Prisoner (אִסַּיר, assir, δέσμιος). Imprisonment does not appear to have been imposed by Moses as a punishment among the Hebrews, though he describes it as in use among the Egyptians (Ge 39:20-21; Ge 40:1-4). He seems to have used it merely for the purpose of keeping the culprit safe until judgment was given (Le 24:12). As execution immediately followed the sentence, there was little occasion for incarceration. The great variety in the names of prisons in the Hebrew would lead us to imagine that they were more frequently used in the latter than in the earlier periods of the Hebrew nation; and that they were not only used in the detention of criminals, but as a means of punishment and correction (2Ch 16:10; 1Ki 22:27; 2Ki 25:29; Jer 37:15,21; Jer 52:31; Isa 24:22; Isa 42:7; Mt 4:12; Ac 12:4). Prisoners were often confined in stocks, or with chains (Job 12:25; Job 33:11; Jer 40:4); and the keepers of the prisons often had a discretionary power to treat their prisoners as they pleased. The torture was often applied to extort a confession from the accused. In later periods the Jews confined those in prison who failed in the payment of their debts. They had the liberty to punish the debtor with stripes (Wisdom of Song 2:17; Mt 5:26; Mt 18:28-34). The Romans, in some instances, fastened their criminals by one or both hands to a soldier: such appear to have remained in their own houses (Ac 28:16). It was not unfrequently the case that the keepers of prisons, when those who were committed to their charge had escaped, were subjected to the same punishment which had been intended for the prisoners (12:19; 16:27). SEE PRISON.