Kisses in the Bible

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What role do kisses play in the Bible?

The first recorded use of kisses in Scripture may have come when God (the member of the Godhead who became Jesus Christ) gave consciousness to the first human being.

7. Then the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground (the name "Adam" means "made of red earth" or clay), and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being (Genesis 2:7, HBFV throughout)

Kisses and Jewish Tradition

Jewish legend states based on Deuteronomy 34:5 that the death of Moses was accomplished through a kiss given by God. Jewish tradition also states that when a person died they were given last kisses before their eyes were closed and the body prepared for burial.

Tradition additionally infers, based upon a unique rabbinical interpretation of Psalm 62:12, that there were 903 ways of dying. The best and gentlest of these, compared to drawing a hair out of milk, was called 'death by a kiss.'

The Old Testament

The aging Isaac erroneously kissed Jacob, thinking it was his oldest son Esau, and gave him the birthright blessing (Genesis 27:24 - 27). Jacob kissed his cousin and future wife Rachel the first time he met her (Genesis 29:11). Despite earlier chicanery, Esau greeted his brother with this show of affection (Genesis 33:4). Joseph greeted his brothers, who had sold him as a slave because they envied him, with this sign of forgiveness (Genesis 45:14 - 15). Israel kisses his grandsons (through Joseph) before placing the family name upon them (Genesis 48:8 - 10). When death came to Israel Joseph gave him this sign of love (Genesis 49:33 - 50:1).

Joab, King David's army commander, murdered rival general Amasa by pretending to give him this symbol of greeting on the cheek (2Samuel 20:8 - 10).

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Is there really LIFE after DEATH?
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Did Jesus ever SAY he was God?

The New Testament

The New Testament records that Christians gave each other kisses as a sign of greeting and love (see Romans 16:16, 1Corinthians 16:20, 2Corinthians 13:12, 1Thessalonians 5:26, 1Peter 5:14). There has been much speculation over the meaning of this practice (known as the "kiss of charity" in the KJV translation of 1Peter 5:14), but it certainly was not a homosexual or lesbian-type show of affection.

The most famous of all kisses in the Bible, however, is the one Judas gave to Jesus (the kiss of betrayal or death). It was given in the Garden of Gethsemane, the place where Jesus and the disciples went to after they finished celebrating their last Passover together:

48. Now the one who was betraying Him (Judas Iscariot) gave them (armed officers and other men provided by religious leaders who wanted to kill Christ) a sign, saying, "Whomever I shall kiss, He is the One. Arrest Him!" 49. And as soon as he came to Jesus, he said, "Hail, Rabbi," and earnestly kissed Him. 50. But Jesus said to him, "Friend, for what purpose have you come?" Then they came and laid their hands on Jesus, and arrested Him. (Matthew 26:48 - 50, Mark 14:43 - 46 and Luke 22:47 - 48)

Kisses of respect were not unusual during the time of Christ. In the first century, it was customary for a student to greet a teacher in such a manner. Ironically, Judas’ feigned token of affection precipitated Jesus' last miracle before his death when he had to heal a servant's ear Peter impulsively chopped off in an attempt to protect Christ (Luke 22:49 - 51).

Kisses in the Bible have the power to cheer, the power to hurt, and the power to strengthen or to murder. They can sometimes signify death or symbolize life. The best one, however, is the one that says, "Thank you," or "You are special," or "I love you."

Additional Study Materials
How did Judas sit next to Jesus at the Last Supper?
Did Judas REPENT of betraying Jesus?
What are the types of love in the New Testament?
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