(in the plur.) is the rendering in the A.V. of the following Heb. and Gr. words
1. The מִהפֶּכתֵ, mahpeketh (Jer 20:2; Jer 29:26; 2Ch 16:10), is supposed by some to have been rather a sort of pillory in which the head and hands were fastened than an instrument for fastening by the feet; yet, as the word, is derived from הָפִך, to twist, it may properly represent the rack for wrenching apart the joints of the entire person (see Scheid, in the Diss. Lugd. p. 986; Bochart, Hieroz. 1, 694). It may perhaps be compared with the Greek κύφων, as described in the Scholia ad Aristoph. Plut. 476; the latter with the Roman nervus (Plaut. Asin. 3, 2, 5; Capt. 5, 3, 40), which admitted, however, of being converted into a species of torture, as the legs could be drawn asunder at the will of the jailer (Biscoe, On Acts, p. 229). The prophet Jeremiah was confined in an instrument of this sort (Jer 20:2), which appears to have been a common mode of punishment in his day (29:26; A.V. "prison"), as the prisons contained a chamber for the special purpose, termed "the house of the pillory" (2Ch 16:10; A.V. "prison house").
2. סִד, sad (Job 13:27; Job 33:11), which is expressly described as a fetter for the feet, and therefore perhaps answered to our stocks.
3. עֶכֶס, ekes (Pr 7:22), was probably a fetter fastened round the ankle. The same word is used for an anklet (Isa 3:18; A.V. "tinkling ornament").
4. צַינֹק, tsinok (Jer 29:26), is, according to the Sept. and Vulg., merely a prison, but is rather the stocks proper, or some other confinement of the limbs; so Symmachus and the Hebrew interpreters generally (comp. the Arab zanak, a fetter, and the root צָנִק, which seems to signify to be straitened).
5. The ξύλον, literally wood, to which Paul and Silas were made fast (Ac 16:24) may have been " stocks" (as in Lucan, Tox, 29; Plato, De Genesis Socratis, 32), but was possibly simply a bar of wood to which they were chained by the feet. SEE PRISON.
What kind of stocks were used by the Jews, especially in the case of Jeremiah (as above), it is difficult to conjecture; whether they were encumbering clogs or fetters that did not absolutely prevent, but only embarrassed motion, or were fixed frames that kept the prisoner stationary. Both kinds were in use very anciently. The fixed kinds, properly called stocks, were of different sorts, being frames of wood with holes either for the feet only, or for the feet, the hands, and the neck at once. At Pompeii stocks have been so contrived that ten prisoners might be chained by the leg, each leg separately, by the sliding of a bar. Some of these forms of confinement particularly that which combined, in some sort, the pillory with the stocks were very painful, and are mentioned in the accounts of the sufferings of the early Christian martyrs (see Newman, Callista, p. 363. sq., where, however, the lignum of the Vulg. is confounded with the robur, or interior cell). SEE PUNISHMENT.