We read in Jn 19:23-24 (KJV):

Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also his coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be..

Jesus was clothed befitting the Passover when he got arrested and was put on trial. It appears that the clothing ( comprising of say, five pieces) other than the piece he was made to wear on the way to Calvary (Mk 15:20), was carried by someone to the cross. The soldiers , four in number, divided it among themselves rather than hand it over to his kith and kin after the crucifixion. The coat perhaps was to be torn into pieces and taken as trophy by the executioners. But having found it a wonderful piece of work, they opted to cast the lot, to decide on the lucky winner.

Now, if the coat was ordinary and made of joined parts ( Elsewhere, Jesus refers to the foolish work of joining old and new pieces of cloth. See Mk 2:21 ) , there again they would perhaps decide that one soldier claims the full piece. One is therefore, inclined to conclude that there is a deeper significance for John the Evangelist's statement that Jesus' coat was without seam.What do scholars say about such a perspective ?

  • That the coat had no seams makes the coat special, and could be a way to connect Jesus' coat with another special coat in the Bible, namely Joseph's multicolored coat. Meaning that Jesus is the savior, not just for the Jews, but for all people on earth. Mar 2 at 10:53
  • Constantthin, could you please cite the reference for Joseph's multicolored coat ? Mar 3 at 6:59
  • It is mentioned three times in Genesis 37. Mar 3 at 8:11

1 Answer 1

  • And they clothed Him with purple; and they twisted a crown of thorns, put it on His head, (Mark 15:17)

  • And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe. (John 19:2)

  • Then Herod, with his men of war, treated Him with contempt and mocked Him, arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him back to Pilate. (Luke 23:11)

  • And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. (Matthew 27:28)

  • 23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments and made four parts, to each soldier a part, and also the tunic. Now the tunic was without seam, woven from the top in one piece. 24 They said therefore among themselves, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, whose it shall be,” that the Scripture might be fulfilled which says:

    “They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.” (John 19:23-24)

(Cyprian of Carthage, De Unitate, 7)

When someone would be clothed with Christ, he receives a perfect suit of clothing, and an undamaged tunic. But what comes into his possession is common property… Christ was wearing the unity that proceeds ‘from the upper part’ (that means ‘proceeding from heaven and from the Father’), which could never at all be torn apart by him who receives and possesses it, but rather with it secures for himself something that has a firm integrity. He who rends and splits Christ’s Church cannot possess Christ’s robe …

So truly because Christ’s people cannot be torn apart, his tunic, ‘woven without seam,’ and holding fast together, has not become divided amongst its owners. The description ‘unable to be split (united, linked together),’ reveals the concord that holds together the unity of our people who have put on Christ. By the sign and seal of the tunic Christ has declared the unity of his Church.

christianpure says it well:

...For many, it symbolizes the unity and indivisibility of the Church. As the robe was woven in one piece without seams, so too is the Church intended to be one, undivided body...

...It mirrors the unity of Jesus' teachings, seamless from top to bottom, without divisions or stitches, just like the robe. This symbolizes the interconnectedness of Christian doctrine, where each part works together to create a harmonious whole.

You might also see it as a reflection of Jesus' pure, perfect, and integrated character. In cultural interpretations, it's seen as a symbol of Jesus Christ as the great High Priest, embodying his divine authority and sanctity.

Additionally, the seamless robe can be seen as a symbol of Jesus's kingship. In ancient times, a seamless garment was often associated with royalty or high-ranking officials. By wearing such a garment, Jesus could be seen as subtly asserting his divine authority.

Pulpit Commentary

Now the coat was without seam from the top - from the upper portions - woven throughout (δι ὅλου, an adverbial form) - woven, possibly, by the mother who loved him, and corresponding with the dress of the priests. Keim and Thorns see here "a symbolizing of Jesus as the High Priest" (see Holman Hunt's celebrated picture the "Light of the World"). Certainly John saw the Lord in his glory with a garment of the kind (woven of radiant light, and reaching to the feet, Revelation 1.). The unity of the Savior's seamless vesture has been variously treated in patristic literature: as symbolic of the unity of natures in his Person, by the Monephysites; and by Cyprian ('De Unitate Ecclesiae,' § 7) in his conflict with Novatianists, as symbolic of the unity of the Church, and he actually builds on it his dictum, "He cannot possess the garment of Christ who parts and divides the Church of Christ." This garment could not be conveniently divided. John 19:23

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

More exactly, the tunic, or under-garment. It reached from the neck to the feet, while the outer “garment” was a square rug thrown round the body. Ordinarily the tunic consisted of two pieces connected at the shoulder by clasps; but that worn by Jesus was made in one piece. This seems to have been the rule with the priestly tunics.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

without seam, woven from the top throughout—"perhaps denoting considerable skill and labor as necessary to produce such a garment, the work probably of one or more of the women who ministered in such things unto Him


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