Forms of Worship Using the Body – Clapping Hands


There are 4 Hebrew root words describing the clapping of hands:

Macha–To smite hands together in exaltation. Ps 98:8; Is 55:12.

Nakah–To strike, to give wounds, to kill, to beat, to smite, to cast forth, to punish, to make a slaughter, to murder. 2 Kings 11:12.

Saphaq–To clap, to smite, to strike, to wallow, to punish, to give grief, to deride, to have indignation. Job 27:23; 34:37; Lam 2:15,

Taqa–To clatter, to thrust through, to blow a trumpet, to smite, to strike, to clang on an instrument. Ps 47:1; Nahum 3:19

Seven different uses for the clapping of hands outlined in scripture:

1. Rejoicing

Is. 55:12 “For ye shall go out with joy…and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” (We are those trees.) Also Ps. 98:8

2. Coronation

2 Ki. 11:12 “And they proclaimed him (Joash) king and anointed him, and they clapped their hands, and said ‘God save the king'”

There are times in worship where we proclaim Jesus as King. It is appropriate to express this in the clapping of hands.

3. Triumph

Ps. 47:1 O clap your hands all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. Also Eze. 25:6


Num. 24:10 And Balak’s anger was kindled against Baalam, and he smote his hands together… Also Eze. 21:14; 21:17

5. Contempt, derision, scorn

Lam. 2:15 All who pass by clap their hands at thee; they hiss and wag their head at the daughter of Jerusalem, saying ‘is this the city that men call the perfection of beauty, the joy of the whole earth?’ Also Job 27:23; 34:37; Nah. 3:19; Eze. 25:6-7

The clapping of hands during spiritual warfare, can indicate derision and scorn for our enemy.

6. Sorrow

Eze. 6:11; 21:14

7. Making a pledge or oath

Prov. 11:21 (See ‘Bible Manners And Customs’ # 577) There is still a custom in parts on modern day China, that a pledge or oath is sealed by the clapping of hands.


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