(1.) Materials used. The earliest and simplest an apron of fig-leaves sewed together (Ge 3:7); then skins of animals (Ge 3:21). Elijah's dress was probably the skin of a sheep (2Ki 1:8). The Hebrews were early acquainted with the art of weaving hair into cloth (Ex 26:7; 35:6), which formed the sackcloth of mourners. This was the material of John the Baptist's robe (Mt 3:4). Wool was also woven into garments (Le 13:47; De 22:11; Eze 34:3; Job 31:20; Pr 27:26). The Israelites probably learned the art of weaving linen when they were in Egypt (1Ch 4:21). Fine linen was used in the vestments of the high priest (Ex 28:5), as well as by the rich (Ge 41:42; Pr 31:22; Lu 16:19). The use of mixed material, as wool and flax, was forbidden (Le 19:19; De 22:11).
(2.) Colour. The prevailing colour was the natural white of the material used, which was sometimes rendered purer by the fuller's art (Ps 104:1-2; Isa 63:3; Mr 9:3). The Hebrews were acquainted with the art of dyeing (Ge 37:3,23). Various modes of ornamentation were adopted in the process of weaving (Ex 28:6; 26:1,31; 35:25), and by needle-work (Jg 5:30; Ps 45:13). Dyed robes were imported from foreign countries, particularly from Phoenicia (Zep 1:8). Purple and scarlet robes were the marks of the wealthy (Lu 16:19; 2Sa 1:24).
(3.) Form. 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 (Joh 19:23). It was kept close to the body by a girdle (Joh 21:7). A person wearing this "coat" alone was described as naked (1Sa 19:24; Isa 20:2; 2Ki 6:30; Joh 21:7); deprived of it he would be absolutely naked.
(c) An upper tunic (meil), longer than the "coat" (1Sa 2:19; 24:4; 28:14). In 1Sa 28:14 it is the mantle in which Samuel was enveloped; in 1Sa 24:4 it is the "robe" under which Saul slept. The disciples were forbidden to wear two "coats" (Mt 10:10; Lu 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 (2Sa 15:30; Es 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 (2Ki 4:39; Ps 79:12; Hag 2:12; Pr 17:23; 21:14).
Female dress. The "coat" was common to both sexes (Song 5:3). But peculiar to females were (1) the "veil" or "wimple," a kind of shawl (Ru 3:15; rendered "mantle," R.V., Isa 3:22); (2) the "mantle," also a species of shawl (Isa 3:22); (3) a "veil," probably a light summer dress (Ge 24:65); (4) a "stomacher," a holiday dress (Isa 3:24). The outer garment terminated in an ample fringe or border, which concealed the feet (Isa 47:2; Jer 13:22).
The dress of the Persians is described in Da 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 (Pr 31:22; Ac 9:39).
Extravagance in dress is referred to in Jer 4:30; Eze 16:10; Zep 1:8 (R.V., "foreign apparel"); 1Ti 2:9; 1Pe 3:3. Rending the robes was expressive of grief (Ge 37:29,34), fear (1Ki 21:27), indignation (2Ki 5:7), or despair (Jg 11:35; Es 4:1).
Shaking the garments, or shaking the dust from off them, was a sign of renunciation (Ac 18:6); wrapping them round the head, of awe (1Ki 19:13) or grief (2Sa 15:30; casting them off, of excitement (Ac 22:23); laying hold of them, of supplication (1Sa 15:27). In the case of travelling, the outer garments were girded up (1Ki 18:46). They were thrown aside also when they would impede action (Mr 10:50; Joh 13:4; Ac 7:58).
Illustration: Eastern Dress
Aprons of figleaves were our first parents' earliest attempt at dress to clothe their shame (See ADAM, (See ABEL) (Ge 3:7,21); "God made coats of skin and clothed them," doubtless taken from animals slain in sacrifice at His command; type of the garment of righteousness provided by God through His Son's sacrifice, wherewith we, whose own faulty righteousness could not clothe our shame, are completely covered so as to stand before the all-searching eye of God (Isa 61:10). Such a coat of skin Elijah and the prophets commonly wore, 'addereth implying its amplitude. (19/13'>1Ki 19:13,19; 2Ki 2:13; Zec 13:4; Mt 7:15, "false prophets come to you in sheep's clothing, but," etc.)
The kutoneth, or shirtlike inner vest, Greek chitoon, is inappropriately trans. "coat" (Mt 10:10; Joh 19:23). Those stripped of every garment but this are termed "naked," it being but a partial covering, our "undress": 1Sa 19:24 Saul to imitate the prophets; David (2Sa 6:20); Peter (Joh 21:7); Isa 20:2, the prophet's undress being a silent monition to repentance. Sackcloth, woven of hair, was the mourner's garment. So the king of Nineveh (Jon 3:6) laid aside his ample addereth for sackcloth. Cloth of camel's hair was John Baptist's garment, silently condemning the prevalent luxury (Mt 3:4). Cloth of goat's hair (the Roman cilicium) was the material used by the poor. The Israelites learned when bondmen in Egypt to fabricate fine linen (1Ch 4:21). The ketoneth or kutoneth is related to our word cotton.
The Syrian term for linen, butz, is the root of bussos, the Greek for "fine linen" (Lu 16:19; Re 18:12,16). Shesh, the earlier term, was Egyptian, their linen being of the finest texture. Sadin, related to our word satin, was a fine linen for summer wear. A wrapper sometimes used as a nightshirt (Mr 14:51). Silk was of late introduction (Re 18:12). The mixture of wool and flax was forbidden (Le 19:19; De 22:11), the combination being reserved to the high priest alone (Ex 28:4), and that a combination of different threads, not of different materials in one thread, such as linsey woolsey. The general object of the prohibition was to symbolize simplicity and purity.
They were even in minute distinctions to be separated from the pagan, and to remember God is the God of order; and if so in small details, now much more will He disallow the confounding of the eternal distinctions of right and wrong (Ge 1:11; 1Co 11:10-15; De 22:5). White was the prevalent color of garments. It symbolized purity (Re 3:4-5; 7:9,13). Joseph's "coat (vest) was of many colors" (Ge 37:3). On the tomb of Chnoumhotep of the 12th dynasty, at Beni Hassan, the Semitic visitors are represented in patchwork garments of many colors. An Arab sheikh to this day wears an aba or garment composed of stripes of many colors, as emblem of his office. Jacob hereby marked Joseph, the firstborn of his darling Rachel, as successor to the primogeniture, birthright, and priesthood as head of the family, which Reuben by incest had forfeited (1Ch 5:1 confirms this).
Cunning work had the devices woven into the stuff; "needlework" had the devices cut out of other stuff and attached by the needle (compare Jg 5:30, "needlework on both sides)." The brilliant colors of the Assyrian nobles spiritually seduced Israel; Eze 23:12, "clothed most gorgeously," lit. to perfection. The ampler robes and the finer texture distinguished the rich from the poor Hebrew. Women and men were forbidden to assume the dress characteristic of the opposite sex (De 22:5). The veil distinguished women. She was not to assume the signet ring, the staff, and the weapons of man. The ketoneth underneath was made of two pieces sewn together at the side. Jesus' "seamless tunic" was probably the meil or upper tunic without sleeves, reaching to the ankles, worn by kings, prophets, youths, and nobles (1Sa 24:4; 28:14; 2:19; Job 1:20), whereas the ketoneth reached only to the knee.
Joseph, Tamar, and the priests wore one reaching to the ankles and wrists (2Sa 13:18; Ex 28:31; 1Sa 15:27; 18:4; Jg 14:12-13). "Sheets," i.e. shirts, sedinim, clothes worn next the skin. Joh 21:7; Peter wore the linen coat which was worn by Syrian fishermen. The usual outer garment was a quadrangular woolen cloth; simlah; beged of a handsome kind, kesuth a covering; lebush a warrior's, priest's, or king's cloak (2Sa 20:8; 2Ki 10:22; Es 6:11). Malbush a state dress, court apparel (1Ki 10:5), or religious vestment (2Ki 10:22). Mad, the long cloak (Jg 3:16). The Greek himation is the outer robe, stole" long robes" of rich amplitude and grandeur (Mr 12:38; 16:5; Lu 15:22; Re 6:11; 7:9,13)
The chitoon, "coat," rather inner vest, is contrasted with the "cloak" or outer himation (Mt 5:40; Ac 9:39). The outer beged might be wrapped round the body or the shoulders, with the ends hanging in front or covering the head, as 2Sa 15:30; Es 6:12. The ends had a fringe, and upon it a blue or purple riband, which continually being before their eyes, with its heavenly hue, would be a remembrance to them that they should "remember all the Lord's commandments" (Nu 15:38). A girdle secured it around the waist; the fold made by the overlapping of the robe served as a pocket (2Ki 4:39; Ps 79:12; Hag 2:12). The ketoneth was worn by both sexes. Women's distinctive garments were the mitpachat, or shawl (Ru 3:15); Isa 3:22, "wimples," thrown over the head and body.
The maatapha, full tunic with sleeves and reaching to the feet, worn over the ordinary tunic (Isa 3:22). The tsaiph, a handsome ample summer cloak-like veil, thrown at pleasure over the head (Ge 24:65; 38:14). The radid, "veils" (Isa 3:23), large enough to cover the head and person, distinct from the smaller "mufflers," or veils closely covering the face above, with apertures for the eyes, but loosely flowing below (harhhalot). The veil on the head marks the woman's subjection (1Co 11:3-10); "the woman ought to have power on her head," i.e. the head covering or veil, the emblem of her being under the power of man, her head. Radid, "a veil," is akin to radad, "subjection." The pethigil, "stomacher," or broad plaited girdle (Isa 3:24). In Da 3:21, for "coats," sarbalin, translated as wide, long "pantaloons," such as the Babylonians wore (Herodotus i. 195).
For "hosen" (as stockings are not common in the East), translated patish inner "tunics." For "hats," translated karbla "mantles." In Mt 27:28 "robe," chlamus, is the military cloak of officers. In 2Ti 4:13 Paul's felonee, the Graecized poenula of the Romans, is the long, thick, sleeveless, traveling cloak, with only an opening for the head. Paul then, on the confines of two worlds, in this wanted a cloak to cover him from the "winter" cold (2Ti 4:21); in that world was about to be "clothed upon with his house from heaven," even as his soul was already covered with the righteousness of saints. A graphic touch, not unworthy of inspiration. The beged was often used as a coverlet at night, as the Bedouin uses his aba. The law, in mercy to the poor, forbade the creditor to retain it after nightfall (Ex 22:26-27).
Tearing it expressed grief, indignation, etc. (Job 1:20). Shaking it, renunciation (Ne 5:13; Ac 18:6). Spreading it before another, loyal and joyful submission to his rule (2Ki 9:13; Ac 21:8). Wrapping it around the head, reverent awe or grief (1Ki 19:13; 2Sa 15:30). The long outer robes needed girding up around the waist, when active work was needed; hence, metaphorically (1Pe 1:13), "gird up the loins of' your mind." Workers, pilgrims, runners, wrestlers, warriors, typify the Christian; they all needed girding. So Israel at the Passover (Ex 12:11, compare Lu 12:35). The feet were covered in reverence of the presence of a king (Isa 6:2). The readiness with which their loose garments were changed is noted in Jer 43:12; "he shall array himself with Egypt as (speedily and easily as) a shepherd putteth on his garment" (compare Ps 102:26).
Changes of raiment were a leading constituent of wealth in the East (Isa 3:6-7; Job 27:16; Mt 6:19; Jas 5:2) and a usual present (2Ki 5:5). To present one's own robe was a strong token of love (1Sa 18:4). The gift of a robe installed in office (Ge 41:42; Es 8:15). The presenting of the best robe
The numerous synonyms for 'dress' to be found in our English Version
This subject includes the following particulars:
2. Color and decoration;
3. Name, form, and mode of wearing the various articles;
4. Special usages relating thereto.
1. Materials.--After the first "apron" of fig leaves,
the skins of animals were used for clothing.
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,
and wool was known earlier still.
Their acquaintance with linen and perhaps cotton dates from the captivity in Egypt,
silk was introduced much later.
The use of mixed material, such as wool and flax, was forbidden.
Le 19:19; De 22:11
2. 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.
The notice of scarlet thread,
implies some acquaintance with dyeing. The elements of ornamentation were -- (1) weaving with threads previously dyed,
(2) the introduction of gold thread or wire,
ff; (3) the addition of figures. Robes decorated with gold,
and with silver thread, cf.
were worn by royal personages; other kinds of embroidered robes were worn by the wealthy,
as well as purple,
Pr 31:22; Lu 16:19
3. 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.
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.
(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.
The ends were skirted with a fringe and bound with a dark purple ribbon,
it was confined at the waist by a girdle. The outer garment was the poor man's bed clothing.
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.
Among their distinctive robes we find a kind of shawl,
light summer dresses of handsome appearance and ample dimensions,a nd gay holiday dresses.
The garments of females were terminated by an ample border of fringe (skirts, Authorized Version), which concealed the feet.
The travelling cloak referred to by St. Paul,
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,
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.
4. 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,
or were thrown off when the occasion arose,
or, if this were not possible, as in the case of a person travelling, they were girded up.
On entering a house the upper garment was probably laid aside, and resumed on going out.
In a sitting posture, the garments concealed the feet; this was held to be an act of reverence.
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,
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.
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,
so that to have clothing implied the possession of wealth and power.
On grand occasions the entertainer offered becoming robes to his guests. The business of making clothes devolved upon women in a family.
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 tailor.
DRESS. See HABITS.