Ken Smith kens at
Mon Jan 14 20:40:52 EST 2002

The verb in Hebrew is RXC (rachatz).  The idea of "washing your feet" is
actually a fairly common expression, and in most instances doesn't seem
to have any particular sexual connotation (e.g., Abraham inviting his
three visitors to wash their feet in Gen. 18:4).  The other times this
particular phrase in Hebrew occurs are:

Gen. 19:2
Gen. 18:4
Gen. 24:32
Gen. 43:24
Judges 19:21
1 Sam. 25:41
2 Sam. 11:8
Cant. 5:3

All of these are translated by some variation of NIPTW TOUS PODAS.  (1
Sam. 25:41 is lacking the article; in Gen. 24:32, TOIS POSIN are in the
dative case.)

Other than 2 Sam. 11:8, I don't think any of these clearly refer to
sexual intercourse (though the idea of nubility is perhaps in the
background of Cant. 5:3, Gen. 24:32, and Judges 19:21).  You're clearly
correct in your understanding of what David is actually hoping Uriah
will do -- but that's something you'd have to pick up from the context:
I don't think that sexual intercourse is an inherent part of the meaning
of this expression, either in Hebrew or in Greek.  The literal meaning
is probably closer to something like, "refresh yourself," and under
normal circumstances I don't think it would have been understood as a
euphemism for anything more untoward.

Sorry if this is off topic a bit . . . 

Ken Smith

> -----Original Message-----
> [mailto:cms at] 
> Sent: Tuesday, January 15, 2002 1:28 AM
> To: Biblical Greek
> Cc: cms at
> Subject: [b-greek] Re: NIPTW
> In a discussion on another list, we were discussing 2 Samuel 11:8 in 
> which David tells Uriah, "Go down to your house and bathe your feet," 
> and I agreed with another poster who said this expression using the 
> word NIPSAI in the Septuagint means "sexual intercourse."  
> What is the 
> Hebrew word here and does it mean sexual intercourse?  There are 
> numerous other places in Scripture where it clearly does not mean 
> sexual intercourse.  One poster suggested that Jesus is homosexual 
> because he bathes the feet of his disciples in John 13.  This, of 
> course, is preposterous, and I don't think the poster was 
> serious, but 
> how does one linguistically distinguish between the two meanings?
> Thanks.
> Cindy Smith		I have further observed under the sun that
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> cms at	Nor is bread won by the wise,
> 			Nor wealth by the intelligent,
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> 	Caledoni!		-- JPS Ecclesiastes 9:11
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