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The English word "threshold" originated from an old Anglo-Saxon word, therscvald, which literally meant to thresh a wood i.e. the first part of threshold, thersc, is the very same root word as used for threshing grain, and vald is the Anglo-Saxon/Germanic word for a wood or forest. The logic of the term is that the threshold, a wood or timber that was placed at the entrance of a house, was "threshed," or "thrashed," as people entered or exited the building so that it was the only part of a door frame that was subject to wearing away. The term "threshold" later came to mean a doorway itself, or in a more philosophical sense, a starting point, or a boundary.
"Threshold" is used by the King James Version to translate two Hebrew words. The first is pronounced sawf. It means a limit, or a boundary. The other Hebrew word is pronounced mif-tawn. It means a sill, a horizontal timber that forms the lowest part of a frame. Both words mean the same as the English word, as illustrated by this example.
"19:26 Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man's house where her lord was, till it was light. 19:27 And her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way: and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, and her hands were upon the threshold." (Judges 19:26-27 KJV)
"He brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward"
Various cultures have customs and traditions regarding thresholds. After the Philistines briefly captured the Ark of the Covenant (see also Raiders Of The Lost Ark), they adopted the custom of not walking on the threshold of their pagan temple.
"5:1 And the Philistines took the ark of God, and brought it from Ebenezer unto Ashdod. 5:2 When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon. 5:3 And when they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the earth before the ark of the LORD. And they took Dagon, and set him in his place again. 5:4 And when they arose early on the morrow morning, behold, Dagon was fallen upon his face to the ground before the ark of the LORD; and the head of Dagon and both the palms of his hands were cut off upon the threshold; only the stump of Dagon was left to him. 5:5 Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dagon's house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day." (1 Samuel 5:1-5 KJV)
The LORD delivered numerous other object lessons to His people, as well as to others. When King Jeroboam (see Jeroboam Of Israel) corrupted the new northern kingdom of Israel with gross idolatry, which included the worship of "groves" (upright posts that served as idols), he brought the punishment of the LORD (see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM') upon his kingdom - and his own family. Since he worshipped timbers, his child died as its mother came to the timber, the threshold, of the palace.
"14:15 For the LORD shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the LORD to anger. 14:16 And he shall give Israel up because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin.
Gates had thresholds too, as in this example of a vision given to Ezekiel.
"40:6 Then came he unto the gate which looketh toward the east [see also Why Did They Face East?], and went up the stairs thereof, and measured the threshold of the gate, which was one reed broad; and the other threshold of the gate, which was one reed broad. 40:7 And every little chamber was one reed long, and one reed broad; and between the little chambers were five cubits; and the threshold of the gate by the porch of the gate within was one reed." (Ezekiel 40:6-7 KJV)
Jerusalem today is not a "holy city" in God's sight. He calls it Sodom and Egypt because of how those who reject the Messiah "leap on the threshold" of His House with their Violence (which means violation) against His genuine Law. That will change only after the Messiah returns (see Zionism).
"1:8 And it shall come to pass in the day of the LORD sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king's children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel. 1:9 In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold, which fill their masters' houses with violence and deceit. 1:10 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that there shall be the noise of a cry from the fish gate, and an howling from the second, and a great crashing from the hills." (Zephaniah 1:8-10 KJV)
Fact Finder: What "threshold" was crossed when the Lamb of God was sacrificed?