The word holiness (qodesh) in primitive Hebrew usage partook of the nature of taboo, and came to be applied to whatever, whether thing or person, stood in close relation to deity and belonged to him, and could not, therefore, be used or treated like other objects not so related, and so was separated or stood apart.
The custom of taboo was very fully developed.
Disease and death were often connected with the violation of taboo, the offended gods thus punishing the offenders.
There are various other subjects and occasions of taboo, but the institution has not the oppressive and all-pervading character which it has in Polynesia.
They were feared, too, as ministers of the taboo and were entitled to pronounce a kind of excommunication for offences against its rules.