Bible Bathroom Humor

There is a surprising word in our Bibles. According to my Exhaustive Concordance, it is used only once in the sixty-six books that comprises our Holy Spirit inspired Bible; but it is there. And if it was used more than once, you’d remember it. I came across it in my devotional reading a month or two back. I was so surprised to see it in my NIV; I went looking for my KJV to see how the “authorized version” guys translated the Hebrew. In 1611, the King James scholars literally translated it “draught house”. What’s that? I went to the Easton’s Bible Dictionary to find out. Easton told me it was a place that receives “offal or ordure.” That sounded like something you would order at a French restaurant. So I went to the online English Dictionary next and they defined a “draught house” as a privy. And I knew what that was (that also gave me a pretty good idea what offal and ordure was, too!). My NIV hadn’t taken too much liberty, after all, when I read the word translated “latrine” in 2 Kings 10:27 during my “quiet time” with my Lord.

The context of the passage is Israel around 900BC. Evil King Ahab is dead but Queen Jezebel is still around; their son Joram now on the throne. He’s a little bit better than mom and dad but not much. Through the prophet Elisha, God anoints a new man to sit on Israel’s throne, the man Jehu. Jehu was not godly but he would be used to blot out the despicable line of Ahab. He immediately goes to work. In 2 Kings 9 Jezebel is killed; in 2 Kings 10 he proceeds to kill the seventy sons of Ahab.

Baal worship had been promoted by Ahab and Jezebel. It was everywhere. King Jehu then dupes the priests of Baal by saying “Ahab served Baal a little; Jehu will serve him much” (10:18). When all the prophets, priests, and ministers of Baal show up to congratulate their new king and supposed fellow Baal worshiper, Jehu has them slaughtered. It is then we read in 2 Kings 10:27: “They [Jehu and his soldiers] demolished the sacred stone of Baal and tore down the temple of Baal, and people have used it for a latrine to this day.”

I know that smacks of bigotry and intolerance; big “no-no’s” in our pluralistic and diversity-saturated culture. But Baal worship was the reason Israel was a mess and cost many their soul; her idolatrous ways would lead to the Assyrian invasion about a century and a half later—God’s judgment upon Israel for her spiritual adultery. Turning the place into a “draught-house” where “offal and ordure” would be offered instead of false worship was a great idea—the place went from “praise to privy.”

This isn’t a call to desecrate other houses of worship; it is a reminder, however, that there is only “one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, Who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:5-6). And the difference between Him and other supposed deities is as stark as a house of worship is to a toilet.

Pastor Rich Hamlin
April 28, 2011


  1. Wow, who could of guessed . . . .

    Thanks for the linguistics lesson and the context.

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