WARNING: The following post contains language, even though many would call “biblical,” others with weaker constitutions, like home school mothers and spiritualized, finger wagging goody-goods, would consider low-brow and inappropriate. Some may even say bathroom talk. Just so that every one understands I am not going emergent with my blog, I present to you this warning as a caution. Thank you.
In the section, preacher Steven seizes upon a Hebrew idiom translated in the KJV as “He who pisseth against a wall” and proceeds to argue that the KJV is a more manly translation because many of the modern versions, rather than giving the literal rendering of the phrase, simply translate the meaning of the idiom something like, cut off every male. One of my favorite lines in the entire rant is when preacher Steven, with index finger firmly tapping the top of his podium for emphasis says, “They may be males, but they’re not men.”
Preacher Steven then goes on a 4 or 5 minute tirade against the emasculation of today’s man by the feminization of our modern culture. The highlight is when he recounts his demoralizing time in Germany where in every public restroom, as well as in private homes, there are signs prohibiting men from standing when relieving themselves. Poor Steven had to sit to pee. Such is the way of our feminized societies in which men have not only forgotten about God, but they have forgotten to stand up for themselves.
Amazing, huh? How should we stand against this astonishing buffoonery that masquerades as biblical preaching? A couple of thoughts.
First, the phrase, He who pisseth against the wall, is a Hebrew idiom that is meant to describe male descendants or heirs in a generation. It is not at all describing masculinity, especially as this guy is defending it. The phrase is used 6 times in the KJV, 1 Samuel 25:22, 24; 1 Kings 14:10, 16:11, 21:21; and 2 Kings 9:8. In each of these instances, the phrase is employed as a curse describing how the heir to a family line will be cut off so that the family generation will cease to have an inheritance in the land of Israel. Looking at each one of these verses in their context clearly demonstrates this. It has nothing at all to do with men being men.
Thus, not only has Steve mis-interpreted this idiom, he is mis-applying it in his application defending masculinity and crying against a feminized culture. But I guess such should be expected.
Second, preacher Steven definitely represents a fringe element within fundamental KJV-onlyism. However, anyone who is familiar with the apologetic literature of KJV-onlyists knows one of their foundational talking points is that the KJV, as a translation, has been translated by the greatest Christian scholars who were expert in the original languages. No modern version can match the KJV in scholarship. This is certainly the argument made by D.A. Waite, David Cloud, and other “mainstream” KJV-only Fundamentalists. D.A. Waite even makes the scholarship argument one of the 4 points to his “four-fold superiority” of the King James Bible.
Third, how exactly is the word “piss” more masculine than the word “urinate” or “pee?” Or the translation, “cut off every male?” How is the meaning changed in modern texts? I personally like the idiom to be translated as it stands in the KJV, however, how exactly is the meaning of the text changed if the translators intentionally translate just the meaning of the idiom and not the literal wording of the idiom?
Fourth, Steve’s claim exposes classic KJV-only double-standards. Let me explain what I mean:
Everyone knows that language will change over a period of time. A word or phrase that has a primary meaning in one generation can take on an entirely new meaning in the next. For example, no one in our modern society thinks of the word “gay” as meaning “happy.” In fact, when we hear those old time songs from 80 or 90 years ago sing about being “gay” we snicker, because what they understood as being “gay” in the 1920s and 30s does not mean what we understand “gay” to be in the early years of the 21st century.
Idioms are also a good example of this. In the 17th century, the word “piss” didn’t carry the crassness that it now carries in our culture, so the translators didn’t have a problem translating the phrase as literal as possible. Modern readers tend to cringe at such word usage, and modern translators, recognizing this change in culture, chose instead to translate the meaning of the phrase, rather than a word-for-word translation. It means the same thing. Nothing is “taken away” as KJV-onlyists attempt to argue.
Now, what most folks don’t know is that the KJV does the same thing with idioms as modern translators do. A relevant example is Matthew 1:18, which in the KJV reads, “to be found with child.” This is not, however, what the original states. The word “child” isn’t in the verse. Literally, it reads something like, “found to have put it in her.” Now why didn’t the KJV translators translate that literally as it is found in the text? Is it not, as KJV onlyists insist, what God wrote? His inspired word? Yet here, we have an instance of the translators considering the sensibilities of the readers of their translation who would think such description of child-bearing was crude and certainly non-poetic, providing the meaning of the idiom rather than a literal word-for-word translation. The only difference, though, is when the KJV translators do it, they’re considered the greatest scholars the world has ever known, but if modern translators of the ESV do it, they are corrupting God’s Word.
With all of that aside, however, I believe there is much more at stake here.
I said the video produced conflicting emotions of both laughter and sadness. I laughed at such nonsensical reasoning of this passage. But, I am saddened that this man is allegedly shepherding the souls of men and women who look to him as a spiritual leader. It is grossest spiritual negligence and incompetence at its worst.
At the website of this church, there is a page with photos of new members being baptized. I am grieved that all these smiling faces, excited for their new found faith in Christ, have identified themselves with a church that will only ensnare their souls with the most absurd legalistic ideology, while calling such behavior “being holy” and “separated.” Those poor folks are going to have a warped understanding of the Bible and God Himself, and will more than likely be spiritually traumatized for sometime to come because of this man’s deplorable teaching. I can only hope that because God is sovereign that I can confidently trust He will deliver His people in due time.