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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Bath, Bathing

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BATH, BATHING . The latter term is most frequently used in our EV [Note: English Version.] in connexion with purification from ceremonial defilement contact with holy things, with the dead, etc. (see article Clean and Unclean) and in this sense denotes the washing of the body with water, not necessarily the total immersion of the body in water. Hence RV [Note: Revised Version.] has rightly introduced ‘wash’ in many cases for ‘bathe.’ Bathing in the modern and non-religious sense is rarely mentioned ( Exodus 2:5 Pharaoh’s daughter, 2 Samuel 11:2 [RV [Note: Revised Version.] ] Bathsheba, and the curious case 1 Kings 22:38 ). Public baths are first met with in the Greek period they were included in the ‘place of exercise’ ( 1M Malachi 1:14 ) and remains of such buildings from the Roman period are fairly numerous. Recently a remarkable series of bath-chambers have been discovered at Gezer in connexion with a building, which is supposed to be the palace built by Simon Maccabæus (illust. in PEFSt [Note: Quarterly Statement of the same.] , 1905, 294 f.).

The Hebrews were well acquainted with the use of mineral and vegetable alkalis for increasing the cleansing properties of water (Jeremiah 2:22 , RV [Note: Revised Version.] ‘soap,’ ‘lye’). In the History of Susanna Jeremiah 2:17 is a curious reference to ‘washing-balls.’

A. R. S. Kennedy.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Bath, Bathing'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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