Ancient Meaning of Raising Hands (Week 14, Part 3/6) Exodus 7–13 | Mar 28 – Apr 3 Exodus 7–13 – powered by Happy Scribe
In Exodus 9, and in Exodus 17, Moses performed a strange gesture by raising his hands above his head.
In Exodus chapter Nine, Moses told Aaron that he would raise his hands above his head unto the Lord to stop the plague of thunder and hail.
I will spread abroad my hands unto the Lord, and the Thunder shall cease. Neither shall there be any more hail that thou mayest know how the Earth is the Lord’s. In Exodus 17, Moses had to keep his arms raised during an entire battle in order for the Israelites to defeat the Amalekites. Aaron and her stayed up his hands, the one on the one side and the other on the other side, and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. When Moses held up his hand that Israel prevailed, and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. While this gesture may seem strange to us, it’s a very ancient and sacred gesture for prayer and approaching the power of God. Today most latterday Saints pray by folding their arms and bowing their heads in a show of reverence. But in ancient Israel, praying sometimes took the form of raising your hands toward heaven.
Archeologists and scholars have discovered this hand gesture in ancient cultures spanning thousands of years, from ancient Egypt all the way to Christian Rome. This gesture has meant different things in different contexts and cultures, but there are pieces of evidence in the Bible, you Garrett and surrounding ancient ear Eastern cultures that suggest that this gesture was one of powerful prayer with temple connections. In the ancient city of Ugarth, the God L instructed a hero to lift his hands to heaven in order to approach the God Baal. An Aramaic inscription told of a King named Hamas who also lifted his hands to heaven to pray to the God Baal. We have Ivory carvings and stamp seals from Ughara and the Northern Levant depicting people with raised hands, often in gestures of prayer, supplication or veneration. In a tomb painting from Egypt, Semitic figures can be seen supplicating Pharaoh for the breath of life by raising their hands. The Bible contains many examples of people raising their hands as a sacred gesture of prayer or praise and had strong connections with the temple. For example, when King Solomon dedicated God’s Holy temple, he offered the Dedicatory prayer by standing before the altar and spreading his hands towards God.
The Psalms are sometimes referred to as the hymn book of the ancient temple, and they contain many examples of this gesture in connection with the temple. For example, Psalm 28 declares, Hear the voice of my supplications when I cry into Thee, when I lift up my hands towards thy Holy Oracle or the temple. Psalm 134 says, Lift up your hands in the sanctuary and bless the Lord. Psalm 141 says, Let my prayer be set forth before thee of incense and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice in exodus, chapter nine When Moses lifted up his hands unto the Lord, it was a supplication for the Lord’s Almighty power and the Lord responded. He miraculously stopped the Thunder inhale similarly, when Moses raised his hands during the Amalekite battle, he was invoking God’s power to save Israel. Moses was God’s emissary on the Earth and had the authority to petition God’s power for his people by raising his hands to heaven. Moses signaled to Pharaoh and the Amalekites that God was with Moses. God’s power was manifest in the Thunder and hail and in the victory of battle. When we prayed to God with sacred gestures, we can signal to God our humility and worthiness before Him.
We can praise him and we can rest assured that God is with us. As did RAF Ukdorf taught.
Lift up your soul in prayer and explain to your heavenly Father what you are feeling. Acknowledge your shortcomings. Pour out your heart and express your gratitude. Let him know of the trials you are facing. Plead with him in Christ’s name for strength and support. Ask that your ears may be open that you may hear his voice. Ask that your eyes may be open that you may see his light.