Why the Right Hand?
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.