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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Gr. ῥαφίς ) occurs in the Bible only in the proverb "to pass through a needle's eye" (τρύφημα) (Matthew 19:24; Mark 10:25; Luke 18:25); for which (See CAMEL). Among the ancient Egyptians some needles were of bronze, from three to three and a half inches in length; but as few have been found, we are not able to form any opinion respecting their general size and quality, particularly of those used for fine work, which must have been of a very minute kind (Wilkinson, Anc. Eg. 2:345). (See NEEDLEWORK).

The use of the needle as a female accomplishment may be traced up to the earliest times. It was an art in which the ladies of ancient Egypt particularly excelled, as do their descendants at the present day; and the Hebrew females also no doubt acquired great perfection in it during their residence in that country, as we read of the embroidery of the sacerdotal robes and curtains of the tabernacle (Exodus 28:39; Exodus 26:36); and also of "a prey of divers colors of needlework, of divers colors of needlework on both sides" (Judges 5:30). That the ladies of Assyria and Babylonia also excelled in various kinds of needlework Layard has shown from the recently exhumed monuments of Nineveh (see Nineveh, etc., 2:315 sq.). In the British Museum may be seen some needles for sewing, made of bronze, taken from the Egyptian remains; there are likewise some spindles and netting-needles made of wood, nine inches to nine inches and a half in length; and also some skeins of thread, a portion of which is dyed of a reddish color. (See EMBROIDERY).

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

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