TO BE BOUND
You have seen them; but you may not have realized what they are.
Tefillin are two small black leather, cube-shaped cases containing
parchment texts of Scripture: Exodus 13:1-10, 11-16; Deut 6:4-9, 11:13-21.
These tefillin are to be worn by male Jews, 13 years and older, during morning
prayers, as reminders of God and the obligation to keep the Law daily.
The word in Greek is 'phylakterion' from which we get phylactery.
According to Rabbinic regulation, the hand tefillin (Tefillin shel Yod)
is worn on the left arm, facing the heart. By holding onto the Yod knot,
the strap is wound 7 times around the forearm, the box is attached to the
arm, near to the heart. This is very precise as there is the lowest
permissible line below which one is not to 'lay' tefillin. A prayer is
one lays tefillin. This Yod phylactery has one compartment that contains
text from Scripture.
The head tefillin (tefillin shel Rosh) has 4 compartments for the above
verses. You are probably most familiar with Deut 6:8:
And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as
frontals on your forehead.
As one holds the knot, the center of this Tefillin box is to be placed
exactly above the central point between the eyes (described as where the
head of the baby is soft.)
One prays "Barukh Shem K'vod" Blessed is His Glorious Name - as he wraps
The tefillin are worn in a proper manner to represent the Shin, Dalet
and Yod, which taken together, form the word SHADDAI, Hebrew meaning
The manufacturing of tefillin is an exact science, carefully observed,and
the printing of the parchment is scrutinized by a sofer (scribe). The
verses must be hand-written in proper order with no mistakes, or the
parchment is discarded. The box must be leather, straight lines of
stitching, no holes, no wrinkles, deep and wide compartments, some hand
stitching, evenly spaced holes, 3 parchments readings, no excessive
space between words - at least 49 different manufacturing MUSTS to pass
Yeshua Jesus spoke of phylacteries (tefillin) in Matthew 23:2-5
The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair
therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do
according to their deeds;
for they say things and do not do them.
And they tie up heavy loads and lay them on men's shoulders; but
are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.
But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men;
for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of
Back in Yeshua's time, common people wore these for prayer, but the
Pharisees got to wearing them all the time, and even enlarging them, so
to look more holy and pious.
Yeshua did not condem the wearing of them, He condemned the visible
display of attention that they wanted to draw to themselves.
All this made me wonder what binds me. Did you know that there are at
least 10 men in Scripture who were bound?
1. Isaac - Gen 22
2. Joseph - Gen 39:20
3. Samson - Judges 16:12
4. Zedekiah - 2 Kings 25:7
5. Manasseh - 2 Chron 33:11
6. Jeremiah - Jeremiah 40:1
7. John the Baptist - Mark 6:17
8. Peter - Acts 12:6
9. Paul - Acts 16:26, Acts 21:3
10. Jesus - John 18:12
Yeshua was bound by men, yet He was innocent of any wrong-doing. He did
question His treatment (John 18:21) And He was beaten because of this.
Sometimes we believers find ourselves bound to things that are not bad
and because of this 'connection', we suffer. Perhaps you have a child who is
struggling with worldly things; perhaps the company you are with is into
shady business practices. You suffer, even if just being vaguely
Yet, we must stay where we are, and trust God. It may not be a bad
place; but the circumstances around it give cause for concern.
There is only one answer, and surprisingly, it is connected to tefillin.
The word tefillin comes from the Hebrew word T'fillah, which means
prayer. Our LORD is our Best Example. When He was in the Garden, He
prayed in secret, He prayed with others, He prayed on the mountaintop;
He prayed while being on the water.
"Since then we have a great High Priest who has passed through the
Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.
For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our
but one has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.
Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace,
that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need."