Luke 7:38

Luke 7:38

And stood at his feet behind him
Christ lay upon a bed, or couch, as was the custom of the ancients, both Jews and others, at meals, with his feet put out behind; and between the couches and the walls of the room, there was a space for servants to wait and serve, and such are therefore said to "stand at the feet"; and the phrase is used, as descriptive of servants in waiting {n}; and in such a situation this woman put herself, as being also ashamed and afraid to come before Christ, and look him in the face; and here she stood weeping for her sins, and melted down with the love of Christ to her soul, and at his discourse:

and began to wash his feet with tears:
which fell from her eyes in such abundance upon his feet, as she stood by him that they were like a shower of rain, as the word signifies, with which his feet were as it were bathed and washed; his shoes or sandals being off, as was the custom at eating so to do, lest they should daub the couch or bed, on which they lay F15. Her tears she used instead of water; for it was the custom first to wash the feet before they were anointed with oil, which she intended to do; and for which purpose she had brought with her an alabaster box of ointment: it is said F16 of one,

``when he came home, that his maid brought him a pot of hot water, and he washed his hands and his feet in it; then she brought him a golden basin full of oil, and he dipped his hands and his feet in it, to fulfil what is said, ( Deuteronomy 33:24 ) and after they had eaten and drank, he measured out oil''

And it is: a general rule with the Jews F17,

``that whoever anoints his feet, is obliged to washing or dipping.''

And did wipe them with the hairs of her head;
which were long, and hung loose about her shoulders, it being usual and comely for women to wear long hair, ( 1 Corinthians 11:15 ) . That which was her ornament and pride, and which she took great care of to nourish and put in proper form, to, render her desirable, she uses instead of a towel to wipe her Lord's feet, and her tears off of them. A like phrase is used of one by Apuleius,

``his verbis & amplexibus mollibus decantatus maritus, lachrymasque ejus suis crinibus detergens F18:''

"and kissed his feet". This was no unusual practice with the Jews; we often read of it F19:

``R. Jonathan and R. Jannai were sitting together, there came a certain man, (ywlgr qvnw) , "and kissed the feet" of R. Jonathan.''

Again F20

``R. Meir stood up, and Bar Chama, (hyerka hyqvn) , "kissed his knees", or "feet".''

This custom was also used by the Greeks and Romans among their civilities, and in their salutations F21:

and anointed them with the ointment;
which she brought with her.


F14 Vid Alstorphium de lectis veterum, p. 106, 107.
F15 Ib. p. 123, 124.
F16 T. Bab. Meuachot, fol. 85. 2.
F17 T. Bab. Zebachim, fol. 26. 2. Maimon. Hilchot Biath Harnikdash, c. 5. sect. 5.
F18 Metamorph. l. 5.
F19 T. Hieros. Peah, fol. 15. 4. & Kiddushin, fol. 61. 3. T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 49. 2. Vid. ib. fol. 63. 1.
F20 T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol 27. 2.
F21 Vid. Aristophanem in vespis, p. 473. Arvian Epictet. l. 3. c. 26. & Alex. ab. Alex. Gen. Dier. l. 2. c. 19.