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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Chains of gold appear to have been as much used among the Hebrews, for ornament or official distinction, as they are among ourselves at the present day. The earliest mention of them occurs in , where we are told that a chain of gold formed a part of the investiture of Joseph in the high office to which he was raised in Egypt; a later instance occurs in , from which we learn that a golden chain was part of a dress of honor at Babylon. In Egypt the judges wore chains of gold, to which was attached a jeweled figure of Thmei, or Truth; and in that country similar chains were also worn as ornaments by the women. It is not, however, necessary to suppose that the Hebrews derived this custom from the Egyptians; for the fact that chains are mentioned among the spoil of the Midianites shows that they were in use among people whose condition of life more nearly resembled that of the Israelites before they obtained possession of Canaan. It would seem that chains were worn both by men and women (; ), and we find them enumerated among the ornaments of brides (; ).

It was a custom among the Romans to fasten a prisoner with a light chain to the soldier who was appointed to guard him. One end of it was attached to the right hand of the prisoner, and the other to the left hand of the soldier. This is the chain by which Paul was so often bound, and to which he repeatedly alludes (; ; ). When the utmost security was desired, the prisoner was attached by two chains to two soldiers, as was the case with Peter ().





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Chain'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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Monday, October 26th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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