WHAT ARE THE “WARP” AND THE “WOOF?”
by Shawn Brasseaux
They appear six times in the King James Bible (and always paired). What are they?
- Leviticus 13:49: “And if the plague be greenish or reddish in the garment, or in the skin, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in any thing of skin; it is a plague of leprosy, and shall be shewed unto the priest:….”
- Leviticus 13:51: “And he shall look on the plague on the seventh day: if the plague be spread in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in a skin, or in any work that is made of skin; the plague is a fretting leprosy; it is unclean.”
- Leviticus 13:53: “And if the priest shall look, and, behold, the plague be not spread in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in any thing of skin;….”
- Leviticus 13:56: “And if the priest look, and, behold, the plague be somewhat dark after the washing of it; then he shall rend it out of the garment, or out of the skin, or out of the warp, or out of the woof:….”
- Leviticus 13:57: “And if it appear still in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in any thing of skin; it is a spreading plague: thou shalt burn that wherein the plague is with fire.”
- Leviticus 13:58: “And the garment, either warp, or woof, or whatsoever thing of skin it be, which thou shalt wash, if the plague be departed from them, then it shall be washed the second time, and shall be clean.”
The context is various skin diseases as they spread through garments or fabrics. “Warp” and “woof” refer to the two component series of threads of which woven material is made on a loom. That, is, they are two perpendicular yarn sets that form the grid pattern. The warp is the set of lengthwise yarns, and the woof (also called weft) is the set of crosswise yarns. The woof crosses the warp from left to right and over and under. The warp alternates from front to back. In the diagram below, the warp is the dark, vertical threads; the woof (weft) is the thicker, light-colored, horizontal threads.