318. Military Girdles

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The girdle is used as a convenient place for carrying different weapons. The sword, the dagger, and in modern times the pistol, are placed there. It was thus that Ehud carried his dagger (Judg. 3:1616But Ehud made him a dagger which had two edges, of a cubit length; and he did gird it under his raiment upon his right thigh. (Judges 3:16)). We are told in 1 Samuel 25:1313And David said unto his men, Gird ye on every man his sword. And they girded on every man his sword; and David also girded on his sword: and there went up after David about four hundred men; and two hundred abode by the stuff. (1 Samuel 25:13), that David and his men girded on their swords. Similar allusions to this use of the girdle are made in Deuteronomy 1:4141Then ye answered and said unto me, We have sinned against the Lord, we will go up and fight, according to all that the Lord our God commanded us. And when ye had girded on every man his weapons of war, ye were ready to go up into the hill. (Deuteronomy 1:41); Psalm 45:33Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O most mighty, with thy glory and thy majesty. (Psalm 45:3); Song of Solomon 3:8; Isaiah 8:99Associate yourselves, O ye people, and ye shall be broken in pieces; and give ear, all ye of far countries: gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces; gird yourselves, and ye shall be broken in pieces. (Isaiah 8:9). The military girdle was not, however, a mere sword-sash, but a strong belt, designed to sustain the body, and at the same time to cover such portion of the abdomen as might be unprotected by the cuirass. Some girdles, indeed, seem to have been a constituent part of the cuirass, intended to fasten it more firmly. The importance of the girdle as a piece of armor is seen in the fact that thorough preparation for the fight is called “girding on.” Paul says: “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth” (Eph. 6:1414Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; (Ephesians 6:14)).
Military girdles were made of stronger materials than those designed for common purposes. Leather, iron, and bronze were used in their construction, and, where rich ornament was required, silver and gold.