International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
bruth'-er ('ach; adelphos = kin by birth, from the same parents or parent): Used extensively in both Old Testament and New Testament of other relations and relationships, and expanding under Christ's teaching to include the universal brotherhood of man. Chiefly employed in the natural sense, as of Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:8); of Joseph and his brethren (Genesis 42:3); of Peter and Andrew, of James and John (Matthew 10:2). Of other relationships:
(1) Abram's nephew, Lot, is termed "brother" (Genesis 14:14);
(2) Moses' fellow-countrymen are "brethren" (Exodus 2:11 Acts 3:22; compare Hebrews 7:5);
(3) a member of the same tribe (2 Samuel 19:12);
(4) an ally (Amos 1:9), or an allied or cognate people (Numbers 20:14);
(5) used of common discipleship or the kinship of humanity (Matthew 23:8);
(6) of moral likeness or kinship (Proverbs 18:9);
(7) of friends (Job 6:15);
(8) an equal in rank or office (1 Kings 9:13);
(9) one of the same faith (Acts 11:29 1 Corinthians 5:11);
(10) a favorite oriental metaphor used to express likeness or similarity (Job 30:29, "I am a brother to jackals");
(11) a fellow-priest or office-bearer (Ezra 3:2); Paul called Sosthenes "brother" (1 Corinthians 1:1) and Timothy his spiritual son and associate (2 Corinthians 1:1);
(12) a brother-man, any member of the human family (Matthew 7:3-5 Hebrews 2:17; Hebrews 8:11 1 John 2:9; 1 John 4:20);
(13) signifies spiritual kinship (Matthew 12:50);
(14) a term adopted by the early disciples and Christians to express their fraternal love for each other in Christ, and universally adopted as the language of love and brotherhood in His kingdom in all subsequent time (2 Peter 3:15 Colossians 4:7, 9, 15).
The growing conception of mankind as a brotherhood is the outcome of this Christian view of believers as a household, a family (Ephesians 2:19; Ephesians 3:15; compare Acts 17:26). Jesus has made "neighbor" equivalent to "brother," and the sense of fraternal affection and obligation essential to vital Christianity, and coextensive with the world. The rabbis distinguished between "brother" and "neighbor," applying "brother" to Israelites by blood, "neighbor" to proselytes, but allowing neither title to the Gentiles. Christ and the apostles gave the name "brother" to all Christians, and "neighbor" to all the world (1 Corinthians 5:11 Luke 10:29). The missionary passion and aggressiveness of the Christian church is the natural product of this Christian conception of man's true relation to man.
See also FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS.
Dwight M. Pratt
(yabham, "brother-in-law"; epigambreuo; Late Latin levir): He was required (Deuteronomy 25:5-10 Matthew 22:24) "to perform the duty of a husband's brother" (yibbemah); that is, if his brother, living with him on the paternal estate, died without male issue, he should take the widow to wife, and "raise up seed unto his brother," the firstborn of the new marriage inheriting the deceased brother's estate. Refusal of the duty was possible, but entailed public ceremonial disgrace and lasting reproach. This provision for a specific case modified the general law which forbade the marriage of a sister-in-law (Leviticus 18:16, 18). It was a patriarchal custom (Genesis 38; Judah and Tamar), and is alluded to in Ruth 1:11-13. A related custom is found in Ruth 4:1, Boaz playing; however, the part, not of levir ("brother-in-law"), but of go`el ("redeemer"). It was at least theoretically in force in our Lord's time (Matthew 22:23-28; the question of the Sadducees concerning the resurrection). For the origin and object of this custom see FAMILY; MARRIAGE.
Philip Wendell Crannell
See RELATIONSHIPS, FAMILY.
JUDAS, THE LORD'S BROTHER