The brier is a plant with a woody stem that is itself thorny or prickly, and the name may refer to numerous plants of this type. Some scholars identify the Hebrew term bar·qanimʹ (briers) with that designated by a cognate noun in Arabic, the Centaurea scoparia, a common thistlelike plant with thorny heads. Gideon used bar·qanimʹ in punishing the men of Succoth for their refusal to supply bread to his hungry soldiers during his fight against the Midianites.—Jg 8:6, 7, 16.
The Hebrew word cheʹdheq (brier) has been identified with Solanum coagulans, the gray nightshade, a spiny shrub. (Thesaurus of the Language of the Bible, edited in part by M. Z. Kaddari, Jerusalem, 1968, Vol. 3, p. 88) Using the term cheʹdheq, Proverbs 15:19 likens the path of the lazy man to a brier hedge, apparently in the sense of his envisioning or imagining difficulties and thorny problems in every possible undertaking, and on that basis excusing himself from moving ahead. The moral decay of the nation of Israel caused the prophet Micah to say of the people that their “best one is like a brier [Heb., kecheʹdheq], their most upright one is worse than a thorn hedge,” evidently meaning that even the best among the Israelites was as hurtful to those having dealings with him as is a prickly brier or a thorn hedge to anyone approaching too close.—Mic 7:4.