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In Judges, why and how does Samson attack them (the philistines) hip and thigh with a great slaughter.

What in the world does that even mean?

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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 you pile up parts of bodies, thigh on top of hip.

It has been suggested that the hip was acceptable for sacrifice, but the thigh was not. That would allow for such interpretations as "the good with the bad" or "both the guilty and the innocent" if research backs this up.

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    To say that "the origin of the phrase is a matter of conjecture" is not "an explanation" but an admission of ignorance.
    – fdb
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 16:21
  • I'm not sure that the question or answer shows enough research. The answer is clear from the Blue Letter Bible. The thigh was prohibited, the hip was used in sacrifice. The term therefore means 'indiscriminately'. Both the good and bad. The guilty and innocent. Etc Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 19:14
  • Thanks for clarifying. Later, I also noticed that Samson must have run nearly 40 miles, as the crow flies, if he took gates of Gaza to Hebron. What's with that?
    – ruckus
    Commented Oct 16, 2014 at 20:12
  • @gideonmarx if you reference the commentary or other source you found at blb, you can post an answer much better than mine, and I'll delete this one. I haven't heard of that distinction.
    – Bit Chaser
    Commented Oct 18, 2014 at 19:36
  • I have made this community wiki in the hopes someone else will do the research about the sacrificable/non-sacrificable distinction
    – Bit Chaser
    Commented Mar 30, 2016 at 0:51

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