Easton's Bible Dictionary
The earliest and simplest an apron of fig-leaves sewed together ( Genesis 3:7
); then skins of animals ( 3:21 ). Elijah's dress was probably the skin of a sheep
( 2 Kings 1:8 ). The Hebrews were early acquainted with the art of weaving hair
into cloth ( Exodus 26:7 ; 35:6 ), which formed the sackcloth of mourners. This
was the material of John the Baptist's robe ( Matthew 3:4 ). Wool was also woven
into garments ( Leviticus 13:47 ; Deuteronomy 22:11 ; Ezekiel 34:3 ; Job 31:20
; Proverbs 27:26 ). The Israelites probably learned the art of weaving linen when
they were in Egypt ( 1 Chronicles 4:21 ). Fine linen was used in the vestments
of the high priest ( Exodus 28:5 ), as well as by the rich ( Genesis 41:42 ; Proverbs
31:22 ; Luke 16:19 ). The use of mixed material, as wool and flax, was forbidden
( Leviticus 19:19 ; Deuteronomy 22:11 ).
The prevailing colour was the natural white of the material used, which was sometimes
rendered purer by the fuller's art ( Psalms 104:1 , 104:2 ; Isaiah 63:3 ; Mark
9:3 ). The Hebrews were acquainted with the art of dyeing ( Genesis 37:3 ,s 37:23
). Various modes of ornamentation were adopted in the process of weaving ( Exodus
28:6 ; 26:1 , 26:31 ; 35:25 ), and by needle-work ( Judges 5:30 ; Psalms 45:13
). Dyed robes were imported from foreign countries, particularly from Phoenicia
( Zephaniah 1:8 ). Purple and scarlet robes were the marks of the wealthy ( Luke
16:19 ; 2 Samuel 1:24 ).
The robes of men and women were not very much different in form from each other.
|(a) The "coat" (kethoneth), of wool, cotton, or linen, was worn by both sexes.
It was a closely-fitting garment, resembling in use and form our shirt ( John
19:23 ). It was kept close to the body by a girdle ( John 21:7 ). A person wearing
this "coat" alone was described as naked ( 1 Samuel 19:24 ; Isaiah 20:2 ; 2 Kings
6:30 ; John 21:7 ); deprived of it he would be absolutely naked.
(b) A linen cloth or wrapper (sadin) of fine linen, used somewhat as a night-shirt
( Mark 14:51 ). It is mentioned in Judg. Mark 14:12 Mark 14:13 , and rendered
(c) An upper tunic (meil), longer than the "coat" ( 1 Samuel 2:19 ; 24:4 ; 28:14
). In 1 Samuel 28:14 it is the mantle in which Samuel was enveloped; in 1 Samuel
24:4 it is the "robe" under which Saul slept. The disciples were forbidden to
wear two "coats" ( Matthew 10:10 ; Luke 9:3 ).
(d) The usual outer garment consisted of a piece of woollen cloth like a Scotch
plaid, either wrapped round the body or thrown over the shoulders like a shawl,
with the ends hanging down in front, or it might be thrown over the head so as
to conceal the face ( 2 Samuel 15:30 ; Esther 6:12 ). It was confined to the waist
by a girdle, and the fold formed by the overlapping of the robe served as a pocket
( 2 Kings 4:39 ; Psalms 79:12 ; Haggai 2:12 ; Proverbs 17:23 ; 21:14 ).
The "coat" was common to both sexes (Canticles 5:3 ). But peculiar to females
were (1) the "veil" or "wimple," a kind of shawl ( Ruth 3:15 ; rendered "mantle,"
RSV, Isaiah 3:22 ); (2) the "mantle," also a species of shawl ( Isaiah 3:22 );
(3) a "veil," probably a light summer dress ( Genesis 24:65 ); (4) a "stomacher,"
a holiday dress ( Isaiah 3:24 ). The outer garment terminated in an ample fringe
or border, which concealed the feet ( Isaiah 47:2 ; Jeremiah 13:22 ).
The dress of the Persians is described in Daniel 3:21 .
The reference to the art of sewing are few, inasmuch as the garments generally
came forth from the loom ready for being worn, and all that was required in the
making of clothes devolved on the women of a family ( Proverbs 31:22 ; Acts 9:39
Extravagance in dress is referred to in Jeremiah 4:30 ; Ezek. 16:10 ; Zephaniah
1:8 (RSV, "foreign apparel"); 1 Timothy 2:9 ; 1 Peter 3:3 . Rending the robes
was expressive of grief ( Genesis 37:29 Genesis 37:34 ), fear ( 1 Kings 21:27
), indignation ( 2 Kings 5:7 ), or despair ( Judges 11:35 ; Esther 4:1 ).
Shaking the garments, or shaking the dust from off them, was a sign of renunciation
( Acts 18:6 ); wrapping them round the head, of awe ( 1 Kings 19:13 ) or grief
( 2 Samuel 15:30 ; casting them off, of excitement ( Acts 22:23 ); laying hold
of them, of supplication ( 1 Samuel 15:27 ). In the case of travelling, the outer
garments were girded up ( 1 Kings 18:46 ). They were thrown aside also when they
would impede action ( Mark 10:50 ; John 13:4 ; Acts 7:58 ).
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
Smith's Bible Dictionary
After the first "apron" of fig leaves, ( Genesis 3:7 ) the skins of animals were
used for clothing. ( Genesis 3:21 ) Such was the "mantle" worn by Elijah. Pelisses
of sheepskin still form an ordinary article of dress in the East. The art of weaving
hear was known to the Hebrews at an early period, ( Exodus 25:4 ; 26:7 ) and wool
was known earlier still. ( Genesis 38:12 ) Their acquaintance with linen and perhaps
cotton dates from the captivity in Egypt, ( 1 Chronicles 4:21 ) silk was introduced
much later. ( Revelation 18:12 ) The use of mixed material, such as wool and flax,
was forbidden. ( Leviticus 19:19 ; 22:11 )
Color and decoration. --
The prevailing color of the Hebrew dress was the natural white of the materials
employed, which might be brought to a high state of brilliancy by the art of the
fuller. ( Mark 9:3 ) The notice of scarlet thread, ( Genesis 38:28 ) implies some
acquaintance with dyeing. The elements of ornamentation were --
|(1) weaving with threads previously dyed, ( Exodus 35:25 )
(2) the introduction of gold thread or wire, ( Exodus 27:6 ) ff;
(3) the addition of figures. Robes decorated with gold, ( Psalms 45:13 ) and with
silver thread, cf. ( Acts 12:21 ) were worn by royal personages; other kinds of
embroidered robes were worn by the wealthy, ( Judges 5:30 ; Psalms 45:14 ; Ezekiel
16:13 ) as well as purple, ( Proverbs 31:22 ; Luke 16:19 ) and scarlet. ( 2 Samuel
The names, forms, and modes of wearing the robes. -- The general characteristics
of Oriental dress have preserved a remarkable uniformity in all ages: the modern
Arab dresses much as the ancient Hebrew did. The costume of the men and women
was very similar; there was sufficient difference, however, to mark the sex, and
it was strictly forbidden to a woman to wear the appendages, such as the staff,
signet-ring, and other ornaments, of a man; as well as to a man to wear the outer
robe of a woman. ( Deuteronomy 22:5 ) We shall first describe the robes which
were common to the two sexes, and then those which were peculiar to women.
|(1) The inner garment was the most essential article of dress. It was a closely-fitting
garment, resembling in form and use our shirt, though unfortunately translate
"coat" in the Authorized Version. The material of which it was made was either
wool, cotton or linen. It was without sleeves, and reached only to the knee. Another
kind reached to the wrists and ankles. It was in either case kept close to the
body by a girdle, and the fold formed by the overlapping of the robe served as
an inner pocket. A person wearing the inner garment alone was described as naked.
(2) There was an upper or second tunic, the difference being that it was longer
than the first.
(3) the linen cloth appears to have been a wrapper of fine linen, which might
be used in various ways, but especially as a night-shirt. ( Mark 14:51 )
(4) The outer garment consisted of a quadrangular piece of woollen cloth, probably
resembling in shape a Scotch plaid. The size and texture would vary with the means
of the wearer. It might be worn in various ways, either wrapped round the body
or thrown over the shoulders like a shawl, with the ends or "skirts" hanging down
in front; or it might be thrown over the head, so as to conceal the face. ( 2
Samuel 15:30 ; Esther 6:12 ) The ends were skirted with a fringe and bound with
a dark purple ribbon, ( Numbers 15:38 ) it was confined at the waist by a girdle.
The outer garment was the poor mans bed clothing. ( Exodus 22:26 , 22:27 ) The
dress of the women differed from that of the men in regard to the outer garment,
the inner garment being worn equally by both sexes. ( Solomon 5:3 ) Among their
distinctive robes we find a kind of shawl, ( Ruth 3:15 ; Isaiah 3:22 ) light summer
dresses of handsome appearance and ample dimensions, and gay holiday dresses.
( Isaiah 3:24 ) The garments of females were terminated by an ample border of
fringe (skirts , Authorized Version), which concealed the feet. ( Isaiah 47:2
; Jeremiah 13:22 ) The travelling cloak referred to by St. Paul, ( 2 Timothy 4:13
) is generally identified with the Roman paenula . It is, however, otherwise explained
as a travelling-case for carrying clothes or books. The coat of many colors worn
by Joseph, ( Genesis 37:3 , 37:23 ) is variously taken to be either a "coat of
divers colors" or a tunic furnished with sleeves and reaching down to the ankles.
The latter is probably the correct sense.
Special usages relating to dress. --
The length of the dress rendered it inconvenient for active exercise; hence the
outer garments were either left in the house by a person working close by, ( Matthew
24:18 ) or were thrown off when the occasion arose, ( Mark 10:50 ) or, if this
were not possible, as in the case of a person travelling, they were girded up.
( 1 Kings 18:46 ; 1 Peter 1:13 ) On entering a house the upper garment was probably
laid aside, and resumed on going out. ( Acts 12:8 ) In a sitting posture, the
garments concealed the feet; this was held to be an act of reverence. ( Isaiah
6:2 ) The number of suits possessed by the Hebrews was considerable: a single
suit consisted of an under and upper garment. The presentation of a robe in many
instances amounted to installation or investiture, ( Genesis 41:42 ; Esther 8:15
; Isaiah 22:21 ) on the other hand, taking it away amounted to dismissal from
office. 2 Macc. 4:38. The production of the best robe was a mark of special honor
in a household. ( Luke 15:22 ) The number of robes thus received or kept in store
for presents was very large, and formed one of the main elements of wealth in
the East, ( Job 22:6 ; Matthew 6:19 ; James 5:2 ) so that to have clothing implied
the possession of wealth and power. ( Isaiah 3:6 Isaiah 3:7 ) On grand occasions
the entertainer offered becoming robes to his guests. The business of making clothes
devolved upon women in a family. ( Proverbs 31:22 ; Acts 9:39 ) little art was
required in what we may term the tailoring department; the garments came forth
for the most part ready made from the loom, so that the weaver supplanted the
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
In the Hebrew and Greek there is a wonderful wealth of
terminology having to do with the general subject of dress among the ancient Orientals.
This is reflected in the numerous synonyms for "dress" to be found in English
Versions of the Bible, "apparel," "attire," "clothes," "raiment," "garments,"
etc. But the words used in the originals are often greatly obscured through the
inconsistent variations of the translators. Besides there are few indications
even in the original Hebrew or Greek of the exact shape or specific materials
of the various articles of dress named, and so their identification is made doubly
difficult. In dealing with the subject, therefore, the most reliable sources of
information, apart from the meaning of the terms used in characterization, are
certain well-known facts about the costumes and dress-customs of the orthodox
Jews, and others about the forms of dress worn today by the people of simple life
and primitive habits in modern Palestine. Thanks to the ultraconservatism and
unchanging usages of the nearer East, this is no mean help. In the endeavor to
discover, distinguish and deal with the various oriental garments, then, we will
1. Meaning of Terms:
There was originally a sharp distinction between classical and oriental costume,
but this was palpably lessened under the cosmopolitanism of the Roman Empire.
This of course had its effect both in the modification of the fashions of the
day and upon the words used for articles of clothing in the New Testament.
| (1) The terms most used for clothes in general were, in the Old Testament,
cadhin, simlah, salmah, and in the New Testament himation (Matthew 21:7 ; 24:18
; 26:65 ; Luke 8:27) and enduma (Matthew 22:11; compare Matthew 7:15), plural,
though the oldest and most widely distributed article of human apparel was probably
the "loin-cloth" (Hebrew 'ezor), entirely different from "girdle" (Greek zone).
Biblical references for clothes are nearly all to the costume of the males, owing
doubtless to the fact that the garments ordinarily used indoors were worn alike
by men and women.
(2) The three normal body garments, the ones most mentioned in the Scriptures,
are cadjin, a rather long "under garment" provided with sleeves; kethoneth (Greek
chiton), a long-sleeved tunic worn over the cadhin, likewise a shirt with sleeves
(see Masterman, DCG, article "Dress"); and simlah (Greek himation), the cloak
of the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American), used
in the plural for "garments" in general; and the "girdle" (Greek zone; Arabic
zunnar). The "headdress" (two types are now in use, the "turban" and the "kufiyeh")
is never definitely named in the Bible, though we know it was the universal custom
among ancient Orientals to cover the head.
(3) The simlah (Greek himation) signifies an "outer garment" (see below), a "mantle,"
or "cloak" (see lexicons). A kindred word in the Greek himatismos, (translated
"raiment" in Luke 9:29, "garments" in Matthew 27:35 , and "vesture" in John 19:24)
stands in antithesis to himation. The Greek chiton, Hebrew kethoneth, the "under
garment," is translated "coat" in Matthew 5:40, "clothes" in Mark 14:63. The Hebrew
word me`il, Greek stole, Latin stola, stands for a variety of garment used only
by men of rank or of the priestly order, rendered the Revised Version (British
and American) "robe." It stands for the long garments of the scribes rendered
"long robes" (Mark 12:38 ; Luke 20:46) and "best robe" in the story of the Prodigal
Son (Luke 15:22). (For difference between me`il and simlah, see Kennedy, one-vol
HDB, 197.) Oriental influences led to the adoption of the long tunic in Rome,
and in Cicero's time it was a mark of effeminacy. It came to be known in its white
form as tunica alba, or "white tunic," afterward in English "alb."
Other New Testament terms are porphuran, the "purple" (Luke 16:19); the purple
robe of Jesus is called himation in John 19:2; lention, "the towel" with which
Jesus girded himself (John 13:4 , 5); then othonion, "linen cloth" (Luke 24:12
; John 19:40); sindon, "linen cloth" (Matthew 27:59); and bussos, "fine linen"
The primitive "aprons" of Genesis 3:7, made of "sewed fig-leaves," were quite
different from the "aprons" brought to the apostles in Acts 19:12. The latter
were of a species known among the Romans as semicinctium, a short "waist-cloth"
worn especially by slaves (Rich, Dict. of Roman and Greek Antiq.).
2. The Materials:
Anthropology, Scripture and archaeology all witness to the use by primitive man
of skins of animals as dress material (Genesis 3:21, "coats of skin"; compare
Hebrews 11:37, "went about in sheepskins, in goatskins").
Even today the traveler will occasionally see in Palestine a shepherd clad in
"a coat of skin." Then, as now, goat's hair and camel's hair supplied the materials
for the coarser fabrics of the poor. John the Baptist had his raiment, enduma,
of camel's hair (literally, "of camel's hairs," Matthew 3:4). This was a coarse
cloth made by weaving camel's hairs. There is no evidence that coats of camel's
skin, like those made of goat's skin or sheep's skin have ever been worn in the
East, as imagined by painters (see Meyer, Bleek, Weiss and Broadus; but compare
HDB, article "Camel"). The favorite materials, however, in Palestine, as throughout
the Orient, in ancient times, were wool (see Proverbs 27:26 , "The lambs are for
thy clothing") and flax (see Proverbs 31:13, where it is said of the ideal woman
of King Lemuel, "She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands").
The finest quality of ancient "linen" seems to have been the product of Egypt
(see LINEN). The "silk" of Proverbs 31:22 the King James Version is really "fine
linen," as in the Revised Version (British and American). The first certain mention
of "silk" in the Bible, it is now conceded, is in Revelation 18:12, as the word
rendered "silk" in Ezekiel 16:10 , 13 is of doubtful meaning.
3. The Outer Garments:
|(1) We may well begin here with the familiar saying of Jesus for a basal distinction:
"If any man would go to law with thee, and take away thy coat (Greek chiton),
let him have thy cloak (himation) also" (Matthew 5:40). Here the "coat" (Hebrew
kethoneth) was the ordinary "inner garment" worn by the Jew of the day, in which
he did the work of the day (see Matthew 24:18; Mark 13:16). It resembled the Roman
"tunic," corresponding most nearly to our "long shirt," reaching below the knees
always, and, in case it was designed for dress occasions, reaching almost to the
ground. Sometimes "two coats" were worn (Luke 3:11; compare Matthew 10:10 ; Mark
6:9), but in general only one. It was this garment of Jesus that is said by John
(John 19:23) to have been "without seam, woven from the top throughout."
(2) The word himation, here rendered "cloak," denotes the well-known "outer garment"
of the Jews (see Matthew 9:20 , 21 ; 14:36 ; 21:7 , 8; but compare also Matthew
9:16 ; 17:2 ; 24:18 ; 26:65 ; 27:31 , 35). It appears in some cases to have been
a loose robe, but in most others, certainly, it was a large square piece of cloth,
like a modern shawl, which could be wrapped around the person, with more or less
taste and comfort. Now these two, with the "girdle" (a necessary and almost universal
article of oriental dress), were commonly all the garments worn by the ordinary
man of the Orient. The "outer garment" was frequently used by the poor and by
the traveler as his only covering at night, just as shawls are used among us now.
(3) The common Hebrew name for this "outer garment" in the Old Testament is as
above, simlah or salmah. In most cases it was of "wool," though sometimes of "linen,"
and was as a rule certainly the counterpart of the himation of the Greek (this
is its name throughout the New Testament). It answered, too, to the pallium of
the Romans. It belonged, like them, not to the endumata, or garments "put on,"
but to the periblemata, or garments "wrapped, around" the body. It was concerning
this "cloak" that the Law of Moses provided that, if it were taken in pawn, it
should be returned before sunset--"for that is his only covering, it is his raiment
for his skin: wherein shall he sleep? .... for I am gracious" (Exodus 22:27).
The Jewish tribunals would naturally, therefore, allow the "inner garment" to
be taken by legal process, rather than the outer one (Matthew 5:40; Luke 6:29);
but Jesus virtually teaches that rather than have difficulty or indulge animosity
one would better yield one's rights in this, as in other matters; compare 1 Corinthians
Some identify the simlah of the ancient Hebrews with modern aba, the coarse blouse
or overcoat worn today by the Syrian peasant (Nowack, Benzinger, Mackie in HDB);
but the distinction between these two garments of the Jews, so clearly made in
the New Testament, seems to confirm the conclusion otherwise reached, that this
Jewish "outer garment" closely resembled, if it was not identical with, the himation
of the Greeks (see Jew Encyclopedia, article "Cloke" and 1-vol HDB, "Dress," 197;
but compare Masterman, DCG, article "Dress," 499, and Dearmer, DCG, article "Cloke").
In no respect has the variety of renderings in our English Versions of the Bible
done more to conceal from English readers the meaning of the original than in
the case of this word simlah. For instance it is the "garment" with which Noah's
nakedness was covered (Genesis 9:23); the "clothes" in which the Hebrews bound
up, their kneading-troughs (Exodus 12:34); the "garment" of Gideon in Judges 8:25;
the "raiment" of Ruth (3:3); just as the himation of the New Testament is the
"cloak" of Matthew 5:40, the "clothes" of Matthew 24:18 the King James Version
(the Revised Version (British and American) "cloak"), the "garment" (Mark 13:16
the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) "cloak").
4. The Under Garments:
|(1) In considering the under garments, contrary to the impression made by
English Versions of the Bible, we must begin with the "loin-cloth" (Hebrew 'ezor),
which unlike the "girdle" (see GIRDLE), was always worn next to the skin. The
figurative use made of it in Isaiah 11:5, and Jeremiah 13:11, e. g. will be lost
unless this is remembered. Often it was the only "under garment," as with certain
of the prophets (Elijah, 2 Kings 1:8; compare John the Baptist, Matthew 3:4; Isaiah
20:2; Jeremiah 13:1). In later times it was displaced among the Hebrews by the
"shirt" or "tunic". The universal "sign of mourning" was the girding of the waist
with an 'ezor or "hair-cloth" (English Versions, "sack-cloth"). A "loincloth"
of "linen" was worn by the priests of early times and bore the special name of
'ephodh (1 Samuel 2:18; compare 2 Samuel 6:14).
(2) The ordinary "under garment," later worn by all classes--certain special occasions
and individuals being exceptions--was the "shirt" (Hebrew kethoneth) which, as
we have seen, reappears as chiton in Greek, and tunica in Latin It is uniformly
rendered "coat" in English Versions of the Bible, except that the Revised Version,
margin has "tunic" in John 19:23. The well-known piece of Assyrian sculpture,
representing the siege and capture of Lachish by Sennacherib, shows the Jewish
captives, male and female, dressed in a moderately tight garment, fitting close
to the neck (compare Job 30:18) and reaching almost to the ankles; which must
represent the kethoneth, or kuttoneth of the period, as worn in towns at least.
Probably the kuttoneth of the peasantry was both looser and shorter, resembling
more the modern kamis of the Syrian fellah (compare Latin camisa, and English
(3) As regards sleeves, they are not expressly mentioned in the Old Testament,
but the Lachish tunics mentioned above have short sleeves, reaching half-way to
the elbows. This probably represents the prevailing type of sleeve among the Hebrews
of the earlier period. An early Egyptian picture of a group of Semitic traders
(circa 2000 BC) shows a colored tunic without sleeves, which, fastened on the
left shoulder, left the right bare. Another variety of sleeves, restricted to
the upper and wealthy classes, had long and wide sleeves reaching to the ground.
This was the tunic worn by Tamar, the royal princess (2 Samuel 13:18, "A garment
of divers colors upon her; for with such robes were the king's daughters that
were virgins appareled"), "the tunic of (i.e. reaching to) palms and soles" worn
by Joseph, familiarly known as the "coat of many colors" (Genesis 37:3), a rendering
which represents now an abandoned tradition (compare Kennedy, HDB). The long white
linen tunic, which was the chief garment of the ordinary Jewish priest of the
later period, had sleeves, which, for special reasons, were tied to the arms (compare
Josephus, Ant., III, vii, 2).
(4) Ultimately it became usual, even with the people of the lower ranks, to wear
an under "tunic," or "real shirt" (Josephus, Ant., XVII, vi, 7; Mishna, passim,
where it is called chaluq). In this case the upper tunic, the kuttoneth proper,
would be removed at night (compare Song of Solomon 5:3, "I have put off my garment").
The material for the tunic might be either
|(1) woven on the loom in two pieces, and afterward put together without cutting
(compare Dict. of Roman and Greek Antiq., article "Tunica"), or
(2) the garment might be woven whole on a special loom, "without seam," i.e. so
as to require no sewing, as we know from the description given in John 19:23,
and from other sources, was the chiton worn by our Lord just before His crucifixion.
The garments intended by the Hebrew (Daniel 3:21-27), rendered "coats" the King
James Version, have not been certainly made out. The King James Version margin
has "mantles" the English Revised Version "hosen" the American Standard Revised
Version "breeches" (see HOSEN). For "coat of mail" (1 Samuel 17:5) see ARMOR.
5 . The Headdress:
When the Hebrews first emerged into view, they seem to have had no covering for
the head except on special demand, as in case of war, when a leather-helmet was
worn (see ARMOR). Ordinarily, as with the fellah of Palestine today, a rope or
cord served as a fillet (compare 1 Kings 20:32, and Virgil, Aeneid (Dryden), iv.213:
"A golden fillet binds his awful brows"). Such "fillets" may be seen surviving
in the representation of Syrians on the monuments of Egypt. Naturally, in the
course of time, exposure to the Syrian sun in the tropical summer time would compel
recourse to some such covering as the modern kufiyeh, which lets in the breeze,
but protects in a graceful, easy way, the head, the neck and the shoulders. The
headgear of Ben- hadad's tribute carriers (see above) resembles the Phrygian cap.
The head covering, however, which is best attested, at least for the upper ranks
of both sexes, is the turban (Hebrew tsaniph, from a root meaning to "wind round").
It is the ladies' "hood" of Isaiah 3:23, the Revised Version (British and American)
"turban"; the "royal diadem" of Isaiah 62:3, and the "mitre" of Zechariah 3:5,
the Revised Version, margin "turban" or "diadem." Ezekiel's description of a lady's
headdress: "I bound thee with attire of fine linen" (Ezekiel 16:10 margin), points
to a turban. For the egg-shaped turban of the priests see BONNET (the Revised
Version (British and American) "head-tires"). The hats of Daniel 3:21 (the Revised
Version (British and American) "mantles") are thought by some to have been the
conical Babylonian headdress seen on the monuments. According to 2 Macc 4:12 the
Revised Version (British and American) the young Jewish nobles were compelled
by Antiochus Epiphanes to wear the petasos, the low, broad-brimmed hat associated
with Hermes. Other forms of headdress were in use in New Testament times, as we
learn from the Mishna, as well as from the New Testament, e. g. the suddar (soudarion)
from Latin sudarium (a cloth for wiping off perspiration, sudor) which is probably
the "napkin" of John 11:44; 20:7, although there it appears as a kerchief, or
covering, for the head. The female captives from Lachish (see above) wear over
their tunics an upper garment, which covers the forehead and falls down over the
shoulders to the ankles. Whether this is the garment intended by the Hebrew in
Ruth 3:15, rendered "vail" by the King James Version and "mantle" by the Revised
Version (British and American), and "kerchiefs for the head" (Ezekiel 13:18 the
Revised Version (British and American)), we cannot say. The "veil" with which
Rebekah and Tamar "covered themselves" (Genesis 24:65; 38:14) was most likely
a large "mantle" in which the whole body could be wrapped, like the cadhin (see
above). But it seems impossible to draw a clear distinction between "mantle" and
"veil" in the Old Testament (Kennedy). The case of Moses (Exodus 34:33) gives
us the only express mention of a "face-veil."
The ancient Hebrews, like Orientals in general, went barefoot within doors. Out
of doors they usually wore sandals, less frequently shoes. The simplest form of
sandal then, as now, consisted of a sole of untanned leather, bound to the foot
by a leather thong, the shoe-latchet of Genesis 14:23 and the latchet of Mark
1:7, etc. In the obelisk of Shalmaneser, however, Jehu's attendants are distinguished
by shoes completely covering the feet, from the Assyrians, who are represented
as wearing sandals fitted with a heel-cap. Ladies of Ezekiel's day wore shoes
of "sealskin" (Ezekiel 16:10 the Revised Version (British and American)). The
soldiers' "laced boot" may be intended in Isaiah 9:5 (the Revised Version (British
and American), margin). Then, as now, on entering the house of a friend, or a
sacred precinct (Exodus 3:5 ; Joshua 5:15), or in case of mourning (2 Samuel 15:30),
the sandals, or shoes, were removed. The priests performed their offices in the
Temple in bare feet (compare the modern requirement on entering a mosque).
7. The Dress of Jesus and His Disciples:
In general we may say that the clothes worn by Christ and His disciples were of
the simplest and least sumptuous kinds. A special interest must attach even to
the clothes that Jesus wore. These consisted, it seems quite certain, not of just
five separate articles (see Edersheim, LTJM, I, 625), but of six. In His day it
had become customary to wear a linen shirt (chaluq) beneath the tunic (see above).
That our Lord wore such a "shirt" seems clear from the mention of the laying aside
of the upper garments (himatia, plural), i.e. the "mantle" and the "tunic," before
washing His disciples' feet (John 13:4). The tunic proper worn by Him, as we have
seen, was "woven without seam" throughout, and was of the kind, therefore, that
fitted closely about the neck, and had short sleeves. Above the tunic would naturally
be the linen girdle, wound several times about the waist. On His feet were leather
sandals (Matthew 3:11). His upper garment was of the customary sort and shape,
probably of white woolen cloth, as is suggested by the details of the account
of the Transfiguration (Mark 9:3), with the four prescribed "tassels" at the corners.
As to His headdress, we have no description of it, but we may set it down as certain
that no Jewish teacher of that day would appear in public with the head uncovered.
He probably wore the customary white linen "napkin" (sudarium), wound round the
head as a turban, with the ends of it falling down over the neck. The dress of
His disciples was, probably, not materially different.
In conclusion it may be said that, although the dress of even orthodox Jews today
is as various as their lands of residence and their languages, yet there are two
garments worn by them the world over, the Tallith and the 'arba` kanephoth (see
DCG, article "Dress," col. 1). Jews who affect special sanctity, especially those
living in the Holy Land, still wear the Tallith all day, as was the common custom
in Christ's time. As the earliest mention of the 'arba` kanephoth is in 1350 AD,
it is clear that it cannot have existed in New Testament times.
Nowack's and Benzinger's Hebrew Archaologie; Tristram, Eastern Customs
in Bible Lands; Rich, Dict. of Roman and Greek Antiq.; Edersheim, Life and Times
of Jesus the Messiah, 625, and elsewhere; articles on "Dress," "Clothing," "Costumes,"
etc., HDB, DCG, Jew Encyclopedia (by Noldeke) in Encyclopedia Biblica (by Abrahams
and Cook); Masterman, "Dress and Personal Adornment in Mod. Palestine," in Biblical
World, 1902, etc.
George B. Eager
attire, bible commentary, bible history, bible reference, bible study, clothes, define, dress, garment