frequently used in its proper sense, for fastening a tent (Ex. 35:18; 39:40), yoking animals to a cart (Isa. 5:18), binding prisoners (Judg. 15:13; Ps. 2:3; 129:4), and measuring ground (2 Sam. 8;2; Ps. 78:55). Figuratively, death is spoken of as the giving way of the tent-cord (Job 4:21. "Is not their tent-cord plucked up?" R.V.). To gird one's self with a cord was a token of sorrow and humiliation. To stretch a line over a city meant to level it with the ground (Lam. 2:8). The "cords of sin" are the consequences or fruits of sin (Prov. 5:22). A "threefold cord" is a symbol of union (Eccl. 4:12). The "cords of a man" (Hos. 11:4) means that men employ, in inducing each other, methods such as are suitable to men, and not "cords" such as oxen are led by. Isaiah (5:18) says, "Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope." This verse is thus given in the Chaldee paraphrase: "Woe to those who begin to sin by little and little, drawing sin by cords of vanity: these sins grow and increase till they are strong and are like a cart rope." This may be the true meaning. The wicked at first draw sin with a slender cord; but by-and-by their sins increase, and they are drawn after them by a cart rope. Henderson in his commentary says: "The meaning is that the persons described were not satisfied with ordinary modes of provoking the Deity, and the consequent ordinary approach of his vengeance, but, as it were, yoked themselves in the harness of iniquity, and, putting forth all their strength, drew down upon themselves, with accelerated speed, the load of punishment which their sins deserved."
Ancient uses of: In casting lots, Mic. 2:5
; fastening tents, Ex. 35:18
; Isa. 54:2
; leading or binding animals, Psa. 118:27
; Hos. 11:4
; hitching to cart or plough, Job 39:10
; binding prisoners, Judg. 15:13
; measuring ground, 2 Sam. 8:2
; Josh. 17:14
; Psa. 78:55
; Amos 7:17
; Zech. 2:1
; worn on the head as a sign of submission, 1 Kin. 20:31
Of spiritual blessings, Psa. 16:6
Of sin, Prov. 5:22
Of life, Eccl. 12:6
Of friendship, Eccl. 4:12
; Hos. 11:4
Symbolical uses of
Token in mourning, 1 Kin. 20:31-33
; Job 36:8
Signifying an inheritance, Josh. 17:14
See: Lace; Thread
The materials of which cord was made varied according to the strength required; the strongest rope was probably made of strips of camel hide, as still used by the Bedouins. The finer sorts were made of flax, (Isaiah 19:9
) and probably of reeds and rushes. In the New Testament the term is applied to the whip which our Saviour made, (John 2:15
) and to the ropes of a ship. (Acts 27:32
- kord (chebhet, yether, methar, `abhoth; schoinion):
(1) The Arabic chab'l corresponds to the Hebrew chebhel and is still the common name for cord or rope throughout the East. Such ropes or cords are made of goat's or camel's hair, first spun into threads and then twisted or plaited into the larger and stronger form. Chebhel is translated rather inconsistently in the Revised Version (British and American) by "cord" (Josh 2:15; Job 36:8, etc.); by "line" (2 Sam 8:2; Mic 2:5; Ps 16:6; 78:55; Am 7:17; Zec 2:1); by "ropes" (1 Ki 20:31), and by "tacklings" (Isa 33:23).
(2) Yether corresponds to the Arabic wittar, which means catgut. With a kindred inconsistency it is translated the Revised Version (British and American) by "withes" (Jdg 16:7 the Revised Version, margin "bowstring"); by "cord" (Job 30:11), where some think it may mean "bowstring," or possibly "rein" of a bridle, and by "bowstring" (Ps 11:2), doubtless the true meaning.
(3) Methar is considered the equivalent of Arabic atnab, which means tent ropes, being constantly so used by the Bedouin. They make the thing so called of goat's or camel's hair. It is used of the "cords" of the tabernacle (Jer 10:20), of the "cords" of the "hangings" and "pillars" of the courts of the tabernacle in Exodus and Numbers, and figuratively by Isa (54:2), "Lengthen thy cords," etc.
(4) `Abhoth is thought to have its equivalent in the Arabic rubuts, which means a band, or fastening. See BAND. It is translated by "cords" in Ps 118:27; 129:4; by "bands" in Ezek 3:25; Job 39:10; Hos 11:4; by "ropes" in Jdg 15:13,14, and by "cart rope" in Isa 5:18. See CART. See also Nu 15:38 and AMULET. It Seems to have the meaning of something twisted or interlaced.
(5) In the New Testament "cord" is found in Jn 2:15, translating schoinion, but in Acts 27:32 the same Greek word is rendered "ropes."
Figurative: (1) of affliction (Job 36:8); (2) of God's laws (Ps 2:3); (3) of the artifices of the wicked (Ps 129:4; 140:5); (4) of sinful habits (Prov 5:22); (5) of true friendship or companionship (Eccl 4:12); (6) possibly of the spinal cord (Eccl 12:6); (7) of falsehood (Isa 5:18); (8) of the spirit of enterprise and devotion (Isa 54:2); (9) of God's gentleness.
George B. Eager