1. Shoe; Sandal [Heb na<al; Gk hypoŚdeµma, sandaŚlion]. The Hebrew noun na<al occurs twenty-three times (cf. the vb naµ<al; RSV "Shod," Ezk. 16:10; "give sandals" [hiphil], 2 Ch. 28:15); the LXX usually renders the noun with Gk hypoŚdeµma (except at Josh. 9:13 [LXX 11] and Isa. 20:2, where it uses sandaŚlion). The Greek noun hypoŚdeµma occurs ten times in the NT (cf. vb hypodeŚomai, lit "fasten underneath"; RSV "shod," Eph. 6:15; "put on," Acts 12:8; "wear," Mk. 6:9), and sandaŚlion occurs twice (Mk. 6:9; Acts 12:8). The RSV, AV, and NEB render these by "shoe" or "sandal" interchangeably. Na<al is the generic Hebrew term for either type of footwear. Gk hypoŚdeµma refers to a sole bound with straps under the feet, while sandaŚlion (the diminutive of saŚndalon) indicates a more protective, wooden sole, bound around the instep and ankle (see Forbes, p. 59, for other, extrabiblical terms).
2. The putting on, wearing, and possession of sandals could also signify several things. Wearing shoes or sandals often indicated a state of preparedness (cf. Eph. 6:15). The Passover meal was to be eaten with belt girded, sandals on, and staff in hand (Ex. 12:11). In Mk. 6:9 Jesus instructs His disciples to take sandals with them, but little else, when they go out to preach and heal; in the parallel passages, He forbids their taking sandals (Mt. 10:10; Lk. 10:4; 22:35), but probably extra pairs are meant. Wearing sandals was also a sign that someone was a free person and not a slave (Lk. 15:22). Sandals could even be a source of beauty on a woman (Cant. 7:1 [MT 2]; cf. Jth. 16:9).
3. As items of wealth, sandals and sandal-thongs were relatively insignificant (Gen. 14:23; Isa. 5:27; cf. Sir. 46:19). Am. 2:6; 8:6 seems to say that they were the equivalent of what the poor were sold for in Amos’s day (although some scholars have suggested that the reference is to the use of sandals in the legal transfer of land; see Speiser; de Vaux, p. 169). John the Baptist considered himself unworthy even to touch the humblest part of Jesus’ garb: to carry (Mt. 3:11) or untie His sandals (Mk. 1:7; Lk. 3:16; Jn. 1:27) — tasks usually performed by a slave (cf. 1 S. 25:41; Jn. 13:6f).
Foot coverings of many types are known from most parts of the ancient Near East. Knowledge of these comes from paintings or reliefs on monuments, descriptions in classical and rabbinic literature, and archeological discoveries of actual samples. They provided varying degrees of protection from coldness and dampness in the winter and from sharp stones, briers, and hot sand in the summer. They also served decorative purposes (esp for women) and military purposes (Greek and Roman soldiers wore nail-studded shoes). The most common material from which they were made was leather, and they usually had multi-layered soles. Many types of shoes had leather uppers, and there were also leggings of various types. The shoes mentioned in the Bible were mainly of the sandal type, with a simple sole attached by means of leather thongs.
I. WHY DO PEOPLE WEAR SHOES TODAY?
II. WHAT IS THE RESULT IF WE ARE PREPARED?
"Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you
rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your
souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
"And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying,
All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy
Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the