left (sama'l, "to go to the left," "to turn to the left," semo'l, "the left hand," sema'li, "belonging to the left," "situated on the left"; aristeros, and euphemistically euonumos, literally, "having a good name," "of good omen"): The words are chiefly used in orientation with or without the addition of the word "hand." So Abraham says to Lot: "If thou wilt take the left hand (semo'l), then I will go to the right; or if thou take the right hand, then I will go to the left (sama'l)" (Ge 13:9). Frequently in Hebrew idiom the right hand and the left are mentioned together in order to express the idea "everywhere," "anywhere," "altogether" (Ge 24:49; Ex 14:22,29; Nu 22:26; De 2:27; 5:32; 2Co 6:7). In the geographical sense the left is synonymous with north (Ge 14:15; Jos 19:27; Eze 16:46; Ac 21:3). While the left hand is considered as weaker than the right (see LEFTHANDED), it is the hand which holds the bow (Eze 39:3). The left hand is the side from which bad omens come, and therefore less lucky and less honored than the right hand (see HAND, note).

H. L. E. Luering

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