Manners & Customs
: Washing HandsWashing 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
Washing in Easton's Bible Dictionary
(Mark 7:1-9). The Jews, like other Orientals, used their
when taking food, and therefore washed their hands
so, for the sake of cleanliness. Here the reference
is to the
ablutions prescribed by tradition, according to
disciples ought to have gone down to the side of the
washed their hands thoroughly, 'rubbing the fist of
one hand in
the hollow of the other, then placed the ten finger-
together, holding the hands up, so that any surplus
flow down to the elbow, and thence to the ground.'"
to do this had come to be regarded as a great sin, a
to the breach of any of the ten commandments. Moses
commanded washings oft, but always for some definite
the Jews multiplied the legal observance till they
large body of precepts. To such precepts about
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
Ps 51:7; Pr 30:12; Isa 1:16; 4:4; Zec 13:1; 1Co 6:11;
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.