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by Wayne Blank
In English-language translations of the Holy Bible, "stock" is often used to translate a number of Hebrew words, (pronounced) sad, meaning to stop, eh-kess, meaning an anklet, ates, meaning a wooden staff or plank, mah-peh-keth, meaning a wrench, and tsee-noke, meaning to confine. In the New Testament, the Greek word (pronounced) xoo-lon, meaning timber, is often translated as "stock." There were various forms of stocks, some held only the feet, some the neck and hands, some the feet and hands.
Jeremiah and Paul In The Stocks
God's people sometimes found themselves in the stocks because they uncompromisingly spoke the Truth (a somewhat contradictory term since Truth that is compromised, that is not the whole Truth, is not the Truth). When the prophet Jeremiah proclaimed what The Lord gave him to speak, the religious authorities of Judah, men who had corrupted themselves by replacing God's Law with their own self-righteous behavior (centuries later, Jesus Christ was opposed by, and killed by, the same sort of self-righteous people) had Jeremiah placed in the stocks "which was by the house of The Lord." The place of Jeremiah's confinement, "by the house of The Lord" wasn't just an incredible irony, it was evidence that the corrupt men who claimed to be The Lord's people were in fact opposing The Lord's people. The Messiah's later rejection and death sentence at the same place, at what the Son of God called "My Father's House", was the ultimate occurrence of it.
"Now Pashur the son of Immer the priest, who was also chief governor in the house of The Lord [see also YHVH, Adonai, Jehovah, LORD], heard that Jeremiah prophesied these things. Then Pashur smote Jeremiah the prophet, and put him in the stocks that were in the high gate of Benjamin, which was by the house of The Lord."
The apostle Paul (see Paul's Ministry) also found himself in the stocks, not by his fellow Jews in Jerusalem as happened with Jeremiah, but for casting a Familiar Spirit out of a slave girl (see Paul's Second Missionary Journey) and for "teaching customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans" (see below). Paul and Silas were not only miraculously freed, but the head jailer was himself freed, not from the stocks, but from his spiritual darkness (see the Fact Finder question below).
"And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation. And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour." [see also Casting Out Demons]
Fact Finder: How can everyone become free of the spiritual stocks that imprison them?