Meal Times

TIME OF MEALS Meals are not always served at the same time in the Orient today, and the nature of the meals varies in different sections. The same was also true in Biblical times. In the main it may be said that the Hebrews had only two meals a day, breakfast, and dinner. The time for breakfast varied all the way from early morning to noon. JESUS served breakfast to a group of hungry fishermen early in the morning (John 21:12). In commenting on the negligence of the guards of King Eglon (Judges 3:24), the Jewish historian Josephus says: "It was then summer time, and the middle of the day, when the guards were not strictly on their watch, both because of the heat, and because they were gone to dinner." Attention is called to the fact that the word Josephus uses for "dinner" is the word meaning "breakfast" as used in the New Testament. It would appear from this that the Jewish historian was indicating that sometimes breakfast was served as late as noon in his day. No doubt it was more often served in the middle of the morning. In the Parable of the Wedding of the King's Son, the message went forth to the invited guests, "I have prepared my dinner [the word for 'breakfast']" (Matthew 22:4). The marriage feast here would be similar then to the English "'wedding breakfast." Both meals of the Jews are mentioned by JESUS in an exhortation he gave his host, "When thou makest a dinner or a supper" (Luke 14:12). The evening meal would in most cases be the main meal, but not always, depending on the nature and place of the men's work. The custom in some modern cities of having breakfast anywhere from nine to twelve o'clock, and dinner in the evening, would correspond quite closely with the two meals of the Jews of Bible times. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

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