And Joab said to Amasa
In a friendly manner, with all the air of pleasantry and good humour:
[art] thou in health, my brother?
this looked like a friendly salutation to ask of his health, and wish him it, and a loving appellation to call him brother; though they were near of kin, sisters' children, and so own cousins; thus he addressed him, to cover his design:
and Joab took Amasa by the beard with his right hand to kiss him:
as was usual for the eastern people to do when they addressed and saluted one another in an affectionate way, and as the Turks and Arabs do to this day, as travellers relate. Barthius F20 has collected passages from the Greek poets, which show it to be a custom, that when a man asked a favour of another, he caught hold of his beard with the right hand, and of his knee with the left; and in such a posture Joab might easily do what follows.
F20 Animadv. ad Claudian. de Raptu Proserp. l. 1. ver. 50. vid. Homer. Iliad. ver. 500, 501. Iliad. 8. ver. 371. & Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 2. c. 19.