The word is used to translate various Old Testament terms:

(1) gebh (1 Kings 6:9), tsela`, "a rib" (1 Kings 7:3), qurah (2 Chronicles 3:7; 34:11; Song of Solomon 1:17), all refer to constructional beams used in buildings for roofing and upper floors, main beams being carried on pillars generally of wood. The last term is used in 2 Kings 6:2,5 ("as one was felling a beam") of trees which were being cut into logs. A related form is qarah (used of the Creator, Psalms 104:3; of building, Nehemiah 2:8; 3:3,6). Yet another term, kaphim, is used in Habakkuk 2:11:

"The stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it"--a protest against sin made by inanimate things. The Douay version, in translating, "the timber that is between the joints of the building," suggests the use of bond timbers in buildings, similar to that used at one time in English brickwork. It probably refers to its use in mud brick buildings, although bond timbers might also be used in badly built stone walls. The Arabs of the present day use steel joints to strengthen angles of buildings.

(2) Beam, in weaving, represents two words, 'eregh (Judges 16:14, the beam of a loom to which Samson's hair was fastened; used in Job 7:6 of a weaver's shuttle), and manor (1 Samuel 17:7; 2 Samuel 21:19; 1 Chronicles 11:23; 20:5), of a spear-staff.

(3) In the New Testament Jesus uses the word dokos, "a rafter," in bidding the censorious person first cast the "beam" out of his own eye before attempting to remove the "mote" from another's eye (Matthew 7:3; Luke 6:41,42).


Arch. C. Dickie

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'BEAM'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.