1; 17:1; Hab. 1:1, etc.).
Burial - The first burial we have an account of is that of Sarah (Gen. 23). The first commercial transaction recorded is that of the purchase of a burial-place, for which Abraham weighed to Ephron "four hundred shekels of silver current money with the merchants." Thus the patriarch became the owner of a part of the land of Canaan, the only part he ever possessed. When he himself died, "his sons Isaac and Ishmael buried him in the cave of Machpelah," beside Sarah his wife (Gen. 25:9).
Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, was buried under Allon-bachuth, "the oak of weeping" (Gen. 35:8), near to Bethel. Rachel died, and was buried near Ephrath; "and Jacob set a pillar upon her grave" (16-20). Isaac was buried at Hebron, where he had died (27, 29). Jacob, when charging his sons to bury him in the cave of Machpelah, said, "There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah" (49:31). In compliance with the oath which he made him swear unto him (47:29-31), Joseph, assisted by his brethren, buried Jacob in the cave of Machpelah (50:2, 13). At the Exodus, Moses "took the bones of Joseph with him," and they were buried in the "parcel of ground" which Jacob had bought of the sons of Hamor (Josh. 24:32), which became Joseph's inheritance (Gen. 48:22; 1 Chr. 5:1; John 4:5). Two burials are mentioned as having taken place in the wilderness. That of Miriam (Num. 20:1), and that of Moses, "in the land of Moab" (Deut. 34:5, 6, 8). There is no account of the actual burial of Aaron, which probably, however, took place on the summit of Mount Hor (Num. 20:28, 29).
Joshua was buried "in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-serah" (Josh. 24: 30).
In Job we find a reference to burying-places, which were probably the Pyramids (3:14, 15). The Hebrew word for "waste places" here resembles in sound the Egyptian word for "pyramids."
Samuel, like Moses, was honoured with a national burial (1 Sam. 25:1). Joab (1 Kings 2:34) "was buried in his own house in the wilderness."
In connection with the burial of Saul and his three sons we meet for the first time with the practice of burning the dead (1 Sam. 31:11-13). The same practice is again referred to by Amos (6:10).
Absalom was buried "in the wood" where he was slain (2 Sam. 18:17, 18). The raising of the heap of stones over his grave was intended to mark abhorrence of the person buried (comp. Josh. 7:26 and 8:29). There was no fixed royal burying-place for the Hebrew kings. We find several royal burials taking place, however, "in the city of David" (1 Kings 2:10; 11:43; 15:8; 2 Kings 14:19, 20; 15:38; 1 Kings 14:31; 22:50; 2 Chr. 21:19, 20; 2 Chr. 24:25, etc.). Hezekiah was buried in the mount of the sepulchres of the sons of David; "and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honour at his death" (2 Chr. 32:33).
Little is said regarding the burial of the kings of Israel. Some of them were buried in Samaria, the capital of their kingdom (2 Kings 10:35; 13:9; 14:16).
Our Lord was buried in a new tomb, hewn out of the rock, which Joseph of Arimathea had prepared for himself (Matt. 27:57-60; Mark 15:46; John 19:41, 42).
The grave of Lazarus was "a cave, and a stone lay on it" (John 11:38). Graves were frequently either natural caverns or artificial excavations formed in the sides of rocks (Gen. 23:9; Matt. 27:60); and coffins were seldom used, unless when the body was brought from a distance.
Burnt offering - Hebrew olah; i.e., "ascending," the whole being consumed by fire, and regarded as ascending to God while being consumed. Part of every offering was burnt in the sacred fire, but this was wholly burnt, a "whole burnt offering." It was the most frequent form of sacrifice, and apparently the only one mentioned in the book of Genesis. Such were the sacrifices offered by Abel (Gen. 4:3, 4, here called minhah; i.e., "a gift"), Noah (Gen. 8:20), Abraham (Gen. 22:2, 7, 8, 13), and by the Hebrews in Egypt (Ex. 10:25).
The law of Moses afterwards prescribed the occasions and the manner in which burnt sacrifices were to be offered. There were "the continual burnt offering" (Ex. 29:38-42; Lev. 6:9-13), "the burnt offering of every sabbath," which was double the daily one (Num. 28:9, 10), "the burnt offering of every month" (28:11-15), the offerings at the Passover (19-23), at Pentecost (Lev. 23:16), the feast of Trumpets (23:23-25), and on the day of Atonement (Lev. 16).
On other occasions special sacrifices were offered, as at the consecration of Aaron (Ex. 29) and the dedication of the temple (1 Kings 8:5, 62-64).
Free-will burnt offerings were also permitted (Lev. 1:13), and were offered at the accession of Solomon to the throne (1 Chr. 29:21), and at the reformation brought about by Hezekiah (2 Chr. 29: 31-35).
These offerings signified the complete dedication of the offerers unto God. This is referred to in Rom. 12:1. (See ALTAR, SACRIFICE.)
Bush - in which Jehovah appeared to Moses in the wilderness (Ex. 3:2; Acts 7:30). It is difficult to say what particular kind of plant or bush is here meant. Probably it was the mimosa or acacia. The words "in the bush" in Mark 12:26; Luke 20:37, mean "in the passage or paragraph on the bush;" i.e., in Ex. 3.
Butler - properly a servant in charge of the wine (Gen. 40:1-13; 41:9). The Hebrew word, mashkeh, thus translated is rendered also (plural) "cup-bearers" (1 Kings 10:5; 2 Chr. 9:4). Nehemiah (1:11) was cup-bearer to king Artaxerxes. It was a position of great responsibility and honour in royal households.
Butter - (Heb. hemah), curdled milk (Gen. 18:8; Judg. 5:25; 2 Sam. 17:29), or butter in the form of the skim of hot milk or cream, called by the Arabs kaimak, a semi-fluid (Job 20:17; 29:6; Deut. 32:14). The words of Prov. 30:33 have been rendered by some "the pressure [not churning] of milk bringeth forth cheese."
Buz - contempt.
(1.) The second son of Nahor and Milcah, and brother of Huz (Gen. 22:21). Elihu was one of his descendants (Job 32:2).
(2.) One of the chiefs of the tribe of Gad (1 Chr. 5:14).
(3.) A district in Arabia Petrea (Jer. 25:23).
Buzi - the father of the prophet Ezekiel (1:3).
By - in the expression "by myself" (A.V., 1 Cor. 4:4), means, as rendered in the Revised Version, "against myself."
By and by - immediately (Matt. 13:21; R.V., "straightway;" Luke 21:9).
By-ways - only in Judg. 5:6 and Ps. 125:5; literally "winding or twisted roads." The margin has "crooked ways."
By-word - Hebrew millah (Job 30:9), a word or speech, and hence object of talk; Hebrew mashal (Ps. 44:14), a proverb or parable. When it denotes a sharp word of derision, as in Deut. 28:37, 1 Kings 9:7, 2 Chr. 7:20, the Hebrew sheninah is used. In Jer. 24:9 it is rendered "taunt."