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Smith's Bible Dictionary

a well-known plant with yellowish stem and bright-blue flowers. Its fibres are employed in the manufacture of linen. The root contains an oil, and after the oil is expressed is sued as a food for cattle. Egypt was celebrated for the culture of flax and the manufacture of linen. The spinning was anciently done by women of noble birth. It seems probable that the cultivation of flax for the purpose of the manufacture of linen was by no means confined to Egypt, but that, originating in India, it spread over Asia at a very early period of antiquity. That it was grown in Palestine even before the conquest of that country by the Israelites appears from (Joshua 2:6) The various processes employed in preparing the flax for manufacture into cloth are indicated:

  1. The drying process.
  2. The peeling of the stalks and separation of the fibres.
  3. The hackling. (Isaiah 19:9) That flax was one of the most important crops in Palestine appears from (Hosea 2:5,9)
ATS Bible Dictionary

A well-known plant, upon which the industry of mankind has been exercised with the greatest success and utility, Joshua 2:6 Proverbs 1:13.

Moses speaks of the flax in Egypt, Exodus 9:31, which country has been celebrated, from time immemorial, for its production and manufacture. The "fine linen of Egypt," which was manufactured from this article, is spoken of for its superior excellence, in Scripture, Proverbs 7:16 Ezekiel 27:7. It is however, probable that fine cotton is sometimes to be understood when the Byssus is spoken of. Most of the linen found wrapped around Egyptian mummies will hardly compare with our common sheetings. But some specimens are found of most remarkable fineness; one containing 152 threads in the warp, and 71 in the woof, to each square inch; and another, 270 double threads in the warp, and 110 in the woof, per inch. See COTTON and LINEN.

The prophet Isaiah, in speaking of the gentleness of the Messiah, makes use of a proverbial expression, which is also quoted by Matthew and applied to Jesus: "The bruised reed he shall not break, and the smoking flax he shall not quench," Isaiah 42:3 Matthew 12:20. Here "flax" is used for the wick of a lamp or taper, which was usually made of flax. He will not break a reed already bruised and ready to be broken, nor extinguish a flickering, dying lamp, just ready to expire; that is, he will not oppress his humble and penitent followers, but cherish the feeblest beginnings of true grace.

Easton's Bible Dictionary
(Hebrews pishtah, i.e., "peeled", in allusion to the fact that the stalks of flax when dried were first split or peeled before being steeped in water for the purpose of destroying the pulp). This plant was cultivated from earliest times. The flax of Egypt was destroyed by the plague of hail when it "was bolled", i.e., was forming pods for seed (Exodus 9:31). It was extensively cultivated both in Egypt and Palestine. Reference is made in Joshua 2:6 to the custom of drying flax-stalks by exposing them to the sun on the flat roofs of houses. It was much used in forming articles of clothing such as girdles, also cords and bands (Leviticus 13:48, 52, 59; Deuteronomy 22:11). (see LINEN.)
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (n.) A plant of the genus Linum, esp. the L. usitatissimum, which has a single, slender stalk, about a foot and a half high, with blue flowers. The fiber of the bark is used for making thread and cloth, called linen, cambric, lawn, lace, etc. Linseed oil is expressed from the seed.

2. (n.) The skin or fibrous part of the flax plant, when broken and cleaned by hatcheling or combing.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

flaks pesheth, also pishtah; linon (Matthew 12:20)): The above Hebrew words are applied

(1) to the plant: "The flax was in bloom" (the King James Version "bolled"; Exodus 9:31);

(2) the "stalks of flax," literally, "flax of the tree," put on the roof to dry (Joshua 2:6);

(3) to the fine fibers used for lighting: the King James Version "tow," "flax," the Revised Version (British and American). "A dimly burning wick will he not quench" (Isaiah 42:3); "They are quenched as a wick" (Isaiah 43:17). The thought is perhaps of a scarcely lighted wick just kindled with difficulty from a spark.

(4) In Isaiah 19:9 mention is made of "combed flax," i.e. flax hackled ready for spinning (compare Hosea 2:5, 9 Proverbs 31:13). The reference in Judges 15:14 is to flax twisted into cords.

(5) In Judges 16:9 Isaiah 1:31, mention is made of ne`oreth, "tow," literally, something "shaken off"-as the root implies-from flax.

(6) The plural form pishtim is used in many passages for linen, or linen garments, e.g. Leviticus 13:47, 48, 52, 59 Deuteronomy 22:11 Jeremiah 13:1 ("linen girdle"); Ezekiel 44:17. Linen was in the earliest historic times a favorite material for clothes. The Jewish priestly garments were of pure linen. Egyptian mummies were swathed in linen. Several other Hebrew words were used for linen garments.


Flax is the product of Linum usitatissimum, a herbaceous plant which has been cultivated from the dawn of history. It is perennial and grows to a height of 2 to 3 ft.; it has blue flowers and very fibrous stalks. The tough fibers of the latter, after the decay and removal of the softer woody and gummy material, make up the crude "flax." Linseed, linseed oil and oilcake are useful products of the same plant.

E. W. G. Masterman

3043. linon -- flax, linen
... flax, linen. Part of Speech: Noun, Neuter Transliteration: linon Phonetic Spelling:
(lee'-non) Short Definition: flax, linen Definition: flax, linen. ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/3043.htm - 6k

1040. bussos -- byssus (a species of flax), also (the) linen (made ...
... byssus (a species of flax), also (the) linen (made from it). Part of Speech: Noun,
Feminine Transliteration: bussos Phonetic Spelling: (boos'-sos) Short ...
//strongsnumbers.com/greek2/1040.htm - 6k

Strong's Hebrew
6594. pishtah -- flax
... 6593, 6594. pishtah. 6595 . flax. Transliteration: pishtah Phonetic Spelling:
(pish-taw') Short Definition: flax. Word Origin from ...
/hebrew/6594.htm - 6k

6593. pesheth -- flax, linen
... 6592, 6593. pesheth. 6594 . flax, linen. Transliteration: pesheth Phonetic
Spelling: (pish-teh') Short Definition: linen. Word Origin ...
/hebrew/6593.htm - 6k

5296. neoreth -- tow (for making thread)
... tow. From na'ar; something shaken out, ie Tow (as the refuse of flax) -- tow. see
HEBREW na'ar. 5295, 5296. neoreth. 5297 . Strong's Numbers.
/hebrew/5296.htm - 6k

8305. sariq -- carded or combed
... fine. From the same as soreq in the original sense of piercing; hetchelling (or
combing flax), ie (concretely) tow (by extension, linen cloth) -- fine. ...
/hebrew/8305.htm - 6k


Jesus Heals Multitudes Beside the Sea of Galilee.
... 19 He shall not strive, nor cry aloud; Neither shall any one hear his voice in the
streets.20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not ...
/.../mcgarvey/the four-fold gospel/xl jesus heals multitudes beside.htm

Christ the Arrester of Incipient Evil and the Nourisher of ...
reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench.... ...
/.../maclaren/expositions of holy scripture h/christ the arrester of incipient.htm

Strength in the Weak.
... "He is Faithful that Promised." "A bruised reed shall He not break, and smoking
flax shall He not quench.""Matthew 12:20. Strength in the Weak. ...
/.../macduff/the faithful promiser/17th day strength in the.htm

The Great Change
... and the fifth verse, you will find this same Ephraim saying, "I will go after my
lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and ...
/.../spurgeon/spurgeons sermons volume 42 1896/the great change.htm

... most beautiful grass, and fine crops of corn with seven or nine ears to one stalk;
grand fruits of all kinds, melons, pumpkins, and cucumbers, flax for weaving ...
//christianbookshelf.org/yonge/the chosen people/lesson iii egypt.htm

... harlot;... for she said, I will go after my lovers that give me my bread
and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink... ...
//christianbookshelf.org/bullinger/commentary on revelation/laodicea.htm

The Saint Having Turned to God the Father, Explains Why He Does ...
... From whence, I ask, shall I measure Thee? The prophet saw a line of flax with which
the angel measured Jerusalem. An angel was measuring, not Arius. ...
/.../ambrose/works and letters of st ambrose/chapter xix the saint having.htm

Sweet Comfort for Feeble Saints
... "A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench,
till he send forth judgment unto victory""Matthew 12:20. ...
/.../spurgeon/spurgeons sermons volume 1 1855/sweet comfort for feeble saints.htm

From the World to God
... to the convent, he found out that on a certain day which was S. Margaret's day,
she and the other young sisters were to go out into a field to pull their flax. ...
/.../bevan/three friends of god/chapter lviii from the world.htm

They Indeed who Say that Baptism is not to be Repeated...
... woman whom the prophet Hosea points out, who said, "I will go after my lovers, that
give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, and everything that ...
/.../writings in connection with the donatist controversy /chapter 19 25 they.htm

Flax (11 Occurrences)
... Easton's Bible Dictionary (Hebrews pishtah, ie, "peeled", in allusion to the fact
that the stalks of flax when dried were first split or peeled before being ...
/f/flax.htm - 13k

Flax-cord (1 Occurrence)
Flax-cord. Flax, Flax-cord. Flay . Multi-Version Concordance
Flax-cord (1 Occurrence). Ezekiel 40:3 And he brought me ...
/f/flax-cord.htm - 6k

Linen (111 Occurrences)
... Easton's Bible Dictionary. (1.) Hebrews, pishet, pishtah, denotes "flax," of which
linen is made (Isaiah 19:9); wrought flax, ie, "linen cloth", Leviticus 13:47 ...
/l/linen.htm - 50k

Tow (3 Occurrences)
... Easton's Bible Dictionary (Judges 16:9). See FLAX. ... 1. (n.) The coarse and broken
part of flax or hemp, separated from the finer part by the hatchel or swingle. ...
/t/tow.htm - 8k

Rahab (14 Occurrences)
... The fact of her covering the spies with bundles of flax which lay on her house-roof
(2:6) is an `undesigned coincidence' which strictly corroborates the ...
/r/rahab.htm - 16k

Bolled (1 Occurrence)
... It is the fact that in Egypt when barley is in ear (about February) flax is
blossoming. Noah Webster's Dictionary. (imp. & pp) of Boll. Int. ...
/b/bolled.htm - 7k

Flowers (42 Occurrences)
... FLOWERS. flou'-erz (BLOOM, BLOSSOM, etc.): (1) gibh`ol, literally, "a small cup,"
hence, calyx or corolla of a flower (Exodus 9:31, "The flax was in bloom"). ...
/f/flowers.htm - 22k

Wool (34 Occurrences)
... wool (tsemer; erion): Wool and flax were the fibers most used by the ancient weavers. ...
Proverbs 31:13 She seeks wool and flax, and works eagerly with her hands. ...
/w/wool.htm - 21k

Line (131 Occurrences)
... Noah Webster's Dictionary 1. (n.) Flax; linen. 2. (n.) The longer and finer
fiber of flax. 3. (vt) To cover the inner surface of ...
/l/line.htm - 43k

Flower (33 Occurrences)
... Exodus 9:31 And the flax and the barley were damaged, for the barley was almost
ready to be cut and the flax was in flower. (BBE YLT). ...
/f/flower.htm - 18k

Bible Concordance
Flax (11 Occurrences)

Matthew 12:20 He won't break a bruised reed. He won't quench a smoking flax, until he leads justice to victory.

Exodus 9:31 The flax and the barley were struck, for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was in bloom.

Joshua 2:6 But she had brought them up to the roof, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof.

Judges 15:14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines shouted as they met him: and the Spirit of Yahweh came mightily on him, and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands dropped from off his hands.

Proverbs 31:13 She seeks wool and flax, and works eagerly with her hands.

Isaiah 19:9 Moreover those who work in combed flax, and those who weave white cloth, will be confounded.

Isaiah 42:3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.

Isaiah 43:17 Who is bringing forth chariot and horse, A force, even a strong one: 'Together they lie down -- they rise not, They have been extinguished, As flax they have been quenched.'

Ezekiel 40:3 He brought me there; and, behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate.

Hosea 2:5 For their mother has played the prostitute. She who conceived them has done shamefully; for she said,'I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.'

Hosea 2:9 Therefore I will take back my grain in its time, and my new wine in its season, and will pluck away my wool and my flax which should have covered her nakedness.



Flax in Egypt

Flax in Palestine

Flax: Linen Made From

Flax: Robes Made of

Flax: Smoking Flax not Quenched

Related Terms

Flax-cord (1 Occurrence)

Linen (111 Occurrences)

Tow (3 Occurrences)

Rahab (14 Occurrences)

Bolled (1 Occurrence)

Flowers (42 Occurrences)

Wool (34 Occurrences)

Line (131 Occurrences)

Flower (33 Occurrences)

Forming (27 Occurrences)

Fine (184 Occurrences)

Ruined (65 Occurrences)

Damaged (44 Occurrences)

Bloom (9 Occurrences)

Bud (23 Occurrences)

Budding (8 Occurrences)

Smoking (9 Occurrences)


Smitten (215 Occurrences)

Smoldering (4 Occurrences)

Barley (35 Occurrences)

Dress (38 Occurrences)

Headed (7 Occurrences)

Trade (33 Occurrences)

Thread (32 Occurrences)

Break (257 Occurrences)

Almost (27 Occurrences)

Struck (373 Occurrences)

Flawless (7 Occurrences)

Destroyed (377 Occurrences)

Reed (41 Occurrences)

Yarn (37 Occurrences)

Quench (14 Occurrences)

Quencheth (1 Occurrence)

Victory (71 Occurrences)

Net-works (3 Occurrences)

Networks (5 Occurrences)

Order (809 Occurrences)

Lint (1 Occurrence)

Leads (64 Occurrences)

Lehi (5 Occurrences)

Last (1087 Occurrences)

Grass (92 Occurrences)

Webbing (1 Occurrence)

Weave (4 Occurrences)

Weavers (4 Occurrences)

Won't (144 Occurrences)

Willow (1 Occurrence)

Fruit (318 Occurrences)

Flay (3 Occurrences)

Till (774 Occurrences)

Ripens (2 Occurrences)

Ropes (32 Occurrences)

Rope (10 Occurrences)

Rock (176 Occurrences)

Rot (15 Occurrences)

Extinguished (14 Occurrences)

Distaff (2 Occurrences)

Mightily (36 Occurrences)

Moderately (1 Occurrence)

Measuring-reed (6 Occurrences)

Plaster (13 Occurrences)

Pull (32 Occurrences)

Brake (80 Occurrences)

Brings (155 Occurrences)

Boon (4 Occurrences)

Bindings (1 Occurrence)

Battered (3 Occurrences)

Bruised (36 Occurrences)

Charred (4 Occurrences)

Comb (3 Occurrences)

Combed (1 Occurrence)

Conceiver (1 Occurrence)

Arranged (32 Occurrences)

Shamefully (15 Occurrences)

Stuffs (1 Occurrence)

Secreted (1 Occurrence)

Spin (4 Occurrences)

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