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Bible Dictionaries

Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Washing

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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).

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Washing'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fbd/w/washing.html. 1949.

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