229. Embroidered Garments

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Rikmah, hero rendered “needlework,” means work made in different colors, whether by means of the needle or the loom. Precisely how this beautiful cloth was made is not now known. The Israelites were doubtless able to make figured cloth either with the needle or by weaving, since there is evidence from the Egyptian monuments that both methods were Very ancient. The Israelites could therefore have learned the art in Egypt. Elegant and highly ornamented garments have ever been greatly prized by the Orientals. Babylon was anciently specially famous for their manufacture; whence the expression, “Babylonish garments” (Josh. 7:2121When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it. (Joshua 7:21)). In the sacking of cities or camps all these variegated cloths were considered highly desirable booty. Thus Deborah, in this fine battle-poem, represents the ladies who attended on the mother of Sisera as suggesting to her that her son was detained because of the valuable spoil he had taken. Gold thread was sometimes used in the manufacture of beautiful garments. See Psalm 45:13-1413The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. 14She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee. (Psalm 45:13‑14). The prophet Ezekiel refers to the fondness of the Assyrians for costly clothing. See Ezekiel 23:1212She doted upon the Assyrians her neighbors, captains and rulers clothed most gorgeously, horsemen riding upon horses, all of them desirable young men. (Ezekiel 23:12), and the note on that passage (#579).