Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
Bible History Online

Naves Topical Bible Dictionary

hospitality Summary and Overview

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hospitality in Smith's Bible Dictionary

Hospitality was regarded by most nations of the ancient world as one of the chief virtues. The Jewish laws respecting strangers #Le 19:33,34| and the poor, #Le 23:14| seq. Deut 15:7 and concerning redemption #Le 25:23| seq., etc. are framed in accordance with the spirit of hospitality. In the law compassion to strangers is constantly enforced by the words "for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt." #Le 19:34| And before the law, Abraham's entertainment of the angels, #Ge 18:1| seq., and Lot's, #Ge 19:1| are in exact agreement with its precepts, and with modern usage. Comp. #Ex 2:20; Jud 13:15; 19:17,20,21| In the New Testament hospitality is yet more markedly enjoined; and in the more civilized state of society which then prevailed, its exercise became more a social virtue than a necessity of patriarchal life. The good Samaritan stands for all ages as an example of Christian hospitality. The neglect of Christ is symbolized by inhospitality to our neighbors. #Mt 25:43| The apostles urged the Church to "follow after hospitality," #Ro 12:13| cf. 1Tim 5:10 to remember Abraham's example, #Heb 13:2| to "use hospitality one to another without grudging," #1Pe 4:9| while a bishop must be a "lover of hospitality #Tit 1:8| cf. 1Tim 3:2 The practice of the early Christians was in accord with these precepts. They had all things in common, and their hospitality was a characteristic of their belief. In the patriarchal ages we may take Abraham's example as the most fitting, as we have of it the fullest account. "The account," says Mr. Lane, "of Abraham's entertaining the three angels related in the Bible, presents a perfect picture of the manner in which a modern Bedawee sheikh receives travellers arriving at his encampment." The Oriental respect for the covenant of bread and salt, or salt alone, certainly sprang from the high regard in which hospitality was held.

hospitality in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

The law as to strangers and the poor encouraged it (Leviticus 19:33-34; Leviticus 25:14-15; Leviticus 25:23, etc.; Deuteronomy 15:7). Exemplified in Abraham, Genesis 18; Lot, Genesis 19; Reuel, Exodus 2:20; Manoah, Judges 13:15; the old man of Gibeah (its inhospitality is instanced as a sign of how lost to all right feeling its people were), Judges 19:17-21. The Lord Jesus illustrates it in the good Samaritan, promises to reward it, and regards its exercise toward His disciples as being towards Himself, and will count it as one proof of the love whose crowning joy shall be the invitation, "Come ye blessed of My Father," etc. (Luke 10:30-37; Matthew 10:42; Matthew 25:43). The apostles urge the duty (Romans 12:13; 1 Timothy 5:10; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:8; Hebrews 13:2; 1 Peter 4:9).