Bit and Bridle
bri'-d'-l (methegh wa-recen): The two words occur in conjunction (Ps 32:9 the King James Version, "Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding; whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee"; the Revised Version (British and American) "else they will not come near unto thee," margin, "that they come not near." Methegh, translated "bit" above, is properly a bridle or halter in which the bit was a loop passed round the under jaw of the animal; recen has a similar meaning. The counsel in the verse is that men should render a willing obedience to God and not be like the animals that man has to bridle and curb in order to get them to do his will. Compare Jas 3:3, where we have "bit" as translation of chalinos, "a bit" or "curb," "We put bits (the Revised Version (British and American) "bridles") in the horses' mouths that they may obey us." "Bridle" occurs separately as translation of methegh (2Sa 8:1), "David took Metheg-ammah," King James Version margin "the bridle of Ammah," the Revised Version (British and American) "the bridle of the mother city," margin, as the King James Version; the meaning may be that he took the control or dominion of it; "I will put .... my bridle in thy lips" (2Ki 19:28; Isa 37:29); "a bridle for the ass" (Pr 26:3); of recen (Job 30:11), "They have also let loose the bridle before me," the Revised Version (British and American) "and they have cast off the bridle before me" (acted in an unbridled (unrestrained) manner); Job 41:13, said of "leviathan" (the Revised Version (British and American) "the hippopotamus"), "Who can come to him his double bridle?" the American Standard Revised Version "within his jaws?" the English Revised Version "within his double bridle," others, "into the double row of his teeth"; Isa 30:28, "a bridle in the jaws of the people causing them to err," the Revised Version (British and American) "a bridle that causeth to err"; of machcom, which means "a muzzle" (Ps 39:1), "I will keep my mouth with a bridle," King James Version margins "Hebrew, a bridle, or muzzle for my mouth"; so the Revised Version, margin.
To "bridle" occurs (Jas 1:26, "bridleth not his tongue"; 3:2 "able to bridle the whole body"; chalinagogeo, "to lead" or "guide with a bit"). In 1 Esdras 3:6, and 2 Macc 10:29, we have "bridles of gold" (chrusochalinos).
W. L. Walker