The majority of Christians would concur– the levitical law that wins the jackpot for strange is Deuteronomy 22:11. Is there exegetical evidence to support not mixing wool and linen as commanded by God?
“Do not wear clothes of wool and linen woven together.”
Why in the world did God make such an odd restriction?
In its ancient context, however, the law had a thoroughly logical reasoning. Both the priestly garments and the tabernacle weavings were a mix of wool and linen. The priest’s white undergarment was linen, and the vibrantly colored vestment was wool. So it was forbidden for laypersons to wear the same way.
Other restricted mixes had the very same reasoning. For example, nobody aside from the priests might mix together fragrant spices to make the blend put to use in anointing oil (Exodus 30:33). The unique scent would mark whatever it consecrated as holy, set apart for God’s exclusive purposes.
Why? Since the Israelites were fresh from a polytheistic world and still half-convinced that pagan gods would address their prayers. They were highly enticed to establish their own personal D-I-Y shrine to give a couple of sacrifices on the side. So they were banned from replicating some things used in worship.
We in fact have comparable laws today. Did you know that it’s prohibited to dress up in a badge and a uniform to impersonate a law enforcement officer? The cops are authorized to stop a vehicle, break down a door, or handcuff an individual– things nobody else can do. In the same way, God had actually granted priests the authority to lead worship in His Holy Presence, and they needed to be visibly different from everybody else.
In further revealing the exegetical evidence to support not mixing wool and linen in Deuteronomy 22:11, it might amaze you, then, that the tassels that the Israelites were commanded to have on break the command against wool and linen mixes. God instructed Israel to put tassels (tzitzit– “ZEET-zeet”) on the corners of their garments in Numbers 15:38. One of the strings was colored with tekhelet, the blue dye that was used in the high priest’s robe and the tabernacle covering. Wearing tassels signified nobility, and the blue color indicated priestly status.It serves to help remind a person that as part of God’s priesthood, they are to be set apart and are on display to the remainder of the world. They can’t mix or blend in.