Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
Bible History

Naves Topical Bible Dictionary

bread Summary and Overview

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bread in Easton's Bible Dictionary

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 T0000419.) 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.

bread in Smith's Bible Dictionary

The preparation of bread as an article of food dates from a very early period. #Ge 18:6| The corn or grain employed was of various sorts. The best bread was made of wheat, but "barley" and spelt were also used. #Joh 6:9,13; Isa 28:25| The process of making bread was as follows: the flour was first mixed with water or milk; it was then kneaded with the hands (in Egypt with the feet also) in a small wooden bowl or "kneading-trough" until it became dough. #Ex 12:34,39; 2Sa 13:3; Jer 7:18| When the kneading was completed, leaven was generally added [LEAVEN]; but when the time for preparation was short, it was omitted, and unleavened cakes, hastily baked, were eaten as is still the prevalent custom among the Bedouins. ( #Ge 18:6; 19:3; Ex 12:39; Jud 6:19; 1Sa 28:24| The leavened mass was allowed to stand for some time, #Mt 13:33; Lu 13:21| the dough was then divided into round cakes, #Ex 29:23; Jud 7:13; 8:5; 1Sa 10:3; Pr 6:26| not unlike flat stones in shape and appearance, #Mt 7:9| comp. Matt 4:8 about a span in diameter and a finger's breadth in thickness. In the towns where professional bakers resided, there were no doubt fixed ovens, in shape and size resembling those in use among ourselves; but more usually each household poured a portable oven, consisting of a stone or metal jar, about three feet high which was heated inwardly with wood, #1Ki 17:12; Isa 44:15; Jer 7:18| or dried grass and flower-stalks. #Mt 6:30|

bread in Schaff's Bible Dictionary

BREAD . The bread of the Jews was generally made of wheat. Barley and other grains were sometimes used. Jud 7:13. The materials were prepared as in modern days. See Mill, Sieve. The kneading of the dough was performed in kneading-troughs. Gen 18:6; Ex. 12:34; Jer 7:18, or wooden bowls such as the Arabians use at this day for a like purpose, although some suppose that the kneading was done upon a circular piece of leather such as is now used in Persia, and which would be more properly called a kneading-bag, as it draws up like a knapsack. Either of the utensils would be easily transported. Very simple leaven was used in the dough. The loaves were shaped like a plate, and when leavened were ordinarily of the thickness of one's little finger. See Table. These cakes were generally baked in either public or private ovens. The fuel was wood or dried flower-stalks or grass. Other modes of baking were, however, used; as by spreading the dough upon heated stones or throwing it into the embers of the fire. A pan likewise seems to have been used at other times. 2 Sam 13:9. The unleavened bread was very thin, and was broken, not cut. Lam 4:4 BEE BRI ; Matt 26:26; Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19. The term bread is often used for food or provisions in general. Bread-corn, Isa 28:28, is used for wheat, barley, or any other grain from which bread was made. The figurative expressions bread of sorrows, Ps 127:2, and bread of tears, Ps 80:5, may denote that the suffering of sorrow and the shedding of tears had become as much a part of the portion of every day as one's daily bread. So the bread of wickedness, Prov 4:17, and bread of deceit, Prov 20:17, denote not only a living or estate obtained by fraud and sin, but that to do wickedly is as much the portion of a wicked man's life as to eat his daily bread.

bread in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

First undoubtedly mentioned in Genesis 18:6. The best being made of wheat; the inferior of barley, used by the poor, and in scarcity (John 6:9; John 6:13; Revelation 4:6; 2 Kings 4:38; 2 Kings 4:42). An ephah or "three measures" was the amount of meal required for a single baking, answering to the size of the oven (Matthew 13:33). The mistress of the house and even a king's daughter did not think baking beneath them (2 Samuel 13:8). Besides there were public bakers (Hosea 7:4), and in Jerusalem a street tenanted by bakers (Jeremiah 37:21); Nehemiah mentions "the tower of the furnaces," or ovens (Nehemiah 3:11; Nehemiah 12:38). Their loaf was thinner in shape and crisper than ours, from whence comes the phrase, not cutting, but breaking bread (Matthew 14:19; Acts 20:7; Acts 20:11). Exodus 12:34 implies the small size of their kneading troughs, for they were "bound up in their clothes (the outer garment, a large square cloth) upon their shoulders." As bread was made in thin cakes it soon became dry, as the Gibeonites alleged as to their bread (Joshua 9:12), and so fresh bread was usually baked every day, which usage gives point to "give us day by day our daily bread" (Luke 11:3). When the kneading was completed leaven was added; but when time was short unleavened cakes were hastily baked, as is the present Bedouin usage; termed in Exodus 12:8-20 matsowt, i.e. pure loaves, having no leaven, which ferments the dough and so produces corruption, and is therefore symbol of mortal corruption (1 Corinthians 5:8); therefore excluded from the Passover, as also to commemorate the haste of Israel's departure. Leaven was similarly excluded from sacrifices (Leviticus 2:11). The leavened dough was sometimes exposed to a moderate heat all night while the baker slept: Hosea 7:4-6; "as an oven heated by the baker who ceaseth from raising (rather, heating) after he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened; for they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait ... their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire." Their heart was like an oven first heated by Satan, then left to burn with the pent up fire of their corrupt passions. Like the baker sleeping at night, Satan rests secure that at the first opportunity the hidden fires will break forth, ready to execute whatever evil he suggests. The bread was divided into round cakes, or "loaves," three of which sufficed for one person's meal (Luke 11:5). "Bread of affliction" or "adversity" would be a quantity less than this (1 Kings 22:27; Isaiah 30:20). Oil was sometimes mixed with the flour. There were also cakes of finer flour, called "heart cakes" (as our "cordial" is derived from cor, "the heart"), a heart strengthening pastry (2 Samuel 13:8-10 margin), a pancake, possibly with stimulant seeds in it, quickly made; such as Tamar prepared and shook out (not "poured" as a liquid) from the pan, for Amnon. The loaves used to be taken to the oven in a basket upon the head (Genesis 40:16), which exactly accords with Egyptian usage, men carrying burdens on their heads, women on their shoulders. The variety of Egyptian confectionery is evident from the monuments still extant. The "white baskets" may mean "baskets of white bread." The oven of each house was a stone or metal jar, heated inwardly, often with dried "grass" (illustrating Matthew 6:30). When the fire burned down the cakes were applied inwardly or outwardly. Cakes were sometimes baked on heated stones, or between layers of dung, the slow burning of which adapts it for baking (Ezekiel 4:15). They needed to be turned in baking, like Scotch oatcakes. Hosea 7:8, "Ephraim is a cake not turned": burnt on one side, unbaked on the other, the fire spoiling, not penetrating it; so religious professors, outwardly warm, inwardly cold; on one side overdone, on the other not vitally influenced at all; Jehus professing great "zeal for the Lord," really zealous for themselves.