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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Chain; Chains

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chān , chānz : Chains were used by the Hebrews:

(1) As ornaments: אצעדה , 'ec‛ādhāh , נטיפה , neṭı̄phāh , ענק , ‛ānāḳ , רביד , rābhı̄dh , שׁרשׁרה , sharsherāh , רתּוק , rattōḳ ̌ . As ornaments for the person they were worn about the ankles (Numbers 31:50 ; Isaiah 3:20 ) and about the neck (Song of Solomon 4:9 ; Ezekiel 16:11 ). They were used as ornaments for the ephod and breastplate of the high priest (Exodus 28:14 ; Exodus 39:15 ). These chains were of pure gold. Solomon placed chains before the oracle in the temple (1 Kings 6:21 ), and these were also of pure gold. They were used as ornaments for graven images (Isaiah 40:19 ) and around the necks of prized animals. This was true of the camels taken from the Midianites by Gideon (Judges 8:21 , Judges 8:26 ).

(2) As marks of distinction: רביה , rābhı̄dh , המוּנך , hămūnēkh (המניך , hamnı̄kh ): That seems to be true of the chain which Pharaoh placed about the neck of Joseph (Genesis 41:42 ), and of the one which the king of Babylon promised to the wise men (Daniel 5:7 ).

(3) As means of confining prisoners: נחשת , neḥōsheth ; ἅλυσις , hálusis ̌ : A number of passages that were translated "chains" in the King James Version are translated "fetters" in the Revised Version (British and American) (see Judges 16:21 ; 2 Samuel 3:34 ). Among the Romans the prisoner was chained to one or two guards (Acts 12:6 , Acts 12:7 ; Acts 21:33 ; Ephesians 6:20 ; 2 Timothy 1:16 ). These chains were perhaps made of copper or an alloy of copper and tin.

(4) As a figurative expression: ענק , ‛ānāḳ ̌ . The Psalmist likens pride to a chain about the neck (Psalm 73:6 ), and in Prov it is stated that the young man who hears the instruction of his father and forsakes not the law of his mother shall find that they are chains about his neck (Romans 1:9 ). In Revelation 20:1 the angel is described as descending with a great chain in his hand. According to the King James Version Peter speaks of the fallen angels as having been delivered into "chains of darkness" ( 2 Peter 2:4 ), σειρά , seirá , and Jude speaks of them as being reserved in "everlasting chains" (Judges 1:6 , the Revised Version (British and American) "bonds"), δεσμός , desmós ̌ . See also PUNISHMENTS .

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

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