dress in biblical times
also known as: clothing, garments, and raiment
Also see: Apparel in the Bible
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; Ezek. 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 Hebrews were also acquainted with the art of dyeing (Genesis 37:3, 23). Dyed robes were imported from foreign countries, particularly from Phoenicia (Zeph. 1:8). Purple and scarlet robes were the marks of the wealthy (Luke 16:19; 2 Samuel 1:24).
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.
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).
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; Psalm 79:12; Hag. 2:12; Proverbs 17:23; 21:14).
PERSIA—The dress of the Persians is described in Daniel 3:21.
SEWING—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).
CASTING THEM OFF—due to excitement (Acts 22:23)
LAYING HOLD OF THEM—of supplication (1 Samuel 15:27)
- NUDITY—Why are humans supposed to wear clothes? Answer
- coat of mail
- high priest
- linen yarn