And worse yet, we hear of Israelite women who, prior to the reforms of Josiah, took it on themselves to weave in service to the pagan goddess Asherah (2 Kings 23:7).
Weaving also appears in figures of speech related to creation and the end of life. The cloth created by the weaver was both highly personalized in design and carefully shaped by the attentive hands of the artist. This makes weaving an apt metaphor for God’s creation of individuals. David described his beginning in this elegant fashion: “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body” (Ps 139:15-16; also Job 10:11).
The poetry of the Bible also describes the end of life with imagery that links it to the art of weaving. Feeling his life ebbing to a close all too soon, Job likened the passing of his days to the swift movement of the weaver’s shuttle as it raced back and forth: “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and they come to an end without hope” (Job 7:6). When Hezekiah faced death, he also expressed his feelings with images of weaving: “Like a weaver I have rolled up my life, and he has cut me off from the loom” (Isa 38:12).
When it was time for the shepherd to move to a new pasture, the ground loom’s stakes were pulled up and the cloth was rolled up for transport. And when the cloth’s creation had come to a close, the weaver cut the warp threads from the loom.