NAPKIN (σουδάριον, G5051). The Gr. is a loan word from the Lat. and refers to a handkerchief, used for wiping the face, rather than a napkin or serviette for use when dining. Different VSS vary inconsistently from “cloth” to “napkin” to “handkerchief” (
The passages in John refer to the custom of covering the face of the dead with a napkin for burial.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)