461. Striking Hands

Proverbs 11:21; Ezra 10:19; Job 17:3; Proverbs 6:1; Proverbs 17:18; Proverbs 22:26; Ezekiel 17:18
Literally, “hand to hand.” Striking hands, or touching hands, is an Oriental mode of sealing a bargain, and is sometimes practiced even in this country. “Give us your hand on that” is a colloquial expression occasionally heard among an inferior class of traders. In the East the parties making a contract touch each other’s right hands, and then each raises his hand to his lips or forehead. Sometimes the hands are simply joined. The text, then, is expressive of a covenant. See also Ezra 10:1919And they gave their hands that they would put away their wives; and being guilty, they offered a ram of the flock for their trespass. (Ezra 10:19); Ezekiel 17:1818Seeing he despised the oath by breaking the covenant, when, lo, he had given his hand, and hath done all these things, he shall not escape. (Ezekiel 17:18). A morn solemn form of expressing faithfulness, amounting, indeed, to an oath, is seen in the uplifted hand. See note on Genesis 14:2222And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the Lord, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, (Genesis 14:22) (#5) and also on Ezekiel 21:1414Thou therefore, son of man, prophesy, and smite thine hands together, and let the sword be doubled the third time, the sword of the slain: it is the sword of the great men that are slain, which entereth into their privy chambers. (Ezekiel 21:14) (#577).