Brass which is an alloy of copper and zinc, was not known till the thirteenth century. What is designated by this word in Scripture is properly copper (Deut. 8:9). It was used for fetters (Judg. 16:21; 2 Kings 25:7), for pieces of armour (1 Sam. 17:5, 6), for musical instruments (1 Chr. 15:19; 1 Cor. 13:1), and for money (Matt. 10:9).
It is a symbol of insensibility and obstinacy in sin (Isa. 48:4; Jer. 6:28; Ezek. 22:18), and of strength (Ps. 107:16; Micah 4:13).
The Macedonian empire is described as a kingdom of brass (Dan. 2:39). The "mountains of brass" Zechariah (6:1) speaks of have been supposed to represent the immutable decrees of God.
The serpent of brass was made by Moses at the command of God (Num. 21:4-9), and elevated on a pole, so that it might be seen by all the people when wounded by the bite of the serpents that were sent to them as a punishment for their murmurings against God and against Moses. It was afterwards carried by the Jews into Canaan, and preserved by them till the time of Hezekiah, who caused it to be at length destroyed because it began to be viewed by the people with superstitious reverence (2 Kings 18:4). (See NEHUSHTAN.)
The brazen serpent is alluded to by our Lord in John 3:14, 15. (See SERPENT.)
Bravery (Isa. 3:18), an old English word meaning comeliness or beauty.
Breach an opening in a wall (1 Kings 11:27; 2 Kings 12:5); the fracture of a limb (Lev. 24:20), and hence the expression, "Heal, etc." (Ps. 60:2). Judg. 5:17, a bay or harbour; R.V., "by his creeks."
Bread among the Jews was generally made of wheat (Ex. 29:2; Judg. 6:19), though also sometimes of other grains (Gen. 14:18; Judg. 7:13). Parched grain was sometimes used for food without any other preparation (Ruth 2:14).
Bread was prepared by kneading in wooden bowls or "kneading troughs" (Gen. 18:6; Ex. 12:34; Jer. 7:18). The dough was mixed with leaven and made into thin cakes, round or oval, and then baked. The bread eaten at the Passover was always unleavened (Ex. 12:15-20; Deut. 16:3). In the towns there were public ovens, which were much made use of for baking bread; there were also bakers by trade (Hos. 7:4; Jer. 37:21). Their ovens were not unlike those of modern times. But sometimes the bread was baked by being placed on the ground that had been heated by a fire, and by covering it with the embers (1 Kings 19:6). This was probably the mode in which Sarah prepared bread on the occasion referred to in Gen. 18:6.
In Lev. 2 there is an account of the different kinds of bread and cakes used by the Jews. (See BAKE.)
The shew-bread (q.v.) consisted of twelve loaves of unleavened bread prepared and presented hot on the golden table every Sabbath. They were square or oblong, and represented the twelve tribes of Israel. The old loaves were removed every Sabbath, and were to be eaten only by the priests in the court of the sanctuary (Ex. 25:30; Lev. 24:8; 1 Sam. 21:1-6; Matt. 12:4).
The word bread is used figuratively in such expressions as "bread of sorrows" (Ps. 127:2), "bread of tears" (80:5), i.e., sorrow and tears are like one's daily bread, they form so great a part in life. The bread of "wickedness" (Prov. 4:17) and "of deceit" (20:17) denote in like manner that wickedness and deceit are a part of the daily life.
Breastplate (1.) That piece of ancient armour that protected the breast. This word is used figuratively in Eph. 6:14 and Isa. 59:17. (See ARMOUR.)
(2.) An ornament covering the breast of the high priest, first mentioned in Ex. 25:7. It was made of embroidered cloth, set with four rows of precious stones, three in each row. On each stone was engraved the name of one of the twelve tribes (Ex. 28:15-29; 39:8-21). It was in size about ten inches square. The two upper corners were fastened to the ephod by blue ribbons. It was not to be "loosed from the ephod" (Ex. 28:28). The lower corners were fastened to the girdle of the priest. As it reminded the priest of his representative character, it was called the memorial (28:29). It was also called the breastplate of judgment (28:15). (See PRIEST.)
Breeches (Ex. 28:42), rather linen drawers, reaching from the waist to a little above the knee, worn by the priests (Ezek. 44:17, 18).
Bribe None to be taken; "for the gift maketh open eyes blind, and perverteth the cause of the righteous" (Ex. 23:8, literally rendered).
Bricks the making of, formed the chief labour of the Israelites in Egypt (Ex. 1:13, 14). Those found among the ruins of Babylon and Nineveh are about a foot square and four inches thick. They were usually dried in the sun, though also sometimes in kilns (2 Sam. 12:31; Jer. 43:9; Nah. 3:14). (See NEBUCHADNEZZAR.)
The bricks used in the tower of Babel were burnt bricks, cemented in the building by bitumen (Gen. 11:3).
Bride frequently used in the ordinary sense (Isa. 49:18; 61:10, etc.). The relation between Christ and his church is set forth under the figure of that between a bridegroom and bride (John 3:29). The church is called "the bride" (Rev. 21:9; 22:17). Compare parable of the Ten Virgins (Matt. 25:1-13).
Bridle Three Hebrew words are thus rendered in the Authorized Version. (1.) Heb. mahsom' signifies a muzzle or halter or bridle, by which the rider governs his horse (Ps.39:1).
(2.) Me'theg, rendered also "bit" in Ps. 32:9, which is its proper meaning. Found in 2 Kings 19:28, where the restraints of God's providence are metaphorically styled his "bridle" and "hook." God's placing a "bridle in the jaws of the people" (Isa. 30:28; 37:29) signifies his preventing the Assyrians from carrying out their purpose against Jerusalem.
(3.) Another word, re'sen, was employed to represent a halter or bridle-rein, as used Ps. 32:9; Isa. 30:28. In Job 30:11 the restraints of law and humanity are called a bridle.