Click to Change

Return to Top

Return to Top

Printer Icon


The Blue Letter Bible

Dictionaries :: Dress

Choose a new font size and typeface
Below are articles from the following dictionary:
Easton's Bible Dictionary


(1.) Materials used. The earliest and simplest an apron of fig-leaves sewed together (Gen 3:7); then skins of animals (3:21). Elijah's dress was probably the skin of a sheep (2Ki 1:8). The Hebrews were early acquainted with the art of weaving hair into cloth (Exd 26:7; 35:6), which formed the sackcloth of mourners. This was the material of John the Baptist's robe (Mat 3:4). Wool was also woven into garments (Lev 13:47; Deu 22:11; Eze 34:3; Job 31:20; Pro 27:26). The Israelites probably learned the art of weaving linen when they were in Egypt (1Ch 4:21). Fine linen was used in the vestments of the high priest (Exd 28:5), as well as by the rich (Gen 41:42; Pro 31:22; Luk 16:19). The use of mixed material, as wool and flax, was forbidden (Lev 19:19; Deu 22:11).

(2.) Colour. The prevailing colour was the natural white of the material used, which was sometimes rendered purer by the fuller's art (Psa 104:1,2; Isa 63:3; Mar 9:3). The Hebrews were acquainted with the art of dyeing (Gen 37:3,23). Various modes of ornamentation were adopted in the process of weaving (Exd 28:6; 26:1,31; 35:25), and by needle-work (Jdg 5:30; Psa 45:13). Dyed robes were imported from foreign countries, particularly from Phoenicia (Zep 1:8). Purple and scarlet robes were the marks of the wealthy (Luk 16:19; 2Sa 1:24).

(3.) Form. The robes of men and women were not very much different in form from each other.

(a) The "coat" (kethoneth), of wool, cotton, or linen, was worn by both sexes. It was a closely-fitting garment, resembling in use and form our shirt (Jhn 19:23). It was kept close to the body by a girdle (Jhn 21:7). A person wearing this "coat" alone was described as naked (1Sa 19:24; Isa 20:2; 2Ki 6:30; Jhn 21:7); deprived of it he would be absolutely naked.

(b) A linen cloth or wrapper (sadin) of fine linen, used somewhat as a night-shirt (Mar 14:51). It is mentioned in Judg. 14:12, 13, and rendered there "sheets."

(c) An upper tunic (meil), longer than the "coat" (1Sa 2:19; 24:4; 28:14). In 1Sa 28:14 it is the mantle in which Samuel was enveloped; in 1Sa 24:4 it is the "robe" under which Saul slept. The disciples were forbidden to wear two "coats" (Mat 10:10; Luk 9:3).

(d) The usual outer garment consisted of a piece of woollen cloth like a Scotch plaid, either wrapped round the body or thrown over the shoulders like a shawl, with the ends hanging down in front, or it might be thrown over the head so as to conceal the face (2Sa 15:30; Est 6:12). It was confined to the waist by a girdle, and the fold formed by the overlapping of the robe served as a pocket (2Ki 4:39; Psa 79:12; Hag 2:12; Pro 17:23; 21:14).

Female dress. The "coat" was common to both sexes (Sgs 5:3). But peculiar to females were (1) the "veil" or "wimple," a kind of shawl (Rth 3:15; Isa 3:22); (2) the "mantle," also a species of shawl (Isa 3:22); (3) a "veil," probably a light summer dress (Gen 24:65); (4) a "stomacher," a holiday dress (Isa 3:24). The outer garment terminated in an ample fringe or border, which concealed the feet (Isa 47:2; Jer 13:22).

The dress of the Persians is described in Dan 3:21.

The reference to the art of sewing are few, inasmuch as the garments generally came forth from the loom ready for being worn, and all that was required in the making of clothes devolved on the women of a family (Pro 31:22; Act 9:39).

Extravagance in dress is referred to in Jer 4:30; Ezek. 16:10; Zep 1:8 (R.V., "foreign apparel"); 1Ti 2:9; 1 Pet. 3:3. Rending the robes was expressive of grief (Gen 37:29,34), fear (1Ki 21:27), indignation (2Ki 5:7), or despair (Jdg 11:35; Est 4:1).

Shaking the garments, or shaking the dust from off them, was a sign of renunciation (Act 18:6); wrapping them round the head, of awe (1Ki 19:13) or grief (2Sa 15:30); casting them off, of excitement (Act 22:23); laying hold of them, of supplication (1Sa 15:27). In the case of travelling, the outer garments were girded up (1Ki 18:46). They were thrown aside also when they would impede action (Mar 10:50; Jhn 13:4; Act 7:58).

BLB Searches
Search the Bible

Advanced Options

Other Searches

Multi-Verse Retrieval

Daily Devotionals

Blue Letter Bible offers several daily devotional readings in order to help you refocus on Christ and the Gospel of His peace and righteousness.

Daily Bible Reading Plans

Recognizing the value of consistent reflection upon the Word of God in order to refocus one's mind and heart upon Christ and His Gospel of peace, we provide several reading plans designed to cover the entire Bible in a year.

One-Year Plans

Two-Year Plan


The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.