Several body parts are descriptively used in the Scriptures, including the hand. I will portray several of its usages, each being a ‘childism’ (some phrase or term easily understood by a child).
1. The Hand that Won’t Reach
In Leviticus 5:7 and 5:11, Young’s Literal Translation has:
Leviticus 5:7 And if his hand reach not to the sufficiency of a lamb, then he hath brought in his guilt-offering—he who hath sinned—two turtle-doves or two young pigeons to Jehovah, one for a sin-offering, and one for a burnt-offering . . .
Leviticus 5:11 And if his hand reach not to two turtle-doves, or to two young pigeons, then he hath brought in his offering—he who hath sinned—a tenth of an ephah of flour for a sin-offering . . .
We would say either “He can’t afford it” or “He is unable to acquire or get it.” The viewpoint of a young child is that he can’t reach it.
2. The Hand that is Strong
The hand represents power to a child. Whatever she can do is often measured and done by her hand. The hand of a ‘grown-up’ seems very strong. Consider these texts:
Exodus 13:3 And Moshe saith unto the people, “Remember this day which ye have gone out from Egypt, from the house of slaves. For by strength of hand hath Yehovah brought you out from this…”
Exodus 13:14 “And it hath been, when thy son asketh thee hereafter, saying, ‘What is this?’ that thou hast said unto him, ‘By strength of hand hath Yehovah brought us out from Egypt, from a house of slaves.’”
Exodus 13:16 “…and it hath been for a token on thy hand and for frontlets between thine eyes. For by strength of hand hath Jehovah brought us out of Egypt.”
The Bible has many similar texts and other uses of hand. Anything given into the hand of someone is placed in his power and for his use, as a child would assume. The English language has absorbed some of these expressions:
Genesis 9:2 And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth [upon] the earth and upon all the fishes of the sea. Into your hand are they delivered.
Children are physical, and they usually express toughness with their hands, as does Hebrew:
Genesis 16:12 And he is a wild-ass man. His hand is against every man, and every man’s hand against him. And he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.
The hand is so important that it is used 1,710 times in the King James translation. If it were counted in the Hebrew, the number of times would be increased to more than 1,825 times.
Yehovah desires that one have clean hands. Even some unbelievers do:
Psalm 24:3 Who shall ascend into the hill of Yehovah? Or who shall stand in His holy place? 4He that hath clean hands and a pure heart, who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity nor sworn deceitfully. 5He shall receive the blessing from Yehovah and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
Israel is clay in the hands of Yehovah the Potter:
Jeremiah 18:6 “House of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter?” saith Yehovah. “Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.
Children often love working with clay. While they might not understand the importance of clean hands, they can learn about this quickly. They also understand how the hands of a more powerful child or adult can overcome or frustrate them.
Yehovah’s use of these ‘Childisms’ makes the Bible understandable to children of all cultures in the world, as long as these expressions are not hidden by translators. For example,
2 Kings 19:26 Therefore their inhabitants were of small power…
should be rendered,
2 Kings 19:26 And their inhabitants were short-ones of hand…
describing that they were shorthanded and could not reach their goal.
Were someone to produce a truly literal rendering of the Bible, children would be better equipped than adults to understand it! May your understanding of the texts increase to the perspectives of a child!
Jeremiah 18:6 “House of Israel, can’t I do with you as this potter?” saith Yehovah. “Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, House of Israel!”
Yehovah will perfect this pottery. Since Israel is in His hand, should Christians ignore Israel? Modern Christianity in nearly all circumstances either ignores Israel or accuses Israel, becoming participant with the Accuser of the Brethren! Does your church (congregation) care about this unfinished pottery, or does it concentrate on its own navel? If Salvation is of the Jews, should the Jews be ignored? Many religions are in this world. The ‘hand’ of every pastor and congregation is either for Israel or is against the Jews. Ignoring Israel’s importance is untrue to the Word of God, and is a stand against Israel. Listen carefully to sermons to see how important (or unimportant) Israel is, and see if the hand of your congregation is for or against Israel.