His left hand is under my head,
and his right hand embraces me! (Song of Solomon 2:6, 8:3 ESV)
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me. (Psalm 63:8)
As frequent readers may already have noticed, I have a very strong interest–if not a passion–for the Song of Solomon. It is likely my favorite book in the entire Bible, even though maybe its pages are still stuck together in your personal Bible. I believe the Song is an allegory of the Bridegroom King Jesus and His Bride, the Church, the Body of Christ, and I glean many things from my personal life of devotion to God through that lens as I read this book. In fact, God speaks to me in the language I recognize from that song, and I immediately cross-check things to see what certain words mean in their original language in order to get what I come across in other passages of the Bible.
In Scripture, the hand typically signifies the will in action. If we look at Mark 16:19, Psalm 45:9, and Rev 3:21, we could get a look at the will of God in action, in exaltation and favor. The right hand of God represents the right hand of His throne and speaking of the seat of honor in the Messianic Kingdom.1.
It’s very fascinating if we do a word study on the uses of the right hand in the Word of God;
If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. (Matthew 5:29-30, emphasis mine)
The context this comes from is clearly concerning adultery, and therefore we understand that the hand is used to physically satisfy what the eye stirs up by lust. Through the eye comes stimulation; through the hand comes participation or action.2
It is also interesting to note that in the book of Revelation when all human beings are required to take the mark of the beast, it’s on the right hand or forehead. (Rev 13: 16); also that Christ is seated at the right hand of God; or when Paul was accepted into the Body of Christ by the other disciples, he remarks that they extended him the right hand of fellowship (Gal 2:9), and so on, just to give a few examples. But We’d get off track if I went too far into that word study.
Experiencing God’s Embrace
In our song, we note that the phrase “His left hand is under my head” speaks of the invisible activity of God. The left hand of God is away from her view because it is behind her head. Through the course of our Christian journey, the Lord spares us from troubles and pains ‘behind the scenes’ that we are not always aware of. The left-handed activity of God is something we accept by faith, but it’s an important part of our worship and speaks of His indiscernible activity in our lives. There are many things that Jesus, our Bridegroom King, does for us behind the scenes that, if nothing else, we should experience an incredible security in His love. We will never know how many times the Lord has intervened in our lives, protecting us from the onslaughts of the enemy.
The phrase “his right hand embraces me“, speaks of the sweet manifest presence of God that can be seen, felt and discerned. This speaks of the visible blessings of the Lord that are obvious. A physical embrace, for example, is easy to recognize and notice. It’s this cherished embrace that continues to tenderize the Bride’s heart in these passages.3
This all being said, it’s usually the right hand that’s used in Scripture, because in reality, it is the stronger more dexterous of the two hands. Only a small percentage of the population is left-handed. God uses His left hand, to hold our head–which represents knowledge, and the learning we can accumulate, but He uses the stronger of the two in order to embrace us. This is consistent with his passionate love for His Bride, the Church. He exerts more ‘effort’ so to speak, embracing and showing love than He does in revealing and giving knowledge–which is not bad in and of itself.
When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. (Revelation 1:17-18, emphasis mine)
Again, notice that when John trembled and almost fell dead at the feet of Jesus–who dwells in unapproachable light (1 Tim 6:16), Jesus approached him, telling not to fear, but to come closer, extending to him his right hand.
Therefore, the psalmist, King David, the only person Scripture refers to as “a man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22) was able to say while writing this song–“I cling to you–because your right hand upholds me, or holds me securely“. We know elsewhere in the Bible, we can love the Lord with all our heart, mind and soul (Luke 10:27), but only because He first loved us (1 John 4:10)–and passionately so at that!
It’s believed by some that David wrote this song when he wrote Psalm 3–when he was fleeing from his son Absalom. David ran to Edom, which is east of Jerusalem where David lived. To get to there he would have to go through the wilderness. There was not much water and it was very dry. It probably made David think that he was very dry. This was not because he was thirsty for water but thirsty for God! He not could at this time go to the Temple in Jerusalem and speak to God there, and desperately cried out to the Lord here, and came to the realization, that no matter what wildernesses or dry seasons we find ourselves in, God upholds us with his right hand.
- Weiner, Bob and Rose, Bible Studies for the Preparation of the Bride; A Study of The Song of Solomon, p.29 & 190 [↩]
- Ravenhill, David, Surviving The Anointing: Learning How to Effectively Experience and Walk in God’s Power, p 119. It’s highly recommended that the reader check this book out, as the quote comes from a chapter on personal purity, and it would derail the purpose of this article to go in that direction [↩]
- Hill, S.J., The Song of Solomon: Rich Language For A King’s Loving Devotion To His Bride, p 35, compare with p. 86. For more awesome resources of S.J.’s, visit his site at http://www.sjhillonline.com [↩]