Helping Hands – an OT Quiz

Jacob lived in Egypt seventeen years, and the years of his life were a hundred and forty-seven. When the time drew near for Israel to die, he called for his son Joseph and said to him, “If I have found favor in your eyes, put your hand under my thigh and promise that you will show me kindness and faithfulness. Do not bury me in Egypt, but when I rest with my fathers, carry me out of Egypt and bury me where they are buried.”
“I will do as you say,” he said.

  • Genesis 47:28-30

Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well.

  • Exodus 11:6

You should not wait at the crossroads
    to cut down their fugitives,
nor hand over their survivors
    in the day of their trouble.

  • Obadiah 1:14

The Scriptures above have the word “hand” in them, and hand is used in three different ways.  The hand under the thigh will be discussed later, but that is a literal hand.  Hand, as an adjective, can identify a tool as being one used and operated by the hands, a hand tool.  And hand, as a verb, denotes a transfer of custody, handing over to someone else.

All the questions in the quiz are about verses in the Old Testament containing the word “hand(s)” in the NIV.  On 26 June 2021, there was a similar quiz, link HERE, with all the questions in that quiz regarding the word “hand” in the New Testament.

The Questions:

  1. God said that man had now become like “us” (knowing good and evil).  What must man not be allowed to stretch out his hand to take?
  2. What did Moses stretch out to the sky to start the plague of darkness?
  3. In the test of the unfaithful wife (more on that below), how much grain is offered as a memorial offering? (a unit of measure with the word hand in the word and related to a hand)
  4. When Joshua first tasted defeat in the first battle of Ai, he went to God in a lament, afraid God had given Israel into the hands of whom?
  5. The Sea in Solomon’s temple was what thickness? (a unit of measure with the word hand in the word and related to a hand)
  6. In the letter that Tattenai and Shether-Bozenai wrote to King Darius (trying to stop the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple), they explain that Israel had angered the God of the heavens and the earth and were given over into the hands of whom?
  7. With wild accusations by Eliphaz, what group of people was Job accused of leaving empty-handed?
  8. With God, where will the psalmist remain unshaken?
  9. What is in each hand (both left and right) for the person who finds wisdom?
  10. What seemed, at least to Ezekiel, to be under the wings of the cherubim?
  11. Who stretched out his hand to destroy all remnants of Baal in the Day of the Lord according to Zephaniah?
  12. God was pleased that the temple doors were closed to prevent useless fires on the altar.  So pleased that God then would not accept what from Malachi’s hands?

HINT:  These questions are in Biblical order.  And another hint…  The word “hand” is in the answers to about half of the questions, maybe even being the answer.  So, please, do not complain about “trick” questions.

In the first Scripture above, Joseph must place his hand under Israel’s (Jacob’s) thigh when swearing an oath that Israel’s bones will not be buried in Egypt and returned to the Promised Land.  Joseph died long before the bones were returned but the oath was fulfilled.

In researching the oath, in that manner an oath is given twice in the Bible, both times in Genesis (Genesis 24 and Genesis 47).  The Genesis 24 reference is when Abraham’s servant goes back to Abraham’s family to seek a wife for Isaac.  The servant finds Rebekah.

While this form of oath taking became exhibited by the servant placing his hand on the seat and then the master placing his thigh on the hand, some experts feel that there was more to these original oaths.

Today, when an oath of that nature is given, the servant making the oath will place their hands on something sacred, the Scriptures being a common item.  There were no sacred scrolls at that time, but Abraham was circumcised, as was Israel (Jacob), and they felt that touching the circumcised part of the body while making an oath would accomplish the same thing.

Today, that type of oath would have sexual overtones that would destroy any spiritual or sacred connotation.  Even sitting on the servant’s hand is a bit too much in many circles.

Yet, Jesus taught that we should be people of our word, yes meaning “yes” and no meaning “no.”  Thus, giving an oath is unnecessary and the implications of an oath unfulfilled do not then become a problem (like in Judges 11 with Jephthah and Jephthah’s daughter).

Bible References:

  1. Genesis 3:22 (The first reference to “hand” in the Bible)
  2. Exodus 10:22
  3. Numbers 5:26
  4. Joshua 7:7
  5. 1 Kings 7:26
  6. Ezra 5:12
  7. Job 22:9
  8. Psalm 16:8
  9. Proverbs 3:16
  10. Ezekiel 10:8
  11. Zephaniah 1:3-4
  12. Malachi 1:10

When I read Numbers 5 and the test of an unfaithful wife, I remember in my history lessons about the Salem witch test that involved placing the accused woman on a lever and then swinging her over a body of water.  They would dunk the accused woman in the water, “knowing” that you cannot drown a witch.  When the woman would drown, they knew she was not a witch.  Oops!

This test is not that bad, but not much better.  If the woman is unfaithful to her husband and she drinks the poison, her belly will swell, she will miscarry, and she will become a curse.  Of course, if she is faithful, nothing adverse will happen.  Note: This test is Biblical for those times.  With God’s blessing, the test would be foolproof, but not administered with God’s blessing would be foolhardy.  Today, it would probably result in the woman becoming violently ill or even dying.

But then, if the woman is made to drink the poison and she is exonerated, how does that affect her marital life moving forward?  Even with God’s blessing on the methodology, I would hesitate, knowing that win or lose, there is a sense of loss with either result.

   …

   …

   …

The Answers:

  1. Fruit of the tree of life
  2. Hand
  3. Handful
  4. Amorites (Amorites specifically, but the Amorites was a term used for the Canaanites in the Promised Land – if you are thinking of partial credit)
  5. A Handbreadth
  6. Nebuchadnezzar, the Chaldean, king of Babylon
  7. Widows
  8. The Right Hand
  9. For the Right Hand: long life, for the Left Hand: riches and honor
  10. Human hands
  11. The Lord
  12. An offering

And regardless of how you did, here is a song by Chris Tomlin, I Lift My Hands.  With Psalm 28 as his inspiration, the song delves with the times when we lift our hands to God in despair.  As a result, he plays the piano in an abandoned steel mill near the beginning, and back again at times, during the film.  I taught people how to operate the equipment behind the piano.  I would recognize that type of equipment anywhere, but I have no idea where the film was made.

Here is the Redeemed Quartet with In the Palm of His Hand.

And keeping in that deep bass theme of singing the tune… Here is I Know Who Holds Tomorrow sung by George Younce with Larry Ford singing the last verse in a Gaither Homecoming gathering.

If you like these Saturday morning Bible quizzes, but you think you missed a few, you can use this LINK. I have set up a page off the home page for links to these Saturday morning posts. I will continue to modify the page as I add more.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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