Bag

BAG. Various kinds of bags are mentioned in the Bible. 1. Hebrew kelî; Greek pēra. This was a kind of haversack made of skin, for the carrying of one or more days’ provisions. This is the “scrip for your journey” mentioned in Matt.10.10 KJV, where NEB reads “pack for the road.”

2. Hebrew kîs, a bag for merchants’ weights such as in Deut.25.13: “Do not have two differing weights in your bag—one heavy, one light.”

3. Greek ballantion, a more finished leather pouch that served as a “purse”: “Do not take a purse or bag” (Luke.10.4).

4. Hebrew hărît, a large bag, one large enough to hold a talent of silver (2Kgs.5.23).

5. Hebrew tserôr, a bag that could be tied with a string and was a favorite receptacle for valuables. It is translated “pouch” in Gen.42.35. In the NT this bag is expressed by Greek zonē (Matt.3.4; Matt.10.9; Acts.21.11; Rev.1.13; Rev.15.6).



International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

Bags of various kinds are mentioned in the English Bible, but often in a way to obscure rather than tr the original.

(1) "Bag" is used for a Hebrew word which means a shepherd’s "bag," rendered "wallet" in the Revised Version (British and American). This "bag" of the shepherd or "haversack" of the traveler was of a size sufficient for one or more days’ provisions. It was made of the skin of animals, ordinarily undressed, as most of the other "bags" of ancient times were, and was carried slung across the shoulder. This is the "scrip for the journey" pera mentioned in Mt 10:10 and its parallel (the King James Version). ("Scrip" is Old English, now obsolete.) A unique word appears in 1Sa 17:40,49 which had to be explained even to Hebrew readers by the gloss, "the shepherd’s bag," but which is likewise rendered "wallet" by the American Standard Revised Version.

(2) "Bag" translates also a word ballantion which stands for the more finished leather pouch, or satchel which served as a "purse" (see Christ’s words, Lu 10:4 King James Version: "Carry neither purse, nor scrip," and 12:33 King James Version: "Provide yourselves bags which wax not old"). The word rendered "purse" in Mt 10:9: "Get you no gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses"; Mr 6:8: "No money in their purse," is a different word entirely zone, the true rendering of which is "girdle" (Revised Version, margin). The oriental "girdle," though sometimes of crude leather, or woven camel’s hair (see Girdle), was often of fine material and elegant workmanship, and was either made hollow so to carry money, or when of silk or cloth, worn in folds, when the money was carried in the folds.

(3) The small "merchant’s bag" often knotted in a handkerchief for carrying the weights, such as is mentioned in De 25:13: "Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small," was another variety. This too was used as "purse," as in the case of the proposed common purse of the wicked mentioned in Pr 1:14: "We will all have one purse," and sometimes carried in the girdle (compare Isa 46:6).


(5) Another Hebrew word chariT; Arabic charitat, is used, on the one hand, for a "bag" large enough to hold a talent of silver (see 2Ki 5:23, "bound two talents of silver in two bags"), and on the other, for a dainty lady’s satchel, such as is found in Isa 3:22 (wrongly rendered "crisping pins" in the King James Version). This is the most adequate Hebrew word for a large bag. (6) The "bag" which Judas carried (see Joh 12:6 the King James Version, "He was a thief and had the bag"; compare Joh 13:29) was in reality the small "box" (Revised Version, margin) originally used for holding the mouthpieces of wind instruments (Kennedy, in the 1-volume HDB). The Hebrew ’argaz, (found only here) of 1Sa 6:8, rendered "coffer" in English Versions of the Bible and translated glossokomon, by Josephus, appears to stand for a small "chest" used to hold the gold figures sent by the Philistines as a guilt offering. It is from a word that means "to wag," "to move to and fro"; compare the similar word in Arabic meaning a bag filled with stones hung at the side of the camel to "preserve" equilibrium (Gesenius). But the same word Josephus uses is found in modern Greek and means "purse" or "bag" (Hatch). Later to "carry the bag" came to mean to be treasurer.

George B. Eager