Bread: 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.