The ancient Hebrews would not eat with the Egyptians (Gen.
43:32). In the time of our Lord they would not eat with
Samaritans (John 4:9), and were astonished that he ate with
publicans and sinners (Matt. 9:11). The Hebrews originally sat
at table, but afterwards adopted the Persian and Chaldean
practice of reclining (Luke 7:36-50). Their principal meal was
at noon (Gen. 43:16; 1 Kings 20:16; Ruth 2:14; Luke 14:12). The
word "eat" is used metaphorically in Jer. 15:16; Ezek. 3:1; Rev.
10:9. In John 6:53-58, "eating and drinking" means believing in
Christ. Women were never present as guests at meals (q.v.).