In his book The Apostle: A Life of Paul, noted biographer John Pollock begins his book with information about Paul’s background at Tarsus. He calls the first chapter, “From the Land of Black Tents.”
His father most likely was a master tentmaker, whose craftsmen worked in leather and in cilicium, a cloth woven from the hair of the large long-haired black goats that grazed (as they still do) on the slopes of the Taurus. The black tents of Tarsus were used by caravans, nomads, and armies all over Asia Minor and Syria.
We still see these herds of long-haired black goats in many parts of Turkey. The photo below was made east of Myra near the Mediterranean coast of Turkey.
The Museum for Beduin Culture at Kibbutz Halav in the Negev of Israel displays a small model of a beduin (bedouin) tent. This museum intends to preserve the memory of the original bedouin life that is quickly being replaced by a permanent life and housing.
But Paul said, “I am a Jew of Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no insignificant city; and I beg you, allow me to speak to the people.” (Acts 21:39 NAU)
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A nice look into the work that Paul did as a tent maker. Thanks.