3 occurrences in 3 dictionaries

Reference: Dance


found in Jg 21:21,23; Ps 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 Ec 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 (Lu 15:25); leaping up and down in concert (Mt 11:17), and by a single person (Mt 14:6).

It is spoken of as symbolical of rejoicing (Ec 3:4. Comp. Ps 30:11; Mt 11:17). The Hebrews had their sacred dances expressive of joy and thanksgiving, when the performers were usually females (Ex 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 (Ex 15:20; Jg 11:34; comp. Jg 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 (Mt 14:6).

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machol, literally, moving or leaping in a circle. Gesenius however translates machalath "a stringed instrument," and machol "dancing" Mendelssohn makes machol, "a hollow musical instrument" (Ps 150:4, margin) Expressing joy, as contrasted with mourning (Ec 3:4; Ps 30:11). The woman nearest of kin to the champion in some national triumph or thanksgiving, and who had a kind of public character with her own sex, led a choir of women; as Miriam (Ex 15:1-20) (while Moses led the men), Jephthah's daughter (Jg 11:34), Deborah (Judges 5) (while Barak led the men). Some song or refrain in antiphonal answer. forming the burden of the song, accompanied the dance (Ex 32:18-19; 1Sa 18:7; 21:11). The women are represented as "coming out" to do this and meet the hero.

Miriam went out before "Jehovah, the Man of war" (Ex 15:3,20-21), and answered the entire chorus. But the women glorifying Saul and David, having no leader, "answered one another." The special feature of David's conduct before the returning ark (2Sa 6:5-22) is that he was choir leader, the women with their timbrels (2Sa 6:5,19-20,22) taking a prominent part. Michal ought to have led them; but jealousy of David's other wives, married while she was with Phaltiel, and attachment to the latter (2Sa 3:15-16), and the feeling that David's zeal rebuked her apathy, led her to "come out to meet" him with sneers not songs.

The dance necessitated his taking off his royal upper robes to "dance with all his might." This she called "uncovering himself in the eyes of the handmaids." His leading thought was to do honor to God who had delivered him from all his enemies (1Ch 13:8,14; 2Sa 6:21-23). Enthusiasm was kindled by these religious dances, which enlisted at once the tongue and the other members of the body in acts of worship; which explains Ps 35:10. David says, "All my bones shall say, Lord, who is like unto Thee?" the very language that the Israelites, while the women danced to the Lord, uttered as their song after the Red Sea deliverance (Ex 15:11). The dance, however, was generally left to women (Jg 21:19-23). It is mentioned as a censure on their looseness that "the people rose up to play" at Aaron's calf festival (Ex 32:6; 1Co 10:7), also that the Amalekites were "dancing" (1Sa 30:16).

The woman leader usually in the East leads off the dance, and the other women exactly follow her graceful movements. In Song 6:13 allusion possibly is made in the "two armies" to two rows of female dancers vis-avis in performing; but the spiritual sense refers to the two parts of the one church army, the militant and the triumphant. Dancing accompanied festivity of a secular kind (Jer 31:4,13; La 5:15; Lu 15:25), especially that of women and children (Job 21:11; Mt 11:17). Dancing by men and women together was unknown; as indeed the oriental seclusion of women from men would alone have sufficed to make it seem indecorous. Maimonides says that in the joyous Feast of Tabernacles the women danced separately in an apartment above, and the men danced below. Herod's extravagant promise to Herodias' daughter shows that it was a rare deed in those regions (Mr 6:22-23).

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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

Ec 3:4

comp. Psal 30:11; Matt 11:17 In the earlier period it is found combined with some song or refrain,

Ex 15:20; 32:18-19; 1Sa 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.

Jg 21:19-23

were certainly part of a religious festivity. Dancing also had its place among merely festive amusements, apart from any religious character.

Jer 31:4,13; Mr 6:22

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