Bray

BRAY. 1. The ass brays when hungry (Job.6.5), and some crude, uncouth people are described contemptuously as braying (Job.30.7).

2. To pound as in a mortar (Prov.27.22 kjv; niv “grind”). This word, related to the verb “to break,” is rare both in English and in Hebrew, but is easily understood by the context.


BRAY brā (נָהַק, H5640). Bray is the distinctive call of ass, donkey, mule, and horse. Its two exclusive Biblical references occur in Job. In his distress Job reproached his friends, declaring there was good reason for his rash words (Job 6:3), otherwise he would not have cried out in agony. He illustrates this in a parabolic question, “Does the wild ass bray when he has grass, or the ox low over his fodder?” (6:5). Later, he compared “A senseless, a disreputable brood” who “make sport” of him to wild desert asses. He says, “Among the bushes they bray; under the nettles they huddle together” (30:7).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

This word occurs with two distinct meanings:

(a) The harsh cry of the ass (Job 6:5). Job argued that as the sounds instinctively uttered by animals denote their wants, even so his Words were but the natural expression of his longing for some adequate explanation of his sufferings, or, failing this, for death itself. Used figuratively of Job’s mockers (Job 30:7).

(b) "To beat small in a mortar," "to chastise." Pr 27:22 refers to a more elaborate process than threshing for separating grain (the English Revised Version "corn") from its husk and impurities; used figuratively of a thorough but useless course of discipline; or still more probably with reference to the Syrian custom of braying meat and bruised corn together in a mortar with a pestle, "till the meat and grain become a uniform indistinguishable pulp" (see The Expositor Times, VIII, 521).