Encyclopaedia Biblica/Wardrobe (Keeper of the)-Wind

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(n"!J?n 10b ; 2 K. 22:14, TOY iM<vno<J>YAAKOC [tou imatiophylakos] [BAL], 2 Ch. 34:22 4>YA<\ccoYC<\N TAG eNToA&c [phylassousan tas entolas] [BAL]), see DRESS 6, HULDAH.

On 'vestry' (nnn^C) in 2 K. 10:22, see DRESS, 8, VESTRY.


C fll ), Lev. 13:48+. See WEAVING.


(IDC) HIPP nittrt^p), a book cited in Nu. 21:14-15 (E), according to RV, in the following terms. (We remove RV's poetical arrangement, however, and assume provisionally that the text of the formula of citation is correct; that the text of the passage quoted is not by any means correct, is maintained under VAHEB.)

'Wherefore it is said in the book of the Wars of the LORD, Vaheb in Suphah, and the valleys of Arnon, and the slope of the valleys that inclineth toward the dwelling of Ar, and leaneth upon the border of Moab'.

1. A historical song book?.[edit]

Kuenen gives the following brief statement of what is supposed to be known respecting the book referred to. 'Evidence of the date of the Sepher Milhamoth Yahwe is supplied by the title itself : the "wars of Yahwe" are the wars of Israel against his neighbours in the period of the Judges, under David (1 S. 18:17, 18:25, 18:28), and later on. The collector of the songs referring to these wars presumably lived after their close, when Israel's heroic age was long gone by' (Hex. ET, p. 35, n. 5). According to Stade (GVI 1:50), the fragments of song in vv. 17b, 18 and (probably) vv. 27b-30 come from the same source as vv. 14b, 15. Dillmann, too, thinks it plausible to derive from this source v. 17b, 18 and perhaps also Ex. 15:1-19. The 'book' referred to was therefore, these scholars think, a collection of songs, similar to the Book of JASHER (q.v.), and its date is variously placed, in the time of Omri, about 900 B.C. (Stade), the latter half of the ninth century (E. Meyer, ZATW, 1881, p. 131), and the times of David and Solomon (Reuss, Gesch. der heil. Schr. AT (20, 172; Dillm. ).

2. A geographical survey?[edit]

There is, however, only one express quotation from the book, and it is not certain that it is poetical or even metrical. 1 Looking at the contents of the quotation, moreover, one would not judge it to come either from a history or from a collection of historical songs or ballads. Was the title of the 'book' really 'Wars of Yahwe?'. LXX at any rate did not so understand it, for it renders thus, Sia. TOVTO Ae yerai iv j3ij3Ai a> 2 [dia touto legetai en Biblioo] {2} [,] HdAe^os TOV Kvpiov TTJI <jb>oj3 e^AayKrec [Polemos tou kyriou ten zooob ephlogisen]. Another version in the Hexapla agrees, it gives ota. TOVTO etpTjrat fv jcaraAoya* TOH TroAe^tovrTcoy [dia touto eiretai en katalogoo toon polemountoon] IIII1I [ = ,T,T [YHVH] Tpo? f-fv au<ja/3 [pros men auzab]. Nor is the title 'Book of the Wars of Yahwe' a probable one. It says either too much or too little. The phrase 'wars of Yahwe' occurs elsewhere (1 S. 18:17) of the wars of Saul, and (1 S. 25:28) of David in his earlier period. But can a historical work, such as a book of wars must be supposed to be, have excluded the unsuccessful campaigns of the champions of Israel? Book of the Wars of Israel is possible, but surely not the title which now stands in Nu. 21:14. What then is a possible title ? The quotation suggests that it had reference to geography. Elsewhere (see VAHEB) it is maintained that the Jerahmeelite Negeb is the region spoken of, and we have [no] reason to think that David, after conquering a large part of the Negeb, took a military census of its inhabitants (see TAHTIM-HODSHI). Both [mfcnSo and ,-nrt have sometimes arisen out of ^KCnT- The one word represents SfNte". the other nv- Most probably the book quoted from by E in Nu. 21:14 was called 'sepher Yerahme'el' - i.e., 'the book, or list, of Jerahmeel'. It was a geographical survey.

T. K. C.


On the subject generally see CLEAN (15 and 17) and SACRIFICE; cp also BAPTISM, JOHN THE BAPTIST.

The words for washing, whether ceremonial or not, are :

1. j*rn, rahats, Ass. rahatsu; Aoueif [louein] (Ex. 29:4, etc.), TrAvpcip [plynein] (of the feet, Lev. 1:9 etc.), i>iVreii [niptein] (of feet, Gen. 19:2 etc. : of hands, Ex. 30:21 etc.; of face, Gen. 43:31), a.irovimt\.v [aponiptein] (Prov. 50:12). Mainly in P.

2. C23, kibbes, nMveiv [plynein] (of garments, Ex. 19:14, Lev. 13:6 etc.), dn-OTrA.uj eci [apoplynein] (of garments, 2 S.19:24); Ass. kabasu, to tread. See FULLER.

3. Vna, tabal, fiairrfiv [baptein], 'to dip' (in blood, Lev. 9:9, 14:51 ; in water, Nu. 19:18 [hyssop], 2 K. 8:15 [coverlet]; in oil, Dt. 33:24 [the feet], etc.). Cp MEALS, 5.

4. nn, duah (in Hiph.), an-o/<Ai;<JW [apoklyzein] (of washing in the lavers, 2 Ch. 4:6), TrAweii/ [plynein] (burnt offering, Ezek. 40:38).

5. jSaTrn.^o/xei os [baptizomenos], Eccl. 34:30 || Nu. 19:11-12, vVy p-ii .x 1 ? ma o-

6. Aoi/rpoi [loutron], Ecclus. 34:30 [34:25], 'washing'.

7. Aoueiv [louein], Jn. 13:10 (6 AeAou/ueVos [o leloumenos], RV 'he that is bathed').

8. i/iWiv [niptein], Mt. 15:2, Mk. 7:3 (hands), Jn. 13:5 etc. (feet), Jn. 9:7 (in healing).

9. /3a7rTto>i6s [baptismos], Mk. 7:4 (cups).

1. Original ideas.[edit]

It is well known that man in a primitive state, but at the stage at which he has become a religious being and some degree of reason has succeeded to what was little more than instinct, looks upon rivers, springs, and wells as the abodes of gods or as being themselves deities (cp SPRINGS). 3 To drink the water, to bathe in it, or merely to sprinkle the person with it, was to imbibe or to cover oneself with a divine and mysterious power. Bathing was a religious act. Water therefore was holy. Further evidence for the idea that a more than natural power was inherent in water would be seen in the refreshing, and sometimes healing, effect of this act. Water was refreshing and healing because it was holy. When a reason was sought for the fact that water cleansed, the explanation would again be the same : it cleansed because it was holy. 1 Then, water is looked upon as purifying, as washing away impurities or cleansing from a taboo ; and finally the frequent use of water becomes a social and sanitary, as well as a religious act. The order of ideas can hardly have been otherwise. Primitive man fears water, therefore makes a god of it, worships it (cp religio) ; this fear must have been overcome before he could make frequent use of it for other than strictly religious purposes.

1 The arrangement in RV is misleading.

2 So BF; AL, /3i/3Aco [Bibloo].

3 See Frazer, Golden Bough, and Pausanias; Grant Allen, Evol. of the Idea of God, 388 (cp 405) ; Clodd, Primitive Man, 182+. Cp WRS, Rel. Sem. (2), 135.

2. Among the Hebrews.[edit]

Benzinger tells us (Heb. Arch. 108) that in the ablutions of the Hebrews it is often difficult to distinguish between the washings performed purely for the sake of the body, and such as were purely religious. That is no doubt because originally no distinction was made. The Hebrews, however, when we make their acquaint ance, had already forgotten the true origin of ablutions ; it is the second idea that now prevails : cleansing or washing is a holy act, and water is holy because it cleanses. 2 In this sense for the most part ablutions play an important part in the religious and social life of the Hebrews, as in that of their neighbours (Egyptians, Arabians, etc. ). 3

The next step is for ceremonial washings to become symbolical. 'Water and fire', says Jastrow, 'are the two great sources of symbolical purification that we meet with in both primitive and advanced rituals of the past (Rel. of Babylonia and Assyria, 276). Thus amongst the Jewish ESSENES (q.v. 4 ; cp De Quincey, Works, vol. 7), as already amongst the Babylonians (Jastrow, 276 ; see also RITUAL, 10) and Persians (see ZOROASTRIANISM, 16), washing as a religious act received quite a special importance'. 4

3. Occasions.[edit]

The ablutions of the Jews may be divided, as far as it is possible now to distinguish them, as follows:-

  • (1) The purely religious (magical) {5} (2 K. 5:10, cp Jn. 2:97). In these we can still detect the primitive idea.
  • (2) The purely ritual, which were suggested by the first. In these the idea is now that of purification. Under this heading come
    • (a) washings of initiation and consecration (Lev. 8:6). With this is connected the washing or baptism of the Jewish PROSELYTE (q.v. 5).
    • (b) Washings with a view to the performance of a sacred function (Ex. 30:17-21). The Egyptian priests, too, were required to bathe frequently in cold water (cp Herod. 2:37 ; also the Mohammedan Wadu). 6
  • (3) The semi-ritualistic washings for the purpose of cleansing from uncleanness. Examples are: Lev. 13:6, 13:34, 13:54-58 (leprous garments), 14:47 (clothes after contact with leprous house), 14:52 (house - with running water), 15:6-8, 15:10-11, 13:16-17 (clothes and person), 15:12 (earthen vessel; wooden vessel), 15:18 (person), 15:22, 15:27 (menstruous contact ; cp Doughty, Ar. Des. 1:572) ; in D, Dt. 21:1-9, 23:9-11; in JE, Ex. 19:10-15.

Besides these, there arose

  • (4) the purely social usage common to all eastern peoples. The hot climate and the wearing of sandals 7 made the practice of feet-washing important, and the offering of water for the purpose a common mark of hospitality (Gen. 18:4, 19:2, 24:32). To the same category probably belong the washings before (Mt. 15:2) and after meals (Berachoth 8:4), on which see MEALS 5 {1}

1 The writer in Schenkel (BL, s.v. 'Waschen') reverses the order of ideas. As a preparation for contact with holy things, the body must be cleansed. Because water was used for the purpose, streams, etc., were worshipped and men bathed in them as a religious act.

2 At a much later date, however, to perform ablutions was not always considered a virtue. Cp Stanley, Christian Institutions, 6-7 : Cleanliness is a duty which some of the monastic communities of Christendom have despised, and some have even treated as a crime ; also Socrates, HE 4:23.

3 For the Egyptians, cp Wilkinson, Anc. Egyptians, 2:48. For the modern Arabians, see Doughty, Ar. Des. 1250; where water is lacking or scarce they use sand (cp Doughty, 1:536; Benzinger, HA, 108 note), but the act is here no doubt symbolical.

4 For the Greek practice see Hesiod, Op. et Dies, 722.

5 See Th. Frede, Wunderglaube im Heidentum und in der alten Kirche, 591.

6 For Mohammedan usage, see, further, Koran Sura, 5:8, and Hughes, Dict, of Islam, under 'Ablution'.

7 The writer in Schenkel adds other reasons for washings of the clothing, of the whole body, or of particular parts of it in the East - viz., on account of the desert sand, and particularly as a protection against cutaneous diseases.

4. Washings in NT.[edit]

To the first of the social usages (section 3 [4]) Jesus no doubt conformed. The fourth gospel, which has to be used with the reatest caution, even tells us that he himself washed his disciples feet (Jn. 13:2). To the second social usage, however, he seems to have attached little importance (Lk. 11:38). We are also told that he submitted to a ritual washing or baptism, and further showed his approval of such an act by making it a Christian institution. As, however, such a rite would be contrary to the general tenor of his teaching, so far as we can gather it from our imperfect sources (cp Tolstoy, The Kingdom of God, chap. 3), and cannot be certainly inferred from the passages in the Gospels which are generally adduced as evidence (see O. Holtzmann, Leben Jesu, p. 411 ; cp, on the other hand, BAPTISM), its adoption by Jesus himself must be considered extremely doubtful. 2 Moreover, Paul, or the Pauline school, does not mention it as an institution of Jesus, 1 Cor. 1:17 even makes Paul say 'Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel' (cp Ernst von Dobschutz, Die Urchristlichen Gemeinden, 22-23). Feine, indeed, thinks that Paul implies it, while not actually mentioning it because it was not a matter of controversy in the apostolic church (Jesus Christus und Paulas, 243). And Dreschen (Das Leben Jesu bei Paulus) takes a very similar view. But almost anything might be implied (or read into) the NT, and the simplest conclusion is that it had not yet become a Christian institution. It has been contended that the rite was a natural development of the Jewish practice of baptizing the proselyte (see Stanley, Christian Institutions, 5; cp Tylor, Primitive Culture, 2:440+) or of the ceremonial washings of the Essenes (see E. Plauta Nesbit, Christ, Christians, and Christianity ; De Quincey, Works, vol. 7). The second suggestion is unnecessary (see von Dobschutz, p. 105). As to the first, it is much more probable that the rite, as in the case of the Eucharist, 3 was taken over from the Pagans.

This, with other rites, was adopted at a time when the new sect was trying to win over converts among the Gentiles, and when the gap between Judaism and Christianity had widened. With that wonderful power of adapting itself which it once had, the new religion admitted the pagan ceremony of initiation. 4 Cp ROME.

M. A. C.

1 Cp, further, Kohler's art. 'Ablution' in the Jewish Encyclopedia.

2 Colenso (Natal Sermons, 1866, No. 10) thought that 'the command in Mt. 28:10, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost", would be conclusive as to the fact of his having directly enjoined the practice, were it not that this formula, with its full expression of the name of the Trinity, betrays the later age in which the passage in which it occurs was most probably written'. Conybeare has recently shown (ZNTW, 2:275+ [1901] ; cp Hibb. Journ. 1:102+) very strong reasons for believing that the mention of the three Persons in the Trinity is not original (cp col. 3270 [top]). The passage as it stands, therefore, seems to have been edited for liturgical purposes, and it is likely that in the first instance there was no reference whatever to baptism. Apart from this we have no evidence, as Colenso again says (ibid. No. 9), that any of Jesus' disciples were baptised.

3 This again has been looked upon as a development of a Jewish practice. See, especially, G. H. Box in the Journal of Theological Studies, 3:357-369, who thinks that the Last Supper was not a Passover, as is commonly supposed, but the weekly Kiddush, a service in the house.

4 Cp Grant Allen, Evol. of the Idea of God, 388, 405; Clodd, Primitive Man, 182+; J. M. Robertson, Short Hist, of Christianity (see Index).


a term of abuse applied to Moab in the expression 'Moab is my washpot' (^r\~\ "Vp 3X1O ; M60A.B AeBHC THC eArriAoc MOy [mooab lebes tes elpidos mou]; similarly Vg. ; flTl in Tg. = Heb. rtp3 'to trust'); Ps. 60:8 [60:10], 108:9 [108:10]; The commentators refer to the story told of Amasis (Herod. 2:72), or to the custom of Persian kings of having a footpan carried in their train when in the field. The latter illustration is preferred by Delitzsch.

This base image, however, is surely due to corruption of the text. Both TO and sm are corruptions of 1HTC, Mitstsur, or of HntpK, Ashhur. See Che. Ps.(2), ad loc., and cp MOAB, 14 ( 'Moa'b and Mitstsur liable to confusion).


(ccbH5 [sphex]), Wisd. 128 AV, also RVmg, RV HORNET (q.v.).


, Neh. 7:3. See GUARD, 3.


(*>, 'ir, [Aram.] ; Arre A O c [aggelos] [LXX{87}] eip [eir] [Theod.]; erpHf-OpOC [egregores] [Aq. Sym.]; vigil, in the Gk. Enoch erpHfOpOc [egregoros]); Dan. 4:10, 4:14 [om. LXX], 4:20 [4:13, 4:17, 4:23]. The term reminds us of the c^ov, shomerim (Is. 6:26) whom Yahwe charges to watch over the ruined walls of Jerusalem, and to remind him of their sad condition. We find it again in Enoch and in Jubilees. In Enoch it is used in a double sense. In 1:5, 10:9, 10:15, 12:2, 12:4, 13:10, 14:1, 14:3, 15:2, 16:1-2, 91:15 it designates the fallen angels ; in 20:1, 39:12-13, 40:2, 61:12, 71:7 it belongs to the archangels. In Jubilees 4:15 (cp 8:3, 10:5), in the explanation of the name Jared (which agrees with that given in Enoch 66, except that Mt. Hennon is not mentioned as the place on which they descended) it is said, 'in his days the angels of the Lord descended on the earth, those who are named the Watchers, that they should instruct the children of men, and that they should do judgment and uprightness on the earth'. A myth of the watchers which differs somewhat from that in the Ethiopic Enoch is given in the Slavonic Enoch (18:3 cp 63; see Charles's notes in Secrets of Enoch); they are there called the Grigori (typiiyoptH. [egregoroi]). In the Book of Adam and Eve (6th cent. A. D. ) the watchers are also represented as the fallen angels, who, as long as they preserved their virginity, were called the 'sons of Seth'. See Charles's very full note on Jubilees 4:15.


See DAY, 4 .


(PlSyp, mispeh ; Is. 21:8). Cp MIZPAH, MIZPEH. For jna. bahan (Is. 32:14-15) and ^JO, migdal, see TOWER. In Is. 2:16 RVmg has 'pleasant watch-towers' for 1"7? l? "??, shekiyyoth hahemdah (AV 'pleasant pictures', RV 'pleasant imagery'); but see Isa. SBOT (Heb.), note ad loc., and Crit. Bib.


(D s tt). On the 'holy' or 'bitter' water, called also the 'water of purifying' (AV) or 'of expiation' (RV) of Nu. 8:7+ see JEALOUSY [TRIAL OF]; on the water 'of separation' or 'of impurity' (RVmg) in Nu. 19:9, see CLEAN AND UNCLEAN, 17


1. te'alah, n^D, see CONDUITS, 2.

2. peleg, pelaggah, j^, nj^rj, see RIVER, 5.

3. motsa mayim, c - a N^C, 2 Ch. 32:30 AV. See SPRINGS, 2 [6], and cp GIHON.

4. tsinnor, -fl%i1 , 2 S. 5:8 RV, AV 'gutter'; meaning doubtful.


(yApiA [garia]), Jn. 2:7 . Cp POTTERY, 3(1).


(C np- t5), Josh. 11:57 . See MEROM [WATERS OF].


(1) 11gt;3 . tsinnor, Ps. 42:7 (RVmg. 'cataract'). Cp WATERCOURSE, 4.

(2) pjn, tannin, Ps. 148;7 RVmg. See SERPENT, 3-4. n. 2 ; WHALE.


(HB-ian DH^), Lev. 23:17. See SACRIFICE, 34 b.


(n&Ufi). Ex. 29:24. See SACRIFICE, 14, and cp CLEAN AND UNCLEAN, 3.


(JTPl, donag; KHpOc), Ps. 22:14 [22:15], 68:2 [68:3], 97:5, Mic. 1:4 ; also Judith 16:15, Ecclus. 24:20; also Ps. 58:8 [58:9] LXX (see SNAIL, 2), Is. 64:1 [64:2] LXX{BXAQ} ; and possibly Ezek. 27:17 (emended text; so Co. ; but see PANNAG), and Ps. 118:12 [see LXX]. Beeswax, which is secreted by all honey-bees and formed into the cell walls of their comb is intended. It melts at 144[degrees] F. See BEE.


On 'the way' (H oAoc [e odos]), Acts 9:2, etc., see HERESY, 1.


(JVV), Jer. 31:21 [31:20]. See MASSEBAH, 1e; also Crit. Bib.


Cp WAR. Hebrew uses the general term kelim (Gen. 27:3), which means simply instruments or implements. In 1 S. 20:40 AV renders by the more ambitious word 'artillery'. In the NT (Jn. 18:3, Rom. 6:13, 2 Cor. 10:4) the common Greek term on-Aa [hopla] is employed.

1. In general.[edit]

Naturally at first any implement or instrument would be used as a weapon, a club or a STAFF ([q.v. ] ; cp Darwin, Descent of Man, 81 [1890]). But the natural weapons of the lower animals (horns, etc.; see Darwin, 500+) would soon suggest to man the use of something more effective. Later, it is possible that one at least of the agricultural implements, the sickle (see AGRICULTURE, 7, with figs. ), gave rise to the scimitar or SWORD (q.. ). This would add force to the words in Is. 2:4. In no art, perhaps, has more ingenuity or more rapid progress been shown than in that of the manufacture of weapons (see Herbert Spencer, Principles of Sociology, 1(3) 59). As the Hebrews had no doubt to wage war continually, it would be no matter for surprise if they had displayed some skill in this art at quite an early date. Later, they would also be quick to note and to copy the equipment of more advanced neighbours (e.g. Canaanites, Egyptians, Assyrians, etc.), who realised more fully the value of well-equipped, organised, and disciplined armies. See ARMY and cp WAR. The more primitive weapons of offence, however, such as the CLUB (see STAFF) and SLING (q.v.) were perhaps never entirely displaced by the SWORD and DAGGER (see SWORD), JAVELIN (q.v.). Bow (see below, 2), and SPEAR (q.v.); and instruments with flint edges or points, as has frequently happened, no doubt continued to be used side by side with those of metal. Of defensive weapons, a SHIELD (q.v.) of some kind was probably in use at a very early date ; but we also hear in the OT of BREASTPLATE, GREAVES, and HELMET (qq.v.).

2. The bow.[edit]

On Egyptian and Assyrian monuments one of the weapons most commonly represented is the Bow (see CHARIOT, SIEGE, WAR).

The Hebrew term is IlC jJ, kesheth. With this are of course connected the ARROW, J fl, hes, and the case for carrying it, Sa, teli (Gen. 27:3), or nSy N, 'ashpah - i.e., the QUIVER (q.v.; cp also CHARIOT). This seems to have been one of the earliest of the more elaborate weapons. The throwing of a small SPEAR (q.v.) or DART, nV?, shelah (2 Ch. 325 AV, RV 'weapons'; cp Joel 2:3), {1} with the hand would soon give rise to a mechanical instrument (cp SLING), to which the dart would be suitably adapted, feathers being added to increase its flight (cp Tylor, Anthropology, chap. 8). {2} In this way we get the ARROW. The bow was commonly made of reed, wood, or horn. The Israelites used it both in war (Gen. 48:22), and in the chase (21:20) ; and seem to have bent it with the foot (for the Egyptian practice, see Wilkinson, Anc. Eg. 1:203). The strings, C nrrc, metharim (Ps. 21:12), were probably made of gut or hide. Here we seem to have a case in which an implement of war suggested an instrument of music (see Music, 2 ; cp Tylor, Anthropology, chap. 12). According to the AV of 2 S. 1:18 David 'bade them teach the children of Judah [the use of] the bow' apparently an irrelevant notice where it stands in 2 S. ; hence RV substitutes 'song' for 'use'. The remedy, however, seems inadequate, and it is open to methodical textual critics to devise something more radical and effective. See H. P. Smith, ad Inc., and cp Crit. Bib. The bowmen of Elam (Is. 226, Jer. 49:35, if the text is correct), of Kedar (Is. 21:17), and of an unnamed people from the land of %o"y [TsP....] (Jer. 6:23) are specially mentioned in the OT.

1 Other words rendered DART are : B3?, shebet, 2 S. 18:14 EV, RVmg. 'staves', see STAFF; nniPi, tothah, Job 41:29 [41:21] AV, RV 'clubs', but see JAVELIN, > ; UBS, massa, Job 41:26 [41:18] EV ! VO. hes, Pr. 7:23 AV, RV 'arrow' (see above) ; TO. /3e A>7 [ta bele], Eph. 6:16 ; and /3oAi [bolis], Heb. 12:20 (but the clause should probably be omitted ; see Ti.).

2 In other respects the construction was no doubt similar to that of the SPEAR (q.v.).


("1771 ; J r&AH [gale] ; mustela), the name of an unclean animal, Lev. 11:29-30 (EV, LXX, Targ. Jon.; Pesh. , Vg., and most Rabbins). There is some little doubt, however, whether the weasel is really referred to, and various interpreters (Saadia, Bochart, Lag. NB 144) have preferred on philological grounds 2 the rendering 'mole' (but see below). The weasel is an animal hardly ever eaten, and its long body and short legs might be urged as justifying its position 'among the creeping things that creep upon the earth'.

Zoologically weasels are placed with the pole-cats, martens, and others in the family Mustelidae of the order Carnivora. One species of each of the above-mentioned animals is recorded by Canon Tristram from the Holy Land. The southern weasel, Mustela boccamela, is found about Mount Tabor and probably in other wooded districts; the pole-cat, M. putorius, lives under Hermon and Lebanon, and the white-breasted or beech marten, M. foina, in the neighbourhood of Beyrout. It is unlikely that the Hebrews distinguished between these species, though from its habits and habitat they may have separated off the otter, Lutra vulgaris, which is common on the shores of the sea of Galilee.

A. E. S. - S. A. C.


  • Raw products and their preparation (1).
  • Spinning (2).
  • The horizontal loom (3).
  • Two types of upright loom (4).
  • Technique and terminology of weaving (5-8).
    • Warping (5).
    • Shedding (6).
    • Passing and beating up of weft (7).
    • Direction of web (8).
  • Final processes (9).
  • Pattern and figure weaving (10).

In the present study of the art of weaving as practised by the Hebrews from the enrliest times to the opening centuries of our era it is proposed

  • (1) to glance briefly at the raw materials and the manner of their preparation for the loom, which will include the process of spinning;
  • (2) to explain the construction and modus operandi of the loom itself; and
  • (3) to close with brief references to the further processes through which the web had to pass after leaving the loom, and to the more obscure subject of pattern and figure weaving.

1. The raw products and their preparation.[edit]


Throughout the whole period of their national existence, the needs of the Hebrew households in the matter of textiles were supplied for the most part by WOOL and FLAX (qq.v.) - frequently mentioned together in OT. Hos. 2:5, Prov. 31:13, etc. - with the addition for coarser textures, of the HAIR (q.v) of goats and camels, and, in the latest periods of their history, of COTTON and SILK (qq.v.). In an interesting passage of the Mishna treatise Shabbath (7:2), among the various categories of work forbidden on the Sabbath - 'forty save one' in number (cp 2 Cor. 11:24) - we find an enumeration of the chief processes in the manufacture of woollen cloth, including 'shearing, scouring, teazing, dyeing, spinning, warping, attaching the leashes to the leash-rods (for these technical terms, see below, sections 5+), weaving', etc.

The fleece (^~Sn n?3, Judg. 6:37), according to the statement in the Mishna, was first scoured (J2 1 ?) to remove impurities and restore the original white colour (hence the term), after which it was thoroughly teazed (j S3) and carded (p"]D) with a carding comb. The latter operation is done at the present day [late 19th century] in the wool bazaars of the Levant (cp Jos. BJ 5:8:1 [section 331] for an eploAioi> [heriopoolion] in Jerusalem, the C"1SJ! ^V pit? of Erub.10:9) by means of a bow and its string. At this stage the wool might be dyed, or this process might be deferred till after the spinning or even until it could be dyed 'in the piece' after leaving the loom.

1 For proper names possibly derived from the name of this animal see HELED, HELDAI, HULDAH.

2 Cp Ar. huld, Syr. hulda, 'mole', and !TT?in [HVLDH], an animal often mentioned in the Talm. (see Di. ad loc. A connection with -\^n [HLD] which means 'penetrate deeply' [cp V7TB1 in Talm., 'to plunge in the sacrificial knife'], is probable); Lewysohn, Zool. Talm. 101, and Hommel, Saugethiere, 337. It is, however, to be observed that, now, at any rate, no true mole occurs in Palestine. See MOLE. On a later Heb. word for weasel, see col. 1210, n.1.

3 The standard work on this subject is still Textrinum Antiquorum an Account of the Art of Weaving among the Ancients: Part 1 [all published] : 'On the raw materials used for weaving', by James Yates, 1843.

In the case of flax, we can follow the similar processes by the help both of literary references (Mishna, passim ; Pliny, HN 19:3 etc.), and of the graphic representations on Egyptian tombs (see Yates, op. cit. [n. 3, above], pl. 7; Wilkinson, Anc. Eg. 2:173]. Here we see the stalks being pulled up by the roots, laid in order and rippled with a rippling-comb, or beaten over a stick to free them from the seed capsules. After being exposed on the flat roof (see Josh. 2:6) or elsewhere until thoroughly dry, they were steeped in a trough to separate the inner fibres from the woody portions of the stalk, a process technically known as 'retting'. The stalks thus macerated were again dried in the sun or in an oven (Shabb. 1:6), and then beaten with a wooden mallet (Pliny's 'stupparius malleus') to complete the separation of the inner fibres. In the earliest period these fibres were sorted by the hand (Erman, Egypt, 450); later they were heckled or combed by means of a comb (|B y9 SE>T3ps, illustr. Wilkinson, 2:174), by which the longer and finer fibres were separated from those of inferior quality. Women as well as men were engaged in this process of heckling the flax, as appears from Is. 19:9, where the nip"!::l of MT (AV 'fine flax', RV 'combed flax'; cp Symm. KTeinarov [kteniston]) should be read nip7iw, 'the flax-combers' (Vg. pectentes}. {1} Linen was preferably worn in its native whiteness; but, if required, the flax might be dyed before being spun, as in the case of the Tabernacle curtains (Ex. 35:25), or the dyeing might be postponed to a later stage as explained above for wool. To judge from an incidental remark in Baba Kamma 10:9, woollen garments were more favoured in Judaea, whilst Galilee preferred linen.

Goats' hair was employed for textures of the coarser sort, especially for the garb of mourning (see SACKCLOTH), 2 and like camels hair was often mixed with sheep's wool {Kelaim 9:1). In later times COTTON and SILK (qq.v.) (Rev. 18:12 but not Ecclus. 45:10 [AV], see RV, nor Am. 3:12 [RV]) were introduced ; the kindewin ( Tr7n, Yoma, 3:7) or Indian fabrics worn by the high priest were undoubtedly of cotton. To these the Mishna adds hemp (D 33p, KO.vva&i<s [kannabis] - but the 'hempen frock' of Ecclus. 40:4 RV is an incorrect rendering of <u/u.6A.u oi> [hoomolinon] for which see below, section 9) and the fibres of a species of mussel, for which see Yates, op. cit. 152+.

2. Spinning.[edit]

Whilst among the Hebrews, as among the Egyptians, both men (Ex. 35:35, 1 S. 17:7 [and ||s], 1 Ch. 4:21) and women (Judg. 16:13-14, 2 K. 23:7, Prov. 31:24, 1 Esd. 4:17, cp Jos. BJ 1:24:3 g/ta rafs Soi Xcus [ama tais doulais]) plied the loom, the art of spinning was peculiarly a feminine accomplishment (Ex. 35:25-26, Prov. 31:19, Tob. 2:11). The apparatus for spinning (mo ; vyOu [nethoo], Mt. 6:28, Lk. 12:27) both wool and flax consisted of the distaff (kishor, n7irs [see BDB s.v.], Prov. 31:19, RV ; AV spindle - in the Mishna neN, i^Aa/cariy [elakate], colus] and the spindle (pelek, r^3, Prov. l.c. RV ; AV 'distaff', &Tpa.KTos [atraktos], fusus ; Mishna, ana). In 2 S. 3:29 we should render 'that holdeth the spindle' (Vg. tenens fusum) for 'that leaneth on a staff' (EV) [though here - see STAFF - the suitableness of the reading has been disputed]. 3 The distaff generally consisted of a piece of cane round the open head of which the wool or flax was wound. It is held in the left hand or fixed in the girdle, while the spinner draws out and twists the yarn between the finger and thumb of the right hand, 4 with which also the spindle is kept rotating. The spindle consisted of three parts (see Maimon. on Para 12:8 ap. Surenh. Mishna) : a hook by which the thread from the distaff was fastened, the wooden shank, 9-12 inches in length, and the circular or spherical whorl of clay, stone, or other heavy material which served to steady the rotatory motion of the spindle. 1 (For illustration of early Palestinian spindle-whorls see Bliss, A Mound of Many Cities, 82, cp 80.)

1 So modern edd. For the technical process disguised under the following nn7nw see below, 5.

2 For the variety of haircloth named by the Romans cilicium, and its interesting association with Paul, see CILICIA, 3.

3 From the original significance of the root -j^a in Semitic, viz. 'to be round, globular', pelek must originally have signified the round or spherical whorl with which the spindle was weighted, as the cognate fem. form still does in Arabic, then by metonymy the whole spindle (see Driver, TBS 192-193). Cp DISTRICT, 1.

4 Cp Jerome, Ep. 150:15 'habeto lanam semper in manibus, vel staminis pollice fila deducito', etc.

The word 'yarn', in Heb. rnt?D (Ex. 35:25, lit. that which is spun [ "IJtp], cp LXX rei rjo-fieVa [nenesmena]), occurs in AV only 1 K. 10:28, 2 Ch. 1:16 as a curious rendering of nipDi " which recent editors are unanimous in finding the name of the district of Kue in Asia Minor (see MIZRAIM, 2a ; and Benzinger and Kittel ad loc. but cp CHAKIOT, 5, n. i, and Crit. Bib.). It is introduced by the revisers in Prov. 7:16 as the rendering of the obscure pDN (for which see LINEN, 1), and Ezek. 27:19 where most scholars would read as in RVmg 'from UZAL' (q.v.).

The art of spinning was carried to perfection in Egypt even under the earlier dynasties. Much of the linen used as wrappings for the royal mummies is composed of threads of almost incredible fineness. Thus it has been calculated that the bandages in which the hands of Thotmes III. were enveloped, and which shows about 150 threads of warp and 75 of weft to the square inch, was woven from yarn so fine that 60 miles of it would only weigh one pound avoirdupois (reduced to English measures from Braulik, Altagypt. Gewebe, 6 ; cp Birch's note, ap. Wilk. op. cit. 2162). Such gossamer threads, however, cannot be identified with those of the 'fine twined linen' (shesh moshzar, ITB>D vv) of Ex. 26-28, 36-39, as a fabric of this sort would be entirely out of place as curtains for the court of the tabernacle (for the most probable explanation of the term, see LINEN, 7).

1 For illustration of Egyptian distaffs and spindles see Wilk. op. cit. 2:172 ; Gk. and Roman ap. Blumner, Technologie, etc. 1:118-119, and the Dicts, of Class. Antiq. s.vv. 'coins' and 'fusus'.

3. The horizontal loom.[edit]

Probably no department of the technology of antiquity is so beset with difficulties as that which deals with the art of weaving.

After all that has been done by Blumner (Technol. u. Terminol. der Gewerbe, etc., 1875) and Marquardt (Privatleben der Romer, 1879) for the Greek and Roman looms, by Braulik (Altagyptische Geweba, 1900) for those of Egypt, and by Rieger (Versuch einer Terminal, u. Technol. der Handwerke in der Mishna: 1 Th., Spinnen, Weben, etc., 1894) and others, there remains much that is uncertain, not only as regards the terminology and modus operandi, but even as regards the details of construction. Were the ancients, for example, familiar with the mechanism of the treadles? Was the horizontal or low loom in use among the Romans of the republic and early empire? To the latter question Blumner and Marquardt reply in the affirmative, whilst Ahrens (Philologus, 35), Rich (in his excellent Dict. of Gk. and Rom. Ant.) Yates and Marindin (in Smith's Dict, of Gk. and Rom. Ant.,(3) s.v. 'tela') present a good case for the exclusive use of the upright loom. Certainly no monumental representations of the horizontal loom, or for that matter few of the upright loom, have come down to us from classical antiquity.

Treating the question from the point of view of the history of man s progress in the arts of civilisation, we find that weaving is merely a development of the art of plaiting, and has been correctly defined by Plato as TT\eKTiKJ) KpoK-rjs Ko.1 OT^OCOS [plektike krokes kai stemonos] ('a plaiting of weft and warp', cited by Marq. op. cit. 504). More precisely, the art of weaving, in its simplest form, consists in intersecting a series of parallel threads, called the warp, at right angles by another set of threads called the weft or woof, in such a way that each weft thread shall pass alternately over and under each of the warp threads. In plaiting, this interlacing is done by hand, and even at the present day in some parts of Arabia and N T . Africa - no doubt also among many other half-civilised tribes - the art of weaving has not advanced beyond this stage. The late E. H. Palmer thus describes the very primitive work of an old Bedouin woman in the neighbourhood of Jebel Musa.

'On one of these occasions I noticed an old woman weaving at the tent-door. Her loom was a primitive one, consisting only of a few upright sticks upon which the threads were stretched; the transverse threads were inserted laboriously by the fingers, without the assistance of a shuttle, and the whole fabric was pressed close together with a piece of wood. Beside her stood a younger female spinning goats hair to supply the old lady with the materials necessary for her task' ( The Desert of the Exodus, 1:125).

[picture of FIG. 1. - Women weaving. goes here]

Between this incident and the first representations of the horizontal loom by Egyptian artists, there stretches a period of nearly 5000 years. Even at that early period, however, and, as the textile remains abundantly prove, for at least a millennium previously, the inventive genius of Egypt, which, according to Pliny, taught the ancient world the art of weaving, had furnished the loom with the apparatus necessary for more expeditious work. Putting aside the case illustrated by Wilkinson (Anc. Eg. 2:170), which furnishes no indication of any apparatus beyond a simple frame, and is therefore, in all probability, a case of mat-plaiting, we may take the familiar representation from the tombs at Beni Hasan of the two women squatting on the ground and engaged in the process of weaving (Wilk. op. cit. 1:317, Erman, Anc. Eg. 448, after Lepsius; Moore's 'Judges', SBOT Eng., 86; Braulik, op. cit. Figs. 89-91, pp. 59+). Till recently, it was assumed that this picture, which dates from the middle empire, represented an upright loom. It is evident, however, that this is a mistake due to the absence of perspective in Egyptian drawing. The loom is horizontal with a yarn-beam a, and a cloth-beam b, each fixed to the ground by a couple of wooilen pegs. Between the beams the warp is stretched, and, if we can trust the artist in this detail, the cloth-beam is capable of revolving and winding up the finished web. The remaining parts of this instructive represen tation will require a more detailed examination in a subsequent section (section 6).

1 The apothegm dating from the twelfth dynasty, quoted by Braulik {op. cit. 89) - 'the weaver is more unfortunate than a woman, he has his knees for ever reaching to his chin' - proves, as he rightly ohserves

  • (1) that men as well as women exercised the art, and
  • (2) that they worked in a squatting attitude, and therefore, like the women of the Beni Hasan picture (Fig. 1), at the horizontal loom.

2 This was also the type of loom in use among the Aztecs of Central America ; see illustration in Tylor's Anthropology, 248. A full description of the modern Syrian looms, with a valuable list of the Arahic termini technici will be found in the ZDPT 8, 1885, pp. 73+, 180-181.

Now, when we consider the antiquity and prevalence of the horizontal loom in Egypt, 1 and its prevalence in a variety of forms throughout the E. , from Africa to India, at the present day, 2 it would be strange if the Israelites were unacquainted with it. We have, however, no explicit testimony to the form and construction of the early Hebrew loom. Still, a study of the well-known passage which will engage our attention when we come to deal with the terminology of weaving (section 7) -shows that the probabilities of the case are in favour of Delilah's loom being of the horizontal type. The operation of weaving the hair of a person asleep on the ground into the warp could be much more easily and naturally done on a horizontal loom such as that shown above. 1

1 Moore (op. cit. sup.) gives this picture to illustrate Delilah's loom, but is in error in regarding both looms as consisting of a simple upright frame.

4. The two types of upright loom.[edit]

Of the upright loom, which consists essentially of two upright posts joined at the top by a cross-beam, the jugum of the Roman loom (for this view of the jugam, see Smith's Dict, of Gk. and Rom. Ant. (3) 2:765) there are two main types, regarding which it is difficult to say which is the older.

(1) There is first the type familiar to classical students from the representation of Penelope's loom on a Greek vase of the fifth century B.C. (see ill. EB (9) 23:206 ; Blumner, op. cit. 1:357, and often elsewhere), the distinguishing feature of which is the absence of a cross-beam below, the warp threads being kept taut by a series of small stone weights attached either to the individual threads, as in the case just cited, or to bundles of threads, as in the comparatively modern Icelandic loom (ill. Smith, op. cit. 2:766, less complete in Rich, s.v. 'tela'). The Roman looms were also of this type, as were those of the lake dwellers of Switzerland in the neolithic age (Buschan, 'Die Anfange u. Entwickelung der Weberei in der Vorzeit' in Verhandlg. d. Berlin. Ges. f. Anthropologie, etc., 1889, pp. 227+). In one of the strata of the mound of Tel-el-Hesy (circa 500-400 B.C.), Dr. Bliss found a large number of objects, some round, some pear-shaped, of unburnt brick, which he considers to have served as weaver's weights (A Mound of Many Cities, 113). On this view we must admit the existence of this type of loom in Palestine, although it has not yet been found in Egypt.

(2) The other type of upright loom is characterised by the presence of a second cross-beam below. Where, as usually in Egypt according to Herodotus (2:35), the web was commenced at the bottom of the loom, such a beam was indispensable and served as a cloth-beam ; where, as was presumably the case in Palestine, the web was 'woven from the top' (Jn. 19:23), the lower beam served as the yarn-beam. In either type of upright loom, however, an additional cross-beam might be provided - usually constructed so as to revolve, thus rendering it possible to weave a length of web greater than the height of the loom - as is the case in the earliest representation of an upright loom that has come down to us by an Egyptian artist of the new empire (here reproduced from Wilk.-Birch, op. cit. 2:171).

[picture of FIG. 2. - Upright loom. From Wilkinson, Anc. Eg. 2:171.]

This picture is unfortunately imperfectly preserved, and the details of the construction are in several points uncertain. The weaver sits on a bench in front of his loom, the frame of which is composed of two upright posts, kept rigid by two cross-bars, a and b. The roller c serves as a yarn-beam and is suspended from the upper beam by twisted loops of rope, e. But a revolving yarn-beam seems to imply a revolving cloth-beam as well, which makes it probable that the roller d, attached to the uprights by the loops ff, serves this purpose. The functions of the three rods, g, h, i, suspended from the yarn-beam will be discussed in a subsequent section (6).

There is no indication of the date at which the upright loom, which, to judge from the existing repretations, was a later development in Egypt (Erman, followed by Braulik), was introduced into Palestine. It may have been in use from time immemorial alongside of the horizontal loom. That the ordinary Jewish loom in NT times was of the second type above described is evident from various indications.

Thus the upper and lower beams (reff. below) are referred to in the Mishna, where also there is frequent reference to the 'standing warp' ("iwiyri Hir, cp the classical crrtj^tav [stemoon] and stamen, the warp, from the root s-t-a) ; weaving was done standing as well as sitting (Zab. 3:2) ; the Latin transference of jugum and stamina to the cross-bar and strings of the lyre is paralleled in late Hebrew and Aramaic by the transference, though in the contrary direction, of 733 (also K*?33 and H713, Syr. naula) to signify a loom, a phenomenon which points to the upright loom. The seamless robes 'woven from the top throughout', finally, could only have been made on the upright loom, although this does not of necessity require that the looms for the manufacture of ordinary fabrics were of this type.

The loom in use at the present day in Palestine, as has been said, is uniformly of the horizontal type, and resembles our own handloom in being furnished with healds or heddles worked by a pair of treadles. The frame, however, is much lower, the weaver sitting on or near the ground, and the warp, instead of being wound round the yarn-beam at the opposite end of the frame, as with us, is usually carried upwards and passed over a roller attached to the opposite wall, a few stones fastened to the ends of the warp-threads serving to keep them taut. (For other forms with slightly different arrangement, see ZDPV 8, 1885, p. 73-74)

To weave is, in the OT, generally J1X, 'arag; a weaver 3"1N> 'oreg (masc. and fem.), the latter supplanted to a large extent in later Hebrew by the loanword "H3 * (yepSios [gerdios], gerdius). The loam is probably JHX, 'ereg (Judg. 16:14 EV 'beam', perhaps also Job 7:6 EV 'shuttle').

Technique and terminology of weaving.[edit]

5. Warping.[edit]

In commencing a new web the weaver's first care is to stretch the warp in parallel lines evenly between the upper and the lower beam Qi Vj/n 13^3 and [inriFin "3, Kel. 21:1, Neg. 11:9), if the upright loom is adopted. If we assume that the web is commenced at the top of the loom, these become the cloth-beam and yarn-beam respectively. The cloth-beam apparently is intended by the "12DV1, 6(.coo-njp [diooster] (a term used in the later chapters of Ex. to render C ;l3i the poles for carrying the tabernacle furniture; in Ex. 25+ the earlier translators of LXX used aiw/xSpeus [anaphoreus]) of Kel. 20:3, from which we gather that it might either lie across the forked ends of the uprights or be passed through the latter. 2 Fig. 2 shows, as we have seen, that a roller (f^K, agiav [axoon], Tg. Judg. 16:14, 1 S. 17:7) might be attached to the upper beam to serve as a cloth or yarn-beam, as the case may be. In five passages of our EV (2 S. 21:19, 1 Ch. 11:23, 20:5 and the two just cited) mention is made of a weaver's 'beam', but in none of the cases is this rendering admissible, as will be shown in the following section.

The process of arranging the warp is technically known as 'warping', the late Heb. ijp n (Shabb. 7:2, etc., from -po), the Gk. Stdfoucu [diazomai], Lat. ordiri.

1 In the vocalisation of the many terms in the sequel found in Talmudic literature, the pointing adopted by Daltnan in his Aramdisch-Neuhebraisches Worterbuch has been generally followed.

2 Rieger's suggestion that "-\ may be the shuttle (op. cit. 32) is inadmissible.

This verb occurs in OT only in the metaphorical sense of the beginnings of the human foetus (Ps. 139:13, cp -pi? in the same sense, Job 10:11 and the similar metaphorical use of the Lat. ordiri, exordiri, exordium}. The cognate 7]D3 (Is. 25:7, 30:1) had originally the same signification. In Is. 30, in particular, as is shown by Aquila s and Theodotion's rendering didofj.ai [diazomai], and Jerome's 'ordiremini telam', we have a metaphor derived from the warping of the loom in commencing a new web for the beginning of political intrigue. So too massekah (,i3DD Is. ll. c.) and masseketh (nrDD, Judg. 16:13-14, Mishna, passim) are both primarily the 'warp', then by metonymy the 'web'. Another technical term for warping was nn^ (cp Ar. sada in this sense), which is to be restored for the corrupt MT in Is. 19:10 (see modern edd. for reading ,-rnr, to be rendered 'those that warp it' [in the loom]) as already by an early hand of LXX{X} 5iaofj,ei>oi [diazomenoi], which has every probability of being more correct than the non-technical epya^6fj.evoi [ergazomenoi] of the other copyists. Here we find an unexpected confirmation of the traditional rendering of <nc> (Lev. 13:48+, cp Ar. masdi) as 'the warp', the sense which it regularly has in the Mishna, but which the majority of commentators have refused to recognise here, a position reflected in RVmg. 'woven or knitted stuff' 1 for 'warp or woof'. The obscure word n^ (Is. 38:12 AV 'pining sickness', RV 'loom') seems also, from its etymology (cp Cant. 7:6 [5] where it denotes the spreading tresses of a woman's hair), to have originally signified 'warp', the npiyn ni? of the Mishna, then perhaps, by metonymy, the loom.

6. Shedding.[edit]

Now the essential movements in the process of weaving are three in number. These are

  • (1) the shedding of the warp, that is, in its simplest form, the dividing of the warp into two sets of the odd and the even threads respectively, to allow of the passage between them of the weft, the opening through which the latter passes being technically known as the 'shed',
  • (2) the passing of the weft through the 'shed' by means of a rod, needle, or other contrivance serving as a shuttle, and
  • (3) the beating up of the weft to form with the warp a web of uniform consistence throughout.

The first of these movements is the most complicated and demands a closer study. In the medaeeval and modern horizontal loom, as found from the Atlantic to the Ganges, the operation of shedding is effected by a pair of heald- or heddle-frames worked by treadles underneath the loom. This arrangement, the result of a long process of evolution, is believed by some of the best authorities, as we have indicated in an earlier section, to have been adopted with the horizontal type of loom by the classical peoples before the Christian era. Rieger, in his frequently cited monograph on the arts of spinning and weaving in the period of the Mishna, even goes so far as to provide the upright Jewish loom with an arrangement of pedals (XTJ a {2} op. cit. 30). The evidence, however, for the presence of the horizontal loom N. of the Mediterranean before the middle ages is of the slenderest character, and for the use of treadles is absolutely non-existent (see Ahrens, Philologus, 35:385+; Yates and Marindin in Smith's Dict. Ant. (3) 2:768-769).

1 The introduction of 'knitting' here is a curious anachronism, this art, according to Beckmann's History of Inventions, having probably been invented in Scotland not long before the year 1500 A.D. (Yates, op. cit. 6-7).

2 For what we believe to be the true explanation of this technical term, see below, section 6, end.

The various stages in the evolution of the apparatus for rapid shedding may be thus briefly traced. In the earliest stage of all, when weaving was scarcely as yet differentiated from plaiting, 'the transverse threads were inserted laboriously by the fingers', as in the case thus described by Palmer (see above, 3). It was soon perceived, however, that by inserting a flat lathe or a rod over and under every alternate warp thread, so that, let us say, all the odd threads were above the lathe and all the even threads under it, a shed could be rapidly formed by turning the lathe through an angle of 90[degrees], and the weft passed through by means of a pointed stick with which (or with the lathe) it was then beat up. This stage is represented by the Arab horizontal loom described by Burckhardt (Notes on the Bedouin and Wahaby, 67-68): 'to keep the upper and under woof (read 'warp') at a proper distance from each other a flat stick is placed between them. A piece of wood serves as the weaver's shuttle, and a short gazelle's horn is used in beating back the thread of the shuttle'. With a single dividing rod, however, it must still have been necessary to insert every alternate weft thread by means of this primitive shuttle over the odd threads (in t!ie case supposed) and under the even threads, since the formation of a second shed requires a second rod. This, however, was the next stage of the evolutionary process now being traced, and is already represented in the early Egyptian loom reproduced above (fig. 1).

Here we note the presence of two rods in close connection with the warp; the one, d, a plain rod inserted between the two halves of the warp - let us say, as before, that the odd threads, 1, 3, 5, etc., pass over the rod, {1} the even threads, 2, 4, 6, etc. , under it - the other rod, e, which must lie outside and above the warp, crossed by a series of threads which are represented in the picture by short diagonal lines. The invention of this simple device for expediting the operation of shedding deserves to rank with that of the 'flying shuttle', 2 for by this means almost twice as much work could be done in a given time. A single rod, such as d, as we have seen, is capable of forming but one shed, which allows the weft to be passed under the odd and over the even threads of the warp only. Now in order that warp and weft shall be properly interlaced to form the web, it is necessary that in returning the weft shall pass under the even and over the odd warp threads. To effect this each of the even threads passing under the rod d is attached by a loop to the rod e. Therefore by simply raising this rod - in the upright loom by its being drawn towards the operator standing in front of the loom - all the even threads are pulled upwards (or forwards) so as to be above (or in front of) the odd threads and thus a second shed is formed through which the weft is passed. Rod d is again raised, then e, and so on alternately. But this cannot be clone with the rods in the relative positions which they occupy in fig. i, for if the reader will make the experiment on a model with twenty or twenty-four warp threads, he will find that the shed formed by raising the rod e with its attachment of loops will not reach to the edge of the web owing to the obstruction caused by the rod d. Braulik, who alone, apparently, of previous writers has attempted to describe the exact modus operandl of the Egyptian loom, has overlooked this defect in the artist s picture and has even gone so far as to assume, contrary to his own description of the drawing, that both rods were worked in the same manner as rod e (see Braulik, op. cit. fig. 92, p. 62). The true explanation is that the artist - if we assume the correctness of the reproduction in fig. 1 - being unskilled in the technique of weaving, has reversed the true position of the rods, since it will be found by experiment that with two such rods, the one separating the two leaves of the warp, the other attached to the lower leaf by a series of looped threads, the latter rod must always be placed nearer to the edge of the web. This holds good of both types of loom and of both methods of weaving on the upright loom, namely from above or from below (see below, 8).

The principle here enunciated for the first time will be immediately recognised as indispensable from the following diagrams in which the letters correspond to those of fig. 1, with the addition of x to denote the odd, y the even threads of the warp, and z the web.

1 The prepositions 'over' and 'under' are here used with special reference to the horizontal loom, fig. 1; but the principle of the upright loom is essentially the same; only in this case the prepositions 'before' and 'behind' must of course be substituted for 'over' and 'under'.

2 By John Kay of Bury in 1733.

[picture of FIG. 3. goes here]

Fig. 3 shows the formation of the first or natural shed at s through the raising of the odd warp threads by the rod d, fig. 4 the formation of the second or artificial shed at s through the raising of the even threads by the rod e.

[picture of FIG. 4. goes here]

The final stage, we are convinced, in the evolution of the shedding apparatus for plain weaving on the looms of antiquity was reached, when in the case of the upright loom it was found expedient to attach both sets of the warp, the odd and the even threads alike, by loops or leashes to a couple of rods, which we shall henceforth call leash-rods, both being suspended in front of the warp from the jugum or upper crossbeam of the loom, or from the second of the top beams if there were two, as in the case of the Theban loom in fig. 2. Here, so far as the imperfect condition of the picture enables us to infer, we have a rod g near the top of the loom, doubtless dividing the warp into two sets ('stamen secernit arundo', Ovid, Met, 655) to facilitate the attachment of the leashes to the leash-rods h, i, all three suspended from the yarn-beam b. By pulling forward h and i alternately, are formed the alternate sheds through which the weft-thread k is passed.

We come now to the perplexing question of the Hebrew terminology of the apparatus just described. The single reed of the more primitive loom was termed by the Greeks Kavuv [kanoon], by the Romans arundo; in the more elaborate looms, such as fig 2, we find not only Kavoves [kanones] and KaXafJLOi [kalamoi] but also in LXX avriov [antion] 1 (see below), in Latin liciatoria, as the names of the leash-rods to which the warp-strings were attached by means of loops or leashes of thread (hence called /xiroi [mitoi], licia], corresponding to the healds or heddles of the modern loom. Now the liciatorium or leash-rod of the classical loom was named by the Jews of NT times not only kaneh njp (Ohol. 84, here mentioned along with the spatha [see infra], Jer. Shabb. 10:5), but also as Jastrow (Dict., s.v. ) and Rieger (of. cit. 29) have rightly perceived, nir (v3j pl. nirim and -in). Etymologically identical with the Assyrian niru, a yoke, this term might be applied to any transverse rod or beam, hence to the leash-rods or shafts of a loom. This meaning alone suits the (textually corrupt) description of the veil of the temple in Shekalim 8:5, of which many wonderful renderings have been given by lexicographers and commentators.

1 The conjecture may be hazarded that the avriov [antion] was at first the rod which lay or hung outside, as if opposite to (avTi [anti]) the warp (see e of fig. 1), as distinguished from the KO.VUJV [kanoon], d, which latter again may be the fiecravTiov [mesantion] of certain MSS. of LXX (1 S. 17:7 - for the strange variety of readings in LXX see Moore, Proc. of Am. Or. Soc. 1889, p. 177).

2 The arrangement is not essentially different if we take j E rt here of the threads of the warp, in which case each nir would resemble not e but d of fig. 1. For the modus operandi of such complex looms, but of the horizontal type, with as many as 80 to 90 shafts see EB (9) 24:465. Moore's rendering of the above passage (l.c.), 'and on every thread (nima of textus receptus), namely of the warp, were 24 strings (connecting it with as many different heddles)' is unintelligible to the present writer.

This veil, we read, 'was a handbreadth thick and was woven upon 72 rods (J"1 3), and over each rod (NV31 NT] 7D~7> - so we must read for nimin and nima of the ordinary text) were 24 leashes (j-a^n lit. 'threads', cp Gk. fiiroi [mitoi]). 2 These two nirin of the ordinary loom might be suspended by cords passing over the cross beam as in fig. 2, or from a peg (^n) projecting from either end of the beam in question, 'two rods on one peg, and two pegs for one rod (Jer. Shabb. 7:2, so Rieger; cp illustr. op. cit.). This identification of the nirin with the liciatoria of the contemporary Roman looms must be maintained against that of Maimonides and other commentators who identify the nirin with 'the threads wound round the rods (C "p, Kavoves [kanones], arundines), by which the warp-threads are raised', etc. (see ap. Surenh. Mishna, Kelim 21:1), in other words with the leashes (JJ.LTOL [mitoi], licia) to which we come presently. Equally impossible is Moore's identification of nir (PAOS, 1889, p. 179) with the 'gear' of the developed horizontal loom - which certainly bears this name (nir) in modern Arabic - consisting of two heddle-leaves, connected by spring-staves or otherwise with a pair of treadles. For not only have we no evidence, as has been already maintained, of the presence of treadles in the ancient looms, but it is difficult to see how they could be conveniently adjusted in the upright loom of the Mishna. 1

The identification of the nir with the shaft or leash- rod (liciatorium) of the ancient loom, here maintained, gives us a clue to the mysterious menor 'oregin, T34up D -ik of 1 S. 17:7, 2 S. 21:19, 1 Ch. 11:23, 20:5 to which the shaft of a giant's spear might be compared, {2} for -\\ya [menor] cannot be separated etymologically from Y: [NYR = nir] (see BDB, s.v.). Now the shaft of a good-sized loom with a heavy warp must have been considerably thicker than the ordinary light spear-shaft (see the actual avriov [antion] or liciatorium of a modern Lycian loom, apparently a branch of a tree, reproduced from Benndorf in Smith's Dict. Ant. (3) 2:769), and seems to satisfy all the conditions. In support of this view we have

  • (1) the expression itself, 'like the weavers' shaft', which suggests something usually in the weaver's hand, rather than a fixture of the loom such as the cloth or yarn-beam (see below);
  • (2) the testimony of the oldest versions, LXX in three places has O.VTIOV [antion], a synonym of KCLVWV [kanoon] (see the authorities in Blumner, op. cit. 1:132); so also Aquila and Theodotion in 1 S. 17:7 where the MSS. of LXX have a set of curious variants (see ref. to Moore above), all, however, identified by the later Greek lexicographers with the leash-rod, the liciatorium texentium of Jerome in all the passages cited.

The less probable rendering of EV 'a weaver's beam', has the sanction of the Targum and of Jewish commentators of note. Thus Rashi (on 1 S. 17:7) quotes with evident approval the Tg. rendering Q xnjn JCON (i.e., atav yepSiiav [axoon gerdioon], the weavers' roller) adding 'in the vernacular [French] it is ensuble'. The latter at once suggests the insubuli of the Roman loom, rightly explained by Vates and Marindin (Smith, Dict. (3), 2:765b) as the yarn and cloth beams of the upright loom (b and d of fig. 2, above), an identification of which Rashi's comments, both here and on Judg. 16:13-14, {3} supply a hitherto unnoticed corroboration.

The leash-rod, as we have seen, was passed through a series of loops or leashes of thread, each loop also passing behind every alternate warp-thread. These leashes, the /ULITOI [mitoi] and licia of the classical looms, must be identified with the J-T: na [BThY NYRYN] (sing. NYJ 3 domus liciatorii) of the Mishna (Shabb. 7:2, 13:2), of which also many curious explanations have been offered, the latest being none the less objectionable that it is given without any qualification. 'The raising of the shafts', says Rieger (op. cit. 30), 'was usually effected by an arrangement of treadles (XTJ 3), the shafts being joined to pedals by cords', a statement absolutely unsupported by the accompanying references. The key to this enigmatical expression will be found in the idiomatic use of beth in compounds familar to every Semitic scholar. In the OT we have an exact parallel in D 13^ H3 (Ex. 25:27 etc., lit. 'houses for the staves'), and c-maS ns (Ex. 26:29 etc., lit. 'houses for the bars'), explained in each case by n7yaa, rings. The bate nirin, therefore, are the loops or rings of thread through which the nirin or leash-rods are passed. The identification here proposed suits admirably the passage Shabb. 7:2 where the operation of 'making two bate nirin' intervenes between the warping (ijD a) and the weaving ; so also in Shabb. 13:2 'he that fastens two leashes (bate nirin) to the leash-rods' (nirin) before beginning to weave. Bate nirin, in short, is the idiomatic equivalent of the loan-word pr^> licia (Tus. Neg. 5:10).

1 This is the least satisfactory part of Rieger's attempted reconstruction of the Jewish loom in his monograph, Versuch, etc.

2 Ahrens, in Philologiis (vol. 35:400-401, gives an extract from an old Norse saga, in which also the shafts of the loom are compared with the warrior's spear.

3 Rashi, however, on this passage wrongly defines riI!Da } which he takes as a nomen instrumenti from "1? 1 'to warp' (see 5), as 'the wooden beam on which the weaver mounts the warp, in the vernacular ensuble', which may apply to either cloth or yarn-beam. This comment has been entirely misunderstood by Moore (l.c. 177), who strangely supposes Rashi to refer to the heddles of the developed horizontal loom, and takes the TIJQ to be the cross-beam - the jugum of Marquardt and Blumner's untenable theory - from which the heddles are suspended.

7. Passing and beating up of weft.[edit]

The shed having been formed as explained in detail above, the weaver proceeded to pass the weft (rij-; Kp6l<7 [kroke]; subtumen; cp Lev. 13:48+, K p: na 3^ H3J 1J-T: na 3^ LXX H3 pr^&gtK y&gt [e en stemoni e en kroke]; AV 'in the warp or woof'). This was done by means of a flat stick or lathe somewhat longer than the width of the web, carrying sufficient weft by a hook at the end, which also served, as in many places at the present day, for a batten to beat up the weft (so, most probably, in fig. 1 the curved stick e serves both purposes). Later the functions of shuttle and batten were differentiated ; the rod which the Egyptian weaver holds in his right hand in fig. 2 serves to all appearance as a shuttle, and suggests the corresponding radius of the Romans (cp Ovid's 'inseritur medium radiis subtemen acutis'), the /cep/as [kerkis] of the Greeks. Even so early as Homer's time, this shuttle-rod appears to have been fitted with a revolving spool (inr)vlov [penion]), on which the weft was wound, and from which it unwound itself in passing through the shed.

Rieger (op. cit. 31, 34) has attempted, with doubtful success, to discover the various parts of the classical shuttle, regarding which there is still much uncertainty, in the Talmudic writings. It is scarcely safe to go beyond the conjecture that the ETO, or weaver's needle, and the pointed 13*13 (icepia t [kerkis], Shabb. 8:6) may be the native and the imported names of the combined shuttle and batten. The kerkid was certainly used to beat up (^;^ Kpouecj/ [krouein]) the weft. For this purpose the Greeks used a sword-shaped lathe, resembling a modern paper-cutter on a large scale, the crirdSij [spathe], adopted both by the Romans (spatha) and the Jews ( flSpN ['SPThY] Ohol. 8:4). When the older type of upright loom, in which the warp was stretched by means of weights, was superseded by the Egyptian type with the yarn and cloth beams, the Egyptian comb (krets [kteis], pecten, Martial's Niliacum pecten, illust. from Wilkinson in Rich, s.v., with which cp the modern comb from Asia Minor, Smith, Dict. (3) 2:768a) was introduced, and the weft driven home by inserting the teeth of the comb between the warp threads. The obscure D lTj") (/ceupos [kairos]) of Shabb. 13:2, Kel. 21:1 is identified by Maimonides (see on latter passage ap. Surenh.) and others with this comb, a very doubtful equation. {1} To judge from its original sense (for which see Bliimner, pp. cit. 1:126), the keros was rather some arrangement of loops and cords, stretched across the loom to ensure that the web was kept of a uniform width.

1 Still more doubtful is Rieger's identification of the keros with a fully developed modern reed, an apparatus found only with the horizontal loom (op. cit. 34).

2 With this sense of 1JV as a flat instrument with a thin edge like a paper-cutter, cp Dt. 23:14 [23:13], also Shabb. 17:4, where it denotes the flat point of the ploughshare (illust. Vogelstein, Die Landwirthschaft in Palastina, 79). The ungrammatical form in which it occurs in Judg. 16:14b (01NH "i*vn) shows it to be an intruder here (Moore), so that we may dispense with the inquiry as to what is intended by 'the pin of the beam' (EV).

One interesting reference to the beating up of the weft has been preserved in the OT, the recovery of which in modern times is due to G. F. Moore in the paper to which reference has frequently been made (Proc. Am. Or. Soc. , 1889). In Judg. 16:13-14 - a passage which has suffered considerable curtailment in MT (see Moore's Comm. and his editions [Heb. and Eng.] of Judges in SBOT, also Bu. and Now. in loc.) - Delilah is told to weave the seven braids of Samson's hair with the warp and to beat them up (ygn) with the pin (-|jv, the batten or spatha). 2 The inadmissible rendering of EV, 'to fasten with the pin', is due to the influence of the early translators, who had formed a quite erroneous, though intelligible and consistent, conception of the details of the incident. 1

1 The technical terms employed in the divergent renderings of LXX show that the Greek translators thought of Samson's hair as stretched with the warp of the horizontal loom, the end of which was fastened by a pin into the opposite wall (see above, section 3), while in MT the braids are clearly intended to be used as weft.

8. Direction of web.[edit]

In the case of the older classical loom, the tela pendula, open below, the operator had no alternative but to commence his web at the top of the loom; he had also to weave standing. With the looms figured above, on the contrary, the web might be begun at either end of the low loom (fig. 1), and at either top or bottom of the high loom (fig. 2). According to Herodotus (2:35) 'other nations push the weft upwards', i.e., commence at the top of the loom, 'the Egyptians, on the other hand, push it downwards', i.e., commence at the bottom. The position of the leash-rods in fig. 2, relative to the weft at l, shows that Herodotus is right as regards the usual Egyptian practice, although absolute uniformity is scarcely probable. The operator, as we further see, was able to remain in a sitting posture while the lower half of the web, at least, was being woven, and if, as we have inferred is the case in Fig. 2, the loom was provided with a cloth-beam, he might at the expense of a yard of warp remain seated throughout. That the Jews in NT times wove from the top downwards is a probable, though by no means conclusive, inference from the description of the tunic of Jesus which was woven K TUV &vudev SV #\oi> [ek toon anoothen di olou] (Jn. 19:23, for which see also below), a phrase which strictly means - as paraphrased by Delitzsch in his Hebrew rendering - 'from collar to selvage'. That the inference is a correct one, however, is attested by Theophylact, archbishop of Bulgaria, about 1070, who, with reference to the passage just cited, comments thus : 'Others say that in Palestine they work their looms not as with us (among whom) the leashes and the warp are at the top, the web being woven at the bottom and thence upwards, but on the contrary, the leashes (/j.lroi [mitoi] = bate nirin] are at the bottom and the web is woven from the top' (Ad Joann. 18:825 ; cp the similar though less explicit testimony for Galilee, quoted from Isidorus Pelusiota by Ahrens : Philol. 35:390).

9. Final processes.[edit]

The web having reached the desired length, it was severed from the remaining warp threads (ysa, Is. 38:12, iKT^veiv ektemnein], Tob. 2:12 LXX), and rolled round the cloth-beam (hence the figure in Is. ibid.: ,^p, RV 'I have rolled up like a weaver my life'), for removal from the loom. Linen in this undressed (&yva<f>os [agnaphos], Mt. 9:16, Mk. 2:21 RV - AV 'new cloth') condition was termed u/j.6\tvov [hoomolinon] (Ecclus. 40:4, RV wrongly 'hempen frock'), and was exposed to less danger from shrinking, if exposed to wet, than cloth made from wool. The task of milling or felting the cloth (to use the modern terms) fell to the FULLER (q.v.), by whom it was steeped in water mixed with various alkaline ingredients, stamped and beaten to complete the felting process, then bleached with fumes of sulphur, carded to raise the nap, and finally pressed in the fuller s press. To enter into these processes in detail would extend this article unduly (see for full references Rieger, op. cit. 39-45, and cp Blumner, op. cit. 1:157-177).

10. Pattern and figure weaving.[edit]

In the preceding sections regard has been had only to the most ordinary sort of weaving, where the warp and weft are of the same material, the weft passing over and under each alternate thread of the warp. It remains now to refer briefly to a few of the more complex varieties of the textile art. The Hebrews were forbidden to follow a custom in vogue among all nations of combining a warp of flax with a weft of wool, which is probably what is signified by the obscure term u3zyiy [ShATNZ = shatnez] (Lev. 19:19, Dt. 22:11). The reason for this taboo was certainly not that given by Josephus (Ant. 4:8:11 [section 208]), that garments of this sort were priestly wear, but must probably be sought in connection with illicit magical practices (see Goldziher, ZATW, 1902, pp. 36-37 for an Arab parallel, and cp the similar prohibition against seething a kid in its mother's milk : see COOKING, 8 end). The simplest variation from the plain web hitherto discussed, was obtained by using alternately different coloured wefts, say white and black, or by mounting the warp in alternate bands of white and black yarn, by which striped fabrics were produced, similar to those so much in favour among the Syrian peasantry at the present day. It is very doubtful, however, whether the obscure and textually suspicious PBN n uon of Prov. 7:16 (see LINEN, i) means 'striped cloth of the yarn of Egypt' (so RV). The coloured representations of Syrians on Egyptian monuments show that they 'wore narrow close-fitting, plain clothes, in which dark blue threads alternated with dark red, and these were generally adorned with embroidery' (Erman, Eg. 216-217, where also illustration of Syrian ambassador with dress as just described, the embroidery being in the form of stars, a form of ornamentation called oculi by the Romans, Marq. Rom. Privatleben, 526-527). By having the warp all of one colour and the weft all of another, what is known as a 'shot' fabric was the result. Thus we read of garments 'of which the warp is dyed and the weft white, or the weft dyed and the warp white' (Neg. 11:4). By alternating different coloured bands, both in warp and woof, further, a 'check' or chequered pattern is obtained. Such 'chequer work' was in great favour in antiquity, as may be seen from the extant coloured representations, not only for everyday clothes (see e.g. , in the procession of Semitic immigrants, part of which is reproduced in colours in Riehm, HWB (2), opposite p. 54), but as a pattern for the sails of vessels (see Wilk. op. cit., frontispiece to vol. 2). Among the Jews we find mention of 'a summer garment of white and coloured checks' (c pfi DB [^^os [psephos]]; so read for c DS2S, Neg. 11:7). Joseph's coat of many colours (o DB njha). it need hardly be said, belongs, according to one line of tradition (LXX, Vg. , see Comm. on Gen. 37:3), to one or other of the categories just enumerated.

What precise style of weaving is denoted by shibhets ( 2C", Ex. 28:39 AV 'embroider', RV 'weave in chequer work') applied to the high priest's tunic - hence its description as f ICW rUP3 (ib. 28:4 AV 'a broidered coat', RV 'a coat of chequer work') is quite uncertain. The revisers, as we see, indicate their preference for some kind of check. Braun (de vestitu sacerdot. [1680], 367-384) argues at great length in favour of Maimonides view that a species of honeycomb pattern is intended, resembling the lining of the second stomach (reticulum) of ruminants.

From the earliest times in the E. we find evidence of the use of gold, and to a less extent of silver, to enhance the richness and value of textile fabrics. Thus, gold thread, prepared by cutting finely beat plates of gold into narrow strips (Ex. 39:3), was directed to be employed in the manufacture of the robes of the high priest (Ex. 28:5-6, 39:2+). It was chiefly used as weft (cp Vergil's 'picturatas auri subtemine vestes', Aen. 3:483), fabrics wholly of gold thread being of late and rare occurrence (Marq. op. cit. 519). The ghostly horsemen of 2 Macc. 5:2 were arrayed in 'cloth of gold' (AV, diaxpi>ffovt oroXcis [diachrysous stolas]), so, too, according to the Greek interpretation, was the royal bride of Ps. 45:9 [45:10] (fv ipariffnv diaxpvffV [en imatismoo diachrysoo] = -i-six crna). Holofernes' mosquito curtain was of 'purple and gold' (Judith 10:21). Agrippa's royal robe (cp Acts 12:21), on the other hand, is described by Josephus (Ant. 19:8:2) as woven throughout of silver thread.

The rectangular tartan-like upper garment or shimlah of the Hebrews (MANTLE, 2 [i]) was of course, woven in one piece ; the undergarment, kethoneth (TUNIC), on the other hand, which had to be more in accordance with the stature of the wearer, was apparently made by sewing together two lengths of cloth cut more or less to measure. This we infer from Josephus' description of the high priest's tunic (XIT&V [chitoon]), which was 'not made of two pieces, so as to be sewed together upon the shoulders and down the sides, but was woven in one long piece', etc. (Ant. 3:7:4 [section 161]). The tunic worn by Jesus at the close of his ministry was also of this sort ; Jjv d 6 XIT<JJI> dpaipos [en de o chitoon araphos] (without seam) e/c rGjv avwOfv ixpavrbs Si 6\ov [ek toon anoothen hyphantos di olou] (Jn. 19:23). For the manufacture of such seamless fabrics it was necessary to mount a double warp which was woven with a continuous weft. The warp threads, that is, were so arranged as to lie on both sides of the upper beam, each face of the warp being provided with its own set of leash-rods. The operator, if there was but one, had to pass the weft across first one face, and then the other in succession by going round and round the loom, a procedure which, of course, could be obviated by having two operators for the same loom. In this way a cylindrical web was produced. Whether the sleeves were worked at the same time, as Braun in his classical treatment of this style of weaving maintains (op. cit. with illustration of specially constructed loom opposite p. 360) is less certain. It may also be noted that Braulik (op. cit. with technical diagrams, 28-29, 77-78, 89-90) has discovered that the Egyptians from, at the latest, the time of the twenty-second dynasty, were familiar with a similar style of seamless fabrics, as indeed might have been inferred from the extremely tight-fitting garments represented on some of the Egyptian statues.

The finest products of the textile art known to the Hebrews are evidently intended to be represented as the work of the craftsman designated by the authors of the priestly code the hosheb (]wn, Ex. 26:1, 26:31, and often), literally, the designer, inventor, artist. Three grades of craftsmanship, it will be remembered, are mentioned together in the directions for the construction of the tabernacle and the priestly robes : the ordinary weaver (;-ix), the rokem (DJTI, Ex. 26:36, and often), and the hosheb. The nature of the work (nspi7) produced by the second of these has been the subject of much discussion. German scholars, as a rule, understand merely colour-weaving (Buntweberei), such as we have discussed above ; but various considerations which cannot be detailed here (see EMBROIDERY, and the writer's forthcoming commentary on Exodus in the Intern. Crit. Series) lead to the belief that embroidery, the opus plumarium of the ancients, is intended. There is a greater consensus of opinion in favour of identifying the 3B>n ri yys (Ex. 26:1, etc. EV 'work of the cunning workman') with tapestry. This differs from ordinary weaving in respect that the weft is not thrown across the warp by a shuttle, but the design is traced by inserting short coloured threads by the fingers, or by a 'broach' or needle, behind as many warp threads only as may be required. The high loom in use in the celebrated Gobelins factory is almost an exact reproduction of the Egyptian loom of fig. 2 above (E. Muntz, A Short History of Tapestry, 5 [where, however, the reference is to our fig. 1], and especially 356+ with illustrations). Indeed, it is by no means improbable that the picture in question is that of a tapestry rather than of an ordinary weaver. The curtains of the tabernacle are clearly intended to be of tapestry with cherubim figures; so too, the veil both of the tabernacle (Ex. 26:31) and of Solomon's temple (2 Ch. 3:14; cp Heb. <?;n with LXX nai vtyavev K.T.\. [kai hyphanen k.t.l.]). Jewish tapestry was celebrated at a later period, and noted for the unnatural figures of animals designed by the Jewish artists (Claudian in Eutrop. 1:350+, cited by Marquardt). The tapestry worker was known to the classical world as polymitarius (Jerome's rendering of hosheb), and his work polymita (TroX^/airoy [polymitos], used by Symmachus Ezek. 16:13, 27:16), because as explained by Pliny (HN 8:196) he wove 'plurimis liciis', that is, with weft threads {1} of various colours (cp Isidorus, Orig. 19:22:21 : 'polymitus enim textus multorum colorum est'). In EV 'tapestry' is twice introduced (Prov. 7:16, 31:22); but the sense and even the text of the original are doubtful (see the Comm.).

It only remains to add that the weavers as a class enjoyed a bad reputation among their countrymen, many curious illustrations of which have been collected by Delitzsch (Jud. Handwerkerleben, 45+). Like other craftsmen, however, in NT times, those of Jerusalem formed a strong guild, the beginning of which may be traced back to at least the days of the Chronicler (1 Ch. 4:21).

The literature of the subject has been referred to with some detail in the course of the article.

A. R. S. K..


1 /jitW, lashon, Josh. 7:21, 7:24.

2. Cn2, kethem, Is. 13:12 RV 'pure gold'; see GOLD, 1e.


(5)10), Jon. 2:5. See FLAG.


1. Origin.[edit]

The subdivision of the month into weeks, as also into decades ('ashor, "litl?) - the week representing approximately a fourth, the decade a third, of 29-30 days - is of great antiquity. The old Hebrew for the week of seven days is M2C , shabua - i.e. , a seven, a heptad {2} (= Gk. e/SSo^ds [ebdomas], Lat. septimana); cp Gen. 29:27 (LXX TO, Updo^a [ta ebdoma]). In later times r"t: , sabbath, also was currently employed, although only four instances of its use for 'week' are met with in OT - viz., Lev. 23:15 [cp Dt. 16:9], Lev. 25:8, Nu. 28:10 and Is. 66:23 - and in Aramaic it became the ordinary word (tffSZV or NSC ; cp also Arab, sanba and sanbata = 'a short space of time'). Similarly in NT the week is never called epSo/jois [ebdomas], but invariably only crd/S/Saroj [sabbaton] or ffa.llpa.Ta. [sabbata] (pl.); cp Mk. 16:9, Lk. 18:12, Mt. 28:1.

This quadripartite division of the month into weeks was naturally suggested by the phases of the moon and was far from being peculiar to the Hebrews. In particular it has been shown to have been an ancient institution with the Babylonians, and even in their case it had nothing to do with the number of the seven planets, after which at a later date the days of the week came to be named. Whether the Israelites used the week as a division of time even in their nomadic stage remains obscure. It is not impossible that they may have derived it from the Babylonians even before their settlement in Canaan, as the Canaanites also had done. However that may be, the development of the seventh day into a day of rest must certainly be referred to the time when the Israelites had already become an agricultural people (see SABBATH).

1 Licium ( = /UTOS [mitos]), has this meaning here, not the special and technical sense which it had above.

2 In view of this original meaning of the word it becomes possible for y*3O in Dan. 9:24-27 to mean a week of years (annorum hebdomas). Cp the corresponding use of n|3> with the explanatory addition of C JS> (Lev. 25:8 : nil? 1)-$ C 3", 'seven weeks of years').

2. Mode of reckoning.[edit]

The mode of reckoning among the Israelites was originally doubtless the same as that of the Babylonians - viz., by dividing the first 28 days of each month into four weeks terminating respectively on the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th day, and by making the first week of the new month always begin with the new moon. This intimate connection, however, between the week and the month was soon dissolved (cp the expression 'feast of weeks' in Ex. 34:22 [J]). Whether the preponderance which the Sabbath day, as marking the close of the week, acquired over the day of new moon, was a cause or a consequence of the loosening of the connection it is impossible to determine; we are not precluded from supposing that quite other reasons may have contributed to the increased importance attached to the Sabbath; what is certain is that the week soon followed a development of its own, and it became the custom, without paying any regard to the days of the month that did not fit in with the four weeks, to reckon by regular periods of seven days so that new moon no longer coincided invariably with the first day of the week. After this the week of course, having no fixed point of attachment, became quite unsuited as a measure by which the dates of events could be fixed ; on the other hand, however, it became useful for the measurement not only of comparatively brief intervals of time but also of periods exceeding a month ; thus we not only have the week of marriage festivities (Gen. 29:27-28), and periods of two weeks (Lev. 12:5) and of three (Dan. 10:2-3), but also of a space of seven weeks (Dt. 16:9-10 [Ex. 34:22], Lev. 23:15).

3. Specification of Days.[edit]

When it was desired to specify the precise day of the week on which an event had happened or was expected to happen, the ordinal numbers had to be used as long as the days remained unprovided with special names. Friday and Saturday are the only days that have names of their own; in the OT - if we leave the Apocrypha out of account - Saturday only.

Thus for Friday in OT we have merely ! B>rt CV3, bayyom hashshishshi, 'on the sixth day' (Ex. 16:5, 16:22), and, for the Sabbath in the NT, [ev-iji [en te]] fiiq v o-appdriav [mia toon sabbatoon] (Mk. 16:2, Lk. 24:1, Acts 20:7, cp 1 Cor. 16:2, Mt. 28:1) or TrpuJTTj cra.ftfta.TOv [proote sabbatou] (Mk. 16:9).

Saturday is, in the OT, called T\3&, shabbath, or T128 : n ci i yom hashshabbath (e.g., Am. 8:5, Ex. 20:8) ; in the NT [TO] <ra.ftfta.Tov [[to] sabbaton] (e.g., Mk. 6:2), r; Tjjote pa roO cra.ftfta.Tov [e emera tou sabbatou] (Lk. 13:16), [TO.] cra.ftfta.Ta. [[ta] sabbata] (Mt. 2:8, 1 Col. 2:16) or r, wepa. TMV cra.ftft6.Ttav [e emera toon sabbatoon] (Lk. 4:16). Friday, as preceding, or as preparing for, Saturday is called either apoa-a.ftfta.TOv [prosabbatou] (as early as Judith 8:6 ; cp Mk. 15:42) or Trapacr/cevj) [paraskeue] (Mk. 15:42, Mt. 27:52, Jn. 19:31 ; cp also Lk. 23:54, i^e pa TrapacrKevrjs [emera paraskeues], and Jos. Ant. 16:6:2).

The naming of the days of the week after those of the seven planets (of which no instance occurs in OT or NT) has its explanation simply in the coincidence of number. The allocation of particular planets to particular days was, no doubt, determined by astrological considerations; the planet that presided over the first hour, presided over, and so gave name to, the whole day. Amongst the Sabians of Harran in Mesopotamia we already find the seven planetary deities recognised as the deities of the days of the week in the order still current with ourselves : the sun, the moon, Nergal (Mars), Nabu (Mercury), Bel (Jupiter), Beltis (Venus), Kronos (Saturn). {1} It is worth noticing also that Jewish tradition assigned the care of a day of the week to each of the seven archangels (Raphael, Gabriel, Sammael, Michael, Izidkiel, Hanael and Kepharel). 2 The divine names of the day passed from the East to the various nations of Europe, native deities in some instances taking the place of foreign ones, just as among the Jews the names of archangels were substituted. See the following table.

Bible Bab. Planet Names Latin French German English Jew. Trad.
Shamash Dies Solis Dimanche Sonntag Sunday Raphael
Sin Dies Lunae Lundi Montag Monday Gabriel
Nergal Dies Martis Mardi Dienstag ( = Zivistag) Tuesday Sammael
Nabu Dies Mercurii Mercredi Mittwoch ( = Wodanstag) Wednesday Michael
Marduk (Bel) Dies Jovis Jeudi Donnerstag ( = Thorstag) Thursday Izidkiel
TrapaffKevrj [paraskeue], Trpoffa fifia.TOV [prosabbaton] Ishtar (Beltis) Dies Veneris Vendredi Freitag ( = Freiastag) Friday Hanael
r"e1 [ShBTh] Ninib Dies Saturni Samedi Samstag Saturday Kepharel

1 See KAT (2) 21.

2 Weber, Altsynag. pal. Theol. 164 ; (2) (1897), p. 169.

4. Literature.[edit]

Besides the articles in the various dictionaries of the Bible, and sections in the handbooks of Benzinger and Nowack, see Schr. 'Der Bab. Urspr. d. siebentagigen Woche' in St. Kr. 1874, p. 343+ and KAT(2) 19+; E. Mayer, 'Ursprung der sieben Wochentage', in ZDMG, 1883, pp. 453 +; cp W. R. Smith's note in same volume, 476; Lotz, Quaest. de historia Sabbati libri duo, 1883; We. Prol.(2) 116+; Heid.(1) 173.

K. M.




In view of the position of Palestine, lying between Egypt, Phoenicia, and Assyria, it was to be expected that the systems of weights and measures there in use would harmonise with one or other of the systems belonging to the neighbouring countries. According to C. H. Toy, 1 'from Amos 8:5 we may perhaps infer that, as early as the eighth century B.C., the Israelites had a legal standard of weights and measures . . . it is possible, indeed, that the Babylonians had introduced this system into Canaan in or before the fifteenth century' [cp the Amarna correspondence as a proof of Babylonian predominance in Canaan]. The literary evidence from Palestine itself, however, is often very unsatisfactory, and we are accordingly reduced to choosing between mere probabilities.

1. Measures of length.[edit]

The most important measure of length is the CUBIT ('ammah, n34tf), which contains 2 spans (zereth, m3$%) or 6 palms (tophah, n^sb), or 24 fingers breadths ('etsba, J?as). Above the cubit was the reed or kaneh (njjp) of 6 cubits (Ezek. 40:5). The foot and the fathom, characteristic of so many other systems, are foreign to the early Jewish scale.

The old Hebrew literary data are as follows:-

The bedstead of Og was measured 'after the cubit of a man' (Deut. 3:11) - which gives us no exact indication.

Solomon (2 Ch. 3:3) laid out his temple in cubits 'after the first (=ancient) measure'. Ezekiel (40:5, 43:13) describes the cubit of the temple of which he foresees the restoration, as being 'a cubit and an hand-breadth'. It may be presumed (Hultsch, Metr. 440) that this longer cubit is identical with the cubit of Solomon's temple, and that the common cubit of Ezekiel's time was only 6/7 of the cubit of Solomon's time. 2 Certain views of Talmudic writers which conflict with this explanation may be satisfactorily explained ; for instance, the idea that the short cubit contained only 5 hand's breadths (Zuckermann, Das jud. Mans-system, 17) is due to an inverted conception of Ezekiel's meaning. The idea of a cubit of one finger's breadth more than the long cubit is also mistaken. This (to argue on the basis of the royal Egyptian cubit) would be 0.547m. , which is nearly a simple hand's breadth (0.0792m.) more than the 'simple' cubit according to Julian of Ascalon (see below). This 25-finger cubit was there fore due to an attempt to interpret Ezekiel as speaking in terms of the 'simple' cubit.

1 Note on Prov. 16:11 (Internat. Crit. Comm.).

2 In Egypt the short cubit (0.450m. or 17.72in.) was similarly 6/7 of the royal cubit (0.525m. or 20.67in.).

It would be futile to discuss in detail the various attempts which have been made to ascertain the exact length of the Hebrew cubit. Since in Egypt the two cubits stood in the same relation to each other as the Hebrew (6:7) and were similarly divided into 24 fingers breadths, it is natural to make an attempt to identify the two systems. Supposing the length of the Siloam canal, as stated in the inscription, to be really 1200 cubits, and accepting Conder's measurement (537.6m.) we obtain a short cubit of 0.525 to 0.527 m. {1} Unfortunately, the distance stated in the inscription of Siloam is doubtful, and there is some reason to suppose that it is not 1200 but 1000 cubits (see, e.g. , PEFQ, 1890, p. 209-210), which yields 0.5376 m. for the short and 0.6272 m. for the long cubit. Among other attempts to deduce the cubit we may mention Petrie's measurements of tombs at Jerusalem (PEFQ, 1892, p. 28-29).

One set of tombs seems to be planned on a cubit which is the same as the Egyptian ; another cubit which he deduces measures 22.6(+or-).03 in. (about 0.575 m.) ; while there is one chamber which suggests 25.2 in. (about 0.641 m.). We must remember in dealing with deductions of this kind that it is not certain that buildings were always planned so as to contain an exact number of cubits in their various dimensions.

The method of ascertaining the length of the cubit from the measurement of grains of barley which, according to a recent attempt (PEFQ, 1897, p. 201), gives a cubit of 17.77 in. (0.451 m.), is liable to objections (see Hultsch, Metr. pp. 434, 435) ; nevertheless the result helps to make the balance of the evidence incline in favour of the Egyptian cubit, although there may well have been other systems in use in early times. [For other discussions of the length or the cubit, see e.g, PEFQ, 1879, p. 181; 1880, p. 98 ; 1899, p. 226-227]

Assuming the short cubit to be 0.450 m., and the long cubit 0.525 m., as in Egypt, we obtain the following values for early Jewish long measures.

Metres Inches Metres Inches
Finger's breadth 0.022 0.86 0.019 0.74
Palm 0.087 3.44 0.075 2.95
Span 0.262 10.33 0.225 8.86
Cubit 0.525 20.67 0.450 17.72

1 Cp the dimensions of the grave in Rev. Archeol., 18

The Hebrew measures of length of later times are explained in the Table of Julian of Ascalon, a Byzantine writer of uncertain date ( ETrapx<.Ka d,7r6 TUV TOU AffKaXuvlrov Iov\iavov TOV apxireKTOvos e/c TLOV vdfjuiiv tfroi tO&v TiJif ev \\a.\a.LffTivri [heparchika apo toon tou Askaloonitou 'Ioulianou tou architektonos ek toon nomoon etoi ethoon toon en Palaistine]: Hultsch, Metr. Scr. 1:200-201). It appears that that table, or its original, was drawn up for the purpose of legally defining the measures of the province. From it we obtain the following measures and equivalents: -

  • 1. The SaKTuAos [daktylos] or finger's breadth.
  • 2. The 7raAai(TTj [palaiste] or palm = 4 6aTvAoi [daktyloi].
  • 3. The mrjxvs [pechus] or cubit = 1.5 ft. = 6 palms.
  • 4. The /Brjua [bema] or pace = 2 cubits = 3 ft. = 12 palms.
  • 5. The ovpyia [ourgia] (bpyiua [orguia]) or fathom = 2 paces = 4 cubits = 6 ft. = 9 spans 4 fingers' breadths.
  • 6. The S.KO.LVO [akaina] or reed = 1.5 fathoms = 6 cubits = 9 ft. = 36 palms.
  • 7. The ir\edpov [plethron] = 10 reeds = 15 fathoms = 30 paces = 60 cubits = 90 ft.
  • 8. The <rra&(.ov [stadion] or furlong = 6 plethra = 60 reeds = 100 fathoms = 200 paces = 400 cubits = 600 ft.
  • 9.
    • (a) The it.ik.iov [milion] or mile, 'according to Eratosthenes and Strabo' = 8.33333 stadia = 833 fathoms [more exactly, 833.3333 fathoms],
    • (b) The jutAtof [milion], 'according to the present use' = 7.5 stadia = 750 fathoms = 1500 paces = 3000 cubits.
  • 10. The present fxi Aiof [milion] of 7.5 stadia = 750 'geometric fathoms' = 840 [more exactly 833.3333] 'simple' fathoms; for 100 geometric fathoms = 112 simple fathoms, or more exactly, 9 geometric = 10 simple fathoms.

There can be no doubt that the 3000 cubits (4500 ft.) which make up the mile according to 9 (b) are the royal Egyptian cubits of 0.525 m. We thus obtain the following values for the two scales (geometric and simple) according to Julian.

Metres Inches Metres Inches
Finger's breadth 0.022 0.86 0.020 0.79
Palm 0.088 3.44 0.079 3.11
Span 0.262 10.33 0.236 9.31
Cubit 0.525 20.67 0.473 18.62
Fathom 2.100 82.68 1.890 74.49

In this table, the span is taken as half the cubit, as in the earlier system; the passage in Julian (5) which equates 9 spans to the fathom is either corrupt, or an attempt to express the fathom of one system in spans of another.

Of the measures longer than the cubit, the kaneh (&KO.IVO. [akaina]) is equated by Ezek. 40:5 to 6 cubits (3.150 m. or 10 ft. 4 in.). It will be noticed that in 6 Julian gives the &KO.IVO. [akaina] 9 ft. , whereas in 8 he equates 60 S.KOiva1 [akainai] to 600 feet. In the latter case he must be thinking of the ordinary Greek foot of 0.315 m., in the former of the Ptolemaic Egyptian foot of 0.350 m. , the two standing to each other as 9 : 10.

Julian's plethron and stadion must be regarded as being on the Ptolemaic scale - i.e., 100 x 0.350m. and 600 x 0.350 m. - i.e., 38 yds. 10 in. and 228 yds. 5 ft. respectively. The stadion thus corresponds very nearly to our furlong, by which it is generally translated. The mile of 7.5 stadia on the same system is 1575 m. or 1722 yds. 1 ft. 5 in.

The 'pace' of Julian is a fixed measure of 2 cubits ; but it probably did not belong to the original Hebrew scheme, and the pace (IJTS) of 2 S. 6:13 is probably not intended for a definite expression.

The 'Sabbath day's journey' (Zuckermann, 27-28; cp SABBATH, n. 4) is equated by most Hebrew authorities to 2000 cubits ; thus, too, Josephus gives us 5 stadia ( = 2000 cubits) as the distance of the Mt. of Olives from Jerusalem, a distance which in Acts 1:12 is a-aj3[3d.Tov 656s [sabbatou odos]. On the other hand the Talmud (Zuckermann, 27) equates Sabbath day's journey and mil - i.e., the iu\wv [milion] of 3000 cubits or 7.5 furlongs ; and we meet with measurements (such as the 'threescore furlongs' of Lk. 24:13) which contain this distance an exact number of times. Hultsch (445) accordingly thinks that this ( 1721.475 yds. ) was the distance originally permitted for a Sabbath day's journey, and afterwards shortened by one third. There was probably much vagueness in the term.

'Some way' (i ixrrrn23, Gen. 35:16, 48:7, 2 K. 5:19), if the text is correct [for criticism, see RACHEL, 2], is still vaguer than the preceding ; the fact that it was compared by the Syrian and Arabic translators with the parasang hardly justifies us, even if we adhere to MT, in regarding it as a fixed measure (Hultsch, 446). The same, or even greater, indefiniteness attaches to the expression 'a day's journey' (1 K. 10:4, Lk. 1:44, etc.).

2. Measures of area.[edit]

Of measures of area, the only one which receives a special name in the OT is the tseimed (ic;., 1 S. 14:14, Is. 5:10) or yoke of land translated 'acre' - i.e. , as much as could be ploughed in one day with a yoke of oxen (on Winckler's different view, see ACRE). The Egyptian &povpa [aroura] of 100 royal cubits square was equivalent to 0.2756 hectares, or 0.6810 acre; but we have no authority for identifying tsemed with aroura.

3. Measures of capacity.[edit]

i. Se'ah. - In Is. 5:10 LXX translates ns'x (ephah) by 'three measures' (cp Mt. 13:33, and the Talmud, Zuckermann, 42-44). The 'measure' par excellence or Hebrew modius, here mentioned is the seah (njp, fj-erpov [metron], cp difjierpov [dimetron] [BA in 2 K.], crdrov [saton] [Hag. 2:17 (2:16), cp Mt. 13:33]; Gen. 18:6, 1 S. 25:18, 2 K. 7:1, 7:16). This is described by Epiphanius (Hultsch, Metrol. Scr. 1:260) as a /u.65tos vtrepyo/j.os [modios hypergomos] - a modius of extra size - and is equated by him to 1.25 Roman modius - i.e. , 20 sextarii. Josephus on the other hand (Ant. 9:4:5) gives ffdrov [saton] = 1 mod. = 24 sextarii. Elsewhere, Epiphanius and other authorities equate the Hebrew modius with 22 sextarii. This last squares with the estimate of the Babylonian ephah at about 66 sextarii (Hultsch, 412). The seah was used both as liquid and dry measure, but more commonly mentioned as the latter, especially in the biblical writings.

ii. Ephah. - Like hin (see below, iv. ) the word ephah is said to be of Egyptian origin (on which cp Hommel's remark, AHT 293, n. i). The ephah (ns\x, Lev. 19:36, etc., see EPHAH), as we have seen, was three times the seah; the name was confined to dry measure, the corresponding liquid measure being called bath (ra, fid.5os [bados], /3dros [batos], etc., Is. 5:10 [Kfpd/juov [keramion]], Ezek. 45:11 [xo^ s [choinix]] - 'the ephah and the bath shall be of one measure, that the bath may contain the tenth part of an homer, and the ephah the tenth part of an homer'). The ephah corresponds to the artabe (cp Is. 5:10 where, however, aprd/Scu ? [artabai ex] = a homer), or Attic metretes ; and it, or rather the bath, is equated by Josephus (Ant. 8:2:9) to 72 sextarii, in accordance with his estimate of the ffa.Tov [saton]. The bath was divisible into tenths (Ezek. 45:14); but the name for this division is not mentioned. It corresponded, of course, to the dry measure 'omer (see below). On the other hand, we find the ephah divided into sixths (Ezek. 45:13, 46:14), which have no name, but correspond to the liquid hin (see below, iv. ).

iii. Homer and cor. - The homer (nph, Ezek. 45:11, 45:14, Hos. 3:2 etc. ) was ten times the ephah or the bath, being used for both dry and liquid measure. The name cor (~\2, Kopos [koros], Ezek. 45:14 [not in LXX], Lk. 16:7, etc.; see COR) is an alternative, though this term is used more especially for a liquid measure. 1 Epiphanius equates the Kopos [koros], which he derives from Hebrew xop [chor], with 30 (Hebrew) modii. Josephus statement (Ant. 15:9:2) that it = 10 attic medimni contains a slip for metretae ; cp 3:15:3. C. H. W. Johns (Assyr. Deeds and Documents, 2:245) suggests a connection between cor and the Assyrian gurru.

The half homer (dry measure), according to the tradition adopted in Vg. and EV, was called lethek (~nS, Ae#^/c [lethek]). But the only occurrence is in Hos. 3:2, where LXX reads differently ; 2 indeed, the whole passage labours under the suspicion of corruptness (see below, on i>e/3eA [nebel]). Epiphanius gives 'large omer' as another name for the Ae0eK [lethek], and equates it to 15 modii.

1 [Apart from Hos. 3:2, where, as shown in Crit. Bib., the text is disputable, the homer is mentioned only in writings of late date. T. K. c.]

2 'Neither is the text secure, nor, if -pfj [LThQ] is genuine, do we know the capacity of the measure' (Nowack, on Hos. 3:2).

iv. Hin. - Of measures smaller than the ephah-bath, we have first of all, for liquids, the hin (pn, [f] h> [h[e]in], Lev. 19:36 [xo^s [chous]] - 'a just ephah and a just hin'), a name apparently of Egyptian origin (see above, ii. ). It is equated by Josephus (Ant. 3:8:3, 3:9:4) and Jerome (on Ezek. 4:11) to 2 Attic choes = 12 sextarii = 0.16666 bath = 0.5 seah = 12 log (cp Talmud, Zuckermann, 49). The hin was divided into halves, thirds ( = cab), quarters, and sixths (Nu. 15:9-10, 156, Ex. 29:40, Ezek. 4:11, etc. ).

There is evidence (from Epiphanius and Eusebius) of the existence in later times of a sacred hin (ayiov ti [hagion hin]) = 0.75 of the ordinary hin, and a large hin (fdya Iv [mega hin]) = 1.5 of the ordinary hin.

v. 'Omer. - The 'omer (-c y, yfyop [gomor], Ex. 16:16, 16:36, etc.) was 0.1 ephah and hence is called assaron ('ishsharon, jnu-y, Ex. 29:40, Lev. 14:10, 23:13, 23:17, Nu. 15:4, 15:9). Epiphanius puts it at 7.2 sextarii ( = 0.1 ephah of 72 sextarii), Eusebius at 7 sextarii (a mere rough statement). [The last calls it y6fwp /MKp6v [gomor mikron] ; as such it must be distinguished from the fjLiKpbv y6/j.op [mikron gomor] of 12 modii, itself so called in distinction from the 'large gomor' of 15 modii, as Epiphanius calls the lethek - see above.] Josephus is apparently wrong once more when he makes it= 7 attic kotylae (Ant. 3:6:6). The name 'omer is confined to dry measure.

vi. Cab. - The cab (ap, ^d/3os [kabos], 2 K. 6:25 {1}) was used for both liquid and dry measure. Josephus (Ant. 9:4:4) equates the fourth part of the cab with the ^<TTT;S [xestes]or sextarius; thus the cab would be [0.333333] of the hin (so in the Talmud, see Levy and cp Zuckermann, 37, 40). The cab is divided into halves, quarters, and eighths. Other values given for the cab are:

  • (a) 6 sextarii - i.e., the Ptolemaic ;^oCy [chous] (Heronian fragm. Trept fj.frpwv [peri metroon], Hultsch, Metr. Scr. 1:258; Eusebian fragm. ibid. 2:77)
  • (b) 5 sextarii : 'great cab' of the Talmud given as 1.25 cab, Zuckermann, 37;
  • (c) Epiphanius calls the cab 0.25 modius (Hultsch, Metr. Scr. 262), which may mean 4, 5, 5.5 or 6 sextarii according to the sense in which he uses 'modius' - i.e. , the Roman modius, or any of the three values given to the Hebrew modius (see above, seah).

vii. Log. - The log (jV, Lev. 14:10, 14:12) is mentioned as a measure of oil, and in the Talmud (Zuckermann, 49) is made = (1/12) hin or (1/24) seah; if this is correct, it is the 0.25 cab.

Finally, we may perhaps mention the i>e /3eA. olvov [nebel oinou], given by LXX in Hos. 3:2 instead of the lethek of barley. 2 All the authorities agree in making it = 150 sextarii ; hut whether they mean ordinary sextarii, or the larger Syrian sextarii of which 50 went to the bath (Hultsch, Metr. Scr. 261, 271, etc.), so that the >e/3eA. [nebel] (?3j) would = 3 baths, it is difficult to say. On Vll3, 'wine skin', 'wine-jar', see BOTTLE.

1 [The statement (in 2 K.), however, depends on later notices and elsewhere (see CAB) a more probable reading of 2 K., l.c., is indicated. T. K.C.]

2 [Here, as always, we are dependent on later notices, and elsewhere (Crit. Bib.) it is maintained that both c ^yv ")rrV ('a lethek of barley'?) and }^ ?33 ('a nebhel of wine' ?) are corruptions which conceal something very different. T. K. c.]

We thus obtain the following systems of dry and liquid measures :

Homer (Cor) Lethek Ephah Seah 0.16666 Ephah Omer (Ishsharon) Cab 0.5 Cab 0.25 Cab 0.125 Cab - Bath Seah Hin 0.1 Bath 0.5 Hin Cab 0.25 Hin 0.125 Hin Log
Homer (Cor) 1 Homer (Cor) 1
Lethek 2 1
Ephah 10 5 1 Bath 10 1
Seah 30 15 3 1 Seah 30 3 1
0.16666 Ephah 60 30 6 2 1 Hin 60 6 2 1
Omer (Ishsharon) 100 50 10 3.3333 1.66666 1 0.1 Bath 100 10 3.3333 1.66666 1
0.5 Hin 120 12 4 2 1.2 1
Cab 180 90 18 6 3 1.8 1 Cab 180 18 6 3 1.8 1.5 1
0.25 Hin 240 24 8 4 2.4 2 1.33333 1
0.5 Cab 360 180 36 12 6 3.6 2 1 0.125 Hin 360 36 12 6 3.6 3 2 1.5 1
0.25 Cab 720 360 72 24 12 7.2 4 2 1 Log 720 72 24 12 7.2 6 4 3 2 1
0.125 Cab 1440 720 144 48 24 14.4 8 4 2 1

It is obvious that we have here a mixture of two systems, the decimal and sexagesimal. The foundation of the whole seems to have been the sexagesimal portion, the omer (with the corresponding 0.1 bath), and also the lethek (the occurrence of which, indeed, as we have seen, is doubtful), being foreign to the original system (Nowack, HA 202-203).

To obtain the modern equivalents of these measures, there are two equations which may be chosen out of the many set forth by Hultsch (pp. 453^ ). These are

(1) the equation of the log with the Graeco-Roman sextarius, of the bath with the metretes, of the 6-log cab with the Ptolemaic -%ovs [chous]. Assuming log and sextarius to be exact equivalents, we should have an ephah of 72 log-sextarii = 39.39 litres = nearly 8.66666 gallons.

(2) On the other hand the connection of Hebrew with Babylonian and Egyptian measures makes it probable, in the eyes of many metrologists, that the log is only roughly equivalent to the sextarius, and is really the same as the Babylonian unit of 0.505 l. From this we obtain an ephah of 36.37 l. , or very nearly 8 gallons, or about 66.5 sextarii. {1} It must be remembered that it is perhaps more common to confound closely resembling measures in cases of capacity than in cases of length, and that for most purposes the equation log = sextarius was near enough.

Assuming, then, the log to be 0.505 l. , we obtain the following values in logs, sextarii, litres, and gallons.

Logs Sextarii Litres Gallons.
Homer (Cor) 720 660 363.7 80.053
Lethek 360 330 181.85 40.026
Ephah-bath 72 66 36.37 8.005
Seah 24 22 12.120 2.668
Great Hin 18 16.5 9.090 2.001
Hin 12 6.060 1.334
Sacred Hin 9 8.25 1.000
'Omer 7.2 6.6 3.637 0.800
0.5 hin 6 5.5 3.030 0.667
Cab 4 3.66 2.020 0.445
0.25 hin 3 2.75 1.515 0.333
0.5 cab 2 1.84 1.010 0.222
Log 1 0.92 0.505 0.111
0.125 cab 0.5 0.46 0.252 0.055

1 Cp Epiphanius equation of the seah, or 0.33333 ephah, with 22 sextarii.

4. Weights.[edit]

The chief standards of weight in use in the East, outside of Egypt, are explained elsewhere (SHEKEL). It is there shown that coins struck on the three standards, the gold shekel standard, the Babylonian, and the Phoenician, circulated in Palestine, and these standards must therefore have been understood by the Jews. It is curious that the influence of Egypt does not seem to have made itself felt in this sphere.

As already explained, the Phoenician and the Babylonian system both used the same scale of denominations - i.e.,

  • (a) for ordinary purposes, the shekel as unit, the mina of 60 shekels, and the talent of 60 minas;
  • (b) for weighing the precious metals, the shekel as unit, the mina of 50 shekels, and the talent of 60 minas.

The mina, although it must have been well known, was, so far as we ean judge from literary sources, not employed by the Jews until post-exilic times. The weights of the shekels of the Babylonian and Phoenician standards having been ascertained by the method already explained (SHEKEL), we obtain the following weights (in grains troy, and in grammes) for the three denominations, reckoning 60 shekels to the mina, and confining ourselves to the common norm, as this would presumably be used for ordinary transactions.

Heavy Light Heavy Light
Grains Grammes Grains Grammes Grains Grammes Grains Grammes
Shekel 336.6 21.8l 168.4 10.91 224.4 14.54 112.2 7.27
Mina 20,196 1,308.68 10,098 654.34 13.464 872.45 6,732 436.23
Talent 1,211,760 78,520.77 605,880 39,260.38 807,840 52,347.18 403,920 26,173.59

[Cp Winckler in KAT (8) 1:337-342, and on the Ass.-Bab metrology Johns, Assyrian Deeds, 2:134-281.]

As regards the extant weights, it must be admitted that the evidence is somewhat unsatisfactory. A number of them have been discussed by Clermont-Ganneau (Rec. d'Arch. Orient. 4:24-25). They are :

(a) 3 stone weights from Tell Zakariya reading apparently netseph :

  • A, 10.21 grammes = 157.564 grains troy.
  • B, 9.5 grammes = 146.687 grains troy
  • C, 9.0 grammes = 138.891 grains troy

(b) A weight with the same inscription from Anata near Jerusalem :

  • D, 8.61 grammes = 134 grains troy.

(c) A weight from Samaria (now in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford) reading apparently tjsj jm (0.25 neseph) and Vtfjm.

  • E, 2.54 grammes = 39. 2 grains troy.

B and C are somewhat broken, D is pierced, and if this piercing was not an original feature of the weight, something must be allowed for the material removed. The meaning of the inscription on E, and even the genuineness of part of it, have been hotly canvassed, Acad., Nov. 18, 1892, pp. 443+ ( = PEFQu. St., 1894, pp. 225+); Driver, Intr. (6) 449, n.*; (see PEFQu. St. 1894, pp. 220-221, 284-285, and especially Konig, Einl. 425, n. 1; Lidzbarski, Ephem. f. Semit. Epigr. 1, pp. 13-14, cited in Ann. Br. Sch. Athens, 7, p. 13); but the fact that the weight represents a quarter of some denomination is not disputed. The denomination in question must be not less than 4 x 39.2 grains - i.e., 156.8 grains. We need not concern ourselves with the meaning of the much-disputed word *]<*:, which has also been read 3^3 and r]OD (i.e., silver). The highest weight represented by these pieces is about 10 grains below the light Babylonian shekel; at the same time they are too high for the Egyptian standard (in which the ket weighed about 140 grains), and we must therefore assume that they are meant to represent either the Babylonian shekel or a local standard approximating to it. If the latter, it is a heavy standard corresponding to that which Petrie (Nedesheh and Defenneh, published by Eg. Expl. Fund, 1888, p. 92) describes as being usually 'smothered over' as a low variety of the Persian unit ; he prefers to recognise in his 80-grain standard (which would be the light standard corresponding to the one we are concerned with) a separate standard, possibly Hittite, from the fact that the tribute of the Heta in the lists of Thotmes III. and Ramessu III. appears to conform to it.

Of other weights found in Palestine, we may mention those analysed by Petrie (PEFQ, 1892, p. 114) from Tell el-Hesy (Lachish). His results are as follows :

STANDARD No. of Specimens Average Value in Grains Troy
(a) Phoenician 27 217
(b) Aeginetan 18 192
(c) Attic 6 65.6
(d) Egyptian 4 151
(e) Assyrian 3 128
(f) Hittite 3 80.5

In estimating the value of such results, it must be remembered that, in dealing with ancient weights, it is not so much the average of a number of specimens, as the highest, which must be taken as representing the normal. It is just possible that the 'Aeginetan' weights (b) are merely low examples of the Phoenician standard (a) ; that (d) and (f) are to be classed together as the unit and the half of the standard of something under 168 grains arrived at above; that (e) and (c) are the unit and the half of the gold-shekel standard of nearly 130 grains, or, if of comparatively late date, belong to the slightly higher Attic-Euboic standard to which Petrie attributes (c). In any case, he justly calls attention to the weakness of Egyptian influence in the very S. of Palestine.

Most of the extant weights are of stone, a fact which illustrates the well-established use of JJK ['BN] ('stone'), for 'weight' - e.g. , 2 S. 14:26, 'after the king's stone' (EV 'weight'); Pr. 16:11, 'all the stones (EV weights) of the bag'. Further, many ancient weights were made in the form of living creatures, such as lions and ducks. Probably this is the explanation of the fact that kesitah (Gen. 33:19, Jos. 24:32, etc.) is translated 'lambs' by LXX. Ridgeway (Origin of Metallic Currency ; 271) considers that the name was due to its representing an old unit of barter. 1

5. Literature.[edit]

See especially F. Hultsch, Griechische u. rom. Metrologie (2) (1882), and the Greek and Roman authorities in his Metrologicorum Scriptorum Reliquiae, 2 vols. (1864-66). Also, B. Zuckermann, Das Judische Maas-system (1867); C. V. Lehmann, Alt.-babylonisches Maas u. Gewicht (Verhandl. d. Berliner Gesellsch. f. Anthropologie, 1889); W. Ridgeway, Origin of Metallic Currency and Weight-Standards (1892) ; C. F. Lehmann, Das altbabylon. Maas- u. Gewichts-system (8th Oriental Congress of 1889), 1893; W. Nowack, Lehrbuch der hebraischen Archaologie (1894); C. H. W. Johns, Assyrian Deeds and Documents, 2 (1901); A. E. Weigalt, 'Some Egyptian Weights in Prof. Petrie's Collection (Egyptian, Assyrian, Attic, Phoenician, Persian, Aeginetan), PSBA 23:378-395 [1901].

G. F. H.


(~IN?), Gen. 26:15. See SPRINGS; also CONDUITS, 1:1, and NATURE-WORSHIP, 4.


(rb^, yabbeleth), Lev. 22:22-23. See DISEASES, 5.




([or D ]p3ri). The 'whale' of AV has become, in RV,

  • (1) 'sea-monster' (Gen. 1:21, Job 7:12),
  • (2) 'dragon' (Ezek. 32:2);

cp the jackal of Lam. 4:3. See DRAGON, JACKAL. In Mt. 12:40, however, RV retains 'whale' (KTJTOS [ketos]) for the 'great fish' (Vn3 33, dag gadol, K-^TOS ptya [ketos mega]) in Jon. 1:17 [2:2], though this is as inappropriate as the rendering 'a whale' in AVmg of Job 41:1 for 'leviathan'. 'How', says Hasselquist, 'could he (the author of Job) speak of an animal which never was seen in the place where he wrote, and at a time when he could have no history of Greenland and Spitzbergen?' (Voyages and Travels, 1766, p. 440). The same remark applies to the author of Jonah. It maybe doubted, however, whether we need trouble ourselves to make these obvious, but superficial criticisms, nor is it more to the point to remark that the Cetacea are represented by numerous species in the Mediterranean, and that Elasmobranchs (including sharks) are also to be found there. What we have to do is to find out to what class of narrative the Book of Jonah belongs, and to interpret the great fish accordingly. See JONAH (BOOK).

1 [Cp KESITAH, where the 'lambs' of LXX is otherwise accounted for, and the passages where kesitah (perhaps a fictional word) occurs are examined from the point of view of textual criticism. - T. K. C.]

2 Cp CORN , also FOOD, i (a).


{2} (riGn, etc.; Dt. 8:8 etc.) has always formed one of the staple products of Palestine. In modern times the districts most suitable for its cultivation are Philistia, Esdraelon, the Mukhneh to the E. of Nablus, and, above all, Hauran, the granary of Syria, which exports its produce through the markets of Jaffa, Beirut, Haifa, etc. In ancient times Galilee was regarded as the most fertile district ; but Tyre (or possibly the N. Arabian Musri [Che.]) imported corn from Judah in the time of Ezekiel (Ezek. 27:17); cp also Acts 12:20, though here there is express mention of wheat. In the Sidon inscription Dora and Joppa are termed pn n:nNi 'artsoth dagan, 'lands of grain' (CIS 1:3:19), thus testifying, if we adopt this highly probable rendering (cp col. 984 n. i, and see DOR, 3), to the early fertility of the S. maritime coast.


1. Of the words so rendered in EV, I S4N, ophan ( N |QX [root 'PN], 'turn'?) is of most frequent occurrence ; it is used of chariot wheels (Ex. 14:25, etc. ), and of the wheels of threshing wains (Is. 28:27, Prov. 20:26); also in the description of Ezekiel's vision (1:15+, 10:2, 10:6, 10:12), and in that of the 'bases' of Solomon's lavers (1 K. 7:30 etc.).

The component parts are:

  • (a) 23, gab ; vinov [nooton], vitros [nootos]; AV 'nave' or 'back'; RV 'felloe'; 1 K. 7:33, Ezek. 1:18, 10:12.
  • (b) ptS n, hishshuk; Trpayfia-reia. [pragmateia]; AV 'felloe', RV 'spoke'; 1 K. 7:33;
  • (c) ~\&n, hishshur, a.\>x<)v [auchen] [A] ; AV 'spoke', RV 'nave'; 1 K. 7:33 ;
  • (d) T, ydd; xei p [cheir]; EV 'axletree' (AV in Ezek. 10:12 'hand'); 1 K. 7:32-33, Ezek. 10:12.

2. %aVa, galgal ( ^hhi [root GLL] 'roll'), is applied to the wheel of a war chariot (Is. 5:28, Jer. 47:3) and in Ezek. 23:24, 26:10, may perhaps mean 'wagon'. So RV. In Ps. 83:13 for 'like a wheel' render rather 'like stubble' (see THISTLE, end).

3 and 4. For the potter's wheel (crj3N, obnayim ; Jer. 18:3-4) see POTTERY, 8, and in Judg. 5:28 (Tpys) read 'steps' (RVmg) - i.e. , 'hoofbeats' (Moore).

Three passages, not yet mentioned, deserve separate notice:

  • (a) Eccles. 12:6,
  • (b) Ecclus. 36:5 (33:5),
  • (c) Jas. 36.

(a) 'The wheel (^jVj [GLGL]) breaks down at the pit' - i.e. , the 'machinery' of the body (likened to a water-wheel) comes to a stop.

(b) 'The heart (air\a.yxva [splagchna]} of a fool is like the wheel (rpoxfa [trochos]) of a cart' - i.e., he never continues long in the same mind,

(c) The tongue is that member which 'sets on fire the wheel of nature' rov rpoxbv TT)S yevecreus [ton trochon tes geneseoos] - i.e. , the whole course of the events of life may be disturbed, ruined, by an unbridled tongue.

In Ps. 77:18 [77:19] AV ought to have given in marg. 'Heb. , wheel', to justify its very peculiar rendering of ^jSj [GLGL]. Its text runs 'The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven' (RV 'in the whirlwind'). This is a development of the sense of 'wheel', the heavens being regarded as a round arch; it is an exegetical curiosity derived from Kimhi. The variety of explanations of h&i [GLGL] in this passage may well excuse AV ; RV's whirlwind is itself a precarious rendering (see WIND).

The variations in Hah. 3:10, 3:11, 3:15 suggest the probability of corruption. Read probably TJ ?;J?C2 CJH *?ip. God's 'wheels'no one could understand; but the phrase 'God's tracks' (or paths) is plain enough in the description of a theophany.


(DitT, shot, /udo-Ttt [mastix]), Prov. 26:3, 1 K. 12:11, 12:14, 2 Ch. 10:11, 10:14, Nah. 3:2. Figured in art. CHARIOT, fig. 7. As an Egyptian emblem of royalty, see Erman, Anc. Eg. 60, 63. See SCOURGE, SCEPTRE, 2.


(^>J) Is. 17:13, Ps. 83:13-14 [83:14-15] RV. See WHEEL, 2, THISTLEDOWN, end.


(JTU O, etc.), 2 K. 2:1 etc. See WIND, 6.


For \^h, laban. Gen. 30:35, 30:37, and 1-in, kiwwar, Dan. 7:9, see COLOURS, 9 (a); and for lh:, tsahor, Judg. 5:10, see section 7. For njaS WHITENESS, see COLOURS, 9 (a).



(XHP<\ [chera]). The earliest mention of widows in the Christian Church is in connection with the daily meal in Jerusalem (Acts 6:1), when the Greek-speaking Jews murmured against the Hebrews because 'their widows were being neglected in the daily ministration'. Here the widows come before us at the outset as the pensioners of the Church ; but we are told no more about them. In Acts 9:39, 9:41 we catch another brief glimpse of them in connection with the good deeds of Dorcas, who had supplied them with clothing. Peter is here spoken of as 'having called the saints and the widows', the word being clearly used in a technical sense. In 1 Cor. 7:8 this technical sense is not equally clear; and we hear no more of widows till we come to the regulations regarding them in 1 Tim. 5:3-16. [Cp MINISTRY, 41.] Here we find that the church of Ephesus was liable to be burdened with pensioners of this kind who had no right to claim public support. Widows who had children or grandchildren should be supported by them and not thrown upon the Church. A Christian woman who had widows - i.e. a woman of property with aged dependants should recognise her individual responsibility to maintain them. 'Widows indeed' - i.e. , destitute and worthy of the name the Church must support ; but for admission to the roll various qualifications were necessary - destitution, piety, and prayerfulness, the age of sixty years, besides evidence of purity of life, and a record of good works such as women might be expected to perform for the common benefit. Younger widows were to have no recognition : they were a source of calumny to the Church for their idle and dissolute habits ; they were to marry and bear children and rule their families.

No definite duty is assigned to widows, unless it be the service of continual prayer : they were aged pensioners, whose activity of service was past. At a later time more seems to have been expected of them in certain quarters of the Church; and a confusion consequently arose between widows and deaconesses. In the earliest period, however, the two orders were wholly distinct, the one consisting of pensioners, the other of active servants of the Church. This distinction is clearly maintained in the Apostolic Constitutions as late as the fourth or fifth century, and indeed never seems to have been lost in the Greek and Syrian churches. In Egypt, however, and in the Latin churches there is no trace of deaconesses, except sporadically, and even so mainly for Gaul: and the work which deaconesses did in the East was done to a large extent by widows. Ultimately both orders were swallowed up by the monastic system.

For details, and for the clearing up of the common confusions on this subject, see The Ministry of Deaconesses by Deaconess Cecilia Robinson (1898).

J. A. R.

1 For 'widow' in the OT, see MARRIAGE, 7.


(r\), Ps. 50:11 [50:12]. See BEAST, 6.


(H^ rvn), Ps. 68:30 [68:31]. See CROCODILE ; REED.


(D\ s >*), Is. 18:21. See CAT, end ; DESERT, 2 (5).


(D *S), Is. 13:22 AV. See JACKAL (4).


(Xifi), Is. 51:20 AV, RV ANTELOPE (q.v.).


(ji < ^, etc.), Dt. 32:10 etc. See DESERT.






(|tt ; | 1>), Ecclus. 50:10. See OLIVE, 2.

WILD OX[edit]

(DN-l), Nu. 23:22 RV, AV UNICORN (q.v.).


(nil" 1PI). 2 K. 4:39. See GOURDS, WILD.


occur in EV as the rendering of two Hebrew words,

i. C :n;7, 'arabim (Lev. 23:40, Job 40:22, Ps. 137:2, Is. 15:7, 44:4-5). In each mention of this tree there is reference to its growing by river banks; and there can be little doubt that either a willow or a poplar closely resembling a willow (such as Populus euphratica, Oliv. ) is intended.

The various renderings of LXX point in this direction:- irt as i /cat ayi ou (cAa6ous [iteas kai agnou eladous] Lev. 23:40; xAwrtf dyi-ou [kloones agnou] [X[aleph]c.a A], aypov [agrou] [BX*], Job 40:22 ; ii-cots [iteais] Ps. 137:2, and iTe a [itea] Is. 44:4. {1}

The word is found in Arabic as garab and in Syriac as 'arbetha (MH naiy). The evidence as to species is conflicting. Thus both garab and 'arbetha are ordinary renderings of Irta. [itea], 'willow' (Low, 300-301, cp Cels. 1:304+), and the Arabic word is so explained by native lexicographers. On the other hand travellers find that in modern Palestine the name is that of Populus euphratica (ZDPV 2:209), and branches of garab, brought to Europe and examined, proved to belong to this plant (Wetzstein, ap. Del. Gen. (4) 568), which is very common in Palestine, being found on the 'banks of the Jordan and all other rivers' (FFP 414) - including those streams E. and SE. of the Dead Sea, of which the Q>:nj?n Vm, nahal ha'arabim, of Is. 15:7 (Brook of the Willows; see ARABAH ii. and cp JEROBOAM, 2, Che. Intr. Is. 8:4), is believed to be one. Willows are not very characteristic of the oriental region. Boissier gives only two as certainly indigenous in Syria proper:- Salix fragilis and S. alba, and the former may not improbably have been introduced. On the whole, therefore, there can be little doubt that the Jordan tree is Populus euphratica, which often greatly resembles a willow by the length and narrowness of its leaves.

The craiy, 'arabim of Ps. 137:2 have been in comparatively modern times identified as weeping willows (Salix babylonica) - a tree which is originally a native of Japan and could not have existed in Syria in biblical times. If it be true that it is in Palestine now 'frequently found on the coast overhanging wells and pools' (Tristr. NHB 415), it must have been introduced into Syria, as it has been into the Caucasus, at a later time. Here again it is most probable that Populus euphratica is meant. 2

2. nSSBS, tsaphtsaphah (eTr^Aen-o^eiOi [epiblepomenon] {3} Ezek. 17:5), the Ar. tsaphtsaph, 4 may denote the willow, or more probably the Populus euphratica (see above).

N. M. - W. T. T. -D.


(obsolete, originally a covering for the neck, chin, and sides of face), AV for nnBDp, mitpahath. Is. 3:22, RV SHAWL. See MANTLE, 2 [3]; VAIL.


(n-n ; ANCMOC [anemos]; HNCYMA [pneuma] [in LXX, Gen. 8:1, Is. 7:2, Job 30:15, Ps. 104:4, Wisd. 13:2 ; in NT, only in Jn. 3:8, Heb. 1:7 ]; {5} TTNOH [pnoe] [Acts 2:2]; ventus, aura, 6 spiritus).

1. Hebrew conception.[edit]

The four 'ends', of the earth, in the Hebrew mind, correspond to the four 'ends' of the heaven (see EARTH, 1) ; and it might equally well be said that the four winds came from the ends of the earth and from the ends of heaven, the earth being a disk surrounded by an ocean, and the heaven a vault overarching that ocean. Hence 'Enoch' tells us (Enoch, 76), 'And at the ends of the earth I saw twelve portals opened for all the winds, from which the winds proceed and blow over the earth. . . . Through four of these came winds of blessing and prosperity, and from those eight came hurtful winds'. This notion (on which cp DEW, RAIN) illustrates a number of biblical passages.

See, e.g., Jer. 10:13 = 51:16 (cp Ps. 136:7) 'he causes mists to ascend from the ends of the earth, . . . and brings forth the wind out of his store-chambers'; Jer. 49:36, 'I will bring the four winds from the four ends of heaven'; Dan. 7:2, 'the four winds of heaven burst forth upon the sea'; Rev. 7:1, 'I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that no wind should blow on the earth, or on the sea, or on any tree'.

1 In Is. 15:7 it is taken as a proper name - *Apa|3af [Arabas].

2 The text, however, is disputed (see Che. Ps.(2), who reads in v. 1 Sxprn; nVnrVy and in v. 2, :a inns arina c-niy, referring to the N. Arabians). Tristram's identification of the D ^V with oleanders (Nerium Oleander) labours under this difficulty that garab is not used in this sense. Winckler's view (AF 3:417) that the 'arbhe nahal of Lev. 23:40 are synonymous with the hadas of Neh. 8:15 ignores the arguments mentioned above.

3 Implying an erroneous derivation from nSS

4 Acc. to Frankel (143) this is a loan word.

5 Heb. 1:7 = Ps. 104:4 ; in Jn. 1:7 itv. [pn.] is suggested by symbolism. See SPIRIT.

6 Gen. 3:8, 'ad auram post meridiem'; EV 'in the cool (Heb. wind) of the day'. Cp Cant. 2:17, 4:6.

This, then, would seem to be the Hebrew idea - that the winds are stored in chambers at the point where heaven and earth join. For though the circle down to which the vault of heaven reaches is 'marked on the surface of the ocean' (Prov. 8:27 ; cp Job 26:10), yet ocean and earth are not rigidly separated in the Hebrew mind, as we see from the (probable) fact that the Bab. apsu, 'ocean', has become in Hebrew 'aphse in the phrase 'aphse 'ares, {1} ('ends of the earth'), which has arisen by a process of Hebraising adaptation. The idea in Rev. 7:1 seems to be that the angels placed over the respective store-chambers of the wind keep back the winds which are impetuously pushing forward, somewhat as Ishtar is said (IR 29:3 Karppe) to hold together the vault of heaven and earth (so that the upper waters cannot burst forth in excess).

Very different ideas were awakened by the thought of the wind. As Enoch says, the wind might be either a blessing or a curse. Two of its characteristics were specially depressing:

  • (1) its immense power, and
  • (2) its apparent irregularity,

(i) The early disciples of Jesus exclaim, 'Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him' (Mk. 4:41, cp Ps. 107:29), and a poet, unable to find a worthy name for God, asks, 'Who has gathered (= can gather) the wind in his fists?' (Prov. 30:4). Certainly human power was baffled in presence of the wind.

(2) And not less powerless here was human wisdom. Once allow the belief in God's love-directed wisdom to be obscured, and it becomes a most depressing thought that the wind is perpetually 'going toward the south', or 'turning about to the north', in a series of revolutions devoid of apparent reason (Eccles. 1:6; cp 11:4). But there are more comforting associations of ideas than these. God 'created the wind' (Am. 4:13), and the cosmogonist who says that all God's works were attested by him to be 'very good' ascribes the growth of order and of life to a 'wind of God' which 'hovered' (the wind is imagined as a mighty bird) over the primeval waters (Gen. 1:2 ; see CREATION, 10) - an old myth which has become a symbol of the highest spiritual energy (cp Jn. 3:8), and which was in the mind of Ezekiel when he wrote, 'Come from the four winds ( = parts of heaven), O breath (nnn), and breathe upon these slain, that they may live' (Ezek. 37:9). See SPIRIT, 1-2. And if the wind ever does harm, it is only at God s command (Is. 29:6, Am. 1:14, Ecclus. 39:28); indeed, 'he makes winds his messengers' (Ps. 104:4; cp 148:8).

1 (The phrase does not happen to occur in our oldest records [cp GEOGRAPHY, 1], but is evidently archaic.) So Hommel, and Gunkel, Schopf. 46. Halevy (Recherches, 228), however, derives Bab. apsu from a Semitic root 05^ ['PS]; cp Jensen, Kosmol. 244. The original vocalisation of the above Heb. phrase may have been 'aphsi arets. In course of time 'aphsi was interpreted as meaning 'ends (of)' = DSN, as if syn. with flisp. But even if "DSN or nisp is used in the sense 'ends (of the earth)' the old idea has not entirely gone. 'The creator of the ends (nisp) of the earth', (Is. 40:28) means 'the creator, not merely of the most distant countries, but of the confines of earth and heaven, where the storehouses of the winds and the rain are', unless, indeed, we suppose that the writer does but repeat an old phrase taken from hymns to Yahwe, the sense of which he has forgotten. So Karppe, J. As. 9:92-93 [1897].


2. North wind.[edit]

Such compound expressions as 'north-east' (evpaKv\ui> [eurakyloon]; see EUROCLYDON) being impossible in Hebrew, the four great terms for winds had to be used freely. It was not always convenient to take two clauses to express the simple idea that something was occasioned by a NE. or a SE. wind (see Is. 41:25, Ps. 78:26).

In the two following passages, N. = NW., and in the second, S. = SW.:

  • (a) 'The north wind bringeth forth rain' (Prov. 25:23 RV);
  • (b) 'Awake, O north [wind], and come, thou south [wind]', Cant. 4:16. See below, section 5, and, for parallels, section 3.

The north wind proper is called by Josephus (Ant. 15:9:6, section 338) av^div ai0pi.dijTa.Tov [anemoon aithriootaton], 'the wind which most produces clear weather', as contrasted with the impetuous south winds on the coasts of Palestine which prevent ships from finding commodious anchorage. Still, it could be boisterous without being rainy; mariners passing near Joppa called it fjLf\a/jifiopfov [melamboreon] 'the black N. wind' (Jos. BJ 3:9:3, section 422). So LXX in Prov. 27:16 gives the emphatic words /3o/^as cr/cXijpos &ve/j,os [Boreas skleros anemos], 1 and Jerome, describing the wind from many years acquaintance, calls it ventus durissimus. 2

Jerome was even misled by his local knowledge into a false rendering of S^inn n Prov. 25:23, dissipat (pluvias), AV 'driveth away' (rain). The meaning of 'north' is explained elsewhere (see EARTH AND WORLD). Cold comes from the north star (Job 37:9 emended text) - i.e., from the rough N. wind, which, as Ben Sira tells us, covers water with a 'breastplate' of ice (Ecclus. 43:20). He adds that it 'burns up' the grass ; cp Milton (PL, 2:595),

... the parching air
Burns fierce, and cold performs the effects of fire.

Ezekiel, in his great vision, speaks of a 'whirlwind' (n7yO ni7, ruah se'arah) coming out of the north (Ezek. 1:4). This suggests a correction of the Hebrew text of Ecclus. 43:17b, where the Oxford editors render,

'The hot winds of the north, the tempest, and the whirlwind';

but where a reading given in the margin of the MS is surely preferable,

'The whirlwind 3 of the north, the hurricane, and the tempest'.

For though soon after the parching effect of the cold does seem to be referred to (v. 20), yet niSy 1 ?!, zil'aphoth, a word used of the simoom (see below), could hardly be used of the N. or NW. wind, especially in combination with nSID, suphah, 'hurricane', and rnyp, se'arah, 'tempest'.

3. South wind.[edit]

The parallel to the line with 'the whirlwind of the north' Ecclus. 43:17 should probably be

At his will the south wind blows. 4

Just so in Job 37:9 the whirlwind is said to come from the 'chambers of the south' (EARTH [FOUR QUARTERS], 2); cp Is. 21:1, Zech. 9:14. Either the SE. or the SW. (strictly SSW. ) wind may be meant ; both these winds are called sirocco by travellers in Palestine, though etymologically the term only belongs to the E. wind. {5} In Ps. 78:26 the SE. wind is called first a S. , and then an E. wind ; in LXX (see Ex. 10:13, 1421, Job 38:24, Ps. 78:26a, Ezek. 27:26) it becomes voros [notos] or the S. wind. This is because a hot, parching wind analogous to the sirocco blows in Egypt from the S. ; it is there called khamsin, because it blows at intervals during a period of fifty days. In Palestine, however, in the south of which the sirocco is very troublesome, it does not often blow directly from the S. , so that when in Job (which was hardly written, as Hitzig and Herz have supposed, in Egypt but in Palestine), we find the sultry heat of the 'south wind' described (Job 37:17) in terms appropriate to the 'sirocco', we must suppose the SE. and the SSW. wind to be meant Lk. 12:55 ('when ye see the S. wind blow, ye say, Kavirwv ftrrat [kausoon estai]'), requires a similar explanation. In Babylonia the SW. wind was represented as a ferocious demon, images of which are to be seen in museums. This does not, however, illustrate Is. 21:1, which refers to the S. of Palestine (cp Zech. 9:14).

1 LXX's form of the text, however, was, like MT's, corrupt.

2 The Targ. (Prov. 25:23, 27:16) gives the north wind the expressive title Nira-IJ, the scouring, or sweeping (wind).

3 Reading SwSy (see below). LXX /cat (caraiyc? /Sope ou [kai kataigis Boreon].

4 Reading as LXX. The text is disarranged (see Levi and Halevy).

5 Sirocco from Ar. sharkiyya 'easterly'.

4. East wind.[edit]

This wind blows from the Syrian and Arabian desert (Jer. 4:11, 13:24, Hos. 13:15, Is. 21:1, cp Job 1:19), and, as LXX's rendering S KO.VITUV [kausoon] 1 suggests, brings extreme heat, at any rate when it blows for a length of time in the spring; in the winter, however, it brings agreeable, bright, and warm days between the times of rain. For its parching effect on vegetation, to which LXX's name refers, see Gen. 41:6, 41:23, 41:27, Ezek. 17:10, 19:12, Jon. 4:8 (where rw nn, harishith, RV 'sultry', is obscure; see JONAH [BOOK], 1 [i], n. 2). It is also commonly found by critics in nisy ?! mi, ruah zil'aphoth (AV 'horrible [mg. burning] tempest'; RV 'burning wind') in Ps. 116; see e.g., Baethgen, but on the text cp Ps. (2) In the Lebanon the E. wind is still used as a simile for anything very disagreeable ; there, as in Arabia, it is called the shamum from shammun ('poison').

Its effects are thus described by a traveller in the desert. 'When this wind blows the atmosphere assumes a yellowish appearance, fading into gray, and the sun becomes of a dusky red. The smell is nauseating and sulphureous, the vapour thick and heavy, and, when the heat increases, one is almost suffocated'. 2 See Wetzstein's instructive statement in Del. Hiob, (2) 349, n. i.

5. West wind.[edit]

This wind, and the NW. wind, are prevalent in Palestine in summer; we have already mentioned the beneficent mists which they bring from the Mediterranean. These are generally known as DEW (q.v.); in Prov. 25:23 they are called Q N b:, nesi'im (so we should read, with Gra. , for ctfa ; LXX vt(pri [nephe]; cp Prov. 25:14 LXX). In Cant. 4:16 the bride calls the N. and the S. winds, by which she means the NW. and the SW. , to spread abroad the fragrance of her garden. 3 Both winds in summer would be agreeable, and if at times they bring rain (especially the SW. , called in Arabic, 'the father of rain'), yet rain is one of God's best gifts (Ps. 104:13, 147:8) ; in Arabian style, it is 'the father of life'. On the strong west wind of Ex. 10:19, see LOCUSTS, RED SEA, and on the relative prevalence of winds throughout the year, see PEFQSt. 1900, pp. 296-297

6. Whirlwind.[edit]

Reference has already been made to the 'whirlwind' seen by Ezekiel (1:4), and to 'the whirlwind of the north', as we should probably read in Ecclus 43:17

Ezekiel's word is myDi se'arah; Sirach's (if we are correct) /ly^y, 'al'ul, an Aramaic word, used in Targ. for DSID, suphah, and 7nyo. se'arah, and read by Perles [Analekten, 38], in Job 36:33, for n nj; iy.

We will now survey the use of the Heb. words rendered 'whirlwind'.

1. nsw, suphah, is in AV rendered 'whirlwind', in Job 37:9 (LXX bSvi ai [odunai]), Prov. 1:27, 10:25, Is. 5:28, 17:13, 21:1, 66:15, Jer. 4:13, Am. 1:14 (LXX (rwreAeia [synteleia], and in Nah. 1:3), Nah. 1:3, but 'storm' in all the other places where it occurs (Job 21:18, Ps. 83:16 LXX op-joj [orge]), Is. 29:6, Hos. 8:7 (LXX Karacrrpo [katastrophe]). RV substitutes 'storm' for 'whirlwind' in Job 37:9, Is. 17:13, and 'whirlwind' for 'storm' in Is. 29:5.

That the Hebrew word is not always used in the Strictly technical meaning of the English expression seems evident (LXX uses Karcuyis [kataigis]; also XaiXai/ [lailaps], <n><r(m<7jjs [esseismos] (?) ; Vg. tempestas, turbo}. The whirlwind suggested itself as an apt figure

(a) for the rapid attack of great conquering powers, like Assyria, Babylonia, and the Syria of the Seleucidae. Thus, in Am. 1:14-15, the 'day of the whirlwind' is parallel to the 'day of battle', and the next verse speaks of captivity. In Is. 528, Jer. 4:13, the wheels of war-chariots are 'like the whirlwind', and in Dan. 11:40 'the king of the north' (Syria) comes out 'like a whirlwind' (but cp LXX).

1 icau crwi/ [kansoon] or Kavcriav ai-e/uos [kausoon anemos] in LXX corresponds to three Hebrew words, DHp, 'east wind', ait? (Is. 49:10, see MIRAGE), and 3nn (Gen. 31:40 [A]; cp Lk. 12:55).

2 Fundgruben des Orients, 6:396 (Rosenmuller, Bibl. Geogr. of Asia Minor, etc., 126). Dr. Geikie illustrates the effects of the sirocco by the story of Jonah.

3 So Magnus and Gratz. The words are not a summons to the N. and S. winds properly so-called (Del.), nor yet to all the four chief winds, represented by N. and S. (Siegfried).

(b) The whirlwind also symbolises the suddenness of; the divine judgments ; nor can we forget that Yahwe, in imaginative descriptions, has an affinity to the storm-gods of neighbouring countries. It has in fact become (in no unworthy sense of the term) a commonplace to say that Yahwe moves in the whirlwind (Ps. 18:10, 97:2, Nah. 1:3; cp CHERUB, 4, THEOPHANY, 2). This accounts for passages like Is. 66:15, Zech. 9:14 (see LXX), and also, if we look closely, for Is. 17:13, Hos. 8:7, Prov. 10:25, Ps. 58:9, where the 'whirlwind' spoken of certainly means the divine wrath. Prov. 10:25, however, should be understood as in RV; it states that when the whirlwind of judgment has passed through the land (cp Is. 28:17 30:30), the wicked will be swept away, but the righteous will stand unmoved. And with this we may compare the fine parallelistic similitude which closes the sermon on the Mount (Mt. 7:24-27). The winds that 'blew and fell upon (irpofftirfaai [prosepesan] v. 25, irpocrlKo-^av [prosekopsan] v. 27) that house' are the winds of the Messianic judgment.

2. iTTjTDi se'arah, is synonymous with suphah. (cp, e.g. , Zech. 9:14 fO Pl n nyp with Is. 21:1, 3;|3 niB^D), and when it stands alone is usually rendered 'whirlwind' (2 K. 2:1, 2:11, Job 38:1, 40:6, Is. 40:24, 41:16, etc.), in EV, but sometimes 'storm' (Ps. 107:29, Is. 29:6 [RV whirlwind]); as also in the compound expressions ruah se'arah (Ps. 107:25, 148:8, Ezek. 1:4) or rr^nypi, ruah se'aroth (Ezek. 13:11, 13:13). mr"r rn%yo in Jer. 23:19 (<rft<r/.ios [seismos]), 30:23 (opyrj [orge]), is rendered 'whirlwind of the Lord' by AV and 'tempest of the Lord' by RV. LXX renders Ka.Ta.iyi [kataigis], <7i><r<ret<j>ios [sysseismos], \al\a\p [lailaps] [in Job? \ai^.a\(i Kai i/e <J>rj(o?) [lailaps kai nephe(os) 38:1 ve ^>os [nephos] 40:6]; Ecclus. 43:17,<rvcnpo<l>r) n-yeu/xaros [systrophe pneumatos] (nii Dl ~2ic); 48:9 Acu AaTri Trvpos [lailapi pyros] [m"i sl]; tempestas, turbo.

3. According to RV we have once an expression for 'whirlwind' in the technical sense - viz., ??inriO 1J, D, Jer. 23:19 ( . . . ei? (TvvcreL&iLnv [... eis synseismon], (TutrTpei^ofie iT) [systrephomene]; tempestas erumpens; RV 'whirling tempest'; AV wrongly 'grievous tempest'). But the existence of 7in, H-> though recognised by Ges.-Buhl, is not quite certain. In all the passages where it occurs, the text is doubtful. Here, e.g., it is possible to read THa7iS 'sweeping (tempest)' as in Jer. 23:19 (RV) opyrj <ru<TTpe</>ojoieV>) [orge systrephomene] ; Vg. procella ruens ; if S TlaTO 'rolling itself along' should not be preferred (so Gra.).

4. 1>b, sa'ar, Dan. 11:40 (LXX Theod. om. ; quasi tempestas); cp Ass. sharu (Del. Ass. NWB 6:35), Is. 28:2 (aap iyjy, 'destroying storm'; B4a KaTcu/iepo/ieVr; [bia katapheromene] ?).

5. "iSa, galgal, Ps. 77:19 [77:18] RV (AV 'heaven'). The rendering has some good authority (Ges., Hitz., Del., Kau.). But nowhere else does Sj^j mean 'whirlwind'; the Vv. adhere to the sense 'wheel'. See further WHEEL, and THISTLE, ad fin.

T. K. C.