(nashaq; phileo, kataphilo, philema):
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, E B, under the word "Salutations"). In the Bible there is no sure instance of the kiss in ordinary salutation. We have in the Old Testament naschaq, "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 27:26,27 (Isaac and Jacob); 29:11 (Jacob and Rachel); 33:4 (Esau and Jacob); 45:15 (Joseph and his brethren); 48:10 (Jacob and Joseph's sons); 50:1 (Joseph and his father); Exodus 4:27 (Aaron and Moses); 18:7 (Moses and Jethro, united with obeisance); Ruth 1:9,14 (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; 31:28,55; 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); 19:39 (David and Barzillai--a farewell); 20:9 (Joab and Amasa); Proverbs 27:6 ("the kisses (neshiqah) of an enemy"); 1 Esdras 4:47 ("the king stood up, and kissed him").
(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" (nashaq); Psalms 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.'
(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 phileo, "to kiss," "to be friendly," and kataphileo, "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 kataphileo of Matthew 26:49; Mark 14:45; the same word is used of the woman who kissed the feet of Christ (Luke 7:38,45); 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); philema, "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.
W. L. Walker
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