Cloak - Trench's New Testament Synonyms
Cloakhimation (G2440) Claok
chiton (G5509) Tunic
himatismos (G2441) Garment
chlamys (G5511) Robe
This section will not be a treatise on clothing, since Ferrarius, Braun, and others have written a great deal about this topic. Instead, I will briefly explain a few of the words most frequently used in the New Testament to refer to garments.
Himation is most common word used to refer to garments in a general sense (Matt. 11:8; 26:65). When used more restrictively, himation refers to the large upper garment that a man could sometimes sleep in (Exod. 22:26), the cloak as distinguished from the chiton or close-fitting inner vest. Endyein chitonaliterally means "to go into a tunic." Himation and chiton often occur together to refer to the upper and the under garment. In Matthew 5:40 Jesus instructed his disciples: "If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic [chitona], let him have your cloak [himation] also." Here the despoiler begins with the less costly under garment, translated "tunic," and proceeds to the more costly outer garment. Since this process is a legal one, this is a natural sequence. But in Luke 6:29 the order is reversed: "And from him who takes away your cloak [himation], do not withhold your tunic [chitona] either."
In this context Jesus is clearly referring to an act of violence, and so the cloak or outer garment would be named first because it would be seized first. In the Aesopic fable the violent wind makes the traveler wrap his himation around him more closely, but when the sun begins to shine, he first discards his himation and then his chiton. Agymnos (G1131) was one who had laid aside his himation and was clad only in his chiton. This did not mean "naked," as it appears in many translations (John 21:7), suggesting indecency, but stripped for toil. Joseph left his himation in the hands of his temptress (Gen. 39:12), but in Jude 23 chiton is correct.
Himatismos appeared comparatively late and belonged to koine Greek. It usually referred to stately or costly garmentsthe "vesture" of kings. It was used to refer to Solomon in all of his glory, and it was associated with gold and silver as part of a precious spoil. It is used with such terms as endoxos, poikilos, diachrysos, and polyteles. It was also the name given to Jesus' chiton, which was one woven piece and which was so desirable that even the rude Roman soldiers were unwilling to tear and destroy it.
The purple robe that the mockers in Pilate's judgment hall scornfully placed on Jesus is called a chlamys (Matt. 27:28-31), a very appropriate word for the context. Chlamys so obviously refers to a garment of dignity and office that chlamyda peritithenia (to put on a robe) was a proverbial phrase for assuming a magistracy. This might be a civil magistracy, but chlamys usually refers to the robe of military officers, captains, commanders, or imperators (emperors). The use of chlamys in the passion narrative implies that Christ was arrayed in the cast-off cloak of some high Roman officer. Matthew's use of kokkinos (G2847) confirms this supposition (Matt. 27:28). The chlamys was "scarlet," the color worn by Roman officers of rank. The other evangelists described it as "purple," but this does not affect our conclusion because the "purple" of antiquity was an indefinite color.
Stole is any stately robe, especially a long sweeping garment that reaches to the feet or a garment that has a train that sweeps the ground. Most frequently a stole was worn by women, which explains the Latin use of stola
(a long robe worn by women, a noble woman). Among the things that the emperor Marcus Antoninus learned from his tutor, the famous Stoic philosopher Rusticus, was not to stalk about the house in a stole. It was, on the contrary, the custom and pleasure of the scribes to "go around in long robes," to display themselves before men. Stole is always used to refer to the holy garments of Aaron and his descendants and to refer to any garment of special solemnity, richness, or beauty.
Poderes designates "a long garment reaching to the ankle." Thus we have aspis (G785) poderes, poderes endyma, and poderes pogon, which are respectively a shield, a garment, and a beard that reaches to the feet.
Poderes differs very little from stole. Indeed the same Hebrew word that is translated poderes in Ezekiel 9:2-3 is translated stole in Ezekiel 10:2 and stole hagia (G40) in Ezekiel 10:6-7. At the same time, in the list of the high-priestly garments this stole or stole hagia signifies the whole array of the high priest, and the poderes (chiton poderes) is distinguished from it and refers to only one portion, namely the robe or chetoneth.
Other words that might be included in this group are esthes, esthesis and endyma, but it would be difficult to assign each of these a distinct meaning.