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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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a purse or pouch. The following words in the original are thus rendered in the English version of the Bible:

1. חָרַיטּ, charit', a pocket (Sept. θύλακος, Vulg. saccus), the "bags" in which Naaman bound up the two talents of silver for Gehazi (2 Kings 5:23), probably so called, according to Gesenius, from their long. cone-like shape. The word only occurs besides in Isaiah 3:22 (A. V. "crisping- pins"), and there denotes the reticules carried by the Hebrew ladies.

2. כּיס , kis (Sept. μάρσιππος, μαρσύπιον, Vulg. sacculus, saccellus), a bag for carrying weights (Deuteronomy 25:13; Proverbs 16:11; Micah 6:11); also used as a purse (Proverbs 1:14; Isaiah 46:6); hence a cup (Proverbs 23:31).

3. כְּלי , keli' (Sept. κάδιον, Vulg. pera), translated "bag" in 1 Samuel 17:40; 1 Samuel 17:49, is a word of most general meaning, and is generally rendered "vessel" or "instrument." In Genesis 42:25, it is the "sack" in which Jacob's sons carried the corn which they brought from Egypt, and in 1 Samuel 9:7; 1 Samuel 21:5, it denotes a bag or wallet for carrying food (A. V. "vessel;" compare Judges 10:5; Judges 13:10; Judges 13:15). The shepherd's "bag" which David had seems to have been worn by him as necessary to his calling, and was probably, from a comparison of Zechariah 11:15-16 (where A.V. "instruments" is the same word), for the purpose of carrying the lambs which were unable to walk or were lost, and contained materials for healing such as were sick and binding up those that were broken (comp. Ezekiel 34:4; Ezekiel 34:16). 4. צַרור . tseror' (Sept. ἔνδεσμος, δεσμός, Vulg. sacculus), properly a "bundle" (Genesis 42:35; 1 Samuel 25:29), appears to have been used by travelers for carrying money during a long journey (Proverbs 7:20; Haggai 1:6; compare Luke 12:33; Tobit 9:5). In such "bundles" the priests bound up the money which was contributed for the restoration of the Temple under Jehoiada (2 Kings 12:10; A. V. "put up in bags")

5. The "bag" (γλωσσόκομον , Vulg. loculi) which Judas carried was probably a small box or chest (John 12:6; John 13:29). The Greek word is the same as that used in the Sept. for "chest" in 2 Chronicles 24:8; 2 Chronicles 24:10-11, and originally signified a box used by musicians for carrying the mouthpieces of their instruments.

6. The βαλάντιον , or wallet (Luke 10:4; Luke 12:33; Luke 22:35-36). Of these terms it will only be necessary here to discuss one application, which they all sustain, i.e. as a receptacle for money. The money deposited in the treasuries of Eastern princes, or intended for large payments, or to be sent to a government as taxes or tribute, is collected in long, narrow bags or purses, each containing a certain amount of money, and sealed with the official seal. As the money is counted for this purpose, and sealed with great care by officers properly appointed, the bag or purse passes current, as long as the seal remains unbroken, for the amount marked thereon. In the receipt and payment of large sums, this is a great and important convenience in countries where the management of large transactions by paper is unknown, or where a currency is chiefly or wholly of silver; it saves the great trouble of counting or weighing loose money. This usage is so well established that, at this day, in the Levant, "a purse" is the very name for a certain amount of money (now twenty-five dollars), and all large payments are stated in "purses." The antiquity of this custom is attested by the monuments of Egypt, in which the ambassadors of distant nations are represented as bringing their tributes in sealed bags of money to Thothmes III; and we see the same bags deposited intact in the royal treasury (Wilkinson, 1:148, abridgm.). When coined money was not used, the seal must have been considered a voucher not only for the amount, but for the purity of the metal. The money collected in the Temple, in the time of Joash, seems to have been made up into bags of equal value after this fashion, which were probably delivered sealed to those who paid the workmen (2 Kings 12:10; comp. also 2 Kings 5:23; Tobit 9:5; Tobit 11:16). (See MONEY).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Bag'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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