There are five words in Hebrew used to indicate what may be held in the hand, either closed or open.

(1) chophen, chophnayim. The fist or closed hand occurs in the dual in Exodus 9:8, where it signifies what can be taken in the two hands conjoined, a double handful.

(2) kaph, "hollow of the hand," the palm; an open handful (Leviticus 9:17; 1 Kings 17:12; Ecclesiastes 4:6).

(3) `amir, "sheaf or bundle." It signifies the quantity of grain a gleaner may gather in his hand (Jeremiah 9:22 (Hebrew 21)).

(4) qomets, "the closed handful" (Genesis 41:47; Leviticus 2:2; 5:12; 6:15; Hebrews 6:8); Numbers 5:26).

(5) sho`al, "the hollow of the hand," or what can be held in it (1 Kings 20:10; Ezekiel 13:19). In Isaiah 40:12 it signifies "measure."

(6) piccah (Psalms 72:16) is rendered "handful" by the King James Version, but is properly "abundance" as in the Revised Version (British and American).

H. Porter

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.

Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'HANDFUL'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.  

California - Do Not Sell My Personal Information  California - CCPA Notice