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