Courtesy Orientals are much more studious of politeness in word and act than Europeans (Niebuhr, Beschr. p. 49; Arvieux, 3, 807). So were undoubtedly the ancient Hebrews. Inferiors in an interview with superiors (both on meeting and separating, 2Sa 18:21) were wont to bow (הַשׁתִּחֲיָה προσκυνεῖν; see Kastner, De veneratione in S. S. Lips. 1735) low (Ge 19:1; Ge 23:7; 2Sa 9:6; 2Sa 18:21), in proportion to the rank towards the earth (even repeatedly, Ge 33:3; 1Sa 20:41). In the presence of princes, high civil officers, etc., persons threw themselves prostrate (at their feet) upon the ground (הַשׁתִּחֲוָה אִפִּיַם אִרצָה Ge 42:6; נָפִל עִל פָּנָיו, or אִפָּין, 1Sa 25:23; 2Sa 14:4; 1Ki 18:7; comp. Judith 10:21; נָפִל אִרצָה, Ge 44:14; Ge 1; Ge 18; 2Sa 1:2; also simply נָפִל לפָנַים, 2Sa 19:19; comp. Mt 2:11; Herod. 1:134; 2:80; see Hyde, Rel. vet. Pers. p. 6 sq.; Harmer, 2:39 sq.; Kype, Observ. 1:8, 410; Ruppell, Abyss. 1:217; 2:94). They also bent the knee (2Ki 1:13; comp. Mt 27:29; Ac 10:25). Of other gestures, which in the modern East are customary (Harmer, 2:34; Shaw, Trav. p. 207; Niebuhr, Trav. 1:232), e.g. laying the hand on the breast, there is no trace in the Bible. If an inferior mounted on a beast met a superior, he quickly alighted (Arnob. 7:13; see Orelli ad loc.), and made the due obeisance (Ge 24:64; 1Sa 25:23; see Niebuhr, Beschr. p. 44, 50; Trav. 1:139). Whether in such cases an individual turned out of the road, like the ancient Egyptians (Herod. 2:80) and modern Arabians (Niebuhr, Beschr. p. 50), is uncertain, but probable. On the greeting by a kiss, which, however,. does not appear to have been so usual or varied as among the modern Orientals (see Herod. 1:134; Harmer, 2:36 sq.; Burckhardt, Arab. p. 229), see Kiss. Rising from a sitting posture before persons entitled to respect, such as elders, was early universal (Le 19:32; Job 29:8; comp. Porphyr. Abstin. 2:61). See ELDER. Forms of salutation on meeting or entrance consisted of a pious expression of well-wishing (Ge 43:29; 1Sa 25:6; Jg 6:12; 2Sa 20:9; Ps 129:8; see Harmer, 3, 172) and inquiries concerning the health of the family (2Ki 4:26; hence שָׁאִֹל לשָׁלוֹם = to greet, Ex 18:7; Jg 18:15; 1Sa 10:4; comp. Gesenius, Thes. Heb. p. 1347). One of the simplest formulae was "Jehovah be with thee;" to which was replied, "The Lord bless thee;" (Ru 2:4). Among the later Jews, the phrase יַישֵׁר, "May it go well with thee," was general (Lightfoot, p. 502). With the modern Arabs the expression of salutation, Salam aleykum, "Peace be upon you," and the reply, Aleykum es-Salam, "On you be peace," are customary (Niebuhr, Beschr. p. 48 sq.; Welsted, Trav. 1:242). The Hebrews equivalent, שָׁלוֹם לךָ, "Peace to thee," does not appear in the O.T. (Jg 19:20; 1Ch 12:18) as a constant form of salutation (yet comp. Lu 24:36; Joh 20:26; also Tobit v. 12; and comp. on this Purman's Expositio forn. salut. "Pax Vobiscum," Freft. a. M. 1799). The Punic greeting was Avo (חווֹ) or Avo douni (חווֹ אֲדֹנַי), according to Plautus (Pan. v. 2, 34, 38; comp. Αὔδονις, Anthol. Gr. 3, 25; epigr. 70). Persons were also sent on their way with a similar formula (Tobit 5:23). But besides such set terms, individuals meeting one another made use of verbose methods of inquiring after each other's circumstances (as appears from the prohibition in 2Ki 4:29; Lu 10:4; see Niebuhr, Beschr. p. 49; Arvieux, 3, 162; Russel, Aleppo, 1:229; Jaubert, p. 170; Ruppell, Abyssin. 1:203). SEE SALUTATION. Whether the well- known custom among the Greeks and Romans (Homer, ODYSS. 17:541; Pliny, 28:5; Petron. 98) of wishing well to one who sneezed (which was regarded as ominous, Eustatho ad Odyss. 17:545; Cicero, Divin. 2:40; Pliny, 2:7; Xenoph. Anab. 3, 2, 9; Propert. 2:2, 84; Augustine, Doctr. Chr. 1:20; comp. Apulaei Metam. 9, p. 209, ed. Bip.; Harduin ad Pliny 28:5; see Wernsdorf, De ritu sternutanti'bus bene precandi, Lips. 1741; Rhan, De more sternutantibus salutem apprecandi, Tigur. 1742), prevailed also among the Israelites, is uncertain; the later Jews observed it, and the Rabbins maintain that it was an ancient usage (Buxtorf, Synag. p. 129).
In conversation (q.v.) the less important person spoke of himself in the third person, and styled himself the other's servant (Ge 18:3; Ge 19:2; Ge 33:5; Ge 43:28; Jg 19:19) and the other master (Gen, 24:18; 1Sa 26:18, etc.). Sometimes he applied, by way of further abasement, epithets (e.g. dog) of disparagement to himself (2Sa 9:8; 2Ki 8:13; comp. Oedmann, Samml. v. 42 sq.). The usual title of respect was אֲדֹנַי,"My lord' (later מָרַי); other respectful terms were also אָבַי, "My father" (especially to prophets, 2Ki 5:13; 2Ki 6:21; 2Ki 13:14; comp. the Romanist title "father" for priest); on the later name, רִבַּי, "My master," see RABBI. The later Jews seem to have utterly excluded, in their bigotry, the heathen from all salutation (Mt 5:47?), as now, in Syria and Egypt, Mohammedans and Christians hardly deign to greet each other (Harmer, 2:35). The public sentiment of those times also released holy persons (saints) from the obligation of returning complimentary salutations (Lightfoot, p. 787), which, however, they eagerly claimed (Mr 12:38; Lu 11:43; Lu 20:46). The right side was regarded as the place of honor in standing or sitting by the Hebrews from early times (1Ki 2:19; Ps 45:10; Mt 25:33; comp. Sueton. Ner. 18, see Dougtaei Anal. 1:169 sq.; Wetstein, 1:456, 512; Einigk, De manu dextra honoratiore, Lips. 1707). Public reverence and homage toward monarchs, generals, etc., consisted in shouts (among others, the cry huzza, יחַי הִמֶּלֶך, "Long live the king!" Barhebr. Chron. p. 447) of acclamation (Josephus, Ant. 11:8, 5; War, 7:5, 2; Ammian. Marc. 21:10; Philo, 2:522), with music (2Sa 16:16; 1Ki 1:39-40; 2Ki 9:13; Judith 3, 8; comp. Herodian, 4:8, 19); also in strewing carpets or garments along the road (comp. AEschyl. Agam. 909; Plutarch, Cato min. c. 12; Talmud, Chetuboth, fol. 66:2; as still is practiced in Palestine, Robinson, 2:383), with branches (see Ugolini Thesaur. 30) or flowers (2Ki 9:13; Mt 21:8; comp. Curtius, v. 1, 20; 9:10, 25; Herod. 7:54; AElian, Var. Hist. 9:9; Tacitus, Hist. 2:70; Herodian, 1:7, 11; 4:8, 19; see Dougtei Analect. 3:39; Paulsen, Regier. des Morgenl. p. 229 sq.), and in torchlight entrances at night (2 Maccabees 4:22). Festive escorts in procession (with the priests at the head) were also not unusual (Josephus, Ant. 11:8, 5; 16:2, 1; see Schmieder, De solemnitatt. vett. reges impera! oresq. recapiendi, Brig. 1823). SEE GIFT; SEE VISIT.