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While researching this question, I came across an article I'd rather not link to1 that asserted that Jesus wore pants. The particular bit of evidence they cited was:

Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.—Revelation 19:11-16 (ESV)

According to the author who advocated pants, the writing on the thigh is a sure sign that Jesus wore pants and not a tunic2. I think it obvious that theory is wrong, but what does it mean that "on his thigh he has a name written"? What is the symbolism? Is there some sort of historical referent?


Footnotes:

  1. Google for "Did Jesus wear pants?" and you'll probably find it fairly quickly. I hope that in the very near future this question and its answers will be ranked higher than that hateful article.

  2. The author of the article equates a tunic with "a dress".

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Question reminds me of a sermon clip a friend sent me. The preacher spent several minutes on the topic "Real men pee standing up." I was in shock (the bad kind). My friend had been equally horrified. –  Frank Luke Mar 6 '12 at 20:21
    
@FrankLuke. I've seen that one. Went on to say very nasty things about the poor emasculated Germans, didn't it? –  TRiG Jul 12 '12 at 19:32
    
@TRiG, yes, he did. –  Frank Luke Jul 12 '12 at 20:12
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2 Answers

In sensus plenior the thigh represents one's purpose in living. Garments always represent works. The hand also represents works.

We can see this when Abraham send the servant to obtain a wife for Isaac when he places his hand on Abe's thigh to swear that his works will comply with Abraham's purpose for life.

We see it again in the story of Eglon and Ehud when the sword/word is removed from the right/spiritual thigh/will with a left/fleshly hand/work. This represents that the spiritual will of God is accomplished by men working in the flesh.

On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

His works and his purpose establish that he is King of kings and Lord of lords. In other words, He wills and works for his glory.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

The word translated thigh is μηρός (meros <3382>) which means thigh. It's also a in the New Testament. According to Google translate, the word in modern Greek can mean:

These have strong connotation of being part of the body. So the plain meaning of the text is that "King of kings and Lord of lords" written on His ἱμάτιον (robe) and also inscribed on His body itself. A sampling of commentators show disagreement over this point, however. Marvin Vincent summarized:

On His thigh

Some explain, on the garment where it covers the thigh to which the sword is bound. Compare Psalm 45:3. Others, partly on the vesture, partly on the thigh itself, where, in an equestrian figure, the robe drops from the thigh. According to the former explanation καὶ and is to be taken as explanatory or definitive of the words on His vesture. Others again suppose a sword on the hilt of which the name is inscribed. Expositors refer to the custom of engraving the artist's name on the thigh of a statue. Thus Cicero says: "A most beautiful statue of Apollo, on the thigh of which the name of Myron had been graven in tiny letters of silver" ("Against Verres," iv., 43). Herodotus describes a figure of Sesostris, bearing across the breast from shoulder to shoulder the inscription written in the sacred character of Egypt: "With my own shoulders I conquered this land" (ii., 106). Rawlinson says that Assyrian figures are found with arrow-headed inscriptions engraved across them, and over the drapery as well as the body.

Whatever the case, there is no indication here that Jesus wore anything like pants. The idea is clearly an anachronism (or rather, as Muke points out in the comments, an anatopism).

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Maybe more an 'anatopism' than an 'anachronism' - there were pants back then after all (on the Latin-speaking end of the empire they were called bracae or braccae) but they were almost certainly more common among the Germanic and Celtic peoples than the people of the Mediterranean. –  Muke Tever Mar 30 '12 at 16:24
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@Muke: That's a great observation. This line from Wikipedia shows how silly the whole controversy is: "When the Romans first encountered the braccae, they thought them to be effeminate (Roman men typically wore tunics, which were one-piece outfits terminating at or above the knee)." How times have changed! –  Jon Ericson Mar 30 '12 at 17:03
    
Using modern Greek to understand Koine Greek is also an anachronism :P –  Daи Nov 7 '13 at 16:56
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