The thread or cloth made from flax. (Ex 25:4; Jg 15:14) Among the Hebrews, most garments were either woolen or linen. (Le 13:47; Pr 31:13, 22; Ho 2:5, 9) A mixture of the two materials was prohibited by the Law for nonpriestly Israelite garments. (De 22:11) Other items made from linen included belts (Jer 13:1) and sails. (Eze 27:7) The Israelites, although evidently manufacturing their own linen, imported some linen from Egypt.—Pr 7:16.
Linen varied in quality, as is indicated by Scriptural references to “fine linen” and “fine fabric.” (Eze 16:10; 27:16) The wealthy, kings, and men of high governmental station wore linen of a superior quality. (Ge 41:42; 1Ch 15:27; Es 8:15; Lu 16:19) Jesus’ corpse was wrapped in clean, fine linen by Joseph, a rich man of Arimathea.—Mt 27:57-59.
Fine linen yarn spun by Israelite women was used in making the ten tent cloths of the tabernacle, the curtain separating the Holy from the Most Holy, the screen for the entrance of the tabernacle, and the hangings of the courtyard as well as the screen of its gate. (Ex 35:25; 36:8, 35, 37; 38:16, 18) Fine twisted linen was also used in the high priest’s girdle, ephod, and breastpiece. (Ex 39:2, 3, 5, 8) Robes of fine linen were likewise made for the other priests. (Ex 39:27-29) In the case of curtains and garments for use in the sanctuary, it seems that linen was the basic cloth used and that dyed wool and gold were embroidered on for decorative effect.—Ex 35:35; 38:23.
Figurative Use. Babylon the Great is depicted as being arrayed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, representing luxury. (Re 18:16) But in the case of the bride of Christ the fine linen of her apparel is clearly said to represent “the righteous acts of the holy ones.” Likewise the heavenly armies are shown clothed in white, clean, fine linen, indicative of their carrying on war in righteousness.—Re 19:8, 11, 14; see also Da 10:5; Re 15:6; FLAX.