Clapping in The Bible

Clapping is a phenomenon common among unbelievers, and was unknown among believers until recently.  What are the characteristics of this phenomenon, and what does the Bible say about it?  Job 27:23 says, “Men shall clap their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place.” The word clap in Hebrew is שףק   , ףקם  shafak, sawfak.  Translated into the following words clap, smite, strike, suffice, and wallow. This verse does not indicate that clapping is a symbol of joy.  Rather, it is a sign of judgment. 

        Clappers in the next verse are evil people who do not care about God’s judgment, repentance, or faith. Job 34:26 says, “He striketh them as wicked men in the open sight of others;” The word striketh in Hebrew is שףק   , ףקם  shafak, sawfak.  Translated into the following words clap, smite, strike, suffice, and wallow. The word striketh refers to the hands and not to joy.  Evil people delight in clapping because they do not care about God’s judgment and instead please the ruler of this world.

        When there was a revival during the days of Nehemiah and the people rejoiced, they did not express their joy by clapping but by studying the Word of God, singing, and saying “Amen.”  The word Amen used to be heard frequently, but the flesh began to creep in and replace the spirit, and people started clapping.  Jeremiah 31:19 says, “Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yea, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth.  The word smote in Hebrew is שףק   , ףקם  shafak, sawfak.  Translated into the following words clap, smote, strike, suffice, and wallow. A believer who places all of his trust in Jesus Christ is filled with the Holy Spirit, is comforted, and despises clapping: “He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it: and he that hateth suretiship is sure.” Proverbs 11:15. The word suretiship in Hebrew is  תקע  = Takaa. Translated into the following words suretiship, clap, strike, smote, and thirty times to blow the trumpet.  For that reason, I would advise you as my brother or sister in Christ not to be “one of them that strike handsStriking one hand on the other. Proverbs 22:26. But to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ who can give you complete joy and peace.

        Striking the hand against the thigh has always been done to lament catastrophes and deaths: “Cry and howl, son of man: for it shall be upon my people, it shall be upon all the princes of Israel: terrors by reason of the sword shall be upon my people: smite therefore upon thy thigh.” Ezekiel 21:12.  The word smite in Hebrew is שףק   , ףקם  shafak, sawfak.  Translated into the following words clap, smite, strike, suffice, and wallow. The Bible tells us that clapping is not an expression of joy or faith but of anger: “And Balak's anger was kindled against Balaam, and he smote his hands together: and Balak said unto Balaam, I called thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast altogether blessed them these three times.” Numbers 24:10.  When the Jews disobeyed the voice of the Lord and asked for a king like the other nations, they mimicked them when they crowned their king by clapping like them: “And he brought forth the king's son, and put the crown upon him, and gave him the testimony; and they made him king, and anointed him; and they clapped their hands, and said, God save the king.” 2 Kings 11:12. The clapping here was not done in worshiping God, but in crowning the king.

        The Bible does not deny that for people, clapping is an expression of joy: “1: O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. 2: For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth. 3: He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet.” Psalm 47:1-3. God ordered the people of faith to sing to the Lord and not to clap like the gentiles. Satan wants to mislead human beings to make them clap and sing with fleshly joy and not spiritual joy in singing hymns and praising God.  The born again believer rejoice in singing and praising the Lord and not in dancing and clapping.

        Before I got saved, I used to delight in worldly tunes and clap, but when I got saved my sole source of joy became singing to the Lord.  I delight in listening to hymns and Christian songs if the music is not worldly.  Some people like to mix worldly things with spiritual things, their old selves with their new selves, so they have mixed the clapping of their old man with the spiritual singing of their new man.  Those who are spiritually weak are unable to distinguish between fleshly joy and spiritual joy.  They think that dancing and clapping are a result of being filled with the Holy Spirit, but the truth is that they are signs of spiritual depravity and carnality.

        Notice what Psalm 47:1 says: “1: O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.”  You might say that this verse can be interpreted to mean that these people will one day believe in God, but notice what verse 3 says: “: He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet.  If clapping were pleasing to the Lord, why would He “subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet”?  If God wanted us to clap, why would he say, Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts.” Prov. 22:26?  He also says, He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it: and he that hateth suretiship is sure.”  Prov. 11:15.  Would God ask us to clap and then tell us that we are “void of understanding” for doing so?  Prov. 17:18 says, A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.  The words for clap your hands and  strike hands are in Hebrew Takaa-kaf. God is saying to us do not strike hands or clap. Prov. 22:26 If you insist on striking hands or clapping you will be classified as void of understanding. Prov. 17:18 A believer who claps while worshiping is indeed void of understanding and insecure because he is not sure of his salvation.

        The people clapping in worship they will be subdued, while the born again believers they will sing: “Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises.” Psalm 47:6.  Notice the words “sing praises” are repeated  six times. God commanded men of faith to sing praises unto the Lord and he never asked them to clap. That’s why the psalmist emphasizes singing and not clapping, commanding us in one verse to sing four times.  A believer has an internal joy that is indescribable.  Clapping does not express internal joy, and neither does physical dancing.  Clapping and dancing are fleshly and do not express spiritual joy at all.  We express our joy by singing to the Lord Jesus Christ and by praising Him.

 

 

REV. ATIF HIMADEH

FIRST BAPTIST BIBLE CHURCH

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