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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Handkerchief, Napkin, occurs in ; ; ; . The word is employed in Scripture in a variety of meanings. In the first instance () it means a wrapper, in which the 'wicked servant' had laid up the pound entrusted to him by his master. In the second instance () it appears as a kerchief, or cloth attached to the head of a corpse. It was perhaps brought round the forehead and under the chin. In many Egyptian mummies it does not cover the face. In ancient times among the Greeks it did. The next instance is that of the 'napkin' which had been 'about the head' of our Lord, but which, after his resurrection, was found rolled up, as if deliberately, and put in a place separately from the linen clothes. The last instance of the Biblical use of the word occurs in the account of 'the special miracles' wrought by the hands of Paul (); 'so that handkerchiefs, napkins, wrappers, shawls, etc., were brought from his body to the sick; and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.' The Ephesians had not unnaturally inferred that the apostle's miraculous power could be communicated by such a mode of contact; and certainly cures thus received by parties at a distance, among a people famed for their addictedness to 'curious arts,' i.e. magical skill, etc., would serve to convince them of the truth of the gospel, by a mode well suited to interest their minds.





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Handkerchief'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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