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Right and Left


RIGHT AND LEFT

Biblically, the right-hand side has superiority over the left. The following are their symbolisms that we shall take according to the context:

Authority: The one who sits at the right hand of the supreme head is the second in command, like a prime minister or a queen. “A princess arrayed in Ophir’s gold comes to stand at your right hand” (Ps 45:10). When Solomon’s mother Bathsheba came to the royal court, Solomon bowed before her, and then ordered his staff to bring a second throne for her and place it at his right side to show her authority and honour in his kingdom (1 Kgs 2:19). Jesus sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven, sharing His authority (Ps 110:1; Mt 22:44; Mk 16:19; Acts 7:56; Heb 1:3; 12:2; 1 Pet 3:22; Eph 1:20-21).

Honorary Seat: John, whom Jesus loved, sat on the right side of Jesus during the last supper (Jn 13:23).

Righteous deeds: People do charitable acts with the right hand. Jesus said, “When you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing” (Mt 6:3).

Strength: Since most people are right-handed, the right hand is conventionally stronger than the left, and thus it symbolizes strength.

Blessing: The ancient patriarchs blessed their children and grandchildren with their right hand. For example, while blessing the two sons of Joseph, Jacob placed his right hand on Ephraim as the favoured one (Gen 48:13-14).

Moral Goodness: The right stands for moral, good luck, or righteousness, while the left stands for the immoral, bad luck, or sinful. “The wise heart turns to the right; the foolish heart to the left” (Eccl 10:2).

The Left can be third in command: The Left can also be an honorary or powerful position. In the royal court, the one who sits at the left of the monarch shall be the third in command after the one who sits on the right side. Zebedee’s sons approached Jesus with the request: “Grant that in your glory we may sit one at your right and the other at your left” (Mk 10:37). There is no mention in the Bible of anyone sitting on the left side of God, though there is a Jewish belief that Abraham sits on the left side of Yahweh.

 


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