Bird Birds are divided in the Mosaic law into two classes, (1.) the clean (Lev 1:14; Lev 5:7; Lev 14:4), which were offered in sacrifice; and (2.) the unclean (Lev 11:13). When offered in sacrifice, they were not divided as other victims were (Gen 15:10). They are mentioned also as an article of food (Deu 14:11). The art of snaring wild birds is referred to (Psa 124:7; Pro 1:17; Pro 7:23; Jer 5:27). Singing birds are mentioned in Psa 104:12; Ecc 12:4. Their timidity is alluded to (Hos 11:11). The reference in Psa 84:3 to the swallow and the sparrow may be only a comparison equivalent to, "What her house is to the sparrow, and her nest to the swallow, that thine altars are to my soul."
Birsha Son of wickedness, a king of Gomorrah whom Abraham succoured in the invasion of Chedorlaomer (Gen 14:2).
Birth As soon as a child was born it was washed, and rubbed with salt (Eze 16:4), and then swathed with bandages (Job 38:9; Luk 2:7, Luk 2:12). A Hebrew mother remained forty days in seclusion after the birth of a son, and after the birth of a daughter double that number of days. At the close of that period she entered into the tabernacle or temple and offered up a sacrifice of purification (Lev 12:1; Luk 2:22). A son was circumcised on the eighth day after his birth, being thereby consecrated to God (Gen 17:10; compare Rom 4:11). Seasons of misfortune are likened to the pains of a woman in travail, and seasons of prosperity to the joy that succeeds child-birth (Isa 13:8; Jer 4:31; Joh 16:21, Joh 16:22). The natural birth is referred to as the emblem of the new birth (Joh 3:3; Gal 6:15; Tit 3:5, etc.).
Birth-day The observance of birth-days was common in early times (Job 1:4, Job 1:13, Job 1:18). They were specially celebrated in the land of Egypt (Gen 40:20). There is no recorded instance in Scripture of the celebration of birth-days among the Jews. On the occasion of Herod's birth-day John the Baptist was beheaded (Mat 14:6).
Birthright (1.) This word denotes the special privileges and advantages belonging to the first-born son among the Jews. He became the priest of the family. Thus Reuben was the first-born of the patriarchs, and so the priesthood of the tribes belonged to him. That honour was, however, transferred by God from Reuben to Levi (Num 3:12, Num 3:13; Num 8:18). (2.) The first-born son had allotted to him also a double portion of the paternal inheritance (Deu 21:15). Reuben was, because of his undutiful conduct, deprived of his birth-right (Gen 49:4; Ch1 5:1). Esau transferred his birth-right to Jacob (Gen 25:33). (3.) The first-born inherited the judicial authority of his father, whatever it might be (Ch2 21:3). By divine appointment, however, David excluded Adonijah in favour of Solomon. (4.) The Jews attached a sacred importance to the rank of "first-born" and "first-begotten" as applied to the Messiah (Rom 8:29; Col 1:18; Heb 1:4). As first-born he has an inheritance superior to his brethren, and is the alone true priest.
Bishop An overseer. In apostolic times, it is quite manifest that there was no difference as to order between bishops and elders or presbyters (Act 20:17; Pe1 5:1, Pe1 5:2; Phi 1:1; 1 Tim. 3). The term bishop is never once used to denote a different office from that of elder or presbyter. These different names are simply titles of the same office, "bishop" designating the function, namely, that of oversight, and "presbyter" the dignity appertaining to the office. Christ is figuratively called "the bishop [episcopos] of souls" (Pe1 2:25).
Bit The curb put into the mouths of horses to restrain them. The Hebrew word (metheg) so rendered in Psa 32:9 is elsewhere translated "bridle" (Kg2 19:28; Pro 26:3; Isa 37:29). Bits were generally made of bronze or iron, but sometimes also of gold or silver. In Jam 3:3 the Authorized Version translates the Greek word by "bits," but the Revised Version by "bridles."
Bith-ron The broken or divided place, a district in the Arabah or Jordan valley, on the east of the river (Sa2 2:29). It was probably the designation of the region in general, which is broken and intersected by ravines.
Bithynia A province in Asia Minor, to the south of the Euxine and Propontis. Christian congregations were here formed at an early time (Pe1 1:1). Paul was prevented by the Spirit from entering this province (Act 16:7). It is noted in church history as the province ruled over by Pliny as Roman proconsul, who was perplexed as to the course he should take with the numerous Christians brought before his tribunal on account of their profession of Christianity and their conduct, and wrote to Trajan, the emperor, for instructions (A.D. 107).
Bitter Bitterness is symbolical of affliction, misery, and servitude (Exo 1:14; Rut 1:20; Jer 9:15). The Chaldeans are called the "bitter and hasty nation" (Hab 1:6). The "gall of bitterness" expresses a state of great wickedness (Act 8:23). A "root of bitterness" is a wicked person or a dangerous sin (Heb 12:15). The Passover was to be eaten with "bitter herbs" (Exo 12:8; Num 9:11). The kind of herbs so designated is not known. Probably they were any bitter herbs obtainable at the place and time when the Passover was celebrated. They represented the severity of the servitude under which the people groaned; and have been regarded also as typical of the sufferings of Christ.