Can you explain “impotent?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

We find “impotent” just four times in the King James text. The first clue as to its meaning is that it always sits in the context of infirm or sickly physical bodies. Observe:

  • John 5:3,7: “[3] In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water…. [7] The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me.”
  • Acts 4:9: “If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;….” (This points back to the healing in chapter 3.)
  • Acts 14:8: “And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked:….”

The second clue is that “impotent” contains a familiar word—“potent” (as in “powerful, strong, effective”). We can at least obtain a general idea. However, with the addition of the prefix “im–” (a variant of “in–”), a negative is introduced, thus cancelling the description. “Impotent” therefore literally means “not powerful”—that is, weak, helpless, powerless. In Greek, it is “adunatos” (literally, “unable, without strength”—our English word “dynamic” [“lively, active”] is derived from the Greek language).

Regarding each of these instances, not only is a miracle of physical healing involved (read the contexts), it is a communication of how the God of the Bible can cure spiritual illness (sin) that these physical ailments represent, whether amongst the Jews (John chapter 5 and Acts chapter 4) or Gentiles (Acts chapter 14). We sinners are helpless, which is why we need Almighty God to do what we cannot: save us from our sin problem by sending Jesus Christ to die for those sins, be buried, and be raised again so we can walk in newness of life (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)!

Also see:
» What does “lusty” mean?
» What does “ruddy” mean?
» What does “pernicious” mean?
» What is the significance of The Parable of the Good Samaritan?

What is a “latchet?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

The term “latchet” is found only four times in the text of the Authorized Version:

  • Isaiah 5:27: “None shall be weary nor stumble among them; none shall slumber nor sleep; neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken:….” (The Prophet Isaiah is describing the formidable and mighty foes whom the LORD will bring upon sinful Israel.)
  • Mark 1:7: “And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.”
  • Luke 3:16: “John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:….”
  • John 1:27: “He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose.”

We want to draw our attention to the final three references, John the Baptist’s message about Jesus Christ. John says he is not worthy to unloose the “latchet” of the Lord’s shoes. Despite being an archaic word, we can guess its likely meaning because “latchet” is paired with “loosing” and it has the familiar term “latch” within it (although, surprisingly, the words “latch” and “latchet” are etymologically unrelated). These “shoes” were open sandals. Like with any shoes, there was a way to fasten them to feet. “Latchet” comes to us from the French “lachet,” itself based on “laz” (“lace”). In the case of Bible times, a thong (strip of leather) was used to secure shoes to one’s feet.

Yet, exactly what was John the Baptist communicating when he declared he was not worthy to unloose the “latchet” of the Lord Jesus’ shoes? It takes a little cultural insight. The servant untying his master’s shoes was the lowest and humblest task in that day, and John did not even consider himself worthy of doing that with Jesus! During Bible times, one of servant’s jobs was to untie and remove his master’s sandals. Sinful John confessed to Israel that he is so lowly compared to the magnificent and holy Messiah Jesus whom he is preaching, that he, as Jesus’ servant, is not worthy of even stooping down and untying his Lord’s sandals (John did not think he was good enough to perform one of the lowest types of service!). In fact, John added in Matthew 3:11, “whose shoes I am not worthy to bear”—John said he was unworthy of also picking up Jesus’ shoes! John cautioned Israel not to take Jesus’ arrival lightly (which they still did, despite that warning).

Also see:
» Why did John the Baptist behave so strangely?
» Was John the Baptist really Elijah?
» How could John the Baptist question if Jesus really is Christ?

What is a “concord?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

Second Corinthians 6:15: “And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?”

We figure out the definition of “concord” by recognizing the parallelism and contrasts in this portion of Scripture:

“[14] Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers…”

  • “…what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?” (verse 14)
  • “…what communion hath light with darkness?” (verse 14)
  • “…what concord hath Christ with Belial?” (verse 15)
  • “…what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” (verse 15)
  • “…what agreement hath the temple of God with idols?” (verse 16)

“[16] … for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. [17] Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. [18] And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

The five contrasting statements in verses 14-16 give ample reasons why we believers should not be “unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” Righteousness and unrighteousness are incompatible, nullifying or canceling each other. Light and darkness are diametrically opposed, also canceling one another. Christ [not just Jesus Christ, but us, the Church the Body of Christ; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13,27] and Belial [Satan, the personification of all that is worthless or profitless] do not fellowship; they are contrary to each other too. Believers and infidels (unbelievers) cannot mix. The temple of God (believers’ bodies; 2 Corinthians 6:16; also, 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19) is unharmonious with idols.

In verses 14-16, we can see these five near-synonyms: “fellowship,” “communion,” “concord,” “part,” “agreement.” When you notice “concord,” think of such terms as “concordance” (harmony) and “concordant” (agreeable). It is impossible for agreement, harmony, union, between… righteousness and unrighteousness, light and darkness, Christ and Belial (Satan, worthlessness), believers and infidels (unbelievers), and the temple of God (Christian’s body) and idols. For more information about sound Bible doctrine, you are strongly encouraged to consider our studies linked below.

Also see:
» Who or what is “Belial?”
» Did Paul quote verses out of context in 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1?
» What is “secondary separation?”
» Can you explain “reproof” and “reprove?”
» Does doctrine really matter?
» How can false teachers sleep at night?
» Should we pray with people of various denominations?
» Should we hate the denominational people who misled us?
» Must one be a “King James Bible Pauline dispensationalist” to have eternal life?

Who or what is “Belial?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

“Belial” is found a total of 16 times in our King James Bible—mostly the Old Testament Scriptures. If we wish to learn the definition of a Bible term, the best approach is to examine other verses that contain the same word or deal with the same subject. The Holy Bible has its own set of vocabulary and meanings. Hence, we should let Scripture interpret itself, without inserting man’s opinions or idle speculation.

We look at the first instance of “Belial” in the Bible so we can establish the Scriptural tone or definition. Go to Deuteronomy chapter 13: “[1] If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, [2] And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; [3] Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. [4] Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. [5] And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.”

Here, someone in Israel is working to deceive them, to draw them away from JEHOVAH God and His Word to them, and have them follow false gods (idols of the neighboring heathen). Furthermore, these false teachers or false prophets might even perform a miraculous demonstration to charm or seduce Israel into listening to and accept their message as true. It could concern a “healing,” a “vision from heaven,” an “angelic message,” a “dream,” or whatever. (Just like the experiences we read about in bestselling “Christian” literature and see in highly acclaimed “Christian” films!) The LORD God commanded Israel to ignore those miraculous demonstrations and follow His Word. If that false teacher or false prophet was speaking contrary to the written Word of God, he or she was to be—no questions asked—put to death (verse 5). If this penalty were in force today, no doubt there would be very few ministers alive!!! God told Israel she was to have no other gods before Him (Exodus 20:1-6; Deuteronomy 5:6-10). Israel was expected to obey that Mosaic Law, especially the first two of the Ten Commandments.

Continue reading from Deuteronomy chapter 13: “[6] If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; [7] Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; [8] Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: [9] But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. [10] And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. [11] And all Israel shall hear, and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you.”

Again, if someone in Israel had a relative or a friend who encouraged fellow Jews to worship and serve gods other than JEHOVAH God, those idolaters were to be put to death by stoning too (verses 9-10). God did not tolerate such paganism in Israel. It was quite a serious matter, so much so that, to be guilty of it meant automatic capital punishment!

We keep moving through Deuteronomy chapter 13: “[12] If thou shalt hear say in one of thy cities, which the LORD thy God hath given thee to dwell there, saying, [13] Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known; [14] Then shalt thou enquire, and make search, and ask diligently; and, behold, if it be truth, and the thing certain, that such abomination is wrought among you; [15] Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword. [16] And thou shalt gather all the spoil of it into the midst of the street thereof, and shalt burn with fire the city, and all the spoil thereof every whit, for the LORD thy God: and it shall be an heap for ever; it shall not be built again. [17] And there shall cleave nought of the cursed thing to thine hand: that the LORD may turn from the fierceness of his anger, and shew thee mercy, and have compassion upon thee, and multiply thee, as he hath sworn unto thy fathers; [18] When thou shalt hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep all his commandments which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the LORD thy God.”

If there was indisputable proof that a certain Israeli city had followed idolatrous Jews, God ordered the whole city was to be destroyed by sword (war) and fire. We need not discuss this chapter in any further detail. What we want to do is re-read verse 13: “Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known;….” As noted earlier, here we see “Belial” for the first time in the Bible. As we can see, the context is idol worship. Thus, in this context, “children of Belial” are people who “serve other gods.”

We proceed to the next occurrence of “Belial” in Scripture, Judges 19:22: “Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, and beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him.” The context here is that Baal worship (idolatry) has gripped the nation Israel. Whenever Baal worship (idolatry) entered Israel, homosexuality became widespread (see the “sodomites” of Deuteronomy 23:17, 1 Kings 14:24, 1 Kings 15:12, 1 Kings 22:46, and 2 Kings 23:7). Hence, while a Levite and his prostitute servant-wife were traveling on the side of Mount Ephraim, an abnormal and extremely graphic incident occurred in Judges chapter 19. (You will be spared the most explicit details in this study, but, friend, you read that chapter on your own to learn just how degenerate Israel became once she forsook the one true God.) The men of Gibeah (near Jerusalem)—“certain sons of Belial”—wished to have sexual relations with the Levite who was staying in their town for the night. (Again, you are spared the most graphic details. Read the chapter on your own.) The point is these homosexuals in Israel were idolaters: their habitual idol worship (throughout the time of Judges) caused them to become sexually perverted. God considered them “sons of Belial.” Again, observe how “Belial” is connected to idols and false religion. In Judges 20:13, we see these individuals again: “Now therefore deliver us the men, the children of Belial, which are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death, and put away evil from Israel. But the children of Benjamin would not hearken to the voice of their brethren the children of Israel.”

Now, we move over to Hannah in 1 Samuel chapter 1: “[10] And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore. [11] And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head. [12] And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth. [13] Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken. [14] And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee. [15] And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD. [16] Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto. [17] Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him. [18] And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.”

When barren Hannah went to the LORD’S house to bitterly weep and pray, she talked silently. Her husband’s other wife had tormented her because of her infertility, and she so desperately wanted a child! Eli the Priest watched Hannah’s lips move, but he did not hear anything coherent, so he assumed she must have been drunken (verses 12-13). All we want to see again is how Hannah denied being a “a daughter of Belial” (verse 16). She was not a drunkard or wicked woman, someone living contrary to the Law of Moses and the LORD God’s instructions. (By the way, Hannah went on to bear a son—the Prophet Samuel, ruler of Israel before King Saul reigned.)

Not long after Hannah’s conversation with Eli, this priest’s two sons (Hophni and Phinehas, also priests) are described in 1 Samuel 2:12: “Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.” Although “religious” leaders, they were evil men, not conducting themselves in an exemplary fashion as JEHOVAH God’s priests. They were presumptuous, selfish, and blasphemous (see verses 13-17). Eventually, the LORD God took their worthless lives using Philistine armies (chapter 4)!

Now, we read the account of how some Israelites responded to King Saul’s crowning. First Samuel 10:25-27: “[25] Then Samuel told the people the manner of the kingdom, and wrote it in a book, and laid it up before the LORD. And Samuel sent all the people away, every man to his house. [26] And Saul also went home to Gibeah; and there went with him a band of men, whose hearts God had touched. [27] But the children of Belial said, How shall this man save us? And they despised him, and brought no presents. But he held his peace.” There are two groups of people here—those “whose hearts God had touched,” and “the children of Belial.” “Belial” is being used in contrast to “God” here. Keep that in mind, for we will come back to it later.

King Saul has been harassing and trying to kill believing David for some time. There is a man in Carmel named Nabal, “churlish [rude, cruel] and evil in his doings” (1 Samuel 25:3). David sends servants and asks for Nabal’s help, but Nabal refuses. Consequently, David seeks revenge, and Nabal’s servant goes to warn Nabal’s wife, Abigail. The young man relays this news to Abigail: “Now therefore know and consider what thou wilt do; for evil is determined against our master, and against all his household: for he is such a son of Belial, that a man cannot speak to him” (verse 17). Abigail goes to assist David’s men, and she addresses David in verse 25: “Let not my lord, I pray thee, regard this man of Belial, even Nabal: for as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him: but I thine handmaid saw not the young men of my lord, whom thou didst send.” Observe how Nabal is designated as “churlish and evil” (verse 3), a “son of Belial” (verse 17), and a “man of Belial” (verse 25). He is not loyal to JEHOVAH God in his ways.

First Samuel 30:22: “Then answered all the wicked men and men of Belial, of those that went with David, and said, Because they went not with us, we will not give them ought of the spoil that we have recovered, save to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away, and depart.” In the final days of King Saul’s reign, the Amalekites invaded parts of southern Israel, taking prisoners of war and various goods (including livestock). In response, David had to lead Jewish men to recover their family members and goods. Some men who had traveled with David refused to give the spoils to the men who had stayed behind to guard the Jews’ possessions. The Bible calls these greedy people “wicked men and men of Belial.” They were avaricious, evil, thinking improperly and not following the God of the Bible. Material goods were their idol.

Second Samuel 16:7-8 is another reference worthy of attention: “[7] And thus said Shimei when he cursed, Come out, come out, thou bloody man, and thou man of Belial: [8] The LORD hath returned upon thee all the blood of the house of Saul, in whose stead thou hast reigned; and the LORD hath delivered the kingdom into the hand of Absalom thy son: and, behold, thou art taken in thy mischief, because thou art a bloody man.” Shimei, a man of the house of the late King Saul (verse 5), is upset that David has now assumed the throne of Israel. David’s son Absalom has stolen David’s throne, causing Shimei to gloat over this “justice.” Shimei has a very low opinion of David, addressing the king as, “thou man of Belial.”

We read in 2 Samuel 20:1: “And there happened to be there a man of Belial, whose name was Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite: and he blew a trumpet, and said, We have no part in David, neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: every man to his tents, O Israel.” Sheba, no doubt, is a “man of Belial” because he is encouraging Israel to commit treason, turn away from David the king whom God had personally appointed over Israel (see 2 Samuel 7:8).

Second Samuel 23:6: “But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands….” This is an excerpt of King David’s farewell address in which he defines the reign of a godly king. The “sons of Belial” (evil men, people following Satan) will be forcefully removed and destroyed (see also verse 7).

When King Abijah (David’s great-grandson) ascended Judah’s throne, Abijah referred back to the days when his father (Rehoboam) lost the northern tribes to King Jeroboam: “And there are gathered unto him [Jeroboam] vain men, the children of Belial, and have strengthened themselves against Rehoboam the son of Solomon, when Rehoboam was young and tenderhearted, and could not withstand them” (2 Chronicles 13:7). From Abijah’s perspective, these supporters of Jeroboam’s kingdom were worthless or evil, for Abijah’s father Rehoboam and Jeroboam were bitter enemies. Yet, the division between the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and Southern Kingdom (Judah) was the LORD’S doing (see 2 Chronicles 10:15): King Solomon’s pagan idolatry had resulted in Israel’s political collapse, the 10 northern tribes leaving the house of David for another dynasty (1 Kings 11:1-13; 1 Kings 12:15; cf. Leviticus 26:19)!

Queen Jezebel is perhaps the most notorious woman in Jewish history. This heathen idolater and her husband (King Ahab) made Baal (false god) worship the official religion of Israel (Northern Kingdom). Among their dastardly deeds, Jezebel conspired to murder an innocent Jewish man because Ahab wanted his property. First Kings chapter 21: “[7] And Jezebel his wife said unto him, Dost thou now govern the kingdom of Israel? arise, and eat bread, and let thine heart be merry: I will give thee the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite. [8] So she wrote letters in Ahab’s name, and sealed them with his seal, and sent the letters unto the elders and to the nobles that were in his city, dwelling with Naboth. [9] And she wrote in the letters, saying, Proclaim a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people: [10] And set two men, sons of Belial, before him, to bear witness against him, saying, Thou didst blaspheme God and the king. And then carry him out, and stone him, that he may die.

“[11] And the men of his city, even the elders and the nobles who were the inhabitants in his city, did as Jezebel had sent unto them, and as it was written in the letters which she had sent unto them. [12] They proclaimed a fast, and set Naboth on high among the people. [13] And there came in two men, children of Belial, and sat before him: and the men of Belial witnessed against him, even against Naboth, in the presence of the people, saying, Naboth did blaspheme God and the king. Then they carried him forth out of the city, and stoned him with stones, that he died. [14] Then they sent to Jezebel, saying, Naboth is stoned, and is dead.” While we will forgo any further commentary, suffice it to say that these two “children of Belial” and “sons of Belial” (verse 13) were false witnesses, liars, guilty of accusing an innocent man and playing a role in his wrongful execution. (An interesting parallel to this is Matthew 26:57-62 and Mark 14:53-60.)

The name “Belial” is found one solitary time in the New Testament, 2 Corinthians 6:15. We examine it in its context: “[14] Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? [15] And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? [16] And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. [17] Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, [18] And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”

We see how “Belial” is in contradistinction (opposition) to “Christ.” This is the strongest contrast possible: “Belial” represents evil but “Christ” symbolizes good. Remember all the verses that have gone before! As it is impossible for good to agree with evil, so Christians should remain separate from unbelievers (evil world system—especially false religion, denominationalism, et cetera). For a fuller treatment of this in-depth topic, see our related studies linked at the end of this article.


If you look at how the Bible text uses this term, “Belial” is a negative word, connected to people cooperating with Satan’s policy of evil (worthlessness, destruction, lawlessness, wickedness, naughtiness, ungodliness, et cetera). (Second Samuel 16:7 and 2 Chronicles 13:7 are insults based on human viewpoint. God had not taken David’s kingdom and given it to Absalom; Shimei was mistaken. The LORD [not Satan] had caused men to rise up against King Rehoboam; Abijah was wrong.) “Belial” is the transliteration of the Hebrew “beliya`al” (“beliy” meaning “without;” “ya`al” defined as “profit”). In other words, “sons of Belial” or “children of Belial” are “without profit,” following a course that is “spiritually worthless,” originating from and perpetuating Satan’s worthless policy of evil.

Also see:
» What is “concord?”
» Did Paul quote verses out of context in 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1?
» What is “secondary separation?”
» Can you explain “reproof” and “reprove?”
» Does doctrine really matter?
» How can false teachers sleep at night?
» Should we pray with people of various denominations?
» Should we hate the denominational people who misled us?
» Must one be a “King James Bible Pauline dispensationalist” to have eternal life?

What are “sheaves?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

The singular form is “sheaf” whereas the plural is “sheaves.” If we look at the verses below, we will observe one noteworthy clue: these nouns are situated in the context of reaping harvests from crop fields. Interestingly, “sheaf” comes to us from Old English and is related to “shove.” Think of cereal grain stalks arranged lengthwise and tied together to form a “bundle,” “cluster,” or “heap.”

  • Genesis 37:7: “For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.”
  • Leviticus 23:10-12,15: “[10] Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: [11] And he shall wave the sheaf before the LORD, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. [12] And ye shall offer that day when ye wave the sheaf an he lamb without blemish of the first year for a burnt offering unto the LORD…. [15] And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven sabbaths shall be complete:….”
  • Deuteronomy 24:19: “When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the work of thine hands.”
  • Ruth 2:7,15: “[7] And she said, I pray you, let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves: so she came, and hath continued even from the morning until now, that she tarried a little in the house…. [15] And when she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, Let her glean even among the sheaves, and reproach her not:….”
  • Nehemiah 13:15: “In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals.”
  • Job 24:10: “They cause him to go naked without clothing, and they take away the sheaf from the hungry;….”
  • Psalm 126:6: “He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
  • Psalm 129:7: “Wherewith the mower filleth not his hand; nor he that bindeth sheaves his bosom.”
  • Amos 2:13: “Behold, I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves.”
  • Micah 4:12: “But they know not the thoughts of the LORD, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor.”
  • Zechariah 12:6: “In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem.”

Also see:
» What are “swaddling” clothes?
» What is a “sop?”
» What are “dregs?”
» What are “cracknels?”
» What are “fitches?”

Can you explain “reproof” and “reprove?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

The King James Bible makes reference to “reproof,” “reproofs,” “reprove,” “reproved,” “reprover,” or “reproveth” almost 50 times. What do the base words—“reproof” and “reprove”—mean?


If we look at all references (52 to be exact—they will be presented in this study), we will notice three verses in particular stand out so as to provide us with the Bible’s definition:

  • Psalm 50:21: “These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.”
  • John 3:20: “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”
  • Ephesians 5:13: “But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.”

“Reprove” is connected to “set them in order before thine eyes” (Psalms), causing light to shine on and expose evil deeds (John), or things being made manifest by light (Ephesians). Close synonyms are “convict” (“accuse of wrongdoing”), “rebuke” (“criticize for misconduct”), and “reprimand” (“express disapproval of an action”).

One of the most well-known passages about “reproof” is 2 Timothy 3:16: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:….” That is, the Scriptures (God’s inspired and preserved words) are advantageous because they impart to us “doctrine” (teaching worthy of our belief/trust), “reproof” (criticism to show us what we are doing wrong), “correction” (knowledge we should believe so we can think properly)—all of this being “instruction in righteousness” (how to walk according to our righteous/justified identity in Christ). For two examples of Bible reproof, read Paul’s two epistles to Corinth: these saints were guilty of a host of sins, much of which the Church the Body of Christ has yet to overcome even now (denominations/sects, abuse of spiritual gifts, infatuation with heathen philosophy/human wisdom, petty arguments, reducing the Lord’s Supper to devil worship or empty ceremonialism, fornication, doubting the doctrine of bodily resurrection, among other things)!

Saints, we are to take the Scriptures rightly divided (2 Timothy 2:15) and follow 2 Timothy 4:2: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” To wit, with the indwelling Holy Spirit teaching us His words in the Holy Bible, causing us to see what is wrong, so we are to inform others and show them what is wrong (false doctrine, misbehavior, and so on). That is the work of the ministry, which we do, of course, according to the following counsel: “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will” (2 Timothy 2:24-26).

For the remainder of this study, bear in mind the words that have gone before, and read the following verses to become better acquainted with how reproof and reproving work in these respective contexts. Notice how there is much opposition, as sin works in the human heart to fight against the LORD God!

“REPROVER” – noun (the person who causes someone to see/know/judge/discern right from wrong)

  • Ezekiel 3:26: “And I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth, that thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be to them a reprover: for they are a rebellious house.”

“REPROOF” / “REPROOFS” – noun (the information that causes to sees, the body of truth that imparts the ability to know/judge/discern right from wrong)

  • Job 26:11: “The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof.” (Here, in this unique case, the Creator God is commanding creation to conform to His will, submit to His authority.)
  • Psalm 38:14: “Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs.”
  • Proverbs 1:23,25,30: “[23] Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you…. [25] But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:… [30] They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.”
  • Proverbs 5:12: “And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;….”
  • Proverbs 6:23: “For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:….”
  • Proverbs 10:17: “He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.”
  • Proverbs 12:1: “Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.”
  • Proverbs 13:18: “Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.”
  • Proverbs 15:5,10,31-32: “[5] A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent…. [10] Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die….. [31] The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise. [32] He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.”
  • Proverbs 17:10: “A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.”
  • Proverbs 29:15: “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.”
  • 2 Timothy 3:16: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:….”

“REPROVE” / “REPROVETH” / “REPROVED” – verb (the action of causing someone to see/know/judge/discern right from wrong, or the action of seeing/knowing/judging/discerning right from wrong)

  • Genesis 20:16: “And unto Sarah he said, Behold, I have given thy brother a thousand pieces of silver: behold, he is to thee a covering of the eyes, unto all that are with thee, and with all other: thus she was reproved.”
  • Genesis 21:25: “And Abraham reproved Abimelech because of a well of water, which Abimelech’s servants had violently taken away.”
  • 2 Kings 19:4: “It may be the LORD thy God will hear all the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God; and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that are left.”
  • 1 Chronicles 16:21: “He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes,….”
  • Job 6:25-26: “[25] How forcible are right words! but what doth your arguing reprove? [26] Do ye imagine to reprove words, and the speeches of one that is desperate, which are as wind?”
  • Job 13:10: “He will surely reprove you, if ye do secretly accept persons.”
  • Job 22:4: “Will he reprove thee for fear of thee? will he enter with thee into judgment?”
  • Job 40:2: “Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.”
  • Psalm 50:8,21: “[8] I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings, to have been continually before me…. [21] These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes.”
  • Psalm 105:14: “He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes;….”
  • Psalm 141:5: “Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities.”
  • Proverbs 9:7-8: “[7] He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot. [8] Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.”
  • Proverbs 15:12: “A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise.”
  • Proverbs 19:25: “Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware: and reprove one that hath understanding, and he will understand knowledge.”
  • Proverbs 25:12: “As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.”
  • Proverbs 29:1: “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.”
  • Proverbs 30:6: “Add thou not unto his [God’s] words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.”
  • Isaiah 11:3-4: “[3] And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: [4] But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth: with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.”
  • Isaiah 29:21: “That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.”
  • Isaiah 37:4: “It may be the LORD thy God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God, and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that is left.”
  • Jeremiah 2:19: “Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.”
  • Jeremiah 29:27: “Now therefore why hast thou not reproved Jeremiah of Anathoth, which maketh himself a prophet to you?”
  • Hosea 4:4: “Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another: for thy people are as they that strive with the priest.”
  • Habakkuk 2:1: “I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.”
  • Luke 3:19: “But Herod the tetrarch, being reproved by him [John the Baptist] for Herodias his brother Philip’s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done,….”
  • John 3:20: “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”
  • John 16:8: “And when he is come, he [the Holy Spirit] will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:….”
  • Ephesians 5:11,13: “[11] And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them…. [13] But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.”
  • 2 Timothy 4:2: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”

Saints, please remember this work of the ministry requires monthly financial support to operate (Galatians 6:6; Philippians 4:16-17; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7). Those who prefer electronic giving can donate securely here: Anyone who wishes to donate by regular mail can visit for details. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! Unfortunately, since our ministry audience is so large and our ministry staff is so small, I can no longer personally respond to everyone. Thanks so much for understanding in this regard. 🙂

Also see:
» Does doctrine really matter?
» What does “circumspect” mean?
» Does “touch not mine anointed” forbid us from correcting erring church leaders?
» I have trusted Christ, so why do I see things in Scripture I have never noticed before?
» How do we identify false teachers?
» Should we hate the denominational people who misled us?
» What is “secondary separation?” Should we Bible believers practice it?

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?

What does “lusty” mean?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Judges 3:29-30 has the only occurrence of “lusty” in the King James Bible: “And they slew of Moab at that time about ten thousand men, all lusty, and all men of valour; and there escaped not a man. So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest fourscore years.” According to this Scripture, Israel has successfully vanquished her Gentile oppressors. This Moabite army of nearly 10,000 men was described “lusty.” However, the adjective has nothing to do with lusting (as in sexual desires or urges).

According to The Oxford English Dictionary, “lust” originally meant “vigor” (stamina, strength, energy). In other words, the Israelites defeated healthy, mighty, courageous, able-bodied individuals here in Judges chapter 3. How were they able to do this? The LORD was on Israel’s side to ensure their victory! “And he said unto them, Follow after me: for the LORD hath delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand. And they went down after him, and took the fords of Jordan toward Moab, and suffered not a man to pass over” (verse 28).

Also see:
» Did Goliath suffer from a brain tumor?
» “From his shoulders and upward he was higher?”
» “Give strength to the LORD?”

What does “wont” mean?


by Shawn Brasseaux

We find “wont” nine times in the Authorized Version King James Bible:

  • Exodus 21:29: “But if the ox were wont to push with his horn in time past, and it hath been testified to his owner, and he hath not kept him in, but that he hath killed a man or a woman; the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death.”
  • Numbers 22:30: “And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? and he said, Nay.”
  • 1 Samuel 30:31: “And to them which were in Hebron, and to all the places where David himself and his men were wont to haunt.”
  • 2 Samuel 20:18: “Then she spake, saying, They were wont to speak in old time, saying, They shall surely ask counsel at Abel: and so they ended the matter.”
  • Daniel 3:19: “Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.”
  • Matthew 27:15: “Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.”
  • Mark 10:1: “And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again.”
  • Luke 22:39: “And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.”
  • Acts 16:13: “And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted thither.”

The Exodus passage gives a hint that “wont” and “time past” are connected. Numbers uses “wont” in conjunction with “ever since” (history). Second Samuel provides us the clue of “wont” being associated with “in old time” (the past). We can thus infer a general sense of the word. For a more specific definition, any good English dictionary is of help. “Wont” is from an Old English word, “gewunian,” meaning “to be used to.” Therefore, “wont” is in reference to a custom, habit, or practice, a repetitious behavior.

Also see:
» What does “haunt” mean in the Bible?
» Can you explain “ere?”
» Can you explain “betimes?”

Can you explain “gaddest thou about?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

“Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way? thou also shalt be ashamed of Egypt, as thou wast ashamed of Assyria” (Jeremiah 2:36). What does “gaddest thou about” mean?

This term “gad” possibly came to us from the Middle English “gadden,” associated with “gadeling” (“companion in arms, fellow”). During the 16th century, it took on the meaning “vagabond, wanderer.” Therefore, to “gad about” means “go back and forth, travel to and fro, move relentlessly or aimlessly from one place to another.” In this context, Judah (the Southern Kingdom) is frantically seeking help from neighboring Gentiles in order to escape God’s punishment on her for her sins: “[36] Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way? thou also shalt be ashamed of Egypt, as thou wast ashamed of Assyria. [37] Yea, thou shalt go forth from him, and thine hands upon thine head: for the LORD hath rejected thy confidences, and thou shalt not prosper in them.”

According to historians, during this time, Pharaoh Psammetich II (663-610 B.C.) had liberated Egypt from Assyria while Assyrian King Ashurbanipal was fighting civil wars. Similarly, the Kingdom of Judah surmised Egypt would be a great ally in fending off Assyrian troops in southern Israel. Alas, the LORD through Jeremiah advised Judah that recruiting military aid from Egypt would be futile or fruitless. Instead of trying to escape the chastisement, Judah should have learned its lesson and come back to JEHOVAH God in faith. Read Jeremiah chapter 2, noting the pagan idolatry in Judah, what caused the LORD to inspire Gentiles to attack Judah.

Israel (Northern Kingdom) had sought assistance from the Assyrians, to no avail: “When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound” (Hosea 5:13). Also, Israel had enlisted help from the Egyptians by bartering olive oil: “Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind: he daily increaseth lies and desolation; and they do make a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil is carried into Egypt” (Hosea 12:1). “[1] Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin: [2] That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt! [3] Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion” (Isaiah 30:1-3).

Whereas Israel had foolishly relied on Assyria and Egypt (disappointments), Judah was counselled in Jeremiah to be wise. Years before Jeremiah, evil Ahaz (King of Judah) had repeated Israel’s sin: “[16] At that time did king Ahaz send unto the kings of Assyria to help him. [17] For again the Edomites had come and smitten Judah, and carried away captives. [18] The Philistines also had invaded the cities of the low country, and of the south of Judah, and had taken Bethshemesh, and Ajalon, and Gederoth, and Shocho with the villages thereof, and Timnah with the villages thereof, Gimzo also and the villages thereof: and they dwelt there. [19] For the LORD brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel; for he made Judah naked, and transgressed sore against the LORD. [20] And Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria came unto him, and distressed him, but strengthened him not. [21] For Ahaz took away a portion out of the house of the LORD, and out of the house of the king, and of the princes, and gave it unto the king of Assyria: but he helped him not (2 Chronicles 28:16-21).

Years after the Prophet Jeremiah began his ministry, King Zedekiah of Judah repeated Israel’s sin and Ahaz’ sin: “[6] Then came the word of the LORD unto the prophet Jeremiah saying, [7] Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Thus shall ye say to the king of Judah, that sent you unto me to enquire of me; Behold, Pharaoh’s army, which is come forth to help you, shall return to Egypt into their own land. [8] And the Chaldeans shall come again, and fight against this city, and take it, and burn it with fire. [9] Thus saith the LORD; Deceive not yourselves, saying, The Chaldeans shall surely depart from us: for they shall not depart” (Jeremiah 37:6-9). As history testifies, Egypt ultimately was of no help to Judah and the Babylonian armies overran and destroyed wicked Jerusalem exactly as the LORD foretold.

“It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man” (Psalm 118:8).

Also see:
» What is “rereward?”
» What does “fetch a compass” mean?
» What does “under colour” mean in Acts 27:30?