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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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By this word we generally understand that fine Egyptian linen of which the priests' tunics were made. But we must distinguish three kinds of commodities, which are generally comprehended under the name of linen:

1. The Hebrew בר , which signifies linen:

2. שש , which signifies cotton:

3. בוצּ? , which is commonly called bussus, and is the silk growing from a certain shell fish, called pinna. We do not find the name butz in the text of Moses, though the Greek and Latin use the word byssus, to signify the fine linen of certain habits belonging to the priests. The word butz occurs only in 1 Chronicles 15:27 ; Ezekiel 27:16 ; Esther 1:6 . In the Chronicles we see David dressed in a mantle of butz, with the singers and Levites. Solomon used butz in the veils of the temple and sanctuary. Ahasuerus's tents were upheld by cords of butz; and Mordecai was clothed with a mantle of purple and butz, when king Ahasuerus honoured him with the first employment in his kingdom. Lastly, it is observed that there was a manufacture of butz in the city of Beersheba, in Palestine. This butz must have been different from common linen, since in the same place where it is said, David wore a mantle of byssus, we read likewise that he had on a linen ephod.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Byssus'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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