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” (Luke 19:20; John 11:44; 20:7; Acts 19:12).

The passages in John refer to the custom of covering the face of the dead with a napkin for burial. John 20:7 makes particular note of the fact that the cloth which had covered the face of Jesus in death was found in the open tomb lying carefully wrapped apart from the other graveclothes. John notes that the “other disciple...saw and believed” (20:8). The simple kerchief was the clue that made John realize that this was no violent grave robbery or the grave clothes would have been tossed in a heap or carried off with the body. The careful arrangement impressed the sensitive apostle with the marvelous truth that his Lord had risen from the dead.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

In Lu 19:20, the cloth in which the "unprofitable servant" wrapped the money of his lord; compare Joh 11:44; 20:7; see Dress, sec. 7; HANDKERCHIEF.

See also

  • Handkerchief