Why did Rachel want Leah’s mandrakes?


by Shawn Brasseaux

By today’s standards, the account of Leah’s mandrakes in Genesis chapter 30 is definitely weird. If, however, we look at it through the eyes (first and foremost) of faith as well as the eyes of history and culture, it will become a plain and simple passage.

Start reading at verses 14-15: “[14] And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son’s mandrakes. [15] And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? and wouldest thou take away my son’s mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son’s mandrakes.” Wheat harvest in Palestine was late spring, roughly May to June, indicating the time of year here. Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn and Leah’s son, discovers mandrakes (herbaceous plants) and gives them to his mother. Ever since verses 9-13, Leah has been barren. In ancient times, mandrake root was considered an aphrodisiac (sexual stimulant). Mandrake was also thought to cure female infertility because its fork-shaped root resembles a woman’s thighs. Jacob’s other wife, Rachel, is also infertile (verses 1-8). Rachel hears of Leah’s mandrakes and desires some, but Leah refuses and Rachel ultimately concedes their husband will have intimate relations with her sister and Leah will conceive.

Keep reading: “[16] And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son’s mandrakes. And he lay with her that night. [17] And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son. [18] And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar. [19] And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son. [20] And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun. [21] And afterwards she bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah.” Wheat harvest still underway (verse 14), while Jacob returns from the field at even, Leah successfully uses the (aphrodisiac) mandrakes to entice him to have sexual intercourse with her. Ultimately, though, it is the LORD God who gives Leah conception of her fifth son with Jacob, the baby “Issachar” (Hebrew for “he will bring a reward”). Issachar is Jacob’s ninth boy. Leah bears one final son, “Zebulun” (Hebrew, “habitation”), so named because Jacob her husband will surely “dwell” with her instead of Rachel. Basically, Rachel and Leah were in a pregnancy competition!

Also see:
» What was wrong with Leah’s eyes?
» Why was the levirate marriage important in Bible times?
» Should a Christian be polygamous—having multiple spouses?

What does “discomfit” mean?


by Shawn Brasseaux

We find the verb “discomfit” nine times in the Authorized Version; its noun form, “discomfiture,” appears once. Although “discomfit” and “discomfort” are obviously related, they are not perfect synonyms. We must appreciate a distinguishing nuance. One who has been discomfited has also been discomforted, but one who has been discomforted has not necessarily been discomfited. Discomfit is a special type of discomfort or uneasiness. It is embarrassment on the battlefield—namely, a defeat. “Discomfit” is comprised of two Latin words: the prefix “dis–” (“reversal”) and “confect/conficere” (“put together”). Literally, the word carries the idea of scattering, as in troops being divided and thereby weakened. They would be put to shame indeed! (Similarly, “discomfort” would literally mean “reversed comfort.”) Notice “discomfit” in military contexts below.

  • Exodus 17:13: “And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.”
  • Numbers 14:45: “Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites which dwelt in that hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah.”
  • Joshua 10:10: “And the LORD discomfited them before Israel, and slew them with a great slaughter at Gibeon, and chased them along the way that goeth up to Bethhoron, and smote them to Azekah, and unto Makkedah.”
  • Judges 4:15: “And the LORD discomfited Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his host, with the edge of the sword before Barak; so that Sisera lighted down off his chariot, and fled away on his feet.”
  • Judges 8:12: “And when Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued after them, and took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and discomfited all the host.”
  • 1 Samuel 7:10: “And as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel: but the LORD thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines, and discomfited them; and they were smitten before Israel.”
  • 1 Samuel 14:20: “And Saul and all the people that were with him assembled themselves, and they came to the battle: and, behold, every man’s sword was against his fellow, and there was a very great discomfiture.”
  • 2 Samuel 22:15: “And he sent out arrows, and scattered them; lightning, and discomfited them.”
  • Psalm 18:14: “Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them.”
  • Isaiah 31:8: “Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him: but he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be discomfited.”

Also see:
» What does “fetch a compass” mean?
» What does “under colour” mean in Acts 27:30?
» What does “Lord of Sabaoth” mean?

What is the “bloody flux” of Acts 28:8?


by Shawn Brasseaux

“And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him” (Acts 28:8).

The Beloved Physician Luke (Colossians 4:14), whom the Holy Spirit moved to write the Book of Acts, draws our attention to a man on the island of Melita (modern Malta) suffering a particularly gruesome bodily affliction: the individual is sick with a “bloody flux.” In medical terms, “flux” (Latin, “flow”) is any fluid flowing from the body. Of course, we know what “blood” is. Luke used the word “dysenteria” (“dus/dys” is a Greek prefix meaning “difficulty, grievous;” “entos” refers to the bowel). Our modern medical term is a transliteration of that very word—dysentery. Essentially, it is a disease, usually caused by infection, characterized by severe diarrhea with passage of mucus and blood. In the case of Publius’ father, infection is involved, as he also suffers a fever.

Also see:
» What is “palsy?”
» What is “the botch of Egypt?”
» What are “emerods?”

» What is “the burning ague?”

What does “noisome” mean?


by Shawn Brasseaux

The King James translators utilized “noisome” only four times. Our first clue concerning its meaning is that it always sits in a negative context.

  • Psalm 91:3: “Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.”
  • Ezekiel 14:15: “If I cause noisome beasts to pass through the land, and they spoil it, so that it be desolate, that no man may pass through because of the beasts:….”
  • Ezekiel 14:21: “For thus saith the Lord GOD; How much more when I send my four sore judgments upon Jerusalem, the sword, and the famine, and the noisome beast, and the pestilence, to cut off from it man and beast?”
  • Revelation 16:2: “And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.”

As we can see in the above verses and their contexts, Divine judgment is being meted out on idolatrous sinners. (Psalms contains a promise that believers will be protected.) The curses of the Law of Moses—Leviticus chapter 26 and Deuteronomy chapter 28—are being brought to pass. Ultimately, this foretells the LORD God’s wrath during Daniel’s 70th Week, yet future from us, with Israel’s believing remnant spared. (For more information on the Little Flock’s ministry during the Antichrist’s reign and this time of horrific punishment, see our “Mark 16:9-20” article linked below.) Associated diseases/plagues/pestilences and wild animals are described as “noisome.” Yet, contrary to what you might have assumed, friend, this has absolutely nothing to do with noise or sound.

“Noisome” in Middle English was spelled “noysome,” derived from the Anglo-French “anui” (“annoy, bother”). “Noy” is a shortened, obsolete form of “annoy;” thus, you can remember the meaning of “noisome” by altering it to “annoysome” (as in, “full of annoyance”). Applying this to beasts, the sense is thus violent or cruel; noisome diseases and pestilences are therefore destructive or harmful. They are foul, offensive, disgusting.

(Having been acquainted with “noisome,” may it henceforth not annoy us anymore!)

Also see:
» Does Mark 16:9-20 belong in the Bible?
» What is “palsy?”
» Can you explain 2 Kings 2:23-25?
» Did God create evil?
» What is “the botch of Egypt?”
» What are “emerods?”

» What is “the burning ague?”

What does “brutish” mean?


by Shawn Brasseaux

The Authorized Version mentions “brutish” individuals some 13 times. What is the implication? Before commenting, it is important we look at the verses first:

  • Psalm 49:10: “For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.”
  • Psalm 92:6: “A brutish man knoweth not; neither doth a fool understand this.”
  • Psalm 94:8: “Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise?”
  • Proverbs 12:1: “Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.”
  • Proverbs 30:2: “Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.”
  • Isaiah 19:11: “Surely the princes of Zoan are fools, the counsel of the wise counsellors of Pharaoh is become brutish: how say ye unto Pharaoh, I am the son of the wise, the son of ancient kings?”
  • Jeremiah 10:8,14,21: “[8] But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities…. [14] Every man is brutish in his knowledge: every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them…. [21] For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the LORD: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.”
  • Jeremiah 51:17: “Every man is brutish by his knowledge; every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.”
  • Ezekiel 21:31: “And I will pour out mine indignation upon thee, I will blow against thee in the fire of my wrath, and deliver thee into the hand of brutish men, and skilful to destroy.”
  • 2 Peter 2:12: “But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption;….”
  • Jude 10: “But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.”

Using the context clues in these passages, we see “brutish” and “brute” are associated with foolishness—especially a lack of knowledge, wisdom, or understanding. Basically, it is to be irrational or stupid. By the way, the Greek word rendered “brute” in 2 Peter and Jude is “alogos” (literally “no thought”), translated “unreasonable” in Acts 25:27: “For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.”

Also see:
» What is the “madness” of Luke 6:11?
» What does “sottish” mean?
» What is a “lunatick?”

What does “sottish” mean?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Jeremiah 4:22 employs the word: “For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.” It is such strong language, but it is warranted. The Prophet Jeremiah conducted his ministry in Judah 600 years before Christ, during a time of great apostasy—a falling away from the truth. He preached before and during the Babylonian Captivity, God’s judgment on the Southern Kingdom for its persistent idolatry.

“And I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands (Jeremiah 1:16). “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water…. For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot(Jeremiah 2:13,20).

“As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets. Saying to a stock [wooden idol], Thou art my father; and to a stone [stone idol], Thou hast brought me forth: for they have turned their back unto me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us. But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble: for according to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah. Wherefore will ye plead with me? ye all have transgressed against me, saith the LORD. In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion. O generation, see ye the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? a land of darkness? wherefore say my people, We are lords; we will come no more unto thee? Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number (Jeremiah 2:26-32).

“If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the LORD, return unto me: and if thou wilt put away thine abominations out of my sight, then shalt thou not remove. And thou shalt swear, The LORD liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory. For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings” (Jeremiah 4:1-4).

Back to verse 22 of Jeremiah chapter 4. “For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.” The Jews are spiritually senseless, insane, lunatic. Instead of heeding sound Bible doctrine—especially the Law of Moses—they are thinking like idolatrous heathen. Rather than being spiritual adults, they are mere children; immaturity has so crippled them, and their religious silliness shows throughout the Book of Jeremiah as well as much of the Old Testament Scriptures! It is in this context that the adjective “sottish” appears. The word simply means foolish, with the Hebrew term (“sakal”) translated “fool” or “foolish” in Ecclesiastes (2:19; 7:17; 10:3,14) and Jeremiah (5:21). It is therefore no coincidence “sottish” is from the Middle English word indicating “fool.”

Rejecting God’s wisdom for her (Deuteronomy 4:1-10), Israel did not guard herself from the foolishness of the evil world system around her. What was true of the Gentiles at the Tower of Babel ultimately became applicable to Israel as well! “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen” (Romans 1:20-25).

Thankfully, in the Millennium, Israel will be given new spiritual leaders, people who will teach her sound Bible doctrine so she can think as the LORD God designed them to think. Pay close attention to verse 15 below (contrasted with Jeremiah 4:22).

Jeremiah 3:13-21: “[13] Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD. [14] Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: [15] And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. [16] And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more. [17] At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. [18] In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers. [19] But I said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? and I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me. [20] Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD. [21] A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel: for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the LORD their God.

“Sottish” can also mean “stupefied with or as if with drink; drunken.” This is another key to explaining Israel’s lack of mental acuity in the spiritual realm. Revelation chapter 17, descriptive of the Antichrist’s (future) false religious system, relays the following: “[1] And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: [2] With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. [3] So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. [4] And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: [5] And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”

The “wine” that will make the world and Israel drunken in the future under the Antichrist is false religion, Baal worship, pagan idolatry. Here is exactly what polluted the world and Israel during Old Testament times (especially throughout Jeremiah’s ministry). The Whore of Babylon is the culmination of the pagan idolatry that began at the Tower of Babel some 4,000 years ago. Even today, we believers in Christ are told not only to avoid inebriation with physical wine, but also not be drunk with figurative wine (mind-altering false teaching).

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God” (Ephesians 5:15-21).

Read Jeremiah 4:22 again: “For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.” This stands in contrast to the Holy Spirit’s will for the Body of Christ in Romans 16:19: “For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise [skilled] unto that which is good, and simple [uninformed, ignorant] concerning evil.Have we been faithful in following Romans here? Nay! Have we grasped even the basics of the Dispensation of Grace as found in Romans? Nay!

Throughout the 20 centuries of its existence, the professing Body of Christ has been skillful in reciting denominational creeds and prayers, knowledgeable of the writings of the church fathers, and mindful of intellectual gymnastics and conspiracy theories, but—after 2,000 years of having a completed Holy Bible—can it identify what Father God is doing today and what He would have us do today? Nay! Beloved, we are following in the footsteps of ancient “sottish” Israel! If we are to grow up in grace, we had better listen to the Lord Jesus Christ speaking through the Apostle Paul, the Bible Books of Romans through Philemon!

Also see:
» What is a “lunatick?”
» What is the “madness” of Luke 6:11?
» What are some tips for faster spiritual growth?
» How do I know if I am maturing in the Word of God?

What is “surfeiting?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

We find the term only once in the Authorized Version, Luke 21:34 of the Olivet Discourse: “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” The context, of course, is awaiting the “day” of Christ’s Second Coming: “[27] And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. [28] And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.”

In Greek, it is “kraipale”—literally, “the head tossing about”—the giddiness and headache resulting from intoxication (excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages). The Latin equivalent is “crapula.” According to The Oxford English Dictionary, to “surfeit” is to engage in any excess—overdoing or overindulgence in general. A more specific context, such as the case of Luke 21:34, is overeating or drunkenness. Read the verse once more: “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” The nation Israel is admonished to avoid anything that would distract her from preparing for Jesus’ Second Coming—mind-altering substances, entertainment, materialism, other forms of false teaching, and the like.

Read Matthew 24:36–25:30, Mark 13:32-37, Luke 17:26-37, and Luke 21:34-36 for additional encouragements about the Jews maintaining watchfulness for Christ’s return to end Daniel’s 70th Week and commence the Millennium. The Great Flood of Noah’s day overtook and destroyed the inattentive unbelievers, just like Christ’s Second Coming will surprise and kill those caught up in the affairs of this world (sins of the flesh and sins of the spirit). Christ Jesus thus exhorted Israel to concentrate on sound Bible doctrine, that which pointed to His return and subsequent earthly kingdom.

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (1 John 2:15-17).

Also see:
» Why were the disciples discouraged from looking up in Acts chapter 1?
» Who will accompany Jesus at His Second Coming?
» Why did Jesus tell Israel they do not know the date of His return?
» Does “neither the Son” belong in Matthew 24:36?

What is a “buckler?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

One clue to defining “buckler” is to notice verses frequently pair it with “shield.” The two words appear in the context of war or fighting. Notice these 16 occurrences of “buckler” in our King James Bible:

  • 2 Samuel 22:31: “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.”
  • 1 Chronicles 5:18: “The sons of Reuben, and the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, of valiant men, men able to bear buckler and sword, and to shoot with bow, and skilful in war, were four and forty thousand seven hundred and threescore, that went out to the war.”
  • 1 Chronicles 12:8: “And of the Gadites there separated themselves unto David into the hold to the wilderness men of might, and men of war fit for the battle, that could handle shield and buckler, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as the roes upon the mountains;….”
  • 2 Chronicles 23:9: “Moreover Jehoiada the priest delivered to the captains of hundreds spears, and bucklers, and shields, that had been king David’s, which were in the house of God.”
  • Job 15:26: “He runneth upon him, even on his neck, upon the thick bosses of his bucklers:….”
  • Psalm 18:2: “The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.”
  • Psalm 18:30: “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.”
  • Psalm 35:2: Take hold of shield and buckler, and stand up for mine help.
  • Psalm 91:4: He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
  • Proverbs 2:7: He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.
  • Song of Solomon 4:4: Thy neck is like the tower of David builded for an armoury, whereon there hang a thousand bucklers, all shields of mighty men.”
  • Jeremiah 46:3: “Order ye the buckler and shield, and draw near to battle.”
  • Ezekiel 23:24: “And they shall come against thee with chariots, wagons, and wheels, and with an assembly of people, which shall set against thee buckler and shield and helmet round about: and I will set judgment before them, and they shall judge thee according to their judgments.”
  • Ezekiel 26:8: “He shall slay with the sword thy daughters in the field: and he shall make a fort against thee, and cast a mount against thee, and lift up the buckler against thee.”
  • Ezekiel 38:4: “And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:….”
  • Ezekiel 39:9: “And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth, and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows and the arrows, and the handstaves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years:….”

“Shield” is generic; “buckler” is more specific. A buckler is a small, round shield, worn on the forearm or held by a handle. Both are used for defense, protection against attacks. Interestingly, “buckler” is derived from the Middle French “bocler,” related to “boss” (as in a knob or projection—that is, the convex shape or bulge of a shield). Of course, you will remember Job 15:26: “He runneth upon him, even on his neck, upon the thick bosses of his bucklers:….”

In the case of Scripture, the LORD serves as refuge or safety to believers. The Adversary—in Hebrew, Satan—is always aiming to harm the physical bodies but especially the souls (spiritual bodies) of God’s people. Ephesians 6:10-20, which see, provides a description of this spiritual battle. “The shield of faith”—trusting sound Bible doctrine, rightly divided Scripture—is the key to “quenching [putting out, extinguishing] all the fiery darts of the wicked.” As touching the Psalmist (usually David), he represents Israel’s believing remnant surviving their persecution under the Antichrist.

Also see:
» What is the “present distress” of 1 Corinthians 7:26?
» What does “Quit you like men” mean?
» What does “fetch a compass” mean?
» What are “lewd fellows of the baser sort?”
» What does “suborned” mean in Acts 6:11?

What is “cleanness of teeth” in Amos 4:6?


by Shawn Brasseaux

What could “cleanness of teeth” possibly denote in Amos 4:6? “And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.”

One clue is the phrase “want of bread”—that is, famine or lack of food. Clean teeth here is therefore not suggestive of proper dental hygiene! It is a euphemism for hunger or starvation. Consumption of food obviously soils the teeth, so having cleanness of teeth indicates the person has not been eating. The LORD God has brought famine upon Israel for her persistent disobedience (pagan idolatry), so the food shortage has rendered the Jewish people’s teeth clean. All of chapter 4 of Amos should be read, noting Israel’s habitual sins (verses 1-5) and the punishments incurred (verses 6-12).

“[1] Hear this word, ye kine of Bashan, that are in the mountain of Samaria, which oppress the poor, which crush the needy, which say to their masters, Bring, and let us drink. [2] The Lord GOD hath sworn by his holiness, that, lo, the days shall come upon you, that he will take you away with hooks, and your posterity with fishhooks. [3] And ye shall go out at the breaches, every cow at that which is before her; and ye shall cast them into the palace, saith the LORD. [4] Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years: [5] And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.

“[6] And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. [7] And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered. [8] So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. [9] I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.

“[10] I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. [11] I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. [12] Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel. [13] For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name.”

As touching the “cleanness of teeth,” hunger and famine were some of the curses for failing to obey the Law of Moses. Read Leviticus chapter 26: “[18] And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. [19] And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: [20] And your strength shall be spent in vain: for your land shall not yield her increase, neither shall the trees of the land yield their fruits.”

Also, Deuteronomy chapter 28: “[15] But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: [16] Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. [17] Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store. [18] Cursed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy land, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. [19] Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out….

“[38] Thou shalt carry much seed out into the field, and shalt gather but little in; for the locust shall consume it. [39] Thou shalt plant vineyards, and dress them, but shalt neither drink of the wine, nor gather the grapes; for the worms shall eat them. [40] Thou shalt have olive trees throughout all thy coasts, but thou shalt not anoint thyself with the oil; for thine olive shall cast his fruit. [41] Thou shalt beget sons and daughters, but thou shalt not enjoy them; for they shall go into captivity. [42] All thy trees and fruit of thy land shall the locust consume.

Re-read Amos 4:6-12. God has harshly judged wicked Israel, but she has not reformed. The discipline has not led her back to the LORD; she simply continues her sinful habits, worshipping and serving pagan idols. She refuses correction. Verse 12 thus looks forward to Christ’s Second Coming, when the ultimate wrath falls to cleanse the Earth of all idolaters! “Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.”

Also see:
» Why do Amos 4:4 and Amos 5:5 give opposite commands?
» Do Hosea 11:12 and Hosea 12:2 contradict?
» Why did Israel have to keep so many strange laws?

What is the “bound” of Hosea 5:10?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Hosea 5:10 relays to us: “The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound: therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water.” What is this “bound?” Some other verses help shed light:

  • Deuteronomy 19:14: “Thou shalt not remove thy neighbour’s landmark, which they of old time have set in thine inheritance, which thou shalt inherit in the land that the LORD thy God giveth thee to possess it.”
  • Deuteronomy 27:17: “Cursed be he that removeth his neighbour’s landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen.”
  • Job 24:2: “Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof.”
  • Proverbs 22:28: “Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.”
  • Proverbs 23:10: “Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:….”

The “bound” or “landmark” is a property boundary marker. Such objects were important under the Law of Moses, for Israel’s land was divided amongst 12 tribes, and inheritances in that land were of utmost significance. See the Books of Deuteronomy and Joshua for the physical boundaries of these tribes.

In Acts chapter 17, the Apostle Paul spoke of national “bounds,” boundaries or borders of nations God designed in Genesis chapters 9–11 to limit the spread of Satan’s policy of evil. (For more information, see our related study linked at the end of this article.) Read from chapter 17 of Acts: “[23] For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. [24] God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; [25] Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; [26] And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; [27] That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: [28] For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.”

As touching Hosea 5:10, the leaders of the Southern Kingdom (Judah) were greedy, materialistic, and dishonest—likened unto property thieves. The LORD commented on their misbehavior: “Therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water!” (He did just that with the Babylonian Captivity, when Judah lost all their physical possessions to the pillaging Gentiles!)

Also see:
» Is it “un-Christian” for a country to have border walls?
» Do Hosea 11:12 and Hosea 12:2 contradict?
» Did Hosea 1:10 and Hosea 2:23 predict the Body of Christ?