5188 tearing of clothes
Dictionary of Bible Themes

Dictionary of Bible Themes  »  5000 Humanity  »  5125 Parts of the body and clothing  »  5188 tearing of clothes

Primarily associated with mourning, such action was an expression of deep sorrow and heartfelt grief. It was also a natural reaction at times of great distress and in cases of sincere repentance.

The tearing of clothes was a sign of mourning

It was a demonstration of grief

2 Samuel 1:11-12 See also 2 Samuel 13:30-31; 2 Kings 2:11-12; Job 1:20; Job 2:12

It was often associated with wearing sackcloth

Genesis 37:34 See also 2 Samuel 3:31-32

The high priest was forbidden to tear his clothes in mourning

Leviticus 21:10-12 See also Leviticus 10:1-7

The tearing of clothes indicated deep distress

Judges 11:34-35 Jephthah had vowed to sacrifice whatever came out of the door of his house to meet him. See also Genesis 37:29; Genesis 44:12-13; Numbers 14:1-9; Joshua 7:3-6; 2 Kings 6:26-30; Kings 18:28-19:4 pp Isaiah 36:13-37:4; Esther 3:13-4:1; Acts 14:8-18

Repentance was sometimes accompanied by the tearing of clothes

1 Kings 21:20-27 See also Jeremiah 36:21-24 an indication of the lack of repentance; Joel 2:12-14 God requires that the tearing of clothes should express genuine repentance.

Other references to the tearing of clothes

As an expression of anger

Matthew 26:63-65 pp Mark 14:61-63

To stop the spread of mildew

See also Leviticus 13:53-58

As a symbol of the dividing of the kingdom

1 Samuel 15:27-28

See also

1670  symbols
5177  robes
5198  weeping
5419  mourning
5795  bereavement
5899  lament
6732  repentance
6742  sackcloth & ashes
7376  high priest
8429  fasting
9020  death

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