What does "right hand" mean?

Discussion in 'Christian History' started by mawallace, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. mawallace

    mawallace Member

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    Often in the Bible we read of people being at the right hand of a person (or God in the case of Christ) and I had always thought that this related to a postion of power, strength, and authority.

    I went to a Bible study last night and the person there said it related to a Jewish custom at meal times. The right hand side was where a person of great trust, love, and respect was - usually the son of heir or the wife, and then the left hand side was the person with most trust, as they leant in the direction when eating.

    What is right?
     
  2. Randy

    Randy Member

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    Perhaps context suggests the answer. With Jesus its the honor, power, glory. (authority)

    Hebrews 1:13 ; Psalms 110:1 I don't think this is related to a meal. (smile)

    Its of note two of the apostles wanted to sit next to Jesus in His glory (left and right) . Jesus then taught he who is least is the greatest.

    Randy
     
  3. clark thompson

    clark thompson Member

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    I think both may be true.
     
  4. Sinthesis

    Sinthesis Member

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    In general your right hand does what you want it to do. The left hand? Not so much.
     
  5. cyberjosh

    cyberjosh Member

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    I think in the ancient Semitic mindset, and not just among the Israelites, that 'left' and 'right' were common idioms for 'evil' and 'good' respectively. In fact there's even a verse that seems to automatically assume that the reader knows what left and right stand for: "The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left" (Ecclesiastes 10:2). Along with these general designations of the right as good in the left as evil or bad, I believe that there are additional senses of things that accompany good or bad things. For example the Hebrew name of Jacob's son Benjamin means "son of my right hand", which is generally taken to mean that Benjamin had favor with his father. The right hand indicates favor while the left hand indicates disfavor. Being at someone's right hand is considered a favorable place to be: "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore" (Psalm 16:11).

    Some bible encyclopedias may also have useful discussions on what left and right meant to the ancient Semitic mind. I hope these thoughts might point you in the right direction though.

    God bless,
    Josh
     
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  6. cyberjosh

    cyberjosh Member

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    Haha. That's an interesting application, however I think this assumes that everyone is right handed. I think that this may not apply to the judge Ehud who was skilled with his left hand (Judges 3). :)

    Also in 1 Chroincles 12:1-2 it mentions that some of David's mighty men were ambidextrous: "Now these were the men who came to David at Ziklag while he was still a fugitive from Saul the son of Kish; and they were among the mighty men, helpers in the war, 2 armed with bows, using both the right hand and the left in hurling stones and shooting arrows with the bow. They were of Benjamin, Saul's brethren." Interestingly it says that they were from the tribe of Benjamin, which means "son of my right hand". :-p

    God bless,
    Josh
     
  7. His_nee (Jeff)

    His_nee (Jeff) Member

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    it may help to look into shepherding in ancient Israel, et al. the rod was held in one hand, and the staff in another, if I remember right (but it was so very long ago, i'm not sure)
    i.e. power, strength, dominion, authority with the right hand. (rod to beat off/kill wolves, bears and lions and snakes)
    compassion, gentleness, comforting with the left hand. (staff to pull sheep out of crevices and brambles)
     
  8. TOG

    TOG Member

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    It's probably both. Where a person is seated has long been a measure of the honor he is shown, not only in ancient Hebrew culture, but in many other cultures as well, even in modern times. The position of greates honor for a guest is at the right hand of the host. The next position is at the left hand of the host. People then sit further away from the host in order of decreasing honor. This applies both at meals and other cases where people are seated according to social rank or honor.

    The TOG​
     
  9. Eugene

    Eugene Staff Member Moderator

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    Mat 22:44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? Jesus is presently sitting as our priest making intercession at our Father’s right hand. In the future He will rule as the King of kings on His own throne for a thousand years.

    Then Jesus will come in the very power of the Almighty. Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Heb 2:8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.

    Mat 26:64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

    Rev 1:7 Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.

    Rev 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. This is that all power.
     
  10. brother Paul

    brother Paul Member

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    Go to Strongs and look up the OT references
     
  11. RevSRE

    RevSRE Member

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    I think All OF THEM. I was told that a soldier carried his sword in his right hand. The one to his right would be harder to strike than one to his left or in front of him. So the right is both power I carry my sword there and the one to my right I must trust, he is my support.
    Again I was told, all the ideas that use "RIGHT" as a figure of speech mean trust and power and protection. It is as old as the first man to carry a sword. At least that is how I was taught.
     
  12. brother Paul

    brother Paul Member

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    Right hand is also referring to the place of authority and power....
     
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  13. RevSRE

    RevSRE Member

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    Yes, is that because the man with the sword takes authority for himself or his King?
     
  14. brother Paul

    brother Paul Member

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    No because it was YHVH's plan that as the Father He should give all authority and power to the Son who became incarnate as the Lamb via the Holy Spirit
     
  15. dianegcook

    dianegcook Member

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    Yes, it means authority and power, works...

    Psa.17:7
    Show thy marvelous lovingkindness, O Thou that savest by Thy right hand, which put their trust in Thee.....
    Psa.20:6
    Now know I that the Lord savest His anointed, he will hear Him from His holy heaven with
    the saving strength of His right hand.
    Psa.98:1
    His right hand, and His holy arm, hath gotten him the victory..
    Psa.118:16

    The right hand of the Lord is exalted, the right of the Lord forth valiantly.
    Psa.138:7
    ....
    and Thy right hand shall save me....
     
  16. Randy

    Randy Member

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    I 2nd or 3rd with what was answered (smile) "right hand of power" but in Jesus's case it was the Fathers will.

    Again the chief priest was questioning him, and saith to him, ‘Art thou the Christ — the Son of the Blessed?’ 62and Jesus said, ‘I am; and ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the power, and coming with the clouds, of the heaven.’

    Psalm 110
    Of David. A psalm.
    1 The Lord says to my lord

    “Sit at my right hand
    until I make your enemies
    a footstool for your feet.”
     
  17. Roro1972

    Roro1972 Member

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    Also we have this
    Gen 48:
    12 And Joseph brought them out from between his knees, and he bowed himself with his face to the earth.
    13 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near unto him.
    14 And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the firstborn.
     
  18. RevSRE

    RevSRE Member

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    The idiom or figure of speech is the same. We sometime over examine words. The "Right hand of Power" is still a figure of speech that comes from a cultural idea or practice. It does not mean less Christ WILL hold that place of honor. But the words are still a figure of speech. The definition, connotation and application of all words come from Language and Culture, they are symbols that express, as best humans can, the ideas we try to communicate. We need to be careful in Bible study not to make words bigger than they are.
     
  19. Randy

    Randy Member

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    I am very careful when expressing scripture truths. I was just answering your question.

    You might keep this in mind, the same Gospel we read was first preached in a world with many false Gods and many different customs. One plants and waters but God makes those words grow. The gospel does not change or evolve. Not that you state it does but it means what it means.

    Randy
     
  20. RevSRE

    RevSRE Member

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    OK we agree on this. THE study of the religions of Christ time and where all that originated is in itself a fascinating study. We may need a forum for that, but that may be asking a lot.
     

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