[For imprisonment as a punishment] It is plain that in Egypt special places were used as prisons, and that they were under the custody of a military officer. (Genesis 40:3; 42:17) During the wandering in the desert we read on two occasions of confinement "in ward"-- (Leviticus 24:12; Numbers 15:34) but as imprisonment was not directed by the law, so we hear of none till the time of the kings, when the prison appears as an appendage to the palace, or a special part of it. (1 Kings 22:27) Private houses were sometimes used as places of confinement, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. By the Romans the tower of Antoni, was used as a prison at Jerusalem, (Acts 23:10) and at Caesarea the praetorium of Herod. The royal prisons In those days were doubtless managed after the Roman fashion, and chains, fetters and stocks were used as means of confinement. See (Acts 16:24) One of the readiest places for confinement was a dry or partially-dry wall or pit. (Jeremiah 35:6-11)
* See also: Dungeon.
Main reference: Smith's Bible Dictionary (1860s)
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