Handclasps in the Psalms and the Temple (Come, Follow Me: Psalms 49-86) – powered by Happy Scribe
Because the psalms were likely used in temple and coronation rituals, they can give us subtle clues as to how some of these rituals were performed. Several psalms give us insight into how the king may have been coordinated or initiated into his role with divine hand clasp. Psalm 63 describes how David, the King of Israel, seeks the presence of the Lord just as he once saw him in the sanctuary. David described lifting up his hands in a gesture of prayer, which may allude to praying before the altar of incense. And then at the end of the psalm, David refers to a divine hand clasp that he shared with the Lord my soul clung to you your right hand held me.
This gesture seems to indicate that part of coordinating the King of Israel may have involved a ritual where the king would clasp the hand of God and induct him into his presence. Because David described seeing God within the sanctuary, perhaps this initiation rite took place in the temple itself, with a priestly intermediary representing the Lord. Psalm 89 similarly conveys how the Lord installed David as king I have found David my servant with my holy oil have I anointed him with whom my hand shall be established my arm also shall strengthen him. The Lord initiated David as king by anointing him with oil, probably represented by a priest. The Lord also alluded to establishing his hand with David, which may be a reference to grasping it.
Psalm 73 again explains how God will grasp you by the right hand and receive you into his presence nevertheless, I am continually with thee. Thou hast holden me by my right hand thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Psalm 41 may be another reference to holding by the hand as a way to grant entrance into God’s presence. As for me and my integrity, you have held me. You have set me before you forever of this coronation ritual, scholar Matthew Brown has noted.
Taken together, Psalm 41 and 73 points to the possibility that when the King of Israel was initiated into his office in the temple precincts, he passed through the veil of the Holy of Holies and into God’s symbolic presence. In temples of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints, members prepare to become priests and kings unto the Most High God by making sacred covenant with God and living good moral lives. This process of becoming a king and a priest unto God entails entering God’s presence at the end of our lives, which we do symbolically in the temple by ritually entering in the celestial room. Latterday Saint temples contain many symbols and ritual actions that can draw us closer to God and strengthen our relationship with Him. God wants us to become a priest and king as he is, because his work and his glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
Like King David, all of God’s children can achieve eternal life and be crowned as a king through sacred ordinances and faith in Jesus Christ.