Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Non-Metro Prophet

Luke 7:25
(25)  What then did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing? Behold, those who are dressed in splendid clothing and live in luxury are in kings' courts.

(25)  ἀλλὰ τί ἐξήλθατε ἰδεῖν; ἄνθρωπον ἐν μαλακοῖς ἱματίοις ἠμφιεσμένον; ἰδοὺ οἱ ἐν ἱματισμῷ ἐνδόξῳ καὶ τρυφῇ ὑπάρχοντες ἐν τοῖς βασιλείοις εἰσίν.

This verse comes in Jesus' discourse with the people regarding John the Baptizer.  He is asking them what they expected of John.  I find the word μαλακοῖς fascinated based on its glosses.  Thayer has the following:

1) soft, soft to the touch
2) metaphorically in a bad sense
2a) effeminate
2a1) of a catamite
2a2) of a boy kept for homosexual relations with a man
2a3) of a male who submits his body to unnatural lewdness
2a4) of a male prostitute

This is the same word used in 1 Cor 6:9 that is usually translated as "men who practice homosexuality."  Here it is used to describe the garments that John did not wear.  We know that he wore a coat made of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist.  Basically, he was dressed pretty roughly.

I don't think that this leads to a theology of dress.  I don't want to commit the exegetical fallacy of using the semantic range of a word inappropriately.  In the context of clothes it does refer to soft.  However, I find it interesting that it is also used to describe men who are homosexual.  Maybe it's a stretch, but I would see this today as saying that John was not dressed like a metrosexual worship leader.

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