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TitleSpread Forth Hands
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsShannon, Avram R.
EditorHalverson, Taylor
Book TitleOld Testament Cultural Insights
PublisherBook of Mormon Central
CitySpringville, UT
KeywordsBible; Gesture; King Solomon; Old Testament; Prayer

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Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints usually begin prayer by folding their arms. In Old Testament times, the posture of prayer was having arms outstretched toward the sky. The idiom for this as it appears in the King James Version is “spread forth hands” (in the book of Psalms it appears as “stretch out the hands”). This prayer posture is clearly indicated by the description of Solomon during the dedicatory prayer of the Jerusalem temple: “And Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of all the congregation of Israel, and spread forth his hands toward heaven” (1 Kings 8:22). Isaiah 1:15 uses “spread forth your hands” in poetic parallelism with prayer, showing that the spreading out of hands was understood as a poetic synonym for prayer.

Related verses

Exodus 9:22–33
1 Kings 8:22
1 Kings 8:38
1 Kings 8:54
2 Chronicles 6:12–13
Ezra 9:5
Psalm 44:20
Psalm 68:31
Psalm 88:9
Psalm 143:6
Isaiah 1:15
Jeremiah 4:31
Lamentation 1:17
Lamentations 3:41


Scripture Reference

Exodus 9:22-33
1 Kings 8:22
1 Kings 8:38
1 Kings 8:54
2 Chronicles 6:12-13
Ezra 9:5
Psalms 44:20
Psalms 68:31
Psalms 88:9
Psalms 143:6
Isaiah 1:15
Jeremiah 4:31
Lamentations 1:17
Lamentations 3:41