[Heb., math·noʹyim, the (exterior) lumbar region and small of the back].
The word is generally translated “hips” or “loins,” although there is another Hebrew word that more specifically means “loins.”—See LOINS.
A belt was often worn at the hips, especially by the soldier, who slipped a sheathed sword or dagger under the belt or fastened the sword sheath to it. (2 Sam. 20:8; Neh. 4:18) The recorder wore his inkhorn at the hips, placed under his belt or sash. (Ezek. 9:2) Sackcloth was worn around the hips as a sign of mourning.—Gen. 37:34; Amos 8:10.
Before engaging in any form of vigorous physical activity a person would ‘gird up his hips,’ often by pulling the ends of his loose, flowing garment between his legs and tucking those ends under his sash. The Israelites in Egypt ate the passover with their hips girded, ready to march out of the land. Elijah was similarly prepared when he ran before Ahab’s chariot.—Ex. 12:11; 1 Ki. 18:46.
The muscles in the area of the hips play a major part in picking up and carrying heavy loads; hence the appropriateness of the statement at Psalm 66:11, “you have put pressure on our hips.” Strengthening the hips would denote getting ready to exert power, as for a fight. (Nah. 2:1) The good wife girds her hips with strength and invigorates her arms to carry out her multitudinous activities for the well-being of the household. (Prov. 31:17) Conversely, those who have been reduced to a weakened condition by fear, distress, or defeat are said to have wobbling or shaking hips. (Ps. 69:23; Ezek. 21:6; 29:7) To ungird the hips of kings means to take away their strength.—Isa. 45:1.
Jehovah spoke of the houses of Israel and Judah as having been like a belt on his hips, so closely had he held them to himself, in order that they might become to him a praise and something beautiful. (Jer. 13:11) Jesus Christ is prophetically pictured as reigning with righteousness as the belt of his hips and faithfulness as the belt of his loins. This may refer to the fact that all the active powers of Jesus Christ adhere unchangeably to righteousness and faithfulness.—Isa. 11:1, 5.