Book of Mormon: “Clap” in Alma 31:36
Alma 31: 36 Now it came to pass that when Alma had said these words, that he CLAPPED his hands upon all them who were with him. And behold, as he CLAPPED his hands upon them, they were filled with the Holy Spirit.
So, what does “clap” mean here, and where does it come from?
Luckily, it’s one of those words the 1828 Webster’s Dictionary helps us understand (http://1828.mshaffer.com/d/search/word,clap):
1. To strike with a quick motion, so as to make a noise by the collision; to strike with something broad, or having a flat surface; as, to clap the hands; to clap the wings.
2. To thrust or drive together; to shut hastily; followed by to; as, to clap to the door or gate.
3. To thrust or drive together; to put one thing to another by a hasty or sudden motion; followed by to, on or in; as, to clap the hand to the mouth; to clap spurs to a horse; to clap on a saddle.
4. To thrust; TO PUT, PLACE OR SEND; FOLLOWED BY IN, INTO, UNDER, OVER, ETC.; as, to clap one under the hatches; to clap one into Bedlam; to clap a board over a pit.
5. To applaud; to manifest approbation or praise by striking the hands together; as, to clap a performance on the stage.
To clap up, to make or complete hastily; as, to clap up a peace.
To imprison hastily, or with little delay.
1. To move or drive together suddenly with noise.
The doors around me clapt.
2. To ENTER ON WITH ALACRITY AND BRISKNESS; to drive or thrust on; as we say to reapers or mowers, clap in, or clap to, that is, ENTER ON THE WORK, BEGIN WITHOUT DELAY, begin briskly.
Its use was a lot different than nowadays! Definition number four works well for this scripture, and likely just means that Alma placed his hands on their heads, or perhaps following definition number two, right afterward, without waiting around.