Truth, Understanding, Insight

Being on the right side

29th June 2009, hej


Once again scientific research confirms the science of the Bible. We are not talking about creation, but about everyday observation of the real world. New scientific research concerning persuasion and the right ear advantage confirms the biblical knowledge of the subtleties of how humans are made and the right side's role in how they interact.

King Solomon's book of Ecclesiastes is a series of observations about the world. He makes quite a strong statement about right-brain and left-brain types.

A wise/skillful/intelligent man's heart is at his right hand; but a fool's heart at his left. (Ecc 10:2)

We have discovered again what they knew already in the time of Solomon, that the right hand side is wired and connected to the left brain where logical, rational, analytical and objective thinking occurs. The left hand is connected to the right brain where thoughts are random, intuitive and subjective. According to Solomon, valuing subjective thinking will make you a fool. But he speaks of it in terms of the hand indicating they knew in 1000BC there was a relationship between our right side and analytical skills.

The right ear advantage

It seems we are born with a bias to hearing from the right ear. Recent research from UCLA California found that newborns showed a right ear bias to speech stimulus (and a left ear bias for music) despite no pathway from the right ear to the left hemisphere auditory cortex. (Reported by Y. Sininger in Science, September 10, 2008)

We also seem to make decisions differently depending on which ear we hear through. New research from Italy shows that in a social situation a request directed to the right ear has nearly twice as much chance of success as one directed directly to a stranger's left ear. It was also found that people in a noisy environment showed a distinct preference for presenting their right ear if they wished to interact. The study confirmed previous laboratory research. This was reported by D. Marzoli and L Tommasi Side biases in humans (Homo sapiens): three ecological studies on hemispheric asymmetries in 'Naturwissenschaften', Springer June 20, 2009.

Long ago the writers of the Bible knew that we make favourable decisions based on hearing from the right side. Bathsheba when asking a request of King Solomon her son sat on Solomon's right side.

And he (Adonijah) said, “Speak, I pray thee, unto Solomon the king, (for he will not say to you 'nay',) that he give me Abishag the Shunammite to wife”. And Bathsheba said, Well; I will speak for you unto the king.
Bathsheba therefore went unto king Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the king's mother; and she sat on his right hand. Then she said, “I desire one small petition of thee; I pray thee, say me not nay”. And the king said unto her, “Ask on, my mother: for I will not say thee nay”. (1Kings 2:17-20)

Solomon did not say 'nay', so Bathsheba's strategy worked. But speaking to the right ear, was also to Solomon's analytical left brain and he worked out what Adonijah his half brother was up to, and, he had him killed for treason. The Psalm puts it this way,

Your hand shall find out all your enemies: your right hand shall find out those that hate you. (Psalm 21:8)

The right hand side is to the right ear

The God of Israel our creator knew that if you hold a person's right hand you speak into their right ear and to their left brain, making it more effective.

For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, “Fear not; I will help thee”. (Isaiah 41:13)
For David speaks concerning him (Jesus), 'I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved' (Acts 2:25)

The right side is the best to give advice to those who fear.

But who we place at out right side determines who influences our rational thinking.

A deceived heart has turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, 'Is there not a lie in my right hand?' (Isaiah 44:20)

The nation of Judah was told,

And your elder sister is Samaria, she and her daughters that dwell at thy left hand: and your younger sister, that dwells at your right hand, is Sodom and her daughters. (Ezekiel 16:46)

The God of Israel was saying they listened with their emotions to Samaria (the Northern half of Israel destroyed by the Assyrians) and with their intellect to Sodom.

That the God of Israel could speak to his people of the right-hand, left-hand thinking (or in modern terms Left-Brian/ Right-Brian), reveals something else. This God is a Left-Brain God. In his service he asked for a special ritual of the “ram of consecration”,

and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the ram. And he slew it; and Moses took of the blood of it, and put it upon the tip of Aaron's right ear, and upon the thumb of his right hand, and upon the great toe of his right foot. (Lev 8:21-23 see Lev 14:14,17,25, 28)

They were first to put their hands on the head, to associate with its mind, then its blood was put on their hearing ear. This had deep meaning for the people who were watching. They saw the service of their God was to go from the head of what God had consecrated to their right hand ear. The service of the Torah is all about intelligent hearing. It was never required they learn it by rote, rather they were “caused to understand the law” (Nehemiah 8:7-8) so they could “keep and do” the law (Deut 26:16), a peculiar phrase, that meant mentally valuing it and also actively carrying it out.

There is much said about Jewish intellectual achievement, but it may be a function of their God's approach to communication. We have the God of the Bible speaking of the right-side and to the right-ear. We now know for sure that he knew that the right hand side was to our analytical left-brain. Any person who seriously takes up serving the God of Israel should begin to show left-brain type logical, rational, analytical and objective thinking.

And there is deep meaning to what the psalmist meant when he wrote,

If I forget you Jerusalem, let my right hand forget. (Psalm 137:5)

The honour of being on the right side

Standing on the right hand was a place of honour, as they must have known on that side you have the ruler's 'ear' and access to their analytical judgement,

Kings' daughters were among thy honourable women: upon thy right hand did stand the queen in gold of Ophir. (Psalm 45:9)

King David wrote of his son who would sit on the right hand side of no less that Yahweh the King of the universe. Jesus knew it referred to him. He said,

“What think you of Christ? whose son is he?”
They say unto him, “The Son of David”.
He (Jesus) said unto them, “How then does David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 'The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit you on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?'” (Matthew 22:42-45)

Jesus said also,

Hereafter shall the Son of man sit on the right hand of the power of God. (Luke 22:69)

This is the comfort of the servants,

Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. (Romans 8:34)

This verse is telling us that with Jesus at God's right side we are twice as likely to have success in making a request. There is just one thing to ponder; God is also telling us he will listen with his rational, objective side, and as Solomon worked out his half brother's motives, so God works out our motives.

It turns out Jesus values some of us and wants us on his right side, but some he really doesn't want to listen to at all.

And he (Jesus) shall set the 'sheep' on his right hand, but the 'goats' on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:33-35).

There are huge advantages in working out how to be on the right side of Jesus.

How many people are subjectively left ear hearing, as if to music, their religion? How many don't understand that to hear God's communication with us we need to present our listening right ear and our logical left-brain? It might be worth while to find a talking Bible and closely listen to the words as if to a person, attentively with our right ear.

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