Weaving in Bible Times: “Her hands hold the spindle…”

The importance of weaving in Bible times is described by John A. Beck.

The typical family of Bible times had its own looms and some family members who were skilled at the art of weaving (Prov. 31:13). At its most fundamental level, weaving involved the interlocking of threads at right angles to one another in order to create a piece of cloth that could function as a garment, tent curtain, or even carrying sack. The threads were derived from wood, flax, or goat hair that could be left in their original, subtle tone or be dyed radiant colors. (Beck, John A. The Baker Illustrated Guide to Everyday Life in Bible Times. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2013; 292.)

This practice continues in many parts of the world to this day. On various tours that I have conducted the group will gather around a woman working at the loom to make clothing or carpets. They usually marvel at her skill and finesse.

In the description of the worthy woman (or capable wife), the book of Proverbs says,

She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. (Proverbs 31:13 ESV)

She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. (Proverbs 31:19 ESV)

We see a wonderful example of this at Nazareth Village. Sometimes an older, more experienced woman demonstrates how to spin wool to weave cloth. On this occasion a young lady was using wool previously dyed to make the thread needed for the project we see on the loom.

A young lady spinning wool at the Nazareth Village. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A young lady spinning wool at the Nazareth Village. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

There is a long history behind the wool waiting in a nearby basket, but that is for another time.

A basket of wool waiting to be spun into yarn. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A basket of wool waiting to be spun into yarn. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

You might enjoy a longer article about “Weaving in Bible Times” here.

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