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Swaddle; Swaddling-Band

SWADDLE; SWADDLING-BAND

swod'-'-l, swod'-ling-band (verb chathal, "enwrap," "swaddle" (Ezekiel 16:4), noun chathullah, "swaddling-band" (Job 38:9); verb sparganoo, "to wrap in swaddling clothes" (Luke 2:7,12), noun spargana (pl.), "swaddling clothes" (The Wisdom of Solomon 7:4). the King James Version also has "swaddle" (Lamentations 2:22) for Taphach, literally, "to extend." But the word means "to carry on the outstretched palms of the hands" (compare Tippuchim, "dandled in the hands," Lamentations 2:20), whence RV's "to dandle"):

"To swaddle" and "to swathe" are really the same word, both forms going back to an AS form swethel, "a bandage," but "swaddle" has become the technical term for the wrapping of an infant in the Orient or elsewhere. The oriental swaddling-clothes consist of a square of cloth and two or more bandages. The child is laid on the cloth diagonally and the corners are folded over the feet and body and under the head, the bandages then being tied so as to hold the cloth in position. This device forms the clothing of the child until it is about a year old, and its omission (Ezekiel 16:4) would be a token that the child had been abandoned. The mention of darkness as a "swaddling-band" at the birth of the sea (Job 38:9) is only a poetic way of saying that the sea, at its creation, was covered with clouds and darkness, and to find any idea of restraint involved is fanciful.

Burton Scott Easton


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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'SWADDLE; SWADDLING-BAND'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.