The ancient Hebrews would not eat with the Egyptians ( Genesis 43:32 ). In the time of our Lord they would not eat with Samaritans ( John 4:9 ), and were astonished that he ate with publicans and sinners ( Matthew 9:11 ). The Hebrews originally sat at table, but afterwards adopted the Persian and Chaldean practice of reclining ( Luke 7:36-50 ). Their principal meal was at noon ( Genesis 43:16 ; 1 Kings 20:16 ; Ruth 2:14 ; Luke 14:12 ). The word "eat" is used metaphorically in Jeremiah 15:16 ; Ezekiel 3:1 ; Revelation 10:9 . In John 6:53-58 , "eating and drinking" means believing in Christ. Women were never present as guests at meals (q.v.).