Called by Galen "the instrument of instruments." It is the symbol of human action (Psalm 9:16; Job 9:30; Isaiah 1:15; 1 Timothy 2:8). Washing the hands was a symbol of innocence (Psalm 26:6; 73:13; Matthew 27:24), also of sanctification (1 Corinthians 6:11; Isaiah 51:16; Psalm 24:3, 4). In Psalm 77:2 the correct rendering is, as in the Revised Version, "My hand was stretched out," etc., instead of, as in the Authorized Version, "My sore ran in the night," etc.

The right hand denoted the south, and the left the north (Job 23:9; 1 Samuel 23:19). To give the right hand was a pledge of fidelity (2 Kings 10:15; Ezra 10:19); also of submission to the victors (Ezek. 17:18; Jeremiah 50:15). The right hand was lifted up in taking an oath (Genesis 14:22, etc.). The hand is frequently mentioned, particularly the right hand, as a symbol of power and strength (Psalm 60:5; Isaiah 28:2). To kiss the hand is an act of homage (1 Kings 19:18; Job 31:27), and to pour water on one's hands is to serve him (2 Kings 3:11). The hand of God is the symbol of his power: its being upon one denotes favour (Ezra 7:6, 28; Isaiah 1:25; Luke 1:66, etc.) or punishment (Exodus 9:3; Judges 2:15; Acts 13:11, etc.). A position at the right hand was regarded as the chief place of honour and power (Psalm 45:9; 80:17; 110:1; Matthew 26:64).