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Bible Dictionaries

Fausset's Bible Dictionary

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Fine linen. Shes, an Egyptian word. The unique dress of the Egyptian priests (Genesis 41:42). Pharaoh arrayed Joseph in it as a dress of state; not cotton, nor silk (as margin). So Ezekiel 27:7, sheesh; Ezekiel 27:16, buwts bussos , Greek), the fine linen of Syria used for the hangings of Solomon's temple and David's "robe of fine linen" (1 Chronicles 15:27; 2 Chronicles 2:14). The Egyptian fine linen was equal to the best now made in general texture, and superior in evenness of threads without knot or break. In Esther 1:6 for "green" translated, rather "(Persian) linen cloth," karpas , carbasus . The unstudied propriety of designation by the native names respectively of linen of Egypt, Syria, and Persia, is a strong mark of genuineness. In Ezekiel 16:10 alone is "silk" probably meant (meshi , perhaps a Chinese word).

The flax for the tabernacle was spun by the women, and as thread given to Aholiab and his helpers to weave (Exodus 25:4; Exodus 35:25; Exodus 35:35); he directed the work of the skilled weaver ("the cunning workman"), the embroiderer and the ordinary weaver. Βaad (from a root meaning "separate", referring to the distinctness of the threads in the texture) is the Hebrew for the linen breeches of Aaron and his sons in ministering: Exodus 28:40-42, which compared with Exodus 39:28, "linen (baad ) of fine turned linen" (sheesh ) identifies baad with sheesh , sheesh being perhaps the spun threads, baad the linen woven from them.

Βaad is exclusively applied to the holy linen garments, ephod, etc., of priests, etc. (1 Chronicles 15:27), and angels (Ezekiel 9:2-3; Ezekiel 9:11; Ezekiel 10:2; Ezekiel 10:6; Daniel 10:5; Daniel 12:6-7). Βuwts , bussos , was the Levite choir's dress (2 Chronicles 5:12); kings wore it loosely over the close fitting tunic (1 Chronicles 15:27). The temple veil was of it, naturally as made by Tyrians (2 Chronicles 3:14; 2 Chronicles 2:14). Mordecai was arrayed in it (Esther 8:15). The house of Ashbea, sprung from Shelah Judah's sou, wrought in it (buwts ) (1 Chronicles 4:21); tradition says they wrought priests' and kings' robes and the sanctuary hangings. The bride's "fine linen, the righteousness of saints," contrasts with the harlot Babylon's merchandise in "fine linen" (Revelation 19:8; Revelation 19:14; Revelation 18:12).

So also the fine linen (sheesh) which God put upon Israel (Ezekiel 16:10); contrast the rich man's fine linen (bussos) (Luke 16:19). Proverbs 7:16, "I have decked my bed with fine linen 'etuwn , related to Greek othonee of Egypt," i.e. ornamented the bed covering with threads of fine Egyptian flax. In Judges 14:12-13, sadin (Greek sindon ) is Hebrew for the 30 linen garments which Samson promised. Made by women (Proverbs 31:24); the good housewife "made fine linen and girdles"; her own clothing is "fine linen" (sheesh , not "silk," Proverbs 31:22).

Used for winding sheets and head napkins (John 11:44; John 20:5), and towels (John 13:4-5). Ρishteh is the general term (Joshua 2:6), "flax" (Judges 15:14). Βussos is the finer linen; linon is the general term. The mummies' cloth is found by microscopic examination to be linen: linen fibre is cylindrical, transparent, and jointed as a cane; cotton fibre appears as a flat riband with a hem at each edge. Solomon's merchants brought linen yarn (miquwreh ) out of Egypt (1 Kings 10:28; 2 Chronicles 1:16). But Gesenius, Keil, etc., translated "and (as for) the going out of horses from Egypt for Solomon, a company of king's merchants fetched (horses) at a definite price." This is against the accents; Septuagint and Vulgate translated "from Koa," a place for collecting customs on the Egyptian frontier.

Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Linen'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/​dictionaries/​eng/​fbd/​l/linen.html. 1949.
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