All dictionaries and lexicons listed below show that at one of the definitions of "torment" is "a testing by the touchstone, which is a black siliceous stone used to test the purity of gold or silver by the color of the streak produced on it by rubbing it with either metal"
TDNT mentions that the original meaning of the word torment gradually changed from the above definition to the current one of torture. The original meaning started to change in 288 AD; long after the NT was finished. That sheds a whole different light on being tormented for ever and ever. Endless torture is understandable. But how can tests last for ever? That makes no sense.
NT:931 básanos, basanízo, basanismós, basanistés The básanos originally belongs to the calling of the inspector of coins. It is linked with the Heb. root (‘to test’) and the Egyptian bhn (‘basalt’)…. the testing of gold and silver as media of exchange by the proving stone, was first developed by the Babylonians, then came to the Aramaeans and Hebrews by way of Lydia…. In the spiritual sphere it has the figurative sense, which is closely related to the original concrete meaning, of a means of testing. The word then undergoes a change in meaning. The original sense fades into the background. Basanos now comes to denote ‘torture’ or ‘the rack,’ espec. used with slaves…. In the testing of metal an essential role was played by the thought of testing and proving genuineness. The rack is a means of showing the true state of affairs. In its proper sense it is a means of testing and proving, though also of punishment.”
928 βασανίζω [basanizo /bas·an·id·zo/] v. From 931; TDNT 1:561; TDNTA 96; GK 989; 12 occurrences; AV translates as “torment” eight times, “pain” once, “toss” once, “vex” once, and “toil” once. 1 to test (metals) by the touchstone, which is a black siliceous stone used to test the purity of gold or silver by the colour of the streak produced on it by rubbing it with either metal. 2 to question by applying torture. 3 to torture. 4 to vex with grievous pains (of body or mind), to torment. 5 to be harassed, distressed. 5a of those who at sea are struggling with a head wind.
929 βασανισμός [basanismos /bas·an·is·mos/] n m. From 928; TDNT 1:561; TDNTA 96; GK 990; Six occurrences; AV translates as “torment” six times. 1 to torture, a testing by the touchstone, which is a black siliceous stone used to test the purity of gold or silver by the colour of the streak produced on it by rubbing it with either metal. 2 torment, torture. 2a the act of tormenting. 2b the state or condition of those tormented.
930 βασανιστής [basanistes /bas·an·is·tace/] n m. From 928; TDNT 1:561; TDNTA 96; GK 991; AV translates as “tormentor” once. 1 one who elicits the truth by the use of the rack. 1a an inquisitor, torturer also used of a jailer doubtless because the business of torturing was also assigned to him.
931 βάσανος [basanos /bas·an·os/] n m. Perhaps remotely from the same as 939 (through the notion of going to the bottom); TDNT 1:561; TDNTA 96; GK 992; Three occurrences; AV translates as “torment” three times. 1 a touchstone, which is a black siliceous stone used to test the purity of gold or silver by the colour of the streak produced on it by rubbing it with either metal. 2 the rack or instrument of torture by which one is forced to divulge the truth. 3 torture, torment, acute pains. 3a of the pains of a disease. 3b of those in hell after death.
James Strong, The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible : Showing Every Word of the Text of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurrence of Each Word in Regular Order., electronic ed., G928 (Ontario: Woodside Bible Fellowship., 1996).
βάσανος, ου, ἡ (Theognis, Pind.+, orig. ‘touchstone, test’; inscr., pap., LXX, En., Philo; Jos., Ant. 12, 255; 13, 241). Theognis Theognis, VI bc
Pind. Pindar, ed. OSchröder 1900; BSnell 1955, V bc
pap. papyrus, -
En. Enoch, s. Henoch chapters 1-
Philo Philo of Alexandria, ed. LCohn and PWendland 1896ff, cited by book and §. Vol. VII 1930 contains the indices by JLeisegang, I ad
Jos. Josephus, ed. BNiese 1887-
βάσανος, βασανίζω, βασανισμός, βασανιστής
1. The βάσανος originally belongs to the calling of the inspector of coins. It is linked with the Heb. root בחן (“to test”) and the Egyptian bḫn; (“basalt”). According to K. Sethe.1 bhn is the word which underlies the Heb. בחן2 and the Gk. βάσανος. βάσανος is generally accepted to be a loan word. βασανίτης is most closely related to it. Βασανίτου λίθου ὄρος is the mountain of the bḫn stone. R. Herzog thinks that he may deduce from the etymological development that the ars spectandi, the testing of gold and silver as media of exchange by the proving stone, was first developed by the Babylonians, then came to the Aramaeans and Hebrews by way of Lydia (Λυδίαλίθος [Bacchyl. Fr., 14, 1, Blass]; βάσανος, Bacchyl., 8, 58), and from them to the Gks. In non-
The word then undergoes a change in meaning. The original sense fades into the background. βάσανος now comes to denote “torture” or “the rack,” espec. used with slaves (P. Lille, I, 29, 22; Ditt. Syll.3, 356, 12). βάσανος occurs in the sense of “torment” in Theocr. Idyll., 13, p. 13, 5, Meineke; Thom. Mag., p. 94, 4, Ritschl; Demetr. Eloc., 201, 4. An inscription from Cyprus (Salamis), BCH, 51 (1927), 148, 18, contains the malediction: ἐν βασάνοις ἀπόλοιτο. Vet. Val., IV, 13, p. 182, 19, Kroll has a reference to torments of soul (ψυχικὰς βασάνους).5
The change in meaning is best explained if we begin with the object of treatment. If we put men instead of metal or a coin, the stone of testing become torture or the rack. The metal which has survived the testing stone is subjected to harsher treatment. Man is in the same position when severely tested by torture. In the testing of metal an essential role was played by the thought of testing and proving genuineness. The rack is a means of showing the true state of affairs. In its proper sense it is a means of testing and proving, though also of punishment. Finally, even this special meaning was weakened and only the general element of torment remained.
2. In the LXX the word βάσανος and deriv. are seldom found except in the originally Gk. books, or those preserved only in Gk. A corresponding basis in the Heb. is lacking in almost every case. The word group is most common in 4 Macc. With βάσανος and βασανίζειν we here find βασανισμός, βασανιστήριον (tormentum) and προβασανίζειν. In general two groups of meaning may be discerned: a. testing afflictions which the righteous have to suffer in the world at the hands of the ungodly; and b. judicial sufferings which by reason of his conduct the ungodly will receive from the righteous in time and eternity. The martyrdom which the righteous have to suffer can consist in spiritual or physical torments (Wis. 2:19). In a few passages (e.g., Wis. 3:1) βάσανος is to be understood eschatologically. In Ez. 12:18, where we have βάσανος with ὀδύνη and θλῖψις, it has the meaning of eschatological affliction. In Ez. 32:24, 30 βάσανος refers to future torments. In Ez. 3:20; 7:19 (Heb. מִבְשׁוֹל), the LXX has altered the original meaning of the text; βάσανος is suffering in the sense of punishment. There is a similar alteration in 1 Βασ. 6:3, 4, 8, 17, where the Heb. has אָשָׁם and refers to guilt to be stoned, whereas the LXX speaks of trouble for which payment must be made. The same is probably true in Ez. 16:52, 54; 32:24, 30 (Heb. בְּלִמָּה), where instead of shame or disgrace the LXX has affliction in the sense of punishment. The reference in Sir. 30:35 (33:27) is to the punishment of a wicked slave. Here στρέβλη (στρέβλαι καὶ βάσανοι) is par. to βάσανος. In one passage (Wis. 2:19) βάσανος is par. to ὕβρις (mockery).
With βασανίζειν we sometimes have the basic meaning of testing genuineness, as in Sir. 4:7. The predominant meaning, however, is “to torment” or “to torture.” In Wis. 11:9 (10) βασανίζειν and πειράζειν are set in juxtaposition.
Of the other translators Ἀ in Qoh. 1:18 and 2:23 has βάσανος8 for מַבְאוֹב, whereas the LXX uses ἄλγημα. In Ἰερ. 20:2 Σ according to Jerome has βασανιστήριον sive στρεβλωτήριον, which in the LXX is found only in 4 Macc.; the LXX and Θ here have καταράκτης. At Prv. 10:8 (LXX: ὑποσκελίζειν) Σ has βασανίζειν, obviously in the sense of punishing with plagues; cf. Ἀ: δέρω (δαρήσεται); the (יִלָּבֵט) לָבַט of the Heb., however, means to bring to pass. Θ at 1 Βασ. 15:33 has ἐβασάνισεν in the sense of penal torments (Ἀ Σ: διέσπασεν, LXX: ἔσφαξε, Heb. שָׁסַף).
3. βάσανος occurs in the NT only in Mt. and Lk. At Mt. 4:24 νόσοι and βάσανοι are co-
βασανίζειν means strictly “to test by the proving stone” (βάσανος), i.e., “to rub against it,” “to test the genuineness of,” “to examine or try,” then “to apply means of torture to find the truth,” “to harry or torture” in a hearing or before a tribunal.11 In the NT it is found only in the general sense of “to plague” or “to torment.” The centurion’s servant lying sick of a palsy is grievously tormented (Mt. 8:6).12 To those possessed with demons encounter with Jesus is a tormenting experience (Mt. 8:29; Mk. 5:7; Lk. 8:28). At Rev. 12:2 βασανίζειν, like βάσανος in Anth. Pal., IX, 311, is used of the pains of labour.13 At 2 Pt. 2:8 there is reference to the inner torment of soul at the sight of the acts of the ungodly; Lot suffers as he sees the licentiousness of the inhabitants of Sodom.14 This is the only passage in the NT in which βασανίζειν is connected with the suffering of the righteous. In Rev. βασανίζειν is used of the torments of the last time. At Mt. 14:24; Mk. 6:48 it is used to depict the serious situation of the disciples on the lake; their boat is hard pressed by the waves.15 The suggestion that βασανίζεσθαι denotes the torture of the disciples rowing16 is artificial. In both passages it must be taken passively.17
βασανισμός occurs only in Rev. In 9:5 it is used actively of the torment which will come on men as the first woe after the fifth trumpet. In 18:7ff., however, it is used passively and denotes the suffering of Babylon when deprived of its power. This torment strikes the once powerful city in retribution for its wicked conduct.
βασανιστής does not occur in the NT in the original sense of a “tester” but it is found once in Mt. 18:34 in the sense of a “tormentor.”18
Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Gerhard Kittel, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, Gerhard Friedrich et al., electronic ed., 1:561-