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Dictionaries :: Dance

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Easton's Bible Dictionary


found in Jdg 21:21, 23; Psa 30:11; 149:3; 150:4; Jer 31:4, 13, etc., as the translation of hul, which points to the whirling motion of Oriental sacred dances. It is the rendering of a word (rakad') which means to skip or leap for joy, in Eccl. 3:4; Job 21:11; Isa 13:21, etc.

In the New Testament it is in like manner the translation of different Greek words, circular motion (Luk 15:25); leaping up and down in concert (Mat 11:17), and by a single person (Mat 14:6).

It is spoken of as symbolical of rejoicing (Ecc 3:4. Comp. Ps. 30:11; Mat 11:17). The Hebrews had their sacred dances expressive of joy and thanksgiving, when the performers were usually females (Exd 15:20; 1Sa 18:6).

The ancient dance was very different from that common among Western nations. It was usually the part of the women only (Exd 15:20; Jdg 11:34; Jdg 5:1). Hence the peculiarity of David's conduct in dancing before the ark of the Lord (2Sa 6:14). The women took part in it with their timbrels. Michal should, in accordance with the example of Miriam and others, have herself led the female choir, instead of keeping aloof on the occasion and "looking through the window." David led the choir "uncovered", i.e., wearing only the ephod or linen tunic. He thought only of the honour of God, and forgot himself.

From being reserved for occasions of religious worship and festivity, it came gradually to be practised in common life on occasions of rejoicing (Jer 31:4). The sexes among the Jews always danced separately. The daughter of Herodias danced alone (Mat 14:6).

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
1 Strong's Number: g3738 Greek: orcheo


(cp. Eng., "orchestra") probably originally signified "to lift up," as of the feet; hence, "to leap with regularity of motion." It is always used in the Middle Voice, Mat 11:17; 14:6; Mar 6:22; Luk 7:32. The performance by the daughter of Herodias is the only clear instance of artistic dancing, a form introduced from Greek customs.

Smith's Bible Dictionary


(1.) The dance is spoken of in Holy Scripture universally as symbolical of some rejoicing, and is often coupled for the sake of contrast with mourning, as in Ecclesiastes 3:4 (compare Psalm 30:11; Matt 11:17). In the earlier period it is found combined with some song or refrain (Exodus 15:20; 32:18-19; 1 Samuel 21:11) and with the tambourine (Authorized Version "timbrel") more especially in those impulsive outbursts of popular feeling which cannot find sufficient vent in voice or in gesture singly. Dancing formed a part of the religious ceremonies of the Egyptians, and was also common in private entertainments. For the most part dancing was carried on by the women, the two sexes seldom and not customarily intermingling. The one who happened to be near of kin to the champion of the hour led the dance. In the earlier period of the Judges the dances of the virgins of Shiloh (Judges 21:19-23) were certainly part of a religious festivity. Dancing also had its place among merely festive amusements, apart from any religious character (Jeremiah 31:4; 31:13; Mark 6:22).

(2.) a musical instrument of percussion, supposed to have been used by the Hebrews at an early period of their history.


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