Symbol of skill, energy, and action. "Strength of hand." Also control. To "kiss the hand" expresses adoration (Job 31:27). "Fill one's hand" is consecrating him a priest (Exodus 28:41 margin, Judges 17:5; 1 Kings 13:33). To "lift up the hand" is to swear (Genesis 14:22), the hand being raised in appeal to God above; also the attitude of benediction (Leviticus 9:22). To "give the hand" assures of faithfulness and friendship (2 Kings 10:15); also submission, "she hath given her hand," i.e. surrendered to her conqueror (Jeremiah 50:15; Lamentations 5:6). The hand of God is His eternal purpose and executive power (Acts 4:28; Acts 4:30); His providential bounty (Psalm 104:28); His firm hold preserving His saints (John 10:28-29; Deuteronomy 33:8). His "heavy hand," affliction (Psalm 38:2).
God's "right hand" denotes His omnipotence. "The right hand," being more proficient than the left hand, is the place of honour (Psalm 110:1; Matthew 25:33), "the left" is the place of dishonour (Matthew 26:64). The Hebrew in reckoning the four quarters faced the E. So "in front" or "before them" was E.; "at the back," or "behind," W.; "the right hand," S.; "the left hand," N. The accuser in a trial stood "at the right hand" of the accused, so Satan at Joshua's right hand (Zechariah 3:1; Psalm 109:6); but the Advocate Messiah also is at the believer's "right hand," to defend his cause effectively (Psalm 16:8; Psalm 109:31); therefore Paul could say (Romans 8:31; Romans 8:33-34), "If God be for us, who can be against us? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth?
It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us." "The hand of the Lord on" the prophets is the Holy Spirit's extraordinary and powerful impulse, His felt impression inspiring them (1 Kings 18:46; 2 Kings 3:15; Ezra 1:3; Ezra 3:14). His "good hand upon" His people means His gracious help (Nehemiah 2:8; Luke 1:66). "Laying on of hands" was usual in blessing; as the Lord Jesus blessing the infants (Mark 10:16), Jacob blessing Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 48:14); also in laying guilt and punishment upon persons accused (Deuteronomy 13:9; Deuteronomy 17:7); also in constituting magistrates, as Moses did in appointing Joshua his successor (Numbers 27:18); also setting apart the Levites (Numbers 8:10).
Also the offerer put his hand upon the head of his burnt offering (Leviticus 1:4), thereby identifying himself with it, and making it his representative to bear typically the death which his sin deserved. Also in ordaining ministers (Acts 6:6; Acts 13:3; 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6). The impartation of the Spirit was connected with the symbolical laying on of hands; "Joshua was full of the spirit of wisdom, FOR Moses had laid his hands upon him" (Deuteronomy 34:9). The "gift" in Timothy was "BY (did,) the putting on of Paul's hands" as the chief instrument (2 Timothy 1:6), but "WITH (meta) the laying on of the hands of the presbytery," implying accompaniment rather than direct instrumentality.
Compare Acts 8:17; Acts 9:17; Acts 19:1-6; the apostles and others specially appointed by God had powers of miraculously conferring spiritual gifts and qualifications, such as have not been transmitted; so in confirming those already baptized. Bishops in confirming and ordaining now can only pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit to be bestowed on the candidates, not give it.
Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE)
Online Bible (KJV)
Naves Topical Bible
Smith's Bible Dictionary
Easton's Bible Dictionary
Fausset's Bible Dictionary
Matthew Henry Bible Commentary
Hitchcock's Bible Dictionary
Related Bible History