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Bittern Is found three times in connection with the desolations to come upon Babylon, Idumea, and Nineveh (Isa 14:23; Isa 34:11; Zep 2:14). This bird belongs to the class of cranes. Its scientific name is Botaurus stellaris. It is a solitary bird, frequenting marshy ground. The Hebrew word (kippod) thus rendered in the Authorized Version is rendered "porcupine" in the Revised Version. But in the passages noted the kippod is associated with birds, with pools of water, and with solitude and desolation. This favours the idea that not the "porcupine" but the "bittern" is really intended by the word.

Bitumen Gen 11:3, R.V., margin, rendered in the A.V. "slime"), a mineral pitch. With this the ark was pitched (Gen 6:14. See also Exo 2:3.) (See SLIME.)

Black Properly the absence of all colour. In Pro 7:9 the Hebrew word means, as in the margin of the Revised Version, "the pupil of the eye." It is translated "apple" of the eye in Deu 32:10; Psa 17:8; Pro 7:2. It is a different word which is rendered "black" in Lev 13:31, Lev 13:37; Sol 1:5; Sol 5:11; and Zac 6:2, Zac 6:6. It is uncertain what the "black marble" of Est 1:6 was which formed a part of the mosaic pavement.

Blade Applied to the glittering point of a spear (Job 39:23) or sword (Nah 3:3), the blade of a dagger (Jdg 3:22); the "shoulder blade" (Job 31:22); the "blade" of cereals (Mat 13:26).

Blains Occurs only in connection with the sixth plague of Egypt (Exo 9:9, Exo 9:10). In Deu 28:27, Deu 28:35, it is called "the botch of Egypt." It seems to have been the fearful disease of black leprosy, a kind of elephantiasis, producing burning ulcers.

Blasphemy In the sense of speaking evil of God this word is found in Psa 74:18; Isa 52:5; Rom 2:24; Rev 13:1, Rev 13:6; Rev 16:9, Rev 16:11, Rev 16:21. It denotes also any kind of calumny, or evil-speaking, or abuse (Kg1 21:10; Act 13:45; Act 18:6, etc.). Our Lord was accused of blasphemy when he claimed to be the Son of God (Mat 26:65; compare Mat 9:3; Mar 2:7). They who deny his Messiahship blaspheme Jesus (Luk 22:65; Joh 10:36). Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost (Mat 12:31, Mat 12:32; Mar 3:28, Mar 3:29; Luk 12:10) is regarded by some as a continued and obstinate rejection of the gospel, and hence is an unpardonable sin, simply because as long as a sinner remains in unbelief he voluntarily excludes himself from pardon. Others regard the expression as designating the sin of attributing to the power of Satan those miracles which Christ performed, or generally those works which are the result of the Spirit's agency.

Blastus Chamberlain to king Herod Agrippa I. (Act 12:20). Such persons generally had great influence with their masters.

Blemish Imperfection or bodily deformity excluding men from the priesthood, and rendering animals unfit to be offered in sacrifice (Lev 21:17; Lev 22:19). The Christian church, as justified in Christ, is "without blemish" (Eph 5:27). Christ offered himself a sacrifice "without blemish," acceptable to God (Pe1 1:19).

Bless (1.) God blesses his people when he bestows on them some gift temporal or spiritual (Gen 1:22; Gen 24:35; Job 42:12; Psa 45:2; Psa 104:24, Psa 104:35). (2.) We bless God when we thank him for his mercies (Psa 103:1, Psa 103:2; Psa 145:1, Psa 145:2). (3.) A man blesses himself when he invokes God's blessing (Isa 65:16), or rejoices in God's goodness to him (Deu 29:19; Psa 49:18). (4.) One blesses another when he expresses good wishes or offers prayer to God for his welfare (Gen 24:60; Gen 31:55; Sa1 2:20). Sometimes blessings were uttered under divine inspiration, as in the case of Noah, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses (Gen 9:26, Gen 9:27; Gen 27:28, Gen 27:29, Gen 27:40; Gen 48:15; 49:1-28; Deut. 33). The priests were divinely authorized to bless the people (Deu 10:8; Num 6:22). We have many examples of apostolic benediction (Co2 13:14; Eph 6:23, Eph 6:24; Th2 3:16, Th2 3:18; Heb 13:20, Heb 13:21; Pe1 5:10, Pe1 5:11). (5.) Among the Jews in their thank-offerings the master of the feast took a cup of wine in his hand, and after having blessed God for it and for other mercies then enjoyed, handed it to his guests, who all partook of it. Psa 116:13 refers to this custom. It is also alluded to in Co1 10:16, where the apostle speaks of the "cup of blessing."

Blind Blind beggars are frequently mentioned (Mat 9:27; Mat 12:22; Mat 20:30; Joh 5:3). The blind are to be treated with compassion (Lev 19:14; Deu 27:18). Blindness was sometimes a punishment for disobedience (Sa1 11:2; Jer 39:7), sometimes the effect of old age (Gen 27:1; Kg1 14:4; Sa1 4:15). Conquerors sometimes blinded their captives (Kg2 25:7; Sa1 11:2). Blindness denotes ignorance as to spiritual things (Isa 6:10; Isa 42:18, Isa 42:19; Mat 15:14; Eph 4:18). The opening of the eyes of the blind is peculiar to the Messiah (Isa 29:18). Elymas was smitten with blindness at Paul's word (Act 13:11).