[b-hebrew] Yarek in BH, esp. Exod. 28:42

A. Philip Brown II pbrown at GBS.EDU
Mon Mar 22 22:17:30 EST 2004

I have been working on understanding what part of the anatomy YaReK refers
to in Exod. 28:42.

The following evidence is suggesting to me that YaReK is the part of the leg
from the hip to the knee, though the upper section of the thigh, what we
call the hip (or flank of an animal), is often the primary segment of the
leg in view with YaReK.
1. the fact that Ehud was able to conceal a cubit-length dagger upon his
YaReK (Judg 3:16)
2. the collocation SHOK 'aL YaReK in Judges 15:8 and the LXX translation of
this phrase as KNHMHN EPI MHRON (L&S says KNHMH denotes "the part between
the knee and ankle, leg, the shank, Lat. tibia"; hence "shank/shin upon

Other usages of YaReK include:
* YaReK refers to the hips or upper thigh (Sol. 7:2; the curve (?); LXX =
RUQMOI of your MHRON is like a jewel)
* YaReK may refer to the genitals ("every person ... who went out from
Jacob's YaReK"-Gen. 46:26 [note here that not all came directly from Jacob,
seems to be a euphemism for the genitals, hence a reference rather than a
sense?]; cf. Exo. 1:5; Judg. 8:30)
* The place where one placed his sword (Exo. 32:27 Judg. 3:16, 21; Ps 45:4;
Song 3:8);
* Part of the leg of an adulterous woman that would shrivel or waste away
(Num. 5:21, 22, 27)
* The YaReK has a KaPH (Gen. 32:26, 32, 33), the hollow of the thigh or
hip-socket. Specifically the angel touched Jacob on the GiYD HaGGaSHeH which
is located in the hollow of the thigh.
* The place one struck with the hand when distressed, grieving, or
humiliated (Jer. 31:19; Ezek. 21:17)
* A part of the animal fit for eating; thigh and shoulder (Ezek. 24:4)
* place where hand might br placed when swearing (Gen. 24:2, 9; 47:29)
* Used metaphorically for the base of the lampstand (Exo. 25:31, 37:17; Num.
8:4), and for the side of the altar (Lev 1:11; 2Ki 16:14), or the tent of
meeting (Exo. 40:22, 24; Num. 3:29, 35)

I know HALOT gives the sense "the fleshy part of the upper thigh," but that
seems to unnecessarily limit the term.

Here are my questions:
1. What objections, if any, would there be to understanding YaReK as the
area from the hip to the knee, not including the waist (=MaTNaYiM)?
2. Is there another Hebrew word that denotes the hip to knee part of the leg
as distinct from the knee and below?
3. Would I be overstating the length of the required priestly breeches to
describe them as reaching approximately from the waist to knees?

Philip Brown
Cincinnati, OH

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