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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible
FLAX ( pishtah ). The plant Linum usitatissimum , and the prepared fibres used for making linen. It was early cultivated in Palestine ( Joshua 2:6 ); the failure of the flax was one of God’s judgments ( Hosea 2:9 ). The plant is about two to three feet high, with pretty blue flowers; the flax is said to be ‘bolled’ ( Exodus 9:31 ) when the seed vessels reach maturity and the plant is ready for gathering. The stalks were dried on the housetops ( Joshua 2:6 ), and then soaked in water and the fibre combed out ( Isaiah 19:9 RV [Note: Revised Version.] ). The ‘tow’ of Isaiah 43:17 is teased-out flax. The oil of the seeds is the well-known linseed oil.
E. W. G. Masterman.
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Hastings, James. Entry for 'Flax'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdb/f/flax.html. 1909.