By: Joseph Jacobs
In early times the threshold had a special sanctity; and that of the Temple was a marked spot, indicating specific taboos (see I Sam. v. 4 et seq.; comp. Zeph. i. 9). There were special keepers (A. V. "porters") of the threshold (II. Kings xxii. 4; I Chron. ix. 22; II Chron. xxiii. 4; Jer. xxxv. 4). There is a wide-spread custom of making family sacrifices at the threshold in addition to those at the hearth. Herodotus reports this of the Egyptians (ii. 48). Trumbull suggests that there is a specific reference to the threshold in Ex. xii. 22 (LXX.), in connection with the institution of the Passover. Even to the present day it is considered unlucky to tread on the threshold. He suggests also that the word "pesaḥ," or "passover," means a "leaping over" the threshold, after it has been sanctified with the blood of the threshold-covenant. The threshold of Dagon's temple was evidently sacred in this way; and it has been suggested by Cheyne that I Kings xviii. 20-21 should be rendered "How long will ye leap over both thresholds?" (that is, worship both Baal and
- H. Clay Trumbull, Threshold Covenant, Philadelphia, 1896.