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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
The thighs were thought to play a part in procreation (Genesis 46:26; Exodus 1:5 , English Versions of the Bible "loins"; Judges 8:30 , English Versions of the Bible "body"; compare Numbers 5:21 ff), so that an oath taken with the hand under the thigh ( Genesis 24:2 , Genesis 24:9; Genesis 47:29 ) was taken by the life-power (the rabbis interpreted "by the seal of circumcision"). It is perhaps significant that this oath in both Gen 24 and 47 is said to have been exacted by persons in danger of death. Doubtless this association of the thigh with life (aided perhaps by its excellence as food (1 Samuel 9:24; Ezekiel 24:4 )) determined its choice as a sacrificial potion (Exodus 29:22 , etc.; on the "heave thigh" see SACRIFICE ). Consequently, it is natural to find the thigh classed as forbidden ("sacred") food among certain peoples, and, probably, this sacred character of the part is the real basis of Genesis 32:32 : "The children of Israel eat not the sinew of the hip which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day." The origin of the prohibition, however, was unknown to the writer of the verse, and he sought an explanation from a story in which special attention was called to the thigh. Nothing else is heard about this precept in the Old Testament, but it receives elaborate attention in the Mishna (
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Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Thigh'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/isb/t/thigh.html. 1915.