Let’s get back to the discussion on TZITZIT I began two days ago.
Normally, I would have continued this study straight through minus any interruptions but I received such an insightful comment on my post titled “Why Did God Order A Man Stoned To Death For Just Gathering Sticks Of Wood To Start A Fire“, that I felt compelled to share it in a separate post.
You can read that post by clicking here.
Now let’s get back to our discussion on TZITZIT.
Where did I leave off?
If I recall correctly, I left off by pointing out that in the ancient world, the hems of garments were essentially status symbols worn by rulers as an indication of their royalty and legal authority.
It was at God’s direction that these hems of garments evolved into how they’re used today, as physical reminders to keep HASHEM’s commandments.
According to the command, the TZITZIT were to be worn on the corners of the garment.
Most Hebrew sects will take this to mean that the TZITZIT are to be attached to the outer garment, so the whole world can see you’re wearing them.
Other sects teach that you should wear them underneath one’s outer garments.
The Hebrew term translated into “corners” is KANAF.
KANAF literally means “wing” or the “extremity” of the garment.
What I’d like to do next is look at a famous story from the TANACH that vividly demonstrates how TZITZIT were viewed in the ancient world.
I’ve copied and pasted the verses below.
So let’s read ’em right now.
From there David went up and lived in the strongholds of ‘Ein-Gedi. When Sha’ul returned from pursuing the P’lishtim, he was told that David was in the desert at ‘Ein-Gedi. Sha’ul took three thousand men chosen from all Isra’el and went searching for David and his men on the cliffs where the mountain goats are. Near some sheep pens along the way was a cave, and Sha’ul went inside to relieve himself. It happened that David and his men were sitting in the recesses at the back of the cave; and David’s men said to him, “Look! The day has come that Adonai told you about when he said to you, ‘I will turn your enemy over to you, and you will do to him whatever seems good to you.’” Then David stole over unobserved and cut off the corner of Sha’ul’s cloak. But after doing this, David felt remorse over cutting Sha’ul’s garment. He said to his men, “Adonai forbid that I should do such a thing to my lord, Adonai’s anointed, as raise my hand against him! After all, he is Adonai’s anointed.” By saying this, David stopped his men and would not let them do anything to Sha’ul. Sha’ul got up, left the cave and went on his way.-1 Samuel 24:1-8
The situation was that David and his men were hiding in a cave to avoid Saul and his patrols.
By divine coincidence Saul unawares went into the very cave David and his men were hiding in to take care of some bathroom business.
And it was at this precise moment that David snuck up behind Saul and with his sword sliced off a piece from the hem of his garment.
Afterwards, however, David felt great sorrow for what he did.
Later on, Saul has a face-to-face confrontation with David (during a rare moment of mental clarity on Saul’s part) and tells him in response to the act of having the hem of his garment cut off “Now I know that you will become King“.
What was the meaning behind those words?
Well, the one key that unlocks the door to understanding what’s going on here is to realize that in the ancient world one’s authority or power rested in the hem of one’s garment.
Not only that, but the hem of a ruler’s garment was considered to be an extension of one’s royal essence.
That’s why David felt remorseful.
He felt like he may have trespassed on a divinely protected area that he should not have trespassed on.
The spiritual meaning of what happened when David cut off a piece from the hem of Saul’s garment was that it signified the transfer of kingly authority from Saul to David.
Saul was KARET or cut off from his divine status of being the anointed King of Israel.