There are a few instances where ‘poop’ is mentioned in scripture, and a few things we can learn from them.
The first instance of ‘pooping’ in the Bible is when Saul goes into a cave to poop. He is alone, and David is in the cave. While he is pooping, David sneaks up behind him and cuts away part of his cloak. David immediately regrets what he has done. He realizes that he has no authority to remove Saul as king and has no business passive-aggressively making a fool out of a man whom God has placed in authority over him, no matter how awful that man may be.
Saul is awful, and in the cave he is at David’s mercy. He is alone, vulnerable, and in an embarrassing position. Still, this does not give David the right to take advantage of it. Ham was punished for much the same thing when he found his father passed out naked from drinking in his tent and then decided to call his brothers over to laugh at their father’s lowly state. Noah is a good man who has made a mistake. Saul is an ungodly man who, because nature called, is in a compromised position.
What this tells us is that God does not want us to do things lightly. We do not take matters into our own hands when we have no authority to do so, nor do we make fun of the person we dislike when he is in charge. We also do not allow the mistakes good men make to become defining moments that are used to make fun of them. This advice comes into play during the election season. While issues of policy are fair game, good or bad we do not seek to belittle and put down the men who are in charge by repeating their mistakes or taking advantage of them when they are vulnerable. So, picking on verbal mistakes, replaying the time they tripped on the steps or taking pleasure in their stomach upset is not a godly thing to do.
The Bible also tells us (twice) to take a something to dig with as part of our hiking equipment to bury our poop. (Dt. 23:13) God cares about the environment. Keeping it clean and preventing disease are important to him. Notice that Jesus’ disciples clean up the people’s scraps after He feeds the thousands.
We also see poop in the book of Ezekiel. The prophet is told to cook his food over human excrement (his own poop) when he is laying on his side to show the people how disgusting God finds their behavior. Ezekiel protests and God allows the prophet to use animal poop instead. (Ez. 4:12-15) Poop is used here as a metaphor for something God does not want close to Him. Used menstrual rags are used in much the same way elsewhere in scripture. (Is. 64:6)
Poop shows up again in the New Testament. This time Paul tells us that everything is ‘poop’ compared to knowing Christ. (Phil. 3:8) While most translations use the word ‘rubbish’ instead of poop, the point is clear. The substitution of a less offensive word for poop also begs the question: ‘Are we trying to be better than God by using less offensive words than He did?’ Times change, and so does how people see certain words so I will let you ponder this for yourselves.
Underwear is also found in scripture. Jeremiah is to take his loincloth and do things that will ruin it. God then tells him that wicked people will face ruin in much the same way the loincloth was ruined. He tells Jeremiah that the relationship He wished to have with the people was to be as close (intimate?) as a loincloth, but the people rebelled. So God wants to be very close to us, and is not afraid to use underwear as a metaphor to describe this relationship! (Jer. 13)
So what can we learn from this:
First, metaphors are just that, metaphors. We may therefore use whatever people will understand to get our message across without worrying about other implication that people may make. A metaphor only goes so far. To point out the ‘good’ aspects of poop would be to misunderstand what Paul is saying, and to point out that underwear are not the most respected piece of clothing would be to miss the fact that God wants us to be in a very secure relationship with Him.
The other thing we need to examine is our choice of wording and translating. By cleaning up the language in scripture we muddy the point. Poop and used menstrual rags are disgusting, and underwear is a lot closer to us than a waistband or a belt. We also need to consider the words that we refuse to use that are common in society. Paul used the word ‘poop’ or some version thereof while talking to the Philippians. Are we being too uptight by refusing to use some of the common words that non-Christians frequently use in our society? Yes, there are words that everyone agrees are offensive. But then there are the others. When appropriate should we pussy-foot around them, refusing to say them because we are Christian? When we do this, is it because we truly do not want to offend, or because we are trying to be better than others? If it makes us look pretentious and uptight then we need to knock it off. If we find ourselves talking about others who say questionable words as if we are better than them, then maybe it’s time to get over ourselves and expand our vocabulary, lest we become self-righteous and hateful? Just a thought.
Comments on: "Poop In the Bible" (3)
David did not take advantage of Saul in the cave, nor was he ashamed. He took part of his cloak to show saul that if he wanted to kill him he would have. He is showing Gods mercy through his action. He also did not kill him for it was not his place to kill a man that God anointed as king.
I’ve never read this story about David and Saul before. What is the scripture reference for this? I’m not finding it in the text.
1 Samuel 24