Fine linen with broidered work from Egypt
From whence came the finest and whitest linen; and which they embroidered with needlework, which looked very beautiful. Pliny F24 says there were four sorts of linen in Egypt, called Tanitic, Pelusiac, Butic, and Tentyritic, from the names and provinces where they were produced; of the second sort the garments of the high priest among the Jews were made; for they say F25, on the day of atonement he was in the morning clothed with Pelusiac garments; that is, with garments made of linen which came from Pelusium, a well known city in Egypt; and which Jarchi
F26 says was the best, and in the greatest esteem; and one of the Misnic commentators says F1 that the linen from Pelusium is fine and beautiful, and comes from the land of Raamses; and observes, that, in the Jerusalem Targum, Raamses is said to be Pelusium; but though they are not one and the same place, yet they are both in the same country, Egypt, and near one another; and with this sort of linen the priests of Hercules were clothed, according to Silius F2; and so the (vv) , "shesh", or linen, of which the garments of the Jewish priests in common were made, was linen from Egypt; and which their Rabbins F3 say is the best, and is only found there. The Phoenicians, of which Tyre was a principal city, took linen of Egypt, and traded with other nations with it, as well as made use of it for themselves; particularly with the Ethiopians, the inhabitants of the isle of Cernes, now called the Canaries, who took of them Egyptian goods, as linen; in lieu of which they had of them elephants' teeth, the skins of lions, leopards, deer, and other creatures F4: now such fine linen as this was that which thou spreadest forth to be thy sail:
not content with canvass or coarse linen, which would have done as well, they must have the finest Egyptian linen, and this very curiously embroidered, to make their sails of they spread upon their masts, to receive the wind; at least this they spread "for a flag" F5, standard or ensign, as, the word may be rendered; when they hoisted up their colours on any occasion, they were such as these: "blue and purple, from the isles of Elishah, was that which covered thee"; meaning not garments made of cloth of these colours, which the master of the vessel or mariners wore; but the tilts, or tents, or canopies erected on the decks, where they sat sheltered from the rain, wind, or sun; these were made of stuff died of a violet and purple colour, the best they could get; and which they fetched from the isles of Elishah, or the Aegean sea, from Coa, Rhodia, Nisyrus, and other places famous for purple, as Tyre itself afterwards was. The Targum is,
``from the province of Italy;''or of Apulia, as others F6; see ( Revelation 18:12 Revelation 18:16 ) .
F24 Nat. Hist. l. 19. c. 1.
F25 Misn. Yoma, c. 3. sect. 7.
F26 Gloss. in T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 34. 2.
F1 Bartenora in Misn. Yoma, ib.
F2 "----Velantur corpore lino, Et Pelusiaco praefulget stamine vertex." L. 3. de Bell. Punic.
F3 Aben Ezra in Exod. xxv. 4.
F4 Vid. Reinesium de Lingua Punica, c. 2. sect. 13.
F5 (owl) "in signum, [sive] vexillum", Gussetius; so some in Bootius.
F6 So R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 48. 1.