(some form of the verb שָׁחָה, shachah/. προσκυνέω). This was a very ancient mode of showing respect. "Abraham stood up, and bowed himself to the people of the land, even to the children of Heth" (Ge 23:7). So also Jacob, when he came to meet his brother Esau, " bowed himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother" (Ge 33:3); and the brethren of Joseph bowed themselves before him as the governor of the land (Ge 43:28). The attitude of bowing is frequently represented in the paintings on the tombs of Egypt, particularly of captives brought before a king or conqueror. The gestures and inflections of the body used in salutation differed at different times, varying with the dignity and station of the person who was saluted, as is the case among the Orientals to this day. In the presence of the great and noble the Orientals incline themselves almost to the earth, kiss their knees, or the hems of their garments, and place them upon their forehead. When in the presence of kings and princes more particularly, they even prostrate themselves at full length upon the ground: sometimes, with their knees bent, they bring their forehead to the earth, and, before resuming an erect position, either kiss the earth, or the feet of the king or prince in whose presence they are permitted to appear. These customs prevailed among the ancient Hebrews (Ex 4:31; 1Ki 1:53; 1Ki 2:19; 1Sa 24:8). Besides its use as a courteous demeanor, bowing is frequently mentioned in the Scriptures as an act of adoration to idols (Jos 23:7; 2 Kings v, 18; Jg 2:19; Isa 44:15,17,19; Isa 46:6); and also to the supreme God (Jos 5:14; Ps 22:29; Ps 72:9; Mic 6:6; Ps 95:6; Eph 3:14). SEE ATTITUDES.
⇒Bible concordance for BOWING.