Isaiah 41:13 is the theme verse for this blog:
"For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, 'Fear not, I will help you.'
I had often wondered why the right hand is mentioned in this verse. What is the relevance of it? Why not the left hand, or just HAND in general? As I began doing some research, I noticed the two words “right” and “hand” together are mentioned at least 132 times in the Holy Bible; and, from what I could tell, these verses show us four different purposes/meanings for the “right hand.”
1. In some verses, it is literally used as the right hand or the right side of the body. An example is seen in Genesis 48:18 - And Joseph said to his father, "Not so, my father, for this one is the first-born. Place your right hand on his head."
2. It is also referred to as a direction. Typically, the right hand refers to the South. The left hand refers to the North. Numbers 22:26 - And the angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place where there was no way to turn to the right hand or the left.
3. Another meaning is a location of honor. Hebrews 12:2 - looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
4. The last meaning refers to giving help/strength where needed. Psalm 18:35 - You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; your right hand has held me up, your gentleness has made me great.
In most of the meanings listed above, the right hand (or right side) is considered to be a synonym for goodness. That means, “the right hand” and “goodness” fall in the same defining category. Even if you look at the Old English word for “right,” you will see the word “riht,” which means: just, good, fair, proper, fitting, straight. So, does this mean the left hand (or left side) is evil and we shouldn’t use it? Of course not! The literal left hand/side of a person is not evil. I know some wonderful, Christian people who are left-handed! But, figuratively speaking, most verses in the Bible consider the "right side" to be good and proper, and the left to be weak or foolish. More often than not, it is a matter of definition, not literal location.
Focusing specifically on Isaiah 41:13, it falls into number 4 listed above. According to Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Isaiah 41:10-20 was meant to be an encouragement to the people of Israel. Verse 13 is specifically “a promise that God will strengthen their hands (i.e. will help them). He will take us by the hand as our guide, to lead us in our way, will help us up when we are fallen or prevent our falls; when we are weak he will hold us up–wavering, he will fix us, trembling, he will encourage us–and so hold us by the right hand.”
That is what this blog is all about - focusing on the Lord and doing His will as we live our everyday lives - because He is always there for us, holding our hands, helping us, guiding us, and giving us strength along the way.
Embrace His hand today
as you continue this journey called "life."
RESOURCES USED FOR THIS ARTICLE
PC STUDY BIBLE (including Matthew Henry’s Commentary and Strong’s Hebrew Bible Dictionary)
THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA: Article - Right and Left
ONLINE ETYMOLOGY DICTIONARY: Old English words for “Right” and “Left”
THE JEWISH ENCYCLOPEDIA: Article - Right and Left
ONLINE ETYMOLOGY DICTIONARY: Old English words for “Right” and “Left”
July 8, 2012
Insightful! thank youReplyDelete
Thank you, Hyacinth! May God be glorified.Delete
Good article. Thank you.Delete
so this is why i always use my right handDelete
You wrote this,"I had often wondered why the right hand is mentioned in this verse. What is the relevance of it? Why not the left hand, or just HAND in general? As I began doing some research, I noticed the two words “right” and “hand” together are mentioned at least 132 times in the Holy Bible; and, from what I could tell, these verses show us four different purposes/meanings for the “right hand.” The Right hand is the powerful hand for using weaponry or an artisan works with his tools like a blacksmith, so it also means the hand with power to sign a decree with it. Throughout history the right hand is the good hand you hold to shake a hand of a stranger to show no weaponry in it. That you are unarmed and friendly. Dr. Rev. G. L. Boyett.Delete
Thank you, Rev. Boyett, on your insight. This is good history to know about!Delete
Re Jesus holding our right hand (Isaiah 41:13). Since Jesus sits at the right hand of God, wouldn't Jesus be holding our left hand?
Thank you in advance for a reply.
Kindly, Nancy Wise
Nancy, thank you for your question. As you will see in the article above, there are several different definitions regarding "the right hand" as mentioned in Scripture. One is a "location of honor" which is where Jesus is, at the right hand of the Father. Another is "giving help/strength where needed" which is what is being referred to in Isaiah 41:13. So, it is important to look at the context. Yes, Jesus sits at the right hand of God in one context. In another context, our Lord provides the help/strength we need. I hope this helps to clarify it for you.Delete
I had a dream about Jesus and it has really changed my life has turned my whole family to him but in the dream he was on my left I also had a dream about heaven and the angel was on my left as well Im wondering the significance of it both times I could not look full on them was searching for a reason they were on my leftDelete
I just saw your writings about the right hand. Quite a few years ago I was troubled and asked God to show me He is with me. I opened my Bible and read the verse that came to me, it was the verse you mentioned in Isaiah. I then noticed the thumb ring on my right hand, it has the name of Jesus with hearts, I immediately felt God's presence and love around me! Now my ring reminds me that God holds my right hand ♡ReplyDelete
Thank you for sharing, Teresa!Delete
Thank you for this. :) Bless you for sharing your wisdom. God is good.ReplyDelete
Thank you for stopping by. God bless!Delete
i am confused--by the picture God & I are facing each other. He extends His right hand to me and I use my right hand. But how can we walk together if He uses His right hand and I use my right hand.ReplyDelete
That is a very good question. In my understanding of things, Isaiah 41:13 (the verse that this blog is based around) falls under number 4 listed above. The verse was originally meant to be an encouragement to the people of Israel, and is a "promise that God will strengthen their hands (i.e. will help them)." It is not a literal taking of the right hand, but is symbolic in nature - a symbol of His help and strength. For Christians, I take it to mean God will offer His helpful hand to us, which He is doing in the picture. If we choose to take His hand, He will hold us up when we are wavering, and will lead us in our journey. Thank you for your question. I hope this helps to clarify things for you.Delete
The verb "walk" in its literal sense of going along or moving about on foot at a moderate pace is found numerous times in the Gospels. However, this same verb is more often used throughout the Old Testament and the epistles of the New Testament in a metaphorical way. In this sense it means to follow a certain course of life or to conduct oneself in a certain way. Many times the verb translated "walk" is present tense in the Greek of the New Testament, which means that the writer is referring to a continued mode of conduct or behavior. In fact, the infinitive "to walk" can be translated, in a Hebraistic way, "to live."Delete
Based on Dr. G.L. Boyett‘a reply, if we are extending the right hand that could hold weapons, tools, etc., is it not also surrendering the need for retribution for unjust acts to God who will take care of the issue?Delete
I see Him as reaching across His body to hold my right hand with His even as His left arm is around me holding me close to Him.Delete
Please do not be confused as sometimes our human logic gets in the way of the truth… Man thinks cognitive and GOD moves supernaturally.. GOD is divine His ways are not our ways, HIS thoughts are not our thoughts..Delete
Have Faith my friend, have Faith in the scriptures and Gods instructions
As I was praying for my son, I heard Holy Spirit say that He was showing my son His right hand. I often thought that it was the favor of God. Thank you for sharing this. It helps me to have a deeper revelation of what this means. I love how Good loves us unconditionally even though we don't deserve it.ReplyDelete
I agree, it is amazing how God loves us unconditionally. Thank you for sharing your comment.Delete
Thank you. I’m relatively new to bible study and I kept wondering why it is always the right hand or side. What you say is very helpful and insightful.ReplyDelete
Thank you for your comment. I am glad it was helpful for you.Delete
I was wondering if this verse has any relation to why we are asked to hold up our hand in court. And swear to tell the truth. Is it because when God say He holds up his right hand to us, His word is always truth?ReplyDelete
Good question. It is my understanding that criminals used to be branded with a hot iron on their right hands. So, if the criminal appears in court again, he would show his "branding" by raising his right hand.Delete
This has become a very meaningful verse in my Christian life as well along with Psalm 16, which has much to say about being at God's right hand. God uses his right hand for action. If he is holding my right hand, the only action I have to perform is to hold tight to him. I seek his will, his strength, his refuge. I hold on to the faith in who he is and his love & mercy. He will act with his omnipotent right hand on my behalf in all areas of need as he sees fit. My strength is an illusion only. Praise the Lord that his almighty strength, goodness & mercy are not.ReplyDelete
Amen! Thank you for your insight!Delete
It is incredible how the Holy Spirit causes Scripture to be interpreted in so many different ways by different hearts, all tailored to the way that we specifically need to understand it or envision it. I find myself here on this site because of Psalm 16! That has been my meditation today, I've been delving deeper into the 'right hand' meaning and your comment has caused me to see it in an entirely different light. Thank you thank you thank you for sharing your scope! "The only action I have to perform is to hold tightly to Him." How simple, how vital, how life-saving that truth is!Delete
I wish to thank you for creating this on the Right hand. I had just read Isaiah 41:13 and had to pause in my reading to learn the significance of God holding me (Israel in this verse) by the Right Hand. This article was very helpful and encouraging. The Lord God bless you.ReplyDelete
I am thankful this article was helpful to you. Thank you for your encouragement.Delete
Thank you. My devotions kept referring to holding God's right hand. When I Googled out of curiosity your blog came up. Thank you for helping me better understand and know the teachings of our Lord.ReplyDelete
Glad it was helpful!Delete
I known one person from philippines and obviously he is christian and God use him left hand most of all his fight to knock down of his opponentReplyDelete
Can you elloborate why his left hand is so powerful
Thank you for this article. I learned a lot from it and also from the comments. So thank you to everyone here!ReplyDelete
Thanks for your note, Pam. I appreciate you took the time to comment, and I'm glad the blog post has been helpful for you.Delete
I had a dream God was trying to hold my hand. It started out this man was leaning on a wooden fence. He had overalls on. The background was the country. Mind you, I'm from the cities. Maybe fall cuz the grass wasn't quite green . Maybe like 6:00pm the sun was set. I was laying in my bed outside close to the fence where God was standing. God was reaaching his right hand out to me. Then someone to my left was telling me that wasn't God. I felt like it was. I could feel it in my chest I kind of turned over. Then he started to walk away. I felt something of satisfaction from the person to my left. That I didn't like so I turned over reaching for God. Still in doubt asking myself why would God want to touch my hand. He turned and reach for me again. I was half woke I remember taking my right hand from under the cover and reaching for God. Our hands connected to a handshake. I remember while holding God's hand I started to dream about something else while dreaming about something else. I felt like we were holding hands for a long time. I can remember dreaming about me holding God's hand. I can't remember what I was dreaming about while holding God's hand. I do remember looking at myself while dreaming. I was laying there under the covers with my hand out. . I felt my hand being released. They say if you can remember your dream it ain't over. I do have quite some understanding of what this dream could mean but I'm still going to do some research to make sure my inklings are right. This journey is amaaaaazing. Beautiful blessings and this amazing feeling. (I'm so in love y'alll) In my cute shy voice.ReplyDelete
Victoria, God has clearly called you for such a time as this. This is a powerful word that many need to hear. Thank you for your faithfulness to Him. I was reading Mark 5 this morning where Jesus to the young girl by the hand and told her to rise up. I then found Psalm 73:23 and this blog post. If God is for us, who can be against us? The LORD bless you,ReplyDelete
Thank you for your encouragement, Ted. Blessings to you! May God alone be glorified.Delete
I felt I was given this verse Is 41:13 as a promise from God before a planned surgery for part of my colon to be removed. Thank you for sharing your insight on the "right hand". I'm trusting God & His Word for strength and help for this surgery,Feb 21, 20ReplyDelete
May the Lord give you the strength and peace you need as you undergo surgery.Delete
I am reading through this blog in connection with a testimony piece I am preparing for my Church's online efforts during the COVID 19 lockdown in the UK. This is a verse God gave me many years ago during a very difficult time in my life. It has been a support to me over many years. Very recently I too have had a colonectomy for a large growth, and I again held onto this verse. God is very good. I only found out about the growth when I had to attend Accident and Emergency for a kidney stone. The CT Scan showed up the growth and I was in hospital two months later for the operation. I had no symptoms in connection with the colon problem and, as I was told by the clinician, I would probably have found myself in hospital as an emergency blockage or perforation case otherwise. I knew God was with me throughout and Isaiah 42:13 was a great comfort to me. The biopsy showed I had Stage One cancer, but I am now free of it. Seven weeks on I am making a good recovery. God will have seen you through this troubled time I am sure. I have asked God for you to have his strength. Blessings.Delete
Could you please just publish this as from 'Ken'. Thanks.Delete
Hi, Ken. I am glad to hear you are now cancer free. It is difficult to be diagnosed with cancer of any kind, but our God is so faithful to help us through our difficult days. Thanks for sharing your story.Delete
Thanks; I also was looking for more information about the "right hand of God". I had previously understood it to mean holy, authority, righteousness, royalty. It also caused me to remember sharing with a real estate class I was teaching about in medieval times, when the sovereign was conveying rights in land, the ceremony of investiture had the bishops of the church sitting at the king's right, and the lords and barons sitting on his left. Anyway, I thought that might be interesting that the right of the king was a place of reverence and honor.ReplyDelete
Yes, there are many times in the Bible when the "right hand" is mentioned as being a "place of honor." Thank you for your comment.Delete
Thank you for the article, I feel I'm truly blessed. There is something coming my way for which I really need to fast and pray to make it successful. This is my second day of prayer and finding Psalm 41:13 in your blog with lots of comments have immensely blessed me. I have a bigger heart in the Lord now. God bless you and everyone here.ReplyDelete
The Lords provides what we need, always at the right time.Delete
I was blessed reading this article. I enjoyed reading it. I too wanted to know why the right hand was and is used; then and now. I know and will continue to study the word of God. Thank you for sharing this article.ReplyDelete
Deeper study of the Word of God is key to helping us understanding it. Thank you for your comment.Delete
Easter week 2000 I had a dream I know was from God in 4 parts. After each part I awoke for a few seconds then went back to sleep. In the last part I'm standing outside my church when a voice says, 'they know you are there but they cannot see you'. Then a feeling of being alone and fearful started to affect me when the voice then said 'do not worry I will help you' and a hand grabbed hold of my right wrist and pulled me out of the situation. At the time I had not read much of the Bible and asked a friend for advice about my dream, she suggested I read Isaiah. After reading Isaiah 41.13 my dream made sense. Since then my church's outreach has really grown and now our community not only know about us but see us. God is good and faithful and never lets go of us. Isaiah 41.10-13 are verses I go to regularly for comfort and guidance. JESUS IS LORD. AMENReplyDelete
Yes, God is always good and faithful. I am so thankful He holds my hand and provides strength and comfort every day.Delete
Thank you so much Victoria. I enjoyed your sharing on the right hand of God. Many times I wondered only the Right Hand. Thanks for the explanation. As we are in the threshold of another New Year may the dear Lord Jesus lead us, guide us and direct us by His, with His and Through His Right Hand. Joshua ThomasReplyDelete
Yes GOD gave me this scripture when i had lost everything became homeless. He gave me grace to recover all and then some.🌹ReplyDelete
Praise the Lord!Delete
i just got touched by what i think was god on my right hand as i was going to sleep, i felt it open and close on its own and it stayed closed for a bit in the form of there being another hand holding mine.ReplyDelete
In the culture Jesus lived and still in the Middle East now the right hand is the clean hand and used to shake and reach out and to eat with.ReplyDelete
The left hand is the toilet hand and therefore not used to eat with, etc. Could this cultural use of right and left hand be relevant too?
Good question! I'm not certain of the relevance of the cultural use of the right hand, as I have not researched it enough to know. But, perhaps, the cultural practice of using the right hand was/is due to the definitions of the "right hand" as mentioned above (location of honor, giving help/strength, etc). Maybe the people understood the definitions, and so they chose to use their right hands to be their "clean" hands? Just a thought.Delete
I wondered when I read in Isaiah 41 about God holding my right-handReplyDelete
with his righteous right hand how that could be and I realized that meant if I were to walk with Him I would have to let Him lead...hmm what a concept;D
Interesting thought. So, with this in mind, Jesus would be walking backwards while holding our hand and we would be face to face with Him. It allows for us to be focused on His face as we walk.Delete
Thanks for this message,it really touched me.i was studying for my quiet time and I came across isaiah 42: 13 and as I meditate on my spirit asked me to stop and check the meaning of right hand in the sentence,so I Google the internet and I came across this blog,it's telling me that there is a hopeful situation for me despite all my life long challenges...I was seriously down financially, materially,but I felt a kind of relief to dwell more on the word and my blessings shall manifest... AmenReplyDelete
I am so thankful this was helpful to you. Our God always knows what we need, and at just the right time. Thank you for sharing your testimony.Delete
In Old English it can also be referred to as dominate hand similar to old school Dutch...to me this would be the more likey of translation.ReplyDelete
Thanks for your thoughts.Delete
I AM LEFT HANDED. I KNOW WHAT RIGHT HAND IN THE BIBLE MEANS. IAM ALWAYS BEING CRITICIZED FOR BEING LEFT HANDED. MANY TELL ME THAT FOR BEING LEFT HANDED I WILL NEVER GET TO HEAVEN. I DO NOT PAY ATTENTION TO THAT BECAUSE GOD LOVES ME. BUT I DO PRAY THAT PEOE WILL STOP AND REALIZE NO MATTER WHAT GOD LOVES US ALL.ReplyDelete
I AM TELLING THIS BECAUSE IT IS EVERY MOMENT I HEAR IT AND I ASK GOD TO HELP THOSE PEOE TO UNDERSTAND.
I'm so sorry you have been criticized for being left-handed. There is nothing wrong with it. And, yes, God does love you just the way you are. We are saved by putting our faith and trust in Jesus Christ and in the work He did on the cross for us. Not by being right-handed.Delete
My Left handed Friend. I too am left handed and it is frustrating. It Is almost a picture of my life, feeling out of step with most people, slower and weaker. However I am reminded of the 700 men from Tribe of Benjamin and Ehud who assassinated a king. They were noted as being left handed and yet used by GodDelete
Remember what characteristics others can see as a weakness God can use for His glory
I have a question. What if you see a burnt red mark on the back of your hand below the thumb. What does that mean spiritually?ReplyDelete
Would love if anyone could share any thoughts they might have about the significance of parallels in Psalm 16:ReplyDelete
v8: "I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved."
v11: "In Your presence is the fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
The Holy Spirit uses parallels in Scripture to bring attention to our human minds. In my interpretation, I see it as, if we keep Jesus first at His rightful place in our hearts (thus, close in reach to our right hand,) we will be the beneficiaries of all things that are at His right hand, like the fullness of joy, and pleasures forevermore. Any thoughts?
Most people are right handed that is why the bible states the right hand. We as humans complicate things. We have a lot more to concern ourselves with than to worry about our left or right hand. If you are worthy and living your life right then it does not matter which hand is acceptable. As your body is one.ReplyDelete
It goes a lot deeper than what I think you understand, but thanks for sharing your thoughts. Try to remember that studying Scripture and learning new things is a joy to many of us.Delete
Thank you fir this! I was just doing some personal study on Psalm 121:5 which says “The Lord is your shade at your right hand”. Your explanation helped a lot with this verse study!ReplyDelete
I'm glad it was helpful for you. Thanks for your comment.Delete
Here's a question for you why was the left side in 1st Century Jewish tradition considered unclean. I heard that in a message once and it's always bugged me. Jewish people in the first century laid on their left side and ate with the right hand so why was the left side considered unclean.ReplyDelete
Good question! I haven't been able to find a definitive answer to that, other than it being the culture and/or tradition, but I really believe it comes down to a matter of definition. "Right" is a synonym for (has the same meaning as) "goodness." Some have also suggested the right side can also be defined as the dominant side.Delete
As I think about God holding my right hand as He walks with me…… I must surrender my dominance. He will be holding my hand with His left to give His right hand freedom to protect me. I don’t think this is earth shattering, but it gives me comfort.ReplyDelete