Jesus and the Oral Torah: The Hem of His Garment

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The New Testament makes it clear that Jesus, like all observant Jews of the first century, wore tsitsiyot. These are the tassels that were attached to the four corners of one's robe as commanded in Numbers 15 and Deuteronomy 22. Jesus' observance of this commandment is dramatically illustrated by the story of the woman who suffered from a hemorrhage for twelve years.

This article is one of a six-part series by David Bivin entitled Jesus and the Oral Torah.
Revised: 30-Oct-2016

And behold, a woman which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years came behind him and touched the hem of his garment. For she said within herself, If I but touch his garment, I shall be whole. (Matt. 9:20-21, KJV)

The New Testament makes it clear that Jesus, like all observant Jews of the first century, wore צִיצִיּוֹת (tsitsiyōt). These are the tassels that were attached to the four corners of one’s robe as commanded in Numbers 15:37-41 and Deuteronomy 22:12.

Hebrew to Greek

Jesus’ observance of this commandment is dramatically illustrated by the story, found in Matthew 9, Mark 5 and Luke 8, of the woman who suffered from a hemorrhage for twelve years. She was healed when she came up behind Jesus and touched what the King James Version of the Bible refers to as “the hem of his garment.”

It seems likely that it was not the hem, but one of the tsitsiyot of Jesus’ garment that the woman touched.

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To read the next article in this series, click here.

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