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Fi-lak´tuh-reez; Heb. tephillin

A pair of small black boxes containing passages from scripture written on parchment. According to ancient Jewish tradition, the tephillin are fastened by black straps to the upper left arm and above the forehead. The tradition is based on (Exod 13:9, Exod 13:16; Deut 6:8; and Deut 11:18). The paragraphs in which these verses appear are the very ones placed inside the phylacteries. The use of phylacteries to flaunt piety is criticized by Jesus in (Matt 23:5).

  • Powell, Mark Allan, ed. HarperCollins Bible Dictionary. Abridged Edition. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009.