corner graphic

Bible Dictionaries

Holman Bible Dictionary


Resource Toolbox
Additional Links
Flat surface supported by legs.

1. Dinner tables The earliest “tables” were simply skins spread on the ground (Compare the expressions “spread a table” and “a fine spread.”) Representations of tables are rare in Egyptian art before the New Kingdom (1300-1100 B.C.). The earliest scriptural mention (Judges 1:7 ) falls within this same time frame. Most references concern a sovereign's table (Judges 1:7 ; 2 Samuel 9:7 ; 1 Kings 2:7 ; 1 Kings 4:27 ; 1 Kings 10:5 ; 1 Kings 18:19 ; but see 1 Kings 13:20 ). Tables generally sat on short legs, allowing one to eat sitting or reclined on a rug (Isaiah 21:5 ). Judges 1:7 , however, reflects a table high enough for kings to rummage underneath (compare Mark 7:28 ). In New Testament times guests ate while reclining on couches, supporting their heads with their left hands and eating from a common bowl with their right. This practice explains a woman's standing at Jesus' feet (Luke 7:38 ) and the beloved disciple's position at Jesus' breast (John 13:23 ) during meals. See Furniture .

2. Ritual tables A table for the bread of the presence formed part of the furnishings for both the tabernacle (Exodus 25:23-30 ; Exodus 26:35 ; Leviticus 24:5-7 ) and Temple (1 Kings 7:48 ). Other tables were used in the sacrificial cult (1 Chronicles 28:14-16 ; 2 Chronicles 4:7-8 ; Ezekiel 40:38-43 ). Malachi 1:7 ,Malachi 1:7,1:12 describes the altar itself as a table. To share in a god's table was an act of worship. Isaiah 65:11 and 1 Corinthians 10:21 refer to idolatrous worship. The “Lord's table” ( 1 Corinthians 10:21 ) refers to the observance of the Lord's Supper.

3. Money tables The money changers' tables were likely small trays on stands (Matthew 21:12 ; Mark 11:15 ; John 2:15 ).

4. Tables of law Some translations use table in the sense of a tablet (Exodus 24:12 ; Exodus 31:18 ; Deuteronomy 9:9 ). See Tablet .

Chris Church

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Table'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

Search for…
Enter query in the box:
Choose a letter to browse:
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M 
N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  Y  Z 

Prev Entry
Next Entry
Table of Nations
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology