And He saith, 'Come not near hither: cast thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place on which thou art standing is holy ground.'
Exodus 3:5 Additional TranslationsClarke's Commentary on the Bible
Put off thy shoes - It is likely that from this circumstance all the eastern nations have agreed to perform all the acts of their religious worship barefooted. All the Mohammedans, Brahmins, and Parsees do so still. The Jews were remarked for this in the time of Juvenal; hence he speaks of their performing their sacred rites barefooted; Sat. vi., ver. 158:
Observant ubi festa mero pede sabbata reges.
The ancient Greeks did the same. Jamblichus, in the life of Pythagoras, tells us that this was one of his maxims, Ανυποδητος θυε και προσκυνει, Offer sacrifice and worship with your shoes off. And Solinus asserts that no person was permitted to enter into the temple of Diana, in Crete, till he had taken off his shoes. "Aedem Numinis (Dianae) praeterquam nudus vestigio nulles licito ingreditur." Tertullian observes, de jejunio, that in a time of drought the worshippers of Jupiter deprecated his wrath, and prayed for rain, walking barefooted. "Cum stupet caelum, et aret annus, nudipedalia, denunciantur." It is probable that נעלים nealim, in the text, signifies sandals, translated by the Chaldee סנדל sandal, and סנדלא sandala, (see Genesis 14:23), which was the same as the Roman solea, a sole alone, strapped about the foot As this sole must let in dust, gravel, and sand about the foot in travelling, and render it very uneasy, hence the custom of frequently washing the feet in those countries where these sandals were worn. Pulling off the shoes was, therefore, an emblem of laying aside the pollutions contracted by walking in the way of sin. Let those who name the Lord Jesus Christ depart from iniquity. In our western countries reverence is expressed by pulling off the hat; but how much more significant is the eastern custom! "The natives of Bengal never go into their own houses with their shoes on, nor into the houses of others, but always leave their shoes at the door. It would be a great affront not to attend to this mark of respect when visiting; and to enter a temple without pulling off the shoes would be an unpardonable offense." - Ward.
The place whereon thou standest is holy ground - It was not particularly sanctified by the Divine presence; but if we may credit Josephus, a general opinion had prevailed that God dwelt on that mountain; and hence the shepherds, considering it as sacred ground, did not dare to feed their flocks there. Moses, however, finding the soil to be rich and the pasturage good, boldly drove his flock thither to feed on it - Antiq., b. ii., c. xii., s. 1.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Exodus 19:12,21 And you shall set bounds to the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that you go not up into the mount...
Leviticus 10:3 Then Moses said to Aaron, This is it that the LORD spoke, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come near me...
Hebrews 12:20 (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned...
Genesis 28:16,17 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not...
Joshua 5:15 And the captain of the LORD's host said to Joshua, Loose your shoe from off your foot; for the place where on you stand is holy...
Ecclesiastes 5:1 Keep your foot when you go to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools...
Acts 7:33 Then said the Lord to him, Put off your shoes from your feet: for the place where you stand is holy ground.
Exodus 3:5 Parallel CommentariesApproach Close Closer Draw Feet Ground Hither Holy Loose Nigh Remove Sandals Shoes Standest Standing WhereonApproach Close Closer Draw Feet Ground Hither Holy Loose Nigh Remove Sandals Shoes Standest Standing WhereonTHE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica®.
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