THE OUTER GARMENT, OR MANTLE
The outer garment which the Palestinian villager wears, is a large cloak which would serve the purpose of a Westerner's overcoat. It is made of wool or goat's hair and sometimes of cotton. It is dark brown and different shades with whitish perpendicular stripes. It serves as a shelter from the wind and rain, and as a blanket at night. It is a more or less common sight to behold a man walking on a hot day wearing his heavy cloak, and if he should be asked why he does so, his answer would be, "What keeps out the cold, keeps out the heat also."
It was this outer garment or mantle with which Elijah smote the waters of Jordan and crossed over with Elisha, and when he was taken up to Heaven this mantle became the property of Elisha (II Kings 2:8-13). The three young men who were cast into the fiery furnace were clad in their mantles as well as their tunics and other garb (Daniel 3:21).
The Law of Moses contained an explicit commandment regarding this outer garment. This is the way the law reads:
"If thou at all take thy neighbor's raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down: for that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep? And it shall come to pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear; for I am gracious" (Exodus 22:26, 27).
The need for this commandment is easily understood when it is known how the mantle is used at night. Going to bed at night is a very simple matter for the Bedouins or peasants. Mats, rugs, or mattresses are used to lie upon, but the host does not provide any covering. Each person provides his own which consists of his mantle. Being closely woven, it is warm, and if he sleeps out-ofdoors, this covering is even waterproof.
It was because this outer garment was a man's covering by night that the law did not allow anybody taking this as a pledge or security, for this would deprive him of his means of keeping warm while sleeping. Such a garment if taken at all had to be returned by sunset.
A knowledge of this law and its purpose is an aid in understanding certain statements of CHRIST. On one occasion He said: "Him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat [undergarment] also" (Luke 6:29). This order is understood easily, because the outer garment would be the one most easily seized by a robber. But on another occasion He said. "If any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat [undergarment], let him have thy cloak [outer garment] also" (Matthew 5:40). A Jewish court would not award an outer garment as judgment, because of the rule of the Law of Moses already referred to, but could award an undergarment. In such a case JESUS advocated going the "second mile" by giving the outer garment also.
Because of the fullness of the mantle it served as a means of carrying various things therein. The lap was often filled with grain or fruit. JESUS said, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom" (Luke 6:38). Ruth could put six measures of barley into her mantle (Ruth 3:15). Thus the upper garment served many useful purposes. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Mantles in Easton's Bible Dictionary
(1.) Heb. 'addereth, a large over-garment. This word is used
Elijah's mantle (1 Kings 19:13, 19; 2 Kings 2:8, 13,
which was probably a sheepskin. It appears to have
been his only
garment, a strip of skin or leather binding it to
_'Addereth_ twice occurs with the epithet "hairy"
Zech. 13:4, R.V.). It is the word denoting the
Babylonish garment" which Achan coveted (Josh.
(2.) Heb. me'il, frequently applied to the "robe of
(Ex. 28:4, 31; Lev. 8:7), which was a splendid under
wholly of blue, reaching to below the knees. It was
without seam, and was put on by being drawn over the
was worn not only by priests but by kings (1 Sam.
prophets (15:27), and rich men (Job 1:20; 2:12).
This was the
"little coat" which Samuel's mother brought to him
from year to
year to Shiloh (1 Sam. 2:19), a miniature of the
(3.) Semikah, "a rug," the garment which Jael threw
covering over Sisera (Judg. 4:18). The Hebrew word
nowhere else in Scripture.
(4.) Maataphoth, plural, only in Isa. 3:22, denoting
exterior tunic worn by females.
Mantles in Naves Topical Bible
Ripped as a token of grief
Ezr 9:3; Job 1:20; 2:12
1Ki 19:19; 2Ki 2:8,13,14
Mantles in Smiths Bible Dictionary
the word employed in the Authorized Version to translate no
less than four Hebrew terms, entirely distinct and independent
in both derivation and meaning.
1. Jud 4:18 the garment with which Jael covered
2. Rendered "mantle" in 1Sa 15:27; 28:14; Ezr 9:3,5
etc. This word is in other passages of the Authorized Version
rendered "coat," "cloak" and "robe."
3. Isa 3:22 only. Apparently some article of a lady's
4. 1Ki 19:13,19; 2Ki 2:8,13,14 The sole garment of the
prophet Elijah. It was probably of sheepskin, such as is worn
by the modern dervishes.
Mantles in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
man'-t'-l: Used 5 times of Elijah's mantle ('addereth, 1 Ki
19:18,19; 2 Ki 2:8,13,14), which was probably of hair. Found
in plural once (Isa 3:22), where it (ma`ataphoth) is an upper
wide tunic with sleeves (kethoneth).
Mantles Scripture - 1 Kings 19:13
And it was [so], when Elijah heard [it], that he wrapped his
face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in
of the cave. And, behold, [there came] a voice unto him, and
said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
Mantles Scripture - 1 Kings 19:19
So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat,
who [was] plowing [with] twelve yoke [of oxen] before him, and
he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his
mantle upon him.
Mantles Scripture - 1 Samuel 28:14
And he said unto her, What form [is] he of? And she said, An
old man cometh up; and he [is] covered with a mantle. And Saul
perceived that it [was] Samuel, and he stooped with [his] face
to the ground, and bowed himself.
Mantles Scripture - 2 Kings 2:14
And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote
the waters, and said, Where [is] the LORD God of Elijah? and
when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and
thither: and Elisha went over.
Mantles Scripture - 2 Kings 2:8
And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped [it] together, and
smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so
that they two went over on dry ground.
Mantles Scripture - Ezra 9:3
And when I heard this thing, I rent my garment and my mantle,
and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat
Mantles Scripture - Ezra 9:5
And at the evening sacrifice I arose up from my heaviness; and
having rent my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees,
and spread out my hands unto the LORD my God,
Mantles Scripture - Isaiah 3:22
The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the
wimples, and the crisping pins,
Mantles Scripture - Job 1:20
Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and
fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,
Mantles Scripture - Job 2:12
And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not,
they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one
his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.
Mantles Scripture - Judges 4:18
And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in,
my lord, turn in to me; fear not. And when he had turned in
unto her into the tent, she covered him with a mantle.