What was important about Moses lifting his hands?


By BibleAsk Team

The account of Moses lifting his hands in the battle against the Amalekites is a significant event in the biblical narrative, symbolizing the importance of intercession, dependence on God, and spiritual warfare. To explore this topic, we’ll delve into the biblical account found in Exodus 17:8-16, analyze the significance of Moses’ actions, consider relevant passages from the Bible, and draw out practical lessons for believers today.

Biblical Account of the Battle Against the Amalekites

  1. Exodus 17:8-9: The Amalekites attack the Israelites at Rephidim while they are journeying through the wilderness. Moses instructs Joshua to choose men to fight against the Amalekites while he, Aaron, and Hur go up to the top of a hill.
  2. Exodus 17:10-12: As the battle commences, Moses stands on the hill with the rod of God in his hand. As long as he holds up his hands, the Israelites prevail, but whenever he lowers his hands, the Amalekites gain the advantage.
  3. Exodus 17:13-16 : Aaron and Hur support Moses by holding up his hands, ensuring that they remain lifted until sunset. With the support of Moses’ intercession and the fighting of Joshua and the Israelite warriors, the Amalekites are defeated.

Significance of Moses Lifting His Hands

  1. Intercession and Prayer: His act of lifting his hands symbolizes intercessory prayer, as he stands before God on behalf of the Israelites engaged in battle (1 Timothy 2:1). His posture reflects dependence on God’s intervention and assistance in the midst of conflict.
  2. Spiritual Warfare: The battle against the Amalekites serves as a metaphor for spiritual warfare, with his lifted hands representing spiritual authority and victory obtained through prayer and reliance on God (Ephesians 6:12).
  3. Symbol of Blessing and Victory: The raised hands are a symbol of blessing and victory, as they signify God’s favor and presence with His people (Numbers 6:24-26). The uplifted hands serve as a visible demonstration of trust in God’s power to deliver and save.

Lessons from Moses’ Actions

  1. Power of Intercessory Prayer: Moses’ role as an intercessor highlights the power of prayer in overcoming spiritual battles and securing God’s intervention on behalf of His people (James 5:16). His steadfastness in prayer demonstrates the importance of persistence and faithfulness in intercession.
  2. Unity and Support: Aaron and Hur’s support of Moses by holding up his hands exemplifies the principle of unity and mutual support within the community of believers (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12). Together, they contribute to the victory achieved through collective effort and cooperation.
  3. Dependence on God: The success of the Israelites in battle is attributed to their dependence on God rather than their own strength or military strategy (Proverbs 3:5-6). Moses’ lifted hands symbolize the acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty and the reliance on His divine assistance.

Application to Believers Today

  1. Prayer in Spiritual Battles: Like Moses, believers are called to engage in spiritual warfare through prayer and intercession, recognizing that victory comes through dependence on God’s power and guidance (Ephesians 6:18).
  2. Unity and Support in Community: Aaron and Hur’s support of Moses underscores the importance of unity and mutual encouragement within the body of Christ. Believers are called to support one another in prayer, service, and spiritual warfare (Galatians 6:2).
  3. Dependence on God’s Power: The story of Moses lifting his hands serves as a reminder of the need for believers to acknowledge their dependence on God’s power and grace in all circumstances (2 Corinthians 12:9). Victory in spiritual battles is achieved through trust in God’s strength, not human effort.


In conclusion, the account of Moses lifting his hands in the battle against the Amalekites illustrates the significance of intercessory prayer, dependence on God, and spiritual warfare. Moses’ posture of lifted hands symbolizes his role as an intercessor before God, seeking His intervention and assistance on behalf of the Israelites engaged in battle. With the support of Aaron and Hur, Moses’ hands remain lifted until sunset, signifying the collective effort and unity required for victory in spiritual battles.

The lessons derived from Moses’ actions—such as the power of intercessory prayer, the importance of unity and support within the community, and the acknowledgment of dependence on God’s power—are relevant and applicable to believers today. As followers of Christ, we are called to engage in spiritual warfare through prayer, unity, and dependence on God’s strength, trusting in His faithfulness to grant victory and deliverance in every battle we face.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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