Coat (כּתֹנֶת, ketho'neth, or כֻּתֹּנֶת, kutto'neth, probably meaning covering; hence Greek χιτών) is the word employed by our translators for the ancient tunic (q.v.), which was in modern phrase a shirt worn next to the skin (Le 16:4), by females as well as males (Song 5:3; 2Sa 13:18), and especially by the priests and Levites (Ex 28:4; Ex 29:5; Ne 7:70,72). The same term is used of the "coats of skins" prepared by the Almighty for the first human pair (Ge 3:21), which were probably nothing more than aprons, or a short skirt bound at the waist. The tunic was commonly (at least with males) without sleeves, and usually reached to the knees. It was generally made of linen, but for the winter was frequently made of wool; and the rich no doubt wore tunics of byssus ("fine linen," i.e. [?] cotton, then very rare). It was sometimes woven entire without a seam, like the modern hose (Joh 19:23). It was also occasionally of a gay pattern; such was "Joseph's coat of many colors" (Genesis 38), that is, of different colored threads in stripes or plaided. Sometimes two tunics seem to have been worn at once, either for ornament or luxury, for the term is frequently used in the plural of an individual (Mt 10:10; Mark, 6:9; Lu 3:11). In that case the outer one probably supplied the place of the "cloak" or pallium. SEE CLOTHING; SEE DRESS, etc. The "fisher's coat" (ἐπενδύτης) mentioned in Joh 21:7, was evidently an outer garment or cloak, and Peter is said to be "naked" before throwing it about him, as having on only the tunic, or perhaps no more than a strip of cloth about the loins, like the modern Arabs. The little "coat" made by Hannah for the young Samuel (1Sa 2:19) was the מֵעַיל (meil'), or outer dress, elsewhere rendered "robe," "mantle," or "cloak" [q.v.]. The "coats" of the three Hebrew children in the furnace (Da 3:21,27) are called in the original Chaldee סִרבָּלַין (sarbalin', Sept. σαράβαρα), thought by some to be the Persian name for long and wide trowsers, whence Greek σαράβαλλα, Lat. sarabala, etc., but by others, with greater probability, to be kindred with the Arabic name for a long shirt or cloak, which is corroborated by the Talmudic interpretation of mantles, i.e. the pallium or outer dress. (See Smith's Dict. of Class. Antiq. s.v. Tunica, etc.) SEE ATTIRE.

Definition of coat

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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