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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [1]

The ancient Hebrews did not eat indifferently with all persons:

they would have esteemed themselves polluted and dishonoured by eating with people of another religion, or of an odious profession. In Joseph's day they neither ate with the Egyptians, nor the Egyptians with them,  Genesis 43:32; nor, in our Saviour's time, with the Samaritans,  John 4:9 . The Jews were scandalized at Christ's eating with publicans and sinners,

 Matthew 9:11 . As there were several sorts of meats, the use of which was prohibited, they could not conveniently eat with those who partook of them, fearing to receive pollution by touching such food, or if by accident any particles of it should fall on them. The ancient Hebrews, at their meals, had each his separate table. Joseph, entertaining his brethren in Egypt, seated them separately, each at his particular table; and he himself sat down separately from the Egyptians, who ate with him; but he sent to his brethren portions out of the provisions which were before him,  Genesis 43:31 , &c. Elkanah, Samuel's father, who had two wives, distributed their portions to them separately,  1 Samuel 1:4-5 . In Homer, each guest has his little table apart; and the master of the feast distributes meat to each. We are assured that this is still practised in China; and that many in India never eat out of the same dish, nor on the same table, with another person, believing that they cannot do so without sin; and this, not only in their own country, but when travelling, and in foreign lands.

The ancient manners which we see in Homer we see likewise in Scripture, with regard to eating, drinking, and entertainments: we find great plenty, but little delicacy; and great respect and honour paid to the guests by serving them plentifully. Joseph sent his brother Benjamin a portion five times larger than those of his other brethren. Samuel set a whole quarter of a calf before Saul. The women did not appear at table in entertainments with the men: this would have been an indecency; as it is at this day throughout the east. The present Jews, before they sit down to table, carefully wash their hands: they speak of this ceremony as essential and obligatory. After meals they wash them again. When they sit down to table, the master of the house, or the chief person in the company, taking bread, breaks it, but does not wholly separate it; then, putting his hand on it, he recites this blessing: "Blessed be thou, O Lord our God, the King of the world, who producest the bread of the earth." Those present answer, "Amen." Having distributed the bread among the guests, he takes the vessel of wine in his right hand, saying, "Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the world, who hast produced the fruit of the vine." They then repeat the twenty-third Psalm. Buxtorf, and Leo of Modena, who have given particular accounts of the Jewish ceremonies, differ in some circumstances: the reason is, Buxtorf wrote principally the ceremonies of the German Jews, and Leo, those of the Italian Jews. They take care that, after meals, there shall be a piece of bread remaining on the table; the master of the house orders a glass to be washed, fills it with wine, and, elevating it, says," Let us bless Him of whose benefits we have been partaking:" the rest answer, "Blessed be He who has heaped his favours on us, and by his goodness has now fed us." Then he recites a pretty long prayer, wherein he thanks God for his many benefits vouchsafed to Israel; beseeches him to pity Jerusalem and his temple, to restore the throne of David, to send Elias and the Messiah, to deliver them out of their long captivity, &c. All present answer, "Amen;" and then recite  Psalms 34:9-10 . Then, giving the glass with the little wine in it to be drunk round, he drinks what is left, and the table is cleared. See Banquets .

Partaking of the benefits of Christ's passion by faith is also called eating, because this is the support of our spiritual life,  John 6:53;  John 6:56 . Hosea reproaches the priests of his time with eating the sins of the people,  Hosea 4:8; that is, feasting on their sin offerings, rather than reforming their manners. John the Baptist is said to have come "neither eating nor drinking,"  Matthew 11:18; that is, as other men did; for he lived in the wilderness, on locusts, wild honey, and water,  Matthew 3:4;  Luke 1:15 . This is expressed: in  Luke 7:33 , by his neither eating "bread," nor drinking "wine." On the other hand, the Son of Man is said, in  Matthew 11:19 , to have come "eating and drinking;" that is, as others did; and that too with all sorts of persons, Pharisees, publicans, and sinners.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [2]

Eating, To Eat

The custom of eating in the Eastern world, totally differed from our customs and manners. It was always in a reclining posture. And there was great attention paid to the company, even in their ordinary meals. The patriarchs ate by themselves. And when our fathers were in Egypt, we are told, that it was an abomination for the Egyptians to sit at meat with the Hebrews. ( Genesis 43:32) It is our happiness that these distinctions are done away. Jesus received sinners, and ate with them. Well it is for us he did. ( Luke 15:2) How blessedly the apostle speaks on the subject: "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." ( Romans 14:17) It may not be unacceptable to the readers, for whom I particularly intend this Concordance, to set before them an account of the extraordinary attention the ancient Jews observed in their seasons of meals, to a scrupulous exactness. It may be more than gratifying as an history, for it may be profitable in beholding what was unimportant among them, while we gather improvement from what was becoming. The view of both may be useful. The Jews never sat down to the table until that they had first washed their hands. Hence, their surprise, at the freedom of Christ and his disciples on this occasion. ( Matthew 15:2;  Mark 7:2-4) When they have finished their repast, they wash again. None of the company begin to eat until that the governor or master of the feast hath broken bread, and craved a blessing. One of the fathers gives us the usual words of this blessing. The words were "Blessed be thou, O Lord, our God, the King of the world, for it is thou who produceth the bread of the earth." All present say, Amen. And the master of the table generally helps the guests, however numerous they may be. When they have eaten, he takes the vessel of wine in his right hand, saying as before "Blessed be thou, O Lord our God, the King of the world, who hast produced the fruit of the vine." The Amen is, as before, repeated. Then is generally repeated the twenty-third Psalm. There is always reserved a portion of bread after their meals, which is suffered to remain on the table. Was not this with an eye to Christ, the bread of life? ( John 6:48) A cup is usually washed at the close of the entertainment, and is filled with wine, when the governor or master of the feast saith, elevating it to the view of the whole company, "Let us bless him, of whose benefits we have been partaking." The company answer, "Blessed be he who hath heaped his favours on us, and by his goodness hath now fed us." This is followed up with prayer, in which is generally expressed the Lord's goodness to Israel, beseeching him to pity Jerusalem and his temple, to restore the throne of David, and to send Elias and the Messiah, and to deliver them out of their long captivity: all answer Amen. A Psalm is again recited, and the cup of wine is given by the master of the table to every one. The table is then cleared, and the service finisheth. I have thought it worth rehearsing this custom of the ancient Jews, because it serves to shew how much devotion mingled even with their ordinary meals. I take shame and reproach to myself in the recollection, how such conduct puts to the blush modern Christians. At what table shall we go to find so much piety? They looked forward but to the Messiah to come. We profess to believe that he is come, and hath restored all things. Blessed Lord Jesus! How dost thou daily witness the graceless tables of thousands that call themselves after thee, Christians, but where not the vestige of the Christian is to be found.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [3]

Besides the common use of this word, it is employed symbolically for to 'consume, destroy:' they "eat up my people as they eat bread."  Psalm 14:4; cf.  Proverbs 30:14;  Habakkuk 3:14;  2 Timothy 2:17 . Also for receiving, digesting, and delighting in God's words: "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts."  Jeremiah 15:16 . To eat together of the same bread or food is a token of friendship.  Joshua 9:14;  Psalm 41:9;  Song of Solomon 5:1;  John 13:18; and such an expression of intimacy is forbidden towards those walking disorderly.  1 Corinthians 5:11 . It is used to express the satisfaction of doing the work that is before the soul: the Lord said, "I have meat to eat that ye know not of."  John 4:32 . Also to express appropriation to the eater of the death of Christ: "except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you."  John 6:53 . (In  John 6:51,53 there is eating for reception, φάγω; and in   John 6:54,56,57 , eating as a present thing for the maintenance of life, τρώγω.) In theLord's Supper theChristian eats that which is a symbol of the body of Christ,  Matthew 26:26 , and in eating he has communion with Christ's death.  1 Corinthians 10:16 .

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [4]

The Jews would have considered themselves polluted by eating with people of another religion, or with any who were ceremonially unclean or disreputable-as with Samaritans,  John 4:9 , publicans,  Matthew 9:11 , or Gentiles,  Acts 10:28   Galatians 2:12 . Eating together was an established token of mutual confidence and friendship, a pledge of friendly relations between families, which their children were expected to perpetuate. The rites of hospitality were held sacred; and to this day, among the Arabs, a fugitive is safe for the time, if he gains the shelter of even an enemy's tent. The abuse of hospitality was a great crime,  Psalm 41:9 .

To "eat" a book, is to make its precepts, promises, and spirit one's own,  Jeremiah 15:16   Ezekiel 3:1   John 4:14   Revelation 10:9 . So to eat Christ's flesh and drink his blood, is to receive him as a Savior, and by a living faith to be imbued with his truth, his Spirit, and his heavenly life,  John 6:32-58 .

Easton's Bible Dictionary [5]

 Genesis 43:32 John 4:9 Matthew 9:11 Luke 7:36-50 Genesis 43:16 1 Kings 20:16 Ruth 2:14 Luke 14:12 Jeremiah 15:16 Ezekiel 3:1 Revelation 10:9 John 6:53-58

Webster's Dictionary [6]

(1): ( n.) The act of tasking food; the act of consuming or corroding.

(2): ( n.) Something fit to be eaten; food; as, a peach is good eating.

(3): ( p. pr. & vb. n.) of Eat

King James Dictionary [7]

E'ATING, ppr. Chewing and swallowing consuming corroding.

Holman Bible Dictionary [8]


Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [9]

Bibliography Information McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Eating'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.