Does the Bible forbid women from wearing pants?

What does the biblical statute about a woman not wearing anything that pertains to a man mean today?


Deuteronomy:22:5 says: "A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman's garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the Lord your God." Like many of the statutes, this law had to do with pagan customs of the time, and as we will see, does not refer to women wearing pants. The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary explains:

"Disguises were assumed at certain times in pagan temples. Maimonides...mentions that a man attired in a coloured female dress, in honour of Venus, Ashtaroth, or Astarte, and a woman equipped in armour, worshipped at the shrine of the statue of Mars...

"Asiatics, when they engaged in the worship of Ashtaroth, were accustomed, according to Philocorus, quoted by Townley (in his edition of Maimonides, note 33), to exchange the male and female dresses. In fact, all idolators confounded the sexes of their deities—representing them sometimes as male, at other times as female; and hence, their worshippers, male and female, fell gradually into the custom, which became extensively prevalent, of changing their attire in adaptation to the sex of a particular divinity."

God's command to Israel forbade the people from incorporating pagan religious rites into true worship. In spite of this instruction, today's Christianity commonly mixes paganism in with the worship of Christ.

Does Deuteronomy:22:5 forbid women from wearing pants? No, it doesn't. In fact, even men in the Middle East through the history of the Old and New Testaments did not wear pants; they wore a robelike garment. However, there is an underlying principle that applies today. Men should dress in an appropriately masculine manner and women should dress in an appropriately feminine manner. Clothing manufacturers make pants designed for men and pants designed for women.

For more insight, please read our article The Modesty Question: How Far is Too Far?


Mvuzo's picture

I disagree with the statement of saying that clothing manufacturers make pants designed for men and pants designed for women.Because the word of God did not make any mention of the design, it is straight forward that "A woman shall not wear anything that PERTAINS to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman's garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the Lord your God."Deuteronomy:22:5.A man is identified as wearing PANTS and woman DRESS or SKIRT, even if the society(manufacturers) can classify them as of men and of women but what does the word of God says? Jesus answered the question of divorce as this was allowed in the Old Testament,He said Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
But I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except [it be] for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.Matthew 19 vs 7-9.

Norbert Z

Norbert Z's picture

In my view, concidering the diversity of cultures across this planet, the question can be somewhat loaded and may have the possiblity of being misleading when it comes to explaining De 22:5. Depending on who reads it.

Perhaps there are places that view pants as a men only garment and I'm not going to tell any Scotsmen that wearing a kilt is nothing more than men wearing dresses in disobedience to De 22:5.

Looking at the statement made in the first comment "Because the word of God did not make any mention of the design", also means God did not tell us whether pants or kilts are women or men only things. But what it is telling can be described fairly well with one hyphenated English word, it involves the act of "cross-dressing".

As defined by the Free Online Dictionary, "the practice of adopting the clothes or the manner or the sexual role of the opposite sex".

I would go so far to say that any man who also wears pants that are designed for women, to take advantage of the much slimmer waistline in order that he can achieve a feminine figure is also transgressing the spiritual intent of De 22:5.


Yesu's picture

In the days of Jesus, everyone wore robes. There were no pants or skirts or dresses. Even Jesus wore robes.

So the question about forbidding women from wearing pants based on the bible is a moot question because the bible does not say anything about pants.

We have to look at the intent behind the statements in the bible about cross-gender presentation. There were important reasons to prevent cross-gender presentation in the times of Jesus -

Women presenting as men could be unsafe. She could be killed in a war. She could be treated badly in a scuffle. Likewise, men presenting as women would not receive the rights that men were given above women in society 2000 years ago.

Those are the reasons why the bible talks about not wearing cross-gender clothing.

All clothes are human made. God did not make anybody's clothes and God did not design any gender's clothes. So God really doesn't care what you wear.

The bible tells us things to keep us safe and for the structure of society to be maintained. Religion helped us end barbarianism in the middle-east.

In short, God is not going to punish you and you are not going to hell if you wear cross-gender clothing.

In the modern world, wear whatever you want, but most of the ten commandments are still relevant -
don't worship idols, work hard for 6 days and take Sunday off to pray and be thankful for life, don't murder, don't cheat on your husband/wife, don't steal, don't get your neighbor into trouble for no reason, don't have sexual feelings for someone else's wife/husband.

Most people do not follow the above commandments. The clothing you wear is a non-issue if you look at at the number of times you have violated the above commandments each year.


simplicity's picture

Yesu, in regards to:

All clothes are human made. God did not make anybody's clothes and God did not design any gender's clothes. So God really doesn't care what you wear.

God made clothes for Adam and Eve.

Genesis 3:21 Adonai, God, made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.



KARS's picture

OK folks let's help you here.

I for one do not like to come before God our Father in pants on the Sabbath day. I also don't want to ruin my Sabbath dresses and skirts either when I am gardening.

So I will wear jeans. They are made of a thicker material and if you are like me, I don't think you would like splinters under the skin or thorns.

Now let's go back in time to the Aaronic Priesthood. Aaron wore a robe with bells and pomigranits. Is not our Savior coming back in a white robe? :o)

So in these modern times I want to make sure I am wearing female pants and shirts, not a man's while doing my outside work.

Does this help some?


rockitman0057's picture

simplicity in regards to:

God made clothes for Adam and Eve.
Tell me if I am right or wrong, but I do believe that what you said is irrelevant, because they weren't aware of sin at that time. After they ate the fruit did they not realize they were naked and want to cover themselves? God made a spiritual clothing, unlike robes shirts pants skirts dresses or shorts.


KARS's picture

Hi rockitman,

It is true that Adam and Eve made themselves coverings and hide themselves from the LORD.

If you will read on in the Book of Genesis you'll find that simplicity's statement that God made them clothes is correct.
They needed clothing after they left the Garden of Eden.

Read on rockitman.


Emmanuel13's picture

i seriously disagree with Mvuso. Where in the bible did God prescribe PANTS and SKIRTS for mankind?? It all balls down to the culture of a particular people. Will you then say that all Scottish people will go to hell? No way!!!

Wisdom Speaks Now

Wisdom Speaks Now's picture

Well the old testament is clear God,s intent is to cause the genders to remain intact so that civilization would not be confusing. The physical responsibilities of men are different from women. So did the Persians introduce pants to the world.
The nature of the modern world is the exploit the curves of the female anatomy to appear sexual which is the opposite of being modest of chase, godly feminine. When men/women wear tight fitting clothes one,s body parts can show disrespectful in public. America sells with sexuality as the focus. Homosexuality is Satan,s lawlessness in causing gender-cross dressing in males/females.
this is a serious matter here and now, I encourage men to be men and women to be women! God blesses a holy man/women period!

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