In meeting, "God be gracious unto thee," "the Lord bless thee," etc. (Genesis 43:29; Rth 2:4; Rth 3:10; 1 Samuel 15:13; Psalm 129:8). Thus "bless" came to moan salute (1 Samuel 13:10 margin). "Peace" (shalom, from whence the oriental salaam), including health or welfare of body and mind, was the constant salutation of Hebrew; as "joy" (chairein) is the Greek salutation. James 1:1-2; "greeting ... joy," only found elsewhere in the apostolic letter probably composed by James (Acts 15:23), an undesigned coincidence. "Hail": Matthew 27:29. The Hebrew's very salutation indicated his sense of man's deep spiritual need.
The Greek salutation answers to the national characteristic, "joy," and outward gracefulness (Genesis 43:27 margin; Exodus 18:7 margin). "Peace" was used also in encouraging (Genesis 43:23); at parting a blessing was pronounced (Genesis 24:60). Latterly (1 Samuel 1:17) "go in peace": no empty form in Christ's mouth (Mark 5:34; Luke 7:50; Luke 10:5; Luke 24:36; Acts 16:36). Proverbs 27:14; "he that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning," i.e., the affected assiduity and loud exaggeration engender suspicion of insincerity and duplicity. "Salute no man by the way," lest it should cause delay by subsequent conversation (2 Kings 4:29; Luke 10:4).
"Live for ever" was the salutation to the Babylonian and Persian kings (Daniel 2:4; Daniel 6:6). "Grace and peace" is Paul's opening salutation in his epistles to churches, but in his three pastoral epistles, Timothy and Titus, "grace, mercy, and peace"; for ministers of all men most need "mercy" for their ministry (2 Corinthians 4:1; 1 Corinthians 7:25; 1 Timothy 1:16). Paul added to the epistles written by an amanuensis the salutation with his own hand, "grace" to all (1 Corinthians 16:21-23; Colossians 4:18; 2 Thessalonians 3:17-18). The greeting forbidden toward a false teacher in 2 John 1:10 is of that usual among Christian brethren, a token of Christian brotherhood; this would be insincerity.
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