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Called by Galen "the instrument of instruments." It is the symbol of human action (Ps. 9:16; Job 9:30; Isa. 1:15; 1 Tim. 2:8). Washing the hands was a symbol of innocence (Ps. 26:6; 73:13; Matt. 27:24), also of sanctification (1 Cor. 6:11; Isa. 51:16; Ps. 24:3, 4). In Ps. 77:2 the correct rendering is, as in the Revised Version, "My hand was stretched out," etc., instead of, as in the Authorized Version, "My sore ran in the night," etc.
The right hand denoted the south, and the left the north (Job 23:9; 1 Sam. 23:19). To give the right hand was a pledge of fidelity (2 Kings 10:15; Ezra 10:19); also of submission to the victors (Ezek. 17:18; Jer. 50:15). The right hand was lifted up in taking an oath (Gen. 14:22, etc.). The hand is frequently mentioned, particularly the right hand, as a symbol of power and strength (Ps. 60:5; Isa. 28:2). To kiss the hand is an act of homage (1 Kings 19:18; Job 31:27), and to pour water on one's hands is to serve him (2 Kings 3:11). The hand of God is the symbol of his power: its being upon one denotes favour (Ezra 7:6, 28; Isa. 1:25; Luke 1:66, etc.) or punishment (Ex. 9:3; Judg. 2:15; Acts 13:11, etc.). A position at the right hand was regarded as the chief place of honour and power (Ps. 45:9; 80:17; 110:1; Matt. 26:64).