The side of the lower torso and the upper part of the leg. Sometimes the reference is simply physical (Judges 3:16;
Song of Solomon 3:8;
Song of Solomon 7:1). More often Scripture regards the thigh as the seat of vital functions, especially procreation. English translations often obscure this connection. The Hebrew text of
Exodus 1:5; and
Judges 8:30 gives the thighs (KJV loins) as the source of offspring. Marital infidelity was punishable by “the falling away of the thigh,” that is, by failure of the reproductive system (Numbers 5:16-21). In the Patriarchal period, oaths were taken by placing a hand “under the thigh,” a veiled reference to the reproductive organs. (The English terms testify and testes witness a similar relation.) The action perhaps represents the calling of one's descendants as witnesses of the oath. When the “stranger” at Peniel did not prevail against Jacob, he touched Jacob in the hollow of his thigh, leaving him limping (Genesis 32:25-32). Jacob escaped the struggle broken but unbowed. Slapping the thigh indicated sorrow, shame, or remorse (Jeremiah 31:19;
Ezekiel 21:12). The thigh was among the portions of the sacrifice going to the priests (Leviticus 7:32-34;
Leviticus 10:14; compare
1 Samuel 9:24 where Samuel honored Saul with this portion.)
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'THIGH'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".