sackcloth

sackcloth

A dark-colored material of goats’ or camels’ hair used for making grain bags and garments. Joseph’s brothers carried their money and their grain in sacks (Gen 42:25), and the men of Gibeon met Joshua with worn-out sacks upon their pack animals (Josh 9:4). A garment of sackcloth was uncomfortable and was therefore worn by those in mourning. Jacob “put sackcloth on his loins” when mourning for Joseph (Gen 37:34). When national calamity threatened the destruction of the Jewish people in the book of Esther, the Jews lay in sackcloth and ashes, fasting, weeping, and lamenting (Esth 4:1-3). This material must have been inexpensive or of poor quality, for “no one might enter the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth” (Esth 4:2). The use of sackcloth continued for a very long time as it is still mentioned in (1Macc 2:14, 1Macc 3:47) and in the NT (Matt 11:21) as a sign of distress and repentance.

Gen 42:25

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Josh 9:4

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Gen 37:34

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Esth 4:1-3

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Esth 4:2

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1Macc 2:14

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1Macc 3:47

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Matt 11:21

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