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Bible Dictionaries

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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sometimes denotes the vengeance of God: "The hand of the Lord was heavy upon them of Ashdod," after they had taken the ark, 1 Samuel 5:6-7 . To pour water on any one's hands, signifies to serve him, 2 Kings 3:11 . To wash one's hands, denotes innocence: Pilate washed his hands to denote his being innocent of the blood of Jesus, Matthew 27:24 . To kiss one's hand, is an act of adoration, 1 Kings 19:18 . "If I

beheld the sun when it shined, and my mouth hath kissed my hand," Job 31:27 . To fill one's hands, is to take possession of the priesthood, to perform the functions of that office; because in this ceremony, those parts of the victim which were to be offered, were put into the hand of the newly created priest, Judges 17:5; Judges 17:12; 1 Kings 13:33 . To lean upon any one's hand, in a mark of familiarity and superiority. The king of Israel had a confidant on whom he thus leaned, 2 Kings 7:17 . The king of Syria leaned on the hand or arm of Naaman when he went up to the temple of Rimmon, 2 Kings 5:18 . To lift up one's hand, is a way of taking an oath which has been in use among all nations. To give one's hand, signifies to grant peace, to swear friendship, to promise entire security, to make alliance, 2 Kings 10:15 . The Jews say, they were obliged to give the hand to the Egyptians and Assyrians, that they might procure bread, 2Ma_13:22; that is, to surrender to them, to submit. To stretch out one's hand, signifies to chastise, to exercise severity or justice, Ezekiel 25:7 . God delivered his people with a high hand, and arm stretched out; by performing many wonders, and inflicting many chastisements, on the Egyptians. To stretch out one's hand, sometimes denotes mercy: "I have spread out my hands," entreated, "all the day unto a rebellious people,"

Isaiah 65:2 . Hand is also frequently taken for the power and impression of the Holy Spirit felt by a prophet: "The hand of the Lord was on Elijah,"

1 Kings 18:46 . It is said that God gave his law by the hand of Moses, that he spoke by the hand of prophets, &c; that is, by their means, by them, &c. The right hand denotes power, strength. The Scripture generally imputes to God's right hand all the effects of his omnipotence: "Thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy," Exodus 15:6 . The Son of God is often represented as sitting at the right hand of his heavenly Father: "The Lord said to my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand," Psalms 110:1; thou hast done thy work upon earth, now take possession of that sovereign kingdom and glory which by right belongeth unto thee; do thou rule with authority and honour, as thou art Mediator. The right hand commonly denotes the south, as the left does the north; for the Hebrews speak of the quarters of the world, in respect of themselves, having their faces turned to the east, their backs to the west, their right hands to the south, and their left to the north. For example: "Doth not David hide himself with us in strong holds, in the woods, in the hill of Hachilah, which is on the south of Jeshimon?" in Hebrew, "on the right hand of Jeshimon." The accuser was commonly at the right hand of the accused: "Let Satan stand at his right hand," Psalms 109:6 . And in Zechariah 3:1 , Satan was at the right hand of the high priest Joshua, to accuse him. Often, in a contrary sense, to be at one's right hand signifies to defend, to protect, to support him: "I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved," Psalms 16:8 . To turn from the law of God, neither to the right hand nor to the left, is a frequent Scripture expression, the meaning of which is, that we must not depart from it at all. Our Saviour, in Matthew 6:3 , to show with what privacy we should do good works, says that our left hand should not know what our right hand does. Above all things, we should avoid vanity and ostentation in all the good we undertake to do, and should not think that thereby we merit any thing. Laying on hands, or imposition of hands, is understood in different ways both in the Old and New Testament. It is often taken for ordination and consecration of priests and ministers, as well among the Jews as Christians, Numbers 8:10; Acts 6:6; Acts 13:3; 1 Timothy 4:14 . It is sometimes also made use of to signify the establishment of judges and magistrates, on whom it was usual to lay hands when they were entrusted with these employments. Thus when Moses constituted Joshua his successor, God appointed him to lay his hands upon him, Numbers 27:18 . Jacob laid his hands on Ephraim and Manasseh, when he gave them his last blessing, Genesis 48:14 . The high priest stretched out his hands to the people, as often as he recited the solemn form of blessing, Leviticus 9:22 . The Israelites, who presented sin offerings at the tabernacle, confessed their sins while they laid their hands upon them, Leviticus 1:4 . This testified that the person acknowledged himself worthy of death, that he laid his sins upon the sacrifice, that he trusted in Christ for the expiation of his sins, and that he devoted himself to God. Witnesses laid their hands upon the head of the accused person, as it were to signify that they charged upon him the guilt of his blood, and freed themselves from it, Deuteronomy 13:9; Deuteronomy 17:7 . Our Saviour laid his hands upon the children that were presented to him, and blessed them, Mark 10:16 . And the Holy Ghost was conferred on those who were baptized by the laying on of the hands of the Apostles, Acts 8:17; Acts 19:6 .

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Hand'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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