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Study Resources :: Dictionaries :: Quaternion

Dictionaries :: Quaternion

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Easton's Bible Dictionary

Quaternion:

a band of four soldiers. Peter was committed by Herod to the custody of four quaternions, i.e., one quaternion for each watch of the night (Act 12:4). Thus every precaution was taken against his escape from prison. Two of each quaternion were in turn stationed at the door (12:6), and to two the apostle was chained according to Roman custom.

International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia

Quaternion:

kwa-tur'-ni-un (tetradion): The name given to a company of four soldiers of Herod's army (Ac 12:4). To four such companies Peter had been handed over, who would take their turn of acting as guard over the prisoner, each of the four watches of the night according to Roman reckoning, which Herod Agrippa I would follow. In the castle of Antonia Peter was thus closely secured, in order that Herod, who had already killed James, the brother of John, with the sword (Ac 12:2), might, after the solemnities of the Passover, make sure of his death likewise. On the night before his intended execution he was sleeping in his cell between two soldiers, "bound with two chains," his left hand chained to one and his right to the other. The other two soldiers of the quaternion mounted guard before the door, and are spoken of as "the first and the second guard" (Ac 12:10) whom Peter and his angel guide had to pass on the way to liberty. The Greek word thus rendered is not found in the Septuagint or anywhere else in the New Testament.

Written by T. Nicol

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
1 Strong's Number: g5069 Greek: tetradion

Quaternion:

"a group of four" (tetra--, "four"), occurs in Act 12:4. A "quaternion" was a set of four men occupied in the work of a guard, two soldiers being chained to the prisoner and two keeping watch; alternatively one of the four watched while the other three slept. The night was divided into four watches of three hours each; there would be one "quaternion" for each watch by day and by night. Cp. the "guard" in Mat 27:65; 28:11.

Smith's Bible Dictionary

Quaternion:

a military term signifying a guard of four soldiers, two of whom were attached to the person of a prisoner, while the other two kept watch outside the door of his cell (Acts 12:4).

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The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.