Easton's Bible Dictionary

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Bealiah — Bigthan

Bealiah

whose Lord is Jehovah, a Benjamite, one of David's thirty heroes of the sling and bow ( 1 Chronicles 12:5 ).

Bealoth

citizens, a town in the extreme south of Judah ( Joshua 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 Samuel 17:7 , it means a weaver's frame or principal beam; in Habakkuk 2:11 , a crossbeam or girder; 2 Kings 6:2 2 Kings 6:5 , 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 Matthew 7:3 Matthew 7:4 Matthew 7:5 , and Luke 6:41 Luke 6:42 , 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 Samuel 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 Samuel 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 Isaiah 59:11 ; Proverbs 28:15 ; Lamentations 3:10 . The fury of the female bear when robbed of her young is spoken of ( 2 Samuel 17:8 ; Proverbs 17:12 ; Hosea 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 ( Leviticus 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 ( Psalms 133:2 ). Beards were trimmed with the most fastidious care ( 2 Samuel 19:24 ), and their neglet was an indication of deep sorrow ( Isaiah 15:2 ; Jeremiah 41:5 ). The custom was to shave or pluck off the hair as a sign of mourning ( Isaiah 50:6 ; Jeremiah 48:37 ; Ezra 9:3 ). The beards of David's ambassadors were cut off by hanun ( 2 Samuel 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 ( Genesis 41:14 ).

Beast

This word is used of flocks or herds of grazing animals ( Exodus 22:5 ; Numbers 20:4 Numbers 20:8 Numbers 20:11 ; Psalms 78:48 ); of beasts of burden ( Genesis 45:17 ); of eatable beasts ( Proverbs 9:2 ); and of swift beasts or dromedaries ( Isaiah 60:6 ). In the New Testament it is used of a domestic animal as property ( Revelation 18:13 ); as used for food ( 1 Corinthians 15:39 ), for service ( Luke 10:34 ; Acts 23:24 ), and for sacrifice ( Acts 7:42 ).

When used in contradistinction to man ( Psalms 36:6 ), it denotes a brute creature generally, and when in contradistinction to creeping things ( Leviticus 11:2-7 ; 27:26 ), a four-footed animal.

The Mosaic law required that beasts of labour should have rest on the Sabbath ( Exodus 20:10 ; 23:12 ), and in the Sabbatical year all cattle were allowed to roam about freely, and eat whatever grew in the fields ( Exodus 23:11 ; Leviticus 25:7 ). No animal could be castrated ( Leviticus 22:24 ). Animals of different kinds were to be always kept separate ( Leviticus 19:19 ; Deuteronomy 22:10 ). Oxen when used in threshing were not to be prevented from eating what was within their reach ( Deuteronomy 25:4 ; 1co.9:9).

This word is used figuratively of an infuriated multitude ( 1 Corinthians 15:32 ; Acts 19:29 ; Compare Psalms 22:12 Psalms 22:16 ; Eccl 3:18 ; Isaiah 11:6-8 ), and of wicked men ( 2 Peter 2:12 ). The four beasts of Daniel 7:3,17,23represent four kingdoms or kings.

Beaten gold

in Numbers 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 1 Kings 10:17 , 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."

Beaten oil

( Exodus 27:20 ; 29:40 ), obtained by pounding olives in a mortar, not by crushing them in a mill. It was reckoned the best. (See OLIVE .)

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 ( Genesis 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 ( Numbers 26:35 ; 1 Chronicles 7:20 1 Chronicles 7:21 ). They are not reckoned among the descendants of Benjamin ( Numbers 26:38 ).

Bed

(Heb. mittah), for rest at night ( Exodus 8:3 ; 1 Samuel 19:13 1 Samuel 19:15 1 Samuel 19:16 , etc.); during sickness ( Genesis 47:31 ; 48:2 ; 49:33 , etc.); as a sofa for rest ( 1 Samuel 28:23 ; Amos 3:12 ). Another Hebrew word (er'es) so rendered denotes a canopied bed, or a bed with curtains ( Deuteronomy 3:11 ; Psalms 132:3 ), for sickness ( Psalms 6:6 ; 41:3 ).

In the New Testament it denotes sometimes a litter with a coverlet ( Matthew 9:2 Matthew 9:6 ; 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 Samuel 19:13 . Sleeping in the open air was not uncommon, the sleeper wrapping himself in his outer garment ( Exodus 22:26 Exodus 22:27 ; Deuteronomy 24:12 Deuteronomy 24:13 ).

Bedan

one of the judges of Israel ( 1 Samuel 12:11 ). It is uncertain who he was. Some suppose that Barak is meant, others Samson, but most probably this is a contracted form of Abdon ( Judges 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 ; Exodus 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.

Bedstead

used in Deuteronomy 3:11 , but elsewhere rendered "couch," "bed." In 2 Kings 1:4 ; 16:2 ; Psalms 132:3 ; Amos 3:12 , the divan is meant by this word.

Bee

First mentioned in Deuteronomy 1:44 . Swarms of bees, and the danger of their attacks, are mentioned in Psalms 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 ( Deuteronomy 32:13 ; Psalms 81:16 ). In Isaiah 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 ( Matthew 10:25 ; Matthew 12:24 Matthew 12:27 ; 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."

Beer

well.

1. A place where a well was dug by the direction of Moses, at the forty-fourth station of the Hebrews in their wanderings ( Numbers 21:16-18 ) in the wilderness of Moab. (See WELL .)

2. A town in the tribe of Judah to which Jotham fled for fear of Abimelech ( Judges 9:21 ). Some have identified this place with Beeroth.

Beer-elim

well of heroes, probably the name given to Beer, the place where the chiefs of Israel dug a well ( Numbers 21:16 ; Isaiah 15:8 ).

Beeri

illustrious, or the well-man.

1. The father of Judith, one of the wives of Esau ( Genesis 26:34 ), the same as Adah ( Genesis 36:2 ).

2. The father of the prophet ( Hosea 1:1 ).

Beer-lahai-roi

i.e., "the well of him that liveth and seeth me," or, as some render it, "the well of the vision of life", the well where the Lord met with Hagar ( Genesis 16:7-14 ). Isaac dwelt beside this well ( 24:62 ; 25:11 ). It has been identified with 'Ain Muweileh, or Moilahhi, south-west of Beersheba, and about 12 miles W. from Kadesh-barnea.

Beeroth

wells, one of the four cities of the Hivites which entered by fraud into a league with Joshua. It belonged to Benjamin ( Joshua 18:25 ). It has by some been identified with el-Bireh on the way to Nablus, 10 miles north of Jerusalem.

Beeroth of the children of Jaakan

( Deuteronomy 10:6 ). The same as Bene-jaakan ( Numbers 33:31 ).

Beersheba

well of the oath, or well of seven, a well dug by Abraham, and so named because he and Abimelech here entered into a compact ( Genesis 21:31 ). On re-opening it, Isaac gave it the same name ( Genesis 26:31-33 ). It was a favourite place of abode of both of these patriarchs ( Genesis 21:33-22:1 Genesis 21:19 ; 26:33 ; 28:10 ). It is mentioned among the "cities" given to the tribe of Simeon ( Joshua 19:2 ; 1 Chronicles 4:28 ). From Dan to Beersheba, a distance of about 144 miles ( Judges 20:1 ; 1 Chronicles 21:2 ; 2 Sam 24:2 ), became the usual way of designating the whole Promised Land, and passed into a proverb. After the return from the Captivity the phrase is narrowed into "from Beersheba unto the valley of Hinnom" ( Nehemiah 11:30 ). The kingdom of the ten tribes extended from Beersheba to Mount Ephraim ( 2 Chronicles 19:4 ). The name is not found in the New Testament. It is still called by the Arabs Bir es-Seba, i.e., "well of the seven", where there are to the present day two principal wells and five smaller ones. It is nearly midway between the southern end of the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean.

Beetle

(Heb. hargol, meaning "leaper"). Mention of it is made only in Leviticus 11:22 , where it is obvious the word cannot mean properly the beetle. It denotes some winged creeper with at least four feet, "which has legs above its feet, to leap withal." The description plainly points to the locust (q.v.). This has been an article of food from the earliest times in the East to the present day. The word is rendered "cricket" in the Revised Version.

Beeves

(an old English plural of the word beef), a name applicable to all ruminating animals except camels, and especially to the Bovidce, or horned cattle ( Leviticus 22:19 Leviticus 22:21 ; Numbers 31:28 Numbers 31:30 Numbers 31:33 Numbers 31:38 Numbers 31:44 ).

Beg

That the poor existed among the Hebrews we have abundant evidence ( Exodus 23:11 ; Deuteronomy 15:11 ), but there is no mention of beggars properly so called in the Old Testament. The poor were provided for by the law of Moses ( Leviticus 19:10 ; Deuteronomy 12:12 ; 14:29 ). It is predicted of the seed of the wicked that they shall be beggars ( Psalms 37:25 ; 109:10 ).

In the New Testament we find not seldom mention made of beggars ( Mark 10:46 ; Luke 16:20 Luke 16:21 ; Acts 3:2 ), yet there is no mention of such a class as vagrant beggars, so numerous in the East. "Beggarly," in Galatians 4:9 , means worthless.

Behead

a method of taking away life practised among the Egyptians ( Genesis 40:17-19 ). There are instances of this mode of punishment also among the Hebrews ( 2 Samuel 4:8 ; 2 Samuel 20:21 2 Samuel 20:22 ; 2 Kings 10:6-8 ). It is also mentioned in the New Testament ( Matthew 14:8-12 ; Acts 12:2 ).

Behemoth

( Job 40:15-24 ). Some have supposed this to be an Egyptian word meaning a "water-ox." The Revised Version has here in the margin "hippopotamus," which is probably the correct rendering of the word. The word occurs frequently in Scripture, but, except here, always as a common name, and translated "beast" or "cattle."

Bekah

Both the name and its explanation, "a half shekel," are given in Exodus 38:26 . The word properly means a "division," a "part." (RSV, "beka.")

Bel

the Aramaic form of Baal, the national god of the Babylonians ( Isaiah 46:1 ; Jeremiah 50:2 ; 51:44 ). It signifies "lord." (See BAAL .)

Bela

a thing swallowed.

1. A city on the shore of the Dead Sea, not far from Sodom, called also Zoar. It was the only one of the five cities that was spared at Lot's intercession ( Genesis 19:20 Genesis 19:23 ). It is first mentioned in Genesis 14:2 Genesis 14:8 .

2. The eldest son of Benjamin ( Numbers 26:38 ; "Belah," Genesis 46:21 ).

3. The son of Beor, and a king of Edom ( Genesis 36:32 Genesis 36:33 ; 1 Chronicles 1:43 ).

4. A son of Azaz ( 1 Chronicles 5:8 ).

Belial

worthlessness, frequently used in the Old Testament as a proper name. It is first used in Deuteronomy 13:13 . In the New Testament it is found only in 2 Corinthians 6:15 , where it is used as a name of Satan, the personification of all that is evil. It is translated "wicked" in Deuteronomy 15:9 ; Psalms 41:8 (RSV marg.); 101:3 ; Proverbs 6:12 , etc. The expression "son" or "man of Belial" means simply a worthless, lawless person ( Judges 19:22 ; 20:13 ; 1 Samuel 1:16 ; 2:12 ).

Bell

The bells first mentioned in Scripture are the small golden bells attached to the hem of the high priest's ephod ( Exodus 28:33 Exodus 28:34 Exodus 28:35 ). The "bells of the horses" mentioned by ( Zechariah 14:20 ) were attached to the bridles or belts round the necks of horses trained for war, so as to accustom them to noise and tumult.

Bellows

occurs only in Jeremiah 6:29 , in relation to the casting of metal. Probably they consisted of leather bags similar to those common in Egypt.

Belly

the seat of the carnal affections ( Titus 1:12 ; Phil 3:19 ; Romans 16:18 ). The word is used symbolically for the heart ( Proverbs 18:8 ; 20:27 ; 22:18 , marg.). The "belly of hell" signifies the grave or underworld ( Jonah 2:2 ).

Belshazzar

Bel protect the king!, the last of the kings of Babylon ( Daniel 5:1 ). He was the son of Nabonidus by Nitocris, who was the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar and the widow of Nergal-sharezer. When still young he made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and when heated with wine sent for the sacred vessels his "father" ( Daniel 5:2 ), or grandfather, Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from the temple in Jerusalem, and he and his princes drank out of them. In the midst of their mad revelry a hand was seen by the king tracing on the wall the announcement of God's judgment, which that night fell upon him. At the instance of the queen (i.e., his mother) Daniel was brought in, and he interpreted the writing. That night the kingdom of the Chaldeans came to an end, and the king was slain ( Daniel 5:30 ). (See NERGAL-SHAREZER.)

The absence of the name of Belshazzar on the monuments was long regarded as an argument against the genuineness of the Book of Daniel. In 1854 Sir Henry Rawlinson found an inscription of Nabonidus which referred to his eldest son. Quite recently, however, the side of a ravine undermined by heavy rains fell at Hillah, a suburb of Babylon. A number of huge, coarse earthenware vases were laid bare. These were filled with tablets, the receipts and contracts of a firm of Babylonian bankers, which showed that Belshazzar had a household, with secretaries and stewards. One was dated in the third year of the king Marduk-sar-uzur. As Marduk-sar-uzar was another name for Baal, this Marduk-sar-uzur was found to be the Belshazzar of Scripture. In one of these contract tablets, dated in the July after the defeat of the army of Nabonidus, we find him paying tithes for his sister to the temple of the sun-god at Sippara.

Belteshazzar

Beltis protect the king!, the Chaldee name given to Daniel by Nebuchadnezzar ( Daniel 1:7 ).

Benaiah

built up by Jehovah.

1. The son of Jehoiada, chief priest ( 1 Chronicles 27:5 ). He was set by David over his body-guard of Cherethites and Pelethites ( 2 Samuel 8:18 ; 1 Kings 1:32 ; 1 Chronicles 18:17 ). His exploits are enumerated in 2 Samuel 23:20 2 Samuel 23:21 2 Samuel 23:22 ; 1 Chronicles 11:22 . He remained faithful to Solomon ( 1 Kings 1:8 1 Kings 1:10 1 Kings 1:26 ), by whom he was raised to the rank of commander-in-chief ( 1 Kings 2:25 1 Kings 2:29 1 Kings 2:30 1 Kings 2:34 1 Kings 2:35 ; 4:4 ).

2. 2 Samuel 23:30 ; 1 Chronicles 11:31 .

3. A musical Levite ( 1 Chronicles 15:18 1 Chronicles 15:20 ).

4. A priest ( 1 Chronicles 15:24 ; 16:6 ).

5. The son of Jeiel ( 2 Chronicles 20:14 ).

Ben-ammi

son of my kindred; i.e., "born of incest", the son of Lot by his youngest daughter ( Genesis 19:38 ).

Bench

deck of a Tyrian ship, described by ( Ezekiel 27:6 ) as overlaid with box-wood.

Bene-jaakan

children of Jaakan ( Numbers 33:31 Numbers 33:32 ), the same as Beeroth.

Ben-hadad

the standing title of the Syrian kings, meaning "the son of Hadad." (See HADADEZER .)

1. The king of Syria whom Asa, king of Judah, employed to invade Israel ( 1 Kings 15:18 ).

2. Son of the preceding, also king of Syria. He was long engaged in war against Israel. He was murdered probably by Hazael, by whom he was succeeded ( 2 Kings 8:7-15 ), after a reign of some thirty years.

3. King of Damascus, and successor of his father Hazael on the throne of Syria ( 2 Kings 13:3 2 Kings 13:4 ). His misfortunes in war are noticed by ( Amos 1:4 ).

Benjamin

son of my right hand.

1. The younger son of Jacob by Rachel ( Genesis 35:18 ). His birth took place at Ephrath, on the road between Bethel and Bethlehem, at a short distance from the latter place. His mother died in giving him birth, and with her last breath named him Ben-oni, son of my pain, a name which was changed by his father into Benjamin. His posterity are called Benjamites ( Genesis 49:27 ; Deuteronomy 33:12 ; Joshua 18:21 ). The tribe of Benjamin at the Exodus was the smallest but one ( Numbers 1:36 Numbers 1:37 ; Psalms 68:27 ). During the march its place was along with Manasseh and Ephraim on the west of the tabernacle. At the entrance into Canaan it counted 45,600 warriors. It has been inferred by some from the words of Jacob ( Genesis 49:27 ) that the figure of a wolf was on the tribal standard. This tribe is mentioned in Romans 11:1 ; Phil 3:5 . The inheritance of this tribe lay immediately to the south of that of Ephraim, and was about 26 miles in length and 12 in breadth. Its eastern boundary was the Jordan. Dan intervened between it and the Philistines. Its chief towns are named in Joshua 18:21-28 . The history of the tribe contains a sad record of a desolating civil war in which they were engaged with the other eleven tribes. By it they were almost exterminated ( Judges 20:20 Judges 20:21 ; 21:10 ). (See GIBEAH .) The first king of the Jews was Saul, a Benjamite. A close alliance was formed between this tribe and that of Judah in the time of David ( 2 Samuel 19:16 2 Samuel 19:17 ), which continued after his death ( 1 Kings 11:13 ; 12:20 ). After the Exile these two tribes formed the great body of the Jewish nation ( Ezra 1:5 ; 10:9 ). The tribe of Benjamin was famous for its archers ( 1 Samuel 20:20 1 Samuel 20:36 ; 2 Sam 1:22 ; 1 Chronicles 8:40 ; 12:2 ) and slingers (Judge. 20:6 ). The gate of Benjamin, on the north side of Jerusalem ( Jeremiah 37:13 ; 38:7 ; Zechariah 14:10 ), was so called because it led in the direction of the territory of the tribe of Benjamin. It is called by ( Jeremiah 20:2 ) "the high gate of Benjamin;" also "the gate of the children of the people" ( 17:19 ). (Compare 2 Kings 14:13 .)

Beor

a torch.

1. The father of Bela, one of the kings of Edom ( Genesis 36:32 ).

2. The father of Balaam ( Numbers 22:5 ; Numbers 24:3 Numbers 24:15 ; 31:8 ). In 2 Peter 2:15 he is called Bosor.

Bera

gift, or son of evil, king of Sodom at the time of the invasion of the four kings under Chedorlaomer ( Genesis 14:2 Genesis 14:8 Genesis 14:17 Genesis 14:21 ).

Berachah

blessing.

1. A valley not far from Engedi, where Jehoshaphat overthrew the Moabites and Ammonites ( 2 Chronicles 20:26 ). It has been identified with the valley of Bereikut. (RSV, "Beracah.")

2. One of the Benjamite warriors, Saul's brethren, who joined David when at Ziklag ( 1 Chronicles 12:3 ).

Berea

a city of Macedonia to which Paul with Silas and Timotheus went when persecuted at Thessalonica ( Acts 17:10 Acts 17:13 ), and from which also he was compelled to withdraw, when he fled to the sea-coast and thence sailed to Athens (14,15). Sopater, one of Paul's companions belonged to this city, and his conversion probably took place at this time ( Acts 20:4 ). It is now called Verria.

Berechiah

blessed by Jehovah.

1. Son of Shimea, and father of Asaph the musician ( 1 Chronicles 6:39 ; 15:17 ).

2. One of the seven Ephraimite chieftains, son of Meshillemoth ( 2 Chronicles 28:12 ).

3. The fourth of the five sons of Zerubbabel, of the royal family of Judah ( 1 Chronicles 3:20 ).

4. The father of the prophet ( Zechariah 1:1 Zechariah 1:7 ).

Bered

hail.

1. A town in the south of Palestine ( Genesis 16:14 ), in the desert of Shur, near Lahai-roi.

2. A son of Shuthelah, and grandson of Ephraim ( 1 Chronicles 7:20 ).

Beriah

a gift, or in evil.

1. One of Asher's four sons, and father of Heber ( Genesis 46:17 ).

2. A son of Ephraim ( 1 Chronicles 7:20-23 ), born after the slaughter of his brothers, and so called by his father "because it went evil with his house" at that time.

3. A Benjamite who with his brother Shema founded Ajalon and expelled the Gittites ( 1 Chronicles 8:13 ).

Bernice

bearer of victory, the eldest daughter of Agrippa I., the Herod Agrippa of Acts 12:20 . After the early death of her first husband she was married to her uncle Herod, king of Chalcis. After his death (A.D. 40) she lived in incestuous connection with her brother Agrippa II. ( Acts 25:13 Acts 25:23 ; 26:30 ). They joined the Romans at the outbreak of the final war between them and the Jews, and lived afterwards at Rome.

Berodach-baladan

the king of Babylon who sent a friendly deputation to Hezekiah ( 2 Kings 20:12 ). In Isaiah 39:1 he is called Merodach-baladan (q.v.).

Beryl

the rendering in the Authorized Version of the Hebrew word tarshish , a precious stone; probably so called as being brought from Tarshish. It was one of the stones on the breastplate of the high priest ( Exodus 28:20 ; RSV marg., "chalcedony;" 39:13 ). The colour of the wheels in Ezekiel's vision was as the colour of a beryl stone ( 1:16 ; 10:9 ; RSV, "stone of Tarshish"). It is mentioned in Cant 5:14 ; Daniel 10:6 ; Revelation 21:20 . In Ezekiel 28:13 the LXX. render the word by "chrysolite," which the Jewish historian Josephus regards as its proper translation. This also is the rendering given in the Authorized Version in the margin. That was a gold-coloured gem, the topaz of ancient authors.

Besom

the rendering of a Hebrew word meaning sweeper, occurs only in Isaiah 14:23 , of the sweeping away, the utter ruin, of Babylon.

Besor

cold, a ravine or brook in the extreme south-west of Judah, where 200 of David's men stayed behind because they were faint, while the other 400 pursued the Amalekites ( 1 Samuel 30:9 1 Samuel 30:10 1 Samuel 30:21 ). Probably the Wadyes Sheriah, south of Gaza.

Bestead

the rendering in Isaiah 8:21 , where alone it occurs, of a Hebrew word meaning to oppress, or be in circumstances of hardship.

Betah

confidence, a city belonging to Hadadezer, king of Zobah, which yielded much spoil of brass to David ( 2 Samuel 8:8 ). In 1 Chronicles 18:8 it is called Tibhath.

Beth

occurs frequently as the appellation for a house, or dwelling-place, in such compounds as the words immediately following:

Bethabara

house of the ford, a place on the east bank of the Jordan, where John was baptizing ( John 1:28 ). It may be identical with Bethbarah, the ancient ford of Jordan of which the men of Ephraim took possession ( Judges 7:24 ). The Revised Version reads "Bethany beyond Jordan." It was the great ford, and still bears the name of "the ford," Makhadhet 'Abarah, "the ford of crossing over," about 25 miles from Nazareth. (See BETHBARAH .)

Beth-anath

house of response, one of the fenced cities of Naphtali ( Joshua 19:38 ). It is perhaps identical with the modern village 'Ainata, 6 miles west of Kedesh.

Beth-anoth

house of answers, a city in the mountainous district of Judah ( Joshua 15:59 ). It has been identified with the modern Beit-'Anun, about 3 miles northeast of Hebron.

Bethany

house of dates.

1. The Revised Version in John 1:28 has this word instead of Bethabara, on the authority of the oldest manuscripts. It appears to have been the name of a place on the east of Jordan.

2. A village on the south-eastern slope of the Mount of Olives ( Mark 11:1 ), about 2 miles east of Jerusalem, on the road to Jericho. It derived its name from the number of palm-trees which grew there. It was the residence of Lazarus and his sisters. It is frequently mentioned in connection with memorable incidents in the life of our Lord ( Matthew 21:17 ; 26:6 ; Mark 11:11 Mark 11:12 ; 14:3 ; Luke 24:50 ; John 11:1 ; 12:1 ). It is now known by the name of el-Azariyeh, i.e., "place of Lazarus," or simply Lazariyeh. See n from a distance, the village has been described as "remarkably beautiful, the perfection of retirement and repose, of seclusion and lovely peace." Now a mean village, containing about twenty families.

Beth-arabah

house of the desert, one of the six cities of Judah, situated in the sunk valley of the Jordan and Dead Sea ( Joshua 18:22 ). In Joshua 15:61 it is said to have been "in the wilderness." It was afterwards included in the towns of Benjamin. It is called Arabah ( Joshua 18:18 ).

Beth-aram

house of the height; i.e., "mountain-house", one of the towns of Gad, 3 miles east of Jordan, opposite Jericho ( Joshua 13:27 ). Probably the same as Beth-haran in Numbers 32:36 . It was called by king Herod, Julias, or Livias, after Livia, the wife of Augustus. It is now called Beit-haran.

Beth-arbel

house of God's court, a place alluded to by ( Hosea 10:14 ) as the scene of some great military exploit, but not otherwise mentioned in Scripture. The Shalman here named was probably Shalmaneser, the king of Assyria ( 2 Kings 17:3 ).

Beth-aven

house of nothingness; i.e., "of idols", a place in the mountains of Benjamin, east of Bethel ( Joshua 7:2 ; 18:12 ; 1 Samuel 13:5 ). In Hosea 4:15 ; 5:8 ; 10:5 it stands for "Bethel" (q.v.), and it is so called because it was no longer the "house of God," but "the house of idols," referring to the calves there worshipped.

Beth-barah

house of crossing, a place south of the scene of Gideon's victory ( Judges 7:24 ). It was probably the chief ford of the Jordan in that district, and may have been that by which Jacob crossed when he returned from Mesopotamia, near the Jabbok ( Genesis 32:22 ), and at which Jephthah slew the Ephraimites ( Judges 12:4 ). Nothing, however, is certainly known of it. (See BETHABARA .)

Beth-car

sheep-house, a place to which the Israelites pursued the Philistines west from Mizpeh ( 1 Samuel 7:11 ).

Beth-dagon

house of Dagon.

1. A city in the low country or plain of Judah, near Philistia ( Joshua 15:41 ); the modern Beit Degan, about 5 miles from Lydda.

2. A city near the south-east border of Asher ( Joshua 19:27 ). It was a Philistine colony. It is identical with the modern ruined village of Tell D'auk.

Beth-diblathaim

house of two cakes of figs, a city of Moab, upon which ( Jeremiah 48:22 ) denounced destruction. It is called also Almon-diblathaim ( Numbers 33:46 ) and Diblath ( Ezekiel 6:14 ). (RSV, "Diblah.")

Bethel

house of God.

1. A place in Central Palestine, about 10 miles north of Jerusalem, at the head of the pass of Michmash and Ai. It was originally the royal Canaanite city of Luz ( Genesis 28:19 ). The name Bethel was at first apparently given to the sanctuary in the neighbourhood of Luz, and was not given to the city itself till after its conquest by the tribe of Ephraim. When Abram entered Canaan he formed his second encampment between Bethel and Hai ( Genesis 12:8 ); and on his return from Egypt he came back to it, and again "called upon the name of the Lord" ( 13:4 ). Here Jacob, on his way from Beersheba to Haran, had a vision of the angels of God ascending and descending on the ladder whose top reached unto heaven ( Genesis 28:10 Genesis 28:19 ); and on his return he again visited this place, "where God talked with him" ( 35:1-15 ), and there he "built an altar, and called the place El-beth-el" (q.v.). To this second occasion of God's speaking with Jacob at Bethel, ( Hosea 12:4 Hosea 12:5 ) makes reference. In troublous times the people went to Bethel to ask counsel of God ( Judges 20:18 Judges 20:31 ; 21:2 ). Here the ark of the covenant was kept for a long time under the care of Phinehas, the grandson of Aaron ( 20:26-28 ). Here also Samuel held in rotation his court of justice ( 1 Samuel 7:16 ). It was included in Israel after the kingdom was divided, and it became one of the seats of the worship of the golden calf ( 1 Kings 12:28-33 ; 13:1 ). Hence the prophet Hosea ( Hosea 4:15 ; 5:8 ; Hosea 10:5 Hosea 10:8 ) calls it in contempt Beth-aven, i.e., "house of idols." Bethel remained an abode of priests even after the kingdom of Israel was desolated by the king of Assyria ( 2 Kings 17:28 2 Kings 17:29 ). At length all traces of the idolatries were extirpated by Josiah, king of Judah ( 2 Kings 23:15-18 ); and the place was still in existence after the Captivity ( Ezra 2:28 ; Nehemiah 7:32 ). It has been identified with the ruins of Beitin, a small village amid extensive ruins some 9 miles south of Shiloh.

2. Mount Bethel was a hilly district near Bethel ( Joshua 16:1 ; 1 Samuel 13:2 ).

3. A town in the south of Judah ( Joshua 8:17 ; 12:16 ).

Bethelite

a designation of Hiel (q.v.), who rebuilt Jericho and experienced the curse pronounced long before ( 1 Kings 16:34 ).

Bether

dissection or separation, certain mountains mentioned in Cant. 2:17 ; probably near Lebanon.

Bethesda

house of mercy, a reservoir (Gr. kolumbethra, "a swimming bath") with five porches, close to the sheep-gate or market ( Nehemiah 3:1 ; John 5:2 ). Eusebius the historian (A.D. 330) calls it "the sheep-pool." It is also called "Bethsaida" and "Beth-zatha" ( John 5:2 , RSV marg.). Under these "porches" or colonnades were usually a large number of infirm people waiting for the "troubling of the water." It is usually identified with the modern so-called Fountain of the Virgin, in the valley of the Kidron, and not far from the Pool of Siloam (q.v.); and also with the Birket Israel, a pool near the mouth of the valley which runs into the Kidron south of "St. Stephen's Gate." Others again identify it with the twin pools called the "Souterrains," under the convent of the Sisters of Zion, situated in what must have been the rock-hewn ditch between Bezetha and the fortress of Antonia. But quite recently Schick has discovered a large tank, as sketched here, situated about 100 feet north-west of St. Anne's Church, which is, as he contends, very probably the Pool of Bethesda. No certainty as to its identification, however, has as yet been arrived at. (See FOUNTAIN; GIHON .)

Beth-gamul

camel-house, a city in the "plain country" of Moab denounced by the prophet ( Jeremiah 48:23 ); probably the modern Um-el-Jemal, near Bozrah, one of the deserted cities of the Hauran.

Beth-gilgal

house of Gilgal, a place from which the inhabitants gathered for the purpose of celebrating the rebuilding of the walls on the return exile ( Nehemiah 12:29 ). (See GILGAL .)

Beth-haccerem

house of a vineyard, a place in the tribe of Judah ( Nehemiah 3:14 ) where the Benjamites were to set up a beacon when they heard the trumpet against the invading army of the Babylonians ( Jeremiah 6:1 ). It is probable that this place is the modern 'Ain Karim, or "well of the vineyards," near which there is a ridge on which are cairns which may have served as beacons of old, one of which is 40 feet high and 130 in diameter.

Beth-horon

house of the hollow, or of the cavern, the name of two towns or villages ( 2 Chronicles 8:5 ; 1 Chronicles 7:24 ) in the territory of Ephraim, on the way from Jerusalem to Joppa. They are distinguished as Beth-horon "the upper" and Beth-horon "the nether." They are about 2 miles apart, the former being about 10 miles north-west of Jerusalem. Between the two places was the ascent and descent of Beth-horon, leading from Gibeon down to the western plain ( Joshua 10:10 Joshua 10:11 ; Joshua 18:13 Joshua 18:14 ), down which the five kings of the Amorites were driven by Joshua in that great battle, the most important in which the Hebrews had been as yet engaged, being their first conflict with their enemies in the open field. Jehovah interposed in behalf of Israel by a terrific hailstorm, which caused more deaths among the Canaanites than did the swords of the Israelites. Beth-horon is mentioned as having been taken by Shishak, B.C. 945, in the list of his conquests, and the pass was the scene of a victory of Judas Maccabeus. (Compare Exodus 9:19 Exodus 9:25 ; Job 38:22 Job 38:23 ; Psalms 18:12-14 ; Isaiah 30:30 .) The modern name of these places is Beit-ur, distinguished by el-Foka, "the upper," and el-Tahta, "the nether." The lower was at the foot of the pass, and the upper, 500 feet higher, at the top, west of Gibeon. (See GIBEON .)

Beth-jeshimoth

house of wastes, or deserts, a town near Abel-shittim, east of Jordan, in the desert of Moab, where the Israelites encamped not long before crossing the Jordan ( Numbers 33:49 ; A.V., "Bethjesimoth"). It was within the territory of Sihon, king of the Amorites ( Joshua 12:3 ).

Beth-le-Aphrah

(RSV Micah 1:10 ), house of dust. The Authorized Version reads "in the house of Aphrah." This is probably the name of a town in the Shephelah, or "low country," between Joppa and Gaza.

Bethlehem

house of bread.

1. A city in the "hill country" of Judah. It was originally called Ephrath ( Genesis 35:16 Genesis 35:19 ; 48:7 ; Ruth 4:11 ). It was also called Beth-lehem Ephratah ( Micah 5:2 ), Beth-lehem-judah ( 1 Samuel 17:12 ), and "the city of David" ( Luke 2:4 ). It is first noticed in Scripture as the place where Rachel died and was buried "by the wayside," directly to the north of the city ( Genesis 48:7 ). The valley to the east was the scene of the story of Ruth the Moabitess. There are the fields in which she gleaned, and the path by which she and Naomi returned to the town. Here was David's birth-place, and here also, in after years, he was anointed as king by Samuel ( 1 Samuel 16:4-13 ); and it was from the well of Bethlehem that three of his heroes brought water for him at the risk of their lives when he was in the cave of Adullam ( 2 Samuel 23:13-17 ). But it was distinguished above every other city as the birth-place of "Him whose goings forth have been of old" ( Matthew 2:6 ; Compare Micah 5:2 ). Afterwards Herod, "when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men," sent and slew "all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under" ( Matthew 2:16 Matthew 2:18 ; Jeremiah 31:15 ). Bethlehem bears the modern name of Beit-Lahm, i.e., "house of flesh." It is about 5 miles south of Jerusalem, standing at an elevation of about 2,550 feet above the sea, thus 100 feet higher than Jerusalem. There is a church still existing, built by Constantine the Great (A.D. 330), called the "Church of the Nativity," over a grotto or cave called the "holy crypt," and said to be the "stable" in which Jesus was born. This is perhaps the oldest existing Christian church in the world. Close to it is another grotto, where Jerome the Latin father is said to have spent thirty years of his life in translating the Scriptures into Latin. (See VERSION .)

2. A city of Zebulun, mentioned only in Joshua 19:15 . Now Beit-Lahm, a ruined village about 6 miles west-north-west of Nazareth.

Beth-peor

house of Peor; i.e., "temple of Baal-peor", a place in Moab, on the east of Jordan, opposite Jericho. It was in the tribe of Reuben ( Joshua 13:20 ; Deuteronomy 3:29 ; 4:46 ). In the "ravine" or valley over against Beth-peor Moses was probably buried ( Deuteronomy 34:6 ).

Beth-phage

house of the unripe fig, a village on the Mount of Olives, on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho ( Matthew 21:1 ; Mark 11:1 ; Luke 19:29 ), and very close to Bethany. It was the limit of a Sabbath-day's journey from Jerusalem, i.e., 2,000 cubits. It has been identified with the modern Kefr-et-Tur.

Bethsaida

house of fish.

1. A town in Galilee, on the west side of the sea of Tiberias, in the "land of Gennesaret." It was the native place of Peter, Andrew, and Philip, and was frequently resorted to by Jesus ( Mark 6:45 ; John 1:44 ; 12:21 ). It is supposed to have been at the modern 'Ain Tabighah, a bay to the north of Gennesaret.

2. A city near which Christ fed 5,000 ( Luke 9:10 ; Compare John 6:17 ; Matthew 14:15-21 ), and where the blind man had his sight restored ( Mark 8:22 ), on the east side of the lake, two miles up the Jordan. It stood within the region of Gaulonitis, and was enlarged by Philip the tetrarch, who called it "Julias," after the emperor's daughter. Or, as some have supposed, there may have been but one Bethsaida built on both sides of the lake, near where the Jordan enters it. Now the ruins et-Tel.

Beth-shean

house of security or rest, a city which belonged to Manasseh ( 1 Chronicles 7:29 ), on the west of Jordan. The bodies of Saul and his sons were fastened to its walls. In Solomon's time it gave its name to a district ( 1 Kings 4:12 ). The name is found in an abridged form, Bethshan, in 1Sam 31:10,12and 2 Samuel 21:12 . It is on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus, about 5 miles from the Jordan, and 14 from the south end of the Lake of Gennesaret. After the Captivity it was called Scythopolis, i.e., "the city of the Scythians," who about B.C. 640 came down from the steppes of Southern Russia and settled in different places in Syria. It is now called Beisan.

Beth-shemesh

house of the sun.

1. A sacerdotal city in the tribe of Dan ( Joshua 21:16 ; 1 Samuel 6:15 ), on the north border of Judah ( Joshua 15:10 ). It was the scene of an encounter between Jehoash, king of Israel, and Amaziah, king of Judah, in which the latter was made prisoner ( 2 Kings 14:11 2 Kings 14:13 ). It was afterwards taken by the Philistines ( 2 Chronicles 28:18 ). It is the modern ruined Arabic village 'Ain-shems, on the north-west slopes of the mountains of Judah, 14 miles west of Jerusalem.

2. A city between Dothan and the Jordan, near the southern border of Issachar ( Joshua 19:22 ), 7 1/2 miles south of Beth-shean. It is the modern Ain-esh-Shemsiyeh.

3. One of the fenced cities of Naphtali ( Joshua 19:38 ), between Mount Tabor and the Jordan. Now Khurbet Shema, 3 miles west of Safed. But perhaps the same as No. 2.

4. An idol sanctuary in Egypt ( Jeremiah 43:13 ); called by the Greeks Heliopolis, and by the Egyptians On (q.v.), Genesis 41:45 .

Beth-tappuah

house of apples, a town of Judah, now Tuffuh, 5 miles west of Hebron ( Joshua 15:53 ).

Bethuel

man of God, or virgin of God, or house of God.

1. The son of Nahor by Milcah; nephew of Abraham, and father of Rebekah ( Genesis 22:22 Genesis 22:23 ; Genesis 24:15 Genesis 24:24 Genesis 24:47 ). He appears in person only once ( 24:50 ).

2. A southern city of Judah ( 1 Chronicles 4:30 ); called also Bethul ( Joshua 19:4 ) and Bethel ( 12:16 ; 1 Samuel 30:27 ).

Bethzur

house of rock, a town in the mountains of Judah ( Joshua 15:58 ), about 4 miles to the north of Hebron. It was built by Rehoboam for the defence of his kingdom ( 2 Chronicles 11:7 ). It stood near the modern ed-Dirweh. Its ruins are still seen on a hill which bears the name of Beit-Sur, and which commands the road from Beer-sheba and Hebron to Jerusalem from the south.

Betroth

to promise "by one's truth." Men and women were betrothed when they were engaged to be married. This usually took place a year or more before marriage. From the time of betrothal the woman was regarded as the lawful wife of the man to whom she was betrothed ( Deuteronomy 28:30 ; Judges 14:2 Judges 14:8 ; Matthew 1:18-21 ). The term is figuratively employed of the spiritual connection between God and his people ( Hosea 2:19 Hosea 2:20 ).

Beulah

married, is used in Isaiah 62:4 metaphorically as the name of Judea: "Thy land shall be married," i.e., favoured and blessed of the Lord.

Bewray

to reveal or disclose; an old English word equivalent to "betray" ( Proverbs 27:16 ; 29:24 , RSV, "uttereth;" Isaiah 16:3 ; Matthew 26:73 ).

Beyond

when used with reference to Jordan, signifies in the writings of Moses the west side of the river, as he wrote on the east bank ( Genesis 50:10 Genesis 50:11 ; Deuteronomy 1:1 Deuteronomy 1:5 ; Deuteronomy 3:8 Deuteronomy 3:20 ; 4:46 ); but in the writings of Joshua, after he had crossed the river, it means the east side ( Joshua 5:1 ; 12:7 ; 22:7 ).

Bezaleel

in the shadow of God; i.e., "under his protection", the artificer who executed the work of art in connection with the tabernacle in the wilderness ( Exodus 31:2 ; 35:30 ). He was engaged principally in works of metal, wood, and stone; while Aholiab, who was associated with him and subordinate to him, had the charge of the textile fabrics ( Exodus 36:1 Exodus 36:2 ; 38:22 ). He was of the tribe of Judah, the son of Uri, and grandson of Hur ( 31:2 ). Mention is made in Ezra 10:30 of another of the same name.

Bezek

lightning.

1. The residence of Adoni-bezek, in the lot of Judah ( Judges 1:5 ). It was in the mountains, not far from Jerusalem. Probably the modern Bezkah, 6 miles south-east of Lydda.

2. The place where Saul numbered the forces of Israel and Judah ( 1 Samuel 11:8 ); somewhere in the centre of the country, near the Jordan valley. Probably the modern Ibzik, 13 miles north-east of Shechem.

Bezer

ore of gold or silver.

1. A city of the Reubenites; one of the three cities of refuge on the east of Jordan ( Deuteronomy 4: : 43 ; Joshua 20:8 ). It has been identified with the modern ruined village of Burazin, some 12 miles north of Heshbon; also with Kasur-el-Besheir, 2 miles south-west of Dibon.

2. A descendant of Asher ( 1 Chronicles 7:37 ).

Bible

Bible, the English form of the Greek name Biblia , meaning "books," the name which in the fifth century began to be given to the entire collection of sacred books, the "Library of Divine Revelation." The name Bible was adopted by Wickliffe, and came gradually into use in our English language. The Bible consists of sixty-six different books, composed by many different writers, in three different languages, under different circumstances; writers of almost every social rank, statesmen and peasants, kings, herdsmen, fishermen, priests, tax-gatherers, tentmakers; educated and uneducated, Jews and Gentiles; most of them unknown to each other, and writing at various periods during the space of about 1600 years: and yet, after all, it is only one book dealing with only one subject in its numberless aspects and relations, the subject of man's redemption.

It is divided into the Old Testament, containing thirty-nine books, and the New Testament, containing twenty-seven books. The names given to the Old in the writings of the New are "the scriptures" ( Matthew 21:42 ), "scripture" ( 2 Peter 1:20 ), "the holy scriptures" ( Romans 1:2 ), "the law" ( John 12:34 ), "the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms" ( Luke 24:44 ), "the law and the prophets" ( Matthew 5:17 ), "the old covenant" ( 2 Corinthians 3:14 , RSV). There is a break of 400 years between the Old Testament and the New. (See APOCRYPHA .)

The Old Testament is divided into three parts:, 1. The Law (Torah), consisting of the Pentateuch, or five books of Moses. 2. The Prophets, consisting of (1) the former, namely, Joshua, Judges, the Books of Samuel, and the Books of Kings; (2) the latter, namely, the greater prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, and the twelve minor prophets. 3. The Hagiographa, or holy writings, including the rest of the books. These were ranked in three divisions:, (1) The Psalms, Proverbs, and Job, distinguished by the Hebrew name, a word formed of the initial letters of these books, emeth , meaning truth. (2) Canticles, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther, called the five rolls, as being written for the synagogue use on five separate rolls. (3) Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and 1 and 2Chronicles. Between the Old and the New Testament no addition was made to the revelation God had already given. The period of New Testament revelation, extending over a century, began with the appearance of John the Baptist.

The New Testament consists of (1) the historical books, viz., the Gospels, and the Acts of the Apostles; (2) the Epistles; and (3) the book of prophecy, the Revelation.

The division of the Bible into chapters and verses is altogether of human invention, designed to facilitate reference to it. The ancient Jews divided the Old Testament into certain sections for use in the synagogue service, and then at a later period, in the ninth century A.D., into verses. Our modern system of chapters for all the books of the Bible was introduced by Cardinal Hugo about the middle of the thirteenth century (he died 1263). The system of verses for the New Testament was introduced by Stephens in 1551, and generally adopted, although neither Tyndale's nor Coverdale's English translation of the Bible has verses. The division is not always wisely made, yet it is very useful. (See VERSION .)

Bier

the frame on which dead bodies were conveyed to the grave ( Luke 7:14 ).

Bigtha

garden, or gift of fortune, one of the seven eunuchs or chamberlains who had charge of the harem of Ahasuerus ( Esther 1:10 ).

Bigthan

one of the eunuchs who "kept the door" in the court of Ahasuerus. With Teresh he conspired against the king's life. Mordecai detected the conspiracy, and the culprits were hanged ( Esther 2:21-23 ; 6:1-3 ).