From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [1]

The combined arts of spinning and weaving are among the first essentials of civilized society, and we find both to be of very ancient origin. The fabulous story of Penelope's web, and, still more, the frequent allusions to this art in the sacred writings, tend to show that the fabrication of cloth from threads, hair, &c, is a very ancient invention. It has, however, like other useful arts, undergone a vast succession of improvements, both as to the preparation of the materials of which cloth is made, and the apparatus necessary in its construction, as well as in the particular modes of operation by the artist. Weaving, when reduced to its original principle, is nothing more than the interlacing of the weft or cross threads into the parallel threads of the warp, so as to tie them together, and form a web or piece of cloth. This art is doubtless more ancient than that of spinning; and the first cloth was what we now call matting, that is, made by weaving together the shreds of the bark, or fibrous parts of plants, or the stalks, such as rushes and straws. This is still the substitute for cloth among most rude and savage nations. When they have advanced a step farther in civilization than the state of hunters, the skins of animals become scarce, and they require some more artificial substance for clothing, and which they can procure in greater quantities. When it was discovered that the delicate and short fibres which animals and vegetables afford could be so firmly united together by twisting, as to form threads of any required length and strength, the weaving art was placed on a very permanent foundation. By the process of spinning, which was very simple in the origin, the weaver is furnished with threads far superior to any natural vegetable fibres in lightness, strength, and flexibility; and he has only to combine them together in the most advantageous manner. In the beautiful description which is given, in the last chapter of Solomon's Proverbs, of the domestic economy of the virtuous woman, it is said, "She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands: she layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry," &c. Such is the occupation of females in the east in the present day. Not only do they employ themselves in working rich embroideries, but in making carpets filled with flowers and other pleasing figures. Dr. Shaw gives us an account of the last: "Carpets, which are much courser than those from Turkey, are made here in great numbers, and of all sizes. But the chief branch of their manufactories is the making of hykes, or blankets, as we should call them. The women alone are employed in this work, (as Andromache and Penelope were of old,) who do not use the shuttle, but conduct every thread of the woof with their fingers." Hezekiah says, "I have cut off like a weaver my life,"   Isaiah 38:12 . Mr. Harmer suggests whether the simile here used may not refer to the weaving of a carpet filled with flowers and other ingenious devices; and that the meaning may be, that, just as a weaver, after having wrought many decorations into a piece of carpeting, suddenly cuts it off, while the figures were rising into view fresh and beautiful, and the spectator expecting he would proceed in his work; so, after a variety of pleasing transactions in the course of life, it suddenly and unexpectedly comes to its end.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [2]

(See Linen .) The "fine linen" of Joseph ( Genesis 41:42) accords with existing specimens of Egyptian weaving equal to the finest cambric. The Israelites learned from the Egyptians the art, and so could weave the tabernacle curtains ( Exodus 35:35). In  Isaiah 19:9 Gesenius translated choral (from Chur , "white") "they that weave white cloth," for "networks" ( Esther 1:6;  Esther 8:15). The Tyrians got from Egypt their "fine linen with embroidered work" for sails ( Ezekiel 27:7). Men wove anciently ( 1 Chronicles 4:21); latterly females ( 1 Samuel 2:19;  Proverbs 31:13;  Proverbs 31:19;  Proverbs 31:24). The Egyptian loom was upright, and the weaver stood. Jesus' seamless coat was woven "from the top" ( John 19:23). In  Leviticus 13:48 the "warp" and "woof" are not parts of woven cloth, but yarn prepared for warp and yarn prepared for woof.

The speed of the shuttle, the decisive cutting of the web from the thrum when the web is complete, symbolize the rapid passing away of life and its being cut off at a stroke ( Job 7:6;  Isaiah 38:12); each day, like the weaver's shuttle, leaves a thread behind. Textures with gold thread interwoven ( Psalms 45:13) were most valuable. The Babylonians wove men and animals on robes; Achan appropriated such a "goodly Babylonish garment" ( Joshua 7:21). Sacerdotal garments were woven without seam (Josephus, Ant. 3:7, section 4); so Jesus' "coat without seam" ( John 19:23) was appropriately sacerdotal, as He was at once the Priest and the sacrifice.

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [3]

Weaving —In our Lord’s day weaving was done by hand-looms, as still in the East generally. The loom, with its ‘beam’ and ‘shuttle,’ which furnished to OT poet and prophet figures of life’s swiftness and brevity (cf.  Job 7:6,  Isaiah 38:12), is not directly mentioned in the Gospels. While in the earlier days in Palestine weaving was done mostly by men, later it fell more and more into the hands of women. The Rabbis did not give it a high place among the crafts. Among the materials used in weaving were flax, wool, camel’s hair and goat’s hair. Flax and wool made ‘soft clothing’ for the royal and the rich ( Matthew 11:8,  Luke 16:19), the rest were wrought into the coarser garments of the more austere, like John the Baptist ( Matthew 3:4), into the sackcloth of the mourner ( Matthew 11:21,  Luke 10:13), or into tents or sails. Jesus wore a seamless garment (χιτὼν ἄρραφος,  John 19:23), woven in one piece, from the top throughout, made probably by faithful, ministering women ( Luke 8:2 f.,  Matthew 27:55); and when He was buried, the cloth in which His body was wrapped was of linen ( Mark 15:46,  Matthew 27:59,  Luke 24:12,  John 19:40).

E. B. Pollard.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [4]

Weaving. The art of weaving appears to be coeval with the first dawning of civilization. We find it practiced with great skill by the Egyptians at a very early period; The vestures of fine linen" such as Joseph wore,  Genesis 41:42, were the product of Egyptian looms. The Israelites were probably acquainted with the process before their sojourn in Egypt; but it was undoubtedly there, that they attained the proficiency which enabled them to execute the hangings of the Tabernacle,  Exodus 35:35;  1 Chronicles 4:21, and other artistic textures.

The Egyptian loom was usually upright, and the weaver stood at his work. The cloth was fixed sometimes at the top, sometimes at the bottom. The modern Arabs use a procumbent loom, raised above the ground by short legs. The textures produced by the Jewish weavers were very various. The coarser kinds, such tent-cloth, sack-cloth and the "hairy garments" of the poor, were made goat's or camel's hair.  Exodus 26:7;  Matthew 3:4.

Wool was extensively used for ordinary clothing,  Leviticus 13:47;  Proverbs 27:26;  Proverbs 31:13;  Ezekiel 27:18, while for finer work, flax was used, varying in quality, and producing the different textures described in the Bible as "linen" and "fine linen." The mixture of wool and flax in cloth intended for a garment was interdicted.  Leviticus 19:19;  Leviticus 22:11.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [5]

Weaving. The art of weaving was practised with great skill by the Egyptians at a very early period. The "vestures of fine linen" such as Joseph wore,  Genesis 41:42, were the product of Egyptian looms. The Israelites attained a proficiency which enabled them to execute the hangings of the tabernacle,  Exodus 35:35;  1 Chronicles 4:21, and other artistic textures. The textures produced by the Jewish weavers were very various. The coarser kinds, such as tent-cloth, sack-cloth, and the "hairy garments of the poor," were made of goat's or camel's hair.  Exodus 26:7;  Matthew 3:4. Wool was extensively used for ordinary clothing,  Leviticus 13:47;  Proverbs 27:26;  Proverbs 31:13;  Ezekiel 27:18; while for finer work flax was used, varying in quality, and producing the different textures described in the Bible as "linen" and "fine linen." The mixture of wool and flax in cloth intended for a garment was forbidden.  Leviticus 19:19;  Deuteronomy 22:11.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [6]

An art very early practiced by all nations, and exhibited on the ancient monuments of Egypt,  Genesis 41:42 . See Flax .

It is usually performed by women,  2 Kings 23:7   Proverbs 31:13,19 . The Jews say that the high-priest's tunic was made without a needle, being "woven from the top throughout;" thus also "the High-priest of our profession" was clothed,  John 19:23 .

Webster's Dictionary [7]

(1): ( n.) An incessant motion of a horse's head, neck, and body, from side to side, fancied to resemble the motion of a hand weaver in throwing the shuttle.

(2): ( p. pr. & vb. n.) of Weave

(3): ( n.) The act of one who, or that which, weaves; the act or art of forming cloth in a loom by the union or intertexture of threads.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [8]

WEAVING . See Spinning and Weaving.

Holman Bible Dictionary [9]


International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [10]

we´ving  : Although weaving was one of the most important and best developed of the crafts of Bible times, yet we have but few Biblical references to enlighten us as to the processes used in those early days. A knowledge of the technique of weaving is necessary, however, if we are to understand some of the Biblical incidents. The principle of weaving in all ages is illustrated by the process of darning. The hole to be darned is laid over with parallel threads which correspond to the "warp" ( שׁתי , shethı̄ ) of a woven fabric. Then, by means of a darning needle which takes the place of the shuttle in the loom, other threads are interlaced back and forth at right angles to the first set of strands. This second set corresponds to the woof ( ערב , ‛ērebh ) or weft of woven cloth. The result is a web of threads across the hole. If the warp threads, instead of being attached to the edges of a fabric, are fastened to two beams which can be stretched either on a frame or on the ground, and the woof is interlaced exactly as in darning, the result will be a web of cloth. The process is then called weaving ( ארג , 'āragh ), and the apparatus a loom. The most up-to-date loom of our modern mills differs from the above only in the devices for accelerating the process. The first of these improvements dates back some 5,000 years to the early Egyptians, who discovered what is technically known as shedding , i.e. dividing the warp into two sets of threads, every other thread being lifted so that the woof can run between, as is shown in the diagram of the Arabic loom.

The looms are still commonly used among the Bedouins. Supppose only eight threads are used for an illustration. In reality the eight strands are made by passing one continuous thread back and forth between the two poles which are held apart by stakes driven into the ground. The even strands run through loops of string attached to a rod, and from there under a beam to the pole. By placing the ends upon stones, or by suspending it on loops, the even threads are raised above the odd threads, thus forming a shed through which the weft can be passed. The separating of odds and evens is assisted by a flat board of wedge-shaped cross-section, which is turned at right angles to the odd threads. After the shuttle has been passed across, this same stick is used to beat up the weft.

The threads are removed from the stones or loops, and allowed to lie loosely on the warp; it is pulled forward toward the weaver and raised on the stones in the position previously occupied by it. The flat spreader is passed through the new shed in which the odd threads are now above and the even threads below. The weft is run through and is beaten into place with the thin edge of it. The shuttle commonly used is a straight tree branch on which the thread is loosely wound "kite-string" fashion.

The loom used by Delilah was no doubt like the one described above ( Judges 16:13 ,  Judges 16:14 ). It would have been an easy matter for her to run in Samson's locks as strands of the weft while he lay sleeping on the ground near the loom adjacent to rod under the beam. The passage might be transposed thus: "And he said unto her, If thou weavest the seven locks of my head into the web. And she passed in his locks and beat them up with the batten ( יתד , yāthēdh ), and said unto him, The Philistines are upon thee, Samson. And he awakened out of his sleep and as he jumped up he pulled away the pins of the loom."

The counterpart of the Bedouin loom is shown on the ancient tombs at Beni Ḥasan (see Eb , 5279, or Wilkinson, I, 317). As Dr. Kennedy points out, the artist of that ancient picture has unwittingly reversed the order of the beams. The shedding beam, of the two, should be nearer the weaver. At what period the crude shedding device described above was replaced by a double set of loops worked by pedals is unknown. Some writers believe that the Jews were acquainted with it. The "flying shuttle" of the modern loom is probably a comparatively recent invention.

The products of the Bedouin looms are coarse in texture. Such passages as  Exodus 35:35;  Isaiah 19:9 , and examples of ancient weaving, lead us to believe that in Bible times contemporaneous with the primitive loom were more highly developed machines, just as in the cities of Egypt and Palestine today, alongside of the crude Bedouin loom, are found the more intricate hand looms on which are produced the most delicate fabrics possible to the weaver's article. Examples of cloth comparing favorably with our best grades of muslin have been found among the Egyptian mummy wrappings.

Two other forms of looms have been used for weaving, in both of which the warp is upright. In one type the strands of the warp, singly or in bundles, are suspended from a beam and held taut by numerous small weights made of stones or pottery. Dr. Bliss found at Tel el - Ḥesy collections of weights, sometimes 60 or more together, individual examples of which showed marks where cords had been attached to them. These he assumed were weavers' weights (see A M ound of Many Cities ). In this form the weaving was necessarily from top to bottom.

The second type of upright loom is still used in some parts of Syria, especially for weaving coarse goat's hair cloth. In this form the warp is attached to the lower beam and passes vertically upward over another beam and thence to a wall where it is gathered in a rope and tied to a peg, or it is held taut by heavy stone weights. The manipulation is much the same as in the primitive loom, except that the weft is beaten up with an iron comb. The web is wound up on the lower beam as it is woven (compare  Isaiah 38:12 ).

Patterns are woven into the web (1) by making the warp threads of different colors, (2) by alternating colors in the weft, (3) by a combination of (1) and (2); this produces checked work ( שׁבּץ , shibbēc ,   Exodus 28:39 the Revised Version (British and American)); (4) by running special weft threads through only a portion of the warp. This requires much skill and is probably the kind of weaving referred to in   Exodus 26:1 ff;   Ezekiel 16:13;  Ezekiel 27:16; (5) when metals are to be woven, they are rolled thin, cut into narrow strips, wound in spirals about threads of cotton or linen (compare  Exodus 28:5 ff;   Exodus 39:3 ff). In all these kinds of weaving the Syrian weavers of today are very skillful. If a cylindrical web is referred to in   John 19:23 , then Jesus' tunic must have been woven with two sets of warp threads on an upright loom so arranged that the weft could be passed first through one shed and then around to the other side and back through the shed of the second set.

Goliath's spear was compared in thickness to that of the weaver's beam, i.e. 2 inches to 2 1/2 inches in diameter ( 1 Samuel 17:7;  2 Samuel 21:19;  1 Chronicles 11:23;  1 Chronicles 20:5 ).

In  Job 7:6 , if "shuttle" is the right rendering for ארג , 'eregh , the reference is to the rapidity with which the thread of the shuttle is used up, as the second part of the verse indicates.

For a very full discussion of the terms employed see A. R. S. Kennedy in Eb , IV, 5276-90.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [11]

Weaving is too necessary an art not to have existed in the early periods of the world. It appears, indeed, to have in all nations come into existence with the first dawning of civilization. The Egyptians had, as might be expected, already made considerable progress therein when the Israelites tarried among them; and in this as well as in many other of the arts of life, they became the instructors of that people. Textures of cotton and of flax were woven by them; whence we read of the 'vestures of fine linen' with which Pharaoh arrayed Joseph terms which show that the art of fabricating cloth had been successfully cultivated. Indeed Egypt was celebrated among the Hebrews for its manufacturing skill. Thus Isaiah speaks of 'them that work in fine flax, and them that weave networks.' That these fabrics displayed taste as well as skill may be inferred from , 'Fine linen with broidered work from Egypt.' So in , 'I have decked my couch with coverings of tapestry, with fine linen of Egypt.' If, however, the Hebrews learned the art of weaving in Egypt, they appear to have made progress therein from their own resources, even before they entered Palestine; for having before them the prospect of a national establishment in that land, they would naturally turn their attention to the arts of life, and had leisure as well as occasion, during their sojourn of forty years in the wilderness, for practicing those arts; and certainly we cannot but understand the words of Moses to imply that the skill spoken of in , sq., came from a Hebrew and not a foreign impulse. Among the Israelites weaving, together with spinning, was for the most part in the hands of females ; nor did persons of rank and distinction consider the occupation mean . But as in Egypt males exclusively, so in Palestine men conjointly with women, wove . From it may be inferred that there were in Israel a class of master-manufacturers. The loom, as was generally the case in the ancient world, was high, requiring the weaver to stand at his employment.

Connected with the loom are,

the shuttle

the weaver's beam ;

a weaver's pin .

The degree of skill to which the Hebrews attained it is difficult to measure. The stuffs which they wove were of linen, flax, and wool. Among the latter must be reckoned those of camels' and goats' hair, which were used by the poor for clothing and for mourning (;; ). Garments woven in one piece throughout, so as to need no making, were held in high repute; whence the Jews have a tradition that no needle was employed on the clothing of the high priest, each piece of which was of one continued texture. This notion throws light on the language used by —'the coat was without seam'—words that are explained by those which follow, and which Wetstein regards as a gloss—'woven from the top throughout.' This seamless coat, which has lately given occasion to the great religious reformatory movement begun by the priest Ronge, would seem to indicate that our Lord, knowing that His time was now come, had arrayed Himself in vestments suitable to the dignity of His Messianic office.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [12]

Bibliography Information McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Weaving'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/w/weaving.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.