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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia


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A word employed in English versions of the Bible as an equivalent for the various Hebrew terms applied to devices consisting of a series of links and used (1) as means of restraint, or (2) for ornamental purposes on persons or on buildings. These Hebrew terms are as follows:

    1. : Occurring in Numbers 31:50 R. V., "ankle chains." In 2Samuel 1:10 it is translated "bracelet" and this is evidently its more exact meaning (see Driver and Klostermann on 2Samuel 1:10 , and compare below No. 11).
    2. : occurring in Daniel 5:7,16 , 29 (read ), and indicating a necklace worn as a mark of distinction. One was conferred upon Daniel for interpreting Belshazzar's dream. In the Targum it is employed for (Genesis 41:42 ) Compare No. 12 below.
    3. : Occurs in Nahum 3:10 , and Psalm 149:8 , where it indicates fetters, probably of iron, for binding captives.
    4. : Translated "chain" in Ezekiel 19:4,9 , A. V., but more correctly rendered "hook" in R. V. Inserted in the nose, it served as a means of leading captives (compare 2Kings 19:28 ). It is also indicated as an ornament (Exodus 35:22 , A. V. "bracelets" R. V., "brooches"). From its insertion in the nose of the captive, it seems probable that as an ornament the was a nose-ring (compare ).

    Assyrian Captive in Chains.
    (After Botta, "Monuments de Ninive.")

    5. : Occurs in Song of Song of Song of Solomon 1:10 (R. V., "strings"). Ornamental chains for the neck, probably strings of coral, metal, or pearls, are meant.
    6. : This word occurs only in Psalm 68:7 (6), and is translated as "chains" in A. V., but more correctly in R. V. as "prosperity" (compare dictionaries of Gesenius [-Buhl], Siegfried-Stade, and Baethgen, on Psalm 68:7 ).
    7. and : Occurring in Lamentations 3:7 , and often translated "fetters," as in Judges 16:21 2Kings 25:7 . Chains for prisoners, made, as the name implies, of bronze. They consisted of two rings— one for each foot or arm— connected by a link.
    8. : Rendered "chains" in Isaiah 3:19 , A. V., but better taken, in R. V., as "pendants"— obviously with reference to the drop-like form of the ornament. In Judges 8:26 , A. V., it is rendered "collars" [margin, "sweet jewels"] in R. V., "pendants."
    9. : Employed in Exodus 28:14 , 39:15 to designate the gold chains on the ephod and breastplate of the high priest.
    10. : An ornament for the neck mentioned in Song of Song of Song of Solomon 4:9 , etc. (compare , Psalm 73:6 ). The word is used in Judges 8:26 to designate the chains worn by camels.
    11. : Rendered by R. V. in Isaiah 3:20 as "ankle chains" A. V. has "ornaments of the legs." Compare (No. 1) above.
    12. : Occurs in Genesis 41:42 and Ezekiel 16:11 , where it indicates a necklace evidently employed as a sign of distinction. Pharaoh adorned Joseph with a chain of this kind when investing him with office.
    13. : Applied (1) to chains of captivity ( Ezekiel 7:23 ) (2) to the gold chains hung before the "oracle" () in the Temple (IKings 6:21) and (3) to silver chains hung upon a graven image (Isaiah 40:19 ).
    14. : Translated "bracelets" in Isaiah 3:19 , both A. V. and R. V., but "chains" is the marginal rendering in the latter. The word seems to indicate arm-ornaments compare the Arabic "siwar" (bracelet).
    15. : Chainwork used in ornamentation. It was employed in the Temple ( 2Chronicles 3:5,16 ) and for the ephod and breastplate of the high priest (Exodus 28:14 , 39:15 ). Compare (Exodus 28:22 ), which is an abbreviated form of this word. See Fetters .
Bibliography :Nowack, Lehrbuch der Hebrä ischen Archä ologie , pp. 128et seq. and the various Bible commentaries. E. G. H. C. J. M.

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Chains'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901.

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