I ran across a verse today that made me pause, re-read, laugh, and then ponder. (I love those kinds of verses!)
Check this out: “They smashed the sacred pillar and wrecked the temple of Baal, converting it into a public toilet, as it remains to this day.” (2 Kings 10:27, NLT). Rewind…converted it to what?! Yep, you read it right.
If I were on a quiz show and the host said, “Okay, Kathy, for $10,000…True or false… The words ‘public toilet’ do appear in God’s Word…” I would have said “False” and forfeited my $10,000!
I was intrigued and decided to see how other versions of the Bible coined the phrase. This is what I found:
The King James Version says, “…and made it a draught house unto this day.” No offense to King James and those he commissioned to translate the Bible, but that sugar- coats the new function of Baal’s temple to the point of miscommunication. A draught house to me, is a tavern. Dictionary.com agrees with me. ;-)
The New King James Version says, “…and made it a refuse dump to this day.” Well, that sounds a lot closer to the truth, but refuse could be any type of trash or waste, which still leaves some ambiguity about where Baal worship ended up.
The NIV is more specific: “…and people have used it for a latrine to this day.” And the NCV and AMP (respectively) are more vivid in their depictions with “…and they made it into a sewage pit, as it is today” and “…made it [forever unclean] a privy to this day.” Ahh…can’t you just smell it on a hot, middle-eastern day? I bet real estate downwind took a nose-dive.
The Message uses pretty much the same verbage as the NLT: “They smashed the Baal altars and tore down the Baal temple. It's been a public toilet ever since.”
This is so fascinating to me! Not that I’m obsessed with bathrooms (ancient or modern) at all—in fact, if you visit one of mine you’ll probably see that I should be a little more obsessed with them, especially cleaning them. But what is so interesting to me is the fact that Baal worship was so entirely detestable to the Lord, and therefore to Jehu (the one doing all the remodeling) that it wasn’t enough to merely destroy the temple. What Jehu did was to ensure that Baal worship was thereafter associated with such a lowly position that it was “in the toilet”—literally.
I know I’m dangerously close to crossing a line here, but I can even imagine the soldiers “writing their names” on the pillar in a kind of a “Take that, Baal!” sort of gesture.
Wow. It’s hard to take a god seriously that you can do that to! God made clear in no uncertain terms that He is the only God, the One True God, and all others--even our 21st century idols--are just… well, worthy of a refuse dump.