Genesis 32:32, Keep your man-parts out of harm’s way, part III of III

Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.

//We’re still on the topic of the punishment for a woman who grabs a man’s testicles. The punishment, as translated in most versions of the Bible, is to cut off her hand. Here’s the verse again:

If two men are fighting and the wife of one of them comes to rescue her husband from his assailant, and she reaches out and seizes him by his private parts, you shall cut off her hand. Show her no pity. –Deuteronomy 25:12

But there may be a less severe interpretation. The Hebrew word in this verse (kaph) may not mean “hand” but “palm.” That is, some rounded concave object. The same word is used in today’s verse to refer to the pelvic area—the concave hip socket. Or, as used in the Song of Songs, the woman’s groin area. Thus, “cut off her hand,” becomes “cut off her palm,” or more directly, “shave her groin.”

The punishment, then, may not have been mutilation, but public humiliation. This leads one to believe that Sunday’s post, which discusses the severity of attacking the “life” of a man, may have been off the track completely. If the punishment is public humiliation, it is probably a recompense for the public humiliation of having one’s privates grasped. This actually makes some sense in light of the special circumstances described in the verse: Not merely that a man and woman are tussling, but that the woman interferes in what appears to be a public, fair fight.

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