What does the bible say about left-handed people?

Photo by Aaron Burden / Unsplash

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where your left hand has been ridiculed for being different?

Well the bible isn’t without it’s own references to people who may have been left handed.

First of all, if we look at the tribe of Benjamin, one of the 12 tribes of ancient Israel, which was named after the biblical figure, Benjamin, we find that that tribe was left handed.

The tribe also had a reputation for being fierce warriors. There are countless references to left handed men who were skilled with their left hand in war throughout the bible. One of these is Ehud, judge of Israel. He was left handed, but his left arm was left paralyzed as a result of a previous illness. This caused him some trouble, but that didn’t stop him from being left handed. In fact it seems to have had the opposite effect as he became one of the most skilled lefties in biblical history.

Another left handed man who is mentioned in the bible is Jonathan, son of King Saul. He was left handed, but he also had the qualities that many lefties do, like quick reactions and superior ability in his left hand.

However left handed people aren’t always mentioned positively in the bible. The apostle Matthew writes about a group of men who were left handed, although he doesn’t specify left or right hand activity. The left handed men are described as idlers who were left to collect the left over bread after a meal.

Perhaps this is why lefties are sometimes left out of bible translations. Although left handed people make up 10% of the general population, they only make up 0.5% of those translated into biblical texts. This can be quite frustrating for left handed people who aren’t left handed just because it’s cool, but because that’s the hand they are more skilled with.

This can be problematic in terms of biblical symbolism also. For instance left hands are used to greet each other in western culture, however this is considered offensive in some middle eastern countries. To them left hands are dirty, so left handed people have the difficult decision of being left out in translation or being offended themselves.

However left handers shouldn’t feel left out, they can consider themselves to be right where they are most comfortable. Their difference is not considered a curse but a blessing by God who even mentions lefties himself in Isaiah 48:9 saying:

“I will make you shepherd of the left, And overseer of the nations."

So lefties can remember that they are not an accident of nature or a sign from the devil, but a left handed blessing from God.

Sammy Southpaw

Sammy Southpaw

Sammy Southpaw: Left-handed, left-leaning, and left in every sense of the word. Writer, musician, and southpaw enthusiast.