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Holman Bible Dictionary
Items worn to protect the feet. Ancient shoes are well known from paintings, sculptures, and carved reliefs. The shoe was considered the humblest article of clothing and could be bought cheaply. Two types of shoes existed: slippers of soft leather and the more popular sandals with a hard leather sole. Thongs secured the sandal across the insole and between the toes. Although shoes could be bought at a low price, they were often repaired by the poor. Shoes were removed at the doorway of the tent or house, or during a period of mourning. Shoes were also removed as evidence of humility in the presence of kings. The removal of the guest's sandals was the job of the lowliest servant who was also required to wash the dusty and soiled feet of the visitor. See Foot Washing. In early Israel, legal contracts and oaths were often sealed with the removal and giving of a shoe by one party (Ruth 4:7
). Going barefoot was a sign of poverty and reproach. Isaiah walked barefooted to symbolize the impending poverty of Israel before the judgment of God (Isaiah 20:2
). During New Testament times, Jewish practice forbade the wearing of sandals with multilayered leather soles nailed together, as this was the shoe worn by Roman soldiers.
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Sandals, Shoes'. Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hbd/s/sandals-shoes.html. 1991.