on Isaiah 3 :23
The glasses - The conjunction ו vau, and - And the glasses, is added here by forty-three of Kennicott's and thirty-four of De Rossi's MSS., and one of my own, ancient, as well as by many editions.
And the veils. "The transparent garments" - Τα διαφανη Λακωνικα, Sept. A kind of silken dress, transparent, like gauze; worn only by the most elegant women, and such as dressed themselves elegantius quam necesse esset probis, "more elegantly than modest women should." Such garments are worn to the present day; garments that not only show the shape of every part of the body, but the very color of the skin. This is evidently the case in some scores of drawings of Asiatic females now before me. This sort of garments was afterwards in use among the Greeks. Prodicus, in his celebrated fable (Xenoph. Memorab. Socr. lib. ii.) exhibits the personage of Sloth in this dress: Εσθητα δε, εξ ἡς αν μαλιστα ὡρα διαλαμποι: -
"Her robe betray'd
Through the clear texture every tender limb,
Height'ning the charms it only seem'd to shade;
And as it flow'd adown so loose and thin,
Her stature show'd more tall, more snowy white her skin."
They were called multitia and coa (scil, vestimenta) by the Romans, from their being invented, or rather introduced into Greece, by one Pamphila of the island of Cos. This, like other Grecian fashions, was received at Rome, when luxury began to prevail under the emperors. It was sometimes worn even by the men, but looked upon as a mark of extreme effeminacy. See Juvenal, Sat. ii., 65, etc. Publius Syrus, who lived when the fashion was first introduced, has given a humorous satirical description of it in two lines, which by chance have been preserved: -
"Aequum est, induere nuptam ventum textilem?
Palam prostare nudam in nebula linea?"
on Isaiah 3 :23
The glasses - There is a great variety of opinion about the expression used here. That ancient Jews had "looking-glasses," or mirrors, is manifest from the account in Exodus 38:8. These "mirrors" were made of polished plates of brass. The Vulgate and Chaldee understand this of "mirrors." The Septuagint understands by it a "thin, transparent covering like gauze," perhaps like silk. The word is derived from the verb "to reveal, to make apparent," etc., and applies either to mirrors or to a splendid shining garment. It is probable that their excessive vanity was evinced by carrying small mirrors in their hands - that they might examine and adjust their dress as might be necessary. This is now done by females of Eastern nations. Shaw informs us that, 'In the Levant, looking-glasses are a part of female dress. The Moorish women in Barabary are so fond of their ornaments, and particularly of their looking-glasses, which they hang upon their breasts, that they will not lay them aside, even when, after the drudgery of the day, they are obliged to go two or three miles with a pitcher or a goat-skin to fetch water.' - "Burder." In Egypt, the mirror was made of mixed metal, chiefly of copper, and this metal was so highly polished, that in some of the mirrors discovered at Thebes, the luster has been partially restored, though they have been buried in the earth for many centuries. The mirror was nearly round, inserted in a handle of wood, stone, or metal, whose form varied according to the taste of the owner. The picture in the book will give you an idea of the ancient form of the mirror, and will show that they might be easily carried abroad as an ornament in public; compare Wilkinson's "Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians," vol. iii., pp. 384-386.
And the fine linen - Anciently, the most delicate and fine garments were made from linen which was obtained chiefly from Egypt; see the note at Luke 16:19.
And the hoods - Or, "turbans."
And the veils - This does not differ probably from the veils worn now, except that those worn by Eastern females are "large," and made so as to cover the head and the shoulders, so that they may be drawn closely round the body, and effectually conceal the person; compare Genesis 24:65.
on Isaiah 3 :23