A building or other facility used for holding individuals in judicial confinement. Accused persons were often imprisoned either while their cases were being investigated or to assure their appearance for trial (Gen 39:19-41:14; 1Kgs 22:26-27; Num 15:34; Acts 4:3; Acts 12:3-4; Acts 16:23-24; Acts 23:35; Phil 1:7-26). Debtors unable to pay their creditors were also imprisoned, sometimes in special debtors’ prisons, until their debts were paid. Despite various efforts to promote reforms, conditions in ancient prisons were often harsh. Most prisoners wore chains; their feet might be shackled, their hands manacled or even attached to their neck by another chain, and their movements further restricted by a chain fastened to a post. Some prisoners were also kept in wooden stocks, devices to restrain the feet, hands, or even the neck of an individual (Acts 16:24). Prisons often were very dark (Isa 42:7); the inner area of the prison mentioned in (Acts 16:24) was probably without windows. Although solitary confinement was known, prisoners generally were kept grouped together, accused and condemned, men and women alike. Overcrowding was not infrequent (Isa 24:22). Numerous early Christians encountered prison at first hand, and NT passages such as (Matt 25:36 and Heb 13:3) exhort believers to visit those in prison.

Gen 39:19-41:14

19When his master heard the words that his wife spoke to him, saying, “This is the way your servant treated me,” he became enraged.20And Joseph's master took hi ... View more

1Kgs 22:26-27

26The king of Israel then ordered, “Take Micaiah, and return him to Amon the governor of the city and to Joash the king's son,27and say, ‘Thus says the king: Pu ... View more

Num 15:34

34They put him in custody, because it was not clear what should be done to him.

Acts 4:3

3So they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.

Acts 12:3-4

3After he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. (This was during the festival of Unleavened Bread.)4When he had seized him, he put hi ... View more

Acts 16:23-24

23After they had given them a severe flogging, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to keep them securely.24Following these instructions, he put t ... View more

Acts 23:35

35he said, “I will give you a hearing when your accusers arrive.” Then he ordered that he be kept under guard in Herod's headquarters.

Phil 1:7-26

7It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because you hold me in your heart, for all of you share in God's grace with me, both in my imprisonment ... View more

Acts 16:24

24Following these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

Isa 42:7

7to open the eyes that are blind,
to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,
from the prison those who sit in darkness.

Acts 16:24

24Following these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.

Isa 24:22

22They will be gathered together
like prisoners in a pit;
they will be shut up in a prison,
and after many days they will be punished.

Matt 25:36

36I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’

Heb 13:3

3Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them; those who are being tortured, as though you yourselves were being tortured.

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