Can you explain “hale?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

“Hale” or a related form is found only twice in the King James Bible, which we now observe:

  • Luke 12:58: “When thou goest with thine adversary to the magistrate, as thou art in the way, give diligence that thou mayest be delivered from him; lest he hale thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and the officer cast thee into prison.”
  • Acts 8:3: “As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.”

Can you almost see the word “haul” here? If you have never realized it until now, that is the correlation you should make. “Hale” is taken from the Middle English “hal(l)en, hailen,” which simply meant “to drag, pull.” In the Book of Luke, it takes on a non-literal sense as in “compel or force someone to go to a court of law.” As per Saul of Tarsus persecuting the Messianic Church in the Acts verse, this is physical violence, and suggests chained or bound saints are literally being dragged off to jail cells for their faith in Jesus Christ.

“Suro,” the Greek term rendered “haling” in Acts 8:3 (see above), was translated in the following passages (at least the first two examples, anyway) to imply a literal, physical yanking or lugging along:

  • John 21:8: “And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging [suro] the net with fishes.”
  • Acts 14:19: “And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew [suro] him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.”
  • Acts 17:6: “And when they found them not, they drew [suro] Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;….”

Also see:
» What does “gaddest thou about” mean?
» Can you explain “reel to and fro” in Isaiah 24:20?
» What does “suborned” mean in Acts 6:11?