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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia


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hēl ( עקב , ‛āḳēbh ): "The iniquity of my heels" ( Psalm 49:5 the King James Version) is a literal translation, and might be understood to indicate the Psalmist's "false steps," errors or sins, but that meaning is very doubtful here. the Revised Version (British and American) gives "iniquity at my heels." the Revised Version margin gives a still better sense, "When the iniquity of them that would supplant me compasseth me about, even of them that trust in ... riches" - treacherous enemies ever on the watch to trip up a man's heels (compare Hosea 12:3 ). Of Judah it was said, "Thy heels (shall) suffer violence" (Jeremiah 13:22 ) through being "made bare" (the King James Version), and thus subject to the roughness of the road as she was led captive.

Figurative: (1) Of the partial victory of the evil power over humanity, "Thou shalt bruise (m "lie in wait for") his heel" ( Genesis 3:15 ), through constant, insidious suggestion of the satisfaction of the lower desires. Or if we regard this statement as a part of the Protevangelium, the earliest proclamation of Christ's final, and complete victory over sin, the destruction of "the serpent" ("He shall bruise thy head"), then the reference is evidently to Christ's sufferings and death, even to all that He endured in His human nature. (2) Of the stealthy tactics of the tribe of Dan in war, "An adder in the path, that biteth the horse's heels" (Genesis 49:17 ), by which it triumphed over foes of superior strength. (3) Of violence and brutality, "Who ... hath lifted up his heel against me" (Psalm 41:9 ; John 13:18 ), i.e. lifted up his foot to trample upon me (compare Joshua 10:24 ).

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Heel'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 1915.

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Hegai; Hege
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