WHAT ARE “CRACKNELS?”
by Shawn Brasseaux
“And take with thee ten loaves, and cracknels, and a cruse of honey, and go to him: he shall tell thee what shall become of the child” (1 Kings 14:3). Just what in the world are “cracknels?”
As you know, our King James Bible is belittled for its “archaic language.” Modern Bible translators and publishers, greatly endeavoring to recommend and $ell their product, remind us that our “old” King James is “irrelevant,” “obsolete,” and “hard-to-understand.” If we really want to learn what God has to say, they claim we need an “updated” Bible. If we want a “richer” Word of God, we must appeal to them with their “advanced” scholarship and “new” manuscript readings. The rank-and-file Bible reader (consumer) repeats these “scholarly words of wisdom,” and discourages other Christians from using the “old-fashioned” King James Bible. Yes, Christians launch an attack against the Bible!!!
The English language is a very rich pool of words, but, unfortunately, our vocabulary has become very limited in recent decades. There are countless words today that we English speakers no longer use. Elegant speech and majestic writing is largely “archaic.” People want to “dumb down” the Bible, having it speak the “language of the street.” Such mentality popularizes and $ells “contemporary Bible paraphrases.”
What does “cracknels” mean? We do not need a Hebrew dictionary or Bible commentary, which would probably contain the anti-KJV comment, “‘Cracknels’ is a poor translation!” Firstly, we can use some context clues. “Cracknels” is used in conjunction with “ten loaves [of bread]” and “a cruse of honey.” Perhaps “cracknels” are a grain-related food item? Secondly, we can find a decent English dictionary—for example, The Oxford English Dictionary or Webster’s 1828 English Dictionary—and… horror of horrors!!!!… learn a new word. “Cracknel” is “a light, crisp, savory biscuit.” It can also be “small pieces of crackling.” Incidentally, here in southern Louisiana, we Cajuns are known for “cracklins,” or fried pork skins.
When teaching the King James Bible, one does not need to remove the “archaic” words (that generates doubt concerning the Bible text). He should leave the archaic words in the text and then define the word for his students. Fellow Bible teachers, that is how we expand our vocabulary and generate faith in the Bible!