Hands, Laying on of

Leviticus 8:14,18,22; Numbers 8:10-12; Leviticus 16:21; Numbers 27:23; Acts 6:6; 1 Timothy 5:22; Acts 13:3; 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1:6; Acts 8:17; Acts 19:6; Mark 6:5; Luke 4:40; Luke 13:13; Acts 28:8
This was very significant in the sacrifices of the Old Testament. At the consecration of Aaron and his sons, they laid their hands on the bullock for the sin offering, on the ram for the burnt offering, and on the ram of consecration, showing identification of the offerers with the sacrifices (Lev. 8:14,18,2214And he brought the bullock for the sin offering: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the bullock for the sin offering. (Leviticus 8:14)
18And he brought the ram for the burnt offering: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram. (Leviticus 8:18)
22And he brought the other ram, the ram of consecration: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram. (Leviticus 8:22)
). At the consecration of the Levites the children of Israel first laid their hands on the Levites, and the Levites laid their hands on the head of one bullock for a sin offering, and on another for a burnt offering, to make atonement for the Levites (Num. 8:10-1210And thou shalt bring the Levites before the Lord: and the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites: 11And Aaron shall offer the Levites before the Lord for an offering of the children of Israel, that they may execute the service of the Lord. 12And the Levites shall lay their hands upon the heads of the bullocks: and thou shalt offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, unto the Lord, to make an atonement for the Levites. (Numbers 8:10‑12)). On the day of atonement Aaron laid his hands upon the head of the scapegoat, and confessed over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and it was sent away into the wilderness to signify the putting away of the sins confessed over the goat (Lev. 16:2121And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: (Leviticus 16:21)).
There was also the laying on of hands as the induction to office, as Moses laid his hands on Joshua, and gave him a charge from the Lord as his successor (Num. 27:2323And he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses. (Numbers 27:23)). The apostles also laid hands upon those that had been chosen to take charge of the poor (Acts 6:66Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. (Acts 6:6)); and it is probable that in the appointment of elders, hands were laid upon them. Timothy was counseled not to “lay hands suddenly” on any man (1 Tim. 5:2222Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure. (1 Timothy 5:22)). As a mark of commendation and fellowship hands were laid on Paul and Barnabas when sent forth on their missionary journey (Acts 13:33And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. (Acts 13:3)). A gift was imparted to Timothy with the laying on of Paul’s hands, the elderhood being associated with the apostle in the act (1 Tim. 4:1414Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. (1 Timothy 4:14); 2 Tim. 1:66Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. (2 Timothy 1:6)). The Holy Spirit was also given with the laying on of the apostles’ hands (Acts 8:1717Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. (Acts 8:17); Acts 19:66And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. (Acts 19:6)). The sick were often cured with the laying on of hands (Mark 6:55And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. (Mark 6:5); Luke 4:4040Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them. (Luke 4:40); Luke 13:1313And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God. (Luke 13:13); Acts 28:88And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him. (Acts 28:8)). This apostolic action has been imitated in Christendom and much misused, great pretensions being made as to a status given and spiritual blessing imparted; whereas if it were regarded as a simple recognition and mark of fellowship in service it would be a scriptural act.