Biblical Burns
The Art of the Insult According to Scripture

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Showing posts labelled 1 Samuel. View all.
9th May 2016
“Him that pisseth against the wall!”
- Dave (Amongst Others)
1 Samuel 25:22, 34
1 Kings 14:10, 16:11, 21:21
2 Kings 9:8
(KJV)

This is another gem from 1611’s monarch-commissioned English translation, the KJV.

Usually referring to a group of men facing imminent slaughter, most modern English translations translate this phrase as “all the males” (with perhaps a micturational footnote), which is what it essentially means. But I feel that really takes away all the poetry of it.

Thanks, King James.


26th February 2016
Dogs

“Dog” is a term that crops up again and again in both the Old and New Testaments. Unfortunately for any cynophilists reading, dogs are not portrayed in a very favourable light. Literal dogs are largely seen as filthy scavengers, usually tasked with consuming the flesh of recently deceased unpleasant people[eg].

This canine derision, however, is on multiple occasions freely extended to humans—occasionally as a poetic expression of self-abasement[eg], but more often as a biting indignity[eg].

Because there are so many excellent usage examples, it would seem meet to briefly discuss a few of my favourites.

Previously on Biblical Burns, Proverbs 26:11!
1 Samuel 17:43

Goliath, hubris personified, is unimpressed when he sees that his challenger is just some shepherd kid. On sighting Dave, he shouts out “Am I a dog that you come against me with sticks?” After some cursing, the Philistine invites Dave to do his worst: “Come here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds of the sky…!”

Say what you like about Goliath—he was generous to the birdlife.


Matthew 15:26; Mark 7:27

Jesus’ ministry was nearly entirely amongst his own people. In fact, most Jews expected their Messiah to conquer other nations, not allow them in to His Kingdom. So when a Syrophoenician woman asks Jesus to cast a demon out of her daughter, He answers in line with expectations: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

The woman continues to beg him for help, but Jesus pushes back insultingly: “It isn’t right to take the children’s bread and throw it to their dogs.”

“Yes, Lord,” she says, “yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table!”

Jesus happily loses the argument: “Woman, your faith is great. Let it be done.”


Psalm 22:16
“For dogs have surrounded me; a gang of evildoers…”

Written by King Dave hundreds of years before Jesus was crucified, the 22nd Psalm is incredibly striking. Not only does Jesus quote it while on the cross—“My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46)—but the content of the despairing psalm itself bears an uncanny resemblance to the story of Jesus’ crucifixion:

A Side Note

Interestingly, one notable person flies in the face of the negative view of dogs. In the Bible, where the meaning of names are usually strikingly significant, it is strange to see Caleb, the Israelite spy whose name literally means “dog”, recorded as a hero. In Numbers 13-14, Josh and Caleb are the only two out of twelve spies sent to scout out the Promised Land who aren’t scared witless by the current inhabitants. Showing great faith in spite of the detractors, Caleb ballsily proclaims “We must go up and take possession of the land because we can certainly conquer it!”


28th March 2015
“You son of a perverse and rebellious woman!”
- Saul
1 Samuel 20:30 (HCSB)

Personally, I prefer this quote left unfinished:

“Then Saul became angry with Jonathan and shouted, ‘You son of a…!’”


7th March 2015
“Do I have such a shortage of crazy people that you brought this one?”
- Achish
1 Samuel 21:15 (HCSB)

To set the scene, the not-quite-yet-king-of-Israel Dave is fleeing the now-king Saul when he comes to the land of Gath. Brought before Gath’s King Achish, and trying to avoid a confrontation, Dave chucks a Hamlet and pretends to be insane, “making marks on the doors of the gate and letting saliva run down his beard.”

Not only did Dave’s plan work—he escaped—but King Achish comes out with this delightful double-pronger, insulting both Davey and all the king’s men.


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