(nashaq; phileo, kataphilo, philema): The kiss is common in eastern lands in salutation, etc., on the cheek, the forehead, the beard, the hands, the feet, but not (in Pal) the lips (Cheyne, E B, under the word "Salutations"). In the Bible there is no sure instance of the kiss in ordinary salutation. We have in the Old Testament naschaq, "to kiss," used (1) of relatives (which seems the origin of the practice of kissing; compare Song 8:1, "Oh that thou wert as my brother .... I would kiss thee; yea, and none would despise me"); Ge 27:26-27 (Isaac and Jacob); Ge 29:11 (Jacob and Rachel); Ge 33:4 (Esau and Jacob); Ge 45:15 (Joseph and his brethren); Ge 48:10 (Jacob and Joseph's sons); Ge 50:1 (Joseph and his father); Ex 4:27 (Aaron and Moses); Ex 18:7 (Moses and Jethro, united with obeisance); Ru 1:9,14 (Naomi and her daughters-in-law--a farewell); 2Sa 14:33 (David and Absalom); 1Ki 19:20 (Elisha and his parents--a farewell); see also Ge 29:13; 31:28,55; Tobit 7:6; 10:12. (2) Of friendship and affection; compare 1Sa 20:41 (David and Jonathan); 2Sa 15:5 (Absalom and those who came to him); 2Sa 19:39 (David and Barzillai--a farewell); 2Sa 20:9 (Joab and Amasa); Pr 27:6 ("the kisses (neshiqah) of an enemy"); 1 Esdras 4:47 ("the king stood up, and kissed him"). (3) Of love; compare Song 1:2, "Let him kiss me with the kisses (neshiqah) of his mouth"; Pr 7:13 (of the feigned love of "the strange woman"). (4) Of homage, perhaps; compare 1Sa 10:1 (Samuel after anointing David king); Ge 41:40, "Unto thy word shall all my people be ruled," the Revised Version margin "order themselves," or "do homage," the King James Version margin "Hebrew be armed or kiss" (nashaq); Ps 2:12, "Kiss the son" (American Standard Revised Version), the English Revised Version margin "Some versions render, `Lay hold of (or receive) instruction'; others, `Worship in purity' "; some ancient versions give `Kiss (or, do homage) purely.' (5) Of idolatrous practices; compare 1Ki 19:18; Ho 13:2 (compare Ho 8:5-6; 10:5); Job 31:27, probably, "kissing the hand to the sun or moon" (compare Job 31:26-27). See ADORATION. (6) A figurative use may be seen in Ps 85:10; Pr 24:26; Eze 3:13, where "touched" is nashaq (see the King James Version margin). (7) In Additions to Esther 13:13 we have "I could have been content .... to kiss the soles of his feet," and in Ecclesiasticus 29:5, "Till he hath received, he will kiss a man's hands"--marks of self-humiliation or abasement.
In the New Testament we have phileo, "to kiss," "to be friendly," and kataphileo, "to kiss thoroughly," "to be very friendly"--the first in Mt 26:48; Mr 14:44; Lu 22:47, of the kiss with which Judas betrayed his Master. This was probably meant to be taken as an expression of special regard, which is expressed by the kataphileo of Mt 26:49; Mr 14:45; the same word is used of the woman who kissed the feet of Christ (Lu 7:38,45); of the father's greeting of the returning prodigal (Lu 15:20); and of the farewell to Paul of the Ephesian Christians (Ac 20:37); philema, "a kiss," "a mark of friendship," is used by our Lord as that which Simon omitted to give him (which may refer to ordinary hospitality), but which the woman had bestowed so impressively (Lu 7:45); of the kiss of Judas (Lu 22:48); and of the "holy kiss" wherewith Christians greeted each other, which, according to the general usage we have seen, would be as the members of one family in the Lord, or as specially united in holy love (Ro 16:16; 1Co 16:20; 2Co 13:12; 1Th 5:26; 1Pe 5:14). There is reason to believe that, as a rule, men only thus greeted men, and women, women. In the Apostolical Constitutions (3rd century) it is so enjoined.
W. L. Walker