Hebrew Roots/The original foundation/Laying Hands Hebraic

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Laying on of Hands is a practice used as a means of contact to confer a blessing or impartation from one person to another. There is an identification with the object/person through the contact whereby the anointed hands become a channel through which something from the Ruach HaKodesh is transferred from one to the other.

In Hebrew the main concept is that of responsibility and obligation. The Hebrew word used is SAMAK and means to lay the hand on so as to lean heavily. It conveyed the idea of forcibly pressing down upon, so that the victim was viewed as a support. This conveyed the idea of the pressure or weight of responsibility which was to be borne by the victim as a result of the laying on of hands. Thus was placed upon the victim an obligation regarding the ministry involved.

In Greek, the word used is EPITITHEMI and it has the sense of putting or placing upon the object, so as to come in contact with it. This conveys the idea of identification with the object, by means of contact.

The usage of the word 'hand' in Hebrew (yadh) is associated with strength, authority and power. Thus the term 'hand' is associated with power in the hand. The laying on of hands therefore is seen as that which draws from a reservoir of great strength and authority. Hence the ministry of laying on of hands is that which draws from the reservoir of Elohim and is imparted to the recipient.


1. A term denoting Consecration Speaking of consecrating the Cohen, "you shall consecrate (lit. "fill the hands") of Aaron and his sons Exodus 29:9 Consecrating the Cohen was filling the hands of the Cohen with sacrifices, i.e. giving him authority to minister. See Exodus 32:29; 1 Chronicles 29: 5; Leviticus 8:22

2. A term used for Provision Opening of the hand is viewed as an act of supplying a need. Psalm 104:28; 145:16

3. The lifting of the hand as in Making an Oath "For I lift up my hand to heaven and say, I live forever" Deut.32:40 "I did swear (lit. 'lift up the hand') to give it to Avraham" Exodus 6: 8

4. The putting forth of the hand for Healing "Y'shua put forth his hand, and touched him ... .... his leprosy was cleansed." Matt.8: 3

5. The shaking of the hand as a threat of Warning "Behold I will shake My hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants.." Zech.2: 9 "He shall shake his hand against the mount of the daughter of Tzion." Isaiah 10:32

6.The stretching forth of the hand in Judgment "I will stretch out My Hand upon Edom " Ezek.25:13 The Hand of Elohim being upon something or someone is often used in a punitive sense (Deut.2:15), but sometimes used for deliverance (Isaiah 41:20)

7. The Hand of Elohim resting upon someone in Anointing for the Prophetic ministry. The root of the Hebrew word 'anointing' means 'to draw the hand over' The term is also used when Elohim is working deeply in a person's life, His Hand is said to be upon them.The Hand of Elohim has the added meaning of bearing the person away in the Spirit. See 2 Kings 3:15,16; Ezek.1:3; 37:1

8. The Hand of Elohim as Strength and Power in Deliverance When Moses blessed Yhudah he prayed that Elohim would hear the 'voice' of Yhuda, and that his "hands would be sufficient for him". He links the idea of the voice lifted for help and guidance with the strength and power of the hands.

Yhudah would be active in warfare, spiritual and natural. His name Yhudah is a transliteration of the Hebrew word 'yadah' and it is a derivative of the word 'yadh' for hand. Thus the root idea behind his name is the strength and power of the hand. It is through him that The Hand of Elohim would be manifest to bring deliverance, redemption and dominion in the earth. Deut. 33:7

9. The hand as a term in general for Ministry i.e. "the service (yadh - hand) of song" 1 Chronicles 6:31 "David praised by their ministry (lit. by their hand) 2 Chronicles 7:6 "by the ministry (yadh - hand) of the prophets" Hosea 12:10

The right hand was always deemed to be the means of transferring the greater blessing, and the left, the lesser. The place of being at the right hand was conceived of being that of special honour. To sit at the right hand was to sit in a place of honour (1 Kings 2:19; Psalm 110:1; Ephesians 1:20-22). The right hand was also associated in Hebraic thinking with success, prosperity and righteousness (Isaiah 41:10) The double portion blessing was seen as transferred by the laying of both hands on the recipient.


There are five functions for this ministry. 1. Impartation 2. Identification 3. Confirmation 4. Ministration of Blessing 5. Commissioning for ministry

1. Impartation In the laying on of hands there is an actual impartation from the administrator to the recipient. Elohim Himself is essentially Spirit (John4:24). Thus, when a Spirit-filled anointed servant lays hands on another, there is an impartation of Spiritual vitality, The Life Force of Elohim.

Natural man in himself cannot impart spiritual power, except through counterfeit demonic power from a Satanic origin by a person under the power of those influences. The counterfeit is always inferior in quality and power to the genuine. It is impossible to impart that which you do not personally possess and man does not have the power to transmit spiritual power. This dimension is not possible in the natural. So, a believer must be spirit-filled and must be anointed for the ministry involved.

It is a spiritual impartation which not only affects the spirit of man but both his soul and physical being as well. A new dimension of super-natural spiritual impartation through empowerment by Elohim is given to the Spirit-filled believer when he lays hands on another. It can be used to transmit spiritual blessings, giftings, power or authority to the recipient.

2. Identification In the laying on of hands there is also identification. In the sacrificial system there was an identification of the offerer with the sacrificial victim by means of physical contact. By the laying on of hands the offerer and the offering became one. The sacrificial animal thus bore the sin of the offerer. Leviticus 1: 4; 3: 2; 4:15, 24, 29, 33; 16:21-22; Numbers 8:12

There was also a practice of mediating between two people through laying hands on both parties. The judge or adjudicator set a date for hearing the case and as a means of identifying with them, would lay hands on each as a sign of mediating between both and reconciling them. The identification showed his intention to adjudicate between them and bring them into agreement. Yob allures to this practice in Ch.9:33. (A 'daysman' is a judge).

In 1 Timothy 5:22 Shaul warns Timothy, the assembly overseer, regarding laying hands on another hastily, and in verse 24 gives the reason in that some men's sins are openly known, and others are secret. By laying on hands, complete identification is made with the person and all that they are, therefore we become partakers of their sins. Hence the need for care.

3. Confirmation In the laying on of hands there is also a confirmation of the candidate. This can be of a positive or negative nature. In the old covenant penalties imposed for sin, hands would be laid on the accused by witnesses to his offense. By so doing they were making a formal confirmation of the guilt of the person. Thus they confirmed that the accused was indeed guilty and worthy of the prescribed punishment. This is according to Moses instruction - Deuteronomy 17:2-7

In the new covenant the confirming of believers took on a positive aspect. Whenever Shaul went on his journeys visiting the established assemblies, it was with the purpose of confirming them.

"And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the assemblies." Acts 15:41

Although it is not directly stated just what form this confirmation took, it appears as though it was confirming them in their respective giftings and ministries, thus edifying the body of believers.

"And Yuda and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words and confirmed them" Acts 15:3 In this instance it is clear that their ministry of prophecy had a part in 'confirming' the disciples.

Also in Acts 14:22, 23 Shaul is going through the area "confirming the souls of the disciples" and part of that was ordaining elders in every assembly, which would have involved laying on of hands and prophecy. e.g. 1 Timothy 4:14-15; 1:18; 2 Timothy 1: 6, 14

4. Ministration of Blessing Laying hands on, or lifting the hands toward another was done in an intent of blessing the other person. The imposition of hands brings blessing from Elohim to the recipient of that ministry.

This is a very ancient custom, as in Egyptian art, mourners are depicted laying hands on their heads as did Tamar when in mourning (2 Sam.13:19). The custom was that by laying hands on the head, the circumstances would change by the act of invoking blessing on oneself.

Yakkov blessed his sons with the prophetic word and in the case of Ephraim and Manasseh it says, "he blessed them that day" (Genesis 48:13-20) Aaron also used this lifting of the hands in the ministry of blessing Israel. (Leviticus 9:22)

Y'shua also did this in departing from His disciples (Luke 24:50-51) Y'shua laid hands on the infants as requested, demonstrating that it was a practised custom. Mark 10:13,16 Matt.19:13-15

5. Commissioning of Ministry This was an established practice in the ordination of ministry and in the commissioning and sending forth of ministry. It was public acknowledgment that these men were ordained, commissioned and equipped for the task by the impartation of the necessary wisdom, grace and power that would be needed.

In, 1. The Choosing of Elders and commissioning them to their ministry Acts 6: 1-7 "Whom they set before the apostles and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them" verse 6

2. Ordination, as of Timothy. 1 Timothy 4:14; 2 Timothy 1: 6

3. Sending Forth of Ministry Acts 13:3 "When they had fasted and prayed, they laid their hands on them, they sent them away"

NOTE - Scientific Validation Secular science has proven that hands impart a force or energy. Medical science has further substantiated this fact.

Dr Delores Krieger, a professor of New York university, showed that the laying on of hands raised the hemoglobin levels in the blood samples of those tested. Pretest samples were drawn from all those involved and it was found that the mean value of the samples differed significantly from their pretest value. A control group was tested at the same times and showed significant difference. 1

This is significant in that the "life is in the blood" (Leviticus 17:13-14), and that there was a rise in the level of 'life' in the blood. Also a test was done by a Biochemist and enzymologist, M. Justa Smith who did extensive tests on the biochemical effects of energy imparted through the laying on of hands. The tests showed that the energy force was raised at the enzymatic level similar to the effect produced by a high magnetic energy field. 2

1.Therapeutic Touch: the Imprimatur of Nursing - American Journal of Nursing lxxv, 5:787 2. Paranormal Effects of Enzyme Activity, - Human Dimensions 1: 15-19

"As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of Elohim." 1 Peter 4:10