A goodly Babylonish garment - שנער אדרת addereth shinar, a splendid or costly robe of Shinar; but as Babylon or Babel was built in the plain of Shinar, the word has in general been translated Babylon in this place. It is very probable that this was the robe of the king of Jericho, for the same word is used, Jonah 3:6, to express the royal robe, of the king of Nineveh which he laid aside in order to humble himself before God. Bochart and Calmet have shown at large that Babylonish robes were very splendid, and in high reputation. "They are," says Calmet, "generally allowed to have been of various colors, though some suppose they were woven thus; others, that they were embroidered with the needle; and others, that they were painted. Silius Italicus appears to think they were woven thus: -
Vestis spirantes referens subtemine vultus,
Quos radio caelat Babylon.
Punic. lib. xiv., ver. 667.
Martial seems to say they were embroidered with the needle: -
Non ego praetulerim Babylonia Picta superbe
Textra, Semiramia quae variantur Acu.
Lib. viii., E. 28, ver. 17.
Pliny (lib. viii., c. 48) and Apuleius (Florid. lib. i). speak of them as if painted: "Colores diversos picturae intexere Babylon maxime celebravit, et nomen imposuit." Thus far Calmet: but it may be observed that the clothes woven of divers colors at Babylon, which were so greatly celebrated, and hence called Babylonish garments, appear rather to have had the pictures woven or embroidered in them than painted on them, as Calmet supposes, though it is most likely the figures referred to were the work of the needle after the cloth came from the loom. Aquila translates the original, שנער אדרת addereth shinar, by στολην βαβυλονικην, a Babylonish robe; Symmachus, ενδυμα συναρ, a robe of Synar; the Septuagint, ψιλην ποικιλην, a fine garment of different colors; and the Vulgate, pallium coccineum, a scarlet cloak. There is no doubt it was both beautiful and costly, and on these grounds it was coveted by Achan.
Two hundred shekels of silver - At three shillings per shekel, amount to about 30l. sterling.
A wedge of gold - A tongue of gold, זהב לשון leshon zahab what we commonly call an ingot of gold, a corruption of the word lingot, signifying a little tongue, of fifty shekels weight. These fifty shekels, in weight 29 oz. 15 15/31 gr., at 2l. 5s. 2 1/2 42/93d. per shekel, would be worth about 113l. 0s. 10 3/4d. This verse gives us a notable instance of the progress of sin. It enters by the eye;
sinks into the heart;
actuates the hand; and,
leads to secrecy and dissimulation.
I saw, etc, I coveted, etc. I took and hid them in the earth. Thus says St. James: "When lust (evil desire) is conceived it bringeth forth sin; and when sin is finished it bringeth forth death," Joshua 1:15.