WHAT IS ACCOMPLISHED BY RIPPING APART ONE’S CLOTHING?

 

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NUMBERS 14:6- And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes:

If you feel passionately that your friends, your church, or your children are making a huge mistake, how do you express it? With simple calm, hands folded in your lap? Probably not. Each culture has its way of putting an exclamation point behind a speech. We might wave our hands, heighten our tone of voice, point a finger. Old Testament people added a dimension we no longer use-tearing one’s clothes. Clothes protect the body and ensure personal privacy. Surrendering the covering of clothes makes a person utterly and desperately transparent. “Here I am, all of me. You can take no more than this, unless you take my life,” the speaker is saying. We talk about “putting it all on the line.” As Martin Luther said before the church court, “Here I stand; I can do no other.” Caleb and other biblical characters took their stand by tearing their garments to underscore their seriousness and to persuade their listeners.

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