An ancient instrument of confinement and punishment, consisting of a wooden frame in which a seated victim’s feet were locked (2 Chron. 16:10; Jer. 20:2, 3), often while he was exposed to public gaze and ridicule. Roman stocks had several holes so that, if desired, the legs could be widely separated, adding to the torture. Stocks for confining the feet are called sadh in Hebrew (Job 13:27; 33:11), and, since made of wood, are designated by the Greek term xyʹlon (wood). While imprisoned at Philippi, Paul and Silas were confined in stocks that held their feet.—Acts 16:24.
Elsewhere in the Hebrew Scriptures another word, mah·peʹkheth, is rendered “stocks.” Since it carried the thought of twisting, it appears that the person so confined was forced into a bent or distorted bodily posture. This device may have held the feet, hands and neck, or perhaps it could be used with other means for holding the neck and arms. The stocks and the pillory might have been combined to hold the legs as well as the neck and arms.—Jer. 29:26, NE [1970 ed.], NW.