When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment,.... One, as the Targum adds, for no more was taken; a garment made of Babylonish wool, as Jarchi; or a valuable garment made in Babylon, called "Shinar", for that is the word in the text, so Kimchi and Abarbinel; and Babylonian garments were in great esteem in other nations: Pliny saysF3Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 48. Babylon was famous for garments interwoven with pictures of divers colours, and which gave name to them; and PlutarchF4In Vita Catonis. relates, that Cato in his great modesty, and being an enemy to luxury, having a Babylonish garment that came to him by inheritance, ordered it immediately to be sold: the Vulgate Latin version calls it a scarlet robe; and in some Jewish writingsF5Bereshit Rabba, sect. 85. fol. 75. 2. it is interpreted, a garment of Babylonian purple, as if it only respected the colour; and purple and scarlet are sometimes promiscuously used and put for the same, see Matthew 27:28; and were the colour worn by kings: and Josephus here calls it a royal garment, wholly interwoven with goldF6Ut supra. (Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 48.) ; and some have thought it to be the garment of the king of Jericho, which is not unlikely; however, it is much more probable than that Jericho was subject to the king of Babylon, and that he had palaces in Jericho, and when he came thither was clothed with this robe, so Jarchi; as is elsewhere saidF7Bereshit Rabba, ib. by others, that he had a deputy who resided in Jericho, who sent dates to the king of Babylon, and the king sent him gifts, among which was a garment of Shinar or Babylon:
and two hundred shekels of silver; which, if coined money, was near twenty five English pounds:
and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight: or a "tongue of gold"F8לשון זהב "linguam auream", Montanus, Tigurine version, Masius; "lingulam auream", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. ; a plate of gold in the shape of a tongue, as Kimchi and Abarbinel; a piece of unwrought gold which weighed fifty shekels, and worth of our money about seventy five pounds, according to BrererwoodF9De Ponder. &. Pret. Vet. Num. c. 5. : where he saw these, and from whence he took them, is not said; according to some Jewish writers, these belonged to one of their idols; it is saidF11Pirke Eliezer, ut supra. (c. 38.) , he saw the Teraphim and the silver they offered before it, and the garment which was spread before it, and the tongue or wedge of gold in its mouth; and he desired them in his heart, and went and took them, and hid them in the midst of his tent: and the Samaritan ChronicleF12Apud Hottinger, ut supra. (Smegm. Oriental. l. 1. c. 8. p. 505.) makes him confess that he went into a temple in Jericho and found the above things there: and Masius conjectures that the wedge of gold was a little golden sword, with which the men of Jericho had armed their god, since an ancient poetF13Naevius apud A. Cell. Noct. Attic. l. 10. c. 25. calls a little sword a little tongue:
then I coveted them, and took them; he is very particular in the account, and gradually proceeds in relating the temptation he was under, and the prevalence of it; it began with his eyes, which were caught with the goodliness of the garments, and the riches he saw; these affected his heart and stirred up covetous desires, which influenced and directed his hands to take them:
and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent; JosephusF14Ut supra. (Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 48.) says, he dug a deep hole or ditch in his tent, and put them there, that is, the Babylonish garment and the wedge of gold; which, as Ben Gersom gathers from Joshua 7:25, was wrapped up and hid within the garment; which is not improbable, since otherwise no account is given of that:
and the silver under it; the two hundred shekels of silver lay under the garment in which was the wedge of gold, and so it lay under them both.