"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" (Genesis 37:36, etc.), while "ward" is used, not only in this sense (Jeremiah 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 1 Chronicles 9:23; the King James Version 1 Chronicles 26:16; Nehemiah 12:24,25 (the Revised Version (British and American) "watch"), or the duty itself, as Isaiah 21:8; 1 Chronicles 12:29 the King James Version (the Revised Version (British and American) "allegiance"); 1 Chronicles 25:8; 26:12 (the Revised Version (British and American) "office," margin "ward"); Nehemiah 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 (Genesis 40:3, etc.), changing it only in Ezekiel 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 Isaiah 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" (Exodus 18:19; 2 Corinthians 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 1:8); "to thee-ward" (1 Samuel 19:4); "to us-ward" (Psalms 40:5; Ephesians 1:19; 2 Peter 3:9 the King James Version); "to you-ward" (2 Corinthians 1:12; 13:3; Ephesians 3:2; 2 Peter 3:9 the Revised Version (British and American)); and in Exodus 37:9, the King James Version "even to the mercy seatward" (the Revised Version (British and American) "toward the mercy-seat").

Burton Scott Easton

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'WARD'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.