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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
The looms are still commonly used among the Bedouins. Supppose only eight threads are used for an illustration. In reality the eight strands are made by passing one continuous thread back and forth between the two poles which are held apart by stakes driven into the ground. The even strands run through loops of string attached to a rod, and from there under a beam to the pole. By placing the ends upon stones, or by suspending it on loops, the even threads are raised above the odd threads, thus forming a shed through which the weft can be passed. The separating of odds and evens is assisted by a flat board of wedge-shaped cross-section, which is turned at right angles to the odd threads. After the shuttle has been passed across, this same stick is used to beat up the weft.
The threads are removed from the stones or loops, and allowed to lie loosely on the warp; it is pulled forward toward the weaver and raised on the stones in the position previously occupied by it. The flat spreader is passed through the new shed in which the odd threads are now above and the even threads below. The weft is run through and is beaten into place with the thin edge of it. The shuttle commonly used is a straight tree branch on which the thread is loosely wound "kite-string" fashion.
The loom used by Delilah was no doubt like the one described above (Judges 16:13 , Judges 16:14 ). It would have been an easy matter for her to run in Samson's locks as strands of the weft while he lay sleeping on the ground near the loom adjacent to rod under the beam. The passage might be transposed thus: "And he said unto her, If thou weavest the seven locks of my head into the web. And she passed in his locks and beat them up with the batten ( יתד ,
The counterpart of the Bedouin loom is shown on the ancient tombs at
The products of the Bedouin looms are coarse in texture. Such passages as Exodus 35:35; Isaiah 19:9 , and examples of ancient weaving, lead us to believe that in Bible times contemporaneous with the primitive loom were more highly developed machines, just as in the cities of Egypt and Palestine today, alongside of the crude Bedouin loom, are found the more intricate hand looms on which are produced the most delicate fabrics possible to the weaver's article. Examples of cloth comparing favorably with our best grades of muslin have been found among the Egyptian mummy wrappings.
Two other forms of looms have been used for weaving, in both of which the warp is upright. In one type the strands of the warp, singly or in bundles, are suspended from a beam and held taut by numerous small weights made of stones or pottery. Dr. Bliss found at
The second type of upright loom is still used in some parts of Syria, especially for weaving coarse goat's hair cloth. In this form the warp is attached to the lower beam and passes vertically upward over another beam and thence to a wall where it is gathered in a rope and tied to a peg, or it is held taut by heavy stone weights. The manipulation is much the same as in the primitive loom, except that the weft is beaten up with an iron comb. The web is wound up on the lower beam as it is woven (compare Isaiah 38:12 ).
Patterns are woven into the web (1) by making the warp threads of different colors, (2) by alternating colors in the weft, (3) by a combination of (1) and (2); this produces checked work ( שׁבּץ ,
Goliath's spear was compared in thickness to that of the weaver's beam, i.e. 2 inches to 2 1/2 inches in diameter (1 Samuel 17:7; 2 Samuel 21:19; 1 Chronicles 11:23; 1 Chronicles 20:5 ).
In Job 7:6 , if "shuttle" is the right rendering for ארג ,
For a very full discussion of the terms employed see A. R. S. Kennedy in
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Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Weaving'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/isb/w/weaving.html. 1915.