[Mark 14:43 KJV] 43 And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.

With what wooden device(s) were the temple posse carrying to arrest Jesus? This is a summary of the word (ξύλον) from the Outline of Biblical Usage:


I always pictured a "stave" as basically a 6' long pole used to prod animals along. However, I notice that there are other possibilities such as a smaller club or even a patibulum for crucifixion. Or were they carrying the ancient "paddy wagon", a stick prepared with holes for transporting prisoner(s) securely. Or perhaps Lictors carrying fasces? So what were they actually carrying?

  • The NWT reads : Mark 14:43 .And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived and with him a crowd with swords and CLUBS, sent from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.
    – user26950
    Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 16:14

1 Answer 1


Most modern translations renders this as "clubs". One of the exceptions is YLT & Darby which have "sticks".

The Greek word is "xylon" which is (BDAG) simply "wood", "object made of wood", or "tree". Further, BDAG specifically lists Mark 14:43 as "clubs".

The KJV & RDB ("staves") is quite correct in that at the time (1611), a staff was a stick that could be used as a club.

Therefore, to be absolutely technically correct, the most literal way to translate this word might be, "objects made of wood", or even "pieces of tree" whence, "sticks" (as per YLT and Darby). However, the fact that the mob obviously intended to use these "sticks" or "pieces of wood" as weapons means that "clubs" is preferable, regardless of the previous use and origin of the objects.

It is entirely possible that some of these "clubs" did have previous uses such as cooking sticks and other such objects ready at hand. Regardless of their origin, they were all intended as "clubs" to defend and inflict injury.

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