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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(נָעִל, naal', to bar up a door, Judges 3:23-24; rendered "bolt," 2 Samuel 13:17-18, "inclose," "shut up," in Song of Solomon 4:12; hence מִנְעוּל, manul', the bolt or fastening of a door, Nehemiah 3:3; Nehemiah 3:6; Nehemiah 3:13-15, Song of Solomon 5:5). The doors of the ancient Hebrews were secured by bars of wood or iron, though the latter were almost entirely appropriated to the entrance of fortresses, prisons, and towns (comp. Isaiah 45:2). Thus we find it mentioned in 1 Kings 4:13 as something remarkable concerning Bashan that "there were threescore great cities, having walls and brazen bars." These were almost the only locks known in early times, and they were furnished with a large and clumsy key, which was applied to the bar through an orifice on the outside, by means of which the bolt or bar was slipped forward as in modern locks (Judges 3:24). There were smaller contrivances for inner doors, and probably projecting pieces by which to shove the bolt with the hand (Song of Solomon 5:5). (See KEY).

Lane thus describes a modern Egyptian lock: "Every door is furnished with a wooden lock, called dabbeh, the mechanism of which is shown by a sketch here inserted. No. 1 is a front view of the lock, with the bolt drawn back, Nos. 2, 3, and 4 are back views of the separate parts and the key. A number of small iron pins (four, five, or more) drop into corresponding holes in the sliding bolt as soon as the latter is pushed into the hole or staple of the door-post. The key also has small pins, made to correspond with the holes, into which they are introduced to open the lock, the former pins being thus pushed up, the bolt may be drawn back. The wooden lock of a street door commonly has a sliding bolt about fourteen inches long; those of the doors of apartments, cupboards, etc., are about seven, eight, or nine inches. The locks of the gates of quarters, public buildings, etc., are of the same kind, and mostly two feet in length, or more. It is not difficult to pick this kind of lock" (Mod. Egyptians, 1:25). Hence they were sometimes, as an additional security, covered with clay (q.v.), and on this a seal (q.v.) impressed (comp. Job 28:14). (See Rauwollff, Trav. in Ray, 2:17; Russell, Aleppo, 1:22; Volney, Trav. 2:438; Chardin, Voy. 4:123; Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt., abridgment, 1:15, 16.) (See DOOR).

The other terms rendered "lock" in the Auth. Vers. refer to the hair of the head, etc.; they are the following: מִחְלָפוֹת, machlaphoth', braids or plaits, e.g. of the long hair of Samson (Judges 16:13; Judges 16:19); צַיצַית, tsitsith', the forelock of the head (Ezekiel 8:3; also a "fringe" or tassel, Numbers 15:38-39; comp. Matthew 23:5); פֶּרִע, pe'rla, the locks of hair, as being shorn (Numbers 6:5; Ezekiel 44:20; and קְוצֻּוֹת, kevutstsoth', the forelocks or sidelocks of a man's or woman's hair (Song of Solomon 5:2; Song of Solomon 5:12; comp. Schultens, Op. min. page 246); but צִמָּה , tsammah', is a veil or female covering for the head and face, usual in the East (Song of Solomon 4:1; Song of Solomon 4:3; Song of Solomon 6:7; Isaiah 47:2). (See HAIR).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Lock'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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