[b-hebrew] Coat of sleeves, or many colors?

Robert Heard Christopher.Heard at pepperdine.edu
Sun Aug 7 20:01:26 EDT 2005

Ben, Dora, et al.,

It seems to me that the drawings Ben mentions below would actually cut 
in favor of the "long-sleeved tunic" reading, because Joseph's coat is 
supposed to be _atypical_. If you take the drawing as indicating that 
colored dress was _typical_ for Semites, then there is nothing special 
about Joseph's coat. But if the normal Semitic working attire is a 
sleeveless tunic with a short skirt, and Jacob gives Joseph a 
long-sleeved tunic with a long skirt (going to the PS of his hands and 
his feet), then giving the coat is like exempting Joseph from work 
(because you couldn't do the manual labor as well tangled up in those 
sleeves). Thus Joseph being at home later in the chapter while his 
brothers were shepherding the flocks. There's nothing definitive about 
this, but I think things tend to tip this direction.

Ben Crick wrote:

>On Sun  7 Aug 2005 (16:49:07), villandra at austin.rr.com wrote:
>> The lessons for this Sunday included the story of the sale of Joseph
>> into slavery by his brothers.
>> MInister said that the "coat of many colors" is a translation error and
>> it was actually a "coat with sleeves".
>> I understood that the coat of many colors was a typical Canaanite
>> garment. 
>> Which actually was it?
> According to Genesis 37:3, Jacob gave Joseph a "coat of many colours"
> K:ToNeT PaSSiYM as a mark of special favour. The same phrase denotes a
> royal robe in 2 Samuel 13:18. Some commentators prefer to translate 
> "a long robe with sleeves"; but WF Albright, in /The Archaeology of
> Palestine/, Pelican Books, 1949, p 209, shows a reproduction of the
> Beni Hassan Tomb painting, circa 1890 BC. A 20" frieze depicts a group
> of Semitic itinerant tinkers (men, women and children) visiting Egypt
> with their goats and donkeys (compare Genesis 43:24). They are carrying
> weapons for protection, a lyre for entertainment, and the tools of 
> trade. Most are dressed in longer or shorter *sleeveless* "coats of 
> colours", whereas the Egyptians in the picture have short white kilts. 
> Ben
> Revd Ben Crick, BA CF                                       ZFC Hf
> <ben.crick at NOSPAM.argonet.co.uk>
> 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)
>*Acorn RPC700, RO4.03+Kinetic Card, 126MB, 4.3GB HD, x32CDROM
>*Castle Iyonix X100, RO5.06, 600MHz XScale processor, 512MB DDR RAM,
> 114GB HD, CD-RW, etc. *Ethernet networking.
>b-hebrew mailing list
>b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org

R. Christopher Heard
Assistant Professor of Religion
Pepperdine University
Malibu, CA 90263-4352

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list