HANNAH – WEAVER OF HOMESPUN GARMENTS
Psalm 22:18 “they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.”
My family has survived because our men are shepherds and the women spin the wool from the sheep to create thread, woven into cloth, thus providing clothing for sale in the market place. It’s not an easy task. For one thing, the wool smells. We must first wash it in the river to get the stink off of it. Then we spin – a laborious task which takes much time and perseverance. It seems to take an eternity to spin enough thread for one garment. Once the thread is spun, it must be placed on the loom. Strings of thread are attached to the loom and the shuttle feeds other thread through in the opposite direction. A tool called a comb tightens the cloth together so it is extremely resistant to the elements. Spinning a piece of cloth that has no seams is quite unusual.
Once the cloth is woven, it may be dyed, depending on the customer. If they are wealthy they can afford to purchase dyed cloth of purple, blue or red. The dyes for those colors are extremely expensive. Most dyes are made from herbs and natural items – like berries, flowers and other sources from the earth.
We’d carry the finished products to market and when the Passover occurred, we were sure to make enough to sustain us for the year. It was one of the major festivals and many came to celebrate and purchase some things to take back home with them. The city was buzzing with activity. I was especially proud of the crimson tunic I made. It would certainly gain a good price. It was seamless, tightly woven and the color was royal in every way. Maybe a prince would pass by and purchase it. I was counting on that. I was a pretty good seller of wares. I could convince someone that the crimson was the result of a special dye made from murex sea snails when in actuality, the dye was made from the roots of the madder plant. I was stretching the truth, but someone might see the hidden value in this piece of work.
A centurion from the Praetorian guard approached my tent. This group of soldiers were body guards for the elite military and sometimes city officials. I started my sales pitch. I showed him the crimson tunic and he bought it with very little persuasion on my part. He paid a good price and we were both satisfied with the transaction. I wondered what he would do with a garment of that sort. He was physically much too big to wear it himself. He certainly could afford richer fabric, but I said nothing.
I discovered some months later that the robe was used as a symbol to mock the man they called Jesus. He would wear it along with a crown they crafted out of razor sharp thorns. By the time I heard about it, the crucifixion had already taken place. The soldiers gambled over his clothing, but they didn’t divide the garment because it was seamless and meant to remain in one piece. I don’t know where it wound up, but I know that it covered the body of a true prince – one who thought we were worthy of dying for. Not only that, but He returned to life as He said He would, showing us that we don’t need to fear death. It’s simply a temporary situation for those for whom paradise has been won.