Baal - Canaanite god of fertility. He is often portrayed as the god of storms, lightning, thunder, and rain. He was worshiped in horrible ways. The name means "lord" or "master". Israel was seduced into worshiping him.
Babylon, Babylonians - Hebrew Babel. Capital city of Mesopotamia, located on the Euphrates River and neighbor to Assyria. Considered at the time of the prophet Jeremiah to be the greatest and most beautiful city of the Near East. An enormous political and economic power that held great influence over the Israelites. In 586 BC, the Babylonians took the children of Israel into an exile that would last 70 years. The return from this exile established a people to whom Jesus would be born and a kingdom in the land of Israel.
Bacchus - Roman god of wine, fertility, and vegetation, god of the theater. Son of Zeus and Semele, the Theban princess.
Baptize - To wash, dip, or immerse in water. Baptism shows that a person's sins are washed away. He or she has joined the family of God and is united with Jesus in dying to sin and rising to a new life.
Barclay's Gate - Provided access to the Gentile Court from Tyropean Street.
Bar Kochba Revolt - Another name for the Second Jewish Revolt against Rome (AD 132-135). The leader of the revolt was a man named Bar Kochba.
Basalt - Hardened lava from volcanic eruption.
Basilica - "From the king"; Roman public hall built with side halls lower than the center hall.
Beatitude - Any of the declarations of blessedness pronounced by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.
Bedouins - Nomads who live mainly in the wilderness areas of the Middle East. They speak Arabic and are generally Muslim. They retain a lifestyle much like that of the early biblical characters Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Beelzebub - Corruption of the word "Beelzebul", meaning "lord of the flies". It was used by Jesus to refer to the prince of demons, the devil.
Beelzebul - Philistine god worshipped at Ekron. It means "Prince Baal".
Beersheba - City in the central Negev. It was settled before 3000 BC. Abraham and Isaac lived here. Abraham gave it the name Beersheba, which means "well of the oath" or "well of the seven." Often used to refer to the southern end of the Promised Land.
Belial - Hebrew meaning "useless". Came to be applied to the devil by the Essenes and the early Christians (2Cor. 6).
Bema - Raised platform; the Seat of judgment. Also, place from which scripture is read in the synagogue.
Bernice - The great-granddaughter of Herod the Great. She accompanied Agrippa ll and heard Paul's conversion testimony (Acts 25:13-14,23; 26:1-29).
Beth Horon - Two cities (Upper and Lower Beth Horon) guarding the Beth Horon pass. The main west-east road from the coastal plain to the mountains to Jericho went through this pass. Here God made the sun stand still for Joshua.
Bethlehem - Located at the border between the mountains and the wilderness, its inhabitants benefited from the fertile mountain valleys and pastures the wilderness provided for the shepherds' flock. Seven hundred years before Jesus was born, Micah prophesied that the Messiah would come out of Bethlehem. Jesus -the Son of God, the King of the universe- would be from the line of David and would rule on the throne of David forever. Bethlehem links Jesus to the lineage and family of David.
Bethsaida - One of the three main towns of Jesus' ministry in Galilee. This small, prosperous fishing village on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee was renamed Julias and rebuilt by Herod Philip. Home of apostles Peter, Philip, and Andrew. Near this village, Jesus performed the miracle of feeding 5,000 people. Its location was uncertain until recently, when archaeologists excavated the ruins.
Beth Shean - City at the eastern entrance to the Valley of Jezreel. The Philistines hung Saul's and Jonathan's bodies from its walls.
Beth Shemesh - City in the Soreq Valley near where Samson lived. The Philistines returned the ark of the covenant here.
Bless, Blessing - When God blesses someone, he makes things go well for him or her. A blessing is a gift from God. When people bless, they ask God to bring good to someone.
Boule - City council.
Bouleuterion - Meeting place of the Boule.
Bronze Sea - Bronze basin at the entrance to the tabernacle used for ceremonial purification before sacrifices were made. It also symbolized God's forgiveness after sacrifices were made. Solomon commissioned a large basin for the temple at Jerusalem. It was over 14 feet in diameter and seven feet high: it weighed over 25 tons and held 13,000 gallons of water. It sat on the backs of 12 oxen, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south, and three facing east.
Business District - Although not named by many ancient sources, this district inside the Second Wall held many shops and markets. Jesus walked through the area on market day on his way to the cross.