Baal-shalisha - lord of Shalisha, a place from which a man came with provisions for Elisha, apparently not far from Gilgal (2 Kings 4:42). It has been identified with Sirisia, 13 miles north of Lydda.
Baal-tamar - lord of palm trees, a place in the tribe of Benjamin near Gibeah of Saul (Judg. 20:33). It was one of the sanctuaries or groves of Baal. Probably the palm tree of Deborah (Judg. 4:5) is alluded to in the name.
Baal-zebub - fly-lord, the god of the Philistines at Ekron (2 Kings 1:2, 3, 16). This name was given to the god because he was supposed to be able to avert the plague of flies which in that region was to be feared. He was consulted by Ahaziah as to his recovery.
Baal-zephon - Baal of the north, an Egyptian town on the shores of the Gulf of Suez (Ex. 14:2; Num. 33:7), over against which the children of Israel encamped before they crossed the Red Sea. It is probably to be identified with the modern Jebel Deraj or Kulalah, on the western shore of the Gulf of Suez. Baal-zapuna of the Egyptians was a place of worship.
(1.) One of Solomon's purveyors (1 Kings 4:12).
(2.) Son of Hushai, another of Solomon's purveyors (1 Kings 4:16).
(3.) Father of Zadok (Neh. 3:4).
(1.) One of the two sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, a captain in Saul's army. He and his brother Rechab assassinated Ishbosheth (2 Sam. 4:2), and were on this account slain by David, and their mutilated bodies suspended over the pool at Hebron (5, 6, 12).
(2.) The father of Heled, who was one of David's thirty heroes (2 Sam. 23:29; 1 Chr. 11:30).
Baasha - bravery, the third king of the separate kingdom of Israel, and founder of its second dynasty (1 Kings 15; 16; 2 Chr. 16:1-6). He was the son of Ahijah of the tribe of Issachar. The city of Tirzah he made the capital of his kingdom, and there he was buried, after an eventful reign of twenty-four years (1 Kings 15:33). On account of his idolatries his family was exterminated, according to the word of the prophet Jehu (1 Kings 16:3, 4, 10-13).
Babe - used of children generally (Matt. 11:25; 21:16; Luke 10:21; Rom. 2:20). It is used also of those who are weak in Christian faith and knowledge (1 Cor. 3:1; Heb. 5:13; 1 Pet. 2:2). In Isa. 3:4 the word "babes" refers to a succession of weak and wicked princes who reigned over Judah from the death of Josiah downward to the destruction of Jerusalem.
Babel, tower of - the name given to the tower which the primitive fathers of our race built in the land of Shinar after the Deluge (Gen. 11:1-9). Their object in building this tower was probably that it might be seen as a rallying-point in the extensive plain of Shinar, to which they had emigrated from the uplands of Armenia, and so prevent their being scattered abroad. But God interposed and defeated their design by condounding their language, and hence the name Babel, meaning "confusion." In the Babylonian tablets there is an account of this event, and also of the creation and the deluge. (See CHALDEA.)
The Temple of Belus, which is supposed to occupy its site, is described by the Greek historian Herodotus as a temple of great extent and magnificence, erected by the Babylonians for their god Belus. The treasures Nebuchadnezzar brought from Jerusalem were laid up in this temple (2 Chr. 36:7).
The Birs Nimrud, at ancient Borsippa, about 7 miles south-west of Hillah, the modern town which occupies a part of the site of ancient Babylon, and 6 miles from the Euphrates, is an immense mass of broken and fire-blasted fragments, of about 2,300 feet in circumference, rising suddenly to the height of 235 feet above the desert-plain, and is with probability regarded as the ruins of the tower of Babel. This is "one of the most imposing ruins in the country." Others think it to be the ruins of the Temple of Belus.
Babylon - the Greek form of BABEL; Semitic form Babilu, meaning "The Gate of God." In the Assyrian tablets it means "The city of the dispersion of the tribes." The monumental list of its kings reaches back to B.C. 2300, and includes Khammurabi, or Amraphel (q.v.), the contemporary of Abraham. It stood on the Euphrates, about 200 miles above its junction with the Tigris, which flowed through its midst and divided it into two almost equal parts. The Elamites invaded Chaldea (i.e., Lower Mesopotamia, or Shinar, and Upper Mesopotamia, or Accad, now combined into one) and held it in subjection. At length Khammu-rabi delivered it from the foreign yoke, and founded the new empire of Chaldea (q.v.), making Babylon the capital of the united kingdom. This city gradually grew in extent and grandeur, but in process of time it became subject to Assyria. On the fall of Nineveh (B.C. 606) it threw off the Assyrian yoke, and became the capital of the growing Babylonian empire. Under Nebuchadnezzar it became one of the most splendid cities of the ancient world.
After passing through various vicissitudes the city was occupied by Cyrus, "king of Elam," B.C. 538, who issued a decree permitting the Jews to return to their own land (Ezra 1). It then ceased to be the capital of an empire. It was again and again visited by hostile armies, till its inhabitants were all driven from their homes, and the city became a complete desolation, its very site being forgotten from among men.
On the west bank of the Euphrates, about 50 miles south of Bagdad, there is found a series of artificial mounds of vast extent. These are the ruins of this once famous proud city. These ruins are principally (1) the great mound called Babil by the Arabs. This was probably the noted Temple of Belus, which was a pyramid about 480 feet high. (2) The Kasr (i.e., "the palace"). This was the great palace of Nebuchadnezzar. It is almost a square, each side of which is about 700 feet long. The little town of Hillah, near the site of Babylon, is built almost wholly of bricks taken from this single mound. (3) A lofty mound, on the summit of which stands a modern tomb called Amran ibn-Ali. This is probably the most ancient portion of the remains of the city, and represents the ruins of the famous hanging-gardens, or perhaps of some royal palace. The utter desolation of the city once called "The glory of kingdoms" (Isa.13:19) was foretold by the prophets (Isa.13:4-22; Jer. 25:12; 50:2, 3; Dan. 2:31-38).
The Babylon mentioned in 1 Pet. 5:13 was not Rome, as some have thought, but the literal city of Babylon, which was inhabited by many Jews at the time Peter wrote.
In Rev. 14:8; 16:19; 17:5; and 18:2, "Babylon" is supposed to mean Rome, not considered as pagan, but as the prolongation of the ancient power in the papal form. Rome, pagan and papal, is regarded as one power. "The literal Babylon was the beginner and supporter of tyranny and idolatry...This city and its whole empire were taken by the Persians under Cyrus; the Persians were subdued by the Macedonians, and the Macedonians by the Romans; so that Rome succeeded to the power of old Babylon. And it was her method to adopt the worship of the false deities she had conquered; so that by her own act she became the heiress and successor of all the Babylonian idolatry, and of all that was introduced into it by the immediate successors of Babylon, and consequently of all the idolatry of the earth." Rome, or "mystical Babylon," is "that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth" (17:18).
Babylon, kingdom of - called "the land of the Chaldeans" (Jer. 24:5; Ezek, 12:13), was an extensive province in Central Asia along the valley of the Tigris from the Persian Gulf northward for some 300 miles. It was famed for its fertility and its riches. Its capital was the city of Babylon, a great commercial centre (Ezek. 17:4; Isa. 43:14). Babylonia was divided into the two districts of Accad in the north, and Summer (probably the Shinar of the Old Testament) in the south. Among its chief cities may be mentioned Ur (now Mugheir or Mugayyar), on the western bank of the Euphrates; Uruk, or Erech (Gen. 10:10) (now Warka), between Ur and Babylon; Larsa (now Senkereh), the Ellasar of Gen. 14:1, a little to the east of Erech; Nipur (now Niffer), south-east of Babylon; Sepharvaim (2 Kings 17:24), "the two Sipparas" (now Abu-Habba), considerably to the north of Babylon; and Eridu, "the good city" (now Abu-Shahrein), which lay originally on the shore of the Persian Gulf, but is now, owing to the silting up of the sand, about 100 miles distant from it. Another city was Kulunu, or Calneh (Gen. 10:10).
The salt-marshes at the mouths of the Euphrates and Tigris were called Marratu, "the bitter" or "salt", the Merathaim of Jer. 50:21. They were the original home of the Kalda, or Chaldeans.
The most famous of the early kings of Babylonia were Sargon of Accad (B.C.3800) and his son, Naram-Sin, who conquered a large part of Western Asia, establishing their power in Palestine, and even carrying their arms to the Sinaitic peninsula. A great Babylonian library was founded in the reign of Sargon. Babylonia was subsequently again broken up into more than one state, and at one time fell under the domination of Elam. This was put an end to by Khammu-rabi (Amraphel), who drove the Elamites out of the country, and overcame Arioch, the son of an Elamite prince. From this time forward Babylonia was a united monarchy. About B.C. 1750 it was conquered by the Kassi, or Kosseans, from the mountains of Elam, and a Kassite dynasty ruled over it for 576 years and 9 months.
In the time of Khammu-rabi, Syria and Palestine were subject to Babylonia and its Elamite suzerain; and after the overthrow of the Elamite supremacy, the Babylonian kings continued to exercise their influence and power in what was called "the land of the Amorites." In the epoch of the Kassite dynasty, however, Canaan passed into the hands of Egypt.
In B.C. 729, Babylonia was conquered by the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III.; but on the death of Shalmaneser IV. it was seized by the Kalda or "Chaldean" prince Merodach-baladan (2 Kings 20:12-19), who held it till B.C. 709, when he was driven out by Sargon.
Under Sennacherib, Babylonia revolted from Assyria several times, with the help of the Elamites, and after one of these revolts Babylon was destroyed by Sennacherib, B.C. 689. It was rebuilt by Esarhaddon, who made it his residence during part of the year, and it was to Babylon that Manasseh was brought a prisoner (2 Chr. 33:11). After the death of Esarhaddon, Saul-sumyukin, the viceroy of Babylonia, revolted against his brother the Assyrian king, and the revolt was suppressed with difficulty.
When Nineveh was destroyed, B.C. 606, Nabopolassar, the viceroy of Babylonia, who seems to have been of Chaldean descent, made himself independent. His son Nebuchadrezzar (Nabu-kudur-uzur), after defeating the Egyptians at Carchemish, succeeded him as king, B.C. 604, and founded the Babylonian empire. He strongly fortified Babylon, and adorned it with palaces and other buildings. His son, Evil-merodach, who succeeded him in B.C. 561, was murdered after a reign of two years. The last monarch of the Babylonian empire was Nabonidus (Nabu-nahid), B.C. 555-538, whose eldest son, Belshazzar (Bilu-sar-uzur), is mentioned in several inscriptions. Babylon was captured by Cyrus, B.C. 538, and though it revolted more than once in later years, it never succeeded in maintaining its independence.
Baca, Valley of - (Ps. 84:6; R.V., "valley of weeping," marg., "or balsam trees"), probably a valley in some part of Palestine, or generally some one of the valleys through which pilgrims had to pass on their way to the sanctuary of Jehovah on Zion; or it may be figuratively "a valley of weeping."
Backbite - In Ps. 15:3, the rendering of a word which means to run about tattling, calumniating; in Prov. 25:23, secret talebearing or slandering; in Rom. 1:30 and 2 Cor. 12:20, evil-speaking, maliciously defaming the absent.
Backslide - to draw back or apostatize in matters of religion (Acts 21:21; 2 Thess. 2:3; 1 Tim. 4:1). This may be either partial (Prov. 14:14) or complete (Heb. 6:4-6; 10:38, 39). The apostasy may be both doctrinal and moral.
Badger - this word is found in Ex. 25:5; 26:14; 35:7, 23; 36:19; 39:34; Num. 4:6, etc. The tabernacle was covered with badgers' skins; the shoes of women were also made of them (Ezek. 16:10). Our translators seem to have been misled by the similarity in sound of the Hebrew tachash_ and the Latin _taxus, "a badger." The revisers have correctly substituted "seal skins." The Arabs of the Sinaitic peninsula apply the name tucash to the seals and dugongs which are common in the Red Sea, and the skins of which are largely used as leather and for sandals. Though the badger is common in Palestine, and might occur in the wilderness, its small hide would have been useless as a tent covering. The dugong, very plentiful in the shallow waters on the shores of the Red Sea, is a marine animal from 12 to 30 feet long, something between a whale and a seal, never leaving the water, but very easily caught. It grazes on seaweed, and is known by naturalists as Halicore tabernaculi.
Bag - (1.) A pocket of a cone-like shape in which Naaman bound two pieces of silver for Gehazi (2 Kings 5:23). The same Hebrew word occurs elsewhere only in Isa. 3:22, where it is rendered "crisping-pins," but denotes the reticules (or as R.V., "satchels") carried by Hebrew women.
(2.) Another word (kees) so rendered means a bag for carrying weights (Deut. 25:13; Prov. 16:11; Micah 6:11). It also denotes a purse (Prov. 1:14) and a cup (23:31).
(3.) Another word rendered "bag" in 1 Sam. 17:40 is rendered "sack" in Gen. 42:25; and in 1 Sam. 9:7; 21:5 "vessel," or wallet for carrying food.
(4.) The word rendered in the Authorized Version "bags," in which the priests bound up the money contributed for the restoration of the temple (2 Kings 12:10), is also rendered "bundle" (Gen. 42:35; 1 Sam. 25:29). It denotes bags used by travellers for carrying money during a journey (Prov. 7:20; Hag. 1:6).
(5.) The "bag" of Judas was a small box (John 12:6; 13:29).
Bahurim - young men, a place east of Jerusalem (2 Sam. 3:16; 19:16), on the road to the Jordan valley. Here Shimei resided, who poured forth vile abuse against David, and flung dust and stones at him and his party when they were making their way down the eastern slopes of Olivet toward Jordan (16:5); and here Jonathan and Ahimaaz hid themselves (17:18).
With the exception of Shimei, Azmaveth, one of David's heroes, is the only other native of the place who is mentioned (2 Sam. 23:31; 1 Chr. 11:33).
Bake - The duty of preparing bread was usually, in ancient times, committed to the females or the slaves of the family (Gen. 18:6; Lev. 26:26; 1 Sam. 8:13); but at a later period we find a class of public bakers mentioned (Hos. 7:4, 6; Jer. 37:21).
The bread was generally in the form of long or round cakes (Ex. 29:23; 1 Sam. 2:36), of a thinness that rendered them easily broken (Isa. 58:7; Matt. 14:19; 26:26; Acts 20:11). Common ovens were generally used; at other times a jar was half-filled with hot pebbles, and the dough was spread over them. Hence we read of "cakes baken on the coals" (1 Kings 19:6), and "baken in the oven" (Lev. 2:4). (See BREAD.)
Balaam - lord of the people; foreigner or glutton, as interpreted by others, the son of Beor, was a man of some rank among the Midianites (Num. 31:8; comp. 16). He resided at Pethor (Deut. 23:4), in Mesopotamia (Num. 23:7). It is evident that though dwelling among idolaters he had some knowledge of the true God; and was held in such reputation that it was supposed that he whom he blessed was blessed, and he whom he cursed was cursed. When the Israelites were encamped on the plains of Moab, on the east of Jordan, by Jericho, Balak sent for Balaam "from Aram, out of the mountains of the east," to curse them; but by the remarkable interposition of God he was utterly unable to fulfil Balak's wish, however desirous he was to do so. The apostle Peter refers (2 Pet. 2:15, 16) to this as an historical event. In Micah 6:5 reference also is made to the relations between Balaam and Balak. Though Balaam could not curse Israel, yet he suggested a mode by which the divine displeasure might be caused to descend upon them (Num. 25). In a battle between Israel and the Midianites (q.v.) Balaam was slain while fighting on the side of Balak (Num. 31:8).
The "doctrine of Balaam" is spoken of in Rev. 2:14, in allusion to the fact that it was through the teaching of Balaam that Balak learned the way by which the Israelites might be led into sin. (See NICOLAITANES.) Balaam was constrained to utter prophecies regarding the future of Israel of wonderful magnificence and beauty of expression (Num. 24:5-9, 17).
Balak - empty; spoiler, a son of Zippor, and king of the Moabites (Num. 22:2, 4). From fear of the Israelites, who were encamped near the confines of his territory, he applied to Balaam (q.v.) to curse them; but in vain (Josh. 24:9).
Balance - occurs in Lev. 19:36 and Isa. 46:6, as the rendering of the Hebrew kanch', which properly means "a reed" or "a cane," then a rod or beam of a balance. This same word is translated "measuring reed" in Ezek. 40:3,5; 42:16-18. There is another Hebrew word, mozena'yim, i.e., "two poisers", also so rendered (Dan. 5:27). The balances as represented on the most ancient Egyptian monuments resemble those now in use. A "pair of balances" is a symbol of justice and fair dealing (Job 31:6; Ps. 62:9; Prov. 11:1). The expression denotes great want and scarcity in Rev. 6:5.
Baldness - from natural causes was uncommon (2 Kings 2:23; Isa. 3:24). It was included apparently under "scab" and "scurf," which disqualified for the priesthood (Lev. 21:20). The Egyptians were rarely subject to it. This probably arose from their custom of constantly shaving the head, only allowing the hair to grow as a sign of mourning. With the Jews artificial baldness was a sign of mourning (Isa. 22:12; Jer. 7:29; 16:6); it also marked the conclusion of a Nazarite's vow (Acts 18:18; 21:24; Num. 6:9). It is often alluded to (Micah 1:16; Amos 8:10; Jer. 47:5). The Jews were forbidden to follow the customs of surrounding nations in making themselves bald (Deut. 14:1).
(1.) This word occurs in the Authorized Version (Gen. 37:25; 43:11; Jer. 8:22; 46:11; 51:8; Ezek. 27:17) as the rendering of the Hebrew word tsori_ or _tseri, which denotes the gum of a tree growing in Gilead (q.v.), which is very precious. It was celebrated for its medicinal qualities, and was circulated as an article of merchandise by Arab and Phoenician merchants. The shrub so named was highly valued, and was almost peculiar to Palestine. In the time of Josephus it was cultivated in the neighbourhood of Jericho and the Dead Sea. There is an Arab tradition that the tree yielding this balm was brought by the queen of Sheba as a present to Solomon, and that he planted it in his gardens at Jericho.
(2.) There is another Hebrew word, basam_ or _bosem, from which our word "balsam," as well as the corresponding Greek balsamon, is derived. It is rendered "spice" (Cant. 5:1, 13; 6:2; margin of Revised Version, "balsam;" Ex. 35:28; 1 Kings 10:10), and denotes fragrance in general. Basam also denotes the true balsam-plant, a native of South Arabia (Cant. l.c.).
Bamoth-baal - heights of Baal, a place on the river Arnon, or in the plains through which it flows, east of Jordan (Josh. 13:17; comp. Num. 21:28). It has been supposed to be the same place as Bamoth.
Bands - (1) of love (Hos. 11:4); (2) of Christ (Ps. 2:3); (3) uniting together Christ's body the church (Col. 2:19; 3:14; Eph. 4:3); (4) the emblem of the captivity of Israel (Ezek. 34:27; Isa. 28:22; 52:2); (5) of brotherhood (Ezek. 37:15-28); (6) no bands to the wicked in their death (Ps. 73:4; Job 21:7; Ps. 10:6). Also denotes chains (Luke 8:29); companies of soldiers (Acts 21:31); a shepherd's staff, indicating the union between Judah and Israel (Zech. 11:7).
Bani - built. (1.) 1 Chr. 6:46. (2.) One of David's thirty-seven warriors, a Gadite (2 Sam. 23:36). (3.) Ezra 2:10; 10:29,34,38. (4.) A Levite who was prominent in the reforms on the return from Babylon (Neh. 8:7; 9:4,5). His son Rehum took part in rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem (Neh. 3:17).
Banner - (1.) The flag or banner of the larger kind, serving for three tribes marching together. These standards, of which there were four, were worked with embroidery and beautifully ornamented (Num. 1:52; 2:2, 3, 10, 18, 25; Cant. 2:4; 6:4, 10).
(2.) The flag borne by each separate tribe, of a smaller form. Probably it bore on it the name of the tribe to which it belonged, or some distinguishing device (Num. 2:2,34).
(3.) A lofty signal-flag, not carried about, but stationary. It was usually erected on a mountain or other lofty place. As soon as it was seen the war-trumpets were blown (Ps. 60:4; Isa. 5:26; 11:12; 13:2; 18:3; 30:17; Jer. 4:6 21; Ezek. 27:7).
(4.) A "sign of fire" (Jer. 6:1) was sometimes used as a signal.
The banners and ensigns of the Roman army had idolatrous images upon them, and hence they are called the "abomination of desolation" (q.v.). The principal Roman standard, however, was an eagle. (See Matt. 24:28; Luke 17:37, where the Jewish nation is compared to a dead body, which the eagles gather together to devour.)
God's setting up or giving a banner (Ps. 20:5; 60:4; Cant. 2:4) imports his presence and protection and aid extended to his people.
Banquet - a feast provided for the entertainment of a company of guests (Esther 5; 7; 1 Pet. 4:3); such as was provided for our Lord by his friends in Bethany (Matt. 26:6; Mark 14:3; comp. John 12:2). These meals were in the days of Christ usually called "suppers," after the custom of the Romans, and were partaken of toward the close of the day. It was usual to send a second invitation (Matt. 22:3; Luke 14:17) to those who had been already invited. When the whole company was assembled, the master of the house shut the door with his own hands (Luke 13:25; Matt. 25:10).
The guests were first refreshed with water and fragrant oil (Luke 7:38; Mark 7:4). A less frequent custom was that of supplying each guest with a robe to be worn during the feast (Eccles. 9:8; Rev. 3:4, 5; Matt. 22:11). At private banquets the master of the house presided; but on public occasions a "governor of the feast" was chosen (John 2:8). The guests were placed in order according to seniority (Gen. 43:33), or according to the rank they held (Prov. 25:6,7; Matt. 23:6; Luke 14:7).
As spoons and knives and forks are a modern invention, and were altogether unknown in the East, the hands alone were necessarily used, and were dipped in the dish, which was common to two of the guests (John 13:26). In the days of our Lord the guests reclined at table; but the ancient Israelites sat around low tables, cross-legged, like the modern Orientals. Guests were specially honoured when extra portions were set before them (Gen. 43:34), and when their cup was filled with wine till it ran over (Ps. 23:5). The hands of the guests were usually cleaned by being rubbed on bread, the crumbs of which fell to the ground, and were the portion for dogs (Matt. 15:27; Luke 16:21).
At the time of the three annual festivals at Jerusalem family banquets were common. To these the "widow, and the fatherless, and the stranger" were welcome (Deut. 16:11). Sacrifices also included a banquet (Ex. 34:15; Judg. 16:23). Birthday banquets are mentioned (Gen. 40:20; Matt. 14:6). They were sometimes protracted, and attended with revelry and excess (Gen. 21:8; 29:22; 1 Sam. 25:2,36; 2 Sam. 13:23). Portions were sometimes sent from the table to poorer friends (Neh. 8:10; Esther 9:19, 22). (See MEALS.)
Baptism, Christian - an ordinance immediately instituted by Christ (Matt. 28:19, 20), and designed to be observed in the church, like that of the Supper, "till he come." The words "baptize" and "baptism" are simply Greek words transferred into English. This was necessarily done by the translators of the Scriptures, for no literal translation could properly express all that is implied in them.
The mode of baptism can in no way be determined from the Greek word rendered "baptize." Baptists say that it means "to dip," and nothing else. That is an incorrect view of the meaning of the word. It means both (1) to dip a thing into an element or liquid, and (2) to put an element or liquid over or on it. Nothing therefore as to the mode of baptism can be concluded from the mere word used. The word has a wide latitude of meaning, not only in the New Testament, but also in the LXX. Version of the Old Testament, where it is used of the ablutions and baptisms required by the Mosaic law. These were effected by immersion, and by affusion and sprinkling; and the same word, "washings" (Heb. 9:10, 13, 19, 21) or "baptisms," designates them all. In the New Testament there cannot be found a single well-authenticated instance of the occurrence of the word where it necessarily means immersion. Moreover, none of the instances of baptism recorded in the Acts of the Apostles (2:38-41; 8:26-39; 9:17, 18; 22:12-16; 10:44-48; 16:32-34) favours the idea that it was by dipping the person baptized, or by immersion, while in some of them such a mode was highly improbable.
The gospel and its ordinances are designed for the whole world, and it cannot be supposed that a form for the administration of baptism would have been prescribed which would in any place (as in a tropical country or in polar regions) or under any circumstances be inapplicable or injurious or impossible.
Baptism and the Lord's Supper are the two symbolical ordinances of the New Testament. The Supper represents the work of Christ, and Baptism the work of the Spirit. As in the Supper a small amount of bread and wine used in this ordinance exhibits in symbol the great work of Christ, so in Baptism the work of the Holy Spirit is fully seen in the water poured or sprinkled on the person in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. That which is essential in baptism is only "washing with water," no mode being specified and none being necessary or essential to the symbolism of the ordinance.
The apostles of our Lord were baptized with the Holy Ghost (Matt. 3:11) by his coming upon them (Acts 1:8). The fire also with which they were baptized sat upon them. The extraordinary event of Pentecost was explained by Peter as a fulfilment of the ancient promise that the Spirit would be poured out in the last days (2:17). He uses also with the same reference the expression shed forth as descriptive of the baptism of the Spirit (33). In the Pentecostal baptism "the apostles were not dipped into the Spirit, nor plunged into the Spirit; but the Spirit was shed forth, poured out, fell on them (11:15), came upon them, sat on them." That was a real and true baptism. We are warranted from such language to conclude that in like manner when water is poured out, falls, comes upon or rests upon a person when this ordinance is administered, that person is baptized. Baptism is therefore, in view of all these arguments "rightly administered by pouring or sprinkling water upon the person."
The subjects of baptism. This raises questions of greater importance than those relating to its mode.
1. The controversy here is not about "believers' baptism," for that is common to all parties. Believers were baptized in apostolic times, and they have been baptized in all time by all the branches of the church. It is altogether a misrepresentation to allege, as is sometimes done by Baptists, that their doctrine is "believers' baptism." Every instance of adult baptism, or of "believers' baptism," recorded in the New Testament (Acts 2:41; 8:37; 9:17, 18; 10:47; 16:15; 19:5, etc.) is just such as would be dealt with in precisely the same way by all branches of the Protestant Church, a profession of faith or of their being "believers" would be required from every one of them before baptism. The point in dispute is not the baptism of believers, but whether the infant children of believers, i.e., of members of the church, ought to be baptized.
2. In support of the doctrine of infant baptism, i.e., of the baptism of the infants, or rather the "children," of believing parents, the following considerations may be adduced:
The Church of Christ exists as a divinely organized community. It is the "kingdom of God," one historic kingdom under all dispensations. The commonwealth of Israel was the "church" (Acts 7:38; Rom. 9:4) under the Mosaic dispensation. The New Testament church is not a new and different church, but one with that of the Old Testament. The terms of admission into the church have always been the same viz., a profession of faith and a promise of subjection to the laws of the kingdom. Now it is a fact beyond dispute that the children of God's people under the old dispensation were recognized as members of the church. Circumcision was the sign and seal of their membership. It was not because of carnal descent from Abraham, but as being the children of God's professing people, that this rite was administered (Rom. 4:11). If children were members of the church under the old dispensation, which they undoubtedly were, then they are members of the church now by the same right, unless it can be shown that they have been expressly excluded. Under the Old Testament parents acted for their children and represented them. (See Gen. 9:9; 17:10; Ex. 24:7, 8; Deut. 29:9-13.) When parents entered into covenant with God, they brought their children with them. This was a law in the Hebrew Church. When a proselyte was received into membership, he could not enter without bringing his children with him. The New Testament does not exclude the children of believers from the church. It does not deprive them of any privilege they enjoyed under the Old Testament. There is no command or statement of any kind, that can be interpreted as giving any countenance to such an idea, anywhere to be found in the New Testament. The church membership of infants has never been set aside. The ancient practice, orginally appointed by God himself, must remain a law of his kingdom till repealed by the same divine authority. There are lambs in the fold of the Good Shepherd (John 21:15; comp. Luke 1:15; Matt. 19:14; 1 Cor. 7:14).
"In a company of converts applying for admission into Christ's house there are likely to be some heads of families. How is their case to be treated? How, for example, are Lydia and her neighbour the keeper of the city prison to be treated? Both have been converted. Both are heads of families. They desire to be received into the infant church of Philippi. What is Christ's direction to them? Shall we say that it is to this effect: 'Arise, and wash away your sins, and come into my house. But you must come in by yourselves. These babes in your arms, you must leave them outside. They cannot believe yet, and so they cannot come in. Those other little ones by your side, their hearts may perhaps have been touched with the love of God; still, they are not old enough to make a personal profession, so they too must be left outside...For the present you must leave them where they are and come in by yourselves.' One may reasonably demand very stringent proofs before accepting this as a fair representation of the sort of welcome Christ offers to parents who come to his door bringing their children with them. Surely it is more consonant with all we know about him to suppose that his welcome will be more ample in its scope, and will breathe a more gracious tone. Surely it would be more like the Good Shepherd to say, 'Come in, and bring your little ones along with you. The youngest needs my salvation; and the youngest is accessible to my salvation. You may be unable as yet to deal with them about either sin or salvation, but my gracious power can find its way into their hearts even now. I can impart to them pardon and a new life. From Adam they have inherited sin and death; and I can so unite them to myself that in me they shall be heirs of righteousness and life. You may without misgiving bring them to me. And the law of my house requires that the same day which witnesses your reception into it by baptism must witness their reception also'" (The Church, by Professor Binnie, D.D.).
Baptism for the dead - only mentioned in 1 Cor. 15:29. This expression as used by the apostle may be equivalent to saying, "He who goes through a baptism of blood in order to join a glorified church which has no existence [i.e., if the dead rise not] is a fool." Some also regard the statement here as an allusion to the strange practice which began, it is said, to prevail at Corinth, in which a person was baptized in the stead of others who had died before being baptized, to whom it was hoped some of the benefits of that rite would be extended. This they think may have been one of the erroneous customs which Paul went to Corinth to "set in order."
Baptism, John's - was not Christian baptism, nor was that which was practised by the disciples previous to our Lord's crucifixion. Till then the New Testament economy did not exist. John's baptism bound its subjects to repentance, and not to the faith of Christ. It was not administered in the name of the Trinity, and those whom John baptized were rebaptized by Paul (Acts 18:24; 19:7).
Baptism of Christ - Christ had to be formally inaugurated into the public discharge of his offices. For this purpose he came to John, who was the representative of the law and the prophets, that by him he might be introduced into his offices, and thus be publicly recognized as the Messiah of whose coming the prophecies and types had for many ages borne witness.
John refused at first to confer his baptism on Christ, for he understood not what he had to do with the "baptism of repentance." But Christ said, "'Suffer it to be so now,' NOW as suited to my state of humiliation, my state as a substitute in the room of sinners." His reception of baptism was not necessary on his own account. It was a voluntary act, the same as his act of becoming incarnate. Yet if the work he had engaged to accomplish was to be completed, then it became him to take on him the likeness of a sinner, and to fulfil all righteousness (Matt. 3:15).
The official duty of Christ and the sinless person of Christ are to be distinguished. It was in his official capacity that he submitted to baptism. In coming to John our Lord virtually said, "Though sinless, and without any personal taint, yet in my public or official capacity as the Sent of God, I stand in the room of many, and bring with me the sin of the world, for which I am the propitiation." Christ was not made under the law on his own account. It was as surety of his people, a position which he spontaneously assumed. The administration of the rite of baptism was also a symbol of the baptism of suffering before him in this official capacity (Luke 12:50). In thus presenting himself he in effect dedicated or consecrated himself to the work of fulfilling all righteousness.
Bar - used to denote the means by which a door is bolted (Neh. 3:3); a rock in the sea (Jonah 2:6); the shore of the sea (Job 38:10); strong fortifications and powerful impediments, etc. (Isa. 45:2; Amos 1:5); defences of a city (1 Kings 4:13). A bar for a door was of iron (Isa. 45:2), brass (Ps. 107:16), or wood (Nah. 3:13).
Barabbas - i.e., son of Abba or of a father, a notorious robber whom Pilate proposed to condemn to death instead of Jesus, whom he wished to release, in accordance with the Roman custom (John 18:40; Mark 15:7; Luke 23:19). But the Jews were so bent on the death of Jesus that they demanded that Barabbas should be pardoned (Matt. 27:16-26; Acts 3:14). This Pilate did.
Barak - lightning, the son of Abinoam (Judg. 4:6). At the summons of Deborah he made war against Jabin. She accompanied him into the battle, and gave the signal for the little army to make the attack; in which the host of Jabin was completely routed. The battle was fought (Judg. 4:16) in the plain of Jezreel (q.v.). This deliverance of Israel is commemorated in Judg. 5. Barak's faith is commended (Heb. 11:32). "The character of Barak, though pious, does not seem to have been heroic. Like Gideon, and in a sense Samson, he is an illustration of the words in Heb. 11:34, 'Out of weakness were made strong.'" (See DEBORAH.)
Barbarian - a Greek word used in the New Testament (Rom. 1:14) to denote one of another nation. In Col. 3:11, the word more definitely designates those nations of the Roman empire that did not speak Greek. In 1 Cor. 14:11, it simply refers to one speaking a different language. The inhabitants of Malta are so called (Acts 28:1,2, 4). They were originally a Carthaginian colony. This word nowhere in Scripture bears the meaning it does in modern times.
Barber - Found only once, in Ezek. 5:1, where reference is made to the Jewish custom of shaving the head as a sign of mourning. The Nazarites were untouched by the razor from their birth (Num. 6:5). Comp. Judg. 16:19.
Barley - a grain much cultivated in Egypt (Ex. 9:31) and in Palestine (Lev. 27:16; Deut. 8:8). It was usually the food of horses (1 Kings 4:28). Barley bread was used by the poorer people (Judg. 7:13; 2 Kings 4:42). Barley of the first crop was ready for the harvest by the time of the Passover, in the middle of April (Ruth 1:22; 2 Sam. 21:9). Mention is made of barley-meal (Num. 5:15). Our Lord fed five thousand with "five barley loaves and two small fishes" (John 6:9).
Barnabas - son of consolation, the surname of Joses, a Levite (Acts 4:36). His name stands first on the list of prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch (13:1). Luke speaks of him as a "good man" (11:24). He was born of Jewish parents of the tribe of Levi. He was a native of Cyprus, where he had a possession of land (Acts 4:36, 37), which he sold. His personal appearance is supposed to have been dignified and commanding (Acts 14:11, 12). When Paul returned to Jerusalem after his conversion, Barnabas took him and introduced him to the apostles (9:27). They had probably been companions as students in the school of Gamaliel.
The prosperity of the church at Antioch led the apostles and brethren at Jerusalem to send Barnabas thither to superintend the movement. He found the work so extensive and weighty that he went to Tarsus in search of Saul to assist him. Saul returned with him to Antioch and laboured with him for a whole year (Acts 11:25, 26). The two were at the end of this period sent up to Jerusalem with the contributions the church at Antioch had made for the poorer brethren there (11:28-30). Shortly after they returned, bringing John Mark with them, they were appointed as missionaries to the heathen world, and in this capacity visited Cyprus and some of the principal cities of Asia Minor (Acts 13:14). Returning from this first missionary journey to Antioch, they were again sent up to Jerusalem to consult with the church there regarding the relation of Gentiles to the church (Acts 15:2: Gal. 2:1). This matter having been settled, they returned again to Antioch, bringing the decree of the council as the rule by which Gentiles were to be admitted into the church.
When about to set forth on a second missionary journey, a dispute arose between Saul and Barnabas as to the propriety of taking John Mark with them again. The dispute ended by Saul and Barnabas taking separate routes. Saul took Silas as his companion, and journeyed through Syria and Cilicia; while Barnabas took his nephew John Mark, and visited Cyprus (Acts 15:36-41). Barnabas is not again mentioned by Luke in the Acts.
Barren - For a woman to be barren was accounted a severe punishment among the Jews (Gen. 16:2; 30:1-23; 1 Sam. 1:6, 27; Isa. 47:9; 49:21; Luke 1:25). Instances of barrenness are noticed (Gen. 11:30; 25:21; 29:31; Judg. 13:2, 3; Luke 1:7, 36).
Barsabas - son of Saba, the surname (1) of Joseph, also called Justus (Acts 1:23), some identify him with Barnabas; (2) of Judas, who was a "prophet." Nothing more is known of him than what is mentioned in Acts 15:32.
Bartholomew - son of Tolmai, one of the twelve apostles (Matt. 10:3; Acts 1:13); generally supposed to have been the same as Nathanael. In the synoptic gospels Philip and Bartholomew are always mentioned together, while Nathanael is never mentioned; in the fourth gospel, on the other hand, Philip and Nathanael are similarly mentioned together, but nothing is said of Bartholomew. He was one of the disciples to whom our Lord appeared at the Sea of Tiberias after his resurrection (John 21:2). He was also a witness of the Ascension (Acts 1:4, 12, 13). He was an "Israelite indeed" (John 1:47).
(1.) The secretary of the prophet Jeremiah (32:12; 36:4). He was of the tribe of Judah (51:59). To him Jeremiah dictated his prophecies regarding the invasion of the Babylonians and the Captivity. These he read to the people from a window in the temple in the fourth year of the reign of Jehoiakim, king of Judah (Jer. 36). He afterwards read them before the counsellors of the king at a private interview; and then to the king himself, who, after hearing a part of the roll, cut it with a penknife, and threw it into the fire of his winter parlour, where he was sitting.
During the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, he was the keeper of the deed of purchase Jeremiah had made of the territory of Hanameel (Jer. 32:12). Being accused by his enemies of favouring the Chaldeans, he was cast, with Jeremiah, into prison, where he remained till the capture of Jerusalem (B.C. 586). He probably died in Babylon.
(2.) Neh. 3:20; 10:6; 11:5.
(1.) A Meholathite, the father of Adriel (2 Sam. 21:8).
(2.) A Gileadite of Rogelim who was distinguished for his loyalty to David. He liberally provided for the king's followers (2 Sam. 17:27). David on his death-bed, remembering his kindness, commended Barzillai's children to the care of Solomon (1 Kings 2:7).
(3.) A priest who married a daughter of the preceding (Ezra 2:61).
Bashan - light soil, first mentioned in Gen. 14:5, where it is said that Chedorlaomer and his confederates "smote the Rephaim in Ashteroth," where Og the king of Bashan had his residence. At the time of Israel's entrance into the Promised Land, Og came out against them, but was utterly routed (Num. 21:33-35; Deut. 3:1-7). This country extended from Gilead in the south to Hermon in the north, and from the Jordan on the west to Salcah on the east. Along with the half of Gilead it was given to the half-tribe of Manasseh (Josh. 13:29-31). Golan, one of its cities, became a "city of refuge" (Josh. 21:27). Argob, in Bashan, was one of Solomon's commissariat districts
(1 Kings 4:13). The cities of Bashan were taken by Hazael (2 Kings 10:33), but were soon after reconquered by Jehoash (2 Kings 13:25), who overcame the Syrians in three battles, according to the word of Elisha (19). From this time Bashan almost disappears from history, although we read of the wild cattle of its rich pastures (Ezek. 39:18; Ps. 22:12), the oaks of its forests (Isa. 2:13; Ezek. 27:6; Zech. 11:2), and the beauty of its extensive plains (Amos 4:1; Jer. 50:19). Soon after the conquest, the name "Gilead" was given to the whole country beyond Jordan. After the Exile, Bashan was divided into four districts,
(1.) Gaulonitis, or Jaulan, the most western;
(2.) Auranitis, the Hauran (Ezek. 47:16);
(3.) Argob or Trachonitis, now the Lejah; and
(4.) Batanaea, now Ard-el-Bathanyeh, on the east of the Lejah, with many deserted towns almost as perfect as when they were inhabited. (See HAURAN.)
Bashan-havoth-jair - the Bashan of the villages of Jair, the general name given to Argob by Jair, the son of Manasseh (Deut. 3:14), containing sixty cities with walls and brazen gates (Josh. 13:30; 1 Kings 4:13). (See ARGOB.)
(1.) The daughter of Ishmael, the last of Esau's three wives (Gen. 36:3, 4, 13), from whose son Reuel four tribes of the Edomites sprung. She is also called Mahalath (Gen. 28:9). It is noticeable that Esau's three wives receive different names in the genealogical table of the Edomites (Gen. 36) from those given to them in the history (Gen. 26:34; 28:9).
(2.) A daughter of Solomon, and wife of Ahimaaz, one of his officers (1 Kings 4:15).
Basilisk - (in R.V., Isa. 11:8; 14:29; 59:5; Jer. 8:17), the "king serpent," as the name imports; a fabulous serpent said to be three spans long, with a spot on its head like a crown. Probably the yellow snake is intended. (See COCKATRICE.)
(1.) A trough or laver (Heb. aggan') for washing (Ex. 24:6); rendered also "goblet" (Cant. 7:2) and "cups" (Isa. 22:24).
(2.) A covered dish or urn (Heb. k'for) among the vessels of the temple (1 Chr. 28:17; Ezra 1:10; 8:27).
(3.) A vase (Heb. mizrak) from which to sprinkle anything. A metallic vessel; sometimes rendered "bowl" (Amos 6:6; Zech. 9:15). The vessels of the tabernacle were of brass (Ex. 27:3), while those of the temple were of gold (2 Chr. 4:8).
(4.) A utensil (Heb. saph) for holding the blood of the victims (Ex. 12:22); also a basin for domestic purposes (2 Sam. 17:28).
The various vessels spoken of by the names "basin, bowl, charger, cup, and dish," cannot now be accurately distinguished.
The basin in which our Lord washed the disciples' feet (John 13:5) must have been larger and deeper than the hand-basin.
(1.) A basket (Heb. sal, a twig or osier) for holding bread (Gen. 40:16; Ex. 29:3, 23; Lev. 8:2, 26, 31; Num. 6:15, 17, 19). Sometimes baskets were made of twigs peeled; their manufacture was a recognized trade among the Hebrews.
(2.) That used (Heb. salsilloth') in gathering grapes (Jer. 6:9).
(3.) That in which the first fruits of the harvest were presented, Heb. tene, (Deut. 26:2, 4). It was also used for household purposes. In form it tapered downwards like that called corbis by the Romans.
(4.) A basket (Heb. kelub) having a lid, resembling a bird-cage. It was made of leaves or rushes. The name is also applied to fruit-baskets (Amos 8:1, 2).
(5.) A basket (Heb. dud) for carrying figs (Jer. 24:2), also clay to the brick-yard (R.V., Ps. 81:6), and bulky articles (2 Kings 10:7). This word is also rendered in the Authorized Version "kettle" (1 Sam. 2:14), "caldron" (2 Chr. 35:13), "seething-pot" (Job 41:20).
In the New Testament mention is made of the basket (Gr. kophinos, small "wicker-basket") for the "fragments" in the miracle recorded Mark 6:43, and in that recorded Matt. 15:37 (Gr. spuris, large "rope-basket"); also of the basket in which Paul escaped (Acts 9:25, Gr. spuris; 2 Cor. 11: 33, Gr. sargane, "basket of plaited cords").
Bastard - In the Old Testament the rendering of the Hebrew word mamzer', which means "polluted." In Deut. 23:2, it occurs in the ordinary sense of illegitimate offspring. In Zech. 9:6, the word is used in the sense of foreigner. From the history of Jephthah we learn that there were bastard offspring among the Jews (Judg. 11:1-7). In Heb. 12:8, the word (Gr. nothoi) is used in its ordinary sense, and denotes those who do not share the privileges of God's children.
Bastinado - beating, a mode of punishment common in the East. It is referred to by "the rod of correction" (Prov. 22:15), "scourging" (Lev. 19:20), "chastising" (Deut. 22:18). The number of blows could not exceed forty (Deut. 25:2, 3).
Bat - The Hebrew word (atalleph') so rendered (Lev. 11:19; Deut. 14:18) implies "flying in the dark." The bat is reckoned among the birds in the list of unclean animals. To cast idols to the "moles and to the bats" means to carry them into dark caverns or desolate places to which these animals resort (Isa. 2:20), i.e., to consign them to desolation or ruin.
Bath - a Hebrew liquid measure, the tenth part of an homer (1 Kings 7:26, 38; Ezek. 45:10, 14). It contained 8 gallons 3 quarts of our measure. "Ten acres of vineyard shall yield one bath" (Isa. 5:10) denotes great unproductiveness.
Baths - The use of the bath was very frequent among the Hebrews (Lev. 14:8; Num. 19:19, ect.). The high priest at his inauguration (Lev. 8:6), and on the day of atonement, was required to bathe himself (16:4, 24). The "pools" mentioned in Neh. 3:15, 16, 2 Kings 20:20, Isa. 22:11, John 9:7, were public bathing-places.
Bath-sheba - daughter of the oath, or of seven, called also Bath-shu'a (1 Chr. 3:5), was the daughter of Eliam (2 Sam. 11:3) or Ammiel (1 Chr. 3:5), and wife of Uriah the Hittite. David committed adultery with her (2 Sam. 11:4, 5; Ps. 51:1). The child born in adultery died (2 Sam. 12:15-19). After her husband was slain (11:15) she was married to David (11:27), and became the mother of Solomon (12:24; 1 Kings 1:11; 2:13). She took a prominent part in securing the succession of Solomon to the throne (1 Kings 1:11, 16-21).
Battering-ram - (Ezek. 4:2; 21:22), a military engine, consisting of a long beam of wood hung upon a frame, for making breaches in walls. The end of it which was brought against the wall was shaped like a ram's head.
Battle-bow - the war-bow used in fighting (Zech. 9:10; 10:4). "Thy bow was made quite naked" (Hab. 3:9) means that it was made ready for use. By David's order (2 Sam. 1:18) the young men were taught the use, or rather the song of the bow. (See ARMOUR, BOW.)
Bay - denotes the estuary of the Dead Sea at the mouth of the Jordan (Josh. 15:5; 18:19), also the southern extremity of the same sea (15:2). The same Hebrew word is rendered "tongue" in Isa. 11:15, where it is used with reference to the forked mouths of the Nile.
Bay in Zech. 6:3, 7 denotes the colour of horses, but the original Hebrew means strong, and is here used rather to describe the horses as fleet or spirited.
Bay tree - named only in Ps. 37:35, Authorized Version. The Hebrew word so rendered is ereh, which simply means "native born", i.e., a tree not transplanted, but growing on its native soil, and therefore luxuriantly. If the psalmist intended by this word to denote any particular tree, it may have been the evergreen bay laurel (Laurus nobilis), which is a native of Palestine. Instead of "like a green bay tree" in the Authorized Version, the Revised Version has, "like a green tree in its native soil."
Bdellium - occurs only in Gen. 2:12, where it designates a product of the land of Havilah; and in Num. 11:7, where the manna is likened to it in colour. It was probably an aromatic gum like balsam which exuded from a particular tree (Borassus flabelliformis) still found in Arabia, Media, and India. It bears a resemblance in colour to myrrh. Others think the word denotes "pearls," or some precious stone.
Beacon - a pole (Heb. to'ren) used as a standard or ensign set on the tops of mountains as a call to the people to assemble themselves for some great national purpose (Isa. 30:17). In Isa. 33:23 and Ezek. 27:5, the same word is rendered "mast." (See Banner.)
Bealoth - citizens, a town in the extreme south of Judah (Josh. 15:24); probably the same as Baalath-beer (19:8). In 1 Kings 4:16, the Authorized Version has "in Aloth," the Revised Version "Bealoth."
Beam - occurs in the Authorized Version as the rendering of various Hebrew words. In 1 Sam. 17:7, it means a weaver's frame or principal beam; in Hab. 2:11, a crossbeam or girder; 2 Kings 6:2, 5, a cross-piece or rafter of a house; 1 Kings 7:6, an architectural ornament as a projecting step or moulding; Ezek. 41:25, a thick plank. In the New Testament the word occurs only in Matt. 7:3, 4, 5, and Luke 6:41, 42, where it means (Gr. dokos) a large piece of wood used for building purposes, as contrasted with "mote" (Gr. karphos), a small piece or mere splinter. "Mote" and "beam" became proverbial for little and great faults.
Beans - mentioned in 2 Sam. 17:28 as having been brought to David when flying from Absalom. They formed a constituent in the bread Ezekiel (4:9) was commanded to make, as they were in general much used as an article of diet. They are extensively cultivated in Egypt and Arabia and Syria.
Bear - a native of the mountain regions of Western Asia, frequently mentioned in Scripture. David defended his flocks against the attacks of a bear (1 Sam. 17:34-37). Bears came out of the wood and destroyed the children who mocked the prophet Elisha (2 Kings 2:24). Their habits are referred to in Isa. 59:11; Prov. 28:15; Lam. 3:10. The fury of the female bear when robbed of her young is spoken of (2 Sam. 17:8; Prov. 17:12; Hos. 13:8). In Daniel's vision of the four great monarchies, the Medo-Persian empire is represented by a bear (7:5).
Beard - The mode of wearing it was definitely prescribed to the Jews (Lev. 19:27; 21:5). Hence the import of Ezekiel's (5:1-4) description of the "razor" i.e., the agents of an angry providence being used against the guilty nation of the Jews. It was a part of a Jew's daily toilet to anoint his beard with oil and perfume (Ps. 133:2). Beards were trimmed with the most fastidious care (2 Sam. 19:24), and their neglet was an indication of deep sorrow (Isa. 15:2; Jer. 41:5). The custom was to shave or pluck off the hair as a sign of mourning (Isa. 50:6; Jer. 48:37; Ezra 9:3). The beards of David's ambassadors were cut off by hanun (2 Sam. 10:4) as a mark of indignity.
On the other hand, the Egyptians carefully shaved the hair off their faces, and they compelled their slaves to do so also (Gen. 41:14).
Beast - This word is used of flocks or herds of grazing animals (Ex. 22:5; Num. 20:4, 8, 11; Ps. 78:48); of beasts of burden (Gen. 45:17); of eatable beasts (Prov. 9:2); and of swift beasts or dromedaries (Isa. 60:6). In the New Testament it is used of a domestic animal as property (Rev. 18:13); as used for food (1 Cor. 15:39), for service (Luke 10:34; Acts 23:24), and for sacrifice (Acts 7:42).
When used in contradistinction to man (Ps. 36:6), it denotes a brute creature generally, and when in contradistinction to creeping things (Lev. 11:2-7; 27:26), a four-footed animal.
The Mosaic law required that beasts of labour should have rest on the Sabbath (Ex. 20:10; 23:12), and in the Sabbatical year all cattle were allowed to roam about freely, and eat whatever grew in the fields (Ex. 23:11; Lev. 25:7). No animal could be castrated (Lev. 22:24). Animals of different kinds were to be always kept separate (Lev. 19:19; Deut. 22:10). Oxen when used in threshing were not to be prevented from eating what was within their reach (Deut. 25:4; 1 Cor.9:9).
This word is used figuratively of an infuriated multitude (1 Cor. 15:32; Acts 19:29; comp. Ps. 22:12, 16; Eccl. 3:18; Isa. 11:6-8), and of wicked men (2 Pet. 2:12). The four beasts of Daniel 7:3, 17, 23 represent four kingdoms or kings.
Beaten gold - in Num. 8:4, means "turned" or rounded work in gold. The Greek Version, however, renders the word "solid gold;" the Revised Version, "beaten work of gold." In 1 Kings 10:16, 17, it probably means "mixed" gold, as the word ought to be rendered, i.e., not pure gold. Others render the word in these places "thin plates of gold."
Beautiful gate - the name of one of the gates of the temple (Acts 3:2). It is supposed to have been the door which led from the court of the Gentiles to the court of the women. It was of massive structure, and covered with plates of Corinthian brass.
Becher - first-born; a youth, the second son of Benjamin (Gen. 46:21), who came down to Egypt with Jacob. It is probable that he married an Ephraimitish heiress, and that his descendants were consequently reckoned among the tribe of Ephraim (Num. 26:35; 1 Chr. 7:20, 21). They are not reckoned among the descendants of Benjamin (Num. 26:38).
Bed - (Heb. mittah), for rest at night (Ex. 8:3; 1 Sam. 19:13, 15, 16, etc.); during sickness (Gen. 47:31; 48:2; 49:33, etc.); as a sofa for rest (1 Sam. 28:23; Amos 3:12). Another Hebrew word (er'es) so rendered denotes a canopied bed, or a bed with curtains (Deut. 3:11; Ps. 132:3), for sickness (Ps. 6:6; 41:3).
In the New Testament it denotes sometimes a litter with a coverlet (Matt. 9:2, 6; Luke 5:18; Acts 5:15).
The Jewish bedstead was frequently merely the divan or platform along the sides of the house, sometimes a very slight portable frame, sometimes only a mat or one or more quilts. The only material for bed-clothes is mentioned in 1 Sam. 19:13. Sleeping in the open air was not uncommon, the sleeper wrapping himself in his outer garment (Ex. 22:26,27; Deut. 24:12,13).
Bed-chamber - an apartment in Eastern houses, furnished with a slightly elevated platform at the upper end and sometimes along the sides, on which were laid mattresses. This was the general arrangement of the public sleeping-room for the males of the family and for guests, but there were usually besides distinct bed-chambers of a more private character (2 Kings 4:10; Ex. 8:3; 2 Kings 6:12). In 2 Kings 11:2 this word denotes, as in the margin of the Revised Version, a store-room in which mattresses were kept.
Bee - First mentioned in Deut. 1:44. Swarms of bees, and the danger of their attacks, are mentioned in Ps. 118:12. Samson found a "swarm of bees" in the carcass of a lion he had slain (Judg. 14:8). Wild bees are described as laying up honey in woods and in clefts of rocks (Deut. 32:13; Ps. 81:16). In Isa. 7:18 the "fly" and the "bee" are personifications of the Egyptians and Assyrians, the inveterate enemies of Israel.
Beelzebub - (Gr. form Beel'zebul), the name given to Satan, and found only in the New Testament (Matt. 10:25; 12:24, 27; Mark 3:22). It is probably the same as Baalzebub (q.v.), the god of Ekron, meaning "the lord of flies," or, as others think, "the lord of dung," or "the dung-god."
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