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Courtenay, William A.
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Orientals are much more studious of politeness in word and act than Europeans (Niebuhr, Beschr. p. 49; Arvieux, 3, 807). So were undoubtedly the ancient Hebrews. Inferiors in an interview with superiors (both on meeting and separating, 2 Samuel 18:21) were wont to bow ( הַשְׁתִּחֲיָה προσκυνεῖν; see Kastner, De veneratione in S. S. Lips. 1735) low (Genesis 19:1; Genesis 23:7; 2 Samuel 9:6; 2 Samuel 18:21), in proportion to the rank towards the earth (even repeatedly, Genesis 33:3; 1 Samuel 20:41). In the presence of princes, high civil officers, etc., persons threw themselves prostrate (at their feet) upon the ground ( הַשְׁתִּחֲוָה אִפִּיַם אִרְצָה Genesis 42:6; נָפִל עִל פָּנָיו, or אִפָּין, 1 Samuel 25:23; 2 Samuel 14:4; 1 Kings 18:7; comp. Judith 10:21; נָפִל אִרְצָה, Genesis 44:14; Genesis 1, 18; 2 Samuel 1:2; also simply נָפִל לְפָנַים, 2 Samuel 19:19; comp. Matthew 2:11; Herod. 1:134; 2:80; see Hyde, Rel. vet. Pers. p. 6 sq.; Harmer, 2:39 sq.; Kype, Observ. 1:8, 410; Ruppell, Abyss. 1:217; 2:94). They also bent the knee (2 Kings 1:13; comp. Matthew 27:29; Acts 10:25). Of other gestures, which in the modern East are customary (Harmer, 2:34; Shaw, Trav. p. 207; Niebuhr, Trav. 1:232), e.g. laying the hand on the breast, there is no trace in the Bible. If an inferior mounted on a beast met a superior, he quickly alighted (Arnob. 7:13; see Orelli ad loc.), and made the due obeisance (Genesis 24:64; 1 Samuel 25:23; see Niebuhr, Beschr. p. 44, 50; Trav. 1:139). Whether in such cases an individual turned out of the road, like the ancient Egyptians (Herod. 2:80) and modern Arabians (Niebuhr, Beschr. p. 50), is uncertain, but probable. On the greeting by a kiss, which, however,. does not appear to have been so usual or varied as among the modern Orientals (see Herod. 1:134; Harmer, 2:36 sq.; Burckhardt, Arab. p. 229), see Kiss. Rising from a sitting posture before persons entitled to respect, such as elders, was early universal (Leviticus 19:32; Job 29:8; comp. Porphyr. Abstin. 2:61). See ELDER. Forms of salutation on meeting or entrance consisted of a pious expression of well-wishing (Genesis 43:29; 1 Samuel 25:6; Judges 6:12; 2 Samuel 20:9; Psalms 129:8; see Harmer, 3, 172) and inquiries concerning the health of the family (2 Kings 4:26; hence שָׁאִֹל לְשָׁלוֹם = to greet, Exodus 18:7; Judges 18:15; 1 Samuel 10:4; comp. Gesenius, Thes. Heb. p. 1347).

One of the simplest formulae was "Jehovah be with thee;" to which was replied, "The Lord bless thee;" (Ruth 2:4). Among the later Jews, the phrase יַישֵׁר, "May it go well with thee," was general (Lightfoot, p. 502). With the modern Arabs the expression of salutation, Salam aleykum, "Peace be upon you," and the reply, Aleykum es-Salam, "On you be peace," are customary (Niebuhr, Beschr. p. 48 sq.; Welsted, Trav. 1:242). The Hebrews equivalent, שָׁלוֹם לְךָ, "Peace to thee," does not appear in the O.T. (Judges 19:20; 1 Chronicles 12:18) as a constant form of salutation (yet comp. Luke 24:36; John 20:26; also Tobit v. 12; and comp. on this Purman's Expositio forn. salut. "Pax Vobiscum," Freft. a. M. 1799). The Punic greeting was Avo (חְווֹ ) or Avo douni (חְווֹ אֲדֹנַי ), according to Plautus (Pan. v. 2, 34, 38; comp. Αὔδονις, Anthol. Gr. 3, 25; epigr. 70). Persons were also sent on their way with a similar formula (Tobit 5:23). But besides such set terms, individuals meeting one another made use of verbose methods of inquiring after each other's circumstances (as appears from the prohibition in 2 Kings 4:29; Luke 10:4; see Niebuhr, Beschr. p. 49; Arvieux, 3, 162; Russel, Aleppo, 1:229; Jaubert, p. 170; Ruppell, Abyssin. 1:203). (See SALUTATION). Whether the well- known custom among the Greeks and Romans (Homer, ODYSS. 17:541; Pliny, 28:5; Petron. 98) of wishing well to one who sneezed (which was regarded as ominous, Eustatho ad Odyss. 17:545; Cicero, Divin. 2:40; Pliny, 2:7; Xenoph. Anab. 3, 2, 9; Propert. 2:2, 84; Augustine, Doctr. Chr. 1:20; comp. Apulaei Metam. 9, p. 209, ed. Bip.; Harduin ad Pliny 28:5; see Wernsdorf, De ritu sternutanti'bus bene precandi, Lips. 1741; Rhan, De more sternutantibus salutem apprecandi, Tigur. 1742), prevailed also among the Israelites, is uncertain; the later Jews observed it, and the Rabbins maintain that it was an ancient usage (Buxtorf, Synag. p. 129).

In conversation (q.v.) the less important person spoke of himself in the third person, and styled himself the other's servant (Genesis 18:3; Genesis 19:2; Genesis 33:5; Genesis 43:28; Judges 19:19) and the other master (Genesis 24:18; 1 Samuel 26:18, etc.). Sometimes he applied, by way of further abasement, epithets (e.g. dog) of disparagement to himself (2 Samuel 9:8; 2 Kings 8:13; comp. Oedmann, Samml. v. 42 sq.). The usual title of respect was אֲדֹנַי,"My lord' (later מָרַי ); other respectful terms were also אָבַי, "My father" (especially to prophets, 2 Kings 5:13; 2 Kings 6:21; 2 Kings 13:14; comp. the Romanist title "father" for priest); on the later name, רִבַּי, "My master," see RABBI. The later Jews seem to have utterly excluded, in their bigotry, the heathen from all salutation (Matthew 5:47?), as now, in Syria and Egypt, Mohammedans and Christians hardly deign to greet each other (Harmer, 2:35). The public sentiment of those times also released holy persons (saints) from the obligation of returning complimentary salutations (Lightfoot, p. 787), which, however, they eagerly claimed (Mark 12:38; Luke 11:43; Luke 20:46). The right side was regarded as the place of honor in standing or sitting by the Hebrews from early times (1 Kings 2:19; Psalms 45:10; Matthew 25:33; comp. Sueton. Ner. 18, see Dougtaei Anal. 1:169 sq.; Wetstein, 1:456, 512; Einigk, De manu dextra honoratiore, Lips. 1707). Public reverence and homage toward monarchs, generals, etc., consisted in shouts (among others, the cry huzza, יְחַי הִמֶּלֶךְ, "Long live the king!" Barhebr. Chron. p. 447) of acclamation (Josephus, Ant. 11:8, 5; War, 7:5, 2; Ammian. Marc. 21:10; Philo, 2:522), with music (2 Samuel 16:16; 1 Kings 1:39-40; 2 Kings 9:13; Judith 3, 8; comp. Herodian, 4:8, 19); also in strewing carpets or garments along the road (comp. A Eschyl. Agam. 909; Plutarch, Cato min. c. 12; Talmud, Chetuboth, fol. 66:2; as still is practiced in Palestine, Robinson, 2:383), with branches (see Ugolini Thesaur. 30) or flowers (2 Kings 9:13; Matthew 21:8; comp. Curtius, v. 1, 20; 9:10, 25; Herod. 7:54; A Elian, Var. Hist. 9:9; Tacitus, Hist. 2:70; Herodian, 1:7, 11; 4:8, 19; see Dougtei Analect. 3:39; Paulsen, Regier. des Morgenl. p. 229 sq.), and in torchlight entrances at night (2 Maccabees 4:22). Festive escorts in procession (with the priests at the head) were also not unusual (Josephus, Ant. 11:8, 5; 16:2, 1; see Schmieder, De solemnitatt. vett. reges impera! oresq. recapiendi, Brig. 1823). (See GIFT); (See VISIT).

Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Courtesy'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​tce/​c/courtesy.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.
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