Rend is the translation of.several Heb. and Gr. words in the Bible. The following only are of special significance.
1. The rending (קָרִע, ῥηγνυμι) of one's clothes, is an expression frequently used in Scripture as the token of the highest grief. Reuben, to denote his sorrow for Joseph, rent his clothes (Ge 37:29); Jacob did the like (ver. 34), and Ezra, to express the concern and uneasiness of his mind, and the apprehensions he entertained of the divine displeasure on account of the people's unlawful marriages, is said to have rent his garments and mantle (Ezr 9:3), that is, both his inner and upper garment. This action was also an expression of indignation and holy zeal; the high-priest rent his clothes, pretending that our Saviour had spoken blasphemy (Mt 26:65), and so did the apostles when the people intended to pay them divine honors (Ac 14:14). SEE CLOTHING.
To rend the garments was in Eastern countries and among ancient nations a symbolical action, expressive of sorrow, fear, or contrition. (See the monographs on the subject in Latin by Grunewold [Hafn. 1708]; Hilliger [Wittenb. 1716]; Rohrensee [bid. 1668]; Schroder, [Jen. 1716]; and Wickmannshausen [Wittenb. 1716].) The passage in Joe 2:13, "Rend your hearts, and not your garments," is in allusion to this practice. But the phrase here is a Hebraism, meaning "' Rend your hearts rather than your garments," or "Rend your hearts, and not your garments only;" for the prophet does not forbid the external appearances of mourning, but he cautions them against a merely hypocritical show of sorrow, and exhorts them to cherish that contrite and broken spirit which is acceptable in the sight of God. SEE BURIAL; SEE MOURNING.
2. In the prophet Jer 4:30, when he denounces the divine judgments upon the people, it is said, "Though thou rentest (קָרִע) thy face with painting;" the Hebrew has, instead of face, "eyes," and the expression is an allusion to the Eastern practice of painting the eyes, which we have explained under the words EYE and PAINT.