Brier is the rendering in the Auth. Vers. of the following words in certain passages, most of them being rendered " thorn" in others. SEE THORN.
1. חֵדֶק, che'dek (from its stinging), Mic 7:4; "thorn," Pr 15:19; apparently the Arabic chadak, thought to be the Melongena spinosa, i.e. Solanumn insanum of Linn., or " prickly mad-apple" (Abulfadli, op. Celsii Hierob. ii, 40 sq.). From both passages it appears that the Heb. word denotes a species of thorn shrubs which were used for enclosures or hedges. Yet this characteristic is much too general to determine from it with any precision what particular species of thorny plants is denoted by the Hebrew word. But the plant whose fruit is the love-apple or mad-apple (a species of small melon) is of the family of nightshades (solanese), and not at all suitable for making a hedge.
2. סִלּוֹן, sallon' ("thorn," Ezekiel ii, 6), or סַלּוֹן, sillon' (so called as being a pendulous or twig-like extremity), Eze 28:24; prop. a prickle, such as are found on the shoots of the palm-tree, and called in Arabic sultan, being the thorns that precede the putting forth of the foliage and branches.
3. סרפָּד, sirpad', in Isa 55:13; "instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle-tree." The Sept. has κόνυζα, which is a strong-smelling plant of the endive kind, flea-bane, Inula helenium, Linn. (Aristotle, Hist. An. 4:8, 28; Diosc. 3:126). The Peshito has zetur, satureia, savory, wild thyme, Thymus serpyllum, a plant growing in great abundance in the desert of Sinai according to Burckhardt (Syr. ii). Gesenius (Thes. s.v.) rejects both these on etymological grounds, and prefers urtica (the rendering of the Vulg.) or nettle, considering the Heb. name to be a compound of סָרִŠ, to
burn, and סָפִד, to sting. He also notices the opinion of Ewald (Gram. Crit. p. 520) that Sinapi album, the white mustard, is the plant meant, after the suggestion of Simonis. who compares the Syriac name of this plant, shephia.
4. שָׁמַיר, shamir' (from its sharpness), the most frequent term, and always so rendered (Isa 5:6; Isa 7:23-25; Isa 9:18; Isa 10:17; Isa 27:4; Isa 32:13), apparently a collective term for thorny Oriental shrubs; comp. the Arabic shamura, the Egyptian thorn-tree. It is merely spoken of as springing up in desolated lands; in two passages (Isa 10:17; Isa 27:4), it is put metaphorically for troublesome men. The Sept. renders usually ἄκανθα, sometimes χόρτος or ἄγρωστος ξηρά 5. In Heb 6:8, the Gr. word is τρίβολος (threepronged), tribulus, the land caltrop ("thistle," Mt 7:16), a low thorny shrub, so called from the resemblance of its spikes to the military "crow-foot," an instrument thrown on the ground to impede cavalry; the Tribulus terrestris of Linnaeus.
Neither of the remaining Heb. words so rendered appear to designate any species of plant. One of these is בִּרקָנַים, barkanim' (Jg 8:7,16; Sept. merely Greecizes βαρκανίμ), mentioned as one of the instruments by which Gideon punished the elders of Succoth; probably threshing- sledges, so called from the bottom being set with flint-stones, which the word seems prop. to denote. The other is סָרָבַים, sarabim' (apparently from the Chald. root סָרִב, to be refractory), rebels, which are compared with thorns, Eze 2:6 (Sept. παροιστήσουσιν, as if for סבב; Vulg. increduli). Some of the rabbins understand thorns, and Castell (in his Lex. Heptagl.) renders nettles; but the other interpretation is defended by Celsius (Hierob. ii, 222).