15:38 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them to make 1 tassels 2 for themselves on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and put a blue thread 3 on the tassel of the corners.
22:12 You shall make yourselves tassels 4 for the four corners of the clothing you wear.
1 tn The construction uses the imperative followed by perfect tenses with vav (ו) consecutives. The first perfect tense may be translated as the imperative, but the second, being a third common plural form, has to be subordinated as a purpose clause, or as the object of the preceding verb: “speak…and say…that they make.”
2 sn This is a reference to the צִיצִת (tsitsit), the fringes on the borders of the robes. They were meant to hang from the corners of the upper garment (Deut 22:12), which was worn on top of the clothing. The tassel was probably made by twisting the overhanging threads of the garment into a knot that would hang down. This was a reminder of the covenant. The tassels were retained down through history, and today more elaborate prayer shawls with tassels are worn during prayer. For more information, see F. J. Stephens, “The Ancient Significance of Sisith,” JBL 50 (1931): 59-70; and S. Bertman, “Tasselled Garments in the Ancient East Mediterranean,” BA 24 (1961): 119-28.
3 sn The blue color may represent the heavenly origin of the Law, or perhaps, since it is a royal color, the majesty of the
4 tn Heb “twisted threads” (גְּדִלִים, gÿdilim) appears to be synonymous with צִיצִת (tsitsit) which, in Num 15:38, occurs in a passage instructing Israel to remember the covenant. Perhaps that is the purpose of the tassels here as well. Cf. KJV, ASV “fringes”; NAB “twisted cords.”