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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(represented by several Heb. and Greek words) [(See APPAREL); (See CLOTHING: DRESS); (See RAIMENT); (See VESTURE,) etc.]. For a list of modern Arabic garments, see Thomson, Land and Book, 1:167 sq. In 2 Kings 11:13, it is said, "Then they hasted and took every man his garment, and put it under him on the top of the stairs, and blew with trumpets, saying, Jehue is king." Here they laid down their garments instead of carpets. The usse of carpets was common in the East in the remoter ages. The kings of Persia always walked upon carpets in their palaces. Xenophon reproaches the degenerate Persians of his time that they placed their couches upon carpets, to repose more at their ease. The spreading of garments in the street before persons to whom it was intended to show particular honor was an ancient and very general custom. Thus the people spread their garments in the way before our Saviour (Matthew 21:8), where some also strewed branches. In the Agamemnon of Aschylus, the hypocritical Clytemnestra commands the maids to spread out carpets before her returning husband, that, on descending from his chariot, be may place his foot "on a purple-covered path." We also find this custom among the Romans. When Cato of Utica left the Macedonian army, where he had become legionary tribune, the soldiers spread their clothes in the way. The hanging out of carpets, and strewing of flowers and branches in modern times, are remnants of ancient customs. (See RENDING); (See SEWING).

A number of sumptuous and magnificent habits was, in ancient times, regarded as an indispensable part of the treasures of a rich man. Thus the patriarch Job, speaking of the riches of the wicked, says, "Though he heap up silver as the dust, and prepare raiment as the clay" (Job 27:16). Joseph gave his brethren changes of raiment, but to Benjamin he gave "three hundred pieces of silver, and five changes of raiment" (Genesis 45:22). Naaman carried for a present to the prophet Elisha ten changes of raiment (2 Kings 5:5). In allusion to this custom, our Lord, when describing the short duration and perishings nature of earthly treasures, represents them as subject to the depredations of the moth, from which the inhabitants of the East find it exceedingly difficult to preserve their stores of garments: I "Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust Adoth corrupt" (Matthew 6:19). Paul, when appealing to the integrity and fidelity with which he had discharged his sacred office, mentions apparel with other treasures: he says, "I have coveted no man's gold, or silver, or apparel" (Acts 20:33). The apostle James likewise (as do the Greek and Roman writers, when they particularize the opulence of those times) specifies gold, silver, and garments as the constituents of riches: "Go to now, ye rich men; weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments moth- eaten" (James 5:1-2). We find that the custom of hoarding up splendid dresses still exists in Psalestine and the East. It appears that even Solomon received raitent as presents (2 Chronicles 9:24). Asiatic princes and grandees keep changes of raiment ready made, for presents to persons of distinction whom they wish particularly to honor. The simple and uniform shape of the clothes makes this custom practicable and accounts also for the change of one person's dress for another's, which is mentioned in sacred history. This will perhaps, apply to the parable of the wedding garment, and to the behavior of the king, who expected to have found all his guests clad in robes of honor (Genesis 27:15; Deuteronomy 22:5; 1 Samuel 18:4; 2 Kings 5:5; 2 Kings 5:22; Matthew 22:11; Luke 15:22). The "changeable suits of apparel" in Isaiah 3:22, should be properly "embroidered robes." (See BANQUET), etc.

Women were forbidden to wear male garments, and the reverse (Deuteronomy 22:5; see Mill, De commutatione vestium utriusq. sexus, Utr. s.a.). On heterogeneous garments, (See DIVERSE).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Garment'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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