found in Judg. 21:21, 23; Ps. 30:11; 149:3; 150:4; Jer. 31:4,
13, etc., as the translation of "hul", which points to the
whirling motion of Oriental sacred dances. It is the rendering
of a word (rakad') which means to skip or leap for joy, in Eccl.
3:4; Job 21:11; Isa. 13:21, etc.
In the New Testament it is in like manner the translation of
different Greek words, circular motion (Luke 15:25); leaping up
and down in concert (Matt. 11:17), and by a single person (Matt.
It is spoken of as symbolical of rejoicing (Eccl. 3:4. Compare
Ps. 30:11; Matt. 11: 17). The Hebrews had their sacred dances
expressive of joy and thanksgiving, when the performers were
usually females (Ex. 15:20; 1 Sam. 18:6).
The ancient dance was very different from that common among
Western nations. It was usually the part of the women only (Ex.
15:20; Judg. 11:34; compare 5:1). Hence the peculiarity of David's
conduct in dancing before the ark of the Lord (2 Sam. 6:14). The
women took part in it with their timbrels. Michal should, in
accordance with the example of Miriam and others, have herself
led the female choir, instead of keeping aloof on the occasion
and "looking through the window." David led the choir
"uncovered", i.e., wearing only the ephod or linen tunic. He
thought only of the honour of God, and forgot himself.
From being reserved for occasions of religious worship and
festivity, it came gradually to be practised in common life on
occasions of rejoicing (Jer. 31:4). The sexes among the Jews
always danced separately. The daughter of Herodias danced alone