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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

bath, bath'-ing.

1. Ordinary Bathing:

Bathing in the ordinary, non-religious sense, public or private, is rarely met with in the Scriptures. We find, however, three exceptional and interesting cases:

(1) that of Pharaoh's daughter, resorting to the Nile (Exodus 2:5);

(2) that of Bath-sheba, bathing on the house-top (2 Samuel 11:2 the Revised Version (British and American));

(3) the curious case mentioned in 1 Kings 22:38. (To wash with royal blood was supposed to be beneficial to the complexion.)

The dusty, limestone soil of Palestine and the open foot-gear of the Orient on stockingless feet, called for frequent washing of the feet (Genesis 24:32; Genesis 43:24 Judges 19:24 1 Samuel 25:41 2 Samuel 11:8 Songs 5:3, etc.), and bathing of the body for refreshment; but the chief concern of the writers of Scripture was with bathing of another sort. Indeed, something of the religious sense and aspect of bathing, in addition to that of bodily refreshment, seems to have entered into the ordinary use of water, as in the washing of the hands before meals, etc. (see Genesis 18:4; Genesis 19:2 Luke 7:44).

2. Bathing Resorts:

The streams and ponds, when available, were the usual resorts for bathing (Exodus 2:5 2 Kings 5:10, etc.), but the water-supply of large cities, stored up in great pools or large cisterns, was certainly available at times to some degree for bathing (2 Samuel 11:2); though, as Benzinger says, no traces of bathrooms have been found in old Hebrew houses, even in royal palaces. In Babylon, it would seem from Susanna 15, there were bathing pools in gardens, though this passage may refer simply to bathing in the open air. Certainly public baths as now known, or plunge-baths of the Greek type, were unknown among the Hebrews until they were brought in contact with the Greek civilization. Such baths first come into view during the Greek-Roman period, when they are found to be regularly included in the gymnasia, or "places of exercise" (1 Maccabees 1:14). Remains of them, of varying degrees of richness and architectural completeness, may be seen today in various parts of the East, those left of the cities of the Decapolis, especially at Gerash and Amman, being excellent examples (compare also those at Pompeii). A remarkable series of bath-chambers has recently been discovered by Mr. R. A. S. Macalister at Gezer in Palestine, in connection with a building supposed to be the palace built by Simon Maccabeus. For an interesting account of it see PEFS, 1905, 294.

3. Greek versus Semitic Ideas:

When we consider that in Palestine six months of the year are rainless, and how scarce and pricelessly valuable water is during most of the year, and in many places all the year round; and when we recall how the Bedouin of today looks on the use of water for cleansing in such times and places of scarcity, viewing it as a wanton waste (see Benzinger, Hebrew. Arch., 108, note), the rigid requirement of it for so many ritual purposes by the Mosaic law is, to say the least, remarkable (see ABLUTION; CLEAN; UNCLEANNESS, etc.). Certainly there was a marked contrast between the Greek idea of bathing and that of the Hebrews and Asiatics in general, when they came in contact. But when Greek culture invaded Palestine under Antiochus Epiphanes (circa 168 B.C.), it brought Greek ideas and Greek bathing establishments with it; and under Herod (40-44 B.C.) it was given the right of way and prevailed to no mean degree (see Anecdote of Gamaliel II in Schurer, HJP, II, i, 18, 53).

4. Ceremonial Purification:

But "bathing" in the Bible stands chiefly for ritual acts-purification from ceremonial uncleanness, from contact with the dead, with defiled persons or things, with "holy things," i.e. things "devoted," or "under the ban," etc. (see CLEAN; UNCLEANNESS, etc.). The Hebrew of the Old Testament does not sharply distinguish between bathing and partial washing-both are expressed by rahats, and the Revised Version (British and American) rightly renders "wash" instead of "bathe" in some cases. Talmudic usage simply codified custom which had been long in vogue, according to Schurer. But Kennedy grants that the "bath" at last became, even for the laity, "an important factor in the religious life of Israel." We read of daily bathing by the Essenes (Josephus, BJ, II, viii, 5). Then later we find John, the Baptizer, immersing, as the record clearly shows the apostles of Christ did also (Acts 8:38 Romans 6:3 f); compare Luke 11:38 where baptizo, in passive = "washed."

5. Bathing for Health:

In John 5:2-7 we have an example of bathing for health. There are remains of ancient baths at Gadara and at Callirrhoe, East of the Jordan, baths which were once celebrated as resorts for health-seekers. There are hot baths in full operation today, near Tiberias, on the southwestern shore of the Lake of Galilee, which have been a health resort from time immemorial. It is probably true, however, as some one has said, that in Old Testament times and in New Testament times, the masses of the people had neither privacy nor inclination for bathing.

George B. Eager

3068. louo -- to bathe, to wash
... or merely ceremonially), I wash, bathe (the body); mid: of washing, bathing
one's self; met: I cleanse from sin. 3068 -- properly ...
// - 7k

2861. kolumbethra -- a pool
... pool. A diving-place, ie Pond for bathing (or swimming) -- pool. (kolumbethra) --
1 Occurrence. (kolumbethran) -- 2 Occurrences. 2860, 2861. ...
// - 6k

Strong's Hebrew
7364. rachats -- to wash, wash off or away, bathe
... root Definition to wash, wash off or away, bathe NASB Word Usage bathe (25), bathed
(6), bathing (1), wash (24), washed (13), washed away (1), washing (2). ...
/hebrew/7364.htm - 6k

7367. rachtsah -- a washing
... of rachats Definition a washing NASB Word Usage washing (2). washing. Feminine of
rachats; a bathing place -- washing. see HEBREW rachats. 7366, 7367. ...
/hebrew/7367.htm - 6k


Why we are to Use the Bath.
... cleanliness, or heat, or health, or lastly, for pleasure. Bathing for pleasure
is to be omitted. For unblushing pleasure must be cut out by ...
/.../clement/the instructor paedagogus/chapter ix why we are to.htm

And when Jesus came to a Certain Village, There Drew Near to Him a ...
... [10] [1546] And there was in Jerusalem a place prepared for bathing, [1547] which
was called in [11] Hebrew the House of Mercy, having five porches. ...
/.../hogg/the diatessaron of tatian/section xxii and when jesus.htm

Behaviour in the Baths.
... And gold-plated chairs, and silver ones, too, and ten thousand vessels of gold and
silver, some for drinking, some for eating, some for bathing, are carried ...
/.../clement/the instructor paedagogus/chapter v behaviour in the baths.htm

Mission Tours.
... and the proof given was that the river Kurumnasa, which means the destroyer of merit,
takes away all merit from those who bathe in it, while bathing in the ...
/.../life and work in benares and kumaon 1839-1877/chapter xiv mission tours.htm

Arrival at Benares.
... I had dimly seen the bathing-places of the people stretching away for
miles, and the houses on the high bank of the river. As I ...
/.../chapter iii arrival at benares.htm

Missed Ends
... We watched the procession pass down the street. They were going for water from a
sacred stream for the bathing of purification. ... Then came the bathing. ...
/.../wilson-carmichael/things as they are/chapter vi missed ends.htm

Commandments to Women.
... That a Woman Must Not Bathe with Men. IX. Avoid also that disorderly practice of
bathing in the same place with men; for many are the nets of the evil one. ...
/.../various/constitutions of the holy apostles/sec iii commandments to women.htm

"The Dust of the Actual"
... over the edge of the tank to drink, and he fell in and was drowned; so I have been
to condole with his people, and I have now returned from bathing, and do not ...
/.../wilson-carmichael/things as they are/chapter vii the dust of.htm

My Second Year in Benares.
... The most extravagant promises are held out to those who bathe in the Ganges, at
any time in any part of it; but bathing on the occasion of an eclipse, and ...
/.../life and work in benares and kumaon 1839-1877/chapter ix my second year.htm

The Ordinances of the New Testament.
... Bathing is a custom, naturally so, for cleanliness and health, and is observed by
people of every civilized nation, and has been in every age of the world. ...
// gospel day /chapter viii the ordinances of.htm

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (p. pr. & vb. n.) of Bathe.

2. (n.) Act of taking a bath or baths.

Bathing (9 Occurrences)
... BATH; BATHING. bath, bath'-ing. 1. Ordinary Bathing: Bathing in the ordinary,
non-religious sense, public or private, is rarely met with in the Scriptures. ...
/b/bathing.htm - 15k

Bathing-place (1 Occurrence)
Bathing-place. Bathing, Bathing-place. Bathrabbim . Multi-Version
Concordance Bathing-place (1 Occurrence). 1 Kings ...
/b/bathing-place.htm - 6k

Bath (13 Occurrences)
... 2. (n.) Water or other liquid for bathing. ... 4. (n.) A building containing an
apartment or a series of apartments arranged for bathing. ...
/b/bath.htm - 22k

... Compare `divers baptisms' (immersions) in Hebrews 9:10, and see Broadus on Matthew
15:2-20 with footnote. (For another view on bathing see Kennedy in HDB, I ...
/a/ablution.htm - 18k

Washing (56 Occurrences)
... Jesus was not instituting a new symbol to take the place of baptism, to cleanse
the entire person, but clearly distinguishes between the bathing (louo) of the ...
/w/washing.htm - 38k

Bathed (45 Occurrences)

/b/bathed.htm - 20k

Utensils (72 Occurrences)
... Mark 7:4 and when they come from market they will not eat without bathing first;
and they have a good many other customs which they have received traditionally ...
/u/utensils.htm - 28k

Walketh (62 Occurrences)
... evening-time, that David riseth from off his couch, and walketh up and down on the
roof of the king's house, and seeth from the roof a woman bathing, and the ...
/w/walketh.htm - 24k

War-carriage (11 Occurrences)
... 1 Kings 22:38 And the war-carriage was washed by the pool of Samaria, which was
the bathing-place of the loose women, and the dogs were drinking his blood there ...
/w/war-carriage.htm - 9k

Traditionally (1 Occurrence)
... Mark 7:4 and when they come from market they will not eat without bathing first;
and they have a good many other customs which they have received traditionally ...
/t/traditionally.htm - 6k

Bible Concordance
Bathing (9 Occurrences)

Mark 7:4 and when they come from market they will not eat without bathing first; and they have a good many other customs which they have received traditionally and cling to, such as the rinsing of cups and pots and of bronze utensils, and the washing of beds.)

Ephesians 5:26 that he might sanctify it, having cleansed 'it' with the bathing of the water in the saying,

Titus 3:5 (not by works that 'are' in righteousness that we did but according to His kindness,) He did save us, through a bathing of regeneration, and a renewing of the Holy Spirit,

Leviticus 15:13 And when a man who has a flow from his body is made clean from it, he is to take seven days to make himself clean, washing his clothing and bathing his body in flowing water, and then he will be clean.

Leviticus 16:24 And after bathing his body in water in a holy place, he is to put on his clothing and come out and give his burned offering and the burned offering of the people, to take away his sin and the sin of the people.

Numbers 19:7 And the priest, after washing his clothing and bathing his body in water, may come back to the tent-circle, and will be unclean till evening.

Numbers 19:19 Let the clean person do this to the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day: and on the seventh day he is to make him clean; and after washing his clothing and bathing himself in water, he will be clean in the evening.

2 Samuel 11:2 It happened at evening, that David arose from off his bed, and walked on the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman bathing; and the woman was very beautiful to look on.

Job 36:30 Behold, he spreads his light around him. He covers the bottom of the sea.
(See NIV)



Bathing Bath

Related Terms

Bathing-place (1 Occurrence)

Bath (13 Occurrences)


Washing (56 Occurrences)

Bathed (45 Occurrences)

Utensils (72 Occurrences)

Walketh (62 Occurrences)

War-carriage (11 Occurrences)

Traditionally (1 Occurrence)

Rinsing (2 Occurrences)

Evening-time (2 Occurrences)

Eventide (10 Occurrences)

Purification (25 Occurrences)

Bathrabbim (1 Occurrence)

Beds (22 Occurrences)

Bason (3 Occurrences)

Baths (8 Occurrences)

Customs (25 Occurrences)

Cling (35 Occurrences)

Late (24 Occurrences)

Afternoon (9 Occurrences)

Stamp (25 Occurrences)

Basin (37 Occurrences)

Flowing (123 Occurrences)

Feet (2931 Occurrences)

Evening (163 Occurrences)

Flow (85 Occurrences)

Blood (435 Occurrences)

Tent-circle (45 Occurrences)

Roof (55 Occurrences)

Couch (55 Occurrences)

Palace (194 Occurrences)

Beautiful (152 Occurrences)

King's (375 Occurrences)

Walked (178 Occurrences)

Drinking (114 Occurrences)

Kindness (295 Occurrences)

Appearance (126 Occurrences)

Priest (500 Occurrences)

Walking (189 Occurrences)

Loose (219 Occurrences)

Riseth (165 Occurrences)

Bed (142 Occurrences)

Greece (15 Occurrences)

Ancient (64 Occurrences)

Religion (23 Occurrences)

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