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Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Dancing in the Bible

There is a form of dancing that is Scriptural and a form of dancing that is sinful. 

William Wilson in his Old Testament Words Studies indicates that there are four Hebrew words associated with dancing in the Old Testament:

1. Chagag - 1 Sam 30:16 And when he had brought him down, behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah.
Wilson defines this word to mean: moving with various turns and agitations in token of joy. 

2. Chowlah - Ex 15:20 And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.
He defines this word to mean: to turn or to twist, perhaps with music in distinction from that without music.

3. Karar - 2 Sam 6:14-16 And David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet. And as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David, Michal Saul’s daughter looked through a window, and saw king David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart
He defines this word to mean: to move nimbly.

4. Raqad - Job 21:11 They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance.
He defines this word to mean: to leap, to skip. to dance for joy.

W. E. Vine in his expository dictionary of New Testament words indicates that there are two words associated with dancing in the New Testament. 
1. Orcheo - Matt 14:6 But when Herod’s birthday was kept, the daughter of Herodias danced before them, and pleased Herod.
Vine defines this word to originally probably to mean: to lift up as of the feet, to leap with regularity of motion. 

2. Chorus - Luke 15:25 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing.
Vine defines this word to mean: an enclosure for dancing; hence a company of dancers and singers. 

1. Scriptural dancing
There is the dancing of Miriam and David, Ex 15:20; 2 Sam 6:14-16.
i. This type of dancing involves a rejoicing before the Lord. It is a jumping for joy. It says David leaped and danced before the Lord. 
ii. You never read of men and women dancing in this fashion together in the Bible. In fact the first place where dancing is mentioned in the Bible [Ex 15:20] it emphasises that Miriam led the women out to sing the same song that Moses had led the men in singing a little earlier. This also happened when David was returning from the defeat of Goliath, 1 Sam 18:6. It was single sex jubilation before God. 
iii. In one place it is a person dancing on their own, Jud 11:34.
iv. In some places it is the unmarried women who danced, Jud 21:21-23.

This is a long way short of what passes for dancing today among the ungodly.

2. Sinful dancing
This is the dancing of the Israelites at the foot of Mt Sinai when they were worshipping the golden calf, Ex 32:19 And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing…. This dancing was accompanied with nakedness, Ex 32:25 and denounced by Moses as sin, Ex 32:21. The Egyptians performed some of their religious rites in this indecent manner and the Israelites were now imitating them. 

This is the revelling of the Amalekites as they celebrate the conquest of Ziklag, 1 Sam 30:16 And when he had brought him down, behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah.

This is the dancing of Herodias' daughter before Herod that pleased that wicked man and his male companions so well, Mark 6:22 And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it thee.

There are certainly times when God so blesses His people that they leap for joy. However, the dancing that is associated with immodesty, revelry, lust and for entertainment ought to be avoided by the Christian as a manifestation of the pleasure crazes of this world. The Bible exhorts us to flee from the appearance of evil, 1 Thess 5:22.

Pleasure crazes of the world:
2. Dancing

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMH0bHeiRNg

lighten up..

Rev Brian McClung said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rev Brian McClung said...

[I had to delete my own comment above]

Anonymous

That's similar to the sentiment the rich fool expressed in Luke 12:19: And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

He had no thought of God or eternity. Some of us do have and desire to live a life that pleases God.

1 John 2:15 commands us: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

I would rather have the love of the Father than the love of the world. The world's pleasure only last for a season. They will soon come to an end and then what? An eternity of regret! There is no sense in that.

It is much better to lay up treasure in heaven which is lasting, Matt 6:19-21: Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

The love of the pleasure crazes of the world, such as dancing, is evidence of where someone's heart is.

Brian McClung

Anonymous said...

Thank you. This has helped me defend why dancing is wrong.. I always knew it in my conscience even before the Lord saved me.

Rev Brian McClung said...

Anonymous

Glad that the article on dancing was of help to you

Brian McClung

The Space Bishop said...

Mr McClung.

Your use of Thess is contradictory. If there is dancing that is good and yet we are to avoid the appearance of evil than all dancing is bad.

Thats only one thing. This is a ridicoulous post. If Jesus can bring 12 drums of wine to the end of a wedding i dont think he is going to worry about dancing.

Rev Brian McClung said...

Space Bishop

There is such a world of difference between what the Bible calls acceptable dancing and what is sinful dancing that there is no likelihood of any appearance of evil creeping in.

Jesus Christ does indeed have much to say about sin in all its forms. A summary is given to us by the Apostle John in 1 John 2:15-17:
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

In the light of these words I don't think my post is as ridiculous as you imagine!

Brian McClung

The Space Bishop said...

Mr McLung.

You have not addressed my comment properly. You assert that we are to flee the appearance of evil. The types of dancing you have listed differ only in their motivation and purpose by that token if any dancing has the appearance of evil then "all" dancing those.

Also i find it hard to believe that the FreePresbyterian church does any dancing scriptural or not. Amirite?

And also you conviently used the herod text to highlight dancing for "entertainment" which of course serves your purpose of denoucing virtually every dancing that happens in the world. May i point out that the heart of the problem with herod is Herod! Just because he was immoral does not mean that any dancing outside your idea of scriptural dancing is also immoral.

God Bless

Rev Brian McClung said...

Space Bishop

Your assertion is simply not correct. They differ in more than motivation and purpose. They differ in appearance. The permissible dancing of the Bible was single-sex jubilation before God. A world away from the pleasure craze of world!

You would be correct in your understanding of FPC practice. That is because God has ordained a different way of worshipping in NT times. If you can find any reference to Scriptural dancing in the NT please let me know. The nearest you might come to, are the actions of the lame man healed by Peter and John who went 'walking, and leaping, and praising God', Acts 3:8.

It is very true that Herod's problem was himself. The same is true of every man. Your comment supports my argument!

PS. The rules of this blog are that if you want to continue this conversation you give your proper name. See the comments on the front page of the blog about commenting. I'm not much interested in conversing with those who stand in the shadows and are not prepared to openly and publicly own what they have to say. I believe that to unscriptural, cf. 1 Peter 3:15.

So while I am more than happy to continue responding to you, as I find time, you need to give your name.

Brian McClung