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Smith's Bible Dictionary

was in used among the Egyptians, (Genesis 40:19) the Carthaginians, the Persians, (Esther 7:10) the Assyrians, Scythains, Indians, Germans, and from the earliest times among the Greeks and Romans. Whether this mode of execution was known to the ancient Jews is a matter of dispute. Probably the Jews borrowed it from the Romans. It was unanimously considered the most horrible form of death. Among the Romans the degradation was also a part of the infliction, and the punishment if applied to freemen was only used in the case of the vilest criminals. The one to be crucified was stripped naked of all his clothes, and then followed the most awful moment of all. He was laid down upon the implement of torture. His arms were stretched along the cross-beams, and at the centre of the open palms the point of a huge iron nail was placed, which, by the blow of a mallet, was driven home into the wood. Then through either foot separately, or possibly through both together, as they were placed one over the other, another huge nail tore its way through the quivering flesh. Whether the sufferer was also bound to the cross we do not know; but, to prevent the hands and feet being torn away by the weight of the body, which could not "rest upon nothing but four great wounds," there was, about the centre of the cross, a wooden projection strong enough to support, at least in part, a human body, which soon became a weight of agony. Then the "accursed tree" with its living human burden was slowly heaved up and the end fixed firmly in a hole in the ground. The feet were but a little raised above the earth. The victim was in full reach of every hand that might choose to strike. A death by crucifixion seems to include all that pain and death can have of the horrible and ghastly, --dizziness, cramp, thirst, starvation, sleeplessness, traumatic fever, tetanus, publicity of shame, long continuance of torment, horror of anticipation, mortification of untended wounds, all intensified just up to the point at which they can be endured at all, but all stopping just short of the point which would give to the sufferer the relief of unconsciousness. The unnatural position made every movement painful; the lacerated veins and crushed tendons throbbed with incessant anguish; the wounds, inflamed by exposure, gradually gangrened; the arteries, especially of the head and stomach, became swollen and oppressed with surcharged blood; and, while each variety of misery went on gradually increasing, there was added to them the intolerable pang of a burning and raging thirst. Such was the death to which Christ was doomed. --Farrar's "Life of Christ. " The crucified was watched, according to custom, by a party of four soldiers, (John 19:23) with their centurion, (Matthew 27:66) whose express office was to prevent the stealing of the body. This was necessary from the lingering character of the death, which sometimes did not supervene even for three days, and was at last the result of gradual benumbing and starvation. But for this guard, the persons might have been taken down and recovered, as was actually done in the case of a friend of Josephus. Fracture of the legs was especially adopted by the Jews to hasten death. (John 19:31) In most cases the body was suffered to rot on the cross by the action of sun and rain, or to be devoured by birds and beasts. Sepulture was generally therefore forbidden; but in consequence of (21:22,23) an express national exception was made in favor of the Jews. (Matthew 27:58) This accursed and awful mode of punishment was happily abolished by Constantine.

Easton's Bible Dictionary
A common mode of punishment among heathen nations in early times. It is not certain whether it was known among the ancient Jews; probably it was not. The modes of capital punishment according to the Mosaic law were, by the sword (Exodus 21), strangling, fire (Leviticus 20), and stoning (Deuteronomy 21).

This was regarded as the most horrible form of death, and to a Jew it would acquire greater horror from the curse in Deuteronomy 21:23.

This punishment began by subjecting the sufferer to scourging. In the case of our Lord, however, his scourging was rather before the sentence was passed upon him, and was inflicted by Pilate for the purpose, probably, of exciting pity and procuring his escape from further punishment (Luke 23:22; John 19:1).

The condemned one carried his own cross to the place of execution, which was outside the city, in some conspicuous place set apart for the purpose. Before the nailing to the cross took place, a medicated cup of vinegar mixed with gall and myrrh (the sopor) was given, for the purpose of deadening the pangs of the sufferer. Our Lord refused this cup, that his senses might be clear (Matthew 27:34). The spongeful of vinegar, sour wine, posca, the common drink of the Roman soldiers, which was put on a hyssop stalk and offered to our Lord in contemptuous pity (Matthew 27:48; Luke 23:36), he tasted to allay the agonies of his thirst (John 19:29). The accounts given of the crucifixion of our Lord are in entire agreement with the customs and practices of the Roman in such cases. He was crucified between two "malefactors" (Isaiah 53:12; Luke 23:32), and was watched by a party of four soldiers (John 19:23; Matthew 27:36, 54), with their centurion. The "breaking of the legs" of the malefactors was intended to hasten death, and put them out of misery (John 19:31); but the unusual rapidity of our Lord's death (19:33) was due to his previous sufferings and his great mental anguish. The omission of the breaking of his legs was the fulfilment of a type (Exodus 12:46). He literally died of a broken heart, a ruptured heart, and hence the flowing of blood and water from the wound made by the soldier's spear (John 19:34). Our Lord uttered seven memorable words from the cross, namely, (1) Luke 23:34; (2) 23:43; (3) John 19:26; (4) Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34; (5) John 19:28; (6) 19:30; (7) Luke 23:46.

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (n.) The act of nailing or fastening a person to a cross, for the purpose of putting him to death; the use of the cross as a method of capital punishment.

2. (n.) The state of one who is nailed or fastened to a cross; death upon a cross.

3. (n.) Intense suffering or affliction; painful trial.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia



4716. stauros -- an upright stake, hence a cross (the Rom. ...
... instrument of crucifixion). Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine Transliteration: stauros
Phonetic Spelling: (stow-ros') Short Definition: a cross Definition: a cross ...
// - 8k

3586. xulon -- wood
... made of wood Definition: anything made of wood, a piece of wood, a club, staff;
the trunk of a tree, used to support the cross-bar of a cross in crucifixion. ...
// - 6k

4669. smurnizo -- to be like myrrh, to mingle with myrrh
... 4669 (from 4666 , "myrrh") -- properly, mingle with , a herb given to help
deaden the pain of criminals sentenced to crucifixion. ...
// - 7k

3690. oxos -- sour wine
... 3690 -- low-grade, sour wine, given as a cheap painkiller to people condemned
to crucifixion. "Apparently Jesus was offered kinds of wine. ...
// - 7k

4717. stauroo -- to fence with stakes, to crucify
... Word Origin from stauros Definition to fence with stakes, to crucify NASB Word
Usage crucified (29), crucifixion (1), crucify (16). crucify. ...
// - 8k


The Crucifixion
... XVIII to XXVIII THE CRUCIFIXION. ... The characteristic of Matthew's account of the
crucifixion is its representation of Jesus as perfectly passive and silent. ...
/.../maclaren/expositions of holy scripture b/the crucifixion.htm

The Crucifixion.
... XXI. THE CRUCIFIXION. "The soldiers therefore, when they had crucified Jesus,
took His garments, and made four parts, to every soldier ...
/.../dods/the expositors bible the gospel of st john vol ii/xxi the crucifixion.htm

Crucifixion of Self.
... CRUCIFIXION OF SELF. It ... pay. Many talk of crucifixion, yea, claim to be
crucified, who know hardly the first step away from self. ...
/.../orr/food for the lambs or helps for young christians/crucifixion of self.htm

Crucifixion to the World by the Cross of Christ, Gal. 6 14
... Hymns. Book 3. Prepared for the Lord's Supper. Hymn 3:7. Crucifixion to the
world by the cross of Christ, Gal. 6. 14. 1 When I survey ...
/.../watts/hymns and spiritual songs/hymn 3 7 crucifixion to the.htm

The Crucifixion.
... SERMON X. The Crucifixion. "He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet
He opened not His mouth; He is brought as a lamb to the ...
/.../newman/parochial and plain sermons vol vii/sermon x the crucifixion.htm

His Passion and Crucifixion.
Jesus, so he unites the active or heroic virtues with the passive and gentle. ...
/.../schaff/the person of christ/his passion and crucifixion.htm

The Crucifixion
... SERMON XVI. THE CRUCIFIXION. ISAIAH, liii.7. "He is brought as a lamb to
the slaughter.". On this day, my friends, was offered up ...
/.../kingsley/twenty-five village sermons/sermon xvi the crucifixion.htm

Seventeenth Day. Holiness and Crucifixion.
... Seventeenth Day. Holiness and Crucifixion. 'For their ... life. In His crucifixion
He thus reveals the law of sanctification. Holiness ...
/.../murray/holy in christ/seventeenth day holiness and crucifixion.htm

Details of the Crucifixion.
... CHAPTER VII. THE CRUCIFIXION. Section 290. Details of the Crucifixion.
WHEN Jesus reached the place of execution, he was ...
/.../section 290 details of the.htm

Crucifixion to the World by the Cross of Christ. Gal. 6:14
... Hymns, Book II HYMN 7 Crucifixion to the world by the cross of Christ. Gal. 6:14.
LM Crucifixion to the world by the cross of Christ. Gal.6:14. ...
/.../watts/the psalms and hymns of isaac watts/hymn 7 crucifixion to the.htm

Crucifixion (4 Occurrences)
... The accounts given of the crucifixion of our Lord are in entire agreement with the
customs and practices of the Roman in such cases. ...CRUCIFIXION. ...
/c/crucifixion.htm - 11k

Water (4571 Occurrences)
... the soldier. The evangelist notes here what he, as an eyewitness of the
crucifixion, had seen as a surprising fact. Whereon this ...
/w/water.htm - 23k

Preparation (28 Occurrences)
... which the gospel produces." The word occurs with technical significance ("the
Preparation") in the gospel narratives of the crucifixion, translating the Greek ...
/p/preparation.htm - 19k

Cross (157 Occurrences)
... In the New Testament the instrument of crucifixion, and hence used for the crucifixion
of Christ itself (Ephesians 2:16; Hebrews 12:2; 1 Corinthians 1:17, 18 ...
/c/cross.htm - 50k

Golgotha (4 Occurrences)
... No early or Greek writer suggests such an idea, and there is no evidence from the
Gospels that the Crucifixion occurred on a raised place at all. ...
/g/golgotha.htm - 19k

Calvary (1 Occurrence)
... It is nowhere in Scripture called a "hill." The crucifixion of our Lord took place
outside the city walls (Hebrews 13:11-13) and near the public thoroughfare. ...
/c/calvary.htm - 8k

Arimathaea (4 Occurrences)
... true faith of Joseph. On the evening after the crucifixion he went "boldly"
to Pilate and begged the body of Jesus. There is a fine ...
/a/arimathaea.htm - 11k

Arimathea (4 Occurrences)
... true faith of Joseph. On the evening after the crucifixion he went "boldly"
to Pilate and begged the body of Jesus. There is a fine ...
/a/arimathea.htm - 12k

Blood (435 Occurrences)
... the soldier. The evangelist notes here what he, as an eyewitness of the
crucifixion, had seen as a surprising fact. Whereon this ...
/b/blood.htm - 54k

Vinegar (11 Occurrences)
... vin aigre; ie, "sour wine." The Hebrew word is rendered vinegar in Psalm 69:21,
a prophecy fulfilled in the history of the crucifixion (Matthew 27:34). ...
/v/vinegar.htm - 13k

Bible Concordance
Crucifixion (4 Occurrences)

Matthew 26:2 Ye have known that after two days the passover cometh, and the Son of Man is delivered up to be crucified.'
(See NAS)

Matthew 27:31 At last, having finished their sport, they took off the cloak, clothed Him again in His own garments, and led Him away for crucifixion.

Mark 15:15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the mob, released Barabbas for them, and after scourging Jesus handed Him over for crucifixion.

Acts 10:39 "And we are witnesses as to all that He did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. But they even put Him to death, by crucifixion.



Crucifixion of Disciples, Foretold

Crucifixion of Two Criminals

Crucifixion: Figurative

Crucifixion: The Reproach of

Related Terms

Water (4571 Occurrences)

Preparation (28 Occurrences)

Cross (157 Occurrences)

Golgotha (4 Occurrences)

Calvary (1 Occurrence)

Arimathaea (4 Occurrences)

Arimathea (4 Occurrences)

Blood (435 Occurrences)

Vinegar (11 Occurrences)

Salome (2 Occurrences)

Sponge (3 Occurrences)

Arrest (22 Occurrences)

Trial (45 Occurrences)

Simon (75 Occurrences)

Crucify (20 Occurrences)

Borrowing (1 Occurrence)

Crucified (42 Occurrences)

Joseph (248 Occurrences)

Garments (232 Occurrences)

Wait (223 Occurrences)

Feathers (9 Occurrences)

Finished (157 Occurrences)

Thorn (30 Occurrences)

Temple (614 Occurrences)

Thomas (12 Occurrences)

Envy (56 Occurrences)

Easter (1 Occurrence)


Earthquake (17 Occurrences)

Mob (8 Occurrences)

Myrrh (22 Occurrences)

Barsabbas (2 Occurrences)

Citizenship (4 Occurrences)


Caiaphas (9 Occurrences)

Clothed (153 Occurrences)

Centurion (22 Occurrences)

Alphaeus (5 Occurrences)

Satisfy (32 Occurrences)

Scourging (5 Occurrences)

Superscription (5 Occurrences)

Sport (99 Occurrences)

Cloak (73 Occurrences)

Offices (14 Occurrences)



Peter (181 Occurrences)

Burial (25 Occurrences)

Joy (422 Occurrences)

Philip (37 Occurrences)

Punishments (31 Occurrences)

Miracle (15 Occurrences)

General (9 Occurrences)

Consist (7 Occurrences)

Resurrection (42 Occurrences)

Baptism (76 Occurrences)

Separate (115 Occurrences)

Romans (8 Occurrences)

Mark (182 Occurrences)

Sabbath (126 Occurrences)

James (40 Occurrences)

Christ (573 Occurrences)

John (154 Occurrences)





Gospel (108 Occurrences)

Dress (38 Occurrences)

Jesus (10891 Occurrences)


Empire (8 Occurrences)

Sacrifice (300 Occurrences)


Acts (271 Occurrences)

Woman (4043 Occurrences)

Roman (26 Occurrences)

Law (670 Occurrences)

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