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Bible Dictionaries

People's Dictionary of the Bible

Meals

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Meals. The Hebrews took a light meal in the forenoon, consisting of bread, milk, cheese, etc. 1 Kings 20:16; Ruth 2:14; Luke 14:12. The dinner was at mid-day among the ancient Egyptians. Genesis 43:16. Supper, after the labors of the day were over, appears to have been the principal meal among the Hebrews, as it was among the Greeks and Romans. Mark 6:21; Luke 14:16; Luke 14:24; John 12:2. In eating, knives and forks were not used, but each morsel of food was conveyed from the dish to the mouth by the hand. This mode of eating made it necessary to wash the hands before and after meals. Ruth 2:14; Proverbs 26:15; John 13:26; Matthew 15:2; Matthew 15:20; Luke 11:38. In ancient times, at formal entertainments, every one seems to have had his separate portion of meat placed before him, Genesis 43:34; 1 Samuel 1:4-5; 1 Samuel 9:23-24; in later times every one helped himself from the dish nearest to him. Matthew 26:23. The Orientals do not drink during meals, but afterwards water or wine is handed round. Matthew 26:27. The Hebrews seem to have had two modes of sitting; seldom used seats or chairs, like the ancient Egyptians, but they sat on the floor, and the meal was laid on a cloth spread on the floor, or on a table raised only a few inches. During the captivity the Jews acquired the Persian practice of reclining at meals upon couches, or upon mats or cushions, around the tables, in such a way that the head of every person approached the bosom of the one who reclined next above him. John 13:23; Luke 7:38. In the time of Christ it was common before every meal to give thanks. Matthew 14:19; Matthew 15:36.

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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Meals'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/rpd/m/meals.html. 1893.

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