What Sort of Clothing Did People in Jesus’ Time Wear?

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Larry Nelson's picture


"Earrings – Among the Jewish people, only women wore earrings (Judges 8:24). They were less common long ago than they are today. Generally, Scripture suggests that they were round or hoop-like. However, the law prohibited all mutilation of the body, so neither ears nor nose could be pierced to hold such ornaments. Thus earrings were clipped on or worn around the ear with a small chain."

1. I don't see anything in Judges 8 (as cited above) that indicates that "only women wore earrings".

2. And Exodus says otherwise:

"2 So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” 3 So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron." (Exodus 32:2-3 ESV)

Bert Perry's picture

I just spent some time looking at some of the art of the Egyptians, Phoenecians, Assyrians, and the like, and what I am noticing is that in their artwork at least, they are showing (among other things) properly set sleeves, pleats, gauzy fabrics (especially for Egyptian women), form fitting attire, and the like.  Now while many may have worn fairly loose tunics simply for comfort in the heat of the area, Scripture also notes that many--Sarah, Rachel, Rebecca, David, etc..--were "yaffe" or beautiful.  

Hard to say that if they're wearing the next best thing to a burqa, no?  In the same way, it's hard to argue Deuteronomy 22:5 has much meaning if everybody wore a robe with a pattern like today's square shirts, or even a traditional t shirt.

I'm therefore guessing that the Israelites also did a fair amount of fitting clothes to the person who wore them--sure, wear a loose robe when you're working vineyards in the summer or herding sheep when it's 95F in August for comfort, but when (like right now) Jerusalem got to 50F or below at night, something a bit more fitted is going to be really, really nice--and just like English women smocked their husbands' garments until steam engines made that impractical, I'm guessing that Israeli women also embroidered the family garments as is described in Proverbs 31.  

(put differently, I'd guess Bezalel had his choice of excellent embroiderers when he was putting together the Tabernacle)

Come to think of it, I believe men, but not women, wore the tzitzit (tassels) per numbers 15:38 ("sons" of Israel in Hebrew), and hence Deuteronomy 22:5 could be referring in part to that, and we might wonder if part of that verse is simply that if those tassels and such were the signs of a man's authority, it wouldn't just be "dressing girlie" or "dressing manly", but rather usurping God-given roles.  Not a matter of skirts, dresses, or whatever at all.

Or maybe Tyler is right.  It is the Bee after all.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.