Scriptures Prohibiting the Wearing of Pants by Women?
By Stephen Mann
A) Verses Teaching No Pants
I have cut and pasted all five verses prohibiting women wearing pants from my KJV.
Please study the five verses below with an open mind and you will see what the Bible actually says about women not wearing pants....
(That's right, friend, there are absolutely no verses at all that prohibit pants on women!)
B) Deuteronomy 22:5
Ah, but you say what about this verse...
Well quite simply, there are four reasons why I have difficulty with the no-pants interpretation from this passage...
1. The passage doesn't clearly prohibit pants on women but there are very clear prohibitions for eating pork, not keeping Friday/Saturday (Sabbath) holy, not wearing mixed apparel of linen and wool etc., so even if there was (which there isn't), it still wouldn't mean it is for us today if it isn't taught to Gentiles in the new covenant.
2. If Deuteronomy 22:5 is to be seen as a law to be obeyed today, then a consistent interpretation would mean the prohibited mixed threads, Kosher foods and other laws in the same chapter should also be followed. Why are anti-pants teachers overlooking these others?
3. If the Deuteronomy 22 passage is to be used as a principle, it should also be applicable to prohibit other male garments on women such as t-shirts, boots, underwear, scarves, gloves, sneakers, etc. Why is this principle not followed to its natural implications?
4. Lastly, if the Deuteronomy 22 passage is to be used as a principle for today (and the previous three points are overlooked), then it remains to be proved that pants are men's clothing. Culturally they were on women in China long before the Western men left off wearing tights (which by the same principle should be called men's apparel!) and hence fail on historical grounds as well.
C) Hebrew for the word translated 'garment'
Let's look at the Hebrew word that 'garment' is translated from: 8071 simlah (sim-law'); Strong says: "perhaps by permutation for the feminine of 5566 (through the idea of a cover assuming the shape of the object beneath); a dress."
Some would focus in on the word Strong uses above (dress), saying that the word in this passage teaches that the dress is female attire. They overlook the fact that Strong goes on to say...
"especially a mantle: apparel, cloth (-es, -ing), garment, raiment. comp. 8008."
Strong says the majority of times it is translated raiment, clothes and garment (as it is here in Deuteronomy 22:5 in the KJV). Not once is it translated into the English word 'dress'. Rather similar to when we say men and women's dress sense, we are not talking about only female attire. The word means clothes, not dresses!
Some commentators teach the passage is specifically prohibiting women wearing men's armour, but whether it's apparel or armour there is no teaching here that pants are for men only.
While Deuteronomy 22 verse 5 is often quoted, verse 30 is often overlooked...
If ladies wanted to legislate doctrine for men, here's a good place they could have started!
Did men wear skirts back then?
Is it Biblical?
Here in verse 30 you have it straight from the KJV Bible that all you women wearing skirts are cross dressers! This is really men's apparel. Consider this verse...
There are many more Bible verses for men wearing skirts than women wearing them! The Bible speaks of men's skirts twelve times: (Dt 22:30, Dt 27:20, Ru 3:9, 1 Sa 15:27, 1 Sa 24:4, 1 Sa 24:5, 1 Sa 24:11, 1 Sa 24:11, Eze 16:8, Hag 2:12, Hag 2:12, and Zec 8:23).
If you're really going to follow the Bible literally and get back to Biblical men's and women's garments, then get those sewing machines buzzing, men, and stop those women from wearing your skirts!! (Yes I am joking.)
In ancient Egypt their normal clothing was a loincloth wrapped around the hips and girdled at the waist. A cape was worn on the shoulders and later a long garment called a kalasiris was introduced. Men wore this as a skirt around their waist; women wore it over their upper body, or as a full-length garment that sometimes had sleeves.
The Hebrews, Assyrians, and Babylonians all wore a long, sleeved garment similar to a nightshirt, with cloaks or kalasiris-like overgarments. These clothes appear to be stiff, with fringed and tasselled borders and square or rounded corners.
For thousands of years in history we don't find pants and it is a relatively modern and culturally brief period of history where there was a distinction of pants only on men and dresses only on women.
Even today in the Pacific and other areas of the world, many continue to wear a sarong or robe on males and females with only a small distinction between them.
There is no verse in the Scriptures prohibiting women wearing pants or saying that a dress was all a female could wear. Instead we find, in the Bible and in history, men wearing similar garments to women (what we would call dresses today).
There is also no Biblical precedent or teaching regarding males alone wearing pants. Although there may be some cultural norms in some countries today, there is no prohibition by God and it is never referred to (as many falsely preach today) as an abomination to God. This is a sad example of denominational ignorance and eisegesis (reading meaning into the text) instead of exegesis (reading the text's meaning).
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August 23, 1997
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