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Bible Dictionaries

Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Flax

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Exodus 9:31, "the flax was bolled," i.e. "in blossom"; the boll, related to bowl and ball, being the pod. Marking the time, the end of February or beginning of March. Linen was exclusively used by the priests. Pliny, 19:1, notes four kinds in Egypt, and 24 mentions Tanis (Zoan) as famous for flax. In evenness of threads without knot or break Egyptian linen exceeded modern manufacture. (Wilkinson on Herod., 2:37, p. 54.) Solomon imported it from Egypt (1 Kings 10:28; Proverbs 7:16; Ezekiel 27:7). The processes of manufacture are represented on Egyptian tombs as at Benihassan. The microscope shows the doth on the mummies to be linen. It was grown in Canaan before Joshua's (Joshua 2:6) conquest; the stalks were dried on the flat roofs by exposure to the sun's heat; later the drying was done in ovens.

The combing is noticed in Isaiah 19:9, "they that work in combed (so seriguot means) flax." The rich alone wore fine linen (Luke 16:19). Wilkinson mentions Egyptian linen with 540 (or 270 double) threads in one inch in the warp; most modern cambric has but 160 (Barnes). The corslet of Amasis king of Egypt was of linen threads, each having 360 strands or filaments (Herodotus). Its cultivation in northern Israel is alluded to, Hosea 2:5; Hosea 2:9. "Fine linen, clean and white," is the emblem of "the righteousness (distributively) of saints," the bride's attire for" the marriage of the Lamb," Revelation 19:7-8 (each saint having for himself Christ's righteousness imputed for justification, and imparted by the Spirit for sanctification).

The tearing up of the flax from its native soil, its exposure to the scorching sun, its being torn by the comb's long teeth, and sunk in the water with stones attached, so as ultimately to be transfigured into raiment white as snow, illustrate how the Christian is prepared for grace and glory through long and varied afflictions now. In Isaiah 42:3, "the smoking flax He shall not quench," i.e. the flax wick of the lamp. The believer is the lamp (Greek, Matthew 5:15; John 5:35), his conscience enlightened by the Holy Spirit is the wick; "smoking "means dimly burning, smoldering, the flame not extinct; "bruised" in himself, but having some spark lighted from above, Christ will supply such a one with grace as with oil, and will not stifle the little flame. So the faint light of nature in the Gentiles, smoldering amidst the smoke of error, He not only does not quench, but clears away its mists, and superadds the light of revelation.

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Flax'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fbd/f/flax.html. 1949.

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