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Summary: Throwing or shaking shoes is a Middle Eastern insult with biblical roots.

The Shoe of Judgment

Psalm 60:8

Feb. 18, 2009 FBC, Chester Dr. Mike Fogerson, Speaker


A On December 14, 2008, our former President made a farewell address to the land that was liberated from Saddam Hussein.

1 He was assaulted as he stood by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

a A journalist, Muntadhar al-Zeidi, threw not one, but two shoes at our President.

aa As he threw the shoes he shouted, “This is from the widows, the orphans, & those who were killed in Iraq. This is a farewell kiss, you dog.”

bb According to witnesses, al-Zeidi was “severely beaten” after being dragged out of the room, & today he is still in jail, awaiting trial.

cc He can get up to 15 yrs. for attacking a head of state.

b The incident was embarrassing to al-Maliki, but on the Islamic streets, thousands marched, waving shoes to the man they called “brave” & “hero”.

aa Shoe manufacturers rushed to make the “bye-bye Bush” shoe

bb A sofa-size shoe monument

2 To the Western world, show-throwing is a strange & childish protest.

a In the Middle East, shoe-throwing has a long tradition.

aa Culturally, shoes are ritually unclean, removed before entering holy places, and often homes.

bb Nasty: the journalist wasn’t trying to hurt the President, he was insulting him.

b At #10 Downing Street, England’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s residence was the site where thousands of Islamic protesters lobbed their old shoes across barriers into the middle of the street.

c Strange, but we can trace the phenomenon of footwear being used as a symbol of rejection/judgment throughout biblical history.

I The Disciples’ sandals

A When Jesus told His disciples to go out to the houses of Jews in Israel.

1 He knew there would be opposition, protest, & rejection.

a If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace.14 "Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. Matt 10:13-14 (NASB)

b Is the shaking of dust an overt action, or a mere idiom for getting out of town (Lone Ranger in a cloud of dust)?

aa Point of fact, typically remove your sandals & clap them together to remove any unrighteous dust from that city.

bb In that culture, this sandal-flapping was common.

c What better demonstration of your disgust with a town than to shake your sandals at them?

2 Mark’s gospel seems to indicate it: "Any place that does not receive you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake the dust off the soles of your feet for a testimony against them." Mark 6:11 (NASB)

B To shake the dust off your feet, you’d need to remove your sandals.

1 Can you imagine the scene, sound, sand-what a message of protest.

a Although there is no actual shoe-throwing in this context, the connection with the modern Middle-Eastern custom is easy to make.

b The dots are easily connected.

2 Luke’s gospel understands the connection between shoes & rejection.

a And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing.3 And He said to them, "Take nothing for your journey, neither a staff, nor a bag , nor bread, nor money; and do not even have two tunics apiece.4 "Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that city.5 "And as for those who do not receive you, as you go out from that city, shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them." Luke 9:2-5 (NASB)

b In Acts, Paul & Barnabas execute the same gesture very publically:

aa And the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region.50 But the Jews incited the devout women of prominence and the leading men of the city, and instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district .51 But they shook off the dust of their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium.52 And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. Acts 13:49-52 (NASB)

bb What was the direction of Paul & Barnabas’ actions? In your face!

cc The shoe & dirt of the street, being symbolically desecrated & unrighteous, constitutes an indictment of the most serious nature.

c This kind of protesting goes back for thousands of years!

II There is also an Old Testament string.

A The psalmist wrote a thousand years before the birth of Christ about shoe-throwing.

1 God has spoken in His holiness : "I will exult, I will portion out Shechem and measure out the valley of Succoth.7 "Gilead is Mine, and Manasseh is Mine; Ephraim also is the helmet of My head; Judah is My scepter .8 "Moab is My washbowl; over Edom I shall throw My shoe; shout loud, O Philistia, because of Me!"9 Who will bring me into the besieged city? Who will lead me to Edom?10 Have not You Yourself, O God, rejected us? And will You not go forth with our armies, O God?11 O give us help against the adversary, for deliverance by man is in vain.12 Through God we shall do valiantly, and it is He who will tread down our adversaries.Psalms 60:6-12 (NASB)

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