It is a fact that Mainline Christianity believes that God’s Law in some form or manner has been done away with. A common example brought forth to showcase the “archaic nature” and “absurdity” (as some would say) of the Law, is the statute of “Wool & Linen”. Why exactly did God ask His people not to where Wool & Linen mixed clothing? Let’s look at the verses in concern.
Lev 19:19 Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen(Shah-at-nez) come upon thee.
Deu 22:11 Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts(Shah-at-nez), as of woollen and linen together.
The Statute explained
It is important to note that the statute is not about mixing any type of thread. Rather, it is mixing of Wool & Linen(Shah-at-nez) specifically. The statute does not extend to other types of thread – hence silk, polyester, rayon, etc do not apply. Also, there is no prohibition against wearing one type of garment over another type of garment, even if they were Wool & Linen. The prohibition was to not weave wool and linen together into one garment for wearing.
Physical or Spiritual?
Some receive this statute as one which has Spiritual significance, not to be confused with a physical requirement. While it is very likely that these Words from God have a spiritual significance, the call to do a physical act is undeniable. Reason being, that it is one of a long list of “you shall not’s”. In Lev 19:19 God reiterates “You shall keep” (Shema) My statutes. But why?
First of all, I believe it is not for us to question God, why He gave certain statutes for us to follow. We must follow Him without question, as He is our Creator & He knows what is best for us all.
But since we are curious souls who want to find meaning in things we do not understand, I will share with you what could be possible reasons for such a statute.
1. Pagan Priests were known to have worn a certain type of garment made of vegetable(flax/linen) and animal(sheep/wool) materials. This could have been the main reason for this prohibition. As Maimonides, a prominent Jewish philosopher and Scholar wrote in “Moreh iii, 37” – “the heathen priests adorned themselves with garments containing vegetable and animal materials, while they held in their hand a seal of mineral. This you will find written in their books”
2. From a hygienic point of view, Wool and Linen have opposing characteristics. Wool has an absorbing and shrinking nature, and retains Heat while linen is resistant, non-shrinkable and is a good conductor of Heat. Woolen clothes are naturally worn to keep oneself warm, while Linen is worn to keep oneself cool in warm weather. These conflicting tendencies neutralize each other and may cause disorder in connection with the outflow of perspiration from the body.
1.Wool and Linen are products with opposing characteristics, which could represent the Law/Word of God & Law/Traditions of Men. Mixing such together could and certainly have been harmful for the Children of God.
2.Another interpretation has been that while Linen is a product of an Agriculture based Society such as Egypt, Wool is a product of a pastoral economy. Egypt seen as Sin, which the Children of Israel were fleeing from were not to mix again with the same sin they were redeemed from.\
God has asked us to not where clothing made of Wool & Linen mixed together. While there is no restriction against other materials or threads being mixed, or even for wool and linen clothes to be worn together, we must do our level best to keep an attentive eye on what we wear – so that we do not wear wool-linen mixed clothing according to God’s Word. Whatever the cause for the statute would be, God gave this command for a reason. It is not upto us to question Him. Even though some would make this statute an instance for ridicule, or an occasion to call His Law absurd or archaic, we must explain His word in love and stand away from pointless arguments. May He help us all to open the eyes of those who are around us.