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Immanuel Benzinger, Ph.D.

Professor of Old Testament Exegesis, University of Berlin, Germany; Jerusalem, Palestine.

Contributions:
ART AMONG THE ANCIENT HEBREWS – Material for the formation of an opinion on the art of the ancient Hebrews is extremely scanty, as the vestiges are limited to certain specimens of pottery and of the glyptic art, including incidental references in Hebrew...
BAKER – Among the Hebrews the task of preparing the daily supply of fresh bread fell to the housewife. It was only in the larger cities that professional bakers were found, and, even in these, not at a very early date. Bakers and baking...
BAKING – Biblical Data: The bread of the ancient Hebrews, like that of the Palestinians today, was not in the shape of thick loaves, but of thin cakes (see Bread). Originally these were baked by kindling a fire on the sand or on small...
BASILISK – The translation in the Revised Version of the Hebrew "ẓefa'" and "ẓif'oni" (Isa. xi. 8, xiv. 29, lix. 5; Jer. viii. 17; Prov. xxiii. 32), for which the Authorized Version has "cockatrice." The Septuagint uses the word βασιλίσκον...
BASKETS – Egyptian Baskets.(From Wilkinson, "Ancient Egyptians.")Four kinds of Baskets are mentioned in the Old Testament—"dud," "tene," "sal," and "kelub"—but unfortunately without any intimation whatever of the differences of shape or...
BAT – This well-known winged mammal (in Hebrew , Lev. xi. 19; Deut. xiv. 18; Isa. ii. 20) was considered by the Hebrews as belonging to the class of birds. The ancients in general considered it as a creature belonging both to the...
BDELLIUM – A precious stone mentioned in Gen. ii. 12 by the side of gold and the "shoham" stone as one of the chief products of Havilah. Since manna is compared in appearance to Bdellium (Num. xi. 7), it may be concluded that the latter...
BEANS – pol"): The well-known vegetable, mentioned twice in the Old Testament. In II Sam. xvii. 28 it is referred to as a foodstuff along with wheat, barley, and lentils. How it was prepared for the table is not known; it was probably...
BEAR – dob"): An animal often mentioned in the Old Testament, and evidently not rare in Palestine and Syria. Next to the lion, the Bear is regarded as the most formidable enemy of mankind (Amos v. 19), although he must be very hungry...
BEE – A honey-gathering insect frequently referred to in the Bible. Bee-keeping dates very far back, and it is quite probable that the ancient Hebrews were engaged in it, although there is no direct testimony on the subject either in...
BEETLE – English equivalent in A. V. for the Hebrew "ḥargol" (Lev. xi. 22; R. V. "cricket"). It is here mentioned as a kind of locust, together with "'arbeh," "sal'am," and "ḥagab." According to the Talmud the ḥargol has a tail, and a...
BIBLICAL ETHNOLOGY – The view of race-relationship expressed in the Bible. It is customary to designate the tenth chapter of Genesis as the oldest ethnological division of mankind. Earlier than this, however, the Egyptians, as known from their...
BOOTH – A rendering, in the English versions of the Bible, of the Hebrew word "sukkah"; also occasionally translated "pavilion" or "cottage." The ordinary habitation of the nomad is the tent, a rough textile fabric of goat's hair,...
CARAVAN – A convoy of travelers or merchandise. As the commerce of the Israelites was chiefly inland trade, products from regions that were not contiguous were exchanged by means of caravans ("orḥah"). The most important highways...
COOKERY – Biblical Data: The preparation of the meal was in ancient times a very simple process. The principal articles of diet were bread and milk, to which were added, as supplementary dishes, fruits and vegetables (compare Baking and...
COOKING-UTENSILS – Among the ancient Hebrews cooking was naturally entrusted to the women of the household (compare I Sam. viii. 13), as was also the task of grinding the flour required for daily use, and that of preparing the bread. Even ladies...
CUTTINGS – In Biblical usage, incisions or gashes in the flesh. The Law forbids the Israelites to make any cuttings in the flesh. For this operation two terms are used: "hitgoded" (Deut. xiv. 1) and "saraṭ" (Lev. xix. 28). From the context...
EBONY – This word is mentioned only once in the Old Testament, namely, Ezek. xxvii. 15, where it is stated that the Arabian merchant people, the Dedanites (see Dodanim), brought horns of ebony to Tyre. The genuine ebony is the wood of...
EPHOD – Biblical Data: In the Old Testament this word has two meanings; in one group of passages it signifies a garment; in another, very probably an image. In the former the ephod is referred to in the priestly ordinances as a part of...
FLOUR – The finely ground substance of any cereal. The earliest and most simple way of crushing grain consisted in pounding it in a mortar, producing a coarse flour, or rather different grades of grits (comp. the preparation of the...
FUEL – Mineral coal was unknown to the ancient Hebrews, who used instead wood, manure, and grass for fuel. Wood was never abundant in Palestine, though there was not such a dearth in ancient times as exists at the present day. Various...
FULLER – A cloth-finisher or -cleaner. The Hebrew term is (Mal. iii. 2) or (II Kings xviii. 17; Isa. vii. 3, xxxvi. 3), denoting one engaged in either of two occupations: (1) the cleaning of soiled garments or cloth, and (2) the...
FURNACE – Three kinds of structures or apparatus for baking, smelting, etc., were known to the ancient Hebrews: (1) the oven for baking bread; (2) the potters' kiln for firing earthen vessels; and (3) the furnace for smelting metals and...
FURNITURE, HOUSEHOLD – Biblical Data: In the East the house is not as important as in northern countries, since the climate permits an outdoor life in the widest sense of the term. The house is used chiefly as a shelter for the night and for sleeping,...
GOVERNMENT – Biblical Data: The only kind of political institution extant among the Israelites before the time of the Kings was the division into tribes, according to tradition twelve in number corresponding to the sons of Jacob, who were...