Barefoot
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Easton's Bible Dictionary
To go barefoot was a sign of great distress (Isaiah 20:2, 3, 4), or of some great calamity having fallen on a person (2 Samuel 15:30).
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
(a. & adv.) With the feet bare; without shoes or stockings.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
BAREFOOT

bar'-foot.

1. Introductory:

The word is found in the following passages: English Versions of the Bible, "He went barefoot" (2 Samuel 15:30); "(Isaiah) did so, walking. barefoot" (Isaiah 20:2); and like the Egyptians, "naked and barefoot" (Isaiah 20:3, 4). It seems that David in his flight before Absalom "went barefoot," not to facilitate his flight, but to show his grief (2 Samuel 15:30), and that Micah (Micah 1:8) makes "going barefoot" a sign of mourning (Septuagint: "to be barefoot"; the King James Version "stripped"). The nakedness and bare feet of the prophet Isaiah (20:2) may have been intended to symbolize and express sympathy for the forlorn condition of captives (compare Job 12:17, 19, where the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American) have "spoiled," but some authorities give as the true translation "barefoot").

Jastrow, in article on "Tearing the Garments" (Jour. of the Am. Oriental Soc., XXI, 23-39) presents a view worth considering of going barefoot as a sign of mourning and then of grief in general (compare also Jewish Encyclopedia, article "Barefoot"). All these passages seem to imply the discomfort or going barefoot on long journeys, over stony roads or hot sands; but then, as now, in the Orient sandals seem to have been little worn ordinarily in and around the house.

See SHOE.

2. An Ancient Oriental Custom:

The "shoes" of the ancients, as we know from many sources, were "sandals," i.e. simply soles, for the most part of rawhide, tied to the feet to protect them against the gravel, stones or thorns of the road. Shoes of the modern sort, as well as socks and stockings, were unknown. In ancient times it was certainly a common custom in Bible lands to go about in and around one's house without sandals. The peasantry, indeed, like the fellaheen of today, being hardened to it, often went afield barefoot. But for a king, or a prophet, a priest or a worshipper, to go barefoot, was another matter, as it was also for a mourner, for one in great distress, to be found walking the streets of a city, or going any distance in bare feet. Here we come again to customs peculiar to the Orient, and of various significance. For instance, it was considered then, as it is now in the Moslem world, profane and shocking, nothing short of a desecration, to enter a sanctuary, or walk on "holy ground," with dust-covered shoes, or unwashed feet. Moses and Joshua were commanded to take off their shoes when on "holy ground" (Exodus 3:5 Joshua 5:15). "No one was allowed to walk on the temple ground with shoes on, or with dust on his feet" (Ber., IX, 5; compare Jamblichus, Pythagoras, section 105). No one in the East today is allowed to enter any mosque with shoes on, or without first putting slippers furnished for the purpose over his shoes. As a rule, too, the feet must be cleansed by ablution in every such case, as well as hands and feet before each meal.

3. Priests on Duty Went Barefoot:

The priests of Israel, as would seem true of the priests in general among the ancients, wore no shoes when ministering (see Silius Italicus, III, 28; compare Theodoret on Exodus 3, questio 7; and Yer. Shet., 5, 48d). In ancient times, certainly the priests of Israel, when going upon the platform to serve before the ark, in Tabernacle or temple, as later in the synagogue to bless the congregation, went barefoot; though today strange to say, such ministering priests among the Jews wear stockings, and are not supposed to be barefoot (CoTah, 40a; RH, 316; Shulchan 'Arukh, 'Orach Chayyim, 128, 5; see Jewish Encyclopedia, article "Barefoot").

4. Reasons for the Ancient Custom:

The reason or reasons for the removal of the shoes in such cases as the above, we are not at a loss to divine; but when it comes to the removal of the shoes in times of mourning, etc., opinions differ. Some see in such customs a trace of ancestor-worship; others find simply a reversion or return to primitive modes of life; while others still, in agreement with a widely prevalent Jewish view, suggest that it was adopted as a perfectly natural symbol of humility and simplicity of life, appropriate to occasions of grief, distress and deep solemnity of feeling.

The shoes are set aside now by many modern Jews on the Day of Atonement and on the Ninth of Ab.

LITERATURE.

Winer, Robinson, Biblical Researches, under the word "Priester und Schuhe"; Riehm, Handworterbuch des bib. Alt., under the word "Schuhe."

George B. Eager

Strong's Hebrew
3182. yacheph -- barefoot
... 3181, 3182. yacheph. 3183 . barefoot. Transliteration: yacheph Phonetic
Spelling: (yaw-khafe') Short Definition: barefoot. Word ...
/hebrew/3182.htm - 5k

7758. sholal -- barefoot
... 7757, 7758. sholal. 7759 . barefoot. Transliteration: sholal Phonetic
Spelling: (sho-lawl') Short Definition: barefoot. Word Origin ...
/hebrew/7758.htm - 6k

Library

Everybody's Sermon
... And he did so, walking naked and barefoot. And the Lord said, "Like as my
servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years ...
/.../spurgeon/spurgeons sermons volume 4 1858/everybodys sermon.htm

Of the Affectionate Languishing of the Heart Wounded with Love.
... seems to abandon all other care, all other exercises, yea and herself too, whence
Plato said that love was poor, ragged, naked, barefoot, miserable, houseless ...
/.../francis/treatise on the love of god/chapter xv of the affectionate.htm

At the Dedication of a Church
... resignation. The other image, placed by the side of this one, is in a light
dress and has uplifted hands; both are barefoot. This ...
//christianbookshelf.org/tauler/the inner way/sermon xxxv at the dedication.htm

How Even Apostles Thought that a Lie was Often Useful and the ...
... had certainly been profitable not to circumcise Timothy, not to shave his head,
not to undergo Jewish purification, not to practice going barefoot, [2040] not ...
/.../cassian/the conferences of john cassian/chapter xx how even apostles.htm

And ii.
... Like as My servant Isaiah walketh naked and barefoot three years, for a sign and
wonder upon Egypt and Ethiopia, so shall the king of Assyria lead away the ...
/.../hengstenberg/christology of the old testament/chap i and ii.htm

Book 8 Footnotes
... [36] "The Jews weep to this day," [says Jerome, here cited by Reland,] "and roll
themselves upon sackcloth, in ashes, barefoot, upon such occasions." To which ...
/.../josephus/the antiquities of the jews/book 8 footnotes.htm

Severinus in Germany.
... at so small and mean a cost; when, in mid-winter, when the Danube was so firmly
frozen that it could bear carriages, they saw him go about barefoot amidst the ...
/.../neander/light in the dark places/severinus in germany.htm

Otho, Bishop of Bamberg.
... by the requisite discretion. Accustomed to a severe ascetic life, he appeared
barefoot, in a hermit's garb. He deemed it necessary ...
/.../neander/light in the dark places/otho bishop of bamberg.htm

The Ecstasy of Saint Monnica
... Alypius had prepared most piously, disciplining himself with the harshest
austerities, to the point of walking barefoot on the frozen soil. ...
//christianbookshelf.org/bertrand/saint augustin/ii the ecstasy of saint.htm

New Shoes
... promised to wash and mend his clothes, so that he might go looking very neat indeed;
but the old shoes were far past all mending and how could he go barefoot? ...
/.../shaw/touching incidents and remarkable answers to prayer/new shoes.htm

Thesaurus
Barefoot (7 Occurrences)
... To go barefoot was a sign of great distress (Isaiah 20:2, 3, 4), or of some great
calamity having fallen on a person (2 Samuel 15:30). ...BAREFOOT. bar'-foot. ...
/b/barefoot.htm - 13k

Bared (4 Occurrences)
... Isaiah 20:4 so shall the king of Assyria lead away the captives of Egypt, and the
exiles of Ethiopia, young and old, naked and barefoot, and with buttocks ...
/b/bared.htm - 7k

Naked (56 Occurrences)
... the son of Amoz, saying, "Go, and loosen the sackcloth from off your waist, and
take your shoes from off your feet." He did so, walking naked and barefoot. ...
/n/naked.htm - 29k

Olivet (4 Occurrences)
... 2 Samuel 15:30 And David went up by the ascent of mount Olivet, and wept as he went
up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot: and all the people that ...
/o/olivet.htm - 7k

Loosen (8 Occurrences)
... the son of Amoz, saying, "Go, and loosen the sackcloth from off your waist, and
take your shoes from off your feet." He did so, walking naked and barefoot. ...
/l/loosen.htm - 9k

Foot (193 Occurrences)
... of socks or stockings, the use of sandals and low shoes rather than boots and, to
an even greater degree, the frequent habit of walking barefoot make it ...
/f/foot.htm - 48k

Egypt's (13 Occurrences)
... Isaiah 20:4 so shall the king of Assyria lead away the captives of Egypt, and the
exiles of Ethiopia, young and old, naked and barefoot, and with buttocks ...
/e/egypt's.htm - 10k

Buttocks (3 Occurrences)
... Isaiah 20:4 so the king of Assyria will lead away the captives of Egypt and the
exiles of Ethiopia, young and old, naked and barefoot, and with buttocks ...
/b/buttocks.htm - 7k

Barefooted (1 Occurrence)

/b/barefooted.htm - 6k

Amoz (14 Occurrences)
... the son of Amoz, saying, "Go, and loosen the sackcloth from off your waist, and
take your shoes from off your feet." He did so, walking naked and barefoot. ...
/a/amoz.htm - 12k

Concordance
Barefoot (7 Occurrences)

2 Samuel 15:30
David went up by the ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he went up; and he had his head covered, and went barefoot: and all the people who were with him covered every man his head, and they went up, weeping as they went up.
(WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Job 12:17
He leads counselors away stripped. He makes judges fools.
(See NAS)

Job 12:19
He leads priests away stripped, and overthrows the mighty.
(See NAS)

Isaiah 20:2
at that time Yahweh spoke by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, "Go, and loosen the sackcloth from off your waist, and take your shoes from off your feet." He did so, walking naked and barefoot.
(WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Isaiah 20:3
Yahweh said, "As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and a wonder concerning Egypt and concerning Ethiopia,
(WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Isaiah 20:4
so the king of Assyria will lead away the captives of Egypt and the exiles of Ethiopia, young and old, naked and barefoot, and with buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.
(WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)

Micah 1:8
For this I will lament and wail; I will go stripped and naked; I will howl like the jackals, and moan like the daughters of owls.
(See NAS NIV)

Subtopics

Barefoot

Related Terms

Bared (4 Occurrences)

Naked (56 Occurrences)

Olivet (4 Occurrences)

Loosen (8 Occurrences)

Foot (193 Occurrences)

Egypt's (13 Occurrences)

Buttocks (3 Occurrences)

Barefooted (1 Occurrence)

Amoz (14 Occurrences)

Sandal (14 Occurrences)

Exiles (46 Occurrences)

Cushite (15 Occurrences)

Waist (36 Occurrences)

Shoes (32 Occurrences)

Ascent (32 Occurrences)

Sandals (30 Occurrences)

Olives (30 Occurrences)

Loosed (41 Occurrences)

Sackcloth (47 Occurrences)

Egyptian (35 Occurrences)

Shoe (13 Occurrences)

Uncovered (78 Occurrences)

Captives (69 Occurrences)

Malchiel (3 Occurrences)

Ethiopia (26 Occurrences)

Cush (31 Occurrences)

Wept (78 Occurrences)

Loins (72 Occurrences)

Walked (178 Occurrences)

Isaiah (64 Occurrences)

Covered (325 Occurrences)

Dress (38 Occurrences)

Assyria (124 Occurrences)

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