Clothes were not easy to come by for most people and were very costly. The poor had only the clothes they stood up in. It was therefore realistic to trade a person for a pair of shoes (Amos 2:6), and it was quite revolutionary for John Baptist to tell people to give away spare coats (Luke 3:11). It is therefore interesting to see that in their codification of the law in the first

century A.D., the Jews gave a list of clothes that might be rescued from a burning house on the Sabbath-interesting because the list indicates the value of clothes and mentions garments that were familiar at the time.

The list is divided into two sections, for men and for women (children wore scaled-down versions of adults’ clothes). Many of the names are Greek names for the garments, but the basic patterns of clothing are exactly the same. So important were clothes that it was a sign of intense grief or mourning to tear them into pieces. (Job 1:20).


Paul refers to the clothing worn by a soldier. He combines Isaiah’s prophecy of the Armour of God (Isa 59:16-17) with what he knows of the Roman soldier.

Underneath the soldier’s Armour was a foundation garment to ‘hold him in’ so that the Armour (leather jacket and skirt, covered with metal plates) could fit on top. Roman soldiers had hob-nailed sandals that gripped the ground well.

Paul uses the description to say taht the devil will not be able to bring Christians down if they are strictly honest, utterly just in their dealings, and not easily upset. Add to this a salvation that enables them to live according to God’s standard, with access to and trust in what God has said, and the Christian is well-protected. Eph 6:10-17.

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