|Easton's Bible Dictionary|
(Hebrews pishtah, i.e., "peeled", in allusion to the fact that the stalks of flax when dried were first split or peeled before being steeped in water for the purpose of destroying the pulp). This plant was cultivated from earliest times. The flax of Egypt was destroyed by the plague of hail when it "was bolled", i.e., was forming pods for seed (Exodus 9:31). It was extensively cultivated both in Egypt and Palestine. Reference is made in Joshua 2:6 to the custom of drying flax-stalks by exposing them to the sun on the flat roofs of houses. It was much used in forming articles of clothing such as girdles, also cords and bands (Leviticus 13:48, 52, 59; Deuteronomy 22:11). (see LINEN.)
Noah Webster's Dictionary
1. (n.) A plant of the genus Linum, esp. the L. usitatissimum, which has a single, slender stalk, about a foot and a half high, with blue flowers. The fiber of the bark is used for making thread and cloth, called linen, cambric, lawn, lace, etc. Linseed oil is expressed from the seed.
2. (n.) The skin or fibrous part of the flax plant, when broken and cleaned by hatcheling or combing.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
flaks pesheth, also pishtah; linon (Matthew 12:20)): The above Hebrew words are applied
(1) to the plant: "The flax was in bloom" (the King James Version "bolled"; Exodus 9:31);
(2) the "stalks of flax," literally, "flax of the tree," put on the roof to dry (Joshua 2:6);
(3) to the fine fibers used for lighting: the King James Version "tow," "flax," the Revised Version (British and American). "A dimly burning wick will he not quench" (Isaiah 42:3); "They are quenched as a wick" (Isaiah 43:17). The thought is perhaps of a scarcely lighted wick just kindled with difficulty from a spark.
(4) In Isaiah 19:9 mention is made of "combed flax," i.e. flax hackled ready for spinning (compare Hosea 2:5, 9 Proverbs 31:13). The reference in Judges 15:14 is to flax twisted into cords.
(5) In Judges 16:9 Isaiah 1:31, mention is made of ne`oreth, "tow," literally, something "shaken off"-as the root implies-from flax.
(6) The plural form pishtim is used in many passages for linen, or linen garments, e.g. Leviticus 13:47, 48, 52, 59 Deuteronomy 22:11 Jeremiah 13:1 ("linen girdle"); Ezekiel 44:17. Linen was in the earliest historic times a favorite material for clothes. The Jewish priestly garments were of pure linen. Egyptian mummies were swathed in linen. Several other Hebrew words were used for linen garments.
Flax is the product of Linum usitatissimum, a herbaceous plant which has been cultivated from the dawn of history. It is perennial and grows to a height of 2 to 3 ft.; it has blue flowers and very fibrous stalks. The tough fibers of the latter, after the decay and removal of the softer woody and gummy material, make up the crude "flax." Linseed, linseed oil and oilcake are useful products of the same plant.
E. W. G. Masterman
Flax (11 Occurrences)
Matthew 12:20 He won't break a bruised reed. He won't quench a smoking flax, until he leads justice to victory. (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT)
Exodus 9:31 The flax and the barley were struck, for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was in bloom. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Joshua 2:6 But she had brought them up to the roof, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order on the roof. (WEB KJV JPS ASV BBE DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Judges 15:14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines shouted as they met him: and the Spirit of Yahweh came mightily on him, and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands dropped from off his hands. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Proverbs 31:13 She seeks wool and flax, and works eagerly with her hands. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Isaiah 19:9 Moreover those who work in combed flax, and those who weave white cloth, will be confounded. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Isaiah 42:3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. (KJV DBY WBS YLT)
Isaiah 43:17 Who is bringing forth chariot and horse, A force, even a strong one: 'Together they lie down -- they rise not, They have been extinguished, As flax they have been quenched.' (YLT)
Ezekiel 40:3 He brought me there; and, behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)
Hosea 2:5 For their mother has played the prostitute. She who conceived them has done shamefully; for she said,'I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.' (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)
Hosea 2:9 Therefore I will take back my grain in its time, and my new wine in its season, and will pluck away my wool and my flax which should have covered her nakedness. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV)