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Bible Dictionaries

Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Hem of Garment

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The beged or "outer robe" was a quadrangular, plaid-like cloth, worn so that two corners hung in front. The corners were ornamented with a tassel, in which was a "riband of blue" or dark violet thread (so narrow was the ribbon), according to the command Numbers 15:38-39, where for "put upon," etc., translated" add to the fringes of the borders a thread of blue," that "looking on it they might remember all the commandments of the Lord, and do them." The blue symbolized the heavenly origin of the commandments. The Jews adjusted the threads and knots so as to represent the 613 precepts of which the law was thought to consist. The other threads were made white (according to tradition), to represent purity (Isaiah 1:18).

The Pharisees enlarged their fringes as a show of piety (Matthew 23:5). In later times, the Jews have worn the talit or fringed garment of a smaller size and as an underdress. It is used especially at morning prayer in the synagogue. The tsitsit (or tzitzit ) is the Hebrew term for the "fretted or fringed edge", the ordinary mode of finishing the robe, the ends of the woof thread being left that the cloth might not unravel. The supposed sanctity of the "hem" explains why the woman with the issue of blood and other sick persons touched Jesus' hem in particular (Matthew 9:20; Matthew 14:36).


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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Hem of Garment'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/fbd/h/hem-of-garment.html. 1949.

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