In Reply to: Holding on by a thread/Red tape posted by Boyd B. McNiel on January 25, 2010 at 13:58:
: I read recently that the Phrase "holding on by a thread" and the phrase "Red tape" were specificaly connected by the bible verses in Genesis 38:28-30. The book written by J H Allen says Zerahs decendents married King Zeddikiah's daughter in Ireland and their decendents eventually came down to Queen Elisebeth in England. Mr. J H Allens Book says that the English navy has a red thread running through its ropes that tie the ship to its moreings. This way even if the ship sunk they could identify it by the rope. A red ribbion was once used to closes up military orders and that it could also be tied to the red ribbon on the United States Marine Uniform.
: Do you have any way of checking this out. Thank you.
I have no idea who JH Allen is, but I am inclined on the evidence you have outlined here to treat anything he might say with some wariness.
There are a lot easier ways of identifying a ship than looking for a red thread: you could try reading the name on the side, to name but one.
'Red tape' comes from the custom of tying official government documents with red ribbon.
Hanging on by a thread is a rather straightforward allusion to a perilous situation.