The ancient Hebrews would not eat with the Egyptians (Genesis 43:32). In the time of our Lord they would not eat with Samaritans (John 4:9), and were astonished that he ate with publicans and sinners (Matthew 9:11). The Hebrews originally sat at table, but afterwards adopted the Persian and Chaldean practice of reclining (Luke 7:36-50). Their principal meal was at noon (Genesis 43:16; 1 Kings 20:16; Ruth 2:14; Luke 14:12). The word "eat" is used metaphorically in Jeremiah 15:16; Ezek. 3:1; Revelation 10:9. In John 6:53-58, "eating and drinking" means believing in Christ. Women were never present as guests at meals (q.v.).