All except 300 of Gideon’s 10,000 men bent down upon their knees to drink, apparently putting their faces down to the water. In this position they could not be alert, prepared in case of a surprise attack. They were more concerned with slaking their thirst than with the issue at hand. On the other hand, the 300 remained on their feet, picking up the water and lapping it out of their hands, alert, watchful, ready. The 9,700 negligent ones were therefore dismissed.—Jg 7:3, 5-8.
Figuratively, a child said to be ‘born upon the knees’ of a person other than the mother, and thus enjoying that one’s favor and care, was acknowledged as that person’s child, or descendant, just as Bilhah’s child was counted as Rachel’s.—Ge 30:3-6; compare Ge 50:23.
Jehovah promised restoration for his people and likened them to children of Zion, or Jerusalem, who would be ‘fondled upon the knees,’ that is, well cared for, brought back into a favored state.—Isa 66:12, 13.
Kneeling. The Hebrew word for “kneel” (ba·rakhʹ) possibly has the same root as the one for “blessing,” which may indicate that at least at times blessings were conferred upon persons while they knelt.
While imploring favor. A person might kneel as an act of respect or to implore favor, as when a “chief of fifty” representing King Ahaziah knelt before Elijah to plead for his life and that of the men accompanying him. (2Ki 1:13, 14) It was on bended knee that a leper entreated Jesus to make him clean.—Mr 1:40-42; also 10:17-22.
During prayer. True worshipers often knelt when praying to God, this posture being a suitable indication of their humility. (Ezr 9:5; Ac 9:36, 40; 21:3-6) Solomon assumed a kneeling position before the congregation of Israel during his prayer at the temple’s dedication. (2Ch 6:13) Despite a royal decree that for 30 days petition should be made only to King Darius, Daniel knelt in prayer to Jehovah three times a day, doing so while the windows of his roof chamber were open toward Jerusalem. (Da 6:6-11) Jesus Christ himself furnished an example of kneeling in prayer to Jehovah. In the garden of Gethsemane on the night of his betrayal, Jesus “bent his knees and began to pray.”—Lu 22:41.
Practicers of false religion knelt before idols of their gods. But in Elijah’s day there were still 7,000 faithful persons in Israel, ‘all the knees that had not bent down to Baal.’—1Ki 19:18; Ro 11:4.
Obeisance or acknowledgment of high station. Kneeling may denote obeisance or recognition of a superior’s high position. Soldiers knelt before Jesus and did obeisance to him, doing so, however, in mockery.—Mt 27:27-31; Mr 15:16-20.
Jehovah has granted the faithful resurrected Jesus Christ a superior position and a name that is above every other name, “so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground.” All who gain life must bend their knees in worship to Jehovah in the name of Jesus Christ and acknowledge him as Lord to God’s glory. This includes “those under the ground,” evidently showing that those resurrected from the grave also come under this requirement.—Php 2:9-11; Joh 5:28, 29; Eph 1:9, 10.
Primarily, recognition of Jehovah’s supremacy and sovereignty is required of those desiring divine favor. Jehovah has declared: “By my own self I have sworn . . . that to me every knee will bend down.” (Isa 45:23; Ro 14:10-12) Appropriately, therefore, the psalmist fervently urged fellow Israelites: “O come in, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before Jehovah our Maker.”—Ps 95:6; see ATTITUDES AND GESTURES.