Why No Greetings?
At 2 Kings 4:29 we read that the prophet Elisha, when sending his servant Gehazi on an urgent mission, ordered him not to greet anyone along the way or to return greetings. Even Jesus at Luke 10:4 gave a similar command to the seventy he sent out to preach. How strange, since these faithful servants of Jehovah were kind and friendly! To understand the reasons behind these commands we need to consider the customs of the Bible lands.
Oriental greetings often involve much time. When two friends meet each other there is bowing, gesturing and repeated expressions concerning each other’s welfare. These opening formalities may take several minutes. The conversation frequently continues with other complimentary speeches and a long exchange of news. This can take as long as a half hour. So God’s servants on those occasions were commanded not to pause for such lengthy greetings because they had to be about an urgent work!