Can you explain “bolled” in Exodus 9:31?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Exodus 9:30-32: “[30] But as for thee and thy servants, I know that ye will not yet fear the LORD God. [31] And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled. [32] But the wheat and the rie were not smitten: for they were not grown up.”

These crops of Egypt are being destroyed because the LORD God is punishing Pharaoh and his nation for keeping the Israelites as their prisoners. Hail, and fire mingled with hail, are falling down and crushing harvests. This is the seventh of 10 judgments to devastate Egypt overall. “Flax” is a plant used not only for food (seeds), but also for fiber or yarn. Notice the parallel in the verse. If the flax is “bolled,” that is analogous to the barley “in the ear.” These are blossomed or flowered, in the seed or pod, but they are ruined. Flax and barley would have used for clothing and libations (sacrifices). As for the “wheat” and “rie” (rye), the food, they were spared because they were “not grown up.” A “boll” is the rounded seed capsule of a cotton or flax plant, the term derived from Middle Dutch “bolle,” as in “rounded object” (related to “bubble”).

Also see:
» What are “fitches?”
» What are “victuals?”
» Can you explain Exodus 8:9, “Glory over me?”

What is an “habergeon?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

The first hint is that it is something worn on the body. Also, it is used in wartime. Read the relevant passages:

  • Exodus 28:32: “And there shall be an hole in the top of it, in the midst thereof: it shall have a binding of woven work round about the hole of it, as it were the hole of an habergeon, that it be not rent.”
  • Exodus 39:23: “And there was an hole in the midst of the robe, as the hole of an habergeon, with a band round about the hole, that it should not rend.”
  • 2 Chronicles 26:14: “And Uzziah prepared for them throughout all the host shields, and spears, and helmets, and habergeons, and bows, and slings to cast stones.”
  • Nehemiah 4:16: “And it came to pass from that time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah.”
  • Job 41:26: “The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold: the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon.”

Basically, a “habergeon” is a sleeveless coat of mail or scale armor. The Jewish high priest had a garment similar to it in that it had a hole for the neck to pass through (Exodus verses). As for the other three verses (Chronicles, Nehemiah, and Job), these concern weapons and other equipment used in actual combat.

Also see:
» What is a “battlement?”
» What is a “buckler?”
» Who or what are the “Cherethites” and “Pelethites?”

What are “fitches?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

These appear four times in Scripture in three verses:

  • “When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rie in their place?” (Isaiah 28:25).
  • “For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod” (Isaiah 28:27).
  • “Take thou also unto thee wheat, and barley, and beans, and lentiles, and millet, and fitches, and put them in one vessel, and make thee bread thereof, according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon thy side, three hundred and ninety days shalt thou eat thereof” (Ezekiel 4:9).

One context clue is they are used in conjunction with various grains (“wheat,” “barley,” et cetera) and food in general (“beans,” “bread,” et cetera). Ezekiel was to use “fitches” as an ingredient in an “interesting” recipe for bread (see our related study linked at the end of this article).

“Fitches” are an herbaceous annual plant—the common name is “fennel” or “black cumin,” but the technical or scientific name is Nigella sativa—whose black seeds are used as a seasoning. The flavor is pungent or strong. It also has medicinal properties.

Also see:
» Did God really demand Ezekiel eat excrement?
» What is “cleanness of teeth” in Amos 4:6?
» What is the “one needful thing” in Luke 10:42?

Should we pray to the Holy Ghost?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Absolutely not! This practice is common amongst Pentecostals and other Charismatics, but never one time in Scripture did anyone ever address the Holy Spirit in prayer. We must recognize that as nothing but a church tradition, not Bible. We either let the written Word of God be our final authority, or we allow our denominational system to be our final authority. Usually, in religion, people will believe and do whatever they want, regardless of what Scripture says. Hopefully, dear friend, you value and esteem God’s Book as highly as He does (and, hopefully, you will discard the traditions of men).

When the Lord Jesus taught Israel’s Little Flock to pray, they were to address the Father (Matthew 6:9; Luke 11:2). Our Father which art in heaven….” is how their model prayer begins. Christ Himself addressed the Father in Matthew 26:39,42: “And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father,…. He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father,….” In Ephesians 3:14, the Apostle Paul writes, “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,….” Also, chapter 5, verse 20: “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;….”

Through the mediatorship of Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5), we pray to the Father via the aid of the Holy Spirit indwelling us and causing us to recall pertinent Bible verses that we have read and believed (see Romans 8:26-27). To pray to the Holy Spirit is to be ignorant of one of the Scriptures’ most basic teachings. For more information about Pauline prayer and the Holy Spirit’s (oft-misunderstood) ministry, refer to our related studies linked below.

Also see:
» Should I recite “The Lord’s Prayer?
» How should I pray?
» How can I have an effectual prayer life?
» What about hindered and unanswered prayer?
» Should I say the “sinner’s prayer?”
» To whom should I pray?
» Should we pray with people of various denominations?
» How can we “pray without ceasing?”
» How is the Holy Spirit “the Comforter?”
» Which belongs in Romans 8:16 and Romans 8:26 in the King James Bible—“the Spirit itself” or “the Spirit Himself?”

How does the love of Christ “constrain” us?


by Shawn Brasseaux

When the Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 5:14, “For the love of Christ constraineth us,” he is describing the process by which the Christian life operates. It is not us struggling to keep a series of rules and regulations, performing to get blessings from God (and receiving curses when we fail). It is not our love for Christ, for that is fickle and weak. We are unable to love Jesus Christ 100 percent of the time, with all our being. That is what sin is. According to Scripture, it is Christ’s love for us, that unconditional, permanent, endless love that drove Him all the way to Calvary’s cruel cross to pay for our sins! “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

The Christian life is the intense working of the indwelling Holy Spirit, Him laboring to bring into the reality of our lives the Words of Grace: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

“Constraineth” is a compelling or urging toward a particular course of action. We are tightly bound together, driven to a specific end, the goal of 2 Corinthians 5:14: “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” To “judge” here means to exercise the mind, to evaluate or examine evidence in order to reach a verdict.

Christ died for all (1 Timothy 2:5-6), since all were dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1); but He is “specially [the Saviour] of those that believe” (1 Timothy 4:10); and, if He is the Saviour of Christians, Christians should live in light of that reality, conducting themselves not in accordance with their own selfish desires but for the glory of the God-Man who died for them and resurrected! After all, as He died, so they died to sin; as He rose again, so they arose to walk in newness of life (Romans chapter 6). Here is the grace life, the key to victorious Christian living! Remember, it is the Lord Jesus Christ’s love for us.

Also see:
» Is grace a license to sin?
» What is the Lord’s will for my Christian life?
» Why do some Christians persistently behave like lost people?
» Does “once saved, always saved” entitle us to abuse God’s grace?

» How are we God’s “workmanship?”
» Does God see us Christians as sinners?

What are “bunches of camels?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

Only once do we find this in the Holy Scripture. “The burden of the beasts of the south: into the land of trouble and anguish, from whence come the young and old lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent, they will carry their riches upon the shoulders of young asses, and their treasures upon the bunches of camels, to a people that shall not profit them” (Isaiah 30:6).

In the context, JEHOVAH God is advising Israel not to seek help from Egypt (for they will be a disappointment). Yet, the Authorized Version King James Bible translators provide an enigmatic description that we must study to clarify. What are “bunches of camels?” “Bunch” normally means “a great number,” yet, that does not seem to fit. We need to expand our vocabulary.

The English word “bunch” can also be used in the sense of “a knob; lump; protuberance.” Isaiah, therefore, would likely not be referring to a lot of camels but rather the humps of camels. After all, the wording of the verse indicates that treasures are upon the bunches of the camels. The camels are beasts of burden, carrying merchandise on their backs. For another clue, look at the parallel in the verse: “they will carry their riches upon the shoulders of young asses.” As the donkeys bear loads on their backs, so do the camels (that is, on the humps on their backs). It is a simple concept.

“Bunch” is the translation of the Hebrew word “dabeset,” related to the term (“debas”) frequently rendered “honey” (Genesis 43:11; Exodus 3:8; Exodus 16:31; Leviticus 2:11; Deuteronomy 8:8; Judges 14:8-9; et al.). How did Hebrew ever associate camel humps with honey? Two explanations have been suggested. Firstly, the fatty contents of the camel hump have a sticky consistency like honey. Secondly, a camel’s hump resembles a beehive. Either one of these facts (or perhaps something else) led to an intensification of “debas” (honey) to make it “dabeset” (hump). Whatever the case, there is still no mistranslation in our 1611 Bible.

Also see:
» What is the “train” in 1 Kings 10:2?
» What is a “sheepcote?”
» What does “several” mean in the King James Bible?

What is an “execration?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

“Execration” appears twice in the text of the King James Bible, only in Jeremiah:

  • “For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; As mine anger and my fury hath been poured forth upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem; so shall my fury be poured forth upon you, when ye shall enter into Egypt: and ye shall be an execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach; and ye shall see this place no more” (42:18).
  • “Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will set my face against you for evil, and to cut off all Judah. And I will take the remnant of Judah, that have set their faces to go into the land of Egypt to sojourn there, and they shall all be consumed, and fall in the land of Egypt; they shall even be consumed by the sword and by the famine: they shall die, from the least even unto the greatest, by the sword and by the famine: and they shall be an execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach” (44:11-12).

According to the context clues, “execration” has negative overtones. When King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon attacked the idolatrous city of Jerusalem some 600 years before Christ, a portion of the people of Judah migrated southward into Egypt to escape God’s wrath. These Jews had outright disobeyed JEHOVAH God, for He had ordered them to remain in Judah and be taken captive to Babylon. Centuries upon centuries of heathen religion in Israel had finally resulted in the fifth course of judgment, being taken prisoners of the Gentiles, and this curse of the broken Law of Moses was certain. As chapter 44 chronicles, the Jews evaded the judgment and continued idol worship even in their new home in Egypt, provoking God’s righteous indignation there. He promised war and famine would afflict them, rendering them “an execration, and an astonishment, and a curse, and a reproach.”

What is an “execration?” It is something declared loathed or hated; the Latin term “exsecrari” (as in “curse”) influenced our English language here. God’s people have polluted themselves with Satan worship, and now they are under the curses of the Mosaic Law (see Leviticus chapter 26; Deuteronomy chapters 27–28). The onlookers will be stunned to see the extent and severity of the punishment on the Jews “hiding” from God in Egypt!

Also see:
» What are “old cast clouts?”
» What does “had in abomination” mean?
» Did God really demand Ezekiel eat excrement?

Can you explain “betimes?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

“Betimes,” although unfamiliar to us, is actually derived from two easy words we know all too well—“by” and “time.” The concept being communicated is soon, early, or in good time; it is in contrast to something being late or stalled. We find it five times in the King James text:

  • Genesis 26:31: “And they rose up betimes in the morning, and sware one to another: and Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace.”
  • 2 Chronicles 36:15: “And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place:….”
  • Job 8:5: “If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty;….”
  • Job 24:5: “Behold, as wild asses in the desert, go they forth to their work; rising betimes for a prey: the wilderness yieldeth food for them and for their children.”
  • Proverbs 13:24: “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”

Also see:
» Can you explain “ere?”
» What are “prognosticators?”
» What does “listeth” mean?

Can you explain “ere?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

The Authorized Version employs the term 10 times. If we look at “ere” (see the verses below), we should think of “early.” After all, both “ere” and “early” are related to the Old English “aer,” the Old Norse “ar,” and the Greek “eir.” We can adjust our understanding a bit further, by taking “ere” to mean “before” (an event occurring earlier than another).

  • Exodus 1:19: “And the midwives said unto Pharaoh, Because the Hebrew women are not as the Egyptian women; for they are lively, and are delivered ere the midwives come in unto them.”
  • Numbers 11:33: “And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague.”
  • Numbers 14:11: “And the LORD said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?”
  • 1 Samuel 3:3: “And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep;….”
  • 2 Samuel 2:26: “Then Abner called to Joab, and said, Shall the sword devour for ever? knowest thou not that it will be bitterness in the latter end? how long shall it be then, ere thou bid the people return from following their brethren?”
  • 2 Kings 6:32: “But Elisha sat in his house, and the elders sat with him; and the king sent a man from before him: but ere the messenger came to him, he said to the elders, See ye how this son of a murderer hath sent to take away mine head? look, when the messenger cometh, shut the door, and hold him fast at the door: is not the sound of his master’s feet behind him?”
  • Job 18:2: “How long will it be ere ye make an end of words? mark, and afterwards we will speak.”
  • Jeremiah 47:6: “O thou sword of the LORD, how long will it be ere thou be quiet? put up thyself into thy scabbard, rest, and be still.”
  • Hosea 8:5: “Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off; mine anger is kindled against them: how long will it be ere they attain to innocency?”
  • John 4:49: “The nobleman saith unto him, Sir, come down ere my child die.”

Also see:
» What does “several” mean in the King James Bible?
» What does “sith” mean in Ezekiel 35:6?
» What does “descry” mean?

Why did Peter merely cut off the ear of the high priest’s servant?


by Shawn Brasseaux

The account is documented four times in the Holy Bible. We read these passages now:

  • Matthew 26:51-54: And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear. Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?”
  • Mark 14:47-49: And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled.”
  • Luke 22:50-53: And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him. Then Jesus said unto the chief priests, and captains of the temple, and the elders, which were come to him, Be ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves? When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”
  • John 18:10-11: Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”

The Apostle Judas Iscariot, having been shown as a traitor, leads a mob of unbelievers to arrest the Lord Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane. A panic ensues and a disciple lashes out with a sword and amputates an ear of the high priest’s servant. Of course, John alone reveals the name of the sword wielder—the Apostle Peter—and his unfortunate victim—Malchus. Luke and John pinpoint the right ear. Is it not strange Peter did nothing more than amputate the man’s ear? Why was he aiming for the ear? Obviously, that would result in a non-fatal blow. A defensive move would have been more serious.

Remember, the servant’s ear would have been sliced off in only one of two ways. Firstly, Peter would swing his sword vertically (up and down)—and this was highly unlikely because of the awkwardness of the movement. Secondly, he would swing his sword horizontally (side to side). The latter scenario seems most plausible. Apparently, Peter sought to behead the servant, so he was aiming for the servant’s neck, but the servant ducked, and with the servant’s head tilted to the left side and lowered, Peter’s sword grazed the right side of the servant’s head (thus severing the ear) instead of cutting into his neck and decapitating him! Yes, Peter aimed to kill!

Peter wrongly supposed the Lord was powerless to prevent His arrest. Christ promptly corrected His sincere but rash chief Apostle, admonishing him to put away his sword and let Bible prophecy come to pass as Father God intended. To say this was to Peter’s shock is an understatement. Christ would die on Calvary’s cross as the prophets foretold. If Jesus really wanted to avoid this, He did not need Peter’s little sword. Father God could send an angelic army capable of wiping out all lifeforms on Earth! Alas, the Lord Jesus did not call down those heavenly troops—and Earth was spared (for the time being, anyway). He went on ahead with submitting to that apprehension and ultimate crucifixion. As one final miracle of the Gospel of the Kingdom—and only (medical) Doctor Luke reports it—the Lord Jesus Christ miraculously reattaches the servant’s ear as if nothing happened!

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here:, or email me at Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Also see:
» How many angels will be with Jesus Christ when He returns?
» Did Judas Iscariot have to betray Christ?
» Did Peter use obscenities when denying Christ?