Click to donate today!
Holman Bible Dictionary
Ingredients A course meal was ground from wheat (Genesis 30:14 ) or barley (John 6:9 ,John 6:9,6:13 ). American corn was unknown. (The use of the word in the KJV is a “Britishism” meaning grain in general.) Barley bread was less appetizing but also less expensive and therefore common among the poor. Grinding was done by a mortar and pestle or with millstones turned by an animal or human being (Numbers 11:8; Matthew 24:41 ). For special occasions and for offerings a fine flour was ground (Genesis 18:6; Leviticus 2:7 ). The meal or flour was mixed with water, salt, sometimes leaven or yeast, sometimes olive oil, and rarely with other cereals and vegetables (Ezekiel 4:9 ) and then was kneaded (Exodus 12:34 ).
Baking Baking was usually the work of wives (Genesis 18:6 ) or daughters (2 Samuel 13:8 ), although in wealthy households it was done by slaves. Large cities or the royal court had professional bakers (Genesis 40:2; Jeremiah 37:21 ). There were three means of baking: on heated rocks with the dough being covered with ashes (1 Kings 19:6 ); on a clay or iron griddle or pan (Leviticus 2:5 ); and in a clay or iron oven (Leviticus 2:4 ). Most bread that was so baked had the appearance of a disk (Judges 7:13 ) about one-half inch thick and twelve inches in diameter. Some was perforated. Some had a hole in the middle for storing or carrying on a pole. Some was heart-shaped (the word for cakes in 2Samuel 13:6,2Samuel 13:8,2 Samuel 13:10 literally means heart-shaped). Some took the shape of a small modern loaf (suggested by the arrangement of the Bread of Presence). Bread was broken or torn, not cut.
Use In addition to being used as a staple food, bread was used as an offering to God (Leviticus 2:4-10 ). It was used in the tabernacle and Temple to symbolize the presence of God (Exodus 25:23-30; Leviticus 24:5-9 ). Bread was also used in the Old Testament to symbolize such things as an enemy to be consumed (Numbers 14:9 , KJV, RSV), the unity of a group (1 Kings 18:19 ), hospitality (Genesis 19:3 ), and wisdom (Proverbs 9:5 ). It is prefixed to such things as idleness (Proverbs 31:27 ), wickedness (Proverbs 4:17 ), and adversity (Isaiah 30:20 ). In the New Testament it symbolizes Jesus Christ Himself (John 6:35 ), His body (1 Corinthians 11:23-24 ), His kingdom (Luke 14:15 ), and the unity of His church (1 Corinthians 10:17 ).
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Bread'. Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hbd/b/bread.html. 1991.
the Fourth Week after Epiphany