Foot Washing

FOOT WASHING (better feet washing). Though never a major rite in the Mosaic ritual, the washing of hands and feet of the priests did have a place (Exod 30:17-21). It may indeed be that all ablutions of the Bible are ritual rather than sanitary, though they rise out of assumed sanitary practices (de Vaux, Ancient Israel, Its Life and Customs, p. 460). Guests ordinarily were offered water and vessels for washing the feet (Gen 18:4; 19:2; 24:32; 43:24; Judg 19:21). As a special act of affection or humility the host(ess) might even wash his/her guests’ feet (1 Sam 25:41). A “sinful woman” spontaneously and gratefully so served the Lord (Luke 7:36-44).