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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Kiss

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( נשׁק , nāshaḳ ; φιλέω , philéō , καταφιλέω , kataphiléō , φίλημα , phı́lēma ): The kiss is common in eastern lands in salutation, etc., on the cheek, the forehead, the beard, the hands, the feet, but not (in Pal) the lips (Cheyne, EB , under the word "Salutations"). In the Bible there is no sure instance of the kiss in ordinary salutation. We have in the Old Testament nāshaḳ , "to kiss," used (1) of relatives (which seems the origin of the practice of kissing; compare Song of Solomon 8:1 , "Oh that thou wert as my brother ... I would kiss thee; yea, and none would despise me"); Genesis 27:26 , Genesis 27:27 (Isaac and Jacob); Genesis 29:11 (Jacob and Rachel); Genesis 33:4 (Esau and Jacob); Genesis 45:15 (Joseph and his brethren); Genesis 48:10 (Jacob and Joseph's sons); Genesis 50:1 (Joseph and his father); Exodus 4:27 (Aaron and Moses); Exodus 18:7 (Moses and Jethro, united with obeisance); Rth 1:9, Rth 1:14 (Naomi and her daughters-in-law - a farewell); 2 Samuel 14:33 (David and Absalom); 1 Kings 19:20 (Elisha and his parents - a farewell); see also Genesis 29:13; Genesis 31:28 , Genesis 31:55; Tobit 7:6; 10:12. (2) Of friendship and affection; compare 1 Samuel 20:41 (David and Jonathan); 2 Samuel 15:5 (Absalom and those who came to him); 2 Samuel 19:39 (David and Barzillai - a farewell); 2 Samuel 20:9 (Joab and Amasa); Proverbs 27:6 ("the kisses ( neshı̄ḳāh ) of an enemy"); 1 Esdras 4:47 ("the king stood up, and kissed him"). (3) Of love; compare Song of Solomon 1:2 , "Let him kiss me with the kisses (neshı̄ḳāh ) of his mouth"; Proverbs 7:13 (of the feigned love of "the strange woman"). (4) Of homage , perhaps; compare 1 Samuel 10:1 (Samuel after anointing David king); Genesis 41:40 , "Unto thy word shall all my people be ruled," the Revised Version margin "order themselves," or "do homage," the King James Version margin "Hebrew be armed or kiss" (nāshaḳ ); Psalm 2:12 , "Kiss the son" (American Standard Revised Version), the English Revised Version margin "Some versions render, 'Lay hold of (or receive) instruction'; others, 'Worship in purity' "; some ancient versions give 'Kiss (or, do homage) purely.' (5) Of idolatrous practices; compare 1 Kings 19:18; Hosea 13:2 (compare Hosea 8:5 , Hosea 8:6; Hosea 10:5 ); Job 31:27 , probably, "kissing the hand to the sun or moon" (compare Job 31:26 , Job 31:27 ). See ADORATION . (6) A figurative use may be seen in Psalm 85:10; Proverbs 24:26; Ezekiel 3:13 , where "touched" is nāshaḳ (see the King James Version margin). (7) In Additions to Esther 13:13 we have "I could have been content ... to kiss the soles of his feet," and in Ecclesiasticus 29:5, "Till he hath received, he will kiss a man's hands" - marks of self-humiliation or abasement.

In the New Testament we have phileō , "to kiss," "to be friendly," and kataphileō , "to kiss thoroughly," "to be very friendly" - the first in Matthew 26:48; Mark 14:44; Luke 22:47 , of the kiss with which Judas betrayed his Master. This was probably meant to be taken as an expression of special regard, which is expressed by the kataphileō of Matthew 26:49; Mark 14:45; the same word is used of the woman who kissed the feet of Christ (Luke 7:38 , Luke 7:45 ); of the father's greeting of the returning prodigal (Luke 15:20 ); and of the farewell to Paul of the Ephesian Christians (Acts 20:37 ); philēma , "a kiss," "a mark of friendship," is used by our Lord as that which Simon omitted to give him (which may refer to ordinary hospitality), but which the woman had bestowed so impressively ( Luke 7:45 ); of the kiss of Judas (Luke 22:48 ); and of the "holy kiss" wherewith Christians greeted each other, which, according to the general usage we have seen, would be as the members of one family in the Lord, or as specially united in holy love (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26; 1 Peter 5:14 ). There is reason to believe that, as a rule, men only thus greeted men, and women, women. In the Apostolical Constitutions (3rd century) it is so enjoined.

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Kiss'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/isb/k/kiss.html. 1915.

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