Weaving in Bible times

In describing the work of spinning we quoted from the lavishly illustrated Life in Biblical Israel by King and Stager. Another good book dealing with this sort of material is Daily Life in Biblical Times by Oded Borowski. Borowski’s book is much smaller and has no photos. There are a few black and white diagrams.

Here is how Borowski explains weaving.

The term weaving refers to the production of fabric by interlacing two sets of yarn so that they cross each other at a right angle.… The large numbers of loom weights, spindle whorls, and other weaving tools in domestic contexts indicate that weaving was a major occupation among the Israelites. (page 31)

He says that two kinds of looms were in use. One was horizontal; the other was the upright warp-weighted loom. The large number of loom-weights that have been uncovered in excavations indicate that this was the more common method of weaving.

Weaving was considered a woman’s job. Note the description of the Worthy Woman (or Capable Wife, as some designate her) in Proverbs 31. In the previous post we wrote of the work of spinning.

She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hands grasp the spindle. (Proverbs 31:19 NAU)

The same chapter also describes the materials she uses in her work of spinning and weaving.

She looks for wool and flax And works with her hands in delight. (Proverbs 31:13 NAU)

Demonstration of weaving at Nazareth Village. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Demonstration of weaving at Nazareth Village. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A display in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum shows loom weights and spinning tools uncovered at Gezer. I think these would be from the excavations conducted by Clermont-Ganneau between 1870-1873 or that conducted by Macalister between 1902 and 1905 when the Ottoman Empire ruled the land. Many artifacts from that period are in the Istanbul museum.

Tools Used in Weaving. From Gezer. Istanbul Arch. Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Tools Used in Weaving. From Gezer. Istanbul Arch. Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The priestly garments were woven (Exodus 28:39). We recall that Jesus had a undergarment (chiton, tunic) that was seamless, woven in one piece.

Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. (John 19:23 NAU)

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One response to “Weaving in Bible times

  1. Pingback: Wool and flax used in weaving | Ferrell's Travel Blog

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