The limb of a man or an animal used to support the body and for walking. In connection with the installation of the priesthood, the right leg of “the ram of the installation” constituted a part of the “wave offering.” (Le 8:22, 25-27) In certain sacrifices, the right hind leg, evidently the choice upper part of it, was also given as a sacred portion to the officiating priest. (Le 7:32-34; 10:12, 14, 15) The front leg, the “shoulder” or “shoulder blade” (literally, “arm”), is also mentioned as a portion for the priests, at Numbers 6:19 and Deuteronomy 18:3.
Insects having “leaper legs” (Heb., kera·ʽaʹyim) were the only winged swarming creatures designated by the Law as clean for food. (Le 11:21) Elsewhere, the same Hebrew term refers to the “shanks” of animals.—See SHANK.
Jehovah prophetically told Babylon: “Strip off the flowing skirt. Uncover the leg. Cross over the rivers.” (Isa 47:1, 2) Instead of being a pampered queen who is served, she figuratively had to uncover her legs to the hip to wade barefoot as a captive across the rivers through which her conquerors would drag her.
Legs were also used figuratively to represent mightiness or human swiftness and power. At Psalm 147:10 we read: “Not in the mightiness of the horse does [Jehovah] take delight, nor in the legs of the man does he find pleasure.” At Proverbs 26:7 lame legs are referred to as a symbol of uselessness or incapacity.
It appears to have been a Roman custom to perform a coup de grace by breaking the legs of criminals condemned to die on the stake in order to shorten their miseries. The soldiers, at the Jews’ request, broke the legs of the men impaled on stakes alongside Jesus Christ but, finding Jesus already dead, did not break his legs. Consequently, the prophecy at Psalm 34:20 was fulfilled.—Joh 19:31-36; compare Ex 12:46; Nu 9:12.