Garments

Boyd’s Bible Dictionary:

Concise Bible Dictionary:

Several words are used both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament for raiment, clothing, or apparel, without defining what particular garments are alluded to; and when a single garment is intended it is variously translated in the AV. In the East few garments were needed, and they were probably much the same as those worn there at present by the natives.
1. The inner garment is the kethoneth, a long tunic worn by men and women. It was made of wool, cotton, or linen. This was the garment God made of skins for Adam and Eve, and what Jacob made of many colors for Joseph (Gen. 3:2121Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21); Gen. 37:3,23-333Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age: and he made him a coat of many colors. (Genesis 37:3)
23And it came to pass, when Joseph was come unto his brethren, that they stript Joseph out of his coat, his coat of many colors that was on him; 24And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit was empty, there was no water in it. 25And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt. 26And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? 27Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh. And his brethren were content. 28Then there passed by Midianites merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmeelites for twenty pieces of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt. 29And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes. 30And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go? 31And they took Joseph's coat, and killed a kid of the goats, and dipped the coat in the blood; 32And they sent the coat of many colors, and they brought it to their father; and said, This have we found: know now whether it be thy son's coat or no. 33And he knew it, and said, It is my son's coat; an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces. (Genesis 37:23‑33)
). It formed part of the priest’s dress. At times another is worn over it. The bride said she had put off her “coat” for the night, which was probably the outer one, though the Hebrew word is the same (Song of Sol. 5:33I have put off my coat; how shall I put it on? I have washed my feet; how shall I defile them? (Song of Solomon 5:3)). The kethoneth answers to the χιτών of the New Testament, mostly translated “coat.” The disciples were not to take two when the Lord sent them out (Matt. 10:1010Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. (Matthew 10:10)). It was this garment of the Lord’s that was woven in one piece (John 19:2323Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. (John 19:23)); and the word is used of the coats made by Dorcas (Acts 9:3939Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and showing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. (Acts 9:39)).
2. The other principal garment was the simlah, a cloak, or wide outer mantle, worn by men and women, and in which they wrapped themselves at night. This might be of any texture according to the season, and according to the station in life of the wearer. The peasants often wear such, called an “abba” of camels’ or goats’ hair. This garment if taken in pledge had to be returned in the evening, for without it “wherein shall he sleep?” (Ex. 22:26-2726If thou at all take thy neighbor's raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down: 27For that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep? and it shall come to pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear; for I am gracious. (Exodus 22:26‑27); compare Deut. 24:1313In any case thou shalt deliver him the pledge again when the sun goeth down, that he may sleep in his own raiment, and bless thee: and it shall be righteousness unto thee before the Lord thy God. (Deuteronomy 24:13)). The simlah is the garment that was rent in grief (Gen. 37:3434And Jacob rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days. (Genesis 37:34); Gen. 44:1313Then they rent their clothes, and laded every man his ass, and returned to the city. (Genesis 44:13); Josh. 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)). This corresponds to the ἱμάτιον in the New Testament. It is translated “cloak” (Matt. 5:4040And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. (Matthew 5:40); Luke 6:2929And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. (Luke 6:29)); and it is the robe of purple with which the soldiers mocked the Lord (John 19:2,52And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, (John 19:2)
5Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! (John 19:5)
). It is the “garment” the edge of which the woman touched (Matt. 14:3636And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole. (Matthew 14:36)); and the “garments” of which the scribes and Pharisees enlarged the borders (Matt. 23:55But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, (Matthew 23:5)). It is otherwise used for “garments” in general, as in Matthew 27:3535And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots. (Matthew 27:35) and John 19:23-2423Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. 24They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be: that the scripture might be fulfilled, which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things therefore the soldiers did. (John 19:23‑24); and is often translated “raiment” and “clothes.”
3. Another prominent article of apparel and one often richly ornamented was the GIRDLE. These three, with sandals, and a handkerchief or other covering for the head, constituted the usual dress in the East.
Besides the above we read of “changeable suits of apparel” for women (Isa. 3:2222The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping pins, (Isaiah 3:22)).
4. Also, the MANTLE, or ROBE, meil, described as “a large tunic, worn over the common one, but without sleeves.” It was worn by priests (Ex. 28:3131And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue. (Exodus 28:31); 1 Sam. 28:1414And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself. (1 Samuel 28:14); Ezra 9:3, 53And 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)
5And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands unto the Lord my God, (Ezra 9:5)
): by kings and princes (1 Sam. 18:44And Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to David, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle. (1 Samuel 18:4); 1 Sam. 24:4, 114And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the Lord said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul's robe privily. (1 Samuel 24:4)
11Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand: for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in mine hand, and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my soul to take it. (1 Samuel 24:11)
): by men of rank (Job 1:2020Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, (Job 1:20); Job 2:1212And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven. (Job 2:12)): and by women (2 Sam. 13:1818And she had a garment of divers colors upon her: for with such robes were the king's daughters that were virgins apparelled. Then his servant brought her out, and bolted the door after her. (2 Samuel 13:18)).

From Anstey’s Doctrinal Definitions:

1. Machelatsoth “changeable suits of apparel,” were costly garments of any kind which were used only on festival occasions, and put off when at home. The same word is rendered “change of raiment” in Zechariah 3:44And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. (Zechariah 3:4).
2. Maataphoth, “mantles,” are supposed by some to have been cloaks or mantles of ample folds, which were worn outside of the other garments; while others think that they were a fashionable sort of upper tunic.
3. Mitpachoth, “wimples,” were wide upper garments, the distinction between which and maataphoth is not clear, unless the latter explanation above given is correct. The word is rendered “veil” in Ruth 3:1515Also he said, Bring the vail that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city. (Ruth 3:15), where see the note (#246).
4. Charitin, “crisping-pins,” are now thought by the best authorities to have had nothing to do with the hair, as our translators supposed, but to have been richly ornamented purses of gold or embroidered work, long and round in form, perhaps like an inverted cone, and suspended from the girdle. We have the idea more correctly expressed in 2 Kings 5:2323And Naaman said, Be content, take two talents. And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bare them before him. (2 Kings 5:23), where the same word is translated “bags.”

“200. Distinction in Dress” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

The distinction between the dress of the sexes being less than with us, there was the greater need of this regulation. There is reason to believe that the law was made not merely to preserve decency, but because the heathen were in the habit of pursuing a different course as a part of their idolatrous worship. Maimonides says: “In the books of the idolaters it is commanded that when a man presents himself before the Star of Venus, he shall wear the colored dress of a woman; and when a woman adores the Star of Mars, she shall appear in armor.” Pagan idols were frequently represented with the features of one sex and the dress of the other, and their worshipers endeavored to be like them. It is not at all unlikely that this custom was as old as the time of Moses, and was a partial reason for the enacting of this law.

“205. The Outer Garment” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

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)).

“229. Embroidered Garments” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

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).

“472. White Garments” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

In the warm countries of the East white clothing is more frequently and generally worn than with us. This allusion to white garments is a beautiful figurative exhortation to perpetual purity of character, and one that would be readily appreciated by the Oriental mind. “May God blacken his face” is a common imprecation in the East. Mohammed is often called “He of the white face.” In the Bible there are a number of references to white garments as typical of purity. In Daniel 7:99I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. (Daniel 7:9), the Deity is represented as clad in a “garment white as snow.” When Jesus was transfigured “his raiment was white as the light” (Matt. 17:22And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. (Matthew 17:2)). The angels appeared in white robes when the disciples visited the tomb of their risen Lord (Matt. 28:33His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: (Matthew 28:3); Mark 16:55And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. (Mark 16:5); Luke 24:44And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: (Luke 24:4); John 20:1212And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. (John 20:12)), and also when he ascended into heaven (Acts 1:1010And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; (Acts 1:10)). The redeemed are to be clothed in white (Rev. 7:1313And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? (Revelation 7:13); Rev. 19:1414And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:14)).

“487. Apparel” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

1. Machelatsoth “changeable suits of apparel,” were costly garments of any kind which were used only on festival occasions, and put off when at home. The same word is rendered “change of raiment” in Zechariah 3:44And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. (Zechariah 3:4).
2. Maataphoth, “mantles,” are supposed by some to have been cloaks or mantles of ample folds, which were worn outside of the other garments; while others think that they were a fashionable sort of upper tunic.
3. Mitpachoth, “wimples,” were wide upper garments, the distinction between which and maataphoth is not clear, unless the latter explanation above given is correct. The word is rendered “veil” in Ruth 3:1515Also he said, Bring the vail that thou hast upon thee, and hold it. And when she held it, he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her: and she went into the city. (Ruth 3:15), where see the note (#246).
4. Charitin, “crisping-pins,” are now thought by the best authorities to have had nothing to do with the hair, as our translators supposed, but to have been richly ornamented purses of gold or embroidered work, long and round in form, perhaps like an inverted cone, and suspended from the girdle. We have the idea more correctly expressed in 2 Kings 5:2323And Naaman said, Be content, take two talents. And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and laid them upon two of his servants; and they bare them before him. (2 Kings 5:23), where the same word is translated “bags.”

“488. Various Articles of Attire” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

1. Gilyonim, “glasses,” are probably the small metallic mirrors wherewith Oriental women adorn their persons. See note on Exodus 38:88And he made the laver of brass, and the foot of it of brass, of the lookingglasses of the women assembling, which assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. (Exodus 38:8) (#139). The Septuagint, however, and a number of eminent commentators, understand the word to mean “transparent garments,” referring to the garments of thin gauze or other material so delicately made as to reveal the form of the wearer. Such were the celebrated (loan garments of classic writers, and dresses of this sort are still used in the East, often richly ornamented with gold spangles.
3. Tseniphoth, “hoods,” were coverings for the head, the difference between which and the peerim, or bonnets,”of verse 20 it is not easy now to determine. The etymology of the two words would suggest that the tseniphoth were simply the turbaned wrappers which were wound around the heads, while the peerim were the same, with rich ornaments attached. Some writers, however, suppose the tseniphoth to have been merely ribbons for binding the hair or fastening the tiara. The word in the singular is rendered” diadem “ in Job 29:1414I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem. (Job 29:14) and Isaiah 62:33Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. (Isaiah 62:3).
4. Redidim, “veils,” differed somewhat from the realoth, “mufflers,” of verse 19. Kitto supposes the “radid to have been a kind of head veil which ladies wear at home, and which, not being intended for concealment of the features, rests upon the head and falls down over the back. It is of very light texture, being usually a long strip of muslin embroidered with threads of colored silk and gold, forming altogether one of the most graceful articles in the female attire of the East” (Daily Bible Illustrations, vol. 6, p. 53).

“489. Hair Dressing Girdle” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

1. The women of the East have always paid special attention to dressing the hair. Folds, braids, and tresses in every variety are a source of pride.
2. Pethigil, “stomacher,” is supposed by some to have been a girdle, made of beautiful and costly materials and richly embroidered. Others, from the etymology of the word, and from the contrast between the “stomacher” and the “girding of sackcloth,” suppose it to have been a wide loose flowing mantle characteristic of luxury and wantonness.

“593. Various Garments” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

It is not easy to tell the precise articles of costume intended by the original words which our translators have rendered as above, though the improved sources or exposition in our day add to the knowledge which they possessed. Bevan, in Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, vol.1, p. 457, renders as follows:
1. Sarbalin, “coats,” (marg., “mantles,”) were drawers, which made the distinctive feature in the Persian as compared with the Hebrew dress.
2. Patish, “hosen,” was an inner tunic.
3. Carbala, “hat,” (marg., “turban,”) was an upper tunic.
4. Lebush, “garments,” was a cloak which was worn over all.

“821. The Tunic” From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

χιτων was a tunic or inner garment which was worn next to the skin. It usually had sleeves, and generally reached to the knees, though sometimes to the ankles. It is mentioned in Matthew 5:4040And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. (Matthew 5:40); Luke 6:2929And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. (Luke 6:29); Acts 9:3939Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and showing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. (Acts 9:39). Sometimes, for luxury, two tunics were worn at the same time. This our Lord forbade his disciples. See Matthew 10:1010Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. (Matthew 10:10); Mark 6:99But be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats. (Mark 6:9); Luke 3:11; 9:311He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. (Luke 3:11)
3And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece. (Luke 9:3)
. When a person had on no garment but this he was said to be “naked.” See note on 1 Samuel 19:2424And he stripped off his clothes also, and prophesied before Samuel in like manner, and lay down naked all that day and all that night. Wherefore they say, Is Saul also among the prophets? (1 Samuel 19:24) (#261).
These tunics were sometimes woven in one piece. Braun, a German theologian of the seventeenth century, wrote a quarto volume in Latin descriptive of the dress of the Jewish priests. In this he describes at length the manner in which seamless coats were woven, and gives pictorial illustrations. He had one of them made for himself by a weaver, according to directions which he gave, and on a loom made for the purpose. Seamless coats are still found in India and in other parts of the East.