2.5 million Ukrainian refugees have fled to Poland. Churches are helping but the financial burden is too much.
Consider helping today!

Bible Dictionaries

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words


Additional Links

Yâd (יָד, Strong's #3027), “hand; side; border; alongside; hand-measure; portion; arm (rest); monument; manhood (male sex organ); power; rule.” This word has cognates in most of the other Semitic languages. Biblical Hebrew attests it about 1,618 times and in every period. The primary sense of this word is “hand”: “And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life …” (Gen. 3:22—the first biblical occurrence). Sometimes the word is used in conjunction with an object that can be grasped by the “hand”: “And if he smite him with throwing a stone [literally, “hand stone”] …” (Num. 35:17). In a similar usagethe word means “human”: “… He shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand [i.e., human agency]” (Dan. 8:25; cf. Job 34:20) .

In Isa. 49:2, “hand” is used of God; God tells Moses that He will put His “hand” over the mouth of the cave and protect him. This is a figure of speech, an anthropomorphism, by which God promises His protection. God’s “hand” is another term for God’s “power” (cf. Jer. 16:21). The phrase “between your hands” may mean “upon your chest”: “And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands [upon your chest]?” (Zech. 13:6).
Yâd is employed in several other noteworthy phrases. The “lifting of the hand” may be involved in “taking an oath” (Gen. 14:22). “Shaking” [literally, “giving one’s hand”] is another oath-taking gesture (cf. Prov. 11:21). For “one’s hands to be on another” (Gen. 37:27) or “laid upon another” (Exod. 7:4) is to do harm to someone. “Placing one’s hands with” signifies “making common cause with someone” (Exod. 23:1). If one’s hand does not “reach” something, he is “unable to pay” for it (Lev. 5:7, RSV). When one’s countryman is “unable to stretch out his hand to you,” he is not able to support himself (Lev. 25:35).

“Putting one’s hand on one’s mouth” is a gesture of silence (Prov. 30:32). “Placing one’s hands under someone” means submitting to him (1 Chron. 29:24). “Giving something into one’s hand” is entrusting it to him (Gen. 42:37).

A second major group of passages uses yâd to represent the location and uses of the hand. First, the word can mean “side,” where the hand is located: “And Absalom rose up early, and stood beside the way of the gate …” (2 Sam. 15:2). In 2 Chron. 21:16, the word means “border”: “Moreover the Lord stirred up against Jehoram the spirit of the Philistines, and of the Arabians, that were near [literally, “by the hand of”] the Ethiopians.” A similar use in Exod. 25 applies this word to the “banks” of the Nile River: “And the daughter of Pharaoh came down to wash herself at the river, and her maidens walked along by the [Nile].…” In this sense, yâd can represent “length and breadth.” In Gen. 34:21 we read that the land was (literally) “broad of hands”: “These men are peaceable with us; therefore let them dwell in the land, and trade therein; for the land, behold, it is large enough for them.…”

Second, since the hand can receive only a part or fraction of something, the word can signify a “part” or “fraction”: “And he took and sent [portions] unto them from before him: but Benjamin’s [portion] was five times so much as any of theirs” (Gen. 43:34).

Third, yâd comes to mean that which upholds something, a “support” (1 Kings 7:35ff.) or an “arm rest” (1 Kings 10:19).

Fourth, since a hand may be held up as a “sign,” yâd can signify a “monument” or “stele”: “… Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place [monument], and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal” (1 Sam. 15:12).

Fifth, yâd sometimes represents the “male sex organ”: “… And art gone up; thou hast enlarged thy bed, and made thee a covenant with them; thou lovedst their bed where thou sawest it [you have looked on their manhood]” (Isa. 57:8; cf. v. 10; 6:2; 7:20).

In several passages, yâd is used in the sense of “power” or “rule”: “And David smote Hadarezer king of Zobah unto Hamath, as he went to stablish his dominion by the river Euphrates” (1 Chron. 18:3). “To be delivered into one’s hands” means to be “given into one’s power”: “God hath delivered him into mine hand; for he is shut in, by entering into a town that hath gates and bars” (1 Sam. 23:7; cf. Prov. 18:21).

“To fill someone’s hand” may be a technical term for “installing him” in office: “And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them [literally, “fill their hands”], and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office” (Exod. 28:41). Yâd is frequently joined to the preposition |beand other prepositions as an extension; there is no change in meaning, only a longer form: “For what have I done? or what evil is in mine hand?” (1 Sam. 26:18).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Vines, W. E., M. A. Entry for 'Hand'. Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words. 1940.

Search for…
Enter query in the box below:
Choose a letter to browse:
Prev Entry