Cord the rendering in the Auth. Ver. of the following Hebrew words:
(1.) usually חֶבֶל, che'bel (but not חֵבֶל), a rope, SEE CHEBEL;
(2.) יֶתֶר, ye'-her, a straw ("withe," Jg 16:7-9; tent-rope, "excellency," Job 4:21; bow-"string," Ps 11:2; halter-"cord," Job 30:11);
(3.) מֵיתָר, meythar', a line (e.g. tentrope, Ex 35:18; Ex 39:40; Nu 3:26,37; Nu 4:26,32; Isa 54:2.; Jer 10:20; bow- "string," Ps 21:12); (4.) עֲבֹת, aboth', a braid (e.g. "wreathed" work, Ex 28:14, etc.; "band," Job 39:10; Eze 3:25; Eze 4:8; Ho 11:4; "rope," Jg 15:13-14; Ps 2:3; Ps 118:27; Ps 124:4);
(5.) חוּט, chut (Ec 4:12, a "thread," Ge 14:23; Jos 2:18; Jg 16:12; Song 4:3; "line," 1Ki 7:15; "fillet," Jer 52:21). The first of these terms is the most comprehensive, being from the root חָבִל, to twist, hence Engl. cable. This word occurs often in its proper sense, as well as in the special meanings of measuring-line (hence also region), snare (Ps 140:5), and bridle. In Mic 2:5, it signifies "portion" (as it is frequently rendered elsewhere); and the phrase "cast a cord" denotes a change of inheritance, as in ver. 4. The same word has the secondary sense of a band of men (1Sa 10:5,10), and destruction (Mic 2:10). SEE ROPE. "In the N.T. the term σχοινία is applied to the whip which our Savior made (Joh 2:15), and to the 'ropes' of a ship (Ac 27:32). Alford understands it in the former passage of the rushes on which the cattle were littered; but the ordinary rendering cords seems more consistent with the use of the term elsewhere. (See below.)
"The materials of which cord was made varied according to the strength required; the strongest rope was probably made of strips of camel hide, still used by the Bedouins for drawing water (Burckhardt's Notes, 1:46); the Egyptians twisted these strips together into thongs for sandals and other purposes (Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt. 3. 145). The finer sorts were made of flax (Isa 19:9). The fibre of the date-palm was also used (Wilkinson, 3. 210); and probably reeds and rushes of various kinds, as implied in the origin of the word σχοινίον (Pliny 19:9), which is generally used by the Sept. for חֶבֶל, and more particularly in the word "(אִגמוֹן, rush (Job 41:2), which primarily means a reed; in the Talmud (Erubin, fol. 58), bulrushes, osier, and flax are enumerated as the materials of which rope was made; in the Mishna (Sotah, 1, § 6) the חבל מצרי, or Egyptian rope, is explained as a rope of vines or osiers. SEE MECHANIC.
"Of the various purposes to which cord, including under that term rope, and twisted thongs, was applied, the following are especially worthy of notice:
(1.) For fastening a tent, in which sense מֵיתָר, meythar', is more particularly used (e.g. Ex 35:18; Ex 39:40; Isa 54:2). As the tent supplied a favorite image of the human body, the cords which held it in its place represented the principle of life (Job 4:21): 'Are not their tent cords (A.V. 'excellency') torn away?' (Ec 12:6).
(2.) For leading or binding animals, as a halter or rein (Ps 118:27; Ho 11:4), whence to 'loosen the cord' (Job 30:11) = to free from authority.
(3.) For yoking them either to a cart (Isa 5:18) or a plough (Job 39:10).
(4.) For binding prisoners, more particularly עֲבֹת, aboth' (Jg 15:13; Ps 2:3; Ps 129:4; Eze 3:25), whence the metaphorical expression 'bands of love' (Ho 11:4).
(5.) For bow-strings (Ps 11:2), made of catgut; such are spoken of in Jg 16:7 (יתָרַים לִחַים, A. V. 'green withs;' but more properly νευραὶ ὑγραί, fresh or moist bow-strings).
(6.) For the ropes or 'tacklings' of a vessel (Isa 33:23).
(7.) For measuring ground, the full expression being חֶבֶל מַדָּה (2Sa 8:2; Ps 78:55; Am 7:17; Zec 2:1); hence to 'cast a cord' — to assign a property (Mic 2:5), and cord or line became an expression for an inheritance (Jos 17:14; Jos 19:9; Ps 16:6; Eze 47:13), and even for any defined district (e.g. the line, or tract, of Argob, De 3:4). SEE CHEBEL.
(9.) For attaching articles of dress; as the wreathen chains (עֲבֹת), which were rather twisted cords, worn by the high-priests (Ex 28:14,22,24; Ex 39:15,17).
(10.) For fastening awnings (Es 1:6).
(11.) For attaching to a plummet. The line and plummet are emblematic of a regular rule (2Ki 21:13; Isa 28:17); hence to destroy by line and plummet (Isa 34:11; La 2:8; Am 7:7) has been understood as a regular systematic destruction (ad normam et libellam, Gesenius, Thesaur. p. 125); it may, however, be referred to the carpenter's level, which can only be used on a flat surface (comp. Thenius, Comm. in 2Ki 21:13).
(12.) For drawing water out of a well, or raising heavy weights (Jos 2:15; Jer 38:6,13).
(13.) To place a rope on the head (1Ki 20:31) in place of the ordinary head-dress was a sign of abject submission"
(14.) The "small cords" (σχοινίον, a rush-rope) used by our Savior in expelling the traders from the Temple (Joh 2:15) were probably the same used for leading the animals for sacrifice and binding them to the altar (עֲבֹת, Ps 118:27).
(15.) The same word is employed in Ac 27:32, "ropes," i.e. cordage, with which the yawl-boats were secured to the ship (q.v.). SEE RUSH.
Among the figurative uses of the word the following are the most striking:
(1.) To gird one's self with a cord was considered a token of sorrow and humiliation (1Ki 20:31-33; Job 36:8).
(2.) To stretch a line or cord about a city signifies to ruin it, to destroy it entirely, and to level it with the ground (La 2:8).
(3.) The cords (מֵיתָר) extended in setting up tents furnish several metaphors in the prophetical books (Isa 33:20; Jer 10:20).
(4.) Hence to "loose one's cord" was a metaphor for dissolving one's comfort and hopes (יֶתֶר, ye'ther, elsewhere "withe").
(5.) 'The cords of sin" (Pr 5:22), metaphorically speaking, are the consequences of crimes and bad habits.
(6.) The "silver cord" (i.e. composed of silvery threads, Ec 12:6) is generally supposed to refer to the spinal marrow, to which, as to its form and color, it may not be inaptly compared.
(7.) A "three-fold cord" (i.e. one of treble strands) is put as the symbol of union (Ec 4:12, חוּט, chut, elsewhere "thread").
(8.) The "cords of a man," in Ho 11:4, are immediately explained as meaning "the bands of love," although some interpreters join this clause to the preceding sentence, and render it "amid the desolations of men," referring to the plagues of Egypt (Horsley, in loc.). SEE LINE. For cords of Sheol, SEE SNARES OF DEATH.