This word occurs frequently, and is the translation of several different terms.
(1.) Mic 7:4, it denotes a species of thorn shrub used for hedges. In Pr 15:19 the word is rendered "thorn" (Heb. hedek, "stinging"), supposed by some to be what is called the "apple of Sodom" (q.v.).
(2.) Eze 28:24, sallon', properly a "prickle," such as is found on the shoots of the palm tree.
(3.) Isa 55:13, probably simply a thorny bush. Some, following the Vulgate Version, regard it as the "nettle."
(5.) In Heb 6:8 the Greek word (tribolos) so rendered means "three-pronged," and denotes the land caltrop, a low throny shrub resembling in its spikes the military "crow-foot." Comp. Mt 7:16, "thistle."
Jg 8:7,16: "Gideon said, I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers." Gesenius for "briers" translates "with threshing machines with stones or flints underneath," barquan being iron pyrites. But the KJV is supported by the old versions; prickly plants such as grow on strong ground. In Eze 2:6 Gesenius translates as margin "rebels"; "though rebellions men like thorns be with thee." But "briers" answers better to "thorns" which follows: sarubim from saaraph, "to sting." The wicked are often so called (2Sa 23:6; Song 2:2). In Isa 55:13 "instead of the brier (sirpad) shall come up the myrtle tree." The sirpad, from saaraph "to sting," and saphad "to prick," is the nettle.
BRIER. This word occurs several times in our translation of the Bible, but with various authorities from the original.
It seems hardly possible to determine what kind of plant this is. Some kind of tangling prickly shrub is undoubtedly meant. In the former passage there is a beautiful opposition, which is lost in our rendering: "The narrow way of the slothful is like a perplexed path among briers; whereas the broad road" (elsewhere rendered causeway) "of the righteous is a high bank;" that is, free from obstructions, direct, conspicuous, and open. The common course of life of these two characters answers to this comparison. Their manner of going about business, or of transacting it, answers to this. An idle man always takes the most intricate, the most oblique, and eventually the most thorny, measures to accomplish his purpose; the honest and diligent man prefers the most open and direct. In Micah, the unjust judge, taking bribes, is a brier, holding every thing that comes within his reach, hooking all that he can catch.
3. ?????, Eze 2:6. This word is translated by the Septuagint, ???????????????, stung by the aestrus, or gadfly; and they use the like word in Ho 4:16, where, what in our version is "a backsliding heifer," they render "a heifer stung by the oestrus." These coincident renderings lead to the belief that both places may be understood of some venomous insect. The word ??? may lead us to sar-ran, by which the Arabs thus describe "a great bluish fly, having greenish eyes, its tail armed with a piercer, by which it pesters almost all horned cattle, settling on their heads, &c. Often it creeps up the noses of asses. It is a species of gadfly; but carrying its sting in its tail."
4. ????, Eze 28:24, and ??????, Eze 2:6, must be classed among thorns. The second word Parkhurst supposes to be a kind of thorn, overspreading a large surface of ground, as the dew brier. It is used in connection with ???, which, in Ge 3:18, is rendered thorns. The author of "Scripture Illustrated" queries, however, whether, as it is associated with "scorpions" in Eze 2:6, both this word and serebim may not mean some species of venomous insects.
5. ????, mentioned only in Isa 55:13, probably means a prickly plant; but what particular kind it is impossible to determine.
6. ????, This word is used only by the Prophet Isaiah, and in the following places: Isa 5:6; 7:23-25; 9:17; 10:17; 27:4; 32:13. It is probably a brier of a low kind, such as overruns uncultivated lands.