And Jacob tore his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many days.
Read Chapter 37
George Leo Haydock
Sack-cloth, or hair-cloth, cilicio. These garments were made very close, like a sack, of the hair taken from the goats of Cilicia, which grew long, rough, and of a dark colour. The poorest people used them: Usum in Castrorummiseris velamina nautis, (Virgil, Geor. 3.); and the Ascetics, or monks, afterwards chose them for the sake of mortification and humility. (Calmet)
Jacob was the first, mentioned in Scripture, who put them on, and the Israelites imitated him in their mourning.
Long time; twenty-three years, till he heard of his son being still alive. (Menochius)