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Smith's Bible Dictionary

The only undoubted notice of silk in the Bible occurs in (Revelation 18:12) where it is mentioned among the treasures of the typical Babylon. It is however, in the highest degree probable that the texture was known to the Hebrews from the time that their commercial relations were extended by Solomon. The well-known classical name of the substance does not occur in the Hebrew language.

ATS Bible Dictionary

In the time of the Ptolemies, came to Greece and Rome from the far east of China, etc., by the way of Alexandria, and was sold for its weight in gold. It sometimes came in the form of skeins, and was woven into a light and thin gauze. It is mentioned in Revelation 18:12, and probably in Ezekiel 16:10,13. In Genesis 41:42 and Proverbs 31:22, the word rendered silk in our version is the same that is elsewhere correctly rendered fine linen. It is not known how early or extensively the Jews used it.

Easton's Bible Dictionary
Hebrews demeshek, "damask," silk cloth manufactured at Damascus, Amos 3:12. A.V., "in the corner of a bed, and in Damascus in a couch;" R.V., "in the corner of a couch, and on the silken cushions of a bed" (marg., "in Damascus on a bed").

Hebrews meshi, (Ezek. 16:10, 13, rendered "silk"). In Genesis 41:42 (marg. A.V.), Proverbs 31:22 (R.V., "fine linen"), the word "silk" ought to be "fine linen."

Silk was common in New Testament times (Revelation 18:12).

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (n.) The fine, soft thread produced by various species of caterpillars in forming the cocoons within which the worm is enclosed during the pupa state, especially that produced by the larvae of Bombyx mori.

2. (n.) Hence, thread spun, or cloth woven, from the above-named material.

3. (n.) That which resembles silk, as the filiform styles of the female flower of maize.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

silk'-wurm ((1) meshi (Ezekiel 16:10, 13), perhaps from mashah, "to draw" "to extract" compare Arabic masa' of same meaning; Septuagint trichapton, "woven of hair"; (2) serikon (Revelation 18:12); (31 shesh; compare Arabic shash, a thin cotton material; (4) buts; compare Arabic 'abyad, "white," from bad; (5) bussos, "fine linen," later used of cotton and silk): The only undoubted reference to silk in the Bible is the passage cited from Revelation, where it is mentioned among the merchandise of Babylon. Serikon, "silk," is from Ser, the Greek name of China, whence silk was first obtained. The equivalent Latin sericum occurs frequently in classical authors, and is found in the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) (Esther 8:15) for buts, "fine linen." For buts, bussos, and shesh English Versions of the Bible has nearly always "fine linen," but for shesh in Proverbs 31:22, the King James Version has "silk," and in Genesis 41:42 and Exodus 25:4, the King James Version margin has "silk" and the Revised Version margin has "cotton."


There can be little doubt of the correctness of English Versions of the Bible "silk" for meshi in Ezekiel 16:10, "I girded thee about with fine linen (shesh), and' covered thee with silk (meshi)," and in the similar passage, Ezekiel 16:13.

Silk is produced by all Lepidoptera, butterflies and moths, but it is of great economic importance only in the Chinese silkworm, Bombyx mori, whose larva, a yellowish-white caterpillar from 2 to 3 in. long, feeds on the leaves of the mulberry (Morus). A pair of large glands on the two sides of the stomach secrete a viscous fluid, which is conveyed by ducts to an orifice under the mouth. On issuing into the air, the fine stream is hardened into the silk fiber, which the caterpillar spins into a cocoon. Within the cocoon the caterpillar is presently transformed into the chrysalis or pupa. The cocoons from which silk is to be spun are subjected to heat which kills the pupae and prevents them from being transformed into the perfect insects or moths, which would otherwise damage the cocoons as they made their exit.

The raising of silkworms, and the spinning and weaving of silk are now important industries in Syria, though the insect was unknown in Bible times. It was introduced to the Mediterranean region from China a few centuries after Christ. Coarse silk is produced from the Chinese oak silk-moth, Saturnia pernyi, and from the Japanese oak silk-moth, Saturnia yama-mai. The largest moth of Syria and Palestine is Saturnia pyri, from which silk has also been spun, but not commercially.

See , further, WEAVING.

Alfred Ely Day

4596. serikos -- silk.
... silk. Part of Speech: Adjective Transliteration: serikos Phonetic Spelling:
(say-ree-kos') Short Definition: silken Definition: silken, silk. ... silk. ...
// - 6k

4617b. sirikos -- Seric, ie silk.
... 4617a, 4617b. sirikos. 4618 . Seric, ie silk. Transliteration: sirikos
Short Definition: silk. Word Origin from serikos; from Ser ...
// - 5k

Strong's Hebrew
4897. meshi -- (costly material for garments) perhaps silk
... 4896, 4897. meshi. 4898 . (costly material for garments) perhaps silk.
Transliteration: meshi Phonetic Spelling: (meh'-shee) Short Definition: silk. ...
/hebrew/4897.htm - 6k

1833. demesheq -- perhaps silk
... 1832, 1833. demesheq. 1834 . perhaps silk. Transliteration: demesheq
Phonetic Spelling: (dem-eh'-shek) Short Definition: cover. ...
/hebrew/1833.htm - 6k

8336. shesh -- byssus
... Word Origin of foreign origin Definition byssus NASB Word Usage fine linen (16),
fine...linen (21), finely...linen (1). blue, fine twined linen, marble, silk. ...
/hebrew/8336.htm - 6k


Personal Notes: Relics Nearby that the Three Kings had Given to ...
... in his house in what might certainly be described as little bundles', she opened
one of these at once and identified a little piece of dark red silk as part of ...
/.../the life of the blessed virgin mary/xv personal notes relics nearby.htm

The Presentation of the Blessed virgin in the Temple
... and a robe of different colors. There were also two wreaths of silk and
wool, and an arched crown. One of the priests himself cut ...
/.../emmerich/the life of the blessed virgin mary/iii the presentation of the.htm

Quaker City Excursion
... A bright, welcoming smile lit up her face. Her dress was white foulard
silk, dotted with blue and richly trimmed with blue satin. ...
/.../griswold/sixty years with plymouth church/quaker city excursion.htm

Continues the Same Subject: Explains the Prayer of Union by a ...
... You have heard how wonderfully silk is made"in a way such as God alone could
plan"how it all comes from an egg resembling a tiny pepper-corn. ...
/.../teresa/the interior castle or the mansions/chapter ii continues the same 3.htm

Of the Loving Fear of Spouses; a Continuation of the Same Subject.
... see, Theotimus, an honourable lady who, not willing to eat her bread idle, any more
than she did whom Solomon so much extolled, [553] will lay silk in goodly ...
/.../francis/treatise on the love of god/chapter xvi of the loving.htm

Arrangement and Furniture of the Church
... To these custom has added other convenient and seemly appointments of linen
and silk. The "chalice veil" is a square of silk, embroidered ...
/.../regester/the worship of the church/arrangement and furniture of the.htm

Marriage of the Blessed virgin to Joseph
... This was made of white silk with gold flowers: it was half a yard wide,
and was set with pearls and shining jewels at the breast. ...
/.../emmerich/the life of the blessed virgin mary/vii marriage of the blessed.htm

Change not Always Improvement.
... What sort of being the said Hercules was in Omphale's silk, the description
of Omphale in Hercules' hide has inferentially depicted. ...
/.../tertullian/on the pallium/chapter iv change not always improvement.htm

Devout Customs and Usages
... "The Stole is a strip of silk about three inches wide and eight and a half
feet long, with ends ornamented by embroidery and fringed. ...
/.../regester/the worship of the church/devout customs and usages.htm

Ancient Civilisation {5} {6}
... If you assert with the old proverb, that you may make a silk purse out of a sow's
ear, you will be stupider than I dare suppose anyone here to be, if you ...
/.../kingsley/historical lectures and essays/ancient civilisation 5 6.htm

Silk (4 Occurrences)
... Easton's Bible Dictionary Hebrews demeshek, "damask," silk cloth manufactured at
Damascus, Amos 3:12. ... Hebrews meshi, (Ezek. 16:10, 13, rendered "silk"). ...
/s/silk.htm - 12k

... (n.) The larva of any one of numerous species of bombycid moths, which spins a large
amount of strong silk in constructing its cocoon before ...SILK; SILKWORM. ...
/s/silkworm.htm - 9k

Damask (1 Occurrence)
... Noah Webster's Dictionary 1. (n.) Damask silk; silk woven with an elaborate
pattern of flowers and the like. 2. (n.) Linen so woven ...
/d/damask.htm - 7k

Cocoon (1 Occurrence)
... It is formed of threads of silk spun by the worm just before leaving the
larval state. From these the silk of commerce is prepared. ...
/c/cocoon.htm - 7k

Costly (26 Occurrences)
... Revelation 18:12 cargoes of gold and silver, of jewels and pearls, of fine linen,
purple and silk, and of scarlet stuff; all kinds of rare woods, and all kinds ...
/c/costly.htm - 14k

Byssus (40 Occurrences)
... Noah Webster's Dictionary 1. (n.) A cloth of exceedingly fine texture, used by the
ancients. It is disputed whether it was of cotton, linen, or silk. ...
/b/byssus.htm - 19k

Fine (184 Occurrences)
... 8. (superl.) Thin; attenuate; keen; as, a fine edge. 9. (superl.) Made of
fine materials; light; delicate; as, fine linen or silk. 10. ...
/f/fine.htm - 47k

Gauze (2 Occurrences)
... 1. (n.) A very thin, slight, transparent stuff, generally of silk; also, any
fabric resembling silk gauze; as, wire gauze; cotton gauze. ...
/g/gauze.htm - 7k

Water (4571 Occurrences)
... Hence, of the first water, that is, of the first excellence. 6. (n.) A wavy, lustrous
pattern or decoration such as is imparted to linen, silk, metals, etc. ...
/w/water.htm - 23k

Insects (17 Occurrences)
... creeping thing, cricket, crimson, flea, fly, gnat, grasshopper, honey, hornet, locust,
louse, (lice), moth, palmer-worm, sandfly, scarlet-worm, silk-worm. ...
/i/insects.htm - 14k

Silk (4 Occurrences)

Revelation 18:12
merchandise of gold, silver, precious stones, pearls, fine linen, purple, silk, scarlet, all expensive wood, every vessel of ivory, every vessel made of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble;

Proverbs 31:22
She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

Ezekiel 16:10
I clothed you also with embroidered work, and shod you with sealskin, and I girded you about with fine linen, and covered you with silk.

Amos 3:12
Thus says Yahweh: "As the shepherd rescues out of the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear, so shall the children of Israel be rescued who sit in Samaria on the corner of a couch, and on the silken cushions of a bed."
(Root in WEB ASV BBE)



Silk: Merchandise of

Silk: Wearing Apparel Made of

Related Terms


Damask (1 Occurrence)

Cocoon (1 Occurrence)

Costly (26 Occurrences)

Byssus (40 Occurrences)

Fine (184 Occurrences)

Gauze (2 Occurrences)

Water (4571 Occurrences)

Insects (17 Occurrences)

Figured (4 Occurrences)

Throw (135 Occurrences)

Rustle (1 Occurrence)

Rash (18 Occurrences)

Embroidered (26 Occurrences)

Embroidery (12 Occurrences)

Delicate (32 Occurrences)

Broidered (9 Occurrences)

Needlework (23 Occurrences)

Marble (5 Occurrences)

Cloth (57 Occurrences)


Phoenicia (6 Occurrences)

Woven (40 Occurrences)

Dress (38 Occurrences)

Yarn (37 Occurrences)


Net (91 Occurrences)

Union (24 Occurrences)

Ornamental (4 Occurrences)

Jewels (54 Occurrences)

Love (703 Occurrences)

Lace (7 Occurrences)

Line (131 Occurrences)

Lading (7 Occurrences)

Glossy (2 Occurrences)

Gown (1 Occurrence)

Woods (37 Occurrences)


Weave (4 Occurrences)

Wreath (21 Occurrences)

Waved (29 Occurrences)

Flower (33 Occurrences)

Farm (9 Occurrences)

Feel (58 Occurrences)

Folding (14 Occurrences)

Ferret (1 Occurrence)

Fringe (7 Occurrences)

Fabric (8 Occurrences)

Fan (8 Occurrences)

Twist (5 Occurrences)

Tassel (5 Occurrences)

Taste (46 Occurrences)

Thread (32 Occurrences)

Thyne (1 Occurrence)

Thrower (1 Occurrence)

Rich (140 Occurrences)

Royalty (7 Occurrences)

Regal (1 Occurrence)

Rare (8 Occurrences)

Raw (10 Occurrences)

Ribbon (7 Occurrences)

Expensive (6 Occurrences)

Dressing (7 Occurrences)

Decked (10 Occurrences)

Mitre (10 Occurrences)

Mode (5 Occurrences)

Moth (10 Occurrences)

Plaster (13 Occurrences)

Perfumed (10 Occurrences)

Patch (5 Occurrences)

Pearl (5 Occurrences)

Prosperously (5 Occurrences)

Persian (4 Occurrences)

Pearls (8 Occurrences)

Porpoise (14 Occurrences)

Badger's (1 Occurrence)

Badgers (16 Occurrences)

Bronze (146 Occurrences)

Becamest (5 Occurrences)

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