70. Mourning

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Genesis 37:3434And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days. (Genesis 37:34). Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.
Rending the clothes as a token of grief is a very ancient custom, and is often referred to in the Bible. See Joshua 7:66And Joshua rent his clothes, and fell to the earth upon his face before the ark of the Lord until the eventide, he and the elders of Israel, and put dust upon their heads. (Joshua 7:6); 1 Samuel 4:1212And there ran a man of Benjamin out of the army, and came to Shiloh the same day with his clothes rent, and with earth upon his head. (1 Samuel 4:12); 2 Samuel 1:11; 3:31; 13:3111Then David took hold on his clothes, and rent them; and likewise all the men that were with him: (2 Samuel 1:11)
31And David said to Joab, and to all the people that were with him, Rend your clothes, and gird you with sackcloth, and mourn before Abner. And king David himself followed the bier. (2 Samuel 3:31)
31Then the king arose, and tare his garments, and lay on the earth; and all his servants stood by with their clothes rent. (2 Samuel 13:31)
; 2 Kings 2:12; 18:37; 19:112And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. (2 Kings 2:12)
37Then came Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, which was over the household, and Shebna the scribe, and Joah the son of Asaph the recorder, to Hezekiah with their clothes rent, and told him the words of Rabshakeh. (2 Kings 18:37)
1And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord. (2 Kings 19:1)
; Ezra 9:33And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down astonied. (Ezra 9:3); Job 1:2020Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, (Job 1:20). A Jewish writer, quoted by Brinier, says that this ceremony was performed in the following mariner: “They take a knife, and holding the blade downward, do give the upper garment a cut on the right side, and then rend it a hand’s breadth. This is done for the five following relations, brother, sister, son, daughter, or wife; but for father or mother the rent is on the left side, and in all the garments” (Oriental Customs, No. 65).
Sackcloth is also frequently mentioned. It was generally made of the hair of goats or of camels, and was coarse and black. It was used for straining liquids, for sacks, and for mourning garments. When used for mourning it was sometimes worn next to the skin, which it must have chafed by its harshness, and at other times it was hung like a sack over the outer garments, or instead of them. A girdle of similar material confined its loose folds. Ahab, on one occasion, appears to have worn sackcloth next to his skin all night. See 1 Kings 21:2727And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly. (1 Kings 21:27). In Revelation 6:1212And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; (Revelation 6:12), in the darkness accompanying an earthquake, the sun is said to have become as “black as sackcloth of hair.”