Concise Bible Dictionary: B

Table of Contents

1. Baal
2. Baal, Baalim
3. Baal-berith
4. Baal-gad
5. Baal-hamon
6. Baal-hanan
7. Baal-hazor
8. Baal-hermon
9. Baal-meon
10. Baal-peor
11. Baal-perazim
12. Baal-shalisha
13. Baal-tamar
14. Baal-zebub
15. Baal-zephon
16. Baalah
17. Baalath
18. Baalath-beer
19. Baale of Judah
20. Baali
21. Baalim
22. Baalis
23. Baana
24. Baanah
25. Baara
26. Baaseiah
27. Baasha
28. Babbler
29. Babel
30. Babes
31. Babylon
32. Babylon the Great
33. Babylonians
34. Baca, Valley of
35. Bachrites
36. Backslider
37. Badgers Skins
38. Baharumite, Barhumite
39. Bahurim
40. Bajith
41. Bakbakkar
42. Bakbuk
43. Bakbukiah
44. Baker
45. Balaam
46. Balac
47. Balah
48. Balak, Balac
49. Balances
50. Bald Locust
51. Baldness
52. Balm (Tseri)
53. Bamah
54. Bamoth
55. Bamoth-baal
56. Bani
57. Bank (τράπεζα)
58. Banner
59. Banquet
60. Banqueting House
61. Baptism
62. Baptism
63. Baptism of the Holy Spirit
64. Bar
65. Bar-jesus
66. Bar-jona
67. Barabbas
68. Barachel
69. Barachias
70. Barak
71. Barbarian (βἀρβαρος)
72. Barbed Irons
73. Barber
74. Barhumite
75. Bariah
76. Barkos
77. Barley (Seorah, κριθή)
78. Barnabas
79. Barrel
80. Barsabas
81. Bartholomew
82. Bartimae'us
83. Baruch
84. Barzillai
85. Bashan
86. Bashan-havoth-jair
87. Bashemath
88. Basket
89. Basmath
90. Bason
91. Bat
92. Bath
93. Bath-rabbim
94. Bath-shua
95. Bathsheba
96. Battering Ram
97. Battle Ax
98. Battlements
99. Bavai
100. Bay
101. Bay Tree
102. Bazlith, Bazluth
103. Bdellium
104. Beacon
105. Bealiah
106. Bealoth
107. Beans (Pol)
108. Bear (Dob, άρκτος)
109. Beard
110. Beast
111. Beaten-Work
112. Beatitudes, The
113. Beautiful Gate
114. Bebai
115. Becher
116. Bechorath
117. Bed, Bedstead
118. Bed-Chamber
119. Bedad
120. Bedan
121. Bedeiah
122. Bee
123. Beeliada
124. Beelzebub (βεελζεβύλ)
125. Beer
126. Beer-elim
127. Beer-lahai-roi
128. Beer-sheba
129. Beera
130. Beerah
131. Beeri
132. Beeroth
133. Beesh-terah
134. Beetle (Chargol)
135. Beeves (Baqar)
136. Beggars
137. Beginning
138. Begotten
139. Beheading
140. Behemoth
141. Bekah
142. Bel
143. Bela
144. Belial
145. Believer
146. Bellows
147. Bells
148. Belshazzar
149. Belteshazzar
150. Ben
151. Ben
152. Ben-ammi
153. Ben-hadad
154. Ben-hail
155. Ben-hanan
156. Ben-oni
157. Ben-zoheth
158. Benaiah
159. Bene-berak
160. Bene-jaakan
161. Benefactor
162. Beninu
163. Benjamin
164. Benjamin
165. Benjamin, Gate of
166. Beno
167. Beon
168. Beor
169. Bera
170. Berachah
171. Berachiah
172. Beraiah
173. Berea
174. Berechiah
175. Bered
176. Berenice
177. Beri
178. Beriah
179. Beriites
180. Berites
181. Berith
182. Bernice
183. Berodach-baladan
184. Berothah
185. Berothai
186. Berothite
187. Beryl
188. Besai
189. Besodeiah
190. Besom
191. Besor
192. Betah
193. Beten
194. Beth
195. Beth-anath
196. Beth-anoth
197. Beth-arabah
198. Beth-aram
199. Beth-arbel
200. Beth-aven
201. Beth-azmaveth
202. Beth-baal-meon
203. Beth-barah
204. Beth-birei
205. Beth-car
206. Beth-dagon
207. Beth-diblathaim
208. Beth-el
209. Beth-emek
210. Beth-ezel
211. Beth-gader
212. Beth-gamul
213. Beth-haccerem
214. Beth-haran
215. Beth-hogla, Beth-hoglah
216. Beth-horon
217. Beth-jeshimoth, Beth-jesimoth
218. Beth-lebaoth
219. Beth-lehem, Bethlehem
220. Beth-lehemite
221. Beth-maachah
222. Beth-marcaboth
223. Beth-meon
224. Beth-nimrah
225. Beth-palet
226. Beth-pazzez
227. Beth-peor
228. Beth-phelet
229. Beth-rapha
230. Beth-rehob
231. Beth-shan, Beth-shean
232. Beth-shemesh
233. Beth-shemite
234. Beth-shittah
235. Beth-tappuah
236. Beth-zur
237. Bethabara
238. Bethany
239. Bethelite
240. Bether
241. Bethesda
242. Bethphage
243. Bethsaida
244. Bethuel
245. Bethuel, Bethul
246. Betonim
247. Betrothment
248. Beulah
249. Bewray
250. Bezai
251. Bezaleel
252. Bezek
253. Bezer
254. Bible, Biblia
255. Bichri
256. Bidkar
257. Bier
258. Bigtha
259. Bigthan, Bigthana
260. Bigvai
261. Bildad
262. Bileam
263. Bilgah
264. Bilgai
265. Bilhah
266. Bilhan
267. Bill of Divorce
268. Bilshan
269. Bimhal
270. Binea
271. Binnui
272. Birds
273. Birds, Clean and Unclean
274. Birsha
275. Birth-Day, Birthday
276. Birth, New
277. Birth-Right
278. Birzavith
279. Bishlam
280. Bishop
281. Bishoprick (ἐπισκοπή)
282. Bithiah
283. Bithron
284. Bithynia
285. Bitter Herbs
286. Bittern
287. Bitterness, Gall of
288. Bizjothjah
289. Biztha
290. Black
291. Blains
292. Blasphemy
293. Blastus
294. Blessing
295. Blindness
296. Blood
297. Blood, Avenger of
298. Blue
299. Boanerges
300. Boar
301. Boat
302. Boaz
303. Boaz, Booz
304. Bocheru
305. Bochim
306. Body, the one
307. Bohan
308. Boil
309. Bolled
310. Bond-Servant
311. Bonnet
312. Book
313. Book of Life, The
314. Booths
315. Booty
316. Booz
317. Borrow, To
318. Boscath
319. Bosom
320. Bosor
321. Boss
322. Botch
323. Bottle
324. Bottomless Pit
325. Bow
326. Bow Down, To
327. Bow in the Cloud
328. Bowels
329. Bowl
330. Box
331. Box-Tree
332. Bozez
333. Bozkath, Boscath
334. Bozrah
335. Bracelet
336. Branch, The
337. Brass
338. Brazen Serpent
339. Bread
340. Breastplate
341. Breastplate, High Priests
342. Breasts
343. Brethren
344. Brick-Kiln
345. Bricks
346. Bride
347. Bridechamber, Children of the
348. Bridegroom
349. Briers
350. Brigandine
351. Brimstone
352. Broidered
353. Brook
354. Brother
355. Buckler
356. Builder
357. Bukki
358. Bukkiah
359. Bul
360. Bull, Bullock
361. Bulrush
362. Bunah
363. Bunni
364. Burden
365. Burial
366. Burnt Offering or Sacrifice
367. Bush, Burning
368. Bushel
369. Butler
370. Butter
371. Buz
372. Buzi
373. Buzite
374. By-And-By


1. City in the tribe of Simeon, (1 Chron. 4:33): apparently the same as Baalath-Beer (Josh. 19:8).
2. Descendant of Reuben (1 Chron. 5:5).
3. Descendant of Benjamin (1 Chron. 8:30; 1 Chron. 9:36).

Baal, Baalim

The name signifies “master, possessor;” and whether singular or plural it always has the article. The chief male god of the Phoenicians and the Canaanites, as ASHTORETH was the chief female goddess. The Israelites in coming into the land doubtless found temples, groves, altars and high places set apart to Baal: incense was offered and offerings burnt, and children were sacrificed to him, while a great retinue of prophets and priests was maintained in his service, as is manifest by its revival afterward (Num. 22:41; 1 Kings 18:22; Jer. 11:13; Jer. 19:5; Jer. 32:29).
The children of Israel were soon led away to the worship of Baal (Judg. 2:11,13; Judg. 3:7; Judg. 6:31-32; Judg. 8:33; Judg. 10:6,10); and though under Samuel they relinquished it, (1 Sam. 7:4; 1 Sam. 12:10), yet after the division of the kingdom it was by Ahab fully established in Israel (1 Kings 16:32). Elijah however stood for Jehovah, and raised the question with Israel whether Jehovah was God, or whether Baal, and established the rights of Jehovah by fire from heaven. This led to the destruction of all the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:17-40); but his idolatrous worship continued until the days of Jehu, who slew his worshippers and destroyed his house and images (2 Kings 10:18-28). It however revived again in Israel, and under Ahaziah and Athaliah extended also to Judah, and during the reigns of Ahaz and Manasseh worshippers of Baal are found there (2 Kings 11:18; 2 Kings 16:3-4; 2 Kings 17:16-17; 2 Kings 21:3). Thus did Satan succeed in leading aside to idolatry God’s favored people for whom He had done so much.
Balaam’s advice was only too successful, the women of Canaan being the snare that led to idolatry.
The word Baal is used in several compounds, at times referring to the god and in other cases to persons or places.


The god signifying “covenant lord” set up at Shechem (Judg. 8:33; Judg. 9:4). He is called BERITH in Judges 9:46.


Place at the foot of Mount Hermon in the valley of Lebanon, the northern limit of Joshua’s conquest (Josh. 11:17; Josh. 12:7; Josh. 13:5). Identified by some with Caesarea Philippi.


Place where Solomon had a vineyard (Song of Sol. 8:11). The only clue to this name is the doubtful one of Belamon in Judith 8:3, which was near Dothaim, not far from Samaria, in the mountains of Ephraim.


1. The seventh of the ancient kings of Edom (Gen. 36:38-39; 1 Chron. 1:49-50).
2. Superintendent of David’s olive and sycamore trees (1 Chron. 27:28).


Place in or near Ephraim where Absalom had pastures for sheep, and where Amnon was slain (2 Sam. 13:23). Identified with Tell Asur, 31° 59’ N, 35° 16’ E.


Town or mount in connection with Mount Hermon: there was probably a shrine of Baal there: see BAAL-GAD (Judg. 3:3; 1 Chron. 5:23).




It was to Peor that Balaam was called to curse Israel, and where the people were ensnared to sacrifice to the gods of Moab, to eat of things sacrificed to their idols, and commit fornication. Thus Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor—had full fellowship with its demon worship and its attendant uncleanness (Num. 23:28; Num. 25: 1-5,18; Deut. 4:3; Psa. 106:28; Hos. 9:10: Compare 1 Cor. 10:8; Rev. 2:14).


Name given by David to a place in Judah near the valley of Rephaim, where he defeated an army of the Philistines. It signifies “place of breaches,” margin (2 Sam. 5:20; 1 Chron. 14:11).


Unknown place from which a man brought to Elisha bread of the firstfruits, when there was a dearth in the land (2 Kings 4:42).


Place in the tribe of Benjamin, near Gibeah (Judg. 20:33).


Name of Baal as the god of Ekron, signifying “lord of the fly.” Josephus says with reference to king Ahaziah sending to this god, “Now it happened that Ahaziah, as he was coming down from the top of his house, fell down from it, and in his sickness sent to the Fly, which was the god of Ekron, for that was this god’s name” (Ant. 9, 2, 1). It was regarded as a preserver from poisonous flies, and hence as a healer of diseases (2 Kings 1:2-3, 6, 16). In the New Testament there is the similar name of BEELZEBUB to whom the miracles of the Lord in casting out demons were blasphemously attributed.


Place on the border of Egypt, near the Gulf of Suez. The Israelites encamped in its vicinity before crossing the Red Sea. Zephon is supposed to correspond to Typhon, but this has not led to the identification of the place (Ex. 14:2,9; Num. 33:7).


1. City in Judah on the border of Benjamin, (Josh. 15:9-11), (called Baale of Judah in 2 Samuel 6:2), the same as KIRJATH-JEARIM (q. v.) and KIRJATH-BAAL (Josh. 15:60; Josh. 18:14-15; 1 Chron. 13:6).
2. Town in the south of Judah (Josh. 15:29): apparently given to Simeon, and called BALAH in Joshua 19:3, and BILHAH in 1 Chronicles 4:29.


1. Town in Dan in his southern portion (Josh. 19:44). Identified with Belain, 31° 56’ N, 35° 4’ E.
2. Store-city of Solomon apparently in the north (1 Kings 9:18; 2 Chron. 8:6).


Town in the south border of the tribe of Simeon (Josh. 19:8); also called “RAMATH of the South;” and in 1 Samuel 30:27, South RAMOTH; and apparently the same as BAAL in 1 Chronicles 4:33.

Baale of Judah

Another form of BAALAH (2 Sam. 6:2), and the same as KIRJATH-JEARIM.


Israel had attributed to Baalim the blessings Jehovah had given them: Jehovah said He would strip them of those mercies to show them their folly. In the last days a remnant will be brought into the wilderness, and be spoken comfortably to. Self judgment will be the door of hope —(Valley of Achor). God will no longer be called “my Master,” as the word Baali signifies, but “Husband,” and He will take away the names of their idolatrous masters, Baalim, and they shall no more be remembered (Hos. 2:16: Compare Hos. 2:8,13,17).




King of the Ammonites, who sent Ishmael to slay Gedaliah (Jer. 40:14).


1. Solomon’s commissariat officer in Jezreel and the north of the Jordan valley (1 Kings 4:12).
2. Father of Zadok who repaired part of the wall of Jerusalem (Neh. 3:4).


1. Commissariat officer of Solomon in Asher (1 Kings 4:16).
2. Father of Heleb, or Heled, one of David’s mighty men (2 Sam. 23:29; 1 Chron. 11:30).
3. Captain of Ish-bosheth’s army, who, with his brother Rechab, murdered Ish-bosheth (2 Sam. 4:2-12).
4. One who returned with Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:2; Neh. 7:7; Neh. 10:27).


One of the wives of Shaharaim the Benjamite (1 Chron. 8:8).


A Gershonite ancestor of Asaph the minstrel (1 Chron. 6:40).


Son of Ahijah of the house of Issachar: he conspired against Nadab king of Israel, killed him and all the seed royal, and reigned in his stead (B.C. 953-930). It was according to the word of the Lord by the prophet Ahijah, that the seed of Jeroboam should be entirely destroyed, because of his wickedness; but Baasha was no better, and his posterity fell under a like judgment (1 Kings 15:16-33; 1 Kings 16:1-13; 1 Kings 21:22; 2 Kings 9:9; 2 Chron. 16:1-6; Jer. 41:9).


This is literally “master of the tongue” (Eccl. 10:11): the verse may be translated, “If the serpent bite without enchantment, then the ‘charmer’ hath no advantage.” In Acts 17:18 the word is σπερμολόγος, literally “seed picker;” a word of contempt; one that picks up idle tales, a gossip, chatterer; “base fellow” (margin).


The word “Babel” occurs but twice: in Genesis 10:10 it is the name of the first place mentioned as the beginning of the kingdom of Nimrod; and in Genesis 11:9 the tower and city are called “Babel,” because there the language of man was confounded so that they did not understand one another. The tower was to be very high “unto heaven,” not with any thought of reaching heaven, but it declared the lofty imagination of man’s heart in the desire to make them a name, and to form a gathering point, which would prevent their being scattered. God would not suffer this, for man no sooner has power than he begins to abuse it. He could not therefore let them as one family exalt their own name, for the Lord’s name alone is to be exalted. As the result of God’s judgment they were scattered and formed into nations according to their tongues and families.
It may be that the name given to the city by Nimrod was Bab-il, signifying “gate of God” (and it is said that on the monuments this very name “The gate of God,” as the name of a city has been found); but that Jehovah altered it to Ba-bel, which signifies “confusion.”




Babylonian Empire
Nimrod’s BABEL was doubtless in some way connected with the renowned city of Babylon and of the kingdom of which it was the capital. The Hebrew is Babel, the same for Babel and Babylon. In Genesis 11:2 it speaks of Babel being built in a plain in the land of Shinar, which they reached by traveling from the east; this reads in the margin traveling “eastward,” a reading preferred by many and by the Revisers. This direction agrees well with the locality of Babylon on the river Euphrates.
Historians speak of the great size of the city, though they are not agreed as to its dimensions. It had 25 gates on each side, and from the gates were streets which crossed one another at right angles. The houses were not built close together, so that there was ample room inside the city for gardens and even fields and vineyards. The walls were said to be 75 feet thick and 300 feet in height; and the gates were of brass. The river Euphrates ran through the city; but on the banks of the river strong walls were built with gates of brass; there was also a bridge from side to side near the center of the city. A lake was formed outside the city into which the waters of the river could be turned when the water rose too high, and deep ditches filled with water surrounded the walls of the city.
We also read of “hanging gardens” which Nebuchadnezzar built for his wife Amyitis, or Amyhia, daughter of a Median king, to give the place a measure of resemblance to the mountains and wooded hills of her native country. These gardens are supposed to have been built in terraces of different heights.
In several particulars scripture corroborates the statements of the historians. In Jeremiah 50:11 of Babylon it is said, “O ye destroyers of Mine heritage, because ye are grown fat as the heifer at grass, and bellow as bulls;” its broad walls are mentioned (Jer. 51:12,58); its gates of brass and bars of iron (Isa. 45:2); and Nebuchadnezzar boasted of the “great Babylon” which he had built by the might of his power, and for the honor of his majesty (Dan. 4:30).
Among the relics recovered from the various mounds of ruins are some bricks with the names of the kings Neriglissar and Labynetus stamped upon them, but the great majority of those found bear the name of Nebuchadnezzar. Babylon was built with bricks, there being no stone at all near, and in later years the mounds were ransacked for bricks for other cities.
Of the early governments in Babylon but little is known with certainty. Berosus, as arranged by Rawlinson, gives from B.C. 2458 to 625 various dynasties of Medes, Chaldaeans, Arabs, and Assyrians; and lastly Babylonians from B.C. 625 to 538.
Babylon and Assyria are much blended together in history, sometimes being independent one of the other, and at other times being tributary to one another. In B.C. 745 Tiglath-pileser may be said to have founded the later kingdom of Assyria, and among his victories he became master of Babylonia, as the kingdom of Babylon was called. About 721 Merodach-baladan became king of Babylon, and in 712 he sent ambassadors to Hezekiah on hearing of his sickness. This is recorded in 2 Kings 20:12, where he is called Berodach-baladan. In B.C. 702 Sennacherib king of Assyria expelled Merodach, and Babylon was governed by viceroys from Assyria. In B.C. 681 Esar-haddon became king of Assyria but held his court at Babylon, to which place Manasseh king of Judah was carried prisoner about B.C. 677 (2 Chron. 33:11). About B.C. 625 Nabo-polassar revolted from the king of Assyria and established the later kingdom of Babylon. He with Cyaxares (the Ahasuerus of Dan. 9:1) founder of the Median kingdom, attacked and took Nineveh, and put an end to the Assyrian rule. Nebuchadnezzar, co-regent with Nabo-polassar, took Jerusalem, and carried many captives and the holy vessels to Babylon, about B.C. 606. In B.C. 604 Nabo-polassar died and Nebuchadnezzar reigned alone. In B.C. 603, Jehoiakim revolted and in 599 Nebuchadnezzar again took Jerusalem, and Ezekiel was carried to Babylon: this is called the great captivity (2 Kings 24:1-16). Mattaniah was left as king in Jerusalem, his name being changed to Zedekiah: he reigned 11 years (2 Kings 24:17-20). Having rebelled against Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, after a siege of eighteen months, once more took Jerusalem, destroyed the city and burnt the house of the Lord, bringing the kingdom of Judah to an end (B.C. 588) (2 Kings 25:1-26). For the personal history of the king see NEBUCHADNEZZAR. In B.C. 561 Nebuchadnezzar died. He was the “head of gold” in Daniel’s great image. The glory of the later Babylonian Empire virtually began and ended with him. The succession of kings was somewhat as follows:
625 Nabo-polassar.
606 Nebuchadnezzar, co-regent.
604 Nabo-polassar dies. Nebuchadnezzar reigns alone.
561 Evil-Merodach succeeds. He raises up Jehoiachin in the 37th year of his captivity (2 Kings 25:27).
559 Neriglissar succeeds. Perhaps the same as one of the princes called Nergal-sharezer in Jeremiah 39:3,13.
556 Laborosoarchod succeeds. Reigned 9 months and is slain.
555 Nabonidus, or Nabonadius (also called Labynetus), a usurper: Belshazzar his son afterward reigning with him.
538 Babylon taken, and Belshazzar slain. End of the Empire of Babylon.
Babylon has a large place in the Old Testament with reference to its interactions with Israel, in nearly every chapter of Jeremiah, from Jeremiah 20-52, Babylon is mentioned. Babylon is also of note as being the first of the four great empires prophesied of by Daniel. The kingdom of the Lord, established in the house of David, and maintained in Judah, had for the time come to an end because of iniquity, and the “times of the Gentiles” had begun. Of Nebuchadnezzar it was said, “Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength and glory.... Thou art this head of gold” (Dan. 2:37-38). Babylon was God’s instrument by which Judah was punished; and then because of the pride and wickedness of the king of Babylon he also was brought under the rod of the Almighty.
The destruction of Babylon was fully foretold in scripture, though some of these prophecies may refer also to still future events, namely, the overthrow by the Lord (typified by Cyrus) of the last holder of Nebuchadnezzar-like authority, namely, the beast, the last head of the revived Roman empire (Isa. 13:6-22; Isa. 14:4-23; Isa. 21:2-9; Isa. 47:1-11; Jer. 25:12-14 and Jer. 50-51). Its downfall was unexpected. For 24 years after the death of Nebuchadnezzar Babylon continued the seat of the imperial court. In B.C. 538 the city was taken in a remarkable way. A night was chosen when the inhabitants were about to hold a festival, when the whole city would be given up to drunkenness and debauchery. The water of the river was diverted from its bed so as to render it shallow enough to let the troops pass along. The gates were opened, and the city was taken.
This also was prophesied of in scripture: it specifies that Cyrus was God’s shepherd, and He had holden him to subdue nations: God would loose the loins of kings to open before him the two-leaved gates; and the gates should not be shut: the gates of brass should be broken, and the bars of iron be cut asunder (Isa. 45:1-2). Again the suddenness and unexpectedness of the attack is also mentioned: “evil shall come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know” (Isa. 47:11). We also find that it was on the night of the revelry of Belshazzar’s feast that the king was slain (Dan. 5:30).
The monuments show that Babylon was taken by Gobryas the general of Cyrus, and that the capture of the city was, as some think, aided by treachery among its inhabitants. Daniel 5:31 Says, “Darius the Median took the kingdom.” This king has not been found mentioned by name on the monuments, but he is well accredited as king in Daniel. He was probably ASTYAGES, who was a Median king. He had been conquered by Cyrus, who may have found it to his advantage to let him reign at Babylon as long as he lived. Astyages being a Mede and Cyrus a Persian agree with the second great empire being called by the two names. Persia gained the ascendancy, and Babylon was a royal residence during part of the year. There were occasional revolts, in the putting down of which the city was more and more destroyed. In the year B.C. 478 Xerxes returning from his inglorious invasion of Greece passed through the city, robbed the temple of Belus of its wealth and left its lofty towers a heap of ruins. In B.C. 324 Alexander the Great attempted to rebuild that edifice, and employed 10,000 men; but his sudden death, before the ruins had been cleared away, left it still in desolation.
Scripture is very decisive as to the utter destruction of the city: “Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there: but wild beasts of the desert shall lie there, and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces” (Isa. 13:19-22).
Now vast mounds extend for miles. If Hillah (about 32° 27’ N, 44° 25’ E) be taken as a center, the mounds extend northward about 3 miles. About 6 miles S.W. of Hillah stands the celebrated heap known as Birs Nimrood, supposed to be the site of the ancient temple of Belus. There are three large piles on the east of the river: the Mujelibe or Mukallibe, the Kasr or palace, and the Amran.
Birs Nimrud
The moral features of Babylon were idolatrous corruption and worldliness, which will be seen in full manifestation in Babylon the Great. It is the place where the people of God get into captivity through dalliance with the world.
In the New Testament Babylon is mentioned in 1 Peter 5:13. There is evidence in Josephus that there were many Jews in the district forty years after Christ. On the occasion of the gathering at Jerusalem in Acts 2:9-11 mention is made of the Parthians, Medes and Elamites; and when Peter commences his epistle, supposing he was in the district of Babylon, he naturally puts Pontus first and then passes on to Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. There can be no reason therefore to doubt that the ancient district of Babylon is alluded to by Peter, where, through God’s grace, there were some of the “elect.”
The City of Babylon
The Babylonian Empire

Babylon the Great

This is also called “MYSTERY,” “THE MOTHER OF THE HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (Rev. 17:5). Some great religious system is alluded to, with whom the kings of the earth had had illicit intercourse, and by whom the merchants of the earth had been made rich. It had also been guilty of shedding the blood of the saints and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. It is compared to a woman arrayed in purple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a cup in her hand, full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication. Could there possibly be drawn a more vivid and life-like portrait of the worldly and idolatrous system of the apostate Church, whose center is at Rome, than is here drawn by the pen of the Holy Spirit? To make it doubly sure as to who is represented by the description it is added “The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth” (Rev. 17:9), “the seven-hilled city” being a well-known appellation of Rome.
It is further revealed that the ten horns (the ten kingdoms of the future Roman empire) will make war with the woman, make her desolate and naked, will eat her flesh and burn her with fire. Heaven, the apostles and prophets are called on to rejoice over the fall of that seductive and soul-destroying system: (Compare Rev. 14:8; Rev. 16:19; Rev. 17:1-18; Rev. 18:1-24; Rev. 19:1-3).
It should be noted that though Papal Rome is one of the worst of the antichrists, and the one that has had sway for the longest period; yet she is not what is called in scripture the Antichrist or Man of sin: she is rather the anti-church. He also is found in the Revelation as a beast, having two horns like a lamb, and speaking as a dragon; and also as the false prophet (Rev. 13:11; Rev. 20:10). See ANTICHRIST.


The inhabitants of Babylon or its districts (Ezra 4:9; Ezek. 23:15, 17, 23). Thousands of tablets have been discovered which throw great light upon the social life and character of the Babylonians. They were an educated people. Some tablets appear to be geological, geographical, and mathematical; and many others are records of contracts, loans, marriages, dowries, purchase of slaves, and so forth. Their astronomy was mixed up with astrology. Many tablets show that they held that the stars and signs of the heavens foretold events, agreeing with God’s message to Babylon: “Let now the astrologers, the star-gazers, the monthly prognosticators stand up and save thee” (Isa. 47:13). Many magical and incantation tablets show that they were in great fear of evil spirits: they called upon “the spirit of heaven”‘ and “the spirit of earth” to deliver them. Their religion has been described as the worst possible form of nature worship, and their gods seem to have been countless. These tablets, made thousands of years ago, now reveal how Satan succeeded in keeping the Babylonians completely under his dominion.

Baca, Valley of

This signifies “weeping.” The blessedness of going up to the courts of Jehovah turns “the valley of tears” into “the fountain of joy” (Psa. 84:6). The article being before the name seems to imply that some natural valley was before the eye of the Psalmist though unknown now.


A family descending from Becher, son of Ephraim (Num. 26:35).


There are four Hebrew words applied to backsliding.
1. sug, “to go back”: “the backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways,”‘ instead of God’s ways (Prov. 14:14).
2. sarar, to act like a refractory heifer, that will not draw regularly in the plow: to which Israel is compared (Hos. 4:16).
3. meshubah, “a turning away, apostasy.” (Jer. 2:19; Jer. 3:22, 6-12; Jer. 5:6; Jer. 8:5; Jer. 14:7; Hos. 11:7; Hos. 14:4).
4. shobeb, “rebellious, backsliding.” (Jer. 3:14, 22; Jer. 31:22; Jer. 49:4). The last three words are all used of backsliding Israel. We do not find the word “backslider”‘ in the New Testament but the same sin is there pointed out, for instance the drawing back which may lead to perdition as in Hebrews. 10:38-39. See APOSTASY.

Badgers Skins

American Badger
The word tachash has been referred to several animals, principally the seal or dugong. The RV translates it “seal- skins” and “porpoise-skins” in the margin; but the badger seems to answer all the purposes for which the skin was used. It is a good protection from the weather, and we find the tachash was used for the outer covering of the tabernacle, and to cover the ark when it was being carried. One passage speaks of its being used for the shoes or sandals of delicate women, and in Exodus it is included among the costly articles, so that it was comparatively rare (Ex. 25:5; Ex. 26:14; Ex. 35:7,23; Ex. 36:19; Ex. 39:34; Num. 4:6-25; Ezek. 16:10). Typically the badgers’ skins refer to the holy, separate walk of the Lord Jesus, in entire protection from all the contaminations of the world: He was always morally “separate from sinners.”

Baharumite, Barhumite

Designation of Azmaveth, one of David’s thirty valiant men ( 2 Sam. 23:31; 1 Chron. 11:33).


Village of Benjamin, near the road running from the valley of the Jordan to Jerusalem (2 Sam. 3:16; 2 Sam. 16:5; 2 Sam. 17:18; 2 Sam. 19:16; 1 Kings 2:8).


House of the gods of Moab (Isa. 15:2; compare Isa. 16:12).


Levite not otherwise specified (1 Chron. 9:15).


Ancestor of some Nethinim who returned from exile (Ezra 2:51; Neh. 7:53).


1. A leader of the temple service in the days of Nehemiah (Neh. 11:17).
2. Levite who returned from exile (Neh. 12:9, 25).


In Egypt the king had a man-servant who is called his “chief baker” (Gen. 40:1-22; Gen. 41:10); but in Israel the baking was done by the women of each house, as Abraham called to Sarah to prepare cakes upon the hearth (Gen. 18:6); and Samuel said that if the Israelites had a king he would take their daughters to be bakers (1 Sam. 8:13). In Jerusalem there was apparently a part devoted to the bakers, for Jeremiah was to have a piece of bread out of the Bakers’ street (or Bazaar, as it would now be expressed in the East) as long as the bread lasted (Jer. 37:21). In Hosea 7:4,6, the heating of the oven by the baker is used figuratively for those who, as it were, prepared their lusts for evil, and then waited till the moment when they could satisfy them more greedily. Alas, that it should be Israel of whom the prophet thus speaks.


A Midianite prophet who resided at Pethor, son of Beor or Bosor. He was hired by Balak king of Moab to curse Israel, but God compelled him to bless instead of curse His chosen people. Though he talked piously his heart was evidently set on getting the reward from Balak (Jude 11). The angel of Jehovah withstood him, and he was rebuked by his ass, yet he was allowed to go on his way (Num. 22-24; Deut. 23:4, 6; Josh. 24:9-10). Though compelled by God to bless Israel, he most treacherously counseled Balak to seduce them by means of the Midianitish women, (Num. 31:16; 2 Pet. 2:15; Rev. 2:14), which led to their gross idolatry (Num. 25:1-2): see BAAL-PEOR. After Israel was punished for their sin, they were avenged on Moab, and among the slain was Balaam. In Joshua 13:22 he is called a soothsayer, and when he was with Balak he sought enchantments. In Numbers 23:15 the words “the LORD” are added by the translators. Numbers 24:1 Says that he went not then as at other times to meet enchantments. But he was overpowered by God. In the passages in the New Testament he is held up as an example of consummate wickedness and apostasy.





Balak, Balac

King of Moab, son of Zippor, who sought to resist Israel in advancing to the promised land, and hired Balaam to curse them; he was taught by that false prophet to seduce Israel to idolatry by means of fornication with their women (Num. 22-24; Josh. 24:9; Judg. 11:25; Mic. 6:5).


Jewelry Scales
Moznayim, ζυγός, a pair of balances or scales: such are seen on the Egyptian monuments, with the weights in one scale and the article to be weighed in the other. They were needful also in early days for weighing the money: when Abraham bought a burying place he “weighed to Ephron the silver” (Gen. 23:16: Compare Jer. 32:10). Job asked to be weighed in an even balance, (Job 31:6: Compare Lev. 19:36; Ezek. 45:10), for men contrived to falsify the balance, as well as the weights, which was an abomination to the Lord (Prov. 11:1; Prov. 16:11; Hos. 12:7; Amos 8:5). In Isaiah 46:6 another Hebrew word is used, ganeh, which signifies a reed, rod or beam, which may refer to the beam of the scales, for it is not known that the steel-yard was then in use. In Revelation 6:5 the rider on the black horse had a pair of balances with which to weigh out the food, showing that great scarcity will be one of God’s judgments in the future.

Bald Locust



The Israelites were forbidden to cut themselves or to make themselves bald for the dead, as the heathen did; for they were a holy people unto the Lord (Lev. 21:5; Deut. 14:1; Jer. 16:6). Baldness is one of the judgments of the Lord: perhaps they would make themselves bald in their distress (Isa. 3:24; Isa. 15:2; Isa. 22:12; Ezek. 7:18; Amos 8:10; Mic. 1:16). See NAZARITE.

Balm (Tseri)

The gum of the balsam bush, of great medicinal virtue. Gilead was noted for its production. It is used as a proverb to set forth the healing God had for His people if they really turned to Him. (Jer. 8:22; Jer. 46:11; Jer. 51:8). It was carried by the merchants into Egypt and elsewhere (Gen. 37:25; Ezek. 27:17). Jacob sent a little to Joseph (Gen. 43:11).


The Hebrew word bamah, signifying “high place,” is once left untranslated, (Ezek. 20:29), where Israel offered sacrifices to idols. It is frequently translated HIGH PLACES.


The halting place of the Israelites before they reached Pisgah (Num. 21:19-20); probably the same as the following.


City, linked with the worship of Baal (Josh. 13:17).


1. One of David’s thirty valiant men, a Gadite (2 Sam. 23:36).
2. Son of Shamer, a descendant of Merari (1 Chron. 6:46).
3. Descendant of Pharez, son of Judah (1 Chron. 9:4).
4. And so forth. Several whose descendants returned from exile, some of whom had married strange wives (Ezra 2:10; Ezra 10:29, 34, 38). There are also several persons named Bani, mentioned in connection with Nehemiah, who cannot be separately distinguished (Neh. 3:17; Neh. 8:7; Neh. 9:4-5; Neh. 10:13-14; Neh. 11:22).

Bank (τράπεζα)

This is literally a table, and mostly so translated, and which could be used for any purpose (Luke 19:23). In Matthew 25:27 a kindred word is translated “exchangers”; both passages imply that there were in those days, as now, those who received and lent money on interest.




1. karah, “to prepare, provide” (Job 41:6).
2. mirzach, “a banquet” (Amos 6:7).
3. mishteh, from “to drink, to banquet” (Esther 5:4-14; Esther 6:14; Esther 7:1-8; Dan. 5:10).

Banqueting House

Literally “house of wine,” (Song of Sol. 2:4); used figuratively for the house of delights to which the Bridegroom brings the bride.


Used figuratively to express the overwhelming sufferings which the Lord Jesus endured in order to accomplish the purpose for which He came to the earth; He was “straitened” until that work was accomplished (Luke 12:50; John 12:27). When the sons of Zebedee asked to sit on the right and on the left of the Lord in His glory, He at once referred to the cup He had to drink, and asked if they could drink of that cup, and be baptized with the baptism He was to be baptized with. They, ignorant of the depths of suffering involved in the question, said they could. In one sense they should share in His sufferings—the non-atoning sufferings, from the hand of man; but the places they sought were not His to give (Mark 10:38-40).


The Greek is βάπτισμα, from βαπτίζω, to dip, plunge, wash, and so forth. The ordinance of Baptism:
1. JEWISH. In Hebrews 6:2 (βαπγισμός) the Hebrew believers were exhorted to leave “the doctrine of baptisms;” and in Hebrews 9:10 we read of “divers baptisms or washings,” but which is followed by the words “imposed until the time of reformation,” which “time” is referred to as “Christ being come.” This shows that the baptisms referred to were some part of the Jewish ritual, in which there were many washings and bathings; but none of these washings signified fully the baptism of the New Testament, which as an initiatory ordinance places the baptized in a new position: the Red Sea (1 Cor. 10:2) was a figure of this. It was the Jewish washings that the Hebrew believers were exhorted to leave, or not to be laying again as a foundation.
Further, it has often been said that the Jews received their proselytes by baptism. Of this we have no record in the Old Testament, and Josephus, who details the rites necessary for the reception of a proselyte, makes no mention of baptism. It is true that Maimonides says that proselytes were thus received; but he was not born till A. D. 1135, and was thus far too late to know what took place so long before when contemporary writers are silent on the subject.
2. BAPTISM BY JOHN. This was specially in the Jordan, to which the multitudes went out, and which is spoken of again and again as the baptism “of repentance” (Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3; Acts 13:24; Acts 19:4). He challenged the multitudes who came to be baptized that they should bring forth “fruits worthy of repentance” (Matt. 3:8; Luke 3:8). He baptized those who came “confessing their sins,” (Matt. 3:6); and he exhorted the people to believe on Him who would come after him, “that is, on Christ Jesus” (Acts 19:4; Compare John 1:29, 36). The godly remnant by John’s baptism took separate ground from the national body, in expectancy of Messiah’s coming: they judged themselves, and cleared themselves of the sinful condition of the nation. The Lord was baptized by John, thus taking His place among the repentant in Israel, not as confessing sins, but as fulfilling righteousness, as He said, “Thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matt. 3:15).
3. CHRISTIAN BAPTISM. We have seen that John the Baptist preached the baptism of repentance. During the Lord’s ministry before the cross, some were baptized to Him as Messiah (John 4:1). After His death and resurrection Peter preached, not repentance, but the rejected Jesus as exalted, and made Lord and Christ. When they were pricked in heart, he said to them, “Repent ... ”, but the baptism was to the remission of sins because the work was now done which gave it fully: they were baptized to the remission of sins—administratively and governmentally (Acts 2:38).
Romans 6:3-4 gives the meaning of Christian baptism to saints who had been baptized long before. It treats of the death of Christ (the sinless One,) as death to sin and to the state man was in, and draws conclusions from it for us inasmuch as He is risen. They were baptized to His death, that is, they have a part in it—they are alive to God in Him risen (and consequently also alive to Him risen—not to law), and hence sin was not to reign any longer; but there is no resurrection with Him in these verses. Baptism is prefigured by Israel’s passage through the Red Sea, not by their crossing the Jordan, though resurrection is added in Colossians 2:12, as leaving sins behind: “Having forgiven you all trespasses.” It is individual, and reception into the profession of Christianity: “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” The signification of baptism goes further in Colossians than in Romans, but is always connected with a status upon earth, and not with heavenly privileges. It saves (1 Pet. 3:21); we wash away our sins in it (Acts 22:16); we go into death in it; and in Colossians 2:12, it is added, we “are risen:” hence also it is individual. The church as such has never to be brought into death, its very origin is in the resurrection of Christ (Col. 1:18); it is first-born in the new creation.
It is clear that Baptism, though in a certain aspect it places the recipient in a resurrection status, giving Christ for our life, never takes us out of the earth; but puts us in the position of Christian responsibility in it, according to newness of life, as it is said, “so we also should walk in newness of life.” There is a warning in 1 Corinthians 10:1-6. They were baptized, “but with many of them God was not well pleased.” A mere sacramental position is not enough: we have to “continue in the faith, grounded and settled” (Col. 1:23). We are called, as baptized, to walk in this world as dead and risen again, as in a wilderness. It is the expression of the outward visible church in its profession: “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” In baptism we have a good conscience by the resurrection (1 Pet. 3:21). We wash away our sins in it, calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 22:16); we are received by it into the responsible place of God’s people in this world.
With Peter, Christian baptism seems more connected with the kingdom of heaven (compare Matt. 16:19; Acts 2:38; Acts 10:48); with Paul, it was connected rather with the house of God when he did use it. Paul had a new commission. He is not found, like Peter, ministering in the midst of a known people who had promises, calling souls out of it to repentance, that they should receive remission and be separated from the untoward generation. Paul takes up man as man (though owning the Jews) and brings him into God’s presence in light. For the Gentiles it was, even in testimony, a wholly new resurrection state, not merely a good conscience through the resurrection; and baptism, which gives a status on earth founded on resurrection, forms no part of Paul’s testimony, any more than of the mission in John 20:21-23; and Paul tells us himself, that he was not sent to baptize.
Faith sees that when God brings a man into privileges on earth, he does not separate his household from him, for example (Genesis 7:1). Under Christianity this surely holds good (see 1 Cor. 7:14), and we see households were baptized by Paul.
At the end of Matthew’s gospel we have a commandment connected with baptism and apostolic mission to the Gentiles exclusively, but then there is nothing of repentance or remission. It is simply discipling all the nations, baptizing and then teaching them (Matt. 28:19-20). (This passage contemplates in its full sense a work to be done at the end of the age by the Jewish remnant toward the Gentiles. Christian baptism now is for Jews and Gentiles alike, that by it they should lose their standing as such, and being committed to the death of Christ be brought into Christian profession, leaving those distinctions behind them.) The direction in Luke 24:47 is repentance and remission of sins. In Mark 16:15-16 salvation belonged to him who believed and was baptized; for if he was not, he refused to be a Christian.
Scripture gives no definite teaching as to the mode of baptism, the great point being what the recipients of the ordinance were baptized to (compare Acts 19:3). The idea conveyed by the word is “washing,” as with the priests of old (Ex. 29:4), rather than “sprinkling,” as with the Levites (Num. 8:7).
As to the formula used, some have supposed that because we read in the Acts that persons were baptized “to the name of the Lord Jesus,” the instruction given in Matthew 28:19 to baptize “to the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” was superseded. But this does not follow: baptism is always to some person or thing. The disciples found at Ephesus had been baptized to the baptism of John, (Acts 19:3); the Israelites had been baptized to Moses; and those baptized in the Acts were to the name of the Lord Jesus as Savior and Lord; and there is no reason why this should not be combined with the words found in Matthew, and a person be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus unto the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. In Acts 2:38 the preposition is ἐπί (ἐν in MSS B, C, D); in Acts 10:48 it is ἐν; and elsewhere it is εἰς.
4. BAPTIZED FOR THE DEAD. This occurs in 1 Corinthians 15:29. Some maintain that the Corinthian saints had fallen into the error of holding that if some of their number had fallen asleep without being baptized, others could be baptized for them, and that Paul was condemning this. But in the language he uses there is no condemnation. If 1 Corinthians 15:20-28 inclusive be read as a parenthesis, 1 Cor. 15:18 explains 1 Cor. 15:29; and 1 Cor. 15:19 explains 1 Cor. 15:30-32. Thus, if there be no resurrection, those “fallen asleep in Christ are perished....else what shall they do who are baptized for the dead?” Why step into their place in the ranks, and be in jeopardy every hour, like soldiers in a war, if the dead rise not? What advantage was it for Paul to have fought with beasts at Ephesus if the dead rise not? The allusion in the “jeopardy every hour” and in the “fighting” is to those in danger, as soldiers in a war.

Baptism of the Holy Spirit

This is distinct from baptism with water. John’s baptism is contrasted with it, (Acts 11:16; Matt. 3:11). Christian baptism, though distinct, was in view of the reception of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38), but does not confer it (Acts 19:5-6). Baptism of the Holy Spirit took place at Pentecost: the Lord said to His disciples, “Ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence” (Acts 1:5); so that at Pentecost the saints were all baptized by the one Spirit into one body (1 Cor. 12:13). This agrees with the church having been begun at Pentecost, and tells us that no one can be a part of the body of Christ until he is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, being initiated into the one body formed, characterized, by the baptism of the Holy Spirit once for all.


A Chaldaic or Aramaic word (Bar) signifying “son,” as “BarJona,” son of Jona. It corresponds to Ben in Hebrew.




“Son of Jonas,” surname of Peter (Matt. 16:17).


One described as a “robber” in John 18:40; “a notable prisoner” in Matthew 27:16-26: he had made an insurrection and had committed murder (Mark 15:7-15). Yet the Jews, led by the chief priests and elders, requested the release of this man rather than the release of the Lord Jesus. Why they petitioned for this particular prisoner is not known; but it manifests in the most decided manner their ungodliness that they could choose such a notoriously wicked man in preference to the Lord of life and glory, their Messiah (Luke 23:18). Peter did not fail to charge this home upon the Jews, “Ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you” (Acts 3:14).


A Buzite, father of Elihu (Job 32:2,6).


Father of Zacharias who was slain between the temple and the altar (Matt. 23:35).


Son of Abinoam, of Naphtali. He was called by Deborah the prophetess (who judged Israel at that time) to collect from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulon 10,000 men that God might deliver into his hand Sisera, the captain of the army of Jabin, king of Canaan, who had 900 chariots of iron, and who had mightily oppressed the children of Israel twenty years. It required great faith to attack so strong an enemy with such a small force; and Barak had not this strong faith in God; he said he would not go unless Deborah would go with him. Deborah consented to go, but told Barak that it would not be to his honor; Sisera would fall by the hand of a woman. When the armies were face to face it was still Deborah that had to tell Barak when to arise to the attack.
Jehovah discomfited Sisera and his chariots and his host, by the swords of the Israelites, and apparently the overthrow was completed by a severe storm and the overflowing of the river Kishon (Judg. 4:6-17; Judg. 5:20-21). The Canaanites being smitten, Sisera left his chariot and fled for refuge to the house of Heber the Kenite, where he was killed by Jael, Heber’s wife (Judg. 4:18-24). Judges 5 gives the song of Deborah and Barak over the victory. Barak’s faith is like that of many who can follow if another will lead, though they cannot take a first place; it is very gracious of God to mention Barak in Hebrews 11:32 as one in the cloud of witnesses who had become victorious by their faith.

Barbarian (βἀρβαρος)

The word signifies “foreigner, alien”; it was used by the Romans for any people who did not understand Latin or Greek. In Rom. 1:14 they are in contrast to the Greeks. In 1 Cor. 15:11, a person hearing another speak in a language he did not understand would account him and be accounted a foreigner. The inhabitants of Melita were so called by Luke. Acts 28:2-4. In Colossians 3:11 The “barbarian” is in contrast to the uncultivated Scythian.

Barbed Irons

Irons shaped like a harpoon, that will enter the flesh easily but which cannot be withdrawn. God, to show His wisdom and power to Job, speaks of the leviathan, or crocodile, into which barbed irons have no entrance (Job 41:7).


Only referred to in Ezekiel 5:1. Their employment was not usual, but was needed on special occasions, for example, as for a Nazarite or for one supposed to have the leprosy.




Son of Shemaiah, descendant of David (1 Chron. 3:22).


Ancestor of some Nethinim who returned from exile (Ezra 2:53; Neh. 7:55).

Barley (Seorah, κριθή)

The well-known cereal, which was used as food for horses (1 Kings 4:28); and also for the food of man when wheat failed.
At the famine of Samaria, when the Syrian camp was found deserted, one measure (seah) of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, (2 Kings 7:1, 16), showing that barley was valued at half the price of wheat. In Revelation 6:6, when scarcity is foretold, one choenix of wheat will be sold for a denarius, and three measures of barley for a denarius. Here it is one-third the value of wheat, and 5 pints will cost about 8d., which in New Testament times was a man’s daily wages.
In the trial of jealousy an offering was made of barley meal, without oil or frankincense, (Num. 5:15). It was a domestic sorrow, that never ought to occur; but if the sin was there it must be judged. In Judges 7:13 Gideon hears himself compared to a cake of barley bread: he would not have heard this had he not been afraid (Judg. 7:10); but it the more showed him whose hand must give the victory. Israel is charged with having polluted God among His people for “handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread” (Ezek. 13:19); as it says elsewhere, they had sold themselves for naught.
It was with five barley-loaves and a few fishes that the Lord fed the five thousand (John 6:9-13). Such loaves are still the bread of the poorest in Palestine. Barley is sown in October as soon as the ground is softened by the rains, and the harvest is in April, but extends to May in the colder districts.


A Levite of Cyprus. His name was JOSES (or Joseph as in some manuscripts); but by the apostles he was surnamed Barnabas, “son of consolation” (rather “exhortation”). We first read of him as one who sold his land and laid the money at the apostles’ feet (Acts 4:36-37). When the disciples at Jerusalem were afraid of Saul, it was Barnabas who introduced him to the apostles (Acts 9:26-27). When the Gentiles were converted at Antioch it was Barnabas who was sent there from Jerusalem. He rejoiced in the reality of the work and exhorted them to cleave to the Lord; the scripture says he was “a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith.” He then sought Saul and brought him to Antioch, where they labored a whole year. They then together visited Jerusalem with contributions from the saints (Acts 11:22-30). Antioch became a center, from whence the gospel went forth to the Gentiles; it was there that the Holy Ghost said, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them,” and from thence they started on what is called Paul’s first missionary journey (Acts 13:2-4).
On the question being raised as to the necessity of the Gentile disciples being circumcised, Paul and Barnabas (Paul being now mostly mentioned first) went up to Jerusalem about the subject (Acts. 15:1-41). After this Paul proposed that they should visit again the brethren in the cities where they had preached. Barnabas insisted that they should take his nephew Mark with them; but Paul objected, for Mark had previously left the work. Barnabas persisting in his desire, they parted, and he and Mark sailed to Cyprus, his own country. Thus were separated these two valuable servants of the Lord who had hazarded their lives for the name of the Lord Jesus. We have no record of any further labors of Barnabas. Paul alludes to him as one who had been carried away by the dissimulation of Peter, otherwise he speaks of him affectionately (1 Cor. 9:6; Gal. 2:1,9,13).
BARNABAS, EPISTLE OF. There is an Epistle of 21 Chapters attributed to Barnabas. Clement of Alexandria treated it as genuine, and Origen called it a “catholic epistle;” but it is now commonly held that its author was not the companion of Paul. It was most probably written by a Gentile, for it is strongly opposed to Judaism; it has numerous inaccuracies as to the Old Testament, and absurd interpretations of scripture, and contains many silly allusions to the writer’s superior knowledge. It was by Eusebius ranked among the spurious writings.


The word kad signifies a large earthen vessel, not a barrel made of wood (1 Kings 17:12,14,16; 1 Kings 18:33). It is often translated “pitcher.”
Antique jar in the patio of Dar el Azim museum.


1. JOSEPH, also called JUSTUS, who was nominated with Matthias as suitable to fill the place of Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:23).
2. The surname of JUDAS, who with Silas was sent to Antioch with the decision arrived at by the church at Jerusalem respecting Gentile converts being circumcised. He and Silas are called “chief men among the brethren,” and “prophets,” who exhorted the brethren and confirmed them (Acts 15:22,27,32).


One of the twelve apostles, who is not referred to by name except in the lists of the twelve (Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:14; Acts 1:13). Probably identical with Nathanael: (Compare John 1:45; John 21:2).


The blind beggar of Jericho, to whom the Lord gave sight (Mark 10:46).


1. Son of Zabbai: he helped to build the wall of Jerusalem (Neh. 3:20).
2. A priest who sealed the covenant (Neh. 10:6).
3. Father of Maaseiah who returned from exile (Neh. 11:5).
4. Son of Neriah, and faithful secretary to Jeremiah. He was eventually carried with Jeremiah into Egypt (Jer. 32:12-16; Jer. 36:4-32; Jer. 43:3,6; Jer. 45:1-2).
BARUCH, Book of. This forms part of the Old Testament Apocrypha, though its professed author is Baruch, the friend and secretary of Jeremiah. It relates that the Jews in Babylon sent a deputation to Jerusalem with money for sacrifices, and requested that prayers might be offered for Nebuchadnezzar and his son Belshazzar. It confesses that their sufferings were in consequence of their sins. It points to the sin of neglecting the source of wisdom, and exhorts to a return. It laments over Jerusalem; but exults in its future blessing. It ends with an Epistle of Jeremiah to those who were to be led captive into Babylon, warning them against the idols they would find there. It is generally agreed that the book was not written by its assumed author, but there is great diversity of opinion as to its probable date: some placing it B.C. 160, and others not till B.C. 79-69.


1. Gileadite of Rogelim, who liberally supplied David with provisions when he fled from Absalom. For his faithful services David invited him to return with him to Jerusalem; but being 80 years old he pleaded his great age and declined the honor, but requested that Chimham might go in his stead (2 Sam. 17:27; 2 Sam. 19:31-39; 1 Kings 2:7).
2. Meholathite, father of Adriel (2 Sam. 21:8).
3. Priest who had married a daughter of Barzillai of Rogelim and had adopted that name (Ezra 2:61; Neh. 7:63).


A large district on the east of the Jordan, having Gilead on the south and extending northward to Mount Hermon; westward to the Jordan valley, and eastward nearly as far as 37° E. It is sometimes called the “land of Bashan,” and it was the kingdom of Og the Amorite. It was conquered by Moses, and became, with part of Gilead, the portion of the half-tribe of Manasseh. Its principal cities were Ashtaroth (or Beeshterah) given to the Levites, Golan a “city of refuge,” Edrei, and Salcah on its border. It was ravaged by Hazael in the time of Jehu, and is not often alluded to in the later history of the kings of Judah and Israel (Josh. 13:30-31; Josh. 21:27; 2 Kings 10:33; 1 Chron. 5:11).
The district was in later days divided into:
1. GAULANITIS on the west, now called Jaulan, a rich district with noble forests, which is now almost deserted.
2. AURANITIS, in the center, now called Hauran, a magnificent plain, partly inhabited.
3. TRACHONITIS, on the north-east, also called ARGOB; now called El Lejah, a wild district of basaltic rocks.
4. BATANAEA, on the south-east, now called Ard el Bathanyeh. The four districts have relics of a numerous population, with massive houses built of stone in some parts.
THE OAKS OF BASHAN are used symbolically for great strength and loftiness, which God in His judgment brings down (Isa. 2:13; Ezek. 27:6; Zech. 11:2).
BULLS OF BASHAN are figurative of strong ruthless enemies, (Amos 4:1), whom God in the coming judgment on Gog will crush, and will call for the fowls and the beasts to come and feed upon their flesh and their blood, (Ezek. 39:18): and lastly, when the blessed Lord was on the cross, His description of His vindictive enemies includes the strong bulls of Bashan which beset Him around, and gaped upon Him with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion (Psa. 22:12-13).


The name given to the country of Argob, a district in Bashan, after it had been conquered by Jair (Deut. 3:14).


One of the wives of Esau, the daughter of Ishmael and the mother of Reuel (Gen. 36:3-4). In the earlier narrative, (Gen. 26:34; Gen. 28:9), the names of Esau’s wives differ from those given in Genesis 36:2-3. The women may have had two names, or another name may have been given them on their marriage. It appears probable that Bashemath, daughter of Elon, is the same as ADAH, daughter of Elon; and that Bashemath, daughter of Ishmael, is the same as MAHALATH, daughter of Ishmael. JUDITH, daughter of Beeri, may be the same as AHOLIBAMAH, daughter of Anah, if Beeri is her father’s name and Anah her mother’s.


Various Hebrew words are translated “basket,” and doubtless the size, shape and strength varied according to the purpose for which they were intended. In the New Testament there are three Greek words used: σαργάνη, “a hamper,” in which Paul was let down by the wall, (2 Cor. 11:33), though for the same occurrence another word is used in Acts 9:25, σπυρίς, which also signifies “a hamper,” and is used for the seven baskets of fragments remaining after the four thousand were fed (Matt. 15:37; Matt. 16:10; Mark 8:8, 20). When the five thousand were fed there were twelve baskets of fragments, but it was then the κόθινος, “a hand basket” (Matt. 14:20; Matt. 16:9; Mark 6:43; Mark 8:19; Luke 9:17; John 6:13). The two perfect numbers seven and twelve show the inexhaustible supply the Lord furnishes when His purpose is to bless His own.


Daughter of Solomon and wife of Ahimaaz, one of Solomon’s commissariat officers (1 Kings 4:15).


There are four Hebrew words used for basins nearly all referring to the temple service.
1. aggan, “a cup, bowl, or basin” (Ex. 24:6).
2. kephor, large cup or bowl, probably for the wine when drunk before the Lord; when blood is spoken of a different word is used (1 Chron. 28:17; Ezra 1:10; Ezra 8:27).
3. mizraq, “large basin or bowl,” used for holding the blood that had to be sprinkled (Ex. 27:3; 38:3; Num. 7:13-85) “bowls”; (1 Kings 7:40,45,50; 2 Kings 12:13; 2 Chron. 4:8,11,22; Neh. 7:70).
4. saph, “dish, bowl” (Ex. 12:22; 2 Sam. 17:28; Jer. 52:19). In the New Testament νιπτήρ, “large basin,” which our Lord used when he washed the feet of His disciples (John 13:5).


The atalleph, νυκτερίς, “night bird,” is the animal well known as the bat: it was in the law forbidden to be eaten (Lev. 11:19; Deut. 14:18).
There are several species found in Palestine: they inhabit the tombs and caves, and are familiar with darkness. Where there are many the effluvium from them is very noisome. Their habitation becomes a fit emblem of darkness and offensiveness, a place to which men will cast their idols of gold and silver when Jehovah arises to deal with the earth (Isa. 2:20).
Egyptian Fruitbat




Gate of the ancient city of Heshbon, to the fishpools of which the bridegroom compares the eyes of his beloved (Song of Sol. 7:4).


Another name for BATHSHEBA, the wife of David (1 Chron. 3:5). The same Hebrew word is translated “daughter of Shua,” Judah’s wife in Genesis 38:12; 1 Chronicles 2:3.


Daughter of Eliam, or Ammiel, and wife of Uriah the Hittite. David’s lusting after her became the occasion of his sin in accomplishing the death of her husband. She afterward became David’s wife and was the mother of Solomon and other children. When Adonijah sought to make himself king, Bathsheba, moved by Nathan, appealed to David to fulfill his promise to her that Solomon should be his successor. When Solomon was king Adonijah begged Bathsheba to use her influence to obtain Abishag for him as wife. She asked this of Solomon, but it led to Adonijah’s death (2 Sam. 11:3; 2 Sam. 12:24; 1 Kings 1:11-31; 1 Kings 2:13-19; Psa. 51 Title).

Battering Ram

Modern replica of a medieval battering ram.
The machine used anciently for knocking down gates or walls. A heavy beam was suspended by chains, at the end of which was an iron head, shaped something like a ram. The name (which in both passages is simply “ram”) may have been derived either from its shape, or from the resemblance of its action to the butting of a ram. It was pulled away from the wall and then swung heavily against it (Ezek. 4:2; Ezek. 21:22).

Battle Ax

Middle Ages battle axe.
Large hammer or ax, at the end of a long handle, a formidable ancient weapon (Jer. 51:20). It is referred metaphorically to Jacob as God’s weapon to break the nations into pieces.


1. maaqeh, the balustrade or parapet round the flat roofs of houses required by the law for the protection of life (Deut. 22:8).
2. netishoth: this signifies “expansion,” and may well refer to extended battlements. A parapet on the walls, with holes through which arrows could be shot, may be seen on some of the Assyrian monuments (Jer. 5:10).
Jerusalem City Wall


One who helped to build the wall of Jerusalem (Neh. 3:18).


From “strong, sharp,” and hence a bright color, perhaps “reddish brown” (Zech. 6:3,7). The chariot with grisled and bay horses signified the Roman empire.
Bay Horse

Bay Tree

From “native born,” or that which springs up without transplanting. Psalm 37:35 reads in the margin, “tree that groweth in his own soil,” a striking emblem of the wicked spreading himself in his own earthly soil.

Bazlith, Bazluth

Ancestor of some Nethinim who returned from exile (Ezra 2:52; Neh. 7:54).


The word bedolach has been interpreted to signify both a white transparent oily gum, and a white pearl. Its color is referred to in the description of the manna (Num. 11:7), and in Genesis 2:12 it is mentioned with gold and onyx stones as characterizing the land of Havilah. The white pearl seems the more probable allusion, for the manna is in Exodus 16:14 compared also to the hoar frost.
Pearl Ring


Signal pole placed on the top of a hill (Isa. 30:17). Israel should be so reduced in prosperity and in number as to become like a solitary “tree bereft of branches” (margin).


Benjamite who joined David at Ziklag (1 Chron. 12:5).


City in the south of Judah (Josh. 15:24).

Beans (Pol)

The common and well-known bean. It grows plentifully in Palestine, and is eaten with rice or mixed with wheat and barley in making bread for the poor (2 Sam. 17:28; Ezek. 4:9).
Fava Beans

Bear (Dob, άρκτος)

Syrian Brown Bear – Ursus Arctos Syriacus
The species which inhabited Palestine is the Syrian Bear (Syriacus Ursus). When young its color is a dark brown, but this color gets lighter with age, and when old it is nearly white. They are now comparatively scarce in Palestine, but may still be seen on the mountains of Lebanon, and occasionally farther south. When vegetables and fruits are to be had the bear feeds upon them, but in the winter it lives upon animals. David slew a lion and a bear that had seized a lamb of the flock (1 Sam. 17:34-37). The she-bear is regarded as peculiarly fierce and dangerous when robbed of her whelps (2 Sam. 17:8; Prov. 17:12; compare 2 Kings 2:24). Alas that God should have to compare His fierce judgments on Israel to such a creature, together with the lion and leopard (Hos. 13:7-8). In the millennium the cow and the bear shall feed together (Isa. 11:7).
In Daniel 7:5 the Medo-Persian kingdom was compared to a bear, with three ribs in its mouth; and to it was said, “Arise, devour much flesh.” In Revelation 13:2 The beast that represents the still future Roman empire is described as being like a leopard, with feet as the feet of a bear, showing its destructive character, for it is by the strength of its feet the bear destroys its prey by tearing it open.


The Israelites always cultivated the beard, and highly valued it. The law forbade them to “mar the corners of their beards” (Lev. 19:27), and a priest must not shave off the corner of his beard as a sign of mourning (Lev. 21:5). King Hanun inflicted a sore indignity when he marred the beards of David’s ambassadors (2 Sam. 10:4). Ezra in great grief at the sin of the people plucked off the hair of his head and of his beard (Ezra 9:3: Compare. Jer. 41:5). God’s judgment on Israel is compared to the beard being consumed by a razor, (Isa. 7:20); and they were to be scattered as hair that is cut off (Ezek. 5:1, 2, 12). Of Moab it was said, every beard should be cut off (Isa. 15:2; Jer. 48:37).


Besides the ordinary use of this word—such as distinguishing all animals from man, (Ex. 9:10; Psa. 36:6); and as specifying quadrupeds from fowls and creeping things, (Gen. 8:19)— the word is used symbolically for the ignorance of man (Psa. 73:22); and for his acting as an irrational creature, that is, without conscience before God. The word is beir, translated “brutish” in (Psa. 94:8; Jer. 10:8,14,21; Jer. 51:17). Great worldly powers, cheyva, θηρίον, having different characters according to the symbolic creature specified, but signifying in each case the absence of all moral connection with God: used by Daniel for the four great kingdoms, (Dan. 7:3-23); and in Revelation 13:1 to Revelation 20:10 for the revived Roman empire and for the Antichrist, God’s executive powers in creation and providence, ζῶον, unhappily translated “beasts” in the A.V. in Revelation 4:6-9, where it should be “living creatures,” as in Ezekiel. See LIVING CREATURES.


Much in the tabernacle was to be made of beaten work (Ex. 25:18,31,36), in contrast to “molten,” as idols were often made. The cherubim and the mercy-seat were to be beaten out of one piece, (Ex. 37:7): the candlestick also was beaten work of pure gold (Ex. 37:17,22).

Beatitudes, The

The name commonly given to the nine statements of blessing in the Sermon on the Mount, showing the character and the portion of those who enter into the kingdom (Matt. 5:1-11). This stands in remarkable contrast to the economy of the law, in which there is a list of curses as well as of blessings. When Israel entered the land the blessings, but also the curses, were duly read to the people (Josh. 8:33-35).
Several of the Psalms contain beatitudes, and such are called Asherite Psalms, from the Hebrew word ashrey, “happiness, blessing.”

Beautiful Gate

A gate of the temple (Acts 3:2). Josephus says there were nine gates overlaid with silver and gold; but one without the temple, made of Corinthian brass, far exceeded those of gold and silver (Wars 5. 5, 3.) This is supposed to be the gate called Beautiful in the above passage.


Two or three whose descendants returned from exile (Ezra 2:11; Ezra 8:11; Ezra 10:28; Neh. 7:16). And one who sealed the covenant (Neh. 10:15).


1. Son of Benjamin, perhaps his second son, but the firstborn of one of his wives. The name signifies “first-born” (Gen. 46:21; 1 Chron. 7:6,8).
2. Son of Ephraim, and the head of the BACHRITES (Num. 26:35).


Son of Aphiah, a Benjamite (1 Sam. 9:1).

Bed, Bedstead

In the East the beds were simply mats that could be rolled up in the morning and put away in any corner. This explains why the persons who were healed were told to “take up” their beds (Matt. 9:6; Mark 2:9, 11-12; John 5:8-12). For covering, a quilt sufficed, and in cold weather a thicker one; but often they used their own garments only: this accounts for the law that a garment taken in pledge must be restored when the sun went down, that the owner might sleep in his own raiment, or outer garment (Deut. 24:13). For bedsteads, simple couches were commonly used, and where there was no separate bed-chamber the divan on one side of the room, that was used for reclining on in the day, served for the bedstead at night. Doubtless light movable couches were also used as bedsteads, (2 Kings 4:10), under which a lamp could be placed, (Mark 6:21), and on which the man was let down through the roof (Luke 5:18). The bedstead of Og the giant king of Bashan was of iron, 9 cubits long (about 13 feet 6 inches) and 4 cubits wide (6 feet) (Deut. 3:11).


The room set apart for sleeping in; being placed in the most retired position it became symbolical of the utmost privacy (2 Kings 6:12; Eccl. 10:20). Joash was hid in a bed-chamber, or a room adapted to that purpose, apparently connected with the temple (2 Kings 11:2). Travelers however, in the East, often have to spread their rugs on the floor of the same room in which the members of their host’s family sleep, and the servants they bring with them sleep “anywhere” (2 Sam. 11:9).


Father of Hadad king of Edom (Gen. 36:35; 1 Chron. 1:46).


1. Judge of Israel, between Gideon and Jephthah, mentioned in 1 Samuel 12:11; but not found in the book of Judges. The LXX, Syriac and Arabic give the name as Barak.
2. Son of Ulam, descendant of Manasseh (1 Chron. 7:17).


One who had married a strange wife (Ezra 10:35).


Andrena Flavipes
The well-known insect that supplies honey. They are referred to symbolically as chasing and surrounding an enemy, and the painfulness of their attacks has often been experienced (Deut. 1:44; Judg. 14:8; Psa. 118:12; Isa. 7:18). Bees abound in Palestine, making their nests in the woods and in the clefts of the rocks, which habit well illustrates the description of the land as “flowing with milk and honey” (1 Sam. 14:26).


Son of David (1 Chron. 14:7); also called ELIADA in 2 Samuel 5:16 and 1 Chronicles 3:8.

Beelzebub (βεελζεβύλ)

The meaning of this word is much disputed, some associate it with BAAL-ZEBUB, “lord of the fly,” in the Old Testament, but others believe it to be a term of contempt, signifying “lord of dung.” The Jews, who blasphemously charged the Lord with casting out demons by Beelzebul (as it should be spelled), call him “the prince of the demons,”‘ which sufficiently explains their meaning to be that the one who was the head of those demons enabled the Lord to cast them out (Matt. 10:25; Matt. 12:24, 27; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15, 18-19). The Lord shows the folly of supposing that the same evil one who was seeking to build up a kingdom should be at the same time the means of pulling it down. He also denounces the dreadful blasphemy of saying that the work done by the Holy Spirit was accomplished by the influence of Satan: this blasphemy against the Holy Spirit was the sin that should never be forgiven. (Compare also 2 Kings 1:2).


1. A station of the Israelites when they drew near the Land, so called because of a well (which the word signifies) being sunk there, from which God gave them water. They sang—
“Spring up, O well; sing ye to it:
The princes digged the well,
The nobles of the people digged it
By the direction of the lawgiver, with their staves.”
(Num. 21:16-18). Probably the same as BEER-ELIM of Isaiah 15:8.
2. Place to which Jotham fled for fear of his brother Abimelech (Judg. 9:21). Its position unknown.




This signifies “well of the living and seeing one.” A well situated between Kadesh and Bered, “in the way to Shur,” therefore in the south. It was here that Hagar, when she fled from Sarai, was met by the angel of the Lord: her exclamation on that occasion, “Thou God seest me,” gave to the well its name (Gen. 16:14). Isaac dwelt near the same “well LAHAI-ROI” (Gen. 24:62; Gen. 25:11).


This name, signifying “well of the oath,” was given to the place where Abraham and Abimelech made a covenant not to molest each other, and confirmed it by an oath. It afterward became the dwelling place of Abraham and of Isaac, who also digged a well there, and a city is spoken of as bearing the same name (Gen. 21:14, 31-33; Gen. 22:19: Gen. 26:23, 33; Gen. 28:10). It became a part of Simeon’s lot, (Josh. 19:1-2); and after the settlement of the land it is constantly referred to as the most southern part of the land possessed, as Dan is pointed to as the most northern; thus “from Dan to Beer-sheba” was the common expression for the whole territory even in the days of Solomon (1 Kings 4:25).
The prophet Amos warns the people not to trust in any places of renown or of former blessing, as Bethel, Gilgal, nor Beersheba; the glory of all had faded: they must seek Jehovah, and they should live (Amos 5:5-6; Amos 8:14). On the return of the exiles some of them dwelt at Beer-sheba, and from thence northward to the valley of Hinnom (Neh. 11:27, 30). Beer-sheba is identified with Bir es Seba, 31° 15’ N, 34° 48’ E. There are still two principal wells in the district giving excellent water, besides five smaller ones.


Son of Zophah, of the tribe of Asher (1 Chron. 7:37).


Prince of the Reubenites, carried to Assyria (1 Chron. 5:6).


1. A Hittite, father of Judith, wife of Esau (Gen. 26:34). See BASHEMATH.
2. Father of the prophet Hosea (Hos. 1:1).


1. Station of Israel belonging to Jaakan (Deut. 10:6).
2. One of the four cities of the Hivites which deceived Joshua into making a treaty of peace. It was given to Benjamin (Josh. 9:17; Josh. 18:25; 2 Sam. 4:2). It is identified with Bireh, 31° 54’ N, 35° 13’ E, about 7 miles north of Jerusalem. The inhabitants of the city were called BEEROTHITES, (2 Sam. 4:2-9; 23:37; 1 Chron. 11:39) (BEROTHITE); and “children” or “men of Beeroth” on returning from exile (Ezra 2:25; Neh. 7:29).


Levitical city in Manasseh, east of Jordan (Josh. 21:27). It would appear by comparing 1 Chronicles 6:71 to be the same as ASHTAROTH.

Beetle (Chargol)

This name occurs but once in the list of insects which the Israelites were allowed to eat, and is generally held to be a species of locust (Lev. 11:22).

Beeves (Baqar)

Horned cattle (Lev. 22:19, 21; Num. 31:28-44). The old English plural of “beef.”


In the Old Testament earthly prosperity was a sign of blessing. The Psalmist said that during the whole of his life he had not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread (Psa. 37:25); whereas of a wicked one, typical of Judas, it is said, “Let his children be continually vagabonds and beg” (Psa. 109:10); but in bringing in strength and salvation Jehovah “lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes” (1 Sam. 2:8). The law made many provisions for the poor. In the New Testament we read of several beggars who were also blind, who received blessing (Mark 10:46; Luke 18:35; John 9:8); and in the parable the Lord spoke of the beggar named Lazarus who was carried into Abraham’s bosom (Luke 16:20, 22; compare Acts 3:2).


Besides the common use of this word in many connections, it is used in a special sense to carry the mind back into—
1. Eternity, when the Word was with God, and was God, by whom all things were made (John 1:1-3; Acts 15:18) (which should read “from eternity”). Also to the eternity of Jehovah, “the beginning and the end” (Rev. 1:8; Rev. 21:6; Rev. 22:13).
2. The creation, whether it was creating out of nothing or forming the heavens and the earth (Isa. 64:4; Heb. 1:10). Also the creation of man and woman (Matt. 19:4, 8; Mark 10:6).
3. The beginning of Christianity (John 15:27; John 16:4; 1 John 1:1; 1 John 3:11; 2 John 1:5-6).
4. It is used also with a moral sense as a foundation or source, as in Colossians 1:18 and Revelation 3:14.


1. From γεμμάω, “to beget.” This word is used
a) for the natural generation of mankind, as in Matthew 1.
b) for the spiritual generation of the Christian. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “In Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel” (1 Cor. 4:15); and of Onesimus he says, “whom I have begotten in my bonds” (Philem. 1:10) signifying that he had been the means of their conversion; for the Christian is begotten of God (1 John 5:18; 1 Pet. 1:3).
c) for the Lord Jesus, when He became a man, conceived (begotten) of the Holy Ghost (Matt. 1:20); and declared in those words of Jehovah to Him, “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee” (Psa. 2:7; Acts 13:33; Heb. 1:5; Heb. 5:5).
d) μόνοτγενής, a name of peculiar affection for the Lord Jesus in His eternal Sonship as existing before He came into the world, and referred to as the only begotten Son, the only begotten of the Father (John 1:14, 18; John 3:16,18). It is here used as the equivalent of a Hebrew word (yachid) which signifies “only one,” and hence “darling” (Gen. 22:2; Psa. 22:20; Psa. 35:17).
2. πρωτότοκος, applied to the Lord Jesus as “the first-begotten,” or rather “the firstborn” as marking His supremacy above all. The angels were called to worship Him when He was brought into the world (Heb. 1:6); and He is said to be the firstborn from among the dead (Rev. 1:5).


This was not a form of capital punishment in the Old Testament. Ishbosheth was beheaded by his murderers that his head might be carried to David (2 Sam. 4:7-8); as Goliath’s head had been carried to Saul. In the New Testament John the Baptist was killed in the Roman manner of beheading with the sword (Matt. 14:10; Mark 6:16, 27; Luke 9:9). In Revelation 20:4, those “beheaded” for the witness of Jesus, may be killed in other ways, for the word πελεκίζω signifies “to cut with an ax,”‘ having no particular reference to the head.


This is a Hebrew word and is now very generally believed to refer to the Hippopotamus (Job 40:15). Jehovah calls the attention of Job to this wonderful animal that he might see the wisdom and power of its Creator.




One of the gods of Babylon, supposed by some to be the Babylonish name of Baal (Isa. 46:1; Jer. 1:2; Jer. 51:44).


1. Another name of ZOAR, a small city near the Dead Sea (Gen. 14:2,8; Gen. 19:22).
2. Son of Beor and king in Edom (Gen. 36:32-33; 1 Chron. 1:43-44).
3. Son of Azaz, of the tribe of Reuben (1 Chron. 5:8).
4. Eldest son of Benjamin, and head of the family of the BELAITES (Gen. 46:21 (BELAH); Num. 26:38,40; 1 Chron. 7:6-7; 1 Chron. 8:1, 3).


The Hebrew word signifies “worthless, lawless,” and is not a proper name, but is used as a personification of evil; thus we have “son of Belial, daughter of Belial” (Deut. 13:13; Judg. 19:22; 1 Sam. 1:16; 1 Sam. 25:17,25). In the New Testament it is put in contradistinction to Christ as if it meant Satan ( 2 Cor. 6:15); it is there βελίαρ.


This word occurs but twice in the A. V.
1. πιστεύω, “to believe,” from πίστις, “faith” (Acts 5:14): “Believers were the more added to the Lord.” The same Greek word is constantly used for those that believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to the saving of their souls, as in John 3:15-18.
2. πιστός, “trusting, trusty,”‘ also from πίστις, “faith” (1 Tim. 4:12); “be thou an example of the believers.” The same word is used for “What part hath he that believeth with an infidel, or unbeliever?” (2 Cor. 6:15). “Believers” are a class of persons, who, through the mercy of God, have faith in Christ as the Son of God, and in His atoning work on the cross. See FAITH.


Instead of “the bellows are burned,” some prefer to translate “the bellows puff, or blow, and the lead is consumed in the fire,” lead being formerly used to purify silver (Jer. 6:29). The allusion is that Israel had not been refined by means of judgment: “reprobate silver shall men call them” (Jer. 6:30). Bellows are seen on the monuments of Egypt, having two bags on which a man stands; by lifting up each foot alternately, and pulling a string, each bag is inflated, and the wind is forced to the fire as the foot descends.


1. paamon, from “to strike” (Ex. 28:33-34; Ex. 39:25-26). They were on Aaron’s robes, “a bell and a pomegranate,” testimony and fruit were to mark all his goings, as they should accompany the Christian’s walk through being attached to Christ.
2. metsilloth, “bells” from their tinkling (Zech. 14:20), but in the margin is read “or bridles.” These are supposed to be the metallic plates suspended from the heads of the horses, on which inscriptions can be engraved, and which make a tinkling noise. At the restoration and blessing of Israel “Holiness unto the Lord” will be engraved on such plates.


The last king of the Babylonish empire, who, at a festival, when he desecrated the sacred vessels of Jerusalem, was warned of God by the fingers of a man’s hand writing upon the wall. He had been weighed by God and was found wanting. Though remonstrated with by Daniel he showed no signs of repentance, and in the midst of the festivities the city was taken by Cyrus or one of his generals and the king was slain. The monuments record that it was taken by Gobryas. The queen, probably the queen-mother, was not at such a scene of revelry, and she could tell of one who would be able to interpret the writing on the wall. See MENE.
For a long time Daniel’s account of the taking of the city and of Belshazzar being the last king, was held to be contradicted by history, which names several kings between Nebuchadnezzar and the close of the empire. Of these, two are mentioned in scripture: Evil-merodach (2 Kings 25:27; Jer. 52:31); and Nergal-sharezer (Jer. 39:3,13). Two others are also named in history, Laborosoarchod and Nabonadius or Labynetus the former reigned only nine months, and the latter cannot be made to agree with Belshazzar; but happily Col. Rawlinson in A. D. 1854 at Mugheir, the ancient Ur, found an inscription on a monument to the effect that Nabonadius associated his son Bel-shar-eser with himself on the throne. Some tablets also have been discovered bearing the record of certain contracts made by Bilu-sarra-utsur, son of the king, which is also believed to refer to Belshazzar.
Nabonadius was elsewhere, and Belshazzar was slain. This agrees with his saying to Daniel that if he could interpret the writing he should be the third in the kingdom. Belshazzar is called the son of Nebuchadnezzar, but this in scripture often means grandson, and Nabonadius is supposed to have married a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar. He is said to have been a usurper, and by such a marriage would have consolidated his position on the throne (Dan. 5:1-30; Dan. 7:1; Dan. 8:1).




A word signifying “son,” and often placed at the beginning of proper names to say whose son the person is: or followed by an appellative, as Ben-oni, “son of my sorrow.” In the plural it is BENE or BENI. See BAR.


Levite appointed to the service of song by David (1 Chron. 15:18).


Name signifying “son of my people,” given to the son of Lot’s daughter: he was father of the Ammonites (Gen. 19:38).


This appears to be the royal title of the kings of Syria. There are three mentioned in scripture bearing this name, and the last apparently not a relative of the other two. The title may signify “son of Adad” one of the gods of Syria.
1. Son of Tabrimon. He was induced, by a present from Asa king of Judah, to attack Baasha king of Israel (1 Kings 15:18,20; 2 Chron. 16:2,4).
2. Another king of Syria in the time of Ahab. He fought against Israel, but was defeated and taken prisoner. Ahab called him “brother,” and spared his life, for which he was rebuked by a prophet: God had devoted Ben-hadad to death and Ahab’s life should go for his life. Benhadad again besieged Samaria in the reign of Jehoram, causing a great famine, but God made the Syrians flee when no man pursued, leaving plentiful provisions for His people. Afterward when Ben-hadad was sick he sent Hazael to Elisha, who had come to Damascus, to know whether he would recover. Elisha said Hazael could tell the king he might surely recover, though Elisha knew he would die. He also told Hazael that he would be king of Syria. Hazael told the king that he would certainly recover; but the next day smothered him with a wet cloth, and reigned over Syria in his stead (1 Kings 20:1-33; 2 Kings 6:24; 2 Kings 8:7-15).
3. Son of the above-named Hazael. Because of Israel’s sin, God delivered them into the hands of this king; but eventually Ben-hadad was defeated three times and the cities of Israel were recovered (2 Kings 13:3,24-25; Jer. 49:27; Amos 1:4).


Prince of Judah under Jehoshaphat (2 Chron. 17:7).


Son of Shimon, descendant of Judah (1 Chron. 4:20).




Son of Ishi, a descendant of Judah (1 Chron. 4:20).


1. Son of Jehoiada, and officer in David’s and Solomon’s army, perhaps chief of their body-guard (2 Sam. 8:18; 2 Sam. 20:23; 2 Sam. 23:20,22; 1 Kings 1:8-44; 1 Kings 2:25-46; 1 Kings 4:4; 1 Chron. 11:24; 1 Chron. 18:17; 1 Chron. 27:5-6).
2. One of David’s valiant men, a Pirathonite (2 Sam. 23:30; 1 Chron. 11:31; 1 Chron. 27:14).
3. Prince of a family of Simeon (1 Chron. 4:36).
4. Levite and “porter” (1 Chron. 15:18,20; 1 Chron. 16:5).
5. Priest who blew the trumpet before the ark (1 Chron. 15:24; 1 Chron. 16:6).
6. Father of Jehoiada, one of David’s counselors (1 Chron. 27:34).
7. Levite descendant of Asaph (2 Chron. 20:14).
8. Levite, overseer of the temple-offerings (2 Chron. 31:13).
9. Father of Pelatiah, prince of Judah (Ezek. 11:1,13).
10-13. Four who had married strange wives (Ezra 10:25,30,35,43).


City in Dan (Josh. 19:45). Identified with Ibn Ibrak, 32° 2’ N, 34° 50’ E.


A tribe that gave its name to several wells, near to which was one of the halting places of the Israelites (Num. 33:31-32).


This was a term of praise and flattery often used towards the rulers who loved to hear themselves spoken well of. The Lord said it was not to be so with His disciples; they had been disputing who should be the greatest (and that too when their Lord was approaching the cross!) whereas they ought to have taken a low place, following in His steps (Luke 22:25).


Levite who sealed the covenant (Neh. 10:13).


The youngest son of Jacob by his beloved wife Rachel. She died at his birth and named him BEN-ONI, signifying “son of my sorrow,” but his father named him BENJAMIN, “son of the right hand” (Gen. 35:18, 24). Type of Christ both as exalted at God’s right hand (Benjamin), and, as rejected, the occasion of Israel’s tribulation in the last days (Ben-oni), Rachel being a type of Israel (Mic. 5). Very little is recorded of Benjamin personally: he was the father of ten sons (Gen. 46:21).
Benjamin was the smallest of the tribes except Manasseh in the numbering of Numbers 1:37and Numbers 2:22-23. In Psalm 68:27 it is called “little Benjamin”; but in the numbering before entering the land Benjamin exceeded in number four of the other tribes (Num. 26:41). In Genesis 49:27 Jacob prophesied of the tribe that it should “ravin as a wolf; in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil,” typical of Christ in judgment on the earth in a future day. In Deuteronomy 33:12, where Moses prophesied of the tribes, he said of Benjamin, “The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.” So in the blessings of Psalm 68:27 Benjamin is the first named of the four tribes; and in Psalm 80:2, where God is called upon to save them, Benjamin is mentioned with Ephraim and Manasseh, being the three tribes which followed the ark (Num. 2:17-24; Num. 10:22-24).
The tribe did not drive out the Jebusites, but allowed them to dwell with them in Jerusalem (Judg. 1:21); this may have led to their idolatry, for when, with Judah and Ephraim, they were attacked by the children of Ammon, they confessed they had forsaken God and served Baalim (Judg. 10:9-10). It may also have led to the dreadful deed which resulted in the destruction of nearly the whole tribe (Judg. 19-21). From this they in a measure recovered their strength. At the division of the kingdom they remained with Judah, but a large portion of their lot was seized by Israel. At times they appear to be lost sight of, for Ahijah said that God had reserved to the house of David one tribe (as if Benjamin was reckoned as cut off in judgment) (1 Kings 11:36). The two tribes were constantly spoken of as “Judah,” whereas the ten tribes were called “Israel.”‘ On the return from the captivity, Benjamin had its share of blessing with Judah (Ezra 1:5; Ezra 10:9; Neh. 11:4-36). Paul relates twice that he was of the tribe of Benjamin (Rom. 11:1; Phil. 3:5). In the future, twelve thousand of this tribe will be sealed (Rev. 7:8).
The district occupied by the tribe is often simply called Benjamin. It was situated with Ephraim on its north, and Judah on its south, Dan on its west, and the Jordan on its east; it occupied about 28 miles east and west and 14 miles north and south at its widest parts. The district is mountainous with rocks and ravines, having an elevated table land. It contained the important cities such as Jerusalem (in its south border), Bethel, Gibeon, Ramah.


1. Son of Bilhan, descendant of Benjamin (1 Chron. 7:10).
2, 3, 4. Three who returned from exile (Ezra 10:32; Neh. 3:23; Neh. 12:34).

Benjamin, Gate of

One of the gates in Jerusalem; but which with others named in the Old Testament cannot now be identified (Jer. 20:2; Jer. 37:13; Jer. 38:7; Zech. 14:10).


Son of Jaaziah, a descendant of Merari (1 Chron. 24:26).


Another form of BAAL-MEON (Num. 32:3; compare Num. 32:38). See BETH-MEON.


1. Father of Bela, king of Edom (Gen. 36:32).
2. Father of Balaam the prophet (Num. 22:5). See BOSOR.


King of Sodom (Gen. 14:2).


1. One who joined David at Ziklag (1 Chron. 12:3).
2. A valley between Bethlehem and Hebron where Jehoshaphat overcame Moab and Ammon, and where he blessed the Lord because of the victory: hence its name “Valley of Blessing” (2 Chron. 20:26, margin). Identified with Wady el Arrub, 31° 37’ N, 35° 10’ E.


Another form of BERECHIAH (1 Chron. 6:39).


Son of Shimei, a Benjamite (1 Chron. 8:21).


City of Macedonia, visited by Paul, where he found some Jews who were more noble than those of Thessalonica, inasmuch as they tested by the scriptures what Paul preached: to which is added “therefore many of them believed.” Sopater was of this city. It is now called Kara Verria, on the eastern slope of the Olympian range (Acts 17:10,13; Acts 20:4).


1. Descendant of the royal family of Judah (1 Chron. 3:20).
2. Father of Asaph, a “singer” (1 Chron. 6:39 (BERACHIAH); 1 Chron. 15:17).
3. Levite, son of Asa (1 Chron. 9:16).
4. Levite, a door keeper “for the ark” (1 Chron. 15:23).
5. Son of Meshillemoth: he opposed the captives from Judah being brought into Samaria (2 Chron. 28:12).
6. Father of Meshullam (Neh. 3:4,30; Neh. 6:18).
7. Father of Zechariah the prophet (Zech. 1:1,7).


1. Place in the south of Canaan near to which was the well Lallai-roi (Gen. 16:14).
2. An Ephraimite, apparently the grandson of Ephraim (1 Chron. 7:20).




Son of Zophah, an Asherite (1 Chron. 7:36).


1. Son of Asher (Gen. 46:17; Num. 26:44-45; 1 Chron. 7:30-31).
2. Son of Ephraim (1 Chron. 7:23).
3. Son of Elpaal, Benjamite (1 Chron. 8:13,16).
4. Son of Shimei, a Gershonite (1 Chron. 23:10-11).


Descendants of Beriah, the son of Asher (Num. 26:44).


People in the north of Palestine, possibly the descendants of Beni (2 Sam. 20:14).




Daughter of Agrippa I., and wife of Herod of Chalcis. She visited Caesarea with her brother Agrippa II., and heard Paul’s defense (Acts 25:13,23; Acts 26:30). She afterward married Polemon II. king of Pontus or Cilicia; but eventually became mistress of both Vespasian and Titus: in all this keeping up the dissolute character of the Herods. Often called BERENICE by historians.




Place mentioned as a north border of the land when it will again be inhabited by the twelve tribes (Ezek. 47:16). Supposed by some to be Beyraut.


City Belonging to Hadadezer King of Zobah (2 Sam. 8:8). Apparently the Same as CHUN in 1 Chronicles 18:8.


Inhabitant of Beeroth (1 Chron. 11:39).


There is no certainty as to what stone the word tarshish denotes. The LXX translate it by different words. In Ezekiel 1:16 and Ezekiel 10:9 the “wheels” are compared to its color, without stating what that was. Some suppose it was the golden topaz; others that it was the chrysolite. It was the first in the fourth row of the high priest’s breastplate, and is mentioned in the foundation of the heavenly Jerusalem (Ex. 28:20; Ex. 39:13; Song of Sol. 5:14; Ezek. 28:13; Dan. 10:6). In Revelation 21:20 the word is βήρυλλος, beryl.
Chrysolite – Modern Peridot


Ancestor of some Nethinim, who returned from exile (Ezra 2:49; Neh. 7:52).


Father of Meshullam who repaired the old gate at Jerusalem (Neh. 3:6).


Anglo-Saxon name for a broom made of twigs (Isa. 14:23).


A brook or wady in the south of Judah (1 Sam. 30:9-10, 21).


City of Hadadezer, from which David took much brass (2 Sam. 8:8; compare 1 Chron. 18:8). See TIBHATH.


City on the border of Asher (Josh. 19:25). Identified with el Baneh, 32° 56’ N, 35° 16’ E.


A word used in many compound names of places, and signifying “house” or dwelling place: as Beth-el, house of God.


City of Naphtali, the inhabitants of which were not driven out, but were made tributary (Josh. 19:38; Judg. 1:33). Identified with Ainitha, 33° 8’ N, 35° 26’ E.


City of Judah (Josh. 15:59). Identified with Beit Ainun, 31° 34’ N, 35° 7’ E.


A city of Benjamin, or Judah, near the valley of the Jordan (Josh. 15:6, 61; Josh. 18:22).


A city of Gad, east of the Jordan, between Succoth and Debir (Josh. 13:27): held to be the same as BETH-HARAN of Numbers 32:36. Identified with Tell Rameh, 31° 50’ N, 35° 38’ E.


A city destroyed by Shalman, who was possibly Shalmaneser king of Assyria; nothing further is known of the city (Hos. 10:14).


A place or “wilderness” of Benjamin near Bethel (Josh. 7:2; Josh. 18:12; 1 Sam. 13:5; 1 Sam. 14:23; Hos. 4:15; Hos. 5:8; Hos. 10:5). Though this is said to be on the east of Bethel, in Hosea it would appear to be a name given to Bethel itself as being no longer the “house of God,” but the “house of vanity” because of the idols there.






Place on the east of Jordan, to which the Midianites were pursued (Judg. 7:24).


Town of Simeon (1 Chron. 4:31). Apparently the same as BETH-LEBAOTH in Joshua 19:6.


Place to which the Philistines were pursued from Mizpeh (1 Sam. 7:11).


1. Town of Judah, probably, by its name, near to the Philistines (Josh. 15:41).
2. Boundary town of Asher (Josh. 19:27).


Moabite town, upon which judgment was pronounced (Jer. 48:22). Perhaps the same as ALMON-DIBLATHAIM.


1. Name, signifying “house of God,”‘ given to the place where God first appeared to Jacob in a dream. It led him to say, “Surely the Lord is in this place.... this is none other but the house of God.... and he called the name of that place Beth-el” (Gen. 28:16-19). God thus gave to Jacob the apprehension that the house of God on earth—the gate of heaven—was to be connected with him and his seed, and afterward God acknowledged the place and the name, saying, “I am the God of Beth-el” (Gen. 31:13). To take Jacob out of a false position God bade him go up to Beth-el and dwell there, and Jacob felt he must take no idols there, so he told his household to put away the strange gods from among them, to be clean, and to change their garments. “He built there an altar and called the place El-beth-el;” and there God met him, revealed His name to him, and confirmed the change of his name to Israel (Compare Gen. 32:28-29), blessed him, and renewed His promises (Gen. 35:1-16).
It was afterward conquered and given to Benjamin (Josh. 12:9; Josh. 18:22; Judg. 1:22). Apparently the tabernacle was pitched at Shiloh near Bethel, for Israel went there to inquire of God, and Samuel told Saul that he should meet three men “going up to God to Beth-el” (Judg. 21:19; 1 Sam. 10:3). At the division of the kingdom Beth-el fell to Israel, and Jeroboam set up there one of the golden calves to prevent the Israelites going to Jerusalem to worship. An altar was erected and sacrifices offered to the idol; but it was condemned by a man of God, and the altar was rent (1 Kings 12:29-33; 1 Kings 13:1-32; Amos 7:10,13). There were sons of the prophets dwelling at Beth-el (2 Kings 2:3), but the idolatrous altar was not destroyed until the days of Josiah (2 Kings 23:4,15,17,19). Among those who returned from exile were men of Beth-el, and the place was again inhabited (Ezra 2:28; Neh. 7:32; Neh. 11:31). (See also Hos. 10:15; Hos. 12:4; Amos 3:14; Amos 4:4; Amos 5:5-6).
The city had been originally named Luz. It is now identified with Beitin, 31° 56’ N, 35° 14’ E, some 10 miles north of Jerusalem. It stands on a rocky ridge between two valleys, but has higher ground on each side except the south. Amos 5:5 said it should “come to naught,” and now amid the scattered ruins are about 20 houses roughly formed out of the old materials. MOUNT BETH-EL occurs in Joshua 16:1 and 1 Samuel 13:2. See BETH-AVEN.
2. This name, found in Joshua 12:16 (not that in Josh. 12:9) and 1 Sam. 30:27, is probably a different place from the preceding because of the names associated with it, and was farther south. It is probably the same as Bethul, Bethuel. In the latter reference the LXX (Vat.) read Baethsur.


Town on the border of Asher (Josh. 19:27). Identified by some with Amka, 32° 58’ N, 35° 10’ E.


Place probably situated in the plain of Philistia, by the names associated with it (Mic. 1:11).


Apparently a place near Beth-lehem, of which Hareph was the founder (1 Chron. 2:51).


Town of Moab (Jer. 48:23). Identified by some with Jemail, 31° 31’ N, 35° 50’ E.


Place near Tekoa in Judah, used as a beacon hill (Neh. 3:14; Jer. 6:1).



Beth-hogla, Beth-hoglah

Border city between Judah and Benjamin belonging to the latter (Josh. 15:6; Josh. 18:19,21). Identified with Ain Hajlah, 31° 50’ N, 35° 31 E.


Two towns called the “upper” and the “nether,” though also spoken of as one, on the boundary between Benjamin and Ephraim. They were allotted to Ephraim, and given to the Kohathites. The district is memorable as where Joshua conquered the Amorites, and near which God smote them with hailstones (Josh. 10:10-11; Josh. 16:3, 5; Josh. 18:13-14; Josh. 21:22; 1 Sam. 13:18). In 1 Chronicles 7:24 these towns are said to have been built by Sherah, apparently the grand-daughter of Ephraim. Solomon also built or rebuilt them (1 Kings 9:17; 2 Chron. 8:5).
It was near these cities that Judas Maccabaeus won his victory over Seron; and here that the Roman Cestius Gallus was signally defeated. The places are still called upper, el Foka, and lower, et Tahta, with the general name of Beit Ur, 31° 53’ and 54’ N, 35° 6’ and 5’ E.

Beth-jeshimoth, Beth-jesimoth

Town of Moab, near to one of the stations of the Israelites. It was assigned to Reuben, but was eventually secured by the Moabites (Num. 33:49; Josh. 12:3; Josh. 13:20; Ezek. 25:9). Identified with Sueimeh, 31° 47’ N, 35° 35’ E.



Beth-lehem, Bethlehem

1. City of Judah, also called BETH-LEHEM-JUDAH (Judg. 17:7-9). It is first mentioned in connection with the death and burial of Rachel (Gen. 35:19). The history of Ruth is also connected with Beth-lehem (Ruth 1:1-22; Ruth 2:4). David was anointed in the house of Jesse the Bethlehemite, so that apparently it was the place of David’s birth (1 Sam. 16:4; 1 Sam. 17:12, 15); and this accounts for its being called in Luke 2:11 The “city of David.”‘ It was also the birth-place of Jesus: though it was “little among the thousands of Judah,” it the better agreed with His humiliation. Beth-lehem, signifying “house of bread,” is a very appropriate name for a place from where the Savior should proceed as a man—He who was the living bread that came down from heaven.
Apparently it was originally called EPHRATH, (Gen. 35:16, 19; Gen. 48:7); and was afterward called EPHRATAH, (Ruth 4:11; Psa. 132:6). It is once called BETH-LEHEM EPHRATAH, that is, the fruitful, for the ruler of Israel was to come from thence (Mic. 5:2; Luke 2:4,15; John 7:42). This led to the massacre of the infants by Herod (Matt. 2:16-18).
In 1 Chronicles 2:51, 54 and 1 Chronicles 4:4, “father of Beth-lehem” may signify “prince of Beth-lehem.”‘
It is identified with Beit Lahm, 31° 42’ N, 35° 12’ E, situated 6 miles south of Jerusalem, on a narrow ridge which runs from the central range of hills. The ridge is cut into terraces, which are covered with olives and vines. There are now about 5,000 inhabitants, almost all called Christian, with convents for the Latins, Greeks, and Armenians. An enormous pile of buildings called the “Church of the Nativity” is connected with the convents.
2. Town in Zebulun, mentioned only in Joshua 19:15, also called Beit Lahm, 32° 44’ N, 35° 10’ E, described as a most miserable village. (It is not known which of the above places is referred to in Judges 12:8,10.)


Native of Beth-lehem (1 Sam. 16:1, 18; 1 Sam. 17:58; 2 Sam. 21:19).


2 Samuel 20:14-15. See ABEL-BETH-MAACHAH.


Town of Simeon in the extreme south, with Ziklag and Hormah (Josh. 19:5; 1 Chron. 4:31).


City of Reuben on the east of the Jordan (Jer. 48:23). Apparently also called BAAL-MEON, BETH-BAAL-MEON, and BEON, (Josh. 13:17; Num. 32:3,38) (which says “their names being changed”); 1 Chronicles 5:8 and Ezekiel 25:9 speak of it as a city that was “the glory of the country.” Identified with the ruins at Tell Maain, 31° 41’ N, 35° 44’ E.


City of Gad, on the east of the Jordan (Num. 32:36; Josh. 13:27): it is called NIMRAH in Numbers 32:3. Identified with Tell Nimrin, 31° 54’ N, 35° 37’ E.


Town in the south of Judah (Josh. 15:27): called BETHPHELET in Nehemiah 11:26.


Town of Issachar (Josh. 19:21).


A city of Moab, east of the Jordan, near to which, in the valley, Israel made one of their last encampments (Deut. 3:29; Deut. 4:46); and near to which the Lord buried Moses. It was allotted to Reuben (Deut. 34:6; Josh. 13:20). Identified with Mareighat, 31° 39’ N, 35° 42’ E.




Obscure name in the genealogy of Judah (1 Chron. 4:12).


Place in the north near Dan, from which perhaps Syrians were hired by the Ammonites against David (Judg. 18:28; 2 Sam. 10:6). Identified with Hunin, 33° 13’ N, 35° 32’ E. Some judge that the Syrians came from a different place near the Euphrates.

Beth-shan, Beth-shean

City of Manasseh west of the Jordan, though situate in Issachar (Josh. 17:11, 16; 1 Chron. 7:29); from which the Canaanites were not driven out (Judg. 1:27). In the days of Saul the Philistines appear to have had possession of the town, for on their finding the dead body of Saul it was here that they hung it on the wall (1 Sam. 31:10, 12; 2 Sam. 21:12). In the time of Solomon Beth-shean was under the charge of one of his commissariat officers (1 Kings 4:12). It is identified with Beisan, 32° 30’ N, 35° 30’ E. It must have been a place of note, from the extent of the ruins, which consist of black volcanic basalt. It is doubtless on the same spot as SCYTHOPOLIS, mentioned in 2 Mac. 12. 29, and which was one of the ten cities of Decapolis.


1. A Levitical town on the north border of Judah, to where the ark was miraculously guided by God when sent back by the Philistines from Ekron, and where the people were smitten for looking into it. Here Amaziah king of Judah was defeated by Jehoash king of Israel. It was afterward occupied by the Philistines (Josh. 15:10; Josh. 21:16; 1 Sam. 6:9-20; 1 Kings 4:9; 2 Kings 14:11, 13; 1 Chron. 6:59; 2 Chron. 25:21, 23; 2 Chron. 28:18). Identified with Ain Shems, 31° 45’ N, 34° 59’ E.
2. Border town of Issachar (Josh. 19:22). Identified by some with Ain esh Shemsiyeh, 32° 24’ N, 35° 31’ E.
3. Fenced city of Naphtali (Josh. 19:38; Judg. 1:33).
4. Idolatrous temple in Egypt (Jer. 43:13). Supposed from its signification, “house of the sun,” to be the same as ON, or Heliopolis, associated with sun-worship.


Native of Beth-shemesh, No. 1 (1 Sam. 6:14,18).


Place near the Jordan valley (Judg. 7:22). Identified with Shutta, 32° 33’ N, 35° 25’ E.


City in the mountainous district of Judah, near Hebron (Josh. 15:53; compare 1 Chron. 2:43). Identified with Tuffuh, 31° 33’ N, 35° 2’ E.


City in the mountains of Judah, apparently founded by Maon. The city was built or fortified by Rehoboam on the division of the tribes (Josh. 15:58; 1 Chron. 2:45; 2 Chron. 11:7; Neh. 3:16). Identified with Beit Sur, 31° 36’ N, 35° 6’ E. It commanded the road from Beer-sheba to Jerusalem, and is often referred to in the Wars of the Maccabees.


Place beyond Jordan where John was baptizing (John 1:28). Identified with the ford Abarah, 32° 32’ N, 35° 33’ E. Most Editors of the Greek Testament read BETHANY.


The “house of dates,” a village on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives, about 2 miles from Jerusalem, near the road to Jericho. It was where Lazarus, Martha, and Mary resided, in whose house the Lord found a resting place, amidst those whom He loved, and who were ever ready to welcome Him, and to devote the best of their substance to Him. It was from or near Bethany that the Lord ascended (Matt. 21:17; Matt. 26:6; Mark 11:1, 11-12; Mark 14:3; Luke 19:29; Luke 24:50; John 11:1,18; John 12:1). It is now a ruinous and wretched hamlet called el Azariyeh, or “Lazariyeh,” from Lazarus, 31° 46’ N, 35° 15’ E.
Some of the Greek MSS read BETHANY in John 1:28 where John was baptizing on the east of the Jordan.


The designation of Hiel who rebuilt Jericho (1 Kings 16:34).


Mountains not identified, and to what the name refers is not known (Song of Sol. 2:17). It reads “division”‘ in the margin and in the LXX.


Pool at Jerusalem, near the sheep market or gate, into which an angel occasionally descended and troubled the water. The person who first stepped in after this, was cured of whatever disease he had (John 5:2). This was a marvelous witness of God’s mercy still left to Israel, though it met the need of those only who had sufficient strength to avail themselves of it, and did not reach the most weakly and destitute, whose condition truly sets forth the state of man spiritually. In contrast to the law, which was “weak through the flesh,” the Son of God was there with life and liberty in His gift. The name signifies “house of mercy.” Compare. Exodus 15:26, “I am Jehovah that healeth thee.”
The large pool, called “Birket Israil,” near St. Stephen’s Gate is the traditional Pool of Bethesda, but its identity is refused by most. There are other tanks in the city, and some prefer the “fountain of the Virgin” outside of the city; but there is no certainty that any one of them is the pool mentioned in scripture.
Currently Presumed Pool of Bethesda – 1
Currently Presumed Pool of Bethesda – 2


Village on the Mount of Olives near to Bethany. Its name signifies “house of figs” (hard or unripe). Identified with Kefr et Tor, on the mount half way between Bethany and the top (Matt. 21:1; Mark 11:1; Luke 19:29).


This name signifies “house of fish.”
1. BETHSAIDA OF GALILEE, a town from whence came Philip, Andrew, and Peter (John 1:44; 12:21); and against which the Lord pronounced a “woe” because it had not repented at His mighty works (Matt. 11:21; Luke 10:13). After the Lord had fed the 5,000 on the east of Jordan He sent His disciples to Bethsaida on the western shore (Mark 6:45). It was near the shore on the west of the Sea of Galilee, in the same locality as Capernaum and Chorazin: there are ruins in the district, but its exact situation cannot be identified.
2. BETHSAIDA JULIAS, a town near the N. E. corner of the same lake. A blind man was cured there (Mark 8:22); and near to it the 5,000 were fed (Luke 9:10-17, also related in Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:31-44 and John 6:1-14). It was called “Julias,”‘ because Philip the tetrarch enlarged the town, giving it the above name in honor of Julia, daughter of Augustus. It is identified by some with et Tell, 32° 54’ N, 35° 37’ E. A few rude houses and heaps of stones are all that mark the spot. (The context of the above passages shows that the events recorded could not have taken place at or near the Bethsaida on the west of the lake.)


Son of Nahor, a Syrian, Abraham’s brother, and father of Rebekah (Gen. 22:22-23; Gen. 24:15-47; Gen. 25:20; Gen. 28:2, 5).

Bethuel, Bethul

Town in Simeon (Josh. 19:4; 1 Chron. 4:30). See BETHEL, No. 2.


Town in Gad, east of the Jordan (Josh. 13:26).


Among the Jews this was looked upon as being as binding as marriage, and could not be dissolved except by divorce. Certain laws were given as to a betrothed woman (Ex. 21:8-9; Deut. 20:7; Deut. 28:30). Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus, was betrothed to Joseph, and he contemplated putting her away privately, but was instructed as to the truth of her condition by the angel of the Lord (Matt. 1:18-19; Luke 1:27; Luke 2:5). It is used symbolically to express Jehovah’s favor to His ancient people in a future day, when He will “betroth” them to Himself forever (Hos. 2:19-20). Also as to the position in which the church stands to Christ: Paul wrote to the Corinthian saints “I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Cor. 2:2). The conduct of the saints should be true to this betrothal.


The land of Palestine shall be called Beulah, which signifies “married,” when the set time comes for Jehovah to bless Israel (Isa. 62:4).


To accuse or betray (Isa. 16:3; Prov. 27:16; Prov. 29:24; Matt. 26:73). From the Anglo-Saxon.


One whose descendants returned from exile, and one who sealed the covenant (Ezra 2:17; Neh. 7:23; Neh. 10:18).


1. Son of Uri, of the tribe of Judah. He was called of God, and filled with the Spirit of God in wisdom, understanding and knowledge to devise cunning works in gold, silver, brass, stone, and timber, for the tabernacle, and to take the oversight thereof (Ex. 31:2; Ex. 35:30; Ex. 36:1, 2; Ex. 37:1; Ex. 38:22; 1 Chron. 2:20; 2 Chron. 1:5).
2. One who had married a strange wife (Ezra 10:30).


1. City in which 10,000 of the Canaanites and Perizzites were slain, to be possessed by Judah (Judg. 1:4-5). Identified with Bezkah, 31° 53’ N, 34° 58’ E.
2. Place where Saul numbered the army before he slew the Ammonites (1 Sam. 11:8), apparently near the center of Palestine. Identified with Ibzik, 32° 22’ N, 35° 24’ E.


1. A city in Reuben, described as “in the wilderness, in the plain country.” It was one of the three Cities of Refuge on the east of the Jordan (Deut. 4:43; Josh. 20:8; Josh. 21:36; 1 Chron. 6:78). Identified with Kusr el Besheir, 31° 29’ N, 35° 43’ E.
2. Son of Zophah, one of the princes of Asher (1 Chron. 7:37).

Bible, Biblia

This name is from the Greek through the Latin, and signifies “The Books.” The whole is also called “The Scriptures,” and once “The Holy Scriptures,” that is, “the Sacred Writings,” distinguishing them from all others. The advent of the Lord Jesus, who was the great subject of the scriptures (John 5:39), and in whom as “Son” God spoke, after a silence of 400 years, naturally led to a division of the sacred writings into two parts, called the Old and New Testaments. The “Old Testament” is mentioned as being read in 2 Corinthians 3:14; but the term “New Testament,” as applied to the collection of books that commonly bear that title, does not occur in scripture. There was also a change in the language in which the various books of the two Testaments were written. The Old was written in Hebrew, except Ezra 4:8 to Ezra 6:18; Ezra 7:12-26; Jeremiah 10:11; Daniel 2:4 to Daniel 7:28: these portions being written in Chaldee or Aramaic. The books of the New Testament were written in Greek (without now taking into consideration whether the Gospel by Matthew was originally written in Aramaic). The glad tidings of salvation was for the whole world, and the language most extensively known at that time was chosen for its promulgation.
The Old Testament may be considered as dividing itself into
1. The Pentateuch, or five books of Moses.
2. The Historical Books, including Joshua to the end of Esther.
3. The Poetical Books, Job to the end of Song of Solomon.
4. The Prophetical Books, from Isaiah to Malachi.
The Jews divided the Old Testament into three parts.
1. The Law (Torah), the five books of Moses.
2. The Prophets (Nebiim), including Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the twelve Minor Prophets.
3. The Writings (Kethubim, or Hagiographa, “holy writings”), including
a) the Psalms, Proverbs, Job;
b) Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther;
c) Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, 1 and 2 Chronicles.
The books are in this order in the Hebrew Bible. The above triple division is doubtless alluded to by the Lord, in Luke 24:44, “All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me” (compare Luke 24:27). “The Psalms” being the first book in the third part, may have been used as a title to express the whole of the division.
The Talmud and later Jewish writers reckon twenty-four books in the Old Testament To make out this number they count the two books of Samuel, Kings, and Chronicles as one book each; Ezra and Nehemiah as one; and the twelve Minor Prophets as one. The earlier Jews reckoned the books as 22, according to the letters in the alphabet: they united Ruth with Judges, and Lamentations with Jeremiah. But all such arrangements are arbitrary and fanciful.
The “oracles of God” were committed to Israel (Rom. 3:2), and they have been zealous defenders of the letter of the Old Testament For a long time it was thought that their great care and exactitude in copying had preserved the manuscripts from error; but it has been abundantly proved that those copyists erred, as all others have erred in this respect, and numerous errors have been discovered in the MSS, though many of them are seen at once to be mistakes of the pen, some doubtless caused through the similarity of the Hebrew letters, and are easily corrected. Other differences can be set right by the preponderance of evidence in the MSS themselves now that many of these have been collated.
Besides such variations there are other deviations from the common Hebrew text that profess to have some amount of authority. They are commonly called Keri and Chethib, (which see).
As to the text of the NEW TESTAMENT there is no particular copy that claims any authority, though the Received Text (Elzevir, 1624) was for a long time treated “as if an angel had compiled it,” as one expressed it. But the undue respect for that text has passed away, and every translator has to examine the evidence for and against every variation, in order to know what he shall translate.
He has before him:
1. many GREEK MANUSCRIPTS: some 40 being called Uncials because of being written all in capital letters (though some of this number are only portions or mere fragments), and are represented by capital letters, A, B, C, &c. They date from the fourth to the tenth century. There are also hundreds of Cursives (those written in a more running hand), for the most part of later date than the uncials, a few of which are of special value. They date from the tenth century to the fourteenth, and are represented by numerals.
2. ANCIENT VERSIONS, which show what was apparently in the Greek copies used for the versions: the Old Latin, often called Italic; the Vulgate; Syriac; Egyptian, called the Memphitic and the Thebaic; the Gothic; Armenian; and Æthiopic. These Versions date from the second to the sixth century.
3. THE FATHERS, which are useful as showing what was in the Greek copies from which they quoted: they date from the second century.
The variations in the Greek Manuscripts are very numerous, yet the Editors (men who have attempted to discover what God originally caused to be written)—though each formed his own plan as to which of the above witnesses he would examine—have come to the same judgment in the great majority of the variations. In such cases we are doubtless safe in leaving the commonly received text. In other places their conclusions differ, and in a few cases nearly all the Editors have been obliged to declare the reading as doubtful. Though this is to be deplored, for we should desire to ascertain in every instance the actual words which God caused to be written, yet it is a matter of deep thankfulness that the variations do not in the least affect any one of the fundamental doctrines of Christianity. These all stand forth in sublime and lucid grandeur as parts of the will of God Himself, notwithstanding all that men have done to obscure or nullify them.
The above must suffice as to the text of the Old and New Testaments. Under the name of each book will be found what are considered the leading thoughts therein, but a few words are now added as to the whole Bible.
It is “the word of God,” an unfolding of unseen things—a revelation of the nature of God morally, and the history, divinely penned, of man His creature, first as innocent, and then as fallen, with its consequences. It shows man’s responsibility and how man has been tested in various ways, each test resulting, alas, in his failure. It manifests that if man is to be saved and eternally blessed, it must be by a work done for him by another. This was graciously accomplished by the Son of God becoming a man and dying a sacrificial death on the cross, which glorified God and met the question of man’s responsibility.
The word reveals that there was a counsel respecting the second Man in eternity, it also reveals that when the mediatorial kingdom of the Lord Jesus as Son of Man has been finished, God will again in eternity become all in all. In the mean time, according to the eternal purpose of God, many are being brought to Himself through faith in the atoning death of the Lord Jesus, being quickened by the Spirit, and made new creatures in Christ Jesus. The Lord Jesus is awaiting the time when He will come to fetch His saints, to carry out all God’s purposes, and to punish those that know not God, and who obey not the gospel.
The Bible also reveals the character of Satan since his fall, as being a liar and murderer; he is the great enemy of the Lord Jesus and of man, and he deceived our mother Eve. It also details the future eternal punishment of that wicked one with those who are obedient to him
The choice of Israel and the wonders wrought for their deliverance from Egypt, together with their history in the land of promise, their expulsion and captivity, and their future tribulation and blessing in the same land, occupy a large part of the Bible.
Christ in type, antitype, and prophecy, is the center of the whole Book: “All things were made by Him and for Him.” He is pointedly referred to in Genesis 3, and gives His parting word to His saints in the last chapter of the Revelation.
The New Testament brings out not only the history of redemption by the death of Christ, but gives the doctrine of the Church in its various aspects, showing that Christianity is an entirely new order of things—indeed a new creation. Those who form the church are instructed as to their true position in Christ, and their true position in the world, with details to guide them in every station of life. The Revelation gives the various phases of the church at that time (though prophetic of its condition to the end) with warnings of the evils that had already crept in. This is followed by the many and varied judgments that will fall upon Christendom and the world, reaching to the eternal state of the new heavens and the new earth.
This is but a brief and incomplete sketch of the contents of the Bible, for who can in few, or indeed, in many words describe that wonderful God-made Book? It is an inexhaustible mine: the more it is explored, the more is the finger of God manifest everywhere, and new treasures are revealed to the devout, calling forth their praise and adoration. See INSPIRATION.


Father of Sheba who rose against David (2 Sam. 20:1-22).


Fellow officer and afterward Jehu’s captain; he executed the sentence on Joram, or Jehoram, son of Ahab, by casting him into the field of Naboth (2 Kings 9:25).


A light frame or couch on which the dead could be carried (2 Sam. 3:31; Luke 7:14). The Hebrew word mittah is often translated “bed.”
Bier of Osiris


One of the chamberlains of Ahasuerus (Esther 1:10).

Bigthan, Bigthana

One of the two servants of Ahasuerus who “kept the door,” and conspired against his life. Through Mordecai the plot was made known and the servants were hanged (Esther 2:21; Esther 6:2).


Ancestor of some who returned from exile, one of whom, bearing the same name, sealed the covenant (Ezra 2:2,14; Ezra 8:14; Neh. 7:7,19; Neh. 10:16).


One of Job’s friends, “the Shuhite,” perhaps a descendant of Shuah the son of Abraham and Keturah. He in no way understood Job’s case, and could only judge that Job was being punished for wickedness, whereas God had called Job a righteous man. God’s anger was kindled against Bildad; but he, with his two companions, brought a sacrifice, and when Job prayed for them God accepted him (Job 2:11; Job 8:1; Job 18:1; Job 25:1; Job 42:9).


Levitical city in Manasseh, west of the Jordan (1 Chron. 6:70). Supposed to be the same as GATH-RIMMON in Joshua 21:25, and perhaps the same as IBLEAM in Joshua 17:11.


1. Priest in David’s time (1 Chron. 24:14).
2. Priest who returned from exile (Neh. 12:5,18).


One who sealed the covenant (Neh. 10:8). Perhaps the same as Bilgah, No. 2.


1. Handmaid of Rachel, and mother of Dan and Naphtali (Gen. 29:29; Gen. 30:3-7; Gen. 35:22, 25; Gen. 37:2; Gen. 46:25).
2. Town in Simeon (1 Chron. 4:29): the same as BALAH in Joshua 19:3. See BAALAH.


1. Son of Ezer, the Horite (Gen. 36:27; 1 Chron. 1:42).
2. Son of Jediael, a Benjamite (1 Chron. 7:10).

Bill of Divorce



One who returned from exile (Ezra 2:2; Neh. 7:7).


Son of Japhlet (1 Chron. 7:33).


Son of Moza, descendant of Saul (1 Chron. 8:37; 1 Chron. 9:43).


Several of this name who returned from exile, two of whom had married strange wives (Ezra 8:33; Ezra 10:30, 38; Neh. 3:21; Neh. 7:15; Neh. 10:9; Neh. 12:8).


These are employed as symbols of evil agents: as, in the dream of Pharaoh’s baker, the birds ate the bakemeats he was carrying on his head (Gen. 40:17); and in the parable of the Sower the fowls or birds which devoured the seed by the wayside are interpreted by Christ to signify “the wicked one” (Matt. 13:4,19). In the parable of the Mustard Seed the kingdom of heaven becomes a great system with roots in the earth, under the protection of which the birds of the air find shelter (Matt. 13:31-32). The Greek is πετεινόν, the same in the two parables.

Birds, Clean and Unclean

A list of the unclean birds is given (Lev. 11:13-20; Deut. 14:12-18). In the A. V. the unclean are called the Bat, Cormorant, Cuckoo, Eagle, Gier Eagle, Glede, Hawk, Heron, Kite, Lapwing, Night Hawk, Ospray, Ossifrage, Owl great and little, Pelican, Raven, Stork, Swan, Vulture, and “fowls that creep, going upon all four.” This leaves for the clean birds the Bittern, Crane, Dove, Ostrich, Partridge, Peacock, Pigeon, Quail, Sparrow, and Swallow. Of these the Ostrich is supposed to be among the unclean under the name of Owl; the Peacock was not a native bird of Palestine; and the Bittern and Crane were inhabitants of the marshy ground among the reeds, and were probably classed with the unclean under some of the above names. We do not read of the ordinary domestic fowl in the Old Testament. See under each of the above names.


King of Gomorrah (Gen. 14:2).

Birth-Day, Birthday

The only scriptural notices of birthdays being kept are in reference to Pharaoh (Gen. 40:20); and to Herod Antipas, when John the Baptist lost his life (Matt. 14:6; Mark 6:21). It is thought by some that the sons of Job who feasted “everyone his day” did so on their birth-days (Job 1:4, 13). We do not read that the Israelites had any such custom; and the Preacher says the day of death is better than the day of one’s birth (Eccl. 7:1).

Birth, New



Jacob when dying said of Reuben “Thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power.” This is what he was as the firstborn, for in himself he was “unstable as water” and he should not excel (Gen. 49:3-4). He forfeited his birth-right for defiling his father’s bed, and it was given to Joseph, who in Ephraim and Manasseh had a double portion among the tribes (1 Chron. 5:1). The law declared that if a man’s first-born son was by a wife he hated, he must not put the son of another wife in his place: the first-born must have a double portion of all that the man possessed “for he is the beginning of his strength: the right of the first-born is his” (Deut. 21:16-17). Esau is called a profane person for selling his birth-right: it was a privilege God had given him, and which he should have valued as such (Gen. 25:31-34; Heb. 12:16).


Son of Malchiel the grandson of Asher (1 Chron. 7:31).


Officer of Artaxerxes in Palestine at the time of the return of Zerubbabel. He wrote against the rebuilding of the city, which resulted in the building of the temple being stopped by the king (Ezra 4:7). It will be seen that in the margin instead of Bishlam is read “in peace,” and this is the reading in the LXX, Arabic, and Syriac Versions.


The Greek word ἑπίσκοπος is once translated “overseer” (Acts 20:28), and this occurrence shows conclusively that the “elders” and the “bishops” were the same. Paul called for the elders of the church at Ephesus (Acts 20:17), and called them “overseers.” The same thing is seen in the epistle to Titus: Paul left Titus in Crete to “ordain elders in every city.... for a bishop must be blameless” (Titus 1:5-7). The above two passages prove that, instead of a bishop being set over a large district, with inferior clergy (as they are called) under him, as is now the custom in Christendom, each city had more than one bishop or overseer, and at that time there was only one assembly in a city. Titus was to ordain (literally “to appoint”) elders in every city.
In Titus 1 and in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 the qualifications necessary for a bishop are given. Special gifts are not mentioned, but moral qualities are essential. A bishop must be “blameless, the husband of one wife, having his children in subjection ... ”; also he must be able to “take care” of the church of God, and be “apt to teach.” The bishops of Ephesus were exhorted to take heed to all the flock, and to feed the church of God. Though an apostle or his delegate was the instrument used in the appointment of the bishops, and thus the unity of the church was preserved, Paul could say “the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers” (Acts 20:28).
Elders were established to exercise godly care in the undivided local assembly—to “shepherd” the flock. Any attempt to appoint them now would be, not only without the necessary apostolic authority, but would ignore the divided state of the church. Such elders could only assume authority over a fragment of the church in a locality, and that with no apostolic sanction. That no security for the church was to be found in them is proved by the warning of the apostle, that among themselves should men arise, speaking perverse things; and in view of this he commends them, not to some ecclesiastical authority, or to a church council, but “to God, and to the word of his grace,” a resource which all Christians still have. Happily there are now servants of God who care for the saints, those who are “apt to teach,” and gifted to feed the flock of God; and who, without any apostolic appointment, addict themselves to the work of the ministry, as did the house of Stephanas in early days (1 Cor. 16:15). All such should be acknowledged, and be highly esteemed for their work’s sake. In one passage the Lord is Himself called the Shepherd and Bishop of souls; and who can care for and feed His saints as He? (1 Pet. 2:25).

Bishoprick (ἐπισκοπή)

ἐπισκοπή. The word is “office” in Psalm 109:8, which passage is quoted in the New Testament where the office, is “apostleship,” for which one was chosen to take the place of Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:20).


Daughter of some Pharaoh and wife of Mered, a descendant of Judah (1 Chron. 4:18).


District on the east of the Jordan (2 Sam. 2:29). The name signifies “the broken ground,” and “all Bithron” implies a district.


A large district in the north of Asia Minor, bordering on the Black Sea. Paul and Timotheus attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit suffered them not (Acts 16:7). Peter addressed his first Epistle to those of the dispersion of Bithynia (1 Pet. 1:1). It was then a Roman province: it is now called Kastamuni, a part of Turkey in Asia.
Bithynia and Pontus

Bitter Herbs

No particular herbs are specified by name, indeed the word “herbs” is added in the AV, so that it is literally “bitterness.” The paschal lamb was to be eaten with “bitter herbs,” doubtless signifying the sense in the souls of those partaking that it was for their sins the victim was slain (Ex. 12:8; Num. 9:11).


Little Bittern
The word in the LXX, ἐχῖνος, signifies “hedgehog or porcupine,” and this rendering is preferred by some Hebrew scholars for the Hebrew word qippod; but as in two of the passages it is mentioned with a bird called the Cormorant, it is more probably a bird, and the description well agrees with the habits of the bittern, for the passages point to desolations because of the judgments of God (Isa. 14:23; Isa. 34:1; Zeph. 2:14). The bittern is a bird that shuns society, and it is at home in any desolate marshy place. The spots and marks on its feathers correspond with the colors of the reeds among which it dwells, so that it escapes observation. Its doleful cry has often been treated as an omen of evil.
A Young Hedgehog

Bitterness, Gall of

The word χολή, “gall,” occurs in Matthew 27:34; and the word for “bitterness,” πικρία, in Romans 3:14; Ephesians 4:31 and Hebrews 12:15. The translation in Acts 8:23 is literal, except that it should be “a gall of bitterness.”‘ Peter saw that Simon was still in the state of nature which is only bitterness.


Town in the south of Judah (Josh. 15:28).


One of the seven eunuchs of Ahasuerus (Esther 1:10).


Under the figure of a bride the remnant of Israel says, I am “black,” describing herself as having become dark or swarthy by the rays of the sun; the scorching effect of affliction (Song of Sol. 1:5-6): “burning instead of beauty” (Isa. 3:24). The kingdom of the Medes and Persians is described as a chariot with “black” horses (Zech. 6:2, 6); and in the Revelation, in the third seal a rider on a “black” horse betokens scarcity (Rev. 6:5). It is symbolical of what is dismal and threatening.


Inflamed ulcers on the body, as from boils, on the Egyptians and the magicians in the sixth plague (Ex. 9:9-10).


In scripture this does not always refer to speaking evil of God, to which the word is now restricted. The same Greek word is translated “railing” in 1 Timothy 6:4 and Jude 9; and “evil speaking” in Ephesians 4:31, as it might well be rendered elsewhere. Blaspheming the name of the Lord was under the Jewish economy punishable by death: the son of Shelomith who had married an Egyptian, was stoned to death for this sin (Lev. 24:11,14,23). The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost was attributing the Lord’s action of casting out demons to the agency of Satan—a sin which should not be forgiven in this age nor in the age to come. The context shows that “the unpardonable sin” refers to this particular form of blasphemy (Matt. 12:24-32).


Chamberlain of Herod Agrippa I (Acts 12:20).


There are two distinct applications of the word “blessing.” God blesses His people, and His people bless God, the same word being constantly used for both. It is obvious therefore that it must be understood in more senses than one. Again, we read that “the less [or inferior] is blessed of the better” (Heb. 7:7); and though this refers to Melchisedec blessing Abraham, the same thing is true respecting God and His creatures: in bestowing favors God is the only one who can bless. The Christian can say, God “hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in the heavenlies in Christ” (Eph. 1:3); but the same verse says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” meaning “Thanks be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This signification is further made clear by the records of the institution of the Lord’s supper. In Matthew and Mark the Lord took bread, and “blessed.” In Luke and in 1 Corinthians 11:24 He took bread and “gave thanks.” “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17). This is God blessing us, and for which we in return bless God by giving thanks, by praise and worship.


Used metaphorically to describe the state of man by nature under the influence of Satan (2 Cor. 4:4); also a professing Christian who hates his brother (1 John 2:11); also the state of Israel in their heartless profession (Matt. 23:16-26); and the judicial blindness on Israel (John 12:40). In Romans 11:7,25; 2 Corinthians 3:14 and Ephesians 4:18, it is rather “obdurateness or hardness,” from πωρόω “to harden.”


The blood of man is claimed by God; for the “life is in the blood;” “the blood is the life.” It therefore must not be eaten; if not offered in sacrifice it must be “poured upon the earth as water.” “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” The blood also maketh atonement for the soul: it must be poured out upon the altar (Gen. 9:4-6; Lev. 17:10-14; Deut. 12:23-25; Acts 15:29). In the Old Testament dispensation everything in the tabernacle, the priests and their dresses were purged and sanctified by blood, everything being sprinkled with blood, including the book of the law and the people (Heb. 9:18, 21). This was typical of the blood of the Lord Jesus, which has accomplished everything for the Christian: with His blood He “purchased” us (Acts 20:28); “justified” us (Rom. 5:9); “redeemed” (Eph. 1:7); “sanctified,” (Heb. 13:12); “cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

Blood, Avenger of



This color was used extensively in the hangings of the tabernacle; in the vesture of the priests; and in the coverings of the vessels of the tabernacle when they were being removed. The color is typical of heaven: the whole of the tabernacle was “a shadow of heavenly things” (Ex. 26; Ex. 28).


This name, signifying “sons of thunder,” was given by the Lord to James and John the sons of Zebedee (Mark 3:17), perhaps because of their urgent zeal, as was manifest when, indignant at the treatment of their Lord, they asked if they should call down fire from heaven (Luke 9:54). It was John who told the Lord that they had forbidden one who was casting out demons in His name, because he followed not with them (Mark 9:38). This act of the apostles was condemned by the Lord, but it is to be feared that similar prohibition has often been repeated by others since those days.


Wild Boar
The well-known animal in its wild state. They are still found in Palestine, and dwell among the long reeds in the Jordan valley and marshy places. They are very destructive to cultivated land (Psa. 80:13).




This and JACHIN were the names given to two pillars in the porch of the temple built by Solomon. They are minutely described in 1 Kings 7:15-22 and 2 Chronicles 3:15-17. It will be observed that in Kings and Jeremiah 52:21 The height of each pillar is 18 cubits, but in Chronicles their length is said to be 35 cubits. The explanation of this difference is that in Kings the height of each is given, and in Chronicles the length of the pillars, the two together; so that the 17+ cubits, with perhaps a socket, would be the same as the 18 cubits in Kings. JACHIN signifies “He will establish,” and BOAZ, “in Him [is] strength”—implying that the kingdom will be established in strength and in peace, under the administration of Christ: thus the names are typical of the millennium. There appears to be an allusion to these pillars in Revelation 3:12, the overcomer being made a “pillar” in the temple of God.

Boaz, Booz

A wealthy Bethlehemite of the tribe of Judah, who married Ruth the Moabitess and was great grandfather of David (Ruth 2-4; Chron. 2:11-12; Matt. 1:5; Luke 3:32). Boaz is a type of Christ who in a future day will raise up the name of the dead in Israel through the returned but desolate remnant.


Son of Azel, a Benjamite (1 Chron. 8:38; 1 Chron. 9:44). The LXX render the word “first-born” in both passages. An alteration in the Hebrew points would account for the difference.


This signifies “weepers:” it was the place near Gilgal where an angel of the Lord charged the Israelites with having disobeyed God in making leagues with the inhabitants of the land, and in not throwing down their altars; and told them the results. The people wept and sacrificed to the Lord (Judg. 2:1-5). Bochim symbolically is not simply “weepers,” but “weepers over disobedience.”

Body, the one



Reubenite, after whom a stone was named on the border of Judah and Benjamin (Josh. 15:6; Josh. 18:17).


The common gathering on the flesh, attended with inflammation, which the Hebrew word shechin implies. The boils were doubtless malignant when sent as a plague in Egypt (Ex. 9:9-11); and they were severe in the case of Job when smitten by Satan (Job 2:7). Hezekiah’s boil was apparently of an aggravated type, though a lump of figs was blessed to his recovery (2 Kings 20:7; Isa. 38:21. See also Lev. 13:18-23).


Swollen, podded, in pod (Ex. 9:31).




Covering for the head of men as well as women (Ex. 28:40; Ex. 29:9; Ex. 39:28; Isa. 3:20; Ezek. 44:18).


The form of ancient books was a long roll with a roller at each end. These rollers were held one in each hand and the book was unrolled from off the one and on to the other as the book was read; and this had to be reversed before the book could be read again. They were made of skins, and the writing was usually on one side only; to be written on both sides would show a full record (Ezek. 2:9-10; Rev. 5:1). The form of a roll explains how a book could have several seals, a portion being rolled up and a seal attached; then another portion rolled up and another seal, like the seven-sealed book of Revelation.
By the ancient nations records were made on cylinders or slabs of stone, or on clay, which was then baked or sun-dried. Many such tablets have been found in the excavations made at Nineveh, Babylon and other places. When Ezra was at work on the city and temple of Jerusalem his opponents wrote to the king of Persia asking that “the book of the records” might be searched for corroboration of their assertion that Jerusulem had been rebellious (Ezra 4:15). The “book of the records” was doubtless a collection of stone or clay tablets. In some cases these have been found in such numbers as to form quite a library.
The word BOOK is used symbolically for what a book might contain, as prophecy or predictions. Ezekiel and John were told to eat the books presented to them (Ezek. 2:8-9; Ezek. 3:1-3; Rev. 10:9: Compare Jer. 15:16). It is also symbolical of the records that are with man usually written in a book (Psa. 56:8; Dan. 7:10; Mal. 3:16; Rev. 20:12).
Various books are mentioned in scripture which are not now in existence.
1. The wars of the Lord (Num. 21:14). The quotation is poetry, so that the book may have been a collection of odes by Moses on the wars of Jehovah.
2. Book of Dasher, (Josh. 10:13; 2 Sam. 1:18). These quotations also are poetry.
3. Book of Samuel, concerning “the manner of the kingdom” (1 Sam. 10:25); which was laid up before the Lord.
4. The Acts of Solomon (1 Kings 11:41): probably the public records of the kingdom.
5. Books of Nathan, Gad, Ahijah, and Iddo, concerning the acts of David, and of Solomon, which were doubtless the public records of the nation, with which are associated prophecies of Ahijah and the visions of Iddo (1 Chron. 29:29; 2 Chron. 9:29).
6. Book of Shemaiah the prophet (2 Chron. 12:15).
7. Book of Jehu (2 Chron. 20:34). These various references show that when the historical parts of the Old Testament were written, further information respecting the kingdom was obtainable from the books referred to, if such had been needed; but which was not required for the inspired volume of God.

Book of Life, The

Registry of persons’ names as living. One (also called simply God’s book) may be a book of those who only have a name to live, and consequently whose names may be blotted out (Ex. 32:32-33; Psa. 69:28; Rev. 3:5; Rev. 22:19). Another is a book of the saved, from which none will be erased (Phil. 4:3; Rev. 13:8; Rev. 17:8; Rev. 20:12, 15; Rev. 21:27). A third (called simply “the book,”) contains the names of the remnant of Israel (Dan. 12:1).


Temporary habitations made of branches of trees, used especially at the Feast of Tabernacles, (Lev. 23:42, 43; Neh. 8:14-17). Jonah made himself such a shelter (Jonah 4:5). They were also used for cattle (Gen. 33:17). The Hebrew is succoth.
Modern booths during Sukkot.





Borrow, To

There are four Hebrew words thus translated. The principal point of interest in connection with the subject is with reference to the Israelites borrowing from the Egyptians at the Exodus, as in the A. V. The word there is shaal, and it is translated “ask” 88 times; there can be no doubt therefore that “ask” is the more appropriate word in Exodus 3:22; Exodus 11:2 and Exodus 12:35. In Exodus 22:14 and 2 Kings 6:5 however the word “borrow” is better retained.




Used symbolically for the seat of deep affection. John speaks of the Lord Jesus as the only begotten Son “in the bosom of the Father” (John 1:18). The tender and sacred relationship which husband and wife have to each other is also called the “bosom” (Deut. 28:54, 56). This to an Israelite would give force to the description of Lazarus being carried into ABRAHAM’S Bosom (Luke 16:22-23). By means of a loose garment and a girdle, many things are constantly carried by Orientals in the bosom, even such as a lamb (Isa. 40:11: Compare Luke 6:38).


The Aramaic form of BEOR, the father of Balaam, the name being altered by changing the ע into צ. (2 Pet. 2:15).


A projection, sometimes rising to a sharp point, in the center of a shield (Job 15:26).


An incurable skin disease, otherwise undefined (Deut. 28:27,35).


There are six Hebrew words translated “bottle” in the Old Testament. Among the descendants of Judah there were some described as “potters” (1 Chron. 4:23); and from the relics found in the tombs of Egypt it is evident that bottles were very early made of earthenware; and small ones of glass; though then, as now in the East, especially for larger vessels and for those to be carried about, skins were used (Josh. 9:4, 13). They are made of goats’ skins: the head, the legs and the tail are cut off, and the body drawn out. In the New Testament the word is ἀσκός, and signifies a “wineskin,” or “skin-bag.” Hence new wine must be put into new skins, which are more or less elastic (Matt. 9:17; Mark 2:22; Luke 5:37-38). The Lord was teaching that the new principles of the kingdom would not suit the old forms of Judaism: everything must be new.

Bottomless Pit

The word is ἄβυσσος, literally “without a bottom,” an abyss. From the passages in the Revelation we learn that the abyss is where the Satanic powers are shut up, not where they will be punished, which is in the lake of fire. The demons cast out by the Lord in Luke 8:31 besought Him that He would not send them into the abyss. In Romans 10:7 it is put in contrast to the heavens. In Revelation 9:1-11, to a star fallen from heaven the key of the abyss is given, and on its being opened great moral darkness rises, out of which destructive agents proceed: Abaddon (Apollyon) “the destroyer” is their king. The future Roman empire is represented as a beast rising out of (receiving in its last head power from) the abyss (Rev. 11:7; Rev. 17:8). Satan will be confined in the abyss during the thousand years of the millennium (Rev. 20:1, 3). (The above are all the passages where the Greek word occurs.)


The common weapon for discharging arrows. It is used symbolically for the hidden attacks of the wicked against the righteous (Psa. 11:2; Psa. 37:14-15). A “bow of steel” signifies great strength (Job 20:24). The wicked are like a “deceitful bow,” one that breaks when it is depended upon (Psa. 78:57; Hos. 7:16). In 2 Samuel 1:18 David’s elegy on Saul and Jonathan is called “The Bow.” The children were taught “[the song of] the Bow” (RV).

Bow Down, To

An act of respect between man and man, very common in the East, as Abraham bowed down himself before the people of the land when he bought a burying place for his dead (Gen. 23:7, 12). Also an act of reverence to God (Psa. 95:6); but strictly forbidden to be done before an idol or image (Ex. 20:5); and treated as an act of worship.

Bow in the Cloud



Used symbolically for deep tenderness, pity and compassion (Gen. 43:30; 1 Kings 3:26; Phil. 1:8; Phil. 2:1).


Besides the use to which bowls are commonly put, the word is applied to ornaments in the shape of a bowl placed on columns or on the golden candlestick (Ex. 25:31-34; Ex. 37:17-20; 1 Kings 7:41-42).
The Golden Candlestick
The Golden Candlestick


Earthenware, or glass, flask or bottle for oil or perfumes (2 Kings 9:1, 3). See ALABASTER.


What tree is referred to under the name teashshur is not known: the ancient versions translate it “cedar, fir, poplar.” It is probably a species of cedar, called sherbin in the East (Isa. 41:19; Isa. 60:13).


Rock near the ravine of Michmash (1 Sam. 14:4).

Bozkath, Boscath

City of Judah in the lowlands (Josh. 15:39; 2 Kings 22:1). Not identified.


1. Royal city of Edom, on which the prophets pronounced judgments (Gen. 36:33; 1 Chron. 1:44; Jer. 49:13,22; Amos 1:12; Mic. 2:12). Christ is represented as coming from thence with dyed garments, having trodden the winepress of His wrath upon the nations (Gentiles) (Isa. 63:1-4; compare Isa. 34). Identified with el Buseireh, 30° 50’ N, 35° 35’ E.
2. City in the land of Moab, upon which judgment is pronounced (Jer. 48:24).


There are five Hebrew words thus translated. In 2 Samuel 1:10 the bracelet found on Saul’s arm was either an armlet or a “chain,” as the same word is translated in Numbers 31:50. In Genesis 38:18, 25 the Hebrew word signifies “cord,” and was probably the cord by which the signet was suspended. The Eastern nations were and still are fond of ornaments round their wrists, arms, and feet, many being of elaborate design and skillful workmanship.
Copper bracelet with two brass brands—1900s—US

Branch, The

A title of the Lord Jesus, which He will bear in connection with Israel in the future (Isa. 4:2; Jer. 23:5; 33:15; Zech. 3:8; Zech. 6:12-13). In two of the passages the words “unto David” are added, which coincides with the Lord Jesus being the “offspring” (which is a similar word to “branch”) as well as the “root” of David. He will be a “righteous Branch and a King.” He will “build [or advance in honor] the temple of Jehovah; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both” (Compare Psa. 85 and 87). It is a description of the Lord Jesus in the millennium.


As “brass” is a compound, it is probable that copper is the metal often alluded to in scripture. See Deuteronomy 8:9. In some cases it may be “bronze,” as it is known that this was in use in ancient Egypt. The Hebrew word nechosheth is translated “copper” in Ezra 8:27, where it is said to be “precious as gold.” Brass is used as a symbol for righteousness according to the claims of God upon man, as in the brazen altar; the Lord as seen in the vision in the Revelation has feet like fine brass, “burning as in a furnace:” that is, righteous judgment according to responsibility (Rev. 1:15; Rev. 2:18).
Copper bracelet with two brass brands—1900s—US

Brazen Serpent



A bread man in old-city Jerusalem.
Constantly referred to as the sustenance of man, though animal food may be included, and thus it stands for “food” in general (Gen. 3:19; Ruth 1:6; Psa. 41:9). Bread was made of wheaten flour, or of wheat and barley mixed, or by the poor of barley only. It was generally made in thin cakes which could be baked very quickly when a visitor arrived (Gen. 18:6; Gen. 19:3; 1 Sam. 28:24). It was usually leavened by a piece of old dough in a state of fermentation. See LEAVEN.
UNLEAVENED BREAD was to be eaten with certain of the offerings (Lev. 6:16-17); and for the seven days’ feast connected with the Passover, often referred to as “the Feast of Unleavened Bread” (Ex. 34:18; 2 Chron. 8:13; Luke 22:1; 1 Cor. 5:8): a symbol that all evil must be put away in order to keep the feast.
The Lord Jesus called Himself the BREAD OF GOD, the bread that came down from heaven, THE BREAD OF LIFE, the living bread, of which if any man ate he should live forever: He said “He that eateth Me shall live by Me.” He is the spiritual food that sustains the new life (John 6:31-58). This was typified in Israel by the SHEWBREAD, the twelve loaves placed upon the table in the holy place, new every sabbath day: it was holy and was eaten by the priests only (Lev. 24:5-9). It is literally “face or presence bread” (Ex. 25:30); and “bread of arrangement” or “ordering,” as in the margin of 1 Chronicles 9:32; and in the New Testament “bread of presentation” (Matt. 12:4; Heb. 9:2). It typified the nourishment that God would provide for Israel in Christ, as well as the ordering of the twelve tribes before Him; in them was the administration of God’s bounty through Christ for the earth, as Christ is now the sustainment for the Christian.
The Cakes of Shewbread


Armor for the breast.
1. Of righteousness (for Christ) (Isa. 59:17); (for the Christian’s conflict in the heavenlies) (Eph. 6:14).
2. Of faith and love (for the wilderness) (1 Thess. 5:8).
3. Of iron (steeled conscience) (Rev. 9:9).
4. Of fire, jacinth, and brimstone (dire judgments) (Rev. 9:17). See ARMOR.
Medieval Breastplates

Breastplate, High Priests

There are four parts of the high priest’s dress that are distinctly described.
1. THE COAT or tunic made of fine white linen reaching down to the feet (type of human righteousness).
2. THE ROBE, made of blue, worn over the coat, on the edge of which were alternately a bell and a pomegranate (testimony and fruit): the color is heavenly, indicating the character of the priesthood of Christ.
3. THE EPHOD, probably shorter than the robe, and made of gold, blue, scarlet, and fine twined linen. To the shoulders of this were fastened the two stones on which were engraved the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. The Ephod had a GIRDLE of similar texture.
4. THE BREASTPLATE was made of the same material as the ephod. It was to be bound by its rings unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue that it might be above the curious girdle (Ex. 28:28). In it were twelve precious stones, arranged in four rows, with three in a row, bearing the names of the twelve tribes. It was made double, and was square, being a span each way. It is called several times “the Breastplate of judgment.” “Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel before the Lord continually.” It is typical of Christ, who sustains His people before the Lord according to the holy judgment of God, which His own lights and perfections expressed. He bears the whole people upon his shoulders of strength and upon His heart, seen in the beauty of the gems, that is, in acceptance before God (Ex. 25:7; Ex. 28:4-30; Ex. 29:5; Ex. 35:9,27; Ex. 39:8-21; Lev. 8:8). See EPHOD.
5. The Miter completed the priest’s dress.


Used typically for the source of nourishment. Israel “shall suck the breast of kings” (Isa. 60:16; compare Isa. 49:23; see also Job 24:9; Isa. 66:11).


Besides the literal meaning of the term, it was used for persons morally or nationally associated together; also for those who formed the Jewish nation (Acts 2:29,37 where the expression “Men and brethren” should be translated simply “Brethren”; Rom. 9:3). It was applied by the Lord to His disciples: “Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend to my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (John 20:17). “He is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Heb. 2:11; Psa. 22:22). The Lord has placed the Christian in His own relationship as man with His Father and God, and “He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one.” In accordance with this the saints are constantly addressed in the Epistles as “brethren,” and referred to in the Acts as “the brethren.”


Probably a place where bricks were made as well as burnt (2 Sam. 12:31; Jer. 43:9; Nah. 3:14).


Brick Making
As early as Genesis 11:3 we read of bricks being made and burnt; and in Egypt the bricks were made with an admixture of straw. When the Israelites had to find their own straw or stubble and yet make as many bricks per day, it is probable that but little straw was used. Some ancient bricks have been found which had apparently no straw in them. Many of the bricks were stamped with the name of the reigning monarch.
On the monuments in a tomb the process of brick-making in Egypt is fully delineated: a task-master stands over the men with a stick in his hand, as doubtless was the case in the time of Moses (Ex. 5:7-19). Bricks brought from Egypt vary in size, from 20 in. to 14 1/4 in. long, 8 3/4 in. to 6 ½ in. wide, and 7 in. to 4 ½ in. thick. There is a brick from Babylon in the British Museum, which bears the inscription in cuneiform characters “I am Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, the restorer of the temples Sag-ili and Zida, the eldest son of Nabopolassar, king of Babylon.” It measures 13 in. by 13 in., and 4 in. thick. Other bricks from Chaldea are more ancient still.


A woman about to be married, or newly married, used symbolically for those who are closely associated with Jehovah or the Lord Jesus. Though the word does not occur in the Canticles, nearly the whole of that book is composed of discourses between a bridegroom and a bride-doubtless referring to Jehovah and the Jewish remnant (compare Hos. 2:19-20). As a bride adorns herself with jewels (Isa. 61:10), so would Jerusalem be adorned with Jehovah’s righteousness and salvation. When John is called to behold the bride, the Lamb’s wife, he sees a beautiful city, the holy Jerusalem, having the glory of God (Rev. 21:2, 9-10). The church is the bride of the Lamb (compare 2 Cor. 11:2).

Bridechamber, Children of the

The Lord was the Bridegroom, and while He was on earth the “sons” (companions, friends) of the bridechamber could not mourn nor fast; but in His absence they would do so (Matt. 9:15; Mark 2:19; Luke 5:34). The friend of the Bridegroom (to whom John the Baptist likened himself) is spoken of in distinction from the bride herself (John 3:29).


A title which the Lord applies to Himself (Matt. 9:15; Matt. 25:1-10; compare John 3:29). It anticipates the joy of Christ, the marriage day when He will take to Himself all that for which He suffered so much.


Six different Hebrew words are so translated, several of which cannot be particularized. It shows how abundant are the fruits of the curse pronounced in Eden because of the sin of man, but which will be removed in the millennium, when the myrtle, etc., will take its place (Judg. 8:7, 16; Isa. 5:6; Isa. 55:13; Ezek. 2:6; Ezek. 28:24; Mic. 7:4).


A coat of mail (Jer. 46:4; Jer. 51:3).


Bitumen, pitch, or sulfur, which is still found in its crude state in Palestine. In God’s judgment it was rained from heaven (Gen. 19:24; Psa. 11:6; Ezek. 38:22; Luke 17:29). It is symbolical of that which will add to the torment and anguish of the wicked (Rev. 14:10; Rev. 19:20; Rev. 20:10; Rev. 21:8).


1. riqmah, variegated by “curious” needlework or by different colors (Ezek. 16:10, 13, 18; Ezek. 26:16; Ezek. 27:7, 16, 24). The same Hebrew word is translated “divers colors” in reference to the precious stones David had gathered together for the temple-service 1 Chron. 29:2), and in the description of the great eagle in Ezekiel 17:3. Also “embroidering” in colors (compare Ex. 35:35; Ex. 38:23).
2. tashbets, checker-work, used in the “broidered coat,” which formed part of the high priest’s dress (Ex. 28:4). Also (shabats) in “thou shalt embroider the coat of fine linen” (Ex. 28:39). The stones in the breastplate were to be “interwoven” in gold (Ex. 28:20).
3. πλέγμα, “twined or plaited” hair, with which the Christian women were not to adorn themselves (1 Tim. 2:9).


Four Hebrew words are translated “brook.”
1. aphiq (Psa. 42:1), water held in by banks, translated also “channel.”
2. yeor (Isa. 19:6-8), a river, canal, fosse: applied to the Nile in Exodus 1:22, &c.
3. mikal (2 Sam. 17:20), a small brook.
4. nachal (Gen. 32:23), a mountain torrent often dry in summer, and thus often disappointing, as in Job 6:15. Such are numerous in Palestine. (This is the word in all the passages where “brook” occurs in the Old Testament except those above enumerated.) The same is called in the New Testament, χείμαρρος, “winter flowing” (John 18:1). Its Eastern name is wady.
Wady Zerka – The Jabbok


Besides the ordinary use of the word in its literal sense, it is applied to cousins and nephews (Gen. 14:14; Lev. 10:4); and to kinsmen generally (Ex. 2:11; 2 Kings 10:13; 2 Chron. 22:8). Also employed where there is a moral likeness (Job 30:29; Prov. 18:9). See BRETHREN.


See Armor.


As early as Genesis 4:17 we read of Cain building a city and calling it after his son’s name; since which time building houses has become common; whereas Abraham looked for a city whose Builder is God. It is used as symbolical of raising up a spiritual edifice to God, of which Christ is the Builder (Matt. 16:18; 1 Cor. 3:9; Eph. 2:21; 1 Pet. 2:5). As instruments, others also are builders—Paul calls himself “a wise master builder,” or rather “architect” as having well laid the foundation of the assembly, which is Christ (1 Cor. 3:10). The laborers are cautioned as to the material they use in building up a house for God: improper materials will not stand the test of the fire, and the builders will suffer loss by seeing their work burned up and by losing their reward (1 Cor. 3:10-14). Whereas all that Christ builds, though by the instrumentality of His servants, will surely stand forever. Under another similitude Christ is the chief corner stone, or head of the corner, which “the builders,” the heads of the Jewish nation, refused, but which God exalted (Psa. 118:22; Matt. 21:42; Acts 4:11; Eph. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:7).


1. Son of Abishua, descendant of Aaron (1 Chron. 6:5,51; Ezra 7:4).
2. Son of Jogli of the tribe of Dan, one of those chosen to apportion the land (Num. 34:22).


Son of Heman: appointed to the service of song (1 Chron. 25:4, 13).



Bull, Bullock

See Ox.


In Exodus 2:3 and Isaiah 18:2 The papyrus is referred to, a reed of which ancient paper was made. It was of this that the ark was made in which the infant Moses was put (Ex. 2:3), and the smaller boats on the Nile (Isa. 18:2). In Isaiah 58:5 it is a different word, and is used for any kind of “rush.” Both words are also translated “rushes.”
Cyperus Papyrus – Reeds that grow along the Nile.
Cyperus Papyrus


Son of Jerahmeel (1 Chron. 2:25).


1. A Levite who returned from exile (Neh. 9:4).
2. One who sealed the covenant (Neh. 10:15).
3. Ancestor of a family of Levites (Neh. 11:15).


Besides the common use of this word, it occurs at the commencement of several prophecies; as “The burden of Babylon,” “the burden of Moab” (Isa. 13:1; Isa. 15:1). The learned are not agreed as to the force of massa in such places: its natural meaning would be “a judgment that lies heavy on the people;” but some take its meaning to be “an oracle or sentence pronounced against them.” The word occurs also in Jeremiah 23:33-38, where it is “the burden of the Lord.” The false prophets were not to use this expression, as if they had a message from God. If they did, it should bring judgment upon them. The same word is translated “prophecy” in Proverbs 30:1 and Proverbs 31:1.


This was the universal custom among the Israelites for the disposal of their dead, and provision was made in the law for the burial of criminals (Deut. 21:23). Those slain in battle were also interred (1 Kings 11:15). This was needful in so warm a country in order to avoid a pestilence, and the dead were always promptly buried, as in the case of Ananias and Sapphira. These were probably bound round with the clothes they were wearing and at once laid in the grave. In other cases linen cloths were wrapped round the body and round the head, as in the case of Lazarus, and as loving hands tended the body of the Lord. Spices were enclosed among the cloths: Nicodemus furnished 100 pound weight of “myrrh and aloes” at the burial of the Lord, besides what the devout women had brought.
It does not appear that there was any service “or prayers” offered at the burial of the dead. At the death of Lazarus, Jews were present, mourning with the family four days after the death; and in the case of the daughter of Jairus there was a “tumult” with weeping and great wailing; these were probably hired mourners (as is the custom to this day), for “musicians” were also present.
Among the judgments pronounced on the people of Jerusalem one was that they should not be buried: their bodies should be eaten by the fowls and the wild beasts (Jer. 16:4). In the case of God’s two future witnesses in Jerusalem the wicked will rejoice over their dead bodies and will not allow them to be buried; only to have their joy turned into terror when they see them stand upon their feet alive again, and behold them ascend to heaven (Rev. 11:9-12).

Burnt Offering or Sacrifice


Bush, Burning

The thorn-bush in which God was pleased to reveal Himself to Moses when He gave him his commission (Ex. 3:2-4). God’s presence made it holy ground, and one of His characteristics is brought out by the bush burning, without being consumed; for “our God is a consuming fire,” burning up the dross, without destruction. Moses did not forget the bush: when he blessed the twelve tribes just before he died he spoke of the “good will of him who dwelt in the bush” (Deut. 33:16): and it is three times mentioned in the New Testament (Mark 12:26; Luke 20:37; Acts 7:30-35).




An officer of great importance in Oriental courts: he presented the drinking cup to the king (Gen. 40:1-23). Nehemiah held the office at Shushan, and was highly esteemed by the king (Neh. 2:1).


This was curdled milk (Gen. 18:8; Deut. 32:14). Jael brought Sisera “butter” to drink (Judg. 5:25); and Job 29:6 speaks of his steps being washed with butter when the Almighty was with him in prosperity. The promised land was to flow with milk and honey (compare Job 20:17). Curdled milk is a common beverage in the East, and when mixed with honey is very agreeable.


1. Son of Milcah and Nahor, Abraham’s brother (Gen. 22:21). The name of BAZU has been found in the Assyrian inscriptions, which is thought to refer to the settlement of Buz in Northern Arabia.
2. One of the tribe of Gad (1 Chron. 5:14).
3. Name of a place supposed to be in Arabia (Jer. 25:23).


Father of Ezekiel the prophet and priest (Ezek. 1:3).


Designation of Elihu, probably a descendant of Buz, No. 1 (Job 32:2,6).


Immediately (Matt. 13:21; Mark 6:25; Luke 17:7; Luke 21:9).
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