Purse

A rather finely finished leather pouch or bag that served as a “purse” in ancient times. There are three Hebrew and three Greek words used in the Old Testament and New Testament which may be translated “purse.”

In Hebrew

  • כִּיס, H3967, bag, purse. This was a bag made of Cotton, Leather, or in the form of a flexible rush Basket. It was used for merchantsweights (Deut 25:13; Mic 6:11) or for Money (Prov 1:14; Isa 46:6).
  • חָרִיט, H3038, bag, purse. This was a bag made of skin or other material. Naaman’s gift of two talents of silver which he brought to Elisha the prophet was put in two such bags (2 Kings 5:23). The use of the same word in Isaiah 3:22 to describe the “handbags” of wealthy Jewish women suggests some sort of ornamentally woven pouch or satchel.
  • צְרוֹר, H7655, bundle, parcel, pouch, bag. This was something tied, as a parcel or at the neck as a pouch. It was such a purse that was found in the grainsacks of Joseph’s brothers (Gen 42:35). It is probable that all types of purses were baglike, drawn together at the neck with leather straps or strong cords made of other material, and hung from the shoulder.
  • In Greek

  • Βαλλάντιον, moneybag, purse. This word occurs only in Luke (10:4; 12:33; 22:35, 36) and is used to describe the bag used by the disciples to carry money or provisions on their journey.
  • Γλωσσόκομος, a case for the mouthpiece of a flute, case, container, moneybox. This word occurs only in John (12:6; 13:29) and is used to describe the receptacle used by Judas to keep the funds of the twelve disciples.
  • Ζώνη, belt, girdle. The belt also served as a purse (Matt 10:10; Mark 6:8); and Matt.10.9. Money was inserted in the folds or in a pouch attached to the belt, functioning very much like a present-day money belt. This term refers to the Middle Eastern girdle made of crude leather or woven camel’s hair worn around the waist. Sometimes these “girdles” were finely tooled and contained “slots” in which Gold and Silver coins could be kept. If the “girdle” was made of cloth, then the money was placed within the folds themselves (cf. Luke.10.4; Luke.12.34).
  • See also

  • Bag