205. The Outer Garment

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From this it would seem that the most common article of pledge was a part of the clothing. The words salmah and simlah (as it is in the parallel passage, Ex. 22:2626If thou at all take thy neighbor's raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down: (Exodus 22:26)) were used to denote clothing in general, but especially the large outer garment, or wrapper, which was skillfully wound around the person, and was as useful at night for a bed covering as during the day for clothing. This is the “raiment” of the text. The Orientals do not change their clothes on retiring to rest, and hence this large outer garment becomes very serviceable. To keep such a garment from a poor man over night was indeed an act of inhumanity which is justly condemned by the law. Tile consequences of such cruelty are touchingly described by Job where he speaks of the works of wicked men: “They cause the naked to lodge without clothing, that they have no covering in the cold. They are wet with the showers of the mountains, and embrace the rock for want of a shelter” (Job 24: 7-8).
The abba of the modern Bedawi is supposed to bear a close resemblance to the ancient garment spoken of. It is made of wool and hair, of various degrees of fineness; is sometimes entirely black, and sometimes entirely white; and is marked with two broad stripes. It is altogether shapeless, being like a square sack, with an opening in front, and with slits at the sides to let out the arms. Very similar to this is the hyke, which is worn by the Moors of Northern Africa, and used by them for a covering at night and for a cloak by day. Dr. Shaw speaks of several varieties of the hyke, both as to size and quality. It is a loose but troublesome garment, being frequently disconcerted and falling to the ground; so that the person who wears it is every moment obliged to tuck it up and fold it anew about his body” (Travels, p. 224). It is often used to wrap up burdens that are to be carried, and in this way the Israelites carried their kneading troughs wrapped up in the folds of their outer garments, and borne on their shoulders (Ex. 12:3434And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders. (Exodus 12:34)).