(שׁוֹט, shot; occasionally rendered "scourge," Job 5:21; Job 9:23; Isa 10:26; Isa 28:15). In ancient times, whips were used not only for driving animals, but also as instruments of torture; and even now, in slaveholding countries, the unfortunate slaves are obliged to work with the, fear of the whip before their eyes. The system of administering personal chastisement has been, and is, universal throughout the East; and, under despotic governments, no person can be sure of escaping, as punishment is inflicted on the mere caprice of any tyrant who may happen to be in power. For this purpose, however, the rod (q.v.) was oftener used, and punishment of the bastinado (q.v.) is now the most common in Oriental countries. SEE CORPORAL PUNISHMENT.
Various materials were used in the manufacture of whips. In 1Ki 12:11, Rehoboam says, "My father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions." Here a simple scourge and another more painful are mentioned in opposition. This latter is called, "a scorpion;" and probably means to denote a comparison between the pain respectively occasioned by the scourge and the reptile. The rabbins think generally that this scorpion was a scourge composed of knotted and thorny twigs, by which the flesh was severely lacerated. More probably it consisted of thongs set with thorns or sharp iron points. Such scourges were known to the Romans as a means of torturing used by unrelenting persons, and particularly by masters in the punishment of their slaves. Some of the early martyrs were thus tortured. SEE SCOURGE. Few travelers have visited Egypt without commiserating the condition of the unhappy Fellahs: every public work is executed by their unpaid labor; half naked and half starved, they toil under a burning sun, to clear out canals or level roads, under the eyes of taskmasters ready to punish with their formidable whips, made from the hide of the hippopotamus, the least neglect or relaxation. Such a sight necessarily calls to mind the sufferings endured by the Israelites while they were subjected to the tyranny of Pharaoh. "The Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigor; and they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field; all their service wherein they made them serve was with rigor"(Ex 1:13-14). The monuments abound with similar scenes. SEE BRICK.
"In driving the ancient Egyptians used a whip, like the heroes and charioteers of Homer; and this, or a short stick, was generally employed even for beasts of burden, and for oxen at the plough, in preference to the goad. The whip consisted of a smooth, round wooden handle, and a single or double thong; it sometimes had a lash of leather, or string, about two feet in length, either twisted or plaited; and a loop being attached to the lower end, the archer was enabled to use the bow, while it hung suspended from his wrist" (Wilkinson, Anc. Egypt. 1, 372 sq.). SEE CHARIOT.