|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
For a woman to be barren was accounted a severe punishment among the Jews (Genesis 16:2; 30:1-23; 1 Samuel 1:6, 27; Isaiah 47:9; 49:21; Luke 1:25). Instances of barrenness are noticed (Genesis 11:30; 25:21; 29:31; Judges 13:2, 3; Luke 1:7, 36).
Noah Webster's Dictionary
1. (a.) Incapable of producing offspring; producing no young; sterile; -- said of women and female animals.
2. (a.) Not producing vegetation, or useful vegetation; /rile.
3. (a.) Unproductive; fruitless; unprofitable; empty.
4. (a.) Mentally dull; stupid.
5. (n.) A tract of barren land.
6. (n.) Elevated lands or plains on which grow small trees, but not timber; as, pine barrens; oak barrens. They are not necessarily sterile, and are often fertile.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
bar'-en, (bar'-en-nes tsiyah; melehah; shakhol; `aqar; steiros; argos):
(1) Of land that bears no crop, either
(a) because it is naturally poor and sterile: tsiyah "dry" (Joel 2:20), melechah, "salt" (Job 39:6 the King James Version), shakhol, "miscarrying" (2 Kings 2:19, 21), or
(b) because it is, under God's curse, turned into a melechah or salt desert, for the wickedness of the people that dwell therein (Psalm 107:34 the King James Version; compare Genesis 3:17, 18).
(2) Of females that bear no issue: `aqar: Sarah (Genesis 11:30); Rebekah (Genesis 25:21); Rachel (Genesis 29:31); Manoah's wife (Judges 13:2, 3); Hannah (1 Samuel 2:5); steiros: Elisabeth (Luke 1:7, 36).
In Israel and among oriental peoples generally barrenness was a woman's and a family's greatest misfortune. The highest sanctions of religion and patriotism blessed the fruitful woman, because children were necessary for the perpetuation of the tribe and its religion. It is significant that the mothers of the Hebrew race, Sarah, Rebekah and Rachel, were by nature sterile, and therefore God's special intervention shows His particular favor to Israel. Fruitfulness was God's special blessing to His people (Exodus 23:26 Deuteronomy 7:14 Psalm 113:9). A complete family is an emblem of beauty (Songs 4:2; Songs 6:6). Metaphorically, Israel, in her days of adversity, when her children were exiled, was barren, but in her restoration she shall rejoice in many children (Isaiah 54:1 Galatians 4:27). The utter despair and terror of the destruction of Jerusalem could go no farther than that the barren should be called blessed (Luke 23:29).
(3) Argos is translated in the King James Version "barren," but in the Revised Version (British and American) more accurately "idle" (2 Peter 1:8).
Barren (44 Occurrences)
Luke 1:7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they both were well advanced in years. (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Luke 1:36 Behold, Elizabeth, your relative, also has conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Luke 23:29 For behold, the days are coming in which they will say,'Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.' (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
1 Corinthians 14:14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is barren. (WEY)
Galatians 4:27 For it is written, "Rejoice, you barren who don't bear. Break forth and shout, you that don't travail. For more are the children of the desolate than of her who has a husband." (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Hebrews 11:11 By faith also Sarah herself did receive power to conceive seed, and she bare after the time of life, seeing she did judge Him faithful who did promise; (See NIV)
James 2:20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith apart from works is barren? (ASV RSV)
2 Peter 1:8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (KJV WBS)
Jude 1:12 These men--sunken rocks! --are those who share the pleasure of your love-feasts, unrestrained by fear while caring only for themselves; clouds without water, driven away by the winds; trees that cast their fruit, barren, doubly dead, uprooted; (WEY)
Genesis 11:30 Sarai was barren. She had no child. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 20:18 For the LORD had made barren all the females of the house of Abimelech, because of Sarah, Abraham's wife. (WBS)
Genesis 25:21 Isaac entreated Yahweh for his wife, because she was barren. Yahweh was entreated by him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Genesis 29:31 Yahweh saw that Leah was hated, and he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Exodus 23:26 No one will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will fulfill the number of your days. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Numbers 13:20 And what the land is, whether it is fertile or barren, whether there is wood in it, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the first ripe grapes. (WBS)
Numbers 23:3 And Balaam said unto Balak: 'Stand by thy burnt-offering, and I will go; peradventure the LORD will come to meet me; and whatsoever He showeth me I will tell thee.' And he went to a bare height. (See NIV)
Deuteronomy 7:14 You shall be blessed above all peoples: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your livestock. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)
Deuteronomy 32:10 He found him in a desert land, in the waste howling wilderness. He surrounded him. He cared for him. He kept him as the apple of his eye. (See NIV)
Judges 13:2 There was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and didn't bear. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)
Judges 13:3 The angel of Yahweh appeared to the woman, and said to her, "See now, you are barren, and don't bear; but you shall conceive, and bear a son. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)
1 Samuel 1:5 But to Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah; but the LORD had rendered her barren. (WBS)
1 Samuel 1:6 And her adversary also provoked her greatly, to make her fret, because the LORD had made her barren. (WBS)
1 Samuel 2:5 Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread. Those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. Yes, the barren has borne seven. She who has many children languishes. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Kings 2:19 And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is naught, and the ground barren. (KJV DBY WBS)
2 Kings 2:21 And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the LORD, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land. (KJV DBY WBS)
Job 3:7 Behold, let that night be barren. Let no joyful voice come therein. (WEB ASV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
Job 15:34 For the company of the godless shall be barren, and fire shall consume the tents of bribery. (WEB ASV DBY NAS RSV NIV)
Job 24:21 He devours the barren who don't bear. He shows no kindness to the widow. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Job 39:6 Whose house I have made the wilderness, and the barren land his dwellings. (KJV WBS YLT)
Psalms 107:34 A fruitful land into barrenness, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein. (Root in KJV WBS YLT)
Psalms 113:9 He settles the barren woman in her home, as a joyful mother of children. Praise Yah! (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Proverbs 30:16 Sheol, the barren womb; the earth that is not satisfied with water; and the fire that doesn't say,'Enough.' (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
Song of Songs 4:2 Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them. (KJV DBY WBS)
Song of Songs 6:6 Thy teeth are as a flock of sheep which go up from the washing, whereof every one beareth twins, and there is not one barren among them. (KJV DBY WBS)
Isaiah 41:18 I will make rivers on the dry mountain-tops, and fountains in the valleys: I will make the waste land a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. (See NIV)
Isaiah 49:9 Saying to those who are in chains, Go free; to those who are in the dark, Come out into the light. They will get food by the way wherever they go, and have grass-lands on all the dry mountain-tops. (See NIV)
Isaiah 49:21 Then you will say in your heart, Who has given me all these children? when my children had been taken from me, and I was no longer able to have others, who took care of these? when I was by myself, where then were these? (See NAS RSV NIV)
Isaiah 54:1 "Sing, barren, you who didn't bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who did not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife," says Yahweh. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Jeremiah 2:6 And they never said, Where is the Lord, who took us up out of the land of Egypt; who was our guide through the waste of sand, through an unplanted land full of deep holes, through a dry land of deep shade, which no one went through and where no man was living? (See NIV)
Jeremiah 3:21 A voice is sounding on the open hilltops, the weeping and the prayers of the children of Israel; because their way is twisted, they have not kept the Lord their God in mind. (See NIV)
Jeremiah 4:11 At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, A burning wind from the open hilltops in the waste land is blowing on the daughter of my people, not for separating or cleaning the grain; (See NIV)
Jeremiah 7:29 Let your hair be cut off, O Jerusalem, and let it go, and let a song of grief go up on the open hilltops; for the Lord is turned away from the generation of his wrath and has given them up. (See NIV)
Jeremiah 14:6 The wild donkeys stand on the bare heights, they pant for air like jackals; their eyes fail, because there is no herbage. (See NIV)
Joel 2:20 But I will remove the northern army far away from you, and will drive it into a barren and desolate land, its front into the eastern sea, and its back into the western sea; and its stench will come up, and its bad smell will rise." Surely he has done great things. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS NIV)