study break

10 Biblical Euphemisms and Insults

You’ve heard of Shakespearean insults. Now comes the biblical kind. With some spicy euphemisms thrown in for good measure.

Translations are King James Version (KJV) unless otherwise noted.

1. “Why then should I think upon a maid?”

Why indeed? This euphemism is translated more literally in other versions, which make it clear that Job is defending his honor. He’s not one of those wicked fellows who go around catcalling women (Job 31:1).

2. “The custom of women”

A nice little euphemism for a girl to use when it is her time of the month. The classic use is found in Genesis 31:35, where Rachel successfully wields her period to hide the fact that she’s stealing from her shifty dad.

3. “Each that pisseth against the wall”

This is a nice, KJV-style way of referring to men, found in various places in the Old Testament. It’s typically used when someone like David is mad and wants to kill every offending male in sight (as in 1 Samuel 25:34).

4. “Surely he covereth his feet in the summer chambers”

This phrase, found in Judges 3:24, is a euphemism for going to the bathroom. There’s a whole story behind this, actually, which is even more eyebrow-raising.

5. “Thou son of a perverse rebellious woman”

The King of Israel is seeking to kill the man God has chosen to usurp his throne. Unfortunately, this anointed king-to-be is friends with the current king’s son, who helps him escape. In 1 Samuel 20:30, King Saul unleashes his full verbal fury on this insubordinate child.

6. “Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?”

Galatians 4:16 is a must-have when you need to throw some sass at someone.

7. “Every man is stupid and without knowledge”

This response to idolatry is found in Jeremiah 51:17 (ESV). It’s one I’ve been tempted to tape up on my bathroom mirror, full Christian Instagram Girl style.

8. “It is hard to explain because you are slow to learn.”

I can only say if I was a professor I’d use Hebrews 5:11 (NIV) at some point.

9. “I found one upright man among a thousand, but not one upright woman among them all.”

Proof that being a player leads to despair in the long run. Solomon accumulates six hundred wives and three hundred concubines, and what does he end up saying? There’s not a single good woman on earth, dammit. Well, that’s what happens when you’re a jerk, Solomon. Ecclesiastes 7:8 (NIV).

10. “I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!”

Another gem from Galatians. In rebuking false teachers who wrongly say Christians must continue following the Law (and thus, continue with the covenant of circumcision), he gets snarky in verse 5:12 (NIV) and says this. If anything, go read the whole of Galatians. Paul seems to be quite riled up here, leading to plenty of this kind of thing.

The Bible is interesting as a religious text because it double as a historical account, recording the good – and the bad – of the people whose lives it recounts. It turns out, people are pretty interesting, so you end up with the whole spectrum of human heroism, folly, and absurdity in there. Any amusing snippets I’ve missed?


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