Manners & Customs: Staffs
Staffs or rods in ancient Biblical times
As a rule, Jewish men did not indulge in extravagances of dress, and there was little ornamentation among them. They often carried a cane or staff, which would be ornamented at the top, but it served the useful purpose of protecting them from half-wild dogs that abounded in the country, and was not much of an ornament. Certain men wore a ring on their right hand or, suspended by a cord or chain around the neck.
Actually this was the signet ring or seal, and served as the personal signature of its owner, and so was not usually worn as an ornament. (For Scriptural examples of the ring, see Genesis 38:18; Song of Solomon 8:6; Luke 15:22, etc.)
[Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Rod in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
Emblem of authority. Exodus 4:2, etc., Moses'; Numbers 17,
Aaron's; Psalm 2:9, Christ's. He will either rule with the
pastoral rod, or break with the rod (scepter) of iron
(Revelation 2:27; Revelation 19:15; Micah 6:9; Micah 7:14;
Psalm 110:2; Isaiah 9:4; Isaiah 11:4).
Rod in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
(maqqel, maTTeh, shebheT; rhabdos): Little distinction can be
drawn between the Hebrew words used for "rod" and "staff."
Maqqel is the word used in Gen 30:37 ff for the twigs of
poplar put by Jacob before his sheep, and in Jer 1:11 of the
"rod of an almond-tree." MaTTeh is used of a rod in the hand,
as the "rods" of Moses and of Aaron (Ex 4:2 ff; 7:9 ff, etc.).
ShebheT is used, but sometimes also maTTeh, of the rod used
for correction (Ex 21:20; 2 Sam 7:14; Prov 10:13; 13:24; Isa
10:5, etc.). In Ps 23:4 ("Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort
me"), however, shebheT is the shepherd's rod, figurative of
divine guidance and care. In Ezek 21:10,13, the word stands
for the royal scepter. In the New Testament "rod" is used of a
rod of correction (1 Cor 4:21), Aaron's rod (Heb 9:4), a
ruler's rod "of iron" (severity, as in Rev 2:27; 12:5; 19:15),
a measuring rod (Rev 11:1).
The shepherd's rod It is like a policeman's club. It is often made of oak wood and has a knob on the end of it. Into this knob nails are sometimes driven so as to make a better weapon. It is very useful for protection, and no shepherd would be without it.
It was no doubt the rod that David used in protecting his sheep from wild animals (I Samuel 17:34-36). He mentions both the rod and the staff in his Shepherd Psalm (Psalm 23:4).
The prophet Ezekiel refers to the custom of the sheep passing under the shepherd's rod for the purpose of counting or inspecting them. "I will cause you to pass under the rod" (Ezekiel 20:37). The law of Moses speaks of tithing the flock for a specific purpose at such a time. "And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord" (Leviticus 27:32). To do this Jewish writers tell us that the shepherd allowed the animals to come by him as they would under the rod at a narrow entrance. The head of the rod was dipped into some coloring fluid and was allowed to come down upon every tenth one that passed by, thus marking him as the one to be given to the LORD for sacrificial purposes.
The sceptre, which the ancient kings of the East usually had with them, had its origin in the shepherd's rod. Kings were considered to be shepherds of their people. Thus the sceptre, or rod, of the king became a symbol of protection, power and authority. Young translates Micah 7:14: "Rule thou thy people with thy rod, the flock of thine inheritance."
The shepherd's staff. David mentions the staff along with the rod in his Shepherd Psalm (Psalm 23:4). It is a stick five or six feet long and sometimes but not always has a crook at the end of it. It is used like Western men would use a cane or walking stick. It is useful in handling the sheep and also for protection. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Staff in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
staf: Many Hebrew terms are represented by this word. The
"staves" of the ark translate the word badh, literally, "a
part," hence, branch, bar, etc. (Ex 25:13,14,15,27,28, etc.).
Other words, as matteh, maqqel, shebhet, used of the staff in
the hand, the shepherd's staff, figuratively, "staff of bread"
(matteh, Ezek 4:16; 5:16; 14:13), as indispensable for support
of life, are dealt with under ROD (which see). The New
Testament word is rhabdos (Mt 10:10 parallel Lk 9:3; Heb
See also SCEPTRE.
Staff Scripture - 1 Chronicles 11:23
And he slew an Egyptian, a man of [great] stature, five cubits
high; and in the Egyptian's hand [was] a spear like a weaver's
beam; and he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the
spear out of the Egyptian's hand, and slew him with his own
Staff Scripture - 2 Kings 18:21
Now, behold, thou trustest upon the staff of this bruised
reed, [even] upon Egypt, on which if a man lean, it will go
into his hand, and pierce it: so [is] Pharaoh king of Egypt
unto all that trust on him.
Staff Scripture - 2 Samuel 23:21
And he slew an Egyptian, a goodly man: and the Egyptian had a
spear in his hand; but he went down to him with a staff, and
plucked the spear out of the Egyptian's hand, and slew him
with his own spear.
Staff Scripture - 2 Samuel 3:29
Let it rest on the head of Joab, and on all his father's
house; and let there not fail from the house of Joab one that
hath an issue, or that is a leper, or that leaneth on a staff,
or that falleth on the sword, or that lacketh bread.
Staff Scripture - Ezekiel 5:16
When I shall send upon them the evil arrows of famine, which
shall be for [their] destruction, [and] which I will send to
destroy you: and I will increase the famine upon you, and will
break your staff of bread:
Staff Scripture - Isaiah 10:24
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, O my people that
dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall
smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against
thee, after the manner of Egypt.
Staff Scripture - Isaiah 28:27
For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument,
neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the
fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a
Staff Scripture - Isaiah 3:1
For, behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, doth take away from
Jerusalem and from Judah the stay and the staff, the whole
stay of bread, and the whole stay of water,
Staff Scripture - Judges 6:21
Then the angel of the LORD put forth the end of the staff that
[was] in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened
cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed
the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the LORD
departed out of his sight.
Staff Scripture - Leviticus 26:26
[And] when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women
shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver
[you] your bread again by weight: and ye shall eat, and not be
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