The Life of Jesus in Harmony
(Gk. sandalion, representing the Heb. na`al). The sandal, apparently the
article used by the Hebrews for protecting the feet, consisted simply of a sole
attached to the foot by thongs. The Gk. hupodema properly applies to the sandal
exclusively, as it means what is bound under the foot.
We learn from the Mishnah that the materials employed in the construction of
the sole were either leather, felt, cloth, or wood, and that it was occasionally
shod with iron.
Sandals were worn by all classes of society in Palestine, even by the very
poor (Amos 8:6), and both the sandal and the thong were so cheap and common that
they passed into a proverb for the most insignificant thing (Gen 14:23; Ecclus.
They were taken off indoors and were only put on by persons about
to undertake some business away from their homes, such as a military
expedition Is 5:27; Eph 6:15) or a journey (Ex 12:11; Josh 9:5,13; Acts 12:8). On such
occasions persons carried an extra pair. During mealtimes the feet were
undoubtedly uncovered, as implied in (Lk 7:38; Jn 13:5-6.
Figurative. It was a mark of reverence to take off the shoes in approaching a
place or person of eminent sanctity (Ex 3:5; Josh 5:15).
It was also an indication of violent emotion or of mourning if a person
appeared barefoot in public (2 Sam 15:30; Is 20:2; Song 7:1; Ezek 24:17,23). To
carry or to unloose a person's sandal was a menial office betokening great
inferiority on the part of the person performing it (Mt 3:11; Mk 1:7; Jn 1:27; Acts
- A sandal thong (or lace), or even sandals themselves (Gen 14:23; Amos 2:6;
8:6) stand for anything of little value (just a piece of hide). Sandals with blood
on them were figurative of being engaged in war (1 Ki 2:5).