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Only livestock, beggars, lepers partook of barley flour. Any self respecting soul would feed his family on the fine flour milled from the finest wheat. But barley bread - who but the lowest would dine on such crude, humble fare? According to W. Phillips Keller


An explanation can easily be found in a commentary, for example at Biblehub. Ellicott's commentary says "There is no doubt that the expression intensifies the words “with a great slaughter;” but the origin of the phrase is a matter of conjecture". Apparently the idiom derives either from the idea that you strike both hip and thigh to insure destruction, or ...

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