Some Customs & Manners
of the Hebrew People
These explain some areas we do not understand because of our culture,
language and land.
In the New Testament, Luke 8 :18 states, "For whosoever hath to him it shall be given."
God's measure is not like the measure of man.
The measure of a man is this: an empty vessel can receive, but a full vessel can take no
But God's measure is this: the full vessel is receptive of more, but the empty vessel receives
According as it is, "If hearing thou will hear", that is: If thou hearest thou shall hear, if thou
does not hear, thou shall not hear. The gloss is: If you accustom yourself to hear, then you
shall hear, and learn and add.
In Beracoth, vol. 55:1, "God does not give wisdom but to him with whom has wisdom
What John 10: 27 is saying is that to hear is to obey.
In Revelation 3:8 there is the statement: "I have placed before you an open door."
This refers to a house in the country. To have it shut would indicate it was night time or that
the people were not there.
The "open door" means that God is always there. It has nothing to do with opportunity. That
door is Christ, He is always open to some one coming in to His house as long as you come
through the door. It is the door of salvation.
A hint is given in Acts. 12:13 as to the location and appearance of the door of a typical house
in the Middle East.
The door was located in the middle of the front side of the house. The entrance was so
arranged that the person inside and the person outside could not see each other. One had to
know the voice of the one wanting in.
It is the duty of the porter to speak to any visitor who knocks on the door wanting
admission. The purpose of this is to give the opportunity to recognize the voice of the one
wanting in. Is he a friend or foe? So it is not expected for the door to open as soon as one
The one inside will call out, "Who is it?" The one outside would not give their name but
would say: "It is I." The one on the inside would recognize it as the voice of a friend or a
We must learn to recognize the voice of Jesus.
When Jesus came walking on the water in the storm in Matthew 14:27, he did not say, "It is
Jesus; be not afraid" but rather, "It is I; be not afraid." The oriental is trained to listen to a
voice and be able to recognize the voice of a friend. "And a stranger will they not follow, but
will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers." -Jn. 10:5
Deuteronomy 15:15 - 17
"And thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy
God redeemed thee; therefore I command thee this thing today. And it shall be, if he say unto
thee, I will not go away from thee; because he loveth thee and thine house, because he is
well with thee; Then thou shalt take an awl, and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and
he shall be thy servant for ever. And also unto thy maidservant thou shalt do likewise."
The Lord's release. The rights for the nation.
The laws respecting Hebrews: both men & women who, because of poverty and want, had
sold them selves as slaves were to be set free.
This law is given for the whole nation both men & women.
This law was an act of love when the person had some hope of success and getting a living
for himself .
Those who were set at liberty were to be provided some continued prosperity. If you let him
go free then you shall not let him go out empty handed. This was introduced to remember
their own redemption out of Egypt. They did not go out of Egypt empty handed after their
years of bondage.
This was called the year of release. If the man or women servant should not wish to be set
free because everything was good in the master's house, they were not compelled to go, but
were bound to eternal, lifelong bondage: service in the manner described in Ex. 21 : 5-6:
"And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go
out free: Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door,
or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall
serve him for ever."
The master of the servant was to take the servant to the place where judgment was given in
God's Name (lit. to God).
There the servant would say he was giving up his freedom to serve the master. And there he
would have his ear pierced or bored with an awl and fastened to the door or lintel of the
house. It was as if his ear was fastened to the door of the house forever as long as he lived,
that he may be the master's servant forever, where the ear and the door are co-ordinates for
ever as long as he lives.
The word coordinate means that he harmonizes or reconciles with the house.
Jesus is the door into the house or Kingdom God.
Jesus says in Matthew 13 : 9 - 16, "Those who have ears to hear let him hear. Jesus says in
John 10: 27, " My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me."
What do the door and the ear have in common? They both can be opened and shut at will.
Genesis 18:2 - 17
And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them,
he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, and said, My
Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:
Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the
tree: And I will fetch a morsel of bread, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass
on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, So do, as thou hast said. And
Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly three measures of
fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth.And Abraham ran unto the herd, and
fetcht a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hasted to dress it. And
he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he
stood by them under the tree, and they did eat. And they said unto him, Where is Sarah thy
wife? And he said, Behold, in the tent. And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according
to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son. And Sarah heard it in the tent
door, which was behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age; and
it ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. Therefore Sarah laughed within
herself, saying, After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure, my lord being old also? And the
LORD said unto Abraham, Wherefore did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I of a surety bear a child,
which am old? Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto
thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son. Then Sarah denied, saying, I
laughed not; for she was afraid. And he said, Nay; but thou didst laugh. And the men rose up
from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the
way. And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do. . . . "
GOD does not hide what He does from His friends. Abraham met the LORD at the tent door.
We come to know the Father through Jesus, the door.
In 2 Chronicles 20: 7 Abraham is called a friend of God .
This is the word 'friend' in Hebrew:
which is the word for love.
Abraham is a love of God.
In John 15:14 The LORD calls the disciples His friends if they do whatsoever He tells them.
This means if we obey we will be His friends. He will share in fellowship with us what He is
Gen. 17 : 1 - 16
And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto
him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. And I will make my
covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. And Abram fell on his
face: and God talked with him, saying, as for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou
shalt be a father of many nations. Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy
name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. And I will make thee
exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. And I will
establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for
an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give
unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of
Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. And God said unto Abraham,
Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.
This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every
man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin;
and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you. And he that is eight days old shall
be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the
house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed. He that is born in thy
house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant
shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised man child whose
flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath
broken my covenant. And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call
her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of
her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.
When GOD made Covenant with Abram, He gave circumcision as a token of the Covenant.
This covenant is made only by the voluntary obedience of man: especially of a parent toward
Abram was to undergo circumcision. It was a sign between GOD and Abraham that GOD had
made Covenant with Abraham .
Man's responsibility is to be circumcised - that is, to obey. To have faith in GOD'S WORD. It
is his assent to the condition of divine mercy.
This was to be an everlasting Covenant.
Abrahamís name was at this time changed to Abraham. Saraís name was changed to Sarah.
God placed in both their names the Hebrew letter out of His Name that stands for Life.
Luke 2: 21 - 23
And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was
called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished,
they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the
Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)
Joseph & Miryam (Mary) brought the baby Jesus at eight days old to be circumcised. At this
time His Name was called Jesus, which was so named by the angel before He was conceived
in the womb.
This is called b'rit-milah. He was given His Name at circumcision.
After the days of Miryam's purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished,
they brought Jesus to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (v. 23). Every male that openeth
the womb shall be called holy unto the Lord. This is called pidyon-haben, or redemption of
the firstborn. This is a reminder of the redemption from slavery from Egypt.
Abraham was to be the father of many nations.
Sarah was to be the mother of nations. Kings of peoples would come from her through Isaac
the child of Promise in their old age. He was a type of Christ, the Seed to whom the Promise
Here is how Abraham & Sharah became the father & mother of many nations:
Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us . . . that the
blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles (the Nations) through Jesus Christ ; that
we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. -Galations 3:13,14.
Abraham believed in God and is was accounted to him for righteousness. He opened his
heart to God. (The heart is like a door. It opens by the person's will).
Repentance is the renewal of worship, repentance submits to God's rule. It is obedience
founded on faith, which is a relationship of love.
Luke. 9:1 - 6
Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all
devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal
the sick. And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip,
neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece. And whatsoever house ye enter
into, there abide, and thence depart. And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of
that city, shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them. And they
departed, and went through the towns, preaching the gospel, and healing every where.
Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, Nor scrip for your journey, neither
two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.
When the Lord taught the disciples how they were to go forth with the gospel, this was how
they were to conduct themselves:
As if they were going to the temple mount to worship .
They were not to go on the temple mount with a staff, as if they were on business or
pleasure, nor with shoes on their feet. Sandals only were allowed. Nor with dust on their
feet. Nor with script (a bag to carry food called "bundle of life", see 1 Sam.25: 29). Nor with
money tied to them in their purse . Whatever one might give must be held in ones hand, to
indicate the money in hand was for immediate sacred use for offerings or for the poor.
Jesus transferred these very ordinances to the disciples when engaged in the service of the
The direction, "Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor script for your
journey, neither two coats neither shoes, nor yet staves" must mean: "Go out in the same
spirit and manner as you would go to the Temple services, and fear not - 'for the workman is
worthy of his meat '"
The meaning: Let this new Temple service be your only thought, undertaking, and care.
"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?"
1. Much of the material on the door is taken from Gower's Manners and Customs of Bible
2. See Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament Vol.I regarding the servant and
3. Alfred Edersheim's The Temple: its Ministry and Services, p.65 has this portion on Temple