Click to donate today!
Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible
LINEN is cloth made from the prepared fibre of flax. In ancient Egypt great proficiency was attained in its manufacture (Pliny, HN vii. 56; Strabo, xxvii. 41; Herod. ii. 182), and a flourishing trade was carried on ( Proverbs 7:16 , Ezekiel 27:7 ). As material of wearing apparel it has always been esteemed in the East. In a hot climate it tends to greater freshness and cleanliness than cotton or wool. The Egyptian priests were obliged to wear linen (Herod. ii. 37; Wilk. Anc. Egyp . iii. 117). The ‘cotton garments’ mentioned on the Rosetta stone were probably worn over the linen, and left outside when the priests entered a temple. The embalmed bodies of men and animals were wrapped in strips of linen. No other material was used for this purpose (Wilk. ib . iii. 115, 116, 484). Perhaps we may trace Egyptian influence in the place given to linen in the hangings, etc., of the Tabernacle, and in the garments of the priests ( Exodus 25:4; Exodus 26:1 etc., Exodus 28:15 etc.). It formed part of the usual clothing of royalty, and of the wealthy classes ( Genesis 41:42 , Esther 8:15 , Luke 16:19 ). It is the dress worn by persons engaged in religious service. The priests are those who ‘wear a linen ephod’ ( 1 Samuel 22:18 ). The child Samuel in Shiloh ( 1 Samuel 2:18 ), and David, bringing back the ark ( 2 Samuel 6:14 etc.), also wear the linen ephod; cf. Ezekiel 9:2; Ezekiel 10:2 , Daniel 10:5 . It formed the garment of the Levite singers ( 2 Chronicles 5:12 ). It was the fitting raiment of the Lamb’s wife, ‘the righteousness of the saints’ ( Revelation 19:3 ); presumptuously assumed by ‘the great city Babylon’ ( Revelation 18:16 ); in it are also arrayed ‘the armies that are in heaven’ ( Revelation 19:14 ).
No clear and uniform distinction can be drawn between several Heb. words tr. [Note: translate or translation.] ‘linen.’ bad appears to be always used of garments ( Genesis 41:42 etc.), while shÃ§sh may perhaps mean the thread, as in the phrase ‘ bad of fine twined shÃ§sh ’ ( Exodus 39:28 ), the cloth made from it ( Exodus 25:4; Exodus 26:1 , Ezekiel 27:7 etc.), and also garments ( Exodus 28:5 etc.). We cannot, indeed, be certain that ‘linen’ is always intended (Guthe, Bib. WÃ¶rterbuch, s.v. ). The modern Arab. [Note: Arabic.] shash means ‘cotton gauze.’ bÃ»ts is a word of AramÃ¦an origin, occurring only in later books ( Ezekiel 27:16 , 1 Chronicles 4:21 , Esther 1:6 ), whence comes the Gr. byssos . which covered both bad and shÃ§sh (Jos. [Note: Josephus.] Ant . III. vi. 1f.). By later writers it was taken to represent cotton (Liddell and Scott, s.v .). pishtÃ®m is a general term, denoting the flax, or anything made from it ( Joshua 2:5 , Judges 15:14 , Jeremiah 13:1 etc.). sÃ¢dÃ®n was a sheet in which the whole body might be wrapped ( Judges 14:12 f., Proverbs 31:24 etc.). It probably corresponded to the sindÃ´n ‘linen cloth’ of Mark 14:51 , and the shroud of Matthew 27:59 etc. ’Ã§tÃ»m ( Proverbs 7:16 ) is probably fine Egyptian thread, with which cloths and haogiogs were ornamented, othonÃ§ ( Acts 10:11 ) is a large sheet: othonia ( John 19:40 etc.) are strips for bandages, Ã´molinon ( Sir 40:4 ) was cloth of unbleached flax, sha‘atnÃ§z ( Leviticus 19:19 ) was probably cloth composed of linen and cotton.
Linen yarn ( 1 Kings 10:28 , 2 Chronicles 1:15 , miqweh ) should almost certainly be rendered with RV [Note: Revised Version.] ‘drove.’
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Linen'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/l/linen.html. 1909.