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Dictionaries :: Ward

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Easton's Bible Dictionary


a prison (Gen 40:3,4); a watch-station (Isa 21:8); a guard (Neh 13:30).

International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia


word: "Ward" and "guard" are two different spellings of the same word, and in consequence no clear line can be drawn between them. English Versions of the Bible, however, has used "guard" only in the sense of "a special body of soldiers" (Ge 37:36, etc.), while "ward" is used, not only in this sense (Jer 37:13; contrast 39:9), but also in a variety of others. So a "ward" may mean "any body of men on special duty," as 1Ch 9:23; the King James Version 1Ch 26:16; Ne 12:24,25 (the Revised Version (British and American) "watch"), or the duty itself, as Isa 21:8; 1Ch 12:29 the King James Version (the Revised Version (British and American) "allegiance"); 1Ch 25:8; 26:12 (the Revised Version (British and American) "office," margin "ward"); Ne 12:45; 13:30 (the Revised Version (British and American) "charge"). Or "ward" may mean "guarded place," always in the phrase "put in ward." the Revised Version (British and American) has kept this phrase throughout (Ge 40:3, etc.), changing it only in Eze 19:9, where "cage" better carries out the figure of the context.

The distinction of the older English between "watch" and "ward," as applying respectively to the night and to the day seems unknown in English Versions of the Bible. Compare Isa 21:8.

The affix "-ward," denoting direction and still used in such forms as "toward," "northward," etc., had a much wider range in Biblical English. So, "to God-ward" (Ex 18:19; 2Co 3:4; 1Th 1:8); "to thee-ward" (1Sa 19:4); "to us-ward" (Ps 40:5; Eph 1:19; 2Pe 3:9 the King James Version); "to you-ward" (2Co 1:12; 13:3; Eph 3:2; 2Pe 3:9 the Revised Version (British and American)); and in Ex 37:9, the King James Version "even to the mercy seatward" (the Revised Version (British and American) "toward the mercy-seat").

Written by Burton Scott Easton

King James Dictionary

Ward: Prison; Custody.

Then spake the chief butler unto Pharaoh, saying, I do remember my faults this day: Pharaoh was wroth with his servants, and put me in WARD in the captain of the guard's house, both me and the chief baker. (Genesis 41:9-10)

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
1 Strong's Number: g5438 Greek: phulake


"a guard," is used of the place where persons are kept under guard (akin to phulax, "a keeper"), and translated "ward" in Act 12:10.

2 Strong's Number: g5084 Greek: teresis


primarily denotes "a watching" (tereo, "to watch"); hence "imprisonment, ward," Act 4:3 (AV, "hold"); Act 5:18, RV, "(public) ward" [AV, "(common) prison"].

Note: For "were kept in ward," Gal 3:23, see GUARD, B, No. 3, KEEP, No. 6.


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