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The English word has two generic meanings, each shading off into several specific meanings: (1) that which holds together, binds or encircles: a bond; (2) a company of men. The second sense may philologically and logically have been derived from the first, men being held together by social ties. Both meanings appear in Old Testament and New Testament representing various Hebrew and Greek words.

(1) A band (a ) (אסוּר , 'ēc̣ūr ): a flaxen rope (Judges 15:14 ); a band of iron and brass (Daniel 4:15 , Daniel 4:23 ); metaphorically used of a false woman's hands ( Ecclesiastes 7:26 ). (b ) (חבל , ḥebhel ): "The bands of the wicked have robbed me" (the King James Version of Psalm 119:61 ), where "bands" = "troops" by mistr; the Revised Version (British and American) "The cords of the wicked have wrapped me round"; plural ḥobhlim = "bands" = the name of the prophet's symbolic staff representing the brotherhood between Judah and Israel (Zechariah 11:7 , Zechariah 11:14 ). (c ) (עבת , ‛ăbhōth ): "I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love" (Hosea 11:4; compare Ezekiel 3:25; Ezekiel 4:8; Job 39:10 ). (d ) (שפה , sāphāh ): the edge of the round opening in the robe of the ephod with a band (the Revised Version (British and American) "binding") round about the hole of it (only in Exodus 39:23 ). (e ) (חרצבּות , ḥarcǔbbōth ): bands (the Revised Version (British and American) "bonds") of wickedness (Isaiah 58:6 ); bands (= pains) in death (Psalm 73:4 ); the Revised Version, margin ("pangs," Cheyne, "torments"). (f ) (מוטה , mōṭāh ): the cross bar of oxen's yoke, holding them together (Leviticus 26:13; Ezekiel 34:27 the King James Version; the Revised Version (British and American) "bars"). ( g ) (מוסר , mōṣēr ): a fetter: "Who hath loosed the bonds of the swift ass?" (Job 39:5; Psalm 2:3; Psalm 107:14; Isaiah 28:22; Isaiah 52:2; Jeremiah 2:20; all in the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American)). The same Hebrew word (in Psalm 116:16; Jeremiah 5:5; Jeremiah 27:2; Jeremiah 30:8; Nahum 1:13 ) is translated "bonds" in the King James Version, and in the English Revised Version of Psalm 116:16 , and Nahum 1:13 , but "bands" in the English Revised Version of Jeremiah 5:5; Jeremiah 27:2; Jeremiah 30:8; the American Standard Revised Version has "bonds" throughout. See BOND . (h ) (מושׁכות , mōshekhōth ): "Canst thou ... loose the bands of Orion?" (only in Job 38:31 ). (i ) (δεσμός , desmós , σύνδεσμος , súndesmos ): a fetter: that which binds together: of the chains of a lunatic or prisoner (Luke 8:29; Acts 16:26; Acts 22:30 the King James Version), metaphorically of the mystic union of Christ and the church ( Colossians 2:19 ). These words are often translated by "bond" in the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American). (j ) (ζευκτηρία , zeuktērı́a ): the rudder's bands (only in Acts 27:40 ).

(2) A company of men (a ) (גּדוּד , gedhūdh ): a band of soldiers (2 Samuel 4:2; 1 Kings 11:24 , the King James Version; 2 Kings 6:23; 2 Kings 13:20 , 2 Kings 13:21; 2 Kings 24:2; 1 Chronicles 7:4; 1 Chronicles 12:18 , 1 Chronicles 12:21; 2 Chronicles 22:1 ). So the Revised Version (British and American) (except in 1 Kings 11:24 , "troop"). (b ) (ראש , rō'sh ): "head" = "division": "The Chaldeans made three bands" (Job 1:17 ); 1 Chronicles 12:23 the Revised Version (British and American) translates "heads." ( c ) (חיל , ḥayil ): "a band of men" the Revised Version (British and American) the "host" (only in 1 Samuel 10:26 ). (d ) (אגפים , 'ăghappı̄m ): "the wings of an army," only in Ezekiel, armies of the King of Judah (Ezekiel 12:14; Ezekiel 17:21 ); of Gomer and of Togarmah (Ezekiel 38:6 ); of Gog (the Revised Version (British and American) "hordes") (Ezekiel 38:9 , Ezekiel 38:22; Ezekiel 39:4 ). (e ) (מחנה , maḥăneh ): "camp": only in Genesis 32:7 , Genesis 32:10; the Revised Version (British and American) "companies." (f ) (חצץ , ḥocec ): of locusts dividing into companies or swarms (Proverbs 30:27 ). (g ) (σπεῖρα , speı́ra ): usually a "cohort" (see the Revised Version, margin) of Roman soldiers; the tenth part of a legion, about 600 men: (Matthew 27:27; Mark 15:16; Acts 10:1; Acts 21:31; Acts 27:1 ). A smaller detachment of soldiers (John 18:3 , John 18:12; compare 2 Macc 8:23; Judith 1:4:11). (h ) (ποιεῖν συστροφήν , poieı́n sustrophḗn ): "to make a conspiracy": "The Jews banded together" (Acts 23:12 ).

(3) The Augustan Band (σπεῖρα Σεβαστή , speı́ra Sebastḗ ) to which Julius, the Roman centurion who had charge of Paul as a prisoner on his voyage to Rome, belonged, was a cohort apparently stationed at Caesarea at the time (Acts 27:1 ). Schürer (GJV , I3, 461 f) is of opinion that it was one of five cohorts mentioned by Josephus, recruited in Samaria and called Sebastenes from the Greek name of the city of Samaria (Sebaste). This particular cohort had in all likelihood for its full name Cohors Augusta Sebastenorum , Augusta being an honorific title of which examples are found in the case of auxiliary troops. Sir William Ramsay, following Mommsen (St. Paul the Traveler , 315, 348), thinks it denotes a body of legionary centurions, selected from legions serving abroad, who were employed by the emperor on confidential business between the provinces and Rome, the title Augustan being conferred upon them as a mark of favor and distinction. The grounds on which the views of Mommsen and Ramsay rest are questioned by Professor Zahn (Introduction to the New Testament , I, 551ff), and more evidence is needed to establish them. See ARMY , ROMAN .

(4) The Italian Band ( σπεῖρα ἰταλική , speı́ra Italikḗ ) was a cohort composed of volunteer Roman citizens born in Italy and stationed at Caesarea at this time (Acts 10:1 ). Schürer maintains that there could have been no Roman cohort there at this time, although he accepts the testimony of inscriptions to the presence of an Italian cohort at a later time. He accordingly rejects the story of Cornelius, holding that the author of the Acts has given in this narrative conditions belonging to a later time (GJV , I3, 462 f). In reply to Schürer, Blass asks why one of the five cohorts mentioned by Josephus may not have been composed of Roman citizens living at Caesarea or Sebaste, and bearing this name (Blass, Acta Apostolorum , 124). From a recently discovered inscription, Sir W. M. Ramsay has ascertained that there was an Italian cohort stationed in Syria in 69 ad, which heightens the probability of one actually being found in Caesarea at 41-44 ad, and he shows that even if his cohort was at the time on duty elsewhere a centurion like Cornelius might well have been at Caesarea at the time mentioned (Expositor , 5th series, IV, V, with Schürer's rejoinder). The subject of detached service in the provinces of the Roman Empire is admittedly obscure, but nothing emerges in this discussion to cast doubt upon the historical character of Luke's narrative. See ARMY , ROMAN .


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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Band'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 1915.

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