na'al. A sole attached to the foot by thongs, Greek hupodema (Mark 6:9; Acts 12:8). Often ornamentally inlaid with gold, silver, jewels, and silk (Song of Solomon 7:1). The materials were leather, felt, cloth, or wood, occasionally shod with iron. A shoe was delivered in token of transferring property: "over Edom will I cast My shoe." i.e. I will take possession of it, treading on its pride as it had trodden Israel as an invader (Psalm 60:8; Psalm 60:12; 2 Samuel 8:14; Joshua 10:24). The custom, which existed among the Indians and the ancient Germans, arose from the taking possession of property by treading the soil (Genesis 13:17), hence handing the shoe symbolized renunciation and transfer of ownership (Deuteronomy 25:9; Rth 4:7-8). When a Bedouin husband divorces a runaway wife, he says, "She was my slipper, I have cast her off." (Burckhardt). In Matthew 3:11; Acts 13:25, the image is, one about to wash his feet getting the slave to untie his shoe or else sandal. Hengstenberg so explains Psalm 60:8, "Moab is My washing tub; to Edom will I cast My shoe," namely, to "bear" as My slave.
The latchet was the strap across the instep, securing it on the foot, of small value (Genesis 14:23; Amos 2:6; Amos 8:6). "Buy the needy for a pair of shoes," i.e. by oppression compel them to sell themselves to us as bondmen, in order that our great women may have elaborately ornamented sandals. Sandals were laid aside indoors, and only put on in a journey or military expedition (Joshua 9:5; Joshua 9:13; Isaiah 5:27; Ephesians 6:15). "Your feet shod with the preparation (Psalm 10:17) of the gospel of peace," i.e. preparedness for the good warfare, produced by the gospel, which brings peace within though there is conflict outside with Satan and the world (Luke 1:79; Romans 10:15; Isaiah 26:3; Philemon 4:7). The shoes and sandals were taken off during meals (Luke 7:38; John 13:5-6); but the Jews wore sandals on their feet at the Passover, as ready for the journey (Exodus 12:11).
They put off sandals in reverence at a sacred place (Exodus 3:5; Joshua 5:15). So the priests in the temple officiated barefoot; so the Mahometans of Israel before entering a mosque or the Kaaba at Mecca, and the Mesopotamian Yezidis before entering the tomb of a patron saint, and the Samaritans before treading Mount Gerizim. A sign of mourning (2 Samuel 15:30; Ezekiel 24:17); humiliation (Isaiah 20:2; Isaiah 20:4; Ezekiel 16:10), "I shod thee with badgers' skins" or seal skins, and skins of other marine animals of the Red Sea; the material of the Hebrew shoes and of the tabernacle covering. (See BADGER.) Matthew 10:10, "provide not shoes," but Mark 6:9, "be shod with sandals"; Luke 10:4 harmonizes them, "carry not shoes," i.e., do not, as most travelers, carry an extra pair in case the pair in use became worn out.