“Of Clapping and Clappers”


Psalm 47: 1: “O clap your hands, all peoples; shout to God with the voice of joy.” The act of hand clapping is only mentioned nine times in the Bible: twice in idiomatic allusion to nature’s role in praise of its creator; five times by men as an act of derision (clapping was also a common act of disapproval in biblical culture); once in approval of a new king, and only once, here in Psalm 47, in praise of God. That’s OK for me, one command is enough. Let’s clap away! But shouldn’t we obey with equal fervor (and frequency) forms of worship mentioned more often, such as “Do This in Remembrance of Me”, which is commanded four times by Christ Himself?

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