1. In the Old Testament denotes an idol of the Phoenicians, and particularly of the Tyrians, whose worship was also introduced with great solemnities among the Hebrews, and especially at Samaria, along with that of Astarte, Jud 6:25-32 2Ki 10:18,28. See ASHTORETH, plural ASHíTAROTH. The plural, Baalim, signifies images or statues of Baal, Jud 2:11 10:10. Of the extent to which the worship of this idol was domesticated among the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, we have an evidence in the proper names of persons; as, among the former, Ethbaal, Jerubbaal; and among the latter, Hannibal, Asdrubal, etc. Among the Babylonians, the same idol was worshipped under the name of BEL, which is only another form of the word Baal, Isa 46:1 Jer 50:2 51:44. The worship of Baal was established in Babylon in the famous tower of Babel, the uppermost room of which served at the same time as an observatory, and as the repository of a collection of astronomical observations.

That in the astronomical, or rather, astrological mythology of the East, we are to look for the origin of this worship in the adoration of the heavenly bodies, is conceded by all critics. The more common opinion has been, that Baal, or Bel, is the sun; and that, under this name, this luminary received divine honors. But the Greek and Roman writers give to the Babylonian Bel the name of Jupiter Belus, meaning the planet Jupiter, which was regarded, along with the planet Venus, as the guardian and giver of all good fortune; and formed, with Venus, the most fortunate of all constellations, under which alone fortunate sovereigns could be born. This planet, therefore, many suppose to have been the object of worship under the name of Baal, as also the planet Venus under that of Astarte. Not that the sun was not an object of idolatrous worship among these nations, but in that case he is represented under his own name; as 2Ki 23:11.

The temples and altars of Ball were generally on eminences. Manasseh placed in the two courts of the temple at Jerusalem altars to all the host of heaven, and in particular to Astarte, 2Ki 21:5,7. Jeremiah threatens the Jews who had sacrificed to Baal on the house-top, Jer 32:29; and Josiah destroyed the altars which Ahaz had erected on the terrace of his palace, 2Ki 23:12.

Human victims were offered to Baal, as they were also to the sun. Jeremiah reproaches the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem with "building the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt-offerings unto Baal," Jer 19:5; an expression which appears to be decisive as to the actual slaying by fire of the unhappy victims to Baal. See MOLOCH.

The children of Israel were prone to serve Baal. See Nu 25:3 Jud 2:14 3:7. Under Samuel they put away their idols, 1Sa 7:4. This continued under David and Solomon; but under Ahab, whose wife Jezebel was a daughter of the Zidonian king Ethbaal, the worship of Baal was restored with great pomp, 1Ki 16:31.

Joined with other words, Baal signifies also other false gods. Baal-Berith, or the "lord of the covenant," was a god of the Shechemites, Jud 8:33 9:4. Baal-Peor, or "the lord of Peor," was a filthy idol of the Moabites, Nu 25:3, 5 Ho 9:10. Baal-Zebub, "lord of flies," was a god of the Philistines at Ekron. See BEELZEBUB.

2. The word BAAL also occurs in many compound names of places, not always having any reference to the idol.


A town in the tribe of Simeon, Jos 15:29; 19:3; called also Bilhah, 1Ch 4:29. The same as Kirjathjearim.


A town in the tribe of God, Jos 19:44. This lay not far from Bethhoron. It is uncertain whether it is the same as the Baalath rebuilt by Solomon, 1Ki 9:18 2Ch 8:6.


A city in the valley of Lebanon at the foot of Hermon; the northernmost point, to which the wars of Joshua reached, Jos 11:17; 12:7; 13:5. It was perhaps the same as Baal-Hermon. Some have supposed it was Baalbek; but this lay further north.


Where Absalom kept his flocks, 2Sa 13:23, was near Ephraim, a city of Judah, some eight miles east of Jerusalem.


King of the Ammonites in the time of the captivity. He caused the assassination of Gedaliah, then governor of Judah, Jer 40:14; 41:1- 10.


In Reuben beyond the Jordan, Nu 32:38; called also Bethmeon, Jer 48:23, and Beth-baal-meon, Jos 13:17. Its ruins are found two miles southeast of Heshbon. Eze 25:9, speaks of it as then a Moabitish town.


Place of breaches, a name given by David to the scene of a battle with the Philistines, 2Sa 5:20; 1Ch 14:11; Isa 28:21. It was in the valley of Rephaim, not far southwest of Jerusalem.


A town in Egypt, probably near the modern Suez. Its location is unknown, as are the details of the route of the Hebrews on leaving Egypt. They encamped "over against" and "before" Baal-zephon before crossing the Red Sea. Ex 14:2; Nu 33:7.


Sons of Rimmon, in the services of Ish-bosheth the son of Saul. Thinking to obtain a reward from David, they secretly slew their master while reposing at noon, and carried his head to David at Hebron. They suffered, however, the punishment suitable for those whose "feet are swift to shed blood," 2Sa 4:1-12.


Son of Ahijah, and commander of the armies of Nadab, king of Israel. He killed his master treacherously at the siege of Gibbethon, and usurped the kingdom, B.C. 953, which he possessed twenty-three years. He exterminated the whole race of Jeroboam, as had been predicted, 1Ki 14:7-14; but by his bad conduct and idolatry incurred Godís indignation,

1Ki 15:1-16:7,12. God sent him a warning by the mouth of Jebu the prophet; which was fulfilled in the extermination of his family two years after his own death.


Confusion, the name of a lofty tower, begun to be built by the descendants of Noah among who Nimrod was a leader, about one hundred and twenty years after the flood; so called because God there confounded the language of those who were employed in the undertaking, Ge 10:10 11:9. Their object in building the city and tower, was to concentrate the population and the dominion at that spot; and as this was contrary to the divine purpose of replenishing the earth with inhabitants, and betrayed an ungodly and perhaps idolatrous disposition, God frustrated their designs by miraculously giving to different portions of the people different languages, or different modes of pronunciation and divergent dialects of the original language of man, thus causing them to disperse over the globe. Compare Ac 2:1-11. The tower was apparently left incomplete, but the foundation of the city was probably laid, and a portion no doubt of the builders continued to dwell there. The place became afterwards the celebrated city of Babylon. It has been supposed that the tower of Babel was afterwards finished, and called the tower of Belus, within the city of Babylon. Herodotus visited this tower, and describes it as a square pyramid, measuring half a mile in circumference at the base; from this rose eight towers one above another gradually decreasing in the summit, which was reached by a broad road winding up around the outside. This tower was used for astronomical purposes, but was chiefly devoted to the worship of Bel, whose temple contained immense treasures, including several statues of massive gold, one of which was forty feet in height. Here were deposited the sacred golden vessels brought from Jerusalem. 2Ch 36:7 Jer 51:44. Its ruins are supposed to be the present Birs Nimroud, six miles south-west of Hilleh, the modern Babylon: an immense mound of coarse sun-dried bricks, laid with bitumen. It is a ruinous heap, shattered by violence, furrowed by storms, and strewn with fragments of brick, pottery, etc., fused and vitrified by some intense heat. It is 190 feet high, and on the top rises an irregular tower 90 feet in circumference and 35 feet high, built of the fine brick-with which the whole mound appears to have been faced. The tower is rent asunder and mutilated at the top, and scathed as if by lightning-a monument, some have thought, of the just wrath of God. See NEBUCHADNEZZAR.


1. A celebrated city situated on the Euphrates, the original foundation of which is described under the word Babel. Wit this coincide many ancient traditions, while some speak of Semiramis as the founder, and others of Nebuchadnezzar. These accounts may all be reconciled, by supposing that Semiramis rebuilt the ancient city, and the Nebuchadnezzar. These accounts may all be reconciled, by supposing that Semiramis rebuilt the ancient city, and that Nebuchadnezzar afterwards greatly enlarged and adorned it.

Babylon lay in a vast and fertile plain watered by the Euphrates, with flowed through the city. Its walls are described as 60 miles in circumference, 300 feet high, and 75 feet wide, Jer 51:44- 58. A deep trench ran parallel with the walls. In each of the four sides were 25 brazen gates, from which roads crossed to the opposite gates. On the squares thus formed countless houses and gardens were made. Nebuchadnezzarís palace was in an inclosure six miles in circumference. Within this were also "the hanging gardens," an immense artificial mound 400 feet high, sustained by archers upon arches, terraced off for trees and flowers, the water for which was drawn from the river by machinery concealed in the mound, Da 4:29,30.

Under Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon reached the summit of her greatness and splendor. She was renowned for learning especially in astronomy, and for skill in various arts, as the making of carpets and cloths, of perfumes, jewelry, etc. Her location gave her to a great extent the control of the traffic, by the Euphrates and by caravans, between Central Asia and Arabia and Egypt. She was "a city of merchants," Isa 43:14 Eze 17:4; and into her lap flowed, either through conquest or commerce, the wealth of almost all known lands. Justly therefore might the prophets call her "the great," Da 4:20; "the praise of the whole earth," Jer 51:41; "the beauty of the Chaldeesí excellency," Isa 13:19; "the lady of kingdoms," Isa 47:5; but also "the tender and delicate," and "given to pleasures," Isa 47:1,8. In consequence of the opulence and luxury of the inhabitants, corruptness and licentiousness of manners and morals were carried to a frightful extreme. Bel, Nebo, Nergal, Merodach, Succoth-benoth, and other idols, were there worshipped with rites in which impurity was made a matter of religion. Well might we expect Jehovah to bring down vengeance on her crimes. Indeed, the woes denounced against Babylon by the prophets constitute some of the most awfully splendid and sublime portions of the whole Bible, Isa 13:1-22 14:22 21:9 47:1-15 Jer 25:1-38 50:1-46 51:1-64, etc.

The city did not long remain the capital of the world. Under the reign of Nebuchadnezzarís grandson. Nabonnidus, the Belshazzar of the Scriptures, it was besieged and taken by Cyrus. The accounts of Greek historians harmonize here with that of the Bible: that Cyrus made his successful assault on a night when the whole city, relying on the strength of the walls, had given themselves up to the riot and debauchery of a grand public festival, and the king and his nobles were reveling at a splendid entertainment. Cyrus had previously caused a canal, which ran west of the city, and carried off the superfluous water of the Euphrates into the lake of Nitocris, to be cleared out, in order to turn the river into it; which, by this means, was rendered so shallow, that his soldiers were able to penetrate along its bed into the city, Da 5:1-31. 538 B.C. From this time its importance declined, for Cyrus made Susa the capital of his kingdom. It revolted against Darius Hystapis, who again subdued it, broke down all its gates, and reduced its walls to the height of fifty cubits. According to Strabo, Xerxes destroyed the tower of Belus. Under the Persians, and under Alexanderís successors, Babylon continued to decline, especially after Seleucus Nicator had founded Selencia, and made it his residence. A great portion of the inhabitants of Babylon removed thither; and in Straboís time, that is, under Augustus Babylon had become so desolate, that it might be called a vast desert. There was a town on its site until the fourth century, and many Jews dwelt there, 1Pe 5:13. But from this time onward, Babylon ceases almost to be mentioned; even its ruins have not been discovered until within the last two centuries; and it is only within the present century that these ruins have been traced and described. These consist of numerous mounds, usually of brick, deeply furrowed and decayed by time, strewn with fragments of brick, bitumen, pottery, etc. One of these is described above. See BABEL. Another, four miles northwest of Hilleh, and called by the natives Kasr, is thought to mark the site of the hanging gardens. These ruins are 2,400 feet long, and 1,800 broad. Another near by, called Mujellibah, is of similar dimensions. From these mounds thousands of bricks have been dug, bearing arrow-headed inscriptions as ancient as the time of Nebuchadnezzar, whose name often occurs. The aspect of the whole region is dreary and forlorn. It is infested by noxious animals, and perhaps in no place under heaven is the contrast between ancient magnificence and present desolation greater than here. The awful prophecy of Isaiah, uttered more than a century before, has been most literally fulfilled, Isa 13:14.

The name of Babylon is used symbolically in Re 14:8 16:1-21 17:1-18 18:1-24, to mark the idolatry, superstition, lewdness luxury, and persecution of the people of God, which characterized heathen Rome and modern Antichrist. Some thus interpret 1Pe 5:13 2. There was also a Babylon in Egypt, a city not far from Heliopolis. Some suppose this to be the Babylon mentioned 1Pe 5:13; but this is not probable.


The province of which Babylon was the capital; now the Babylonian or Arabian Irak, which constitutes the pashalic of Bagdad. This celebrated province included the track of country lying on the river Euphrates, bounded north by Mesopotamia and Assyria and south by the Persian Gulf. This gulf was indeed its only definite and natural boundary; for towards the north, towards the east or Persia, and towards the west or desert Arabia, its limits were quite indefinite. Bot in ancient and modern times, Important tracts on the eastern bank of the Tigris, and on the western ban of the Euphrates, and still more on both banks of their united streams, were reckoned to Babylonia, or Irak el-Arab.

The most ancient name of the country is Shimar, Ge 10:10 Da 1:2. Afterwards Babel, Babylon, and Babylonia became its common appellation with which at a later period, Chaldea, or the land of the Chaldeans, was used as synonymous, after this people had got the whole into their possession.

Babylonia is an extensive plain, interrupted by no hill or mountain, consisting of a fatty, brownish soil, and subject to the annual inundations of the Tigris and Euphrates, more especially of the latter, whose banks are lower than those of the Tigris. The Euphrates commonly rises about twelve feet above its ordinary level, and continues at this height from the end of April tell June. These inundations of course compelled the earliest tillers of the soil to provide means for drawing off the superabundant water, and so distributing it over the whole surface, that those tracts which were in themselves less watered might receive the requisite irrigation. From this cause, the whole of Babylonia came to be divided up by a multitude of larger and smaller canals; in part passing entirely through from one river to the other; in part also losing themselves in the interior, and serving only the purposes of irrigation. These canals seem to be the "rivers of Babylon" spoken of in Ps 137:1. Besides this multitude of canals, which have long since vanished without trace, Babylonia contained several large lakes, partly the work of art and partly formed by the inundations of the two rivers. Babylonia, therefore, was a land abounding in water; and Jeremiah might therefore well say of it, that it "dwelt upon many waters," Jer 51:13.

The Babylonians belonged to the Shemitic branch of the descendants of Noah, and their language had an affinity with the Arabic and Hebrew, nearly resembling what is now called Chaldee. The Babylonian empire was founded by Nimrod twenty centuries before Christ, and then embraced the cities Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, Ge 10:10. After the building of Nineveh by Ninus, 1237 B.C., that city became the seat of power and continued so until about 606 B.C., when the Assyrian empire gave way to the Chaldean, and Babylon reached its highest point in fame and power. Upon the return of the Jews from captivity, many still remained in Babylonia, and to their posterity the gospel was early conveyed. Peter is supposed by many to have written his first epistle there, 1Pe 5:13. The Jews had thriving synagogues in Babylonia, and one of their Talmuds was there composed. See CHALDEANS.


Tears, or weeping, Ps 84:6. It is not necessary to understand here that there was really a valley so called. The psalmist, at a distance from Jerusalem, is speaking of the happiness of those who are permitted to make the usual pilgrimages to that city in order to worship Jehovah in the temple: they love the ways which lead thither; yea, though they must pass through rough and dreary paths, even a vale of tears, yet such are their hope and joy of heart, that all this is to them as a well-watered country, a land crowned with the blessings of early rain.


A small inoffensive animal, of the bear genus, which remains torpid all winter. It is an inhabitant of cold countries, and is not found in Palestine. Hence many think the "badgersí skins" mentioned Ex 25:5; 26:14; Eze 16:10, and elsewhere, as being used for covering the tabernacle and for shoes, were the skins not of this animal, but of a species of seal found in the Red Sea. Burckhardt remarks that he "saw parts of the skin of a large fish, killed on the coast, which was an inch in thickness, and is employed by the Arabs instead of leather for sandals." Others think it was an animal of the antelope species, the skins of which the Jews had obtained in Egypt.


De 25:13 Lu 12:33. Eastern money was often sealed up in bags containing a certain sum, for which they passed current while the seal remained unbroken, 2Ki 12:10.


A town of Benjamin, near Jerusalem, on the road to the Jordan. It is several times mentioned in the history of David, 2Sa 3:16; 16:5; 17:18.


The site of a temple in Moab, where the king offered vain supplications against the Assyrians, Isa 15:2.


A celebrated diviner, of the city Pethor, on the Euphrates, Nu 22:5. Balak, king of Moab, having seen the multitudes of Israel, and fearing they would attack his country, sent for Balaam, who was famous for his supposed supernatural powers, to come and curse them. Balaam, though eager for gain, was led to ask counsel of God, who forbade his going. Balak afterwards sent other deputies, whom Balaam finally accompanied without the approval of God, who sent an angel to meet and warn him in the way. Here occurred the miracle of Balaamís ass, Nu 22:22,35. But instead of cursing, he was constrained by the Spirit of God to bless the children of Israel. This he did a second and a third time, to the extreme mortification of Balak, who dismissed him in great anger. Balaam subsequently foretold what Israel should in future times do to the nations round about; and after having advised Balak to engage Israel in idolatry and whoredom, that they might offend God and be forsaken by him, quitted his territories for his own land. This bad counsel was pursued; the young women of Moab inveigled the Hebrews to the impure and idolatrous worship of Baal-Peor, for which 24,000 Israelites were slain, Nu 25:1-9 31:16 2Pe 2:15 Jude 1:11 Re 2:14.

Balaam was probably a descendant of Shem, and possessed many just ideas of the true God. He calls Him "the Lord my God," Nu 22:18; and yet he seems to have been only an enchanter and false prophet, like many in the times of the kings of Israel, until he came in collision with the people of God. In this transaction he was made a bearer, against his own will, of the sublime messages of Jehovah; yet his heart remained unchanged, and he did not "the death of the righteous," Nu 31:8 Jos 13:22.


King of Moab, when the Israelites were drawing near the promised land. He was filled with terror lest they should attack and destroy him, as they had Sihon and Og, and implored the soothsayer Balaam to come and curse them. His fears and his devices were both in vain, De 2:9. See BALAAM. He found he had nothing to fear from Israel if at peace with them, and nothing to hope if at war with them.

BALDNESS (natural or artificial)

It was customary among eastern nations to cut off the hair of the head, or to shave the head, as a token of mourning, on the death of a relative, Job 1:20 Jer 16:6. This was forbidden to the Israelites, in consequence of its being a heathen custom, De 14:1. Natural baldness was treated with contempt, because it exposed a man to the suspicion of leprosy. The children at Bethel cried after Elisha, "Go up, thou bald head," 2Ki 2:23. While they indicated by this epithet great contempt for him as a prophet of the Lord, they probably scoffed at the same time at the miracle of Elijahís ascension.

BALM, or more properly, BALSAM

The gum or inspissated juice which exudes from the balsam-tree, the Opobalsamum, which was anciently frequent in Judea, and particularly in Gilead, Jer 8:22; 46:11. It was reckoned very valuable in the cure of external wounds. The true balsam-tree is an evergreen, a native of Southern Arabia and Abyssinia, and is about fourteen feet high. It yields its gum in very small quantities. At the present day, this is collected chiefly in Arabia, between Mecca and Medina, and is therefore sometimes called the balm of Mecca. Its odor is exquisitely fragrant and pungent. It is very costly, and is still in the highest esteem among the Turks and other oriental nations, both as a medicine and as a cosmetic for beautifying the complexion, Ge 37:25; Jer 51:8; Eze 27:17.


High places, Eze 20:29. Bamoth-baal was a station of the Hebrews, in the border of Moab, Nu 21:20 22:41; afterwards assigned to the tribe of Reuben, Jos 13:17. Baal was worshipped there, and it was perhaps the "high places" referred to in Isa 15:2. See HIGH PLACES.


The holy ordinance by which persons are admitted as members of the Christian community. It is administered in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and is a visible and public profession of faith in Christ and his salvation, of vital union with him, of the obligation to live a new life according to his precepts and in his service, and of the expectation of sharing in his glorious and heavenly immortality. It is not by any means to be regarded as a regenerating ordinance, though significant of regeneration. It was established in the Christian church by Christ and his apostles, and is binding on his followers to the end of time. The use of water in this ordinance is grounded in part on its qualities as the great element of purification, and on the rites of the ancient dispensation, in which "water and blood: were the divinely appointed symbols of moral renovation and atonement.


Mt 3:11; Lu 3:16. Christ is speaking in these places of the wheat and the chaff-the men who receive him and those who reject him. The former class shall be abundantly endued with the teachings and consolations of the Holy Spirit, but "the chaff-he will burn with fire unquenchable." Many here understand "fire" in the widest sense of purification: the purification of Christís people by the destruction of the ungodly from among them, and their purification from sin by the discipline to which he subjects them. "He shall sit as a refinerís fire."


A noted robber in Christís time, who was imprisoned and awaiting death for the crimes of sedition and murder. It was a custom of the Roman government, for the sake of conciliating the Jews, to release one Jewish prisoner, whom they might choose, at the yearly Passover. Pilate desired thus to release Jesus, but the Jews demanded Barabbas, Mt 27:16-26.


The son of Abinoam, of Kedesh in the tribe of Naphtali. God summoned him, by means of Deborah the prophetess, to release Israel from the yoke of Jabin king of Canaan. Having first secured the attendance of the prophetess, he gathered 10,000 men, and stationed them on Mount Tabor, perhaps to avoid the enemiesí 900 chariots of iron, Jud 4:3. God fought for Israel in the battle, which ensued, and the song of Deborah and Barak, Jud 5:1-31 chronicles their victory. The name of Barak is enrolled among those illustrious for faith, He 12:29.


According to the Greek idiom, all other nations, however learned and polite they might be, were "barbarians." Hence Paul comprehends all mankind under the names of "Greeks and barbarians," Ro 1:14. Luke calls the inhabitants of the island of Malta, "barbarians," Ac 28:2,4. Indeed, "barbarian" is used in Scripture for every stranger or foreigner who does not speak the native language of the writer, Ps 114:1, and includes no implication whatever of savage nature or manners in those respecting whom it is used.




Sown in Palestine in autumn, and reaped in the spring, that is, at the Passover. The Hebrews frequently used barley bread, 2Sa 1:27; 2Ki 4:42; Joh 6:9. Barley also was much used as food for cattle, 1Ki 4:28.


Son of consolation, or JOSES, a disciple of Jesus, and a companion of the apostle Paul. He was a Levite, and a native of the isle of Cyprus, and is said to have sold all his property, and laid the price of it at the apostlesí feet, Ac 4:36,37. When Paul came to Jerusalem, three years after his conversion, about A. D. 38, Barnabas introduced him to the other apostles, Ac 9:26,27. Five years afterwards, the church at Jerusalem, being informed of the progress of the gospel at Antioch, sent Barnabas thither, who beheld with great joy the wonders of the grace of God, Ac 11:20-24. He afterwards went to Tarsus, to seek Paul and bring him to Antioch, where they dwelt together two years, and great numbers were converted. They left Antioch A. D. 45, to convey alms from this church to that at Jerusalem, and soon returned, bringing with them John Mark, Ac 11:28-30 12:25. While they were at Antioch, the holy Ghost directed that they should be set apart for those labors to which he had appointed them, the planting of new churches among the Gentiles. They visited Cyprus and some cities of Asia Minor, Ac 13:2-14, and after three years returned to Antioch. In A. D. 50, he and Paul were appointed delegates from the Syrian churches to consult the apostles and elders at Jerusalem respecting certain questions raised by Jewish zealots; and having obtained the judgment of the brethren at Jerusalem, they returned with it, accompanied by Silas and Barnabas. At Antioch he was led into dissimulation by Peter, and was, in consequence, reproved by Paul. While preparing for a second missionary tour, Paul and Barnabas having a dispute relative to Mark, Barnabasí nephew, they separated, Paul going to Asia, and Barnabas with Mark to Cyprus, Ac 13:1-15 Ga 2:13. Nothing is known of his subsequent history. There is a spurious gospel, but evidently written by some other hand. The name of Barnabas stands high in the annals of the early church. When he gave all his estates to Christ, he gave himself also, as his life of generous self-devotion and missionary toil clearly shows. He was a beloved fellow-laborer with Paul, somewhat as Melancthon was with Luther, and a true "son of consolation" to the church.


An affliction peculiarly lamented throughout the East, Ge 16:1 30:1-23 1Sa 1:6,19 Isa 47:9 49:21 Lu 1:25, especially by the Jewish women, who remembered the promised Messiah, Ge 3:15, and hoped for the honor of his parentage. The strength of this feeling is evinced by the extraordinary and often unjustifiable measures it led them to adopt, Ge 16:2 19:31 38:14 De 25:5-10. Professed Christians are charged with barrenness, if they are destitute of the fruits of the Spirit, and do not abound in good works, Lu 13:6-9 2Pe 1:8.


1. Joseph Barsabas, surnamed The Just, was one of Christís early disciples, and probably among the seventy. He was on of the two candidates nominated to fill the vacancy left by Judas Iscariot in the apostleship, Ac 1:1-26.

2. Judas Barsabas was "a prophet" and a distinguished member of the Jerusalem church. He was deputed, with Silas, to accompany Paul and Barnabas in a mission of importance to the Gentile converts in the Syrian churches, Ac 15:22-23.


One of the twelve apostles, Mt 10:3 Mr 3:18 Lu 6:14 Ac 1:13. He is named in connection with Philip, and seems to have been the same person, whom John calls Nathanael, Joh 1:45-51, and mentions among the other apostles, Joh 21:2. Nathanael may have been his real name, and Bar-tholomew, that is, son of Tolmai, his patronymic and best-known name. See APOSTLE and NATHANAEL.


Son of Timeus, a blind man, to whom Christ gave sight, by the wayside near Jericho, Mt 20.29-34; Mr 10.46-52; Lu 18.35-43. There were two healed, according to Matthew; but Mark and Luke only mention Bartimeus, who bore his fatherís name, as though of a well known family. There is an apparent disagreement as to the time of the occurrence, which has led some to suppose there were two causes at different times, one as Christ entered Jericho and the other as he left it. We may rather suppose that Bartimeus heard the approach of Christ, Lu 18:35, and learned who he was on the first day; and encouraged by the mercy of the Savior to Zaccheus, and being joined by another blind man, called to him for help as he again passed by on his way to Jerusalem. The touching narrative of his steadfast faith, and Christís ready compassion, should encourage all to go boldly unto Jesus.


1. The son of Neriah, of a distinguished family in the tribe of Judah. He was the faithful friend of Jeremiah. About 605 B. C. he wrote down, from the lips of Jeremiah, all the divine messages to that prophet, and subsequently read them to the people, and again to certain princes. These last took the book, and soon made known its contents to king Jehoiakim, who impiously destroyed it. Baruch wrote it down a second time as before, with some additions, Jer 36:1- 32.

He is supposed by some to have accompanied his brother Seraiah to Babylon, with the predictions of Jeremiah respecting that city, Jer 51:59-64. He afterwards shared the persecution of the prophet, was imprisoned with him, and forced to go to Egypt with the rebellious Jews, Jer 43:1-13. After the death of Jeremiah, the rabbins say, he returned to Babylon. An apocryphal book is ascribed to him.

2. Another Baruch is mentioned among the friends of Nehemiah, Ne 3:20 10:6 11:5.


1. Of Meholah in Simeon; father of Adriel, who married Merab, the daughter of Saul, 1Sa 18:19 2Sa 21:8

2. An aged and wealthy Gileadite, a friend of David when he was in exile during Absalomís rebellion. He sent a liberal supply of provisions, beds, and other conveniences for the use of the kingís followers, 2Sa 17:27 19:32. On Davidís return, Barzillai accompanied him as far as Jordan, but declined, in consequence of his great age, to proceed to Jerusalem, and receive the favors the king had intended for him. David, in his final charge to Solomon, enjoined upon him to show kindness to Barzillaiís family, and to make them members of the royal household, 1Ki 2:7

3. A priest who married a daughter of the above, Ezr 2:61 Ne 7:63.


Fat, fruitful, Nu 21:33, a rich hilly district lying east of the Jordan, and between the mountains of Hermon on the north, and those of Gilead and Ammon on the south. The country takes its name from its soft and sandy soil. It is celebrated in Scripture for its rich pasturage: "Rams, of the breed of Bashan," De 32:14; "Rams, bulls, goats, all of them fatlings of Bashan," Eze 39:18. The oaks of Bashan are mentioned in connection with the cedars of Lebanon, Isa 2:13. Modern travelers describe the country as still abounding with verdant and fertile meadows, valleys traversed by refreshing streams, hills crowned with forests, and pastures offering an abundance to the flocks that wander through them. In the time of Joshua, Argob, one of its chief districts, contained sixty walled towns, De 4:43 Jos 20:8 21:27. Bashan was assigned, after the conquest of Og and his people, Jos 12:4, to the half tribe of Manasseh. David drew supplies from this region, 1Ki 4:13. It was conquered by Hazael, but Joash recovered it, 2Ki 10:33 13:25. From Bashan came the Greek name Batanaea, in modern Arabic El-Bottein. But this latter only included its southern part. The ancient Bashan covered the Roman provinces named Gaulonitis, trachonitis, Auranitis, Batanaea, and Ituraea.

BATH, or Ephah

A Hebrew measure, containing seven gallons, four pints, liquid measure; or three pecks, three pecks, three pints, dry measure.


The wife of Uriah, and probably granddaughter of Atithophel which see. David first committed adultery with her, then caused her husband to be slain, and afterwards took her to wife. These sins displeased Jehovah, who sent the prophet Nathan to David, with the parable of the ewe lamb, 2Sa 12:1. David bitterly repented, but was yet punished, 2Sa 11:12. Bath-sheba was the mother of Solomon, whose succession to the throne she took pains to secure, 1Ki 1:15. She is afterwards mentioned in the history of Adonijah, 1Ki 2:13, in the title of Ps 51:1, and among the ancestors of Christ, Mt 1:6.


A military engine for battering walls. A long and solid beam, armed at one end with a metallic ramís-head, was suspended by the middle, and swung violently and repeatedly against the walls of a city or castle, till a breach was made. It was sometimes in the lower part of a wooden tower built upon wheels, and was worked by more than a hundred men; while the upper part of the tower was filled with archers and slingers, Eze 4:2; 21:22.


A balustrade around the roofs of ancient houses, which were flat, and were much, resorted to for fresh air, amusement, or retirement by day and for sleep at night. The Mosaic law required a battlement for each house, De 22:8.


The bay tree is the Laurel of North America and the south of Europe; an evergreen tree, a wreath from which has been from time immemorial the symbolical crown of poets and warriors. The word rendered "bay- tree" in Ps 37:35, seems to mean simply a native, green and vigorous.


Commonly supposed to mean the aromatic gum of a tree growing near the Persian gulf, etc. It is transparent, and bitter to the taste, yet very fragrant while burning. But the substance so called, whatever is was, is mentioned in connection with gold and gems; while gum is certainly not so remarkable a gift of nature as to deserve this classification, or as that the production of it should confer on Havilah a peculiar celebrity, Ge 2:12. Hence the opinion of the Jewish writers is not to be contemned, namely, that pearls are to be here understood, of which great quantities are found on the shores of the Persian gulf and in India, and which might not inaptly be compared with manna, as in Nu 11:7.


That bears were common in Palestine appears from several passages in the Old Testament, 1Sa 17:34,36,37; 2Sa 17:8; 2Ki 2:24. The species known in Syria resembles the common brown bear; it is sill met in the recesses of Lebanon. To a sullen and ferocious disposition, the bear joins immense strength, considerable sagacity, and the power of climbing trees. Her ferocity, especially when her young are injured, is proverbial. See 2Sa 17:8; Pr 17:12; Isa 11:7; Ho 13:8.


The Hebrews regarded a thin, scanty beard as a great deformity; while a long, full, flowing beard was esteemed the noblest ornament of personal beauty and dignity. A manís honor was lodged, as it were, his beard. To insult it by word or act was the grossest indignity; to take it respectfully in the right hand and kiss it, was a mode of expressing high esteem and love permitted only to the nearest friends. It was cherished with great care, Ps 133:2 Da 10:3. To neglect, tear, or cut it, indicated the deepest grief, Ezr 9:3 Isa 15:2 Jer 41:5 48:37; while to be deprived of it was a mark of servility and infamy. Many would prefer death to such a mutilation. These facts explain many passages of Scripture: as the gross insult offered to Davidís ambassadors, 2Sa 10:4-14; the zealous indignation of Nehemiah, Ne 13:25; the mode in which the feigned insanity of David was expressed, 1Sa 21:12, and the grief of Mephibosheth, 1Sa 19:24; the treachery of Judas; also several passages in the prophets, Isa 7:20 50:6 Eze 5:1-5.


This word, used in contradistinction to man, denotes all animals besides, Ps 36:6, sometimes it means quadrupeds, and not creeping things, Le 11:2-7; and sometimes domestic cattle, in distinction from wild creatures, Ge 1:25. They were all brought to Adam to be named. Few are mentioned in the Bible but such as lived in Palestine and the countries adjacent. Beasts suffer with man under the penalties of the fall, Ge 3:14 Ex 9:6 3:15 Eze 38:20 Ho 4:3. Yet various merciful provision for them were made in the Jewish law, Ex 20:10 23:11,12 Le 22:28 25:7. Animals were classed in the law as clean or unclean, with a primary reference to animal sacrifices, Ge 7:2 Le 11:1-47 The word beasts is figuratively used to symbolize various kings and nations, Ps 74:14 Isa 27:1 Eze 29:3 Da 7:1-28,8 Re 12:13. It also describes the character of violent and brutal men, Ps 22:12,16 1Co 15:32 2Pe 2:12. The Hebrew word commonly rendered beast signifies living creatures. In Ezekielís vision, Eze 1:1-28, this is applied to human beings or their symbols. In the book of Revelation two distinct words are employed symbolically, both rendered "beast" in our version. One is applied to persecuting earthly powers, Re 11:7 13:1, etc.; the other to superhuman beings or their symbols, Re 4:6, etc. this latter might be appropriately rendered, "living creature," as the corresponding Hebrew word is in Ezekiel.


In the East, is, and was anciently, a divan, or broad low step around the sides of a room, like a sofa, which answered to purpose of a sofa by day for reclining, and of a bed by night for sleeping, Ex 8:3 2Sa 4:5-7. Sometimes it was raised several steps above the floor, 2Ki 1:4 Ps 132:4. It was covered very differently, and with more or less ornament, according to the rank of owner of the house. The poor had but a simple mattress or sheepskin; or a cloak or blanked, which also answered to wrap themselves in by day, Ex 22:2 De 24:13. Hence it was easy for the persons whom Jesus healed, to take up their beads and walk, Mr 4:21. Bedsteads, however, were not unknown, though unlike those of modern times. See De 3:11 1Sa 19:15 Am 6:4. The Jews only laid off their sandals and outer garments at night.


"the prince of the devils," Mt 12:24. This name is derived from Baal-zebub, an idol deity among the Ekronites, signifying lord of flies, fly-baal, fly-god, whose office was to protect his worshippers from the torment of the gnats and flies with which that region was infested, 2Ki 1:2,3,16. It is also sometimes written Beel- sebul, which signifies probably the dung-god. The Jews seem to have applied this appellation to Satan, as being the author of all the pollutions and abominations of idol-worship.


A well,

1. A station of the Hebrews in Moab, where God gave them water, Nu 21:16-18; Isa 15:8.

2. A town in Judah, according to Eusebius and Jerome a few miles west of Jerusalem, near Beth-shemesh. Jotham took refuge there from his brother Abimelech, Jud 9:21.


Wells of him living, and seeing me, on the southwest border of Canaan, where Hagar was visited by an angel, Ge 16:14.


Wells, a city of Benjamin, near Gibeon, Jos 9:17. It is now El- Bireh, a village of 700 inhabitants, on a ridge seven miles north of Jerusalem.


The well of the oath, Ge 21:31; 26:31,33, a city twenty-eight miles southwest of Hebron, at the southern extremity of the Holy Land. Dan lay at the northern extremity; so that the phrase, "from Dan to Beersheba," means, the whole length of the land, Jud 20:1. At Beersheba, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob often dwelt, Ge 21:31; 22:19; 26:33; 28:10; 46:1. The town that afterwards rose here was first assigned to Judah, and then to Simeon, Jos 15:28; 19:2. Here Samuel established his sons as judges, 1Sa 8:2. Elijah rested here on his way to Horeb, 1Ki 19:3. It was a seat of idolatry in the time of Uzziah, Am 5:5; 8:14. After the captivity, it was repeopled by the Jews, Ne 11:27,30, and continued a large village many centuries after the coming of Christ. Dr. Robinson found its site at Bir-es-Seba, on the border of the great desert south of Canaan-the ruins of a small straggling city, and two deep stone wells of excellent water, surrounded by stone troughs, and bearing the marks of great antiquity.


A Levitical city, in Manasseh beyond the Jordan, Jos 21:27. It is also called Ashtaroth, 1Ch 6:71, and is perhaps a contraction of Beth-Ashtaroth.


In Le 11:22, a species of locust.


Cattle, including the larger antelopes, Le 22:19. It is the old plural of beef.


A huge amphibious animal, described in Job 40:15-24. Commentators are now generally agreed that it is the hippopotamus, or river horse, which is found only in the Nile and other great rivers of Africa. This is a very large, powerful, and unwieldy animal, which lives in the water, but comes out upon the banks to feed on grass, grain, green herbs, and branches of trees. The appearance of the hippopotamus when on land is altogether uncouth, the body being extremely large, flat, and round, the head enormously large in proportion, and the legs as disproportionately short. Then length of a male has been known to be seventeen feet, the height seven feet, and the circumference fifteen; the head three feet; the mouth in width about two feet. The general color of the animal is brownish; the ears small and pointed; the eyes small and black; the lips very thick and broad; the nostrils small. The armament of teeth is its mouth is truly formidable; more particularly the tusks of the lower jaw, which are of a curved form, somewhat cylindrical; these are so strong and hard that they will strike fire with steel, are sometimes more that two feet in length, and weigh upwards of six pounds each. The other teeth are much smaller. The tail is short and thick; and the whole body is protected by a thick and tough hide, which swords and arrows cannot penetrate, thickly covered with short hair.

Mr. Ruppell gives the following graphical account of a combat on the upper Nile.

"One of the hippopotami which we killed was a very old male, and seemed to have reached his utmost growth. He measured, from the snout to the end of the tail, about fifteen feet; and his tusks, from the root to the point, along the external curve, twenty-eight inches. We had a battle with him four hours long, and that too in the night. Indeed, he came very near destroying our large bark; and with it, perhaps, all our lives. The moment he saw the hunters in the small canoe, as they were about to fasten the long rope to the buoy in order to draw him in, he threw himself with on rush upon it, dragged it with him under water, and shattered it to pieces. Out of twenty- five musket ball, which were fired into the monsterís head at the distance of five feet, only on penetrated the hind and the bones near the nose; so that, every time he breathed, he snorted a stream of blood upon the bark. All the other balls remained sticking in the thickness of the hide. We had at last to employ a small cannon; but it was only after five of its balls, fired at the distance of a few feet, had mangled most shockingly the head and body of the monster, that he died. This gigantic hippopotamus dragged our large bark at his will in every direction of the stream."


A half-shekel; in weight, five pennyweights; in money, about twenty- five cents. This sum each Israelite over twenty years old was to pay as a poll tax for the temple service, Ex 30:13.


The chief idol of the Babylonians.


Ge 14:2.


Worthlessness, always so used in a moral sense. A man or son of Belial is a wicked, worthless man; one resolved to endure no subjection; a rebel; a disobedient, uncontrollable fellow, Jud 19:22 1Sa 2:12. In later writings, Belial is put for the power or lord of evil, Satan, 2Co 6:15.


Prince of Bel, the Chaldean name given to Daniel at the court of Nebuchadnezzar, Da 1:7 4:8.


Son of Jehoiada, and commander of Davidís bodyguards. Several instances of his rare bravery are recorded, 2Sa 8:18 2Sa 23:20-23. He adhered to Solomon when some favored the pretensions of Adonijah, slew Joab at the command of Solomon, and was made general of the army in his stead, 1Ki 1:36 2:29-35.


1. A king of Dama scene Syria, hired by Asa king of Judah to make war upon Baasha king of Israel, 1Ki 15:18-22. He ravaged a large part of Naphtali.

2. Son and successor of the preceding. In two successive years he raised large armies, and made war upon Ahab king of Israel. He was utterly routed by the aid of Jehovah, God of the hills and the plains also, 1Ki 20:1-43. Ahab spared him, contrary to the command of God and gave him conditions of peace. These do not seem to have been fulfilled, for three years after, Ahab renewed the war and was slain, 1Ki 22:1-53 After about nine years, Ben-hadad again invaded Israel, and the prophet Elisha was instrumental in frustrating his plans, 2Ki 6:8-23. But once more renewing the war, he laid siege to Samaria, and reduced it to extremities by famine. God sent a sudden panic upon his army by night, and they fled precipitately, 2Ki 6:17 7:6 Pr 28:1. Shortly before his death, Ben-hadad, being sick, sent Hazael to ask the prophet Elisha, then at Damascus, what the issue would be. The prophet answered that the disease was not mortal, and yet he would surely die; a paradox which Hazael soon after solved by stifling his master in bed, 2Ki 8:7-15

3. Son of the Hazael just named. His father had greatly afflicted and oppressed Israel; but he lost all that his father had gained, being thrice defeated by king Jehoash, 2Ki 13:1-25.


The youngest son of Jacob and Rachel, Ge 35:16-18. Rachel died immediately after he was born, and with her last breath named him Ben-oni, the son of my sorrow; but Jacob called him Benjamin, son of my right hand. He was a great comfort to his father, who saw in him the beloved wife he had buried, and Joseph whose loss he mourned. He could hardly be persuaded to let him go with his brethren to Egypt, Ge 42:38. The tribe of Benjamin was small at first and was almost exterminated in the days of the Judges, Jud 20:1-48, but afterwards greatly increased, 2Ch 14:8 17:17. It was valiant, Ge 49:27, and "beloved of the Lord," dwelling safely by him, De 33:12; for its territory adjoined Judah and the Holy City on the north. At the revolt of the ten tribes, Benjamin adhered to the cause of Judah; and the two tribes were ever afterwards closely united, 1Ki 11:13 12:20 Ezr 4:1 10:9. King Saul and Saul of Tarsus were both Benjamites, Php 3:5.


King of Sodom in the days of Abraham, Ge 14:1-24.


Blessing, a beautiful valley between Tekoa and Etham, where Jehoshaphat and all Judah held a thanksgiving for their miraculous victory over the Moabites and Ammonites, 2Ch 20:26.


A city of Macedonia, not far from Pella towards the southwest, and near Mount Bermius. It was afterwards called Irenopolis, and is now called by the Turks, Boor; by others, Cara Veria. Paul preached the gospel here with success; the ingenuous Bereans examined his doctrine by the Old Testament scriptures, and many believed, Ac 17:10,14; 20:4.

BERNICE, or Berenice

Eldest daughter of king Herod Agrippa I, and sister to the younger Agrippa, Ac 25:13,23; 26:30. She was first married to her uncle Herod, king of Chalcis; and after his death, in order to avoid the merited suspicion of incest with her brother Agrippa, she became the wife of Polemon, king of Cilicia. This connection being soon dissolved, she returned to her brother, and afterwards became mistress of Vespasian and Titus.


A Syrian town, conquered by David, 2Sa 8:8; 1Ch 18:8; Eze 47:16. Some find it in the modern Beyrout; but aside from the similarity of the name, the indications point to an inland site, nearer Hamath or Damascus.


The name of a precious stone of a sea-green color, found principally in India, Da 10:6 Re 21:20.


A broom or brush for sweeping. Before "the besom of destruction," the hosts of Godís enemies are like the dust of the floor, Isa 14:23.


A brook flowing into the Mediterranean five miles south of Gaza. A part of Davidís troops in pursuit of Amalekites halted there, 1Sa 30:9-21. The stream dries up in spring.

BETAH, or Tibhath

A city of Syria-Zobath, taken by David, 2Sa 8:8; 1Ch 18:8; perhaps the modern Taibeh, between Aleppo and Tadmor.


House, forms a part of many compounds names of places, and sometimes means the place or dwelling; and at others the temple. This word becomes Beit in modern Arabic.


Place of the ford, a town on the east bank of the Jordan, where John baptized, Joh 1:28. It was perhaps the same as Beth-barah, Jud 7:24; but the true site is unknown. Many of the best Greek manuscripts and recent editions have Bethany, also unknown, instead of Beth-abara.


A village on the eastern slope of the Mount Olivet, about two miles east-south-east of Jerusalem, and on the road to Jericho. It was often visited by Christ, Mt 21:17; Mr 11:1,12; Lu 19:29. Here Martha and Mary dwelt, and Lazarus was raised from the dead, Joh 11:1-57 Here Mary anointed the Lord against the day of his burying, Joh 12:1-50; and from the midst of his disciples near this village which he loved, he ascended to heaven, Mt 24:50. Its modern name, Aziriyeh , is derived from Lazarus. It is a poor village of some twenty families.


Probably Arbela, now Irbid. One place of this name lay twenty-five miles southeast of the sea of Galilee. Another was in Galilee, near Magdala. Here were some large and almost inaccessible fortified caverns, in the sides of precipices, Ho 10:14.


A place and desert near Bethel on the east, Jos 7:2; 18:12; 1Sa 13:5; 14:23. It seems to be reproachfully used at times for Bethel itself, after the golden calves were there set up, Ho 4:15; 10:5: Beth-el meaning the house of God; and Beth-aven, the house of sin, or of an idol.


In Dan, near Mizpeh; noted for the defeat of the Philistines, and the Eben-Ezer set up by Samuel, 1Sa 7:11.


House of God, the name of a city west of Hai, on the confines of the tribes of Ephraim and Benjamin, Ge 12:8 28:10-22, and occupying the spot where Jacob slept and had his memorable dream, the name he then gave it superseding the old name Luz, Jud 1:23. Thirty years after, he again pitched his tent there, Ge 35:1-15. It was captured by Joshua, and given to Benjamin, Jos 12:9 18:22. The Ephraimites, however, expelled the Canaanites, Jud 1:22-26. Here the ark of the covenant, and probably the tabernacle, long remained, Jud 20:26 1Sa 10:3. Samuel held his court here in turn, 1Sa 7:16. After Solomon, it became a seat of gross idolatry; Jeroboam choosing it as the place for one of his golden calves, from the sacredness previously attached to it, 1Ki 12:29. The prophets were charged with messages against Bethel, 1Ki 13:1,2 Jer 48:13 Am 3:14 7:10. The first of these was fulfilled by Josiah, 2Ki 23:13; and the others in the later desolation of Bethel, where nothing but ruins can now be found. Its site was identified by Dr. Robinson, in the place now called Beitin. It is twelve miles from Jerusalem towards Shechem, on the southern side of a hill, with a narrow and fertile valley on the east, and the long-traveled road on the west. At the bottom of the hill are the remains of a vast stone reservoir, of an ancient Hebrew age.


House of mercy, the name of a pool or fountain near the temple in Jerusalem, with an open building over or near it, for the accommodation of the sick who came to try the healing efficacy of the water, Joh 5:2. Tradition locates this pool in what is now a large dry reservoir, along the outside of he north wall of the temple area. Robinson, however, shows the probability that this is but a portion of the trench, which separated Mount Moriah from the adjacent hill on the north. He suggests that the true Bethesda may perhaps be "The Fountain of the Virgin," so called, in the lower part of the valley of Jehoshaphat, eight hundred and fifty feet south of the temple area. This pool is of great antiquity, and seems to be fed from ancient reservoirs under the temple. Two flights of steps, sixteen and thirteen in number, with a platform of twelve feet between them, lead down to the pool; this is fifteen feet long, and five or six feet wide. Its waters rise and fall at irregular intervals, and flow down by a subterraneous channel to the pool of Siloam. It is supposed to be the "kingís pool" of Ne 2:14. Bethesda, even if known and accessible to us, has lost its healing power; but the fountain Christ has opened for sin, guilt, and death, is nigh to all and of never failing virtue.


Conjectured to be the Frank mountain, between Tekoa and Bethlehem, Ne 3:14; Jer 6:1. This is a solitary conical hill, on which the crusaders had a strong fortress.


A town of Benjamin, on the border of Judah, Jos 15:6; 18:19,21. Robinson traced this name at a place three miles from the mouth of the Jordan, on the way to Jericho; here was a fine grove, watered by a sweet and limpid fountain the best in the valley of the Jordan.


Now Beit-ur, the name common to two neighboring towns in the northwest corner of Benjamin, still distinguished as the Upper and the Lower. These lay on two ridges, with valleys on each side; Beth-horon the Nether being separated from the Upper by a small valley, and a rocky and rough pass up the ridge on which Upper Beth-horon stood. The latter was nearest to Jerusalem about twelve miles from it; and both were on the usual routed to the seacoast. Down this pass Joshua drove the Amorites, and here Paul passed by night on his way to Antipatris, Jos 10:1-11 Ac 23:31,32.


A city of Reuben, taken from the Moabites, Nu 33:49 Jos 12:3 13:20; but retaken by them after the captivity, Eze 25:9. It lay not far east of the mouth of the Jordan.


House of bread,

1. A celebrated city, the birthplace of David and of Christ. It was in the tribe of Judah, six miles south by west of Jerusalem, and probably received its appellation from the fertility of the circumjacent country. This also gave it its ancient name Ephrath, fruitful, Ge 48:7 Mic 5:2. It was beautifully situated on an oblong ridge, twenty-seven hundred feet above the level of the sea, and affording a fine view in every direction. The hills around it were terraced, and clothed with vines, fig trees, and almonds; and the valleys around it bore rich crops of grain. It was fortified by Rehoboam, 2Ch 11:6, but was comparatively an unimportant place, Mic 5:1, and is not mentioned by Joshua or Nehemiah among the cities of Judah. Its memory is delightfully associated with the names of Boaz and Ruth; it is celebrated as the birthplace and city of David, 1Sa 17:12,15 20:6 2Sa 23:14-17 but above all, it is hallowed as the place where the Redeemer was born. Over that lovely spot the guiding star hovered; there the eastern sages worshipped the King of kings, and there where David watched his flock and praised God, were heard the songs of the angelic host at the Saviorís birth, Lu 2:8. Bethlehem is now called Beit-lahm, and contains about three thousand inhabitants, almost exclusively nominal Christians. Half a mile north is the spot pointed out by traditional as Rachelís tomb, Ge 35:16-20; and about two miles south-west are the great reservoirs described under Solomonís Pools.

2. An unknown place in Zebulun, Jos 19:15 Jud 12:10, in distinction from which the city of David was often called Bethlehem-Judah.


Nu 32:3,36; Jos 13:27, and Nimrim, Isa 15:6; Jer 48:34; a town in Gad, a little east of the Jordan, on a watercourse leading, from near Ramoth-Gilead, southwest into that river.


A town of Moab, in the limits assigned to Reuben, and conquered from the Amorites, Jos 13:20. It was infamous for the worship of Baal-peor. In the adjacent valley Moses rehearsed the law to Israel, and was buried, De 4:44-46 34:6.


Place of figs, a little village at the eastern foot of the Mount of Olives, near to Bethany, Mt 21:1; Mr 11:1; Lu 19:29.


Place of fishing, 1. A city in Galilee, on the western shore of the lake of Gennesareth, a little north of Capernaum; it was the birthplace of the apostles Philip, Andrew, and Peter, and was often visited by our Lord, Mt 11:21; Mr 6:45; 8:22.

2. A city in Gaulonitis, north of the same lake, and east of the Jordan. Near this place Christ fed the five thousand. It lay on a gentle hill near the Jordan separated from the sea of Galilee by a plain three miles wide, of surpassing fertility, Lu 9:10. Compare Mt 14:13-22; Mr 6:31-45. This town was enlarged by Philip, tetrarch of that region, Lu 3:1, and called Julias in honor of Julia, the daughter of Augustus. It is now little but ruins.


More generally known by the name of Scythopolis, was situated two miles west of the Jordan, at the extremity of the valley of Jezreel, and arm of the great plain of Esdraelon, running down from it to the valley of the Jordan in a southeasterly direction. It stood on the brow, just where the former valley drops down by a rather steep descent to the level of the latter. Bethshean was assigned to Manasseh, though not at once subdued,

Jos 17:11,16; Jud 1:27. The dead body of Saul was fastened to its walls, 1Sa 31:10,12; 2Sa 21:12; 1Ki 4:12. The place is now called Beisan, and is about twenty-four miles south of Tiberias. The present village contains seventy of eighty houses, the inhabitants of which are in a miserable condition, owing to the depredations of the Bedaween. The ruins of the ancient city are of considerable extent, along the banks of the rivulet which ran by it, and on the side of the valley; and bespeak to it have been nearly three miles in circuit.


House of the sun,

1. A city of Judah given to the priests, Jos 21:16 1Ch 6:59 1Sa 6:15. It lay fifteen miles west of Jerusalem, near the border of Dan and of the Philistines, Jos 15:10 1Sa 6:12. Probably the same as Irshemesh, Jos 19:41. It is memorable for a battle between Judah and Israel, in which Amaziah was defeated, 2Ki 14:12-14; and for the return of the ark from among the Philistines, and the punishment of those who then profaned it, 1Sa 6:1-21. There is reason to suppose the numbers in 1Sa 6:19 should be translated "threescore and ten men, even fifty out of one thousand," or one in two hundred of the men of the city.

2. A celebrated city in Egypt, Jer 43:13.


Son of Abrahamís uncle Nahor, and father of Rebekah, Ge 22:22,23 24:50.


A city in the hill country of Judah, near Hebron, Jos 15:58. It was fortified by Rehoboam, 2Ch 11:7, and assisted in rebuilding Jerusalem, Ne 3:16. Josephus calls it one of the strongest fortresses in Judea; but its site has not yet been identified.


The engagement of a man and woman to marry each other at a future time. Parents anciently often betrothed their daughters without their consent, and even while very young, as is still the case in oriental countries. Sometimes a regular written contract was made, in which the bridegroom bound himself to give a certain sum as a portion to his bride. The marriage was not complete until the bride was at least twelve years old; yet the betrothal could be dissolved only by divorce or death, Mt 1:18-25 Lu 2:27. God speaks of betrothing his people to himself, in bonds of tender affection, and pledging his word that all his gracious promised will be fulfilled to them, Jer 2:2 Ho 2:19,20. Of this, ministers are the instruments, through the preaching of the gospel, 2Co 11:2. Hence the word BEULAH.


Married, a term applied to the Israel of God, in Isa 62:4, to signify his intimate and vital union with them.


An artificer, endued by God with special skill for constructing and adorning the tabernacle, Ex 31:2; 35:30.


A city of the Canaanites, of which Adoni-zedek was king. The account of its capture by Judah is in Jud 1:1-8. Here Saul reviewed his forces before going to raise the siege of Jabesh-gilead, 1Sa 11:8.


A city of refuge, in the plain country of Reuben beyond Jordan. Its exact site is not known, De 4:43 Jos 20:8 21:36.


This word signifies the Book, by way of distinction, the Book of all books. It is also called Scripture, or the Scriptures, that is, the writings. It comprises the Old and New Testaments, or more properly, Covenants, Ex 24:7; Mt 26:28. The former was written mostly in Hebrew, and was the Bible of the ancient Jewish church; a few chapters of Daniel and Ezra only were written in Chaldee. The latter was wholly written in Greek, which was the language most generally understood in Judea and the adjacent countries first visited by the gospel. The entire Bible is the rule of faith to all Christians, and not the New Testament alone; though this is of especial value as unfolding the history and doctrines of our divine Redeemer and of his holy institutions. The fact that God gave the inspired writings to men in the languages most familiar to the mass of the people who received them, proves that he intended they should be read not by the learned alone, but by all the people, and in their own spoken language.

The Old Testament contains thirty-nine books. Josephus and the church fathers mention a division into twenty-two books, corresponding with the twenty-two letter of the Hebrew alphabet. But we have no sufficient evidence that such a division obtained among the Jews themselves. They arranged the books of the Old Testament in three divisions, called, the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings, that is, the Holy Writings. The Law embraces the five books of Moses. These are divided into convenient sections to be read through once a year in their synagogues. The second division, the Prophets, is subdivided into the former prophets, namely, the historical books of Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings; and the later, that is, the prophets proper, with the exception of the book of Daniel. The later prophets are once more distributed into the greater-Isaiah, Jeremiah, (not including Lamentations,) and Ezekiel; and the less-the twelve minor prophets. Selection from both the earlier and the later prophets are read in the synagogues along with the sections of the Law; but these don not embrace the whole of the prophets, and the arrangement of them differs among different divisions of the Jews. The Holy Writings (Hagiographa) embrace all the remaining books of the Old Testament, namely, (according to the Masorectic arrangement,) Psalms, Proverbs, Job, Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Chronicles. In the arrangement of the Old Testament books now prevalent, the historical books come first, then the devotional and didactic, and lastly the prophetical. The Jews ascribe to Ezra the honor of arranging and completing the canon of the Old Testament books, being inspired for this work by the Spirit of God, and aided by the learned and pious Jews of his day. The New Testament writings were received each one by itself from the hands of the apostles, and were, as their inspired works, gradually collected into one volume to the exclusion of all others.

The division into chapters and verses was not made until comparatively modern time, though there appears to have been a more ancient separation into short sections or paragraphs. The chapters now used were arranged probably by Cardinal Hugo, above the year 1240. The division into verses was made in the Old Testament in 1450, and recognized in the Hebrew Concordance of Rabbi Nathan. The arrangement of the verses of the New Testament as we now have them was perfected in the Latin Vulgate, an edition of which with verses was published by Robert Stephens, a learned French printer, in 1551. He also modified and completed the division of the Old Testament into verses, in an edition of the whole Bible, the Vulgate, in 1555. This division into verses, and even into chapters, having regard more to convenience of reference than to the meaning must often be disregarded in reading in order to get the true sense.

The genuineness, authenticity, and divine origin of the Scriptures cannot be here discussed. The reader is referred to the treatises of Bogue, Gregory, Keith, McIlvaine, Nelson, Spring, etc., published by the American Tract Society, and numerous other valuable and standard works.

The first well-know English translation of the New Testament was that of Wicliffe, made about 1370, before the invention of printing; though others had been made, one as early as king Alfred, of parts of the Bible into Saxon. In the time of Edward I, 1250, it required the earnings of a day laborer for fifteen years to purchase a manuscript copy of the entire Bible. Now, a printed copy may be had for the earning of a few hours. The first printed English Testament was that of Tyndal, in 1526, which was afterwards followed by his translation of the Pentalteuch. The first complete English Bible is that of Myles Coverdale, in 1535. Matthewís Bible appeared in 1537. Coverdale and some other prelates, who resided at Geneva during the bloody reign of Mary, published there another edition in 1560, hence called the Geneva Bible. At the accession of queen Elizabeth a new revision was made, which appeared in 1568, and is called the Bishopís Bible. This continued in use till our present English version, made by order of James I, was published in 1611. The first copy of this was made by forty-seven of the most learned men in England, divided into six companies. This first copy was then revised by a committee of twelve, or two from each of the six companies; and then again by two others. The work of translation and revision occupied between four and five years; and the faithful, clear, and vigorous standard Bible thus secured, is an enduring monument of the learning, wisdom, and fidelity of the translators.

One of the most remarkable movements of modern time, and that which holds out the greatest promise of good for the coming triumphs of the Redeemerís kingdom, and the temporal as well as spiritual welfare of future generations, is the mighty effort which is making to circulate the holy Scriptures, not only in Christian, but also in heathen lands. In the year 1804, the British and Foreign Bible Society was formed; and the success which has attended this glorious object has by far exceeded the most sanguine expectations of its founders and supporters. "Their voice has gone out through all the earth of the world." During the first fifty years of this society, it printed or assisted in printing the Scriptures in 148 languages, in about sixty of which they had never before been printed, and issued upwards of 29,000,000 copies of the sacred writings. The Scriptures have now been published in about 220 different languages and dialects. Other similar association have followed nobly this glorious example; and of these none had labored with more effect than the American Bible Society, which was formed in 1816, and has now, 1859, issued thirteen millions of Bibles and Testaments.


A eunuch at the court of Ahasuerus, whose conspiracy against that king was frustrated by the vigilance of Mordecai, Es 2:21.


A descendant of Abraham by Keturah, Ge 25:1,2. Shuah and his brethren were located in Arabia Petraea; and thus Bildad the Shuhite was a neighbor and friend of Job, and came to condole with him in his affliction, Job 2:11; 8:1-22; 18:1-21; 25:1-6. His chief topics are the suddenness, swiftness, and terribleness of Godís wrath upon hypocrites and oppressors.


The handmaid of Rachel, given by her to her husband Jacob when herself childless, that she might become a mother through her handmaid. Bilhah was the mother of Dan and Naphtali, Ge 30:1- 8.


Birds, like other animals, were divided by Moses into clean and unclean; the former might be eaten, the latter not. The general ground of distinction is, that those which feed on grain or seeds are clean; while those which devour flesh, fish, or carrion, are unclean. Turtledoves, young pigeons, and perhaps some other kinds of birds, were prescribed in the Mosaic law as offerings, Le 5:7-10 14:4-7 Lu 2:24.

There is great difficulty in accurately determining the different species of birds prohibited in Le 11:13-19 De 14:11-20, and the proper version of the Hebrew names. The information we have respecting them may be found under the names by which they are translated in our Bible.

Moses, to inculcate humanity on the Israelites, ordered them, if they found a birdís nest, not to take the dam with the young, but to suffer the old one to fly away, and to take the young only, De 22:6,7.

Cages for singing birds are alluded to in Jer 5:27; and snares in Pr 7:23 Ec 9:12. Birds of prey are emblems of destroying hosts, Isa 46:11 Jer 12:9 Eze 32:4 Re 19:17-19; and the Lord comes to the defense of his people with the swiftness of the eagle, Isa 31:5.


The privilege of the firstborn son. Among the Hebrews, as indeed among most other nations, the firstborn enjoyed particular privileges; and wherever polygamy was tolerated, it was highly necessary to fix them, De 21:15-17. Besides the fatherís chief blessing, Ge 27:1-46, and various minor advantages, the firstborn son was, first, specially consecrated to the Lord,

Ex 13:11-16 22:29; and the firstborn son of a priest succeeded his father in the priestly office. Among the sons of Jacob, Reuben the firstborn forfeited the right of the firstborn, Ge 35:22 49:3,4, and God gave it to Levi, Nu 3:12,13 8:18. Secondly, the firstborn was entitled to a share of his fatherís estate twice as large as any of the other brethren received, De 21:17. Thirdly, he succeeded to the official dignities and rights of his father, 2Ch 21:3. In some of these privileges there is an allusion to Him, who is "the firstborn among many brethren," Ro 8:29 Col 1:18 Heb 1:2-6. Universal dominion is his, and an everlasting priesthood.


An overseer, one who has the charge and direction of any thing. The most common acceptation of the word in the New Testament, is that which occurs Ac 20:28 Php 1:1, where it signifies Christ "the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls," 1Pe 2:25. Paul describes the qualities requisite in bishops, 1Ti 3:2 Tit 1:7, etc.; Christ himself is their great exemplar.


A fowl about the size of a heron, and of the same genus. Nineveh and Babylon became a possession for "the bittern" and other wild birds, Isa 14:23 34:11 Zep 2:14. According to some critics, the more probable meaning of the Hebrew word is hedge-hog, or porcupine; and Mr. Rich says he found "great quantities" of porcupine quills among the ruins of Babylon; but others think this inconsistent with Zep 2:14, and understand the word is referring to the common night-heron, a bird like the bittern found among the marshes of Western Asia, resorting to ruined buildings, and uttering a peculiar harsh cry before and after its evening flight.


1Pe 1:1, a providence in the northern part of Asia Minor, on the shore of the Black sea, having Paphlagonia on the east, Phrygia and Galatia on the south, and Mysia on the southwest. It was directly opposite to Constantinople. It is famous as being one of the provinces to which the apostle Peter addressed his first epistle; also as having been under the government of Pliny, who, in a letter to the emperor Trajan, makes honorable mention of the number, character, and customs of the persecuted Christians there, about A. D. 106; also for the holding of the most celebrated council of the Christian church in the city of Nice, its metropolis, about A. D. 325. It may be, with some justice, considered as a province taught by Peter; and we read that when Paul attempted to go into Bithynia, the Spirit suffered him not, Ac 16:7.


Ex 9:8-10, burning ulcerous eruptions, miraculously caused by the ashes which Moses threw up among the Egyptians. If these ashes came from the brick-kilns where the Hebrews had toiled, the pains which the Egyptians suffered would naturally remind them of those which they had inflicted.


A man is guilty of blasphemy, when he speaks of God, or his attributes, injuriously; when he calumniously ascribe such qualities to him as do not belong to him, or robs him of those which do. The law sentenced blasphemers to death, Le 24:12-16. In a lower sense, men are said to be blasphemed when abused by calumnious and reviling words, 1Ki 21:10; Ac 6:11.


Mt 12:31,32 Mr 3:28 Lu 12:10 This sin was committed by the Pharisees when they, in violation of their own convictions, willfully and maliciously ascribed the miracles of the Son of God and the work of the Holy Spirit to the evil one. It is often inquired whether this was the "sin unto death" spoken of 1Jo 5:16, and whether it is committed in these days. However these questions may be answered, certain it is that when one can ridicule religion and its ordinances, when he can make sport with the work of the Holy Ghost in the human heart, when he can persist in a willful disbelief of the Gospel, and cast contempt upon Christianity and "the ministration of the Spirit," he is going to a fearful extremity of guilt, and provoking the final withdrawment of divine grace. While on the other hand the vilest blasphemer, who feels the relenting of godly sorrow for his sins, and the desire to confess them at the Saviorís feet, may be sure of realizing the truth of Christís word. "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."


A chamberlain of Herod Agrippa, bribed to favor the men of Tyre and Sidon, Ac 12:20.


Imperfections or deformities which unfitted men for the priesthood, and animals for sacrifice. Of theses we have a particular enumeration in Le 21:18-20; 22:20-24. In this provision of the law there was an allusion to the great High priest of our profession, who offered himself without spot to God.


Referring both to God and to man. When God blesses, he bestows that efficacy which renders his blessing effectual. His blessings are either temporal or spiritual, bodily or mental; but in every thing they really convey the good which they import, Nu 6:23-27. The blessings of men to other men, unless they be inspired prophecies, as in Ge 32:32 De 33:1 1:1-29, are only good wishes, personal or official, and as it were a peculiar kind of prayer to the Author of all good for the welfare of the subject of them. Blessing, on the part of man towards God, is an act of thanks-giving for his mercies, Ps 103:1; or rather, for that special mercy which at the time occasions the act of blessing: as for food, for which thanks are rendered to God, or for any other good, Ps 116:13 1Co 10:16.


This distressing malady is very prevalent in the East. Many physical causes in those countries unite to injure the organs of vision. The sun is hot, and in the atmosphere floats a very fine dust, which enters and frets the eye. The armies of France and England, which were so long in Egypt during the French was, suffered severely from ophthalmic disease. In the cities of Egypt, blindness is perpetuated as a contagious disease by the filthy habits of the natives. It is of frequent occurrence also on the coast of Syria. In ancient times the eyes of person hated or feared were often torn out, Jud 16:21 1Sa 11:2 2Ki 25:7. Blindness was sometimes inflicted as a punishment, Ge 19:11 Ac 13:6; and it was often threatened as a penalty, De 28:28. The Jews were enjoined by the humane laws of Moses to show all kindness and consideration to the blind, Le 19:14 De 27:18. No one affected with this infirmity could officiate as priest, Le 21:18.

Our Savior miraculously cured many cases of blindness, both that which was caused by disease and that which had existed from birth. In these cases there was a double miracle; for not only was the organ of sight restored, but also the faculty of using it which is usually gained only by long experience, Mr 8:22-25. The touching of the eyes of the blind, and anointing them with clay, Mt 9:29 Joh 9:6, can not have had any medicinal or healing effect. The healing was miraculous, by the power of God.

"Blindness" is often used for ignorance and error, especially our sinful want of discernment as to spiritual things, Mt 15:14 2Co 4:4. The abuse of Godís mercy increases this blindness, Joh 12:40. Blessed are the eyes that fix their adoring gaze first of all on the Redeemer.


The life of all animals was regarded as especially in the blood, which was a sacred and essential part of the sacrifices offered to God, Heb 9:22. It was solemnly sprinkled upon the altar and the mercy seat, "for it is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul," Le 17:1-16 the life of the victim for the life of the sinner. It was therefore most sacredly associated with the blood of the Lamb of God which "cleanseth us from all sin," Eph 1:7 1Jo 1:7. Hence the strict prohibition renewed in Ac 15:29. In direct opposition to this are the heathen customs of drinking the blood of animals and even of men- of eating raw flesh, with the blood, and even fresh cut from the living animal, 1Sa 14:32 Ps 16:4 Eze 33:25.

Besides the ordinary meaning of the word blood, it often signifies the guilt of murder, 2Sa 3:28 Ac 27:25; also relationship or consanguinity. "Flesh and blood" are placed in contrast with a spiritual nature, Mt 16:17, the glorified body, 1Co 15:50, and evil spirits, Eph 6:12. The cause "between blood and blood," De 17:8, was one where life was depending on the judgment rendered.


The sacredness of human life, and the justice of punishing a murderer by death, are grounded on the fact that man was made in the image of God, Ge 9:6. With justice, the passion for revenge often conspired to secure the death of the criminal. Among the Arabs, the nearest male relative of a murdered person was to pursue the homicide until by force or craft he put him to death. The law of Moses expressly forbade the acceptance of any ransom for a life thus forfeited, Nu 35:31; but it interfered between an accused person and his pursuer, by providing a sanctuary-at the altar of God and in the cities of refuge-where the accused might be safe until it was proved that he had committed the act, willfully or accidentally, Jos 20:6,9. In the former case, he was at once given up to his pursuer for death, Ex 1:14; 1Ki 2:29,34. In the latter case, he might dwell with safety in the city of refuge; but should he go elsewhere before the death of the high priest, he was liable to be slain by the avenger of blood, Nu 35:25-28.




Sons of thunder, a name given by our Savior to James and John the sons of Zebedee, Mr 3:17; perhaps on account of their power as preachers. Some suppose it was given on the occasion of their request that Christ would call for fire from heaven, and destroy a village of the Samaritans, which had refused to entertain them, Lu 9:53,54.


The wild boar is considered as the parent stock of the common hog. He is a furious and formidable animal. The tusks are larger and stronger than in the tame herds, the color is iron-grey, inclining to black. His snout is long, and his ears are short. At present wild boars frequent the marshes around the upper Jordan, and have been found on Mount Carmel, and in large herds near the sea of Tiberias. They were frequent in the time of the Crusades. Richard Coeur de Lion encountered one, ran him through with a lace, and while the animal was still endeavoring to gore his horse, leaped over him, and slew him with his sword. The destructive ravages of the animal are referred to in Ps 80:13.


Ru 2:1, a wealthy Bethlehemite, a descendant of Judah, through whom is traced the regular succession of Jewish kings, Mt 1:5. His conduct in the case of Ruth proves him to have been a man of fine spirit and of strict integrity. He admitted the claim which Ruth had upon him as a near kinsman: under the obligations of the Levitical law, he married the poor gleaner, and thus became one of the ancestors of David, and also of Davidís Son and Lord. He was the father of Obed, Obed was the father of Jesse, and Jesse of David. The whole narrative is a beautiful picture of the simplicity of the age, when artificial courtesies had not usurped the place of natural and sincere expressions of love.

Boaz was also the name of one of the two brazen pillars which Solomon erected in the porch of the temple, the other being called JACHIN. These columns were about thirty-five feet high, 1Ki 7:15,16,21.


Weepings, a place near Gilgal, where the angel of the Lord reproved Israel for their remissness, Jud 2:1-5.


Several sorts of materials were anciently used in making books. Plates of lead or copper, the bark of trees, brick, stone, and wood, were originally employed to engrave such things and documents upon as men desired to transmit to posterity, De 27:2,3 Job 19:23,24. Godís laws were written on stone tablets. Inscriptions were also made on tiles and bricks, which were afterwards hardened by fire. Many of these are found in the ruins of Babylon. Tablets of wood, box, and ivory were common among the ancients: when they were of wood only, they were oftentimes coated over with wax, which received the writing inscribed on them with the point of a style, or iron pen, Jer 17:13; and what was written might be effaced by the broad end of a style, Lu 1:63. Afterwards, the leaves of the palm-tree were used instead of wooden tablets, and also the finest and thinnest bark of trees, such as the lime, the ash, the maple, the elm: hence the word liber, which denotes the inner bark of trees, signifies also a book. As these barks were rolled up, to be more readily carried about, the united rolls were called volumen, a volume; a name given likewise to rolls of paper or of parchment. The ancients wrote like-wise on linen. But the oldest material commonly employed for writing upon, appears to have been the papyrus, a reed very common in Egypt and other places, and still found in Sicily and Chaldea. From this comes our word paper. At a later period, parchment from skins was invented in Pergamos, and was there used for rolls or volumes. The pen for writing on these soft materials was a small brush, or a reed split at the end, Jer 36:23. The ink was prepared with lampblack coal of ivory, various gums, etc., and the writing was sometimes permanently fixed by fire. Scribes carried their inkhorns hanging to their girdles, Eze 9:2. The making of paper from linen in its modern form was first known in Europe about A. D. 1300. The art of printing was introduced about one hundred and fifty years later.

An ancient book therefore had the appearance of a thick roll of some paper-like substance, written usually in parallel columns on one side only, and read by gradually unrolling it by means of two small rollers, one at the beginning and the other at the end of the volume. A roll was sometimes sealed, being first tied or wrapped about with a cord, on which the wax was dropped, and stamped by a signet, Isa 29:11 Re 5:1-3.

The writing was practiced very early, may be inferred from allusions to the art in Ge 5:1 Ex 17:14 Job 9:25 19:23 31:5. The Egyptians were accustomed to it from the earliest ages.

Ancient writers, instead of writing their books, etc., with their own hand, often employed amanuenses. St. Paul notes it as a particular circumstance, in the epistle to the Galatians, that he had written it with his own hand, Ga 6:11. To other letters he only affixed his salutation with his own hand, 1Co 16:21 Col 4:18 2Th 3:17. The amanuensis who wrote the epistle to the Romans, has mentioned himself at the close, Ro 16:22. See LETTER.

Book of the Generation, is used in Ge 5:1 Mt 1:1, in the sense of a genealogical record. See GENERATION.

Book of the Wars of the Lord, Nu 21:14, was probably a sort of military journal, formed of detached odes.

The Book of the Chronicles of the kings of Judah and Israel were apparently public journals, 1Ki 14:19,29.

The Book of Jasher, 2Sa 1:18, may perhaps have been a collection of national ballads, one of the forms most used for perpetuating the history of ancient times.

The Books of the Chronicles of the kings of Judah and Israel were apparently public journals, 1Ki 14:19,29.

Book of Life, or of the Living, Ps 69:28. It is probable that these descriptive phrases are taken from the custom observed in the courts of princes, of keeping a list of persons who are in their service, of the provinces which they govern, of the officers of their armies, of the number of their troops, and sometimes even of the names of their soldiers. In the figurative style of oriental poetry, God is represented as inscribing the names, acts, and destinies of men in volumes; and the volume in which are thus entered the names of those who are chosen to salvation, is "the book of life," Php 4:3.


A shelter, made usually of poles fixed upright in the ground, and covered over with green boughs, Ge 33:17. The great feast of tabernacles, or booths, had its name from the circumstance that the Jews were directed by their law to dwell in booths during the seen days of this feast, Le 23:40-42; Ne 8:14.


Spoils taken in war were to be shared equally by those who fought and those who guarded the camp, Nu 31:27-32. The Lordís portion was first deducted from the whole; and in after-times the king appropriated a large part to himself.


The front of the upper part of the body, the breast. The orientals generally wore long wide, and loose garments; and when about to carry any thing away that their hands would not contain, they used for the purpose a fold in the bosom of their robe above the girdle, Lu 6:38. Our Savior is said to carry his lambs in his bosom, which beautifully represents his tender care and watchfulness over them, Isa 40:11.


The thickest and strongest parts, the projecting points, of a shield. Job 15:26.


The accompanying engraving shows the form and nature of an ancient goatskin bottle, out of which a water-carrier is offering to sell a draught of water. After the skin has been stripped off from an animal, and properly dressed, the places where the legs had been are closed up; and where the neck was, is the opening left for receiving and discharging the contents of the bottle. These were readily borne upon the shoulder, Ge 21:14. See also Jos 9:4,13 Ps 119:83 Jer 13:12.

By receiving the liquor poured into it, a skin bottle must be greatly swelled and distended; and still more, if the liquor be wine, by its fermentation while advancing to ripeness; so that if no vent be given to it, the liquor may overpower the strength of the bottle, or if it find any defect, it may ooze out by that. Hence the propriety of putting new wine into new bottles, which being in the prime of their strength, may resist the expansion of their contents, and preserve the wine to maturity; while old bottles may, without danger, contain old wine, whose fermentation is already past, Mt 9:17 Lu 5:38 Job 32:19.

Such bottles, or skins, are still universally employed in travelling in the East, as well as by the public water-carriers, and for domestic uses. They were made, for storage in wine cellars, of the hides of oxen or camels. But the smaller ones of goatskins were more generally used for water as well as wine. The ancients, however, were acquainted with the art of making earthenware, and had a variety of elegant small bottles and vases for toilet purposes, made of the precious metals, of stone, glass, porcelain, and alabaster, Jer 19:1,10,11. See CRUSE, VINE, TEARS.


A weapon much used in ancient times, both for hunting and for war. It was made of wood, horn, or steel, Ge 27:3 Ps 18:34; and the foot was sometimes used in bending it. It was carried in a case, when not used, Hab 3:19. The Benjamites were celebrated for their skill in the use of this weapon, 1Ch 12:2 2Ch 14:8 17:17. See ARMS. The phrase, "a deceitful bow," to which the people of Israel are compared, Ps 78:57 Ho 7:16, means an ill-made or twisted bow, which does not shoot the arrow as it is aimed. In 2Sa 1:18, we read. "Also he bade them teach the children of Judah the use of the bow." Here the words, "the use of," are not in the Hebrew. The use of the bow in war had long been common among the Jews, Ge 48:22; and to "teach them the bow," is by some supposed to mean, teach them by some supposed to mean, teach them the song of THE BOW, the lamentation over Saul and Jonathan, which follows; so called from the mention of the weapon in Ge 48:22, as the first four books in the Bible take their title in Hebrew from the first word in each. See ARROW.


Are often put by the Hebrew writers for the internal parts generally, the inner man, just as we often use the word heart. Hence the bowels are often represented as the seat of mercy, tenderness, compassion, etc., 1Ki 3:26 Isa 63:15 Jer 31:20 Col 3:12 1Jo 3:17.


A well-known beautiful evergreen, growing in many parts of Europe and Asia. Its wood is highly prized by engravers. The word employed in Isa 60:13, is thought by many to have been a species of cedar. It is used as an emblem of the abiding grace and prosperity of the church of God.


Ge 36:33, a city of Edom, Isa 34:6 63:1, and the region around it, Jer 49:13,22. It is associated with Terman, and with the Red sea, Jer 49:20-22 Am 1:12. Its site is found in the modern El-Busaireh, midway between Kir Moab and Mount Hor, south by east of the Dead sea. This is a village of about fifty houses, on a hill crowned by a small castle. The ruins are those of a considerable city. Bozrah of Moab, Jer 48:24, may be the same place with this, or perhaps with Bezer.


Properly an ornament for the wrist, or for the arm above or below the elbow; but sometimes used also in the Bible to signify an ornament worn of the leg, Nu 31:50 Isa 3:19. Armlets were worn by men, sometimes as a badge of royalty, 2Sa 1:10. Bracelets were of great variety of materials and forms; were usually large, and often of great value, Ge 24:22.

The woman of Syria and Arabia at this day wear rings round their legs, to which are fastened many other lesser rings, with make a tinkling noise, like little bells, when they walk. These rings are fixed above the ankle, and are of gold, silver, copper, glass, or even of varnished earth, according to the condition of the wearer. The princesses wear large hollow rings of gold, within which are enclosed little pebbles, that tinkle. See RINGS.


As trees denote, in figurative language, great men and princes, so branches, boughs, and plants denote their offspring. Christ is called "the Branch," the "rod out of the stem of Jesse," and "branch out of his roots," Isa 11:1; 53:2; Zec 3:8; 6:12; being a royal descendant of the princely house of David, Jer 23:5; 33:15. The word branch also illustrates the union of believers with Christ, Joh 15:5,6. It is used in Eze 8:17 as a symbol of idolatrous worship, probably in allusion to the carrying of fragrant boughs in honor of idols.


Is frequently mentioned in the English Bible, Ge 4:22 De 8:9; but there is little doubt that copper is intended, brass being a mixed metal-two-thirds copper and one-third zinc-for the manufacture of which we are indebted to the Germans. The ancients knew nothing of that particular compound, though well acquainted with bronze, of which arms, mirrors, and ornaments were made. Copper was used for many purposes about the temple, Le 6:28 Nu 16:39 2Ch 4:16; for filters, Jud 16:21 2Ki 25:7; for armor, 1Sa 17:5,6,38; for musical instruments, 1Ch 15:19; and for money, Mt 10:9. "Brass" is used to describe drought, insensibility, baseness, and obstinacy in sin, Le 26:19 De 28:23 Isa 48:4 Jer 6:28 Eze 22:18. It is also a symbol of strength, Ps 107:16 Da 2:39 Zec 6:1. See COPPER.


An image in brass prepared by Moses, resembling the fiery serpents so destructive to Israel in the desert, and set up in the midst of the camp in the view of all, that whosoever would evince penitence, faith, and obedience by looking to it, might live, Nu 21:6-9. Our Savior has shown us that this was typical of himself and of salvation through himóa gratuitous salvation, free to all, on the easy terms of faith and obedience, Joh 3:14,15. The brazen serpent was long preserved, as a memorial of the gracious miracle wrought in connection with it; but being regarded as an object of worship, it was broken to pieces by king Hezekiah, as Nehushtanóa mere piece of brass, 2Ki 18:4.


A word which in Scripture is often put for food in general, Ge 3:19 18:5 28:20 Ex 2:20 Le 11:3. Manna is called bread from heaven, Ex 16:4. Bread, in the proper and literal sense, usually means cakes made of wheaten flour; barely being used chiefly by the poor and for feeding horses. The wheat was ground daily, in small stone mills; the flour was made into dough in a wooden trough, and subsequently leavened, Ex 12:34 Ho 7:4. It was then made into cakes, and baked.

The ancient Hebrews had several ways of baking bread: of baking bread: they often baked it under the ashes upon the earth, upon round copper or iron plates, or in pans or stoves made on purpose. The Arabians and other oriental nations, among whom wood is scarce, often bake their bread between two fires made of cow-dung, which burns slowly. The bread is good, if eaten the same day, but the crust is black and burnt, and retains a smell of the fuel used in baking it. This explains Eze 4:9,15.

The Hebrews, in common with other eastern people, had a kind of oven, (tannoor,) which is like a large pitcher, open at top, in which they made a fire. When it was well heated, they mingled flour in water, and this paste they applied to the outside of the pitcher. Such bread is baked in an instant, and is taken off in thin, fine pieces, like our wafers, Le 2:1-16. Bread was also baked in cavities sunk in the ground, or the floor of the tent, and well lined with compost or cement. A tire was built on the floor of this oven; and the sides being sufficiently heated, thin cakes were adroitly stuck upon towns there were public ovens, and bakers by trade, Jer 37:21 Ho 7:4.

As the Hebrews generally made their bread thin, and in the form of flat cakes, or wafers, they did not cut it with a knife, but broke it, La 4:4, which gave rise to that expression so usual in Scripture, of "breaking bread," to signify eating, sitting down to table, taking a repast. In the institution of the Lordís supper, our Savior broke the bread which he had consecrated; whence "to break bread," and "breaking of bread," in the New Testament are used for celebrating the Lordís supper. See under EATING.

SHOWBREAD, Heb. Bread of presence, was bread offered every Sabbath-day to God on the golden table which stood in the holy place, Ex 25:30; twelve cakes of unleavened bread, offered with salt and frankincense, Le 2:13 24:5-9. The show-bread could be lawfully eaten by none but the priests; nevertheless, David having received some of these loaves from the high-priest Abimelech, ate of them without scruple in his necessity, 1Sa 21:1-6; and our Savior quotes his example to justify the disciples, who had bruised ears of corn, and were eating them on the Sabbath-day. Mt 12:1- 4.


A piece of embroidery, about ten inches square, Ex 28:15-30, of very rich work, which the high priest wore on his breast. It was made of two pieces of the same rich embroidered stuff of which the ephod was made, having a front and a lining, and forming a kind of purse or bag, in which, according to the rabbins, the Urim and Thummim were enclosed. The front of it was set with twelve precious stones, on each of which was engraved the name of one of the tribes. They were placed in four rows, and divided from each other by the little golden squares or partitions in which they were set. At each corner was a gold ring answering to a ring upon the ephod, these four pairs of rings serving to hold the breastplate in its place on the front of the ephod, by means of four blue ribands, one at each corner.


Were usually made of clay, dried and hardened in the sun, Ge 11:3, though brick-kilns were sometimes used, 2Sa 12:31 Na 3:14. The tower of Babel was constructed of brick, cemented with bitumen. The bricks used were often a foot square; and great numbers of them are found, both in Babylon and Egypt, impressed with some royal or priestly stamp. The principal subject of interest connected with brick making is the fact that it was the labor in which the Hebrews in Egypt were most oppressed. On the monuments of Egypt, all the parts of this hard and ancient task-work are painted-the carrying, tempering, and molding of the clay, and the drying and pilling of the bricks-all done by foreigners under the orders of taskmasters. The straw was probably mixed with the clay to compact it. See Wilkinsonís "Ancient Egyptians."




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


A mineral substance, highly inflammable, and burning with a suffocating smell. Sodom and the other cities of the plain were destroyed "by brimstone and fire," Ge 19:24; and this awful catastrophe is often used in Scripture, as an emblem of temporal and eternal judgments of God upon the wicked, Job 18:15; Ps 11:6; Isa 30:33; 34:9; Re 21:8.




Signifies in Scripture the son of the same parent or parents, Mt 1:2 Lu 6:14; a cousin or near kinsman, Ge 13:8 14:16 Joh 7:3 Ac 1:14; one of the same stock or country, Mt 5:47 Ac 3:22 Heb 7:5; a fellow-man, and equal, Mt 5:23 7:3; one beloved, 2Sa 1:26; Christians, as sons of God, Ac 9:30 11:29. In Mt 12:46-50 13:55,56 Mr 3:31-35, the brothers of Christ are so mentioned, in connection with his mother and sisters, as almost to require us to believe they were children of Joseph and Mary, younger than Jesus. Yet this is not quite certain, as it may be that the James, Joses, and Judas in Mt 13:55, are the nephews of Christ alluded to in Mt 27:56 Lu 6:15,16 Joh 19:25; Cleophas and Alphaeus being probably the same.


Rumor or report, Jer 10:22 Na 3:19.


Occurring only in 1Ki 6:38, applied to the eighth month, usually called Marchesvan, which see. Solomonís temple was finished in Bul.


Of Bashan, pasturing in a fertile region and with but few keepers, became strong and fierce, and might "compass about" and intruder, and trample him under foot. They are symbols of powerful, fierce, and numerous foes, Ps 22:12 68:30 Isa 34:7. See OX.


Or papyrus, a reed growing on the banks of the Nile, in marshy ground, Job 8:11, to the height of twelve or fifteen feet, Isa 35:7. The stalks are pliable, and capable of being interwoven very closely, as is evident from their being used in the construction of arks, Ex 2:3,5; and also vessels of larger dimensions, Isa 18:2. Boats of this material were very common in Egypt. Being exceedingly light and small, they sailed with great velocity, and might easily be borne on the shoulders around rapids and falls. The inner bark of this plant, platted and cemented together, furnished a writing material; and the pith was sometimes used for food. See BOOK.


A weight or load, on body or soul; often used figuratively, to denote afflictions, failings, sins, Ps 38:4 55:22 Ga 6:2; services under law, Mt 23:4; official responsibilities, Ex 18:22 De 1:12; and especially prophetic messages, not always of a threatening character, Isa 19:1. In this last sense the Hebrew word may be rendered "oracle," "divine declaration," or "prophecy," as in Pr 31:31,1.


The Hebrews were at all times very careful in the burial of their dead, Ge 25:9 35:29. To be deprived of burial was thought one of the greatest marks of dishonor, or cause of unhappiness, Ec 6:3 Jer 22:18,19; it being denied to none, not even to enemies. Good men made it a part of their piety to inter the dead. Indeed, how shocking must the sight of unburied corpses have been to the Jews, when their land was thought to be polluted if the dead were in any manner exposed to view, 2Sa 21:14; and when the very touch of a dead body, or of any thing that had touched a dead body, was esteemed a defilement, and required a ceremonial ablution, Nu 19.11-22.

Only two cases of burning the bodies of the dead occur in Scripture: the mangled remains of Saul and his sons, 1Sa 31:12, and the victims of some plague, Am 6:10. It was customary for the nearest relatives to close the eyes of the dying and give them the parting kiss, and then to commence the wailing for the dead, Jer 46:4 50:1; in this wailing, which continued at intervals until after the burial, they were joined by other relatives and friends, Joh 11:19, whose loud and shrill lamentations are referred to in Mr 5:38. It is also a custom still prevailing in the East to hire wailing women, Jer 9:17 Am 5:16, who praised the deceased, Ac 9:39, and by doleful cries and frantic gestures, aided at times by melancholy tones of music, Mt 9:23, strove to express the deepest grief, Eze 24:17,18.

Immediately after death the body was washed, and laid out in a convenient room, Ac 9:39; it was wrapped in many folds of linen, with spices, and the head bound about with a napkin, Mt 27:59 Joh 11:44. Unless the body was to be embalmed, the burial took place very soon, both on account of the heat of the climate and the ceremonial uncleanness incurred. Rarely did twenty-four hours elapse between death and burial, Ac 5:6,10. The body being shrouded, was placed upon a bier-a board resting on a simple handbarrow, borne by men-to be conveyed to the tomb, 2Sa 3:31 Lu 7:14. Sometimes a more costly bier or bed was used, 2Ch 16:14: and the bodies of kings and some others may have been laid in coffins of wood, or stone sarcophagi. The relatives attended the bier to the tomb, which was usually without the city. A banquet sometimes followed the funeral, Jer 16:7,8; and during subsequent days the bereaved friends were wont to go to the grave from time to time, to weep and to adorn the place with fresh flowers, Joh 11:31, a custom observed even at this day. See EMBALMING, SEPULCHRE.




Used in the New Testament to express the Greek modius, which was about a peck by our measure.


The Hebrew word usually rendered butter denotes, properly, sour or curdled milk, Ge 18:8; Jud 5:25; Job 20:17. This last is a favorite beverage in the East to the present day. Burckhardt, when crossing the desert from the country south of the Dead sea to Egypt, says, "Besides flour, I carried some butter and dried leben, (sour milk,) which, when dissolved in water, not only forms a refreshing beverage, but is much to be recommended as a preservative of health when travelling in summer." Yet butter may have been known to the Hebrews. It is much used by the Arabs and Syrians at the present day, and is made by pouring the milk into the common goatskin bottle, suspending this from the tent-poles, and swinging it to and fro with a jerk, until the process is completed. Still it is not certain that the Hebrew word rendered butter ever denotes that article. Even in Pr 30:33 we may render, "The pressing of milk bringeth forth cheese;" and everywhere else the rendering "curd," or "curdled milk," would be appropriate.


Son of Nahor and Milcah, and ancestor of the Buzites, who lived in Mesopotamia or Ram, and afterwards perhaps in Arabia Deserta, Ge 22:21; Job 32:2; Jer 25:23.