1. In all ages, among the Israelites, beating was the commonest form of bodily chastisement known in civil offenses (De 25:2), e.g. in cases of a team of different sorts of beasts (i.e. the driver as well as the person sitting in the wagon), forty blows were inflicted (Mishna, Chil. 8:3). SEE BASTINADO. The delinquent probably received the strokes from a stick (comp. Pr 10:13; a rod of "scorpions" is named in 1Ki 12:11,14; 2Ch 11:14, either a thorny, knotty staff [comp. scorpio in Isidor. Origg. v. 27, 18; thongs of oxhide are mentioned in Le 19:20, as בַּקֹּרֶת; but see Gesenius, Thes. p. 234], or one set with pointed projections [Gesen. Thes. p. 1062], probably an unusual severity), in a prostrate attitude (not on the soles of the feet, as in the modern East, Arvieux, 3, 198), and in the presence of the judge (comp. Wilkinson, 2:41; Rosellini, 2:3, p. 274); but not over forty stripes (De 25:2). The later Jewish infliction (see the Mishna, Maccoth) was executed by means of a twisted leather thong (whip), and the blows, not exceeding thirty. nine in number (Maccoth, 3. 10; compare Josephus, Ant. 4:8, 21; 2Co 11:24), were dealt by the officer of justice (חִוָּן) ipon the culprit, who stood bent forward (Maccoth, 3:12). The cases in which this punishment was applied were sometimes such as were deemed a capital offense by the Mosaic law (Maccoth, 3, esp. 15). That scourging was also in vogue in the synagogue appears from the New Test. (Mt 10:17; Mt 23:34), where there seems to be an allusion to the threefold sentence that prevailed in that ecclesiastical court (Lightfoot, Hor. Hebr. p. 332); yet the Talmudists are not agreed whether forty blows could be inflicted in any case (Sanhedr. 1:2). SEE SYNAGOGUE. Scourging is mentioned (Ac 5:40) as a penalty in the power of the Sanhedrim; an increase of severity being employed in instances of repeated offense (Sanhedr. 9:5; see Wendt, De debitis recicdus, Erlangen, 1824). SEE COUNCIL. Under the Syrian rule chastisement with the lash occurs as a form of torture (2 Maccabees 7:1; comp. Juvenal, 13:195; Cicero, Cluent. 63). SEE FLAGELLATION. The Roman scourging (φραγελλοῦν, μαστιγοῦν) with thongs was inflicted on Jesus before crucifixion (Matthew 29:26; Joh 19:1), and on the apostles as a civil penalty (Ac 16:22,37); but Roman citizens could only be beaten with rods (virgis caedi, Cicero, Verr. v. 66; comp. Ac 22:25). That this punishment might be carried to a fatal extent is evident (Cicero, Verr. v. 54; Pluto, Opp. 2:528); it was generally applied with fearful severity by the Roman governors (Josephus, War, 6:5, 3). SEE SCOURGE.
2. Physical injuries committed upon a free Israelite were to be avenged by retaliation upon the author (Ex 21:23 sq.; Le 24:19 sq.). SEE DAMAGES.
3. Of foreign corporal inflictions we may here enumerate the following:
(1.) Partial dichotomy, or the cutting off of the nose and ears, also of the hands or one of them, which species of punishment was often practiced among the later Jews, but chiefly in tumultuous times (Josephus, Life, 30, 34, 35). A similar maiming of the toes occurs among the Canaanitish incidents (Jg 1:7). In Egypt such mutilations were sanctioned by law; and it was usually the member through which the offense had been committed that was cut off (Diod. Sic. 1:78); the adulteress must expiate her crime by the loss of the nose (so as to spoil her countenance), a penalty to which Eze 23:25, is usually referred, a passage, however, that rather rea lates to Babylonian usage. (On the Persian custom, see Xenophon, Anab. 1:9, 13; Curtius, v. 5, 6; 7:5, 40. An allusion to dichotomy occurs in the Behistun inscription; see Rawlinson's explanation, p. 9, 17.) On captives in war such disfigurations were and still are (Russegger, Reise, 2:138) most recklessly perpetrated.
(2.) Blinding (עַוֵּר) was a Chaldeean (Jer 52:11; 2Ki 25:7) and ancient Persian punishment (Herodotus, 7:18). SEE EYE. It still prevails in Persia with regard to princes, who are sometimes thus deprived of all prospect to the succession; vision is not entirely obliterated by the process employed in such cases (Chardin, v. 243; Rosenmüller, Morgenl. 3:950 sq.; a different treatment is mentioned by Procopius, in Phot. Cod. 63, p. 32). The extinction of the eyes (נַקֵּר אֶתאּעֵינִיַם), a practice frequent in Persia (Ctesias, Pers. 5), is named in Jg 16:21, as a piece of Philistine barbarity, in 1Sa 11:12, the same atrocity appears to have obtained with the Ammonites. SEE PUNISHMENT.