The plant Linum usitatissimum, and the prepared fibres used for making linen. It was early cultivated in Palestine (Jos 2:6); the failure of the flax was one of God's judgments (Ho 2:9). The plant is about two to three feet high, with pretty blue flowers; the flax is said to be 'bolled' (Ex 9:31) when the seed vessels reach maturity and the plant is ready for gathering. The stalks were dried on the housetops (Jos 2:6), and then soaked in water and the fibre combed out (Isa 19:9 RV). The 'tow' of Isa 43:17 is teased-out flax. The oil of the seeds is the well-known linseed oil.
E. W. G. Masterman.