The usual formula of salutation among the Hebrews was Shalom lekha, that is, Peace be with thee. The same expression is the common one among the Arabs to the present day: they say, Salam lekha, to which the person saluted replies, "With thee be peace," Genesis 29:6 Judges 18:15, margin. Hence we hear of the Arab and Turkish Salams, that is, salutations. Other phrases of salutation are found in Scripture, most of them invoking a blessing: as "The Lord be with thee;" "All hail," or Joy to thee; "Blessed be thou of the Lord."
These and similar phrases the oriental still use on all occasions with the most profuse and punctilious politeness. The letter of an Arab will be nearly filled with salutations; and should he come in to tell you your house was on fire, he would first give and receive the compliments of the day, and then say perhaps, "If God will, all is well; but your house is on fire." Their more formal salutations they accompany with various ceremonies or gestures; sometimes they embrace and kiss each other; sometimes an inferior kiss the hand or the beard of a superior, or bows low, with the hand upon the breast, and afterwards raises it to his lips or forehead. See Jacob’s salutation of Esau, Genesis 43:1-34; and compare Genesis 19:1 23:7 42:6 1 Samuel 25:44 2 Samuel 1:2 John 20:26. The due and dignified performance of some of these ceremonious courtesies, especially when frequently recurring, requires much time; and hence, when the prophet sent his servant in great haste to lay his staff upon the dead child, he forbade him to salute any one, or answer any salutation by the way, 2 Kings 4:29.
For a similar reason, our Savior forbade the seventy disciples to salute any one by the way, Luke 10:4, that is, in this formal and tedious manner, wasting precious time. Much of the oriental courtesy was superficial with it what was "better than life." "My peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you," John 14:27.