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GREETING - gret'-ing (sha'-al; chairo, aspasmos, aspazomai):

(1) Sha'-al means "to ask," "to inquire of anyone respecting welfare," hence, "to greet." In the Old Testament the word "greet" occurs only once in the King James Version or the Revised Version (British and American), namely, in 1 Sam 25:5, "Go to Nabal, and greet him in my name." But it is implied in other places where shalom ("well," "prosperity," "peace"), the common Hebrew greeting, is used; e.g. in Gen 37:4, it is said of Joseph that "his brethren could not speak peaceably unto him," i.e. could not give him the common friendly greeting of "Peace!" "Peace be to thee!" So, in Gen 43:27, the Revised Version (British and American) "He asked them of their welfare" (King James Version margin "peace"); Ex 18:7, "They asked each other of their welfare"(King James Version, margin "peace"); 2 Sam 11:7, "how Joab did, and how the people did" (the Revised Version (British and American) "fared," the King James Version margin "of the peace of"); Joab said to Amasa (2 Sam 20:9), the Revised Version (British and American) "Is it well with thee, my brother?" (Hebrew "Art thou in peace, my brother?"); Boaz greeted his reapers with "Yahweh be with you," and they answered, "Yahweh bless thee" (Ruth 2:4; compare Ps 129:8, "The blessing of Yahweh be upon you; we bless you in the name of Yahweh"). For the king, we have, the King James Version and the English Revised Version God save the king (m "Let the king live," the American Standard Revised Version "(Long) live the king") (1 Sam 10:24, etc.); "Let my lord king David live for ever" (1 Ki 1:31; see also Neh 2:3; Dan 2:4, etc.). In Ecclesiasticus 6:5 it is said "a fair-speaking tongue will increase kind greetings," the Revised Version (British and American) "multiply courtesies" (euprosegora).

(2) When Jesus sent forth His disciples to proclaim the kingdom, they were to "salute" the house they came to (Mt 10:12), saying (Lk 10:5), "Peace (eirene) be to this house!"; if it was not worthy, the blessing should return to themselves. After His resurrection He greeted His disciples saying, "Peace be unto you" (Lk 24:36; Jn 20:19,21,26); He left His "peace" with them as His parting blessing (Jn 14:27)--"not as the world giveth," in a formal way. A frequent form of greeting in the New Testament is chairo ("to rejoice," imperative and infinitive, chaire, chairete, "Joy to thee," "Joy to you," translated "Hail!" and "All hail!" Mt 26:49; 27:29; 28:9; Mk 15:18; Lk 1:28; Jn 19:3), "Rejoice!" (Phil 3:1; the English Revised Version, margin "farewell"). Another word for greeting is aspasmos, "greetings in the markets" (the King James Version Mt 23:7; Mk 12:38, "salutations"; Lk 11:43, "greetings," Lk 20:46; also Lk 1:29,41,44; 1 Cor 16:21; Col 4:18; 2 Thess 3:17; in all these places the Revised Version (British and American) has "salutation").

(3) Of epistolary greetings we have examples in Ezr 4:17, "Peace" (shelam), etc.; 5:7; Dan 4:1; 6:25. These are frequent in the Apoc: 1 Esdras 6:7, "to King Darius greeting" (chairo); 8:9; 1 Macc 10:18, etc.; 2 Macc 1:10, "greeting, health," etc. We have the same form in Acts 15:23; 23:26. In 3 Jn 1:14 it is, "Peace (be) unto thee. The friends salute thee." Paul opens most of his epistles with the special Christian greeting, "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom 1:7; 1 Cor 1:3, etc.). Also at the close, "The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you" (1 Cor 16:23; 2 Cor 13:14, etc.). He directs greetings to be given to various persons, and sends greetings from those who are with him (Rom 16:5-23; 1 Cor 16:19 f; 2 Cor 13:13; Phil 4:21 f; Col 4:10, etc.). In those cases the word is aspazomai, and the Revised Version (British and American) translates "salute," etc. (compare Jas 1:1; 1 Pet 1:2; 5:14; 2 Pet 1:2; 2 Jn 1:3,13; Jude 1:2).


W. L. Walker

Also see definition of "Greeting" in Word Study

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