Dining and Entertainment

FOOD AND ENTERTAINMENT AT BANQUETS The prophet Amos, although he denounced extravagant luxuries and sinful excesses, nevertheless has given us a description of the eating, drinking, and other customs at an Oriental banquet. This is the way he describes it: "And stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; that chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of music, like David; that drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments" (Amos 6:4-6). The meat eaten at these suppers included the best lambs from the flock and calves that had been stall-fed. The drinking of wine at the feast was considered an important feature. Playing on stringed instruments was another activity and the guests evidently vied with one another in anointing their bodies with very costly ointments. Dancing was often a part of the entertainment at these feasts. When the Prodigal Son returned home, and his father celebrated with a feast, there was music and dancing (Luke 15:24, 25). Dancing was a social diversion of the Hebrew women and girls, especially when they made merry. Men did sometimes engage in it, as when David danced when the ark was brought to Jerusalem (II Samuel 6:14). But more often, it was the activity of the fair sex (cf. Jeremiah 31:4). But there is no Scriptural record that the Jewish men danced with the women, as is the modern custom of the West. Neither is there indication that there were public female dancers, as is true in some Eastern places today. The dancing of the daughter of Herodias (Matthew 14:6) before men at a sensual banquet was the kind introduced among the Jews by corrupt Greek influence. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

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