Posts Tagged ‘machol’

Dance – Hebrew: Machol


The Hebrew word machol means ‘dance. Its root comes from chuwl and means ’round dance’ or ‘circle dance.’ This is not an individual dance, but a group that dances in a circle. Chuwl is the ‘father of Heman’ who was a worship singer in Solomon’s Temple (1 Chronicles 25:6, 1 Chronicles 6:18, 1 Chronicles 16:41). This suggests that there was dancing in the Temple along with musical instruments. Machol is found 6 times in Scripture.

 Once again, I will build you; you will be rebuilt, virgin of Isra’el. Once again, equipped with your tambourines, you will go out and ‘circle’ dance with the merrymakers” (Jeremiah 31:4).

“Joy has vanished from our hearts, our dancing has turned into mourning” (Lamentations 5:15).

“You turned my mourning into ‘circle’ dancing! You removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy” (Psalm 30:11).

“Let them praise his name with ‘circle’ dancing, make melody to him with tambourine and lyre” (Psalm 149:3).

Hebrew Word Pictures

Dance – machol – מחול

מ Mem – Water means ‘chaos’ or ‘mighty.’

ח Chet – A Fence means ‘protect.’

ו Vav – A Nail means ‘binding.’

ל Lamed – Shepherd’s Staff means ‘urge forward.’

The Hebrew Word Picture for machol: mighty protect binding and urging forward.

©2022 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.

Davidic Dance Study

Davidic comes from King David who danced before the Lord; and the worship dancing that happened around his Tabernacle for 40 years. The Bible references many different accounts of ‘dancing’ for the Lord. Below, you will find a few with a small explanation of what was happening that caused the dancing.

1.  Exodus 15:20: The Hebrews had been set free from bondage in Egypt, but the Pharaoh pursued them and they were caught between his armies and the Red Sea. After their deliverance through the Sea, there was dancing.

“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.”

Question: The Hebrews, had “timbrels” or tambourines. Did they have them while enslaved in Egypt? Could they have danced while living in Egypt?

2.  2 Samuel 6:14: David, a man, a warrior and a King, returned the abandoned Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem with dancing. He placed the ‘throne of Adonai’ in a ‘tent’ next to his palace where worship for the God of Isra’el took place 24 hours per day, seven days per week for 40 years. The Hebrew word karar used for ‘danced’ does not imply chaotic dancing, but a choreographed dance of whirling and twirling that was characteristic of community joy in the presence Adonai.

“Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod.”

Question:   How was King David dressed when he brought the Ark of the Covenant into Jerusalem. Do a little research on ‘linen ephod.’ Why did David’s wife react the way that she did?

3.  Psalm 149:3, Psalm 150:4: King David was a ‘man after God’s heart’ because of his love for worship and praise. He wrote many love Psalms to Adonai that were used at his Tabernacle to worship the King of Kings. The Hebrew word for ‘dance’ in the Psalms is machol and means ‘circle dance.’ In order to have a ‘circle dance,’ there needs to be several people making up the circle.

“Let them praise His name with timbrel and dance.”

Question: Read Psalm 30:11. How is the ‘circle dance’ used in this verse?

4.  Jeremiah 31:4: Jeremiah prophesies of a day, when Isra’el will be rebuilt and there will be rejoicing with instruments. On that day everyone will want to go to Mount Tziyon to worship the Go of Isra’el. That ‘day’ is the Messianic Era when Yeshua will reign from Mount Tziyon in Jerusalem.

“Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel!  You shall again be adorned with your tambourines, and shall go forth in the dances of those who rejoice.”

Question: Read Matthew 25:1-13, Romans 2:29-30, 11:11-24; and Ephesians 2:11-21. Who is ‘virgin Israel?’ What will you be doing as the Virgin of Isra’el?

Dancing was not just an ‘old testament’ activity. There are several accounts of dancing in the new testament, too.

5.  Luke 15:25: This dancing account is found Yeshua’s Parable of the Prodigal Son, a parable about a son who was lost, but then found his way back to his father.

“Now his elder son was in the field and as he came and drew nigh to the house, he heard music and dancing.”

Question: What was happening that people were dancing? What was the elder’s son reaction?

6.  Acts 6:5: As the Messianic congregation added more gentiles to the Jewish community, there were complaints that gentile widows were not receiving their daily needs. The apostles suggested choosing seven men to help with the work. They chose a man named Prochorus to be a deacon. In Greek, this man’s name means ‘leader of the dance.’

“Prochorus was chosen to be a deacon.”

Question:  When did this event happen? Why was a man the ‘leader of the dance?’

7.  There are no prohibitions against dance in the Bible.  There are examples of dance taking place in a negative context, but in each instance, dance is be being misused either as a form of worship towards other gods or in drunken orgies.  There is most definitely a difference between dancing as worship and dancing for ourselves and our sensual desires.

8.  One specific word, ‘rejoice’ is found throughout the Scriptures. ‘Rejoice’ means ‘to be glad and filled with joy.’   In Hebrew, ‘rejoice’ is gil and means ‘to turn about.’ This is a spin, a turn, as in dancing.

Questions:  Read James 1:2. Replace ‘joy’ with dance. How does this change your perspective of a trial.

Read Philippians 4:4.  What is Paul saying?  Should we always be ready to dance or always be dancing?

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