Then said the Lord to him, Put off your shoes from your feet: for the place where you stand is holy ground.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Then said the Lord to him . . . .—The words are almost a verbal reproduction of Exodus 3:5; Exodus 3:7-8. The citation was in part an implied answer to the charge of disregarding the sanctity of places in which man stands as in the presence of God, partly an implied protest against the narrowing thoughts which limited that sanctity to the Temple of Jerusalem.Exodus 3 this is introduced in a different order, as being spoken "before" God said "I am the God," etc.
Put off thy shoes ... - Exodus 3:5. To put off the shoes; or sandals, was an act of reverence. The ancients were especially not permitted to enter a temple or holy place with their shoes on. Indeed, it was customary for the Jews to remove their shoes whenever they entered any house as a mere matter of civility. Compare the notes on John 13:5. See Joshua 5:15. "The same custom, growing out of the same feeling," says Prof. Hackett (Illustrations of Scripture, pp. 74, 75), "is observed among the Eastern nations at the present day. The Arabs and Turks never enter the mosques without putting off their shoes. They exact a compliance with this rule from those of a different faith who visit these sacred places. Though, until a recent period, the Muslims excluded Christians entirely from the mosques, they now permit foreigners to enter some of them, provided they leave their shoes at the door, or exchange them for others which have not been defiled by common use.
"A Samaritan from Nablus, who conducted Mr. Robinson and Mr. Smith to the summit of Gerizim, when he came within a certain distance of the spot, took off his shoes, saying it was unlawful for his people to tread with shoes upon this ground, it being holy."
Is holy ground - Is rendered sacred by the symbol of the divine presence. We should enter the sanctuary, the place set apart for divine worship, not only with reverence in our hearts, but with every "external" indication of veneration. Solemn awe and deep seriousness become the place set apart to the service of God. Compare Ecclesiastes 5:1.Put off thy shoes; either out of reverence to the Divine presence, as Joshua 5:15, or that thereby he might show that he resigned himself wholly to God’s will and disposal; as in Ruth 4:7, the kinsman, by pulling off his shoe and giving it to Boaz, did resign all his right he might have had to Ruth and the inheritance.
Holy ground, whilst God manifested his presence there.
put off thy shoes from thy feet; in token of humility, obedience, and reverence:Then said the Lord to him, Put off thy shoes from thy feet: for the place where thou standest is holy ground.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Acts 7:33. λῦσον, cf. Joshua 5:15, λῦσον A., cf. Exodus 3:5; in classical Greek, λῦσαι, omitting σου. On the custom of worshipping bare-footed, as the priests when actually engaged in the Temple, or as the Arabs enter their mosques with bare feet, or the Samaritan the holiest place on Gerizim, see instances, both classical, Juvenal, Sat., vi., 158, and from Josephus and others, Wetstein and Wendt, in loco. The latter refers to an Egyptian custom the order of Pythagoras ἀνυπόδητος θῦε καὶ προσκύνει, Jamblich., Vit. Pyth., 23, and cf. 18 in Wetstein.—τὸ ὑπόδημα, cf. Acts 13:25, and John 1:27, where in each passage the singular is used. Both Weiss and Wendt note the significance of the verse—a strange land is consecrated (cf. Acts 6:13, τόπος ἅγιος) by the presence of God—the Jews thought that the Temple was the only holy place, cf. add. note for significance in connection with the aim of St. Stephen’s speech, and St. Chrysostom’s comment in loco.Acts 7:33. Τῶν ποδῶν, from thy feet) He who puts his shoes off his feet is regarded as having himself aright in respect to the whole body. Comp. John 13:10—ὁ γὰρ τόπος, for the place) The sanctity of places depends on the unrestricted will and presence of GOD, and is therefore moveable (not stationary).Verse 33. - And the Lord said unto him for then said the Lord to him, A.V.; loose the shoes for put off by shoes, A.V. Loose the shoes, etc. In Exodus 3:5 it is λύσαι... ἐκ τῶν ποδῶν σου. Iamblichus, quoted by Meyer, refers the Pythagorean precept, "Sacrifice and worship with thy shoes off," to an Egyptian custom. The custom of Orientals to take off their sandals on entering mosques or other sacred places, as existing to the present day, is noticed by many travelers (see also Joshua 5:15).
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