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American Tract Society Bible Dictionary


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The expressions in Deuteronomy 32:35 , "their foot shall slide in due time," and in the traveler's song, Psalm 121:3 , "he will not suffer thy foot to be moved," Psalm 66:9 Jeremiah 13:16 , have reference to the dangerous character of the narrow roads or paths of the East, over rocks and beside precipices where a sliding foot was often fatal. See also Isaiah 8:14 Luke 2:34 . Nakedness of feet was a sign of mourning. God says to Ezekiel, "Make no mourning for the dead, and put on thy shoes upon thy feet," Ezekiel 24:17 . It was likewise a mark of respect. Moses put off his shoes to approach the burning bush; and most commentators are of opinion that the priests served in the tabernacle with their feet naked, as they did afterwards in the temple. The Turks never enter their mosques till after they have washed their feet and their hands, and have put off the outward covering of their legs. The Christians of Ethiopia enter their churches with their shoes off, and the Indian Brahmins and others have the same respect for their pagodas and temples. Eastern conquerors used to set their feet on the necks of conquered princes, Joshua 10:22 , and action often figured in ancient sculptures, Psalm 8:6 Isaiah 49:23 1 Corinthians 15:25 Hebrews 2:8 . See NINEVEH .

The orientals used to wash the feet of strangers who came off a journey, because they commonly walked with their legs bare, and their feet defended only by sandals, Genesis 24:32 43:24 . So Abraham washed the feet of the three angels, Genesis 18:4 . This office was usually performed by servants and slaves; and hence Abigail answers David, who sought her in marriage, that she should think it an honor to wash the feet of the king's servants, 1 Samuel 25:41 . Paul would have a widow assisted by the church, to be one who had hospitably washed the feet of saints, 1 Timothy 5:10 . The practice is still met with in Palestine. Says Dr. Robinson, at Ramleh, "Our youthful host now proposed, in the genuine style of ancient oriental hospitality, that a servant should wash our feet. This took me by surprise; for I was not aware that the custom still existed here. Nor does it indeed towards foreigners, though it is quite common among the natives. We gladly accepted the proposal, both for the sake of the refreshment and of the scriptural illustration. A female Nubian slave accordingly brought water, which she poured upon our feet over a large shallow basin of tinned copper, kneeling before us and rubbing our feet with her hands, and wiping them with a napkin. It was one of the most gratifying minor incidents of our whole journey." Our Savior, after his last supper, gave a striking lesson of humility, by washing his disciples' feet, John 13:5-6,8 , though the eighth verse shows that he had also a deeper meaning. See SANDALS .

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of the topics are from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary published in 1859.

Bibliography Information
Rand, W. W. Entry for 'Foot'. American Tract Society Bible Dictionary. 1859.

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