Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Hem of His Garment

But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings, Malachi 4:2

One of the best known miracles of healing that Jesus performed was the occasion when a woman who had suffered from a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind him and touched the hem of his garment, Matthew 9:20. The woman was, in fact, reaching for the tassels on Jesus' prayer shawl.

In Hebrew, these tassels, which are attached to the corners of the prayer shawl, are called tzitzit. [Note: Pronounced like the sound in pizza--Zeet zeet]

Why should she stoop to touch the fringe? Why not his arm, or his feet? As the Atorah [prayer shawl] was placed over the head, it formed his own tent. Wings of the garment were formed when the arms were held out. For this reason, the corners of the prayer shawl are often called "wings."

During the first century there were several traditions associated with the tzitzit concerning Messiah. One was that these knotted fringes possessed healing powers. Certainly the woman with the issue of blood knew of these traditions, which would explain why she sought to touch the hem (the wings) of Jesus' prayer garment. The same word used in Numbers 15:38 for corner is used in Malachi 4:2 for wings.

With this understanding in mind, an ancient Jew under the prayer shawl could be said to be dwelling in the secret place of the Most High and under His wings (Ps. 91:1-4). The lady with the issue knew that if Jesus were the promised Messiah, there would be healing in His wings (fringes).

That this was the opinion of many other people is revealed by the crowd who sought his healing powers, "that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole," Matthew 14:36.

When one realized the significance of this concept to the first-century Hebraic mind, it becomes clear why this woman was instantly healed. She was expressing her faith in Jesus as the Son of Righteousness with healing in His wings and declaring her faith in God's prophetic Word.



  1. This is such an exquisite teaching. From small and simple things come great truths!