Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Old Testament and Foot Metaphors

In the Old Testament, feet were sometimes used to represent the complete person. This is demonstrated in the ancient warning.

'Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbours house, lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee.'
Proverbs 25:17



Feet also figured in situations where someone had authority over another person or place and under the feet symbolised triumph over enemies. Vanquished enemies for examples were under the feet of their conquerors. A common practice among sandal wearers was to etch figures of their enemy on their shoe to crush them with every step.
'Thus they inclosed the Benjamites round about and chased them, and trode them down with ease over against Gibeah toward the sunrising.'
Judges 20:43


'I have wounded them that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet.'
Ps 18: 38


'And I have consumed them, and wounded them, that they could not arise; yea, they are fallen under my feet.'
2 Sam 22: 39


'That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and `upon my mountains tread them under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders.'
Is 14:25


'Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings?'
Is 41:2


'...Come near and put your feet upon the necks of these kings.'
Joshua 10:24


'Thou knowest how that David my father could not build an house unto the name of the Lord his God for the wars which were about him on every side, until the LORD put them under the soles of his feet.'
1 Kings 5:3


'Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet:'
Ps 8:6


'The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.'
Ps 110:1


'..they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet'
Is 49: 23


'and all they that despied three shall bow themselves down at the soles of the feet; and they shall call thee, The city of the Lord, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.'
Is 60: 14


'And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of our feet in the day I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.'
Malachi 4:3



Israelites described the land they possessed with reference to the soles of their feet.
'Every place whereon the soles of your feet shall tread shall be yours;...'
Duet 11:24


'Meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their land, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession.'
Duet 2:5


'Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that I have given as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow.'
unto you, as I said unto Moses.'
Joshua 1:3


'our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem.'
Ps 122:2



The loss of right to own land was also described by feet metaphors.

'Neither will I any more remove the foot of Israel from our land which I have appointed for your fathers; so that they will heed to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and statues and the ordinances by the hand of Moses.'
2 Chron 33:8


Finding 'neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest' (Deut 28:65), may also signify owing no land.

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