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2.3.2. Idioms involving the Hips and Loins

1 Kings 18:46 [New American Standard Bible]

46Then the hand of the LORD was on Elijah, and he girded up his loins and outran Ahab to Jezreel.

The people of Bible times wore a loose and flowing style of clothing. If one were to engage in some form of physical activity, it was common to gather up the skirt, pulling them forward between the legs and tucking them in the belt that was around their hips. We find this in the case of Elijah, as he prepared for a long and arduous run. Therefore, the idiom to “gird up your loins” (зібратися із силами, підготуватися до випробувань) signified preparation for vigorous activity.

The Israelites preparing to exodus Egypt after eating the Passover lamb,

11'Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste--it is (A)the LORD'S Passover [17, Exodus 12:11].

Elisha sends his servant Gehazi on an important mission, saying,

29Then he said to Gehazi, "Gird up your loins and take my staff in your hand, and go your way; if you meet any man, do not salute him, and if anyone salutes you, do not answer him; and lay my staff on the lad's face." [17, 2 Kings 4:25].

Elisha sending a prophet to anoint Jehu,

1Now Elisha the prophet called one of the sons of the prophets and said to him, "Gird up your loins, and take this flask of oil in your hand and go to Ramoth-gilead [17, 2 Kings 9:1].

Jeremiah be commission by Jehovah God Himself, to prepare for vigorous activity in in serving as a prophet. Therefore, what was an actual activity of girding one’s loins to prepare for some physical activity like running, or working in the field, was not a idiomatic expression about and vigorous undertaking.

17"Now, gird up your loins and arise, and speak to them all which I command you Do not be dismayed before them, or I will dismay you before them [17, Jeremiah 1:17].

While the human neck may be weak and vulnerable, the muscles in the hips and loins are quite strong. That is why Proverbs 31:17 says of the capable wife, “She girded her loins with strength” [ASV]. Thus, we see the Prophet Nahum use the hips in an idiomatic sense as he warns those who were about to get invaded, “He that dashes in pieces is come up against you: keep the fortress, watch the way, make thy loins strong, fortify thy power mightily” [1, Nah. 2:1]. This is a figurative expression of strength and power.

Jehovah God would use Cyrus the Great, the Persian conqueror, to destroy kings and their kingdoms, which He expresses this way, “to Cyrus, whose right hand I have [taken hold of], to subdue nations before him, and I will lose the loins of kings; to open the doors before him, and the gates shall not be shut.” The idiomatic expression means that Jehovah will remove the strength and power of these kings, giving Cyrus the victory. Ones in such a condition are referred to as having wobbling or shaking hips [1, Ps. 69:23; Ezek. 21:6; 29:7].

This expression means that God would take away the strength or power of these kings, so that Cyrus would be victorious. Those who have had their power removed and are in a weakened condition are therefore said to have breaking, quaking or shaking hips.

23 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see; And make their loins continually to shake [1, Psalm 69:23].

7"When they took hold of you with the hand, You broke and tore all their hands; And when they leaned on you, You broke and made all their loins quake[18, Exzekiel 29:7].

In a sense, you can see how an idiom can grow into other areas, taking its meaning with it. As the apostle Peter literally said, wherefore girding up the loins of your mind, be sober and set your hope perfectly on the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. [1 Pet 1:13, ASV] In this idiomatic expression of “girding up the loins of your mind,” he meant for them to “prepare their minds for action.”

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