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Badger Skin - Ancient Jewish Bridal Attire

Updated on February 4, 2019
Marilynn Dawson profile image

Born-again Christian single mother of two grown kids. PC Tech, and Author of 18+ books in the non-fiction, personal/spiritual growth genres


Badger or Dugong?

Ezekiel 16:10 I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers' skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk.

We are looking at the second item in this verse now, feet shod with badger's skin. The Hebrew word for Badger's skin in the KJV, has been debated by some scholars as to whether it truly means the badger, which did and still does live in the region, or the dugong family of the sea cow, which was quite prevalent back then, but almost extinct now. One scholar argues that because the skin is listed among costly elements God told Moses to gather for the Tabernacle, that the skin would not have been as prevalent as the sea cow and therefore is the badger. For the purposes of this study, we'll look at the badger for that very reason.

Where the Badger Can be Found

Shows ranges of all badger subfamilies (a polyphyletic taxon). Melinae, Mellivorinae, and Taxideinae.     Dark Green: Meles sp. (Eurasian Badgers)    Lime Green: Melogale sp. (Ferret-badgers)    Blue: Taxidea taxus (American Badger)    Red: Mellivora
Shows ranges of all badger subfamilies (a polyphyletic taxon). Melinae, Mellivorinae, and Taxideinae. Dark Green: Meles sp. (Eurasian Badgers) Lime Green: Melogale sp. (Ferret-badgers) Blue: Taxidea taxus (American Badger) Red: Mellivora | Source
Badger skins
Badger skins

Characteristics and Discussion

The first point of interest, is that we are unable to consider this footwear without considering it's use first mentioned in Scripture, that of the outer covering of the Tabernacle. While the colour is indeed stated as unassuming and drab, the nature of the skin is what God was after. Badger skin has been well-known down through the ages as being excellent protection against the natural elements of storm, dust, and weather. While this author has never held a badger skin in her hands, it is said that the way the hair grows on the animal, water, ice and snow roll off it like water off a ducks back. So while the more colourful and rich fabrics were underneath, the badger skin protected the Tabernacle from all inclement weather the Hebrews would encounter on their travels. In addition, it was to cover the tables, altar, lamp stands, and Ark of the Covenant in transit. This gave a very unassuming appearance to a very important part of Tabernacle set up, protection and transportation.

Notice the footwear this time. . .
Notice the footwear this time. . .

Use as Footwear

It's use then for the bridal garments described in Ezekiel, was not merely as footwear for the bride, but the best footwear money could buy, despite it's less eye-catching appearance. Only the best footwear would be given to God's Bride.

The Roman soldiers of Paul's day wore sandals too, and these sandals had to go the distance in more ways than one. They had to stand up to the rigurs of walking, marching, and fighting in battle. But in Paul's dissertation in Ephesians 6, these sandals carry the Gospel of peace. They are tough, can stand up to the elements, won't fall apart under the rigors of travel and battle, and bring the message of peace.

What does this mean for the Bride of Christ?

A couple thoughts can be drawn from today's observations.

First, is the concept that Paul writes about in other letters to the churches regarding the members of Christ's body, the Church. Paul writes that all of us in God's Kingdom have a job to do, we are meant to work together, but some of us have more eye-catching jobs than others. But Paul writes that to those who are less appealing, God has given more grace. They may not be attractive to those on the outside, but their contribution to the Kingdom of God is completely indispensable! Without them, protection would not be afforded to those who need it. Without them, more attractive but less hardy jobs would be destroyed. They are the ones doing the tough, dirty, and sometimes hard tasks that pave the way for others to come in after them. Often times, they are the ones able to stand up against the enemy in a battle, the prayer warrior behind the scenes, the Bible smuggler, the street worker, the soup kitchen cook. They are not on stage or in the public eye, they are not flashy and most people don't want to do their job. But the gospel would not go forward as successfully as it has without them. When the crowns are handed out in heaven, their reward will be great!

Secondly is the fact that like the badger skin, Christ Himself was described in Isaiah has having no form that we should desire Him. We are told He would be a Jew of unassuming appearance, and from the outside, no one would want Him. This is contrasted to the covering of the Tabernacle, how that when you get to know Christ, the deeper you go in Him, the more beautiful He becomes. He is our protection from the influence of the world if we let Him. As a shoe separates the wearer from the dirt and grime of the ground they walk on, hiding ourselves in Christ separates us from the sin of the world around us. We are encouraged to walk in the Spirit so as not to fulfill the lusts of the flesh.

Today we covered Badger Skin

Specifically given as special outfit
Broidered work
'Badger''s skin'

© 2013 Marilynn Dawson


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