The back part of the foot below the ankle. This part of the human body was often referred to in a figurative way in the Bible. To hold or injure one’s heel would retard, or hinder, him. Jacob grabbed the heel of his twin brother Esau as they came out of their mother’s womb. (Ge 25:26) For this he was named Jacob, meaning “One Seizing the Heel; Supplanter,” which had prophetic meaning. (Ge 27:36; Ho 12:2, 3) The family head Jacob, in blessing his fifth son Dan, foretold, favorably for Dan, that he would be like a serpent that lies in wait by the roadside and bites the heels of the horse, throwing off its rider. (Ge 49:17; see VIPER, HORNED.) The tribe of Dan was at the “heel” of things as the rear guard of Israel during their wilderness journey, inflicting damage on Israel’s enemies.—Nu 10:25.
Unfaithful Jerusalem was likened in prophecy to a disreputable woman, to be punished by having her heels “treated violently,” that is, to be forced to walk over rough terrain, painful to her heels; this occurred when Jerusalem was taken into exile to Babylon in 607 B.C.E.—Jer 13:22.
King David spoke figuratively of his traitorous companion Ahithophel, saying: “[He] has magnified his heel against me.” (Ps 41:9) This had a prophetic fulfillment in Judas Iscariot, to whom Jesus applied the text, saying: “He that used to feed on my bread has lifted up his heel against me.” (Joh 13:18) Thus the expression indicates a treacherous action, one threatening harm to the person against whom the heel is “magnified” or “lifted up.”
The first recorded prophecy, at Genesis 3:15, foretold that the “serpent” would bruise the ‘seed of the woman’ in the heel. Though painful, a heel bruise is not permanently disabling. Jesus, the “seed” (Ga 3:16), was put to death by the earthly agents of the great Serpent, Satan the Devil (Re 12:9), but on the third day was recovered from this ‘heel bruise’ when his Father Jehovah resurrected him.—Ac 2:22-24; 10:40.