Did Baal Relieve Himself?
Elijah was a prophet who liked to mock and ridicule when it came to exposing the false prophets that were then inhabiting Israel and were advisors to the king and other important officials. When he had his showdown with the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 of Asherah, he gave them several taunts while the false prophets were reverently preparing their sacrifices and calling out to their gods to deliver them from the teachings of Elijah.
In the midst of his taunting, Elijah said of Baal, their god: "And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, cry aloud; for if he is a god; either he is talking [in conference], or he is pursuing [as the King James has it], or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleeps, and must be awaked" (I Kings 18:27).
Scholars have long known what Elijah was telling the prophets of Baal, but the King James Version hides the real meaning of his mocking. Thankfully, it is now being told plainly by some church authorities. In early 1993 I was pleased to hear in a television interview the Archbishop of South Africa and Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Desmond Tutu, state that the phrase which Elijah said Baal was "pursuing" (which the King James has in the margin as "has stepped aside") actually means that Baal was "out taking a crap." This is precisely what Elijah meant when he was mocking the prophets of Baal, though Elijahs intent was stronger than that and his real meaning was closer to another four letter word that is used in gutter language in English that both the Archbishop and I would never think of using (unless, of course, we were Elijah).
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