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February 20    Scripture



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Manners & Customs: Washing Hands
Washing Hands in the Ancient World

Washing Hands After Eating WASHING AFTER THE MEAL After a typical Oriental meal, washing the hands again is of course essential. If there is a servant, he is the one to bring in the pitcher of water and basin, and the water is poured over the hands of those who have eaten the meal. A napkin is placed over the shoulder so that the hands may be dried. They do this for each other if there is no servant to do it for them. That this method of pouring water to wash hands was used in ancient times has already been seen concerning the washing of hands before eating. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

Washing Hands Scripture - Deuteronomy 21:6 And all the elders of that city, [that are] next unto the slain [man], shall wash their hands over the heifer that is beheaded in the valley:

Washing Hands Scripture - Matthew 27:24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but [that] rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed [his] hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye [to it].

Washing Hands Scripture - Psalms 26:6 I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O LORD:

Washing Hands Scripture - Psalms 73:13 Verily I have cleansed my heart [in] vain, and washed my hands in innocency.

Washing in Easton's Bible Dictionary (Mark 7:1-9). The Jews, like other Orientals, used their fingers when taking food, and therefore washed their hands before doing so, for the sake of cleanliness. Here the reference is to the ablutions prescribed by tradition, according to which "the disciples ought to have gone down to the side of the lake, washed their hands thoroughly, 'rubbing the fist of one hand in the hollow of the other, then placed the ten finger- tips together, holding the hands up, so that any surplus water might flow down to the elbow, and thence to the ground.'" To neglect to do this had come to be regarded as a great sin, a sin equal to the breach of any of the ten commandments. Moses had commanded washings oft, but always for some definite cause; but the Jews multiplied the legal observance till they formed a large body of precepts. To such precepts about ceremonial washing Mark here refers. (See ABLUTION -T0000051.)

Washing in Fausset's Bible Dictionary The high priest's whole body was washed at his consecration (Exodus 29:4; Leviticus 16:4); also on the day of atonement. The priests' hands and feet alone were washed in the daily tabernacle ministrations (Exodus 30:18-20). So Christians are once for all wholly "bathed" (leloumenoi) in regeneration which is their consecration; and daily wash away their soils of hand and foot contracted in walking through this defiling world (John 13:10, Greek "he that has been bathed needs not save to wash (nipsasthai) his feet, but is clean all over": 2 Corinthians 7:1; Hebrews 10:22-23; Ephesians 5:26). The clothes of him who led away the scape- goat, and of the priest who offered the red heifer, were washed (Leviticus 16:26; Numbers 19:7). The Pharisaic washings of hands before eating, and of the whole body after being in the market (Mark 7:2-4), turned attention off from the spirit of the law, which aimed at teaching inward purity, to a mere outward purification. In the sultry and dusty East water for the feet was provided for the guests (Luke 7:44; Genesis 18:4). The Lord Jesus by washing His disciples' feet taught our need of His cleansing, and His great humility whereby that cleansing was effected (compare 1 Samuel 25:41; 1 Timothy 5:10). The sandals, without stockings, could not keep out dust from the feet; hence washing them was usual before either dining or sleeping (Song of Solomon 5:3). Again, the usage of thrusting the hand into a common dish rendered cleansing of the hand indispensable before eating. It was only when perverted into a self righteous ritual that our Lord protested against it (Matthew 15:2; Luke 11:38).

Washing in Naves Topical Bible Of hands, a token of innocence De 21:6; Ps 26:6; 73:13; Mt 27:24 -See ABLUTION -See PURIFICATION -FIGURATIVE Of regeneration Ps 51:7; Pr 30:12; Isa 1:16; 4:4; Zec 13:1; 1Co 6:11; Eph 5:26; Tit 3:5

Washing in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE wosh, wosh'-ing: The two usual Hebrew words for "wash" are rachats, and kabhac, the former being normally used of persons or of sacrificial animals (Gen 18:4, etc., often translated "bathe"; Lev 15:5, etc.), and the latter of things (Gen 49:11, etc.), the exceptions to this distinction being few (for rachats, 1 Ki 22:38 margin; for kabhac, Ps 51:2,7; Jer 2:22; 4:14). Much less common are duach (2 Ch 4:6; Isa 4:4; Ezek 40:38) and shataph (1 Ki 22:38; Job 14:19; Ezek 16:9), translated "rinse" in Lev 6:28; 15:11,12. In Neh 4:23 the King James Version has "washing" and the Revised Version (British and American) "water" for mayim, but the text is hopelessly obscure (compare the Revised Version margin). In the Apocrypha and New Testament the range of terms is wider. Most common is nipto (Mt 6:17, etc.), with aponipto in Mt 27:24. Of the other terms, louo (Susanna verses 15,17; Jn 13:10, etc.), with apolouo (Acts 22:16; 1 Cor 6:11) and the noun loutron (Sirach 34:25b; Eph 5:26; Tit 3:5), usually has a sacral significance. On baptizo (Sirach 34:25a; Mk 7:4; Lk 11:38), with the noun baptismos (Mk 7:4 (text?); Heb 9:10), see BAPTISM. In Lk 5:2; Rev 7:14; 22:14 the Revised Version (British and American) occurs pluno, while Judith 10:3 has perikluzo. Virtually, as far as meaning is concerned, all these words are interchangeable. Of the figurative uses of washing, the most common and obvious is that of cleansing from sin (Ps 51:2; Isa 1:16, etc.), but, with an entirely different figure, "to wash in" may signify "to enjoy in plenty" (Gen 49:11; Job 29:6; the meaning in Song 5:12 is uncertain). Washing of the hands, in token of innocence, is found in Dt 21:6; Mt 27:24. The "washing balls" of Susanna verse 17 (smegma, a very rare word) were of soap.

Washing the Hands WASHING OF HANDS BEFORE EATING Orientals are careful to wash their hands before a meal, but they would think that the Occidental way of washing in the water already made dirty by the hands, to be very untidy and disgraceful. The servant or whoever takes his place, pours water on the hands to be washed as they are held over a basin. Often the basin has a concave cover with holes, so as to allow the dirty water to run through and thus be out of sight. The method of eating without knives, forks, or spoons, makes this washing a necessity. That this method of washing was in vogue in the days of the prophets is seen by the way Elisha was characterized by the king's servants: "Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah" (II Kings 3:11). Elisha had served as Elijah's servant, and pouring water, so that his master could wash his hands, was an important part of his duties. When the Pharisees complained against the disciples of JESUS, because they ate bread without washing their hands (Matthew 15:1,2; Mark 7:1-5), it was concerning a lengthy ceremonial washing of hands that they spoke. The Jewish hierarchy of that day had given forth a positive injunction as to exactly how this ablution should be done. It was not a law of Moses but a tradition of the elders. JESUS refused to sanction it as a rule that was binding. It was not the custom of washing hands before eating that JESUS objected to, but the authority the rabbis claimed to have in telling the people the exact and detailed manner in which it must be done. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

Washing the Hands and Feet in Smiths Bible Dictionary As knives and forks were not used in the East, in Scripture times, in eating, it was necessary that the hand, which was thrust into the common dish, should be scrupulously clean; and again, as sandals were ineffectual against the dust and heat of the climate, washing the feet on entering a house was an act both of respect to the company and of refreshment to the traveller. The former of these usages was transformed by the Pharisees of the New Testament age into a matter of ritual observance, Mr 7:3 and special rules were laid down as to the time and manner of its performance. Washing the feet did not rise to the dignity of a ritual observance except in connection with the services of the sanctuary. Ex 30:19,21 It held a high place, however, among the rites of hospitality. Immediately that a guest presented himself at the tent door it was usual to offer the necessary materials for washing the feet. Ge 18:4; 19:2; 24:32; 43:24; Jud 19:21 It was a yet more complimentary act, betokening equally humility and affection, if the host himself performed the office for his guest. 1Sa 25:41; Lu 7:38,44; Joh 13:5-14; 1Ti 5:10 Such a token of hospitality is still occasionally exhibited in the East.

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