Scripture Backdrops - Relevant Historical Insights into Scripture

The Ancient Sash or Girdle

Jeremiah 13:11 'For as the sash clings to the waist of a man, so I have caused the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah to cling to Me,' says the LORD, 'that they may become My people, for renown, for praise, and for glory; but they would not hear.'

As the "sash" clings to the waist of a man...

Girding up the Loins

The "sash" or girdle (Heb. Ezohr, pronounced ayzor) was perhaps the most beautiful figurative mode of expression used for clothing among the prophets of the Bible. The girdle was wound several times around the waist to bind the clothing together. In Isaiah 11:5 the prophet said about the Messiah that "Righteousness shall be the belt of His loins, and faithfulness the belt of His waist." This essentially means that as the girdle has a controlling and binding influence over all of the bodily attire so these qualities have a controlling and binding influence over all of His purposes and actions.

Peter spoke about the adhesive quality of the girdle when he said "gird up the loins of your mind" (1 Pet. 1:13).

Clothing in 1st century Israel was very simple. Jesus and His disciples were among those in Israel who wore the simplest of clothing. According to Alfred Edersheim (Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, I, 625) the common male Israelite during the time of Christ wore 6 articles of clothing.

It was customary to wear a tunic and a shirt beneath the tunic. The tunic (Heb. ketonet) was usually "woven without seam" throughout and was tight around the neck with short sleeves. The shirt was a linen shirt (heb. chaluq) that was worn beneath the tunic. They wore a linen girdle, wound several times around the waist. There was also an outermost coat made usually of white woolen cloth with the four prescribed "tassels" at the corners which numerically calculated the Name of God. The description of the headdress is uncertain but we do know that no Jewish teacher of that day would appear in public with the head uncovered. They also wore leather sandals. Jesus said:

Luke 6:29 "To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either.

Orthodox Jews today wear similar clothing but distinct in every culture yet in the whole world they all still wear the Tallith and the 'arba` kanephoth.


Bibliography on Ancient Customs

The Art of Ancient Egypt, Revised by Robins, 272 Pages, Pub. 2008
 

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