The Book of Judges is one you don't hear recited at weddings and baptisms a lot, mainly because the whole thing is a grisly, ugly mess, with some of the most twisted, violent murders and sex acts this side of HBO. And that's too bad, because dropped in toward the beginning is a story that seriously sounds like what would happen if the Farrelly brothers co-wrote a movie with Quentin Tarantino.
The story opens with Israel under the thumb of the Moabites, an ancient people who enjoyed conquering and enslaving other ancient peoples. God sends a hero named Ehud to save Israel, which he accomplishes by getting the king of Moab alone in a room and then stabbing the crap out of him:
Speculum Humanae Salvationis
Neither of them seems particularly concerned about this.
"Ehud came to him while he was sitting alone in his cool roof chamber. And Ehud said, 'I have a message from God for you.' ... Ehud ... took the sword from his right thigh and thrust it into his belly ... and the refuse came out." (Judges 3:20-22, New American Standard Bible)
"Refuse," as in "poop." Yes, Ehud literally stabbed the crap out of him. OK, but how do you escape a palace full of guards after you've just killed their king? Easy -- lock the doors, go out the window, and convince them he's pooping:
"When he had gone out, his servants came and looked, and behold, the doors of the roof chamber were locked; and they said, 'He is only relieving himself in the cool room.' They waited until they became anxious; but behold, he did not open the doors of the roof chamber. Therefore they took the key and opened them, and behold, their master had fallen to the floor dead." (Judges 3:24-25, New American Standard Bible)
"And lo, when nary a guard desired to befoul themselves, they called upon the rookie to fulfill the duty."
By the time the guards realized the stench inside was their king's corpse and not their king's indigestion, Ehud was presumably halfway across the country, laughing his ass off.
Unsurprisingly, one of the first things the early Christians were eager to clarify about their new faith as soon as it got started was whether certain parts of Jewish ceremonial law still applied to them -- more specifically, the part about having to slice off their foreskins or burn in hell. The Apostles themselves declared the answer to be "Ew, no" in Acts 15, but there were still plenty of people who disagreed.
"What? Where? I don't see Elmo over there, are you sure OH HOLY FUCK WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME?!"
In particular, one group in Galatia was such a big fan of circumcision that the Apostle Paul -- who as a Jew himself knew how unpleasant that sort of thing was -- fired off an angry letter in which he wrote:
"I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!" (Galatians 5:12, New King James Version)
Now, most Sunday school teachers will tell you that what Paul means is that circumcision fanatics should excommunicate themselves from the church, but that's not it at all -- he's actually telling them to excommunicate their whole penis from the rest of their body. As it turns out, the Greek word used here for "cut off" is pretty much never, ever used metaphorically. It always means a literal, physical cutting ... of the bodily kind.
Other Bible translations phrase it as "go beyond circumcision," "emasculate themselves," "get themselves castrated," and our absolute favorite: "I wish they would go the whole way! I wish they would cut off everything that marks them as men!" In other words, what Paul is really saying here is "If these guys like whacking weenies so much, why don't they just finish the job on themselves? Castrati are really in these days."
Evgeny Kuklev/iStock/Getty Images
How many balls could have been saved if only we'd discovered helium sooner?
You're probably aware of the story of David and Goliath, but what you might not know is that David had many other fun adventures sprawling across three separate books of the Bible that included piles of foreskins and really ugly murder-adultery combos. One of the less Sunday-school-worthy stories finds our favorite giant killer on the run from then-king Saul, who's gotten it into his head that David means to usurp his throne. We're not sure where he got that idea, but it may have had something to do with the prophecy that David would usurp his throne.
If only Voldemort had read his Bible.
David takes the high road and, rather than slingshoting a rock at Saul's forehead, he and his men simply hide in a cave to wait out Saul's latest bout of man-PMS. However, in a sitcom-esque twist, Saul decides to enter the same cave, but is somehow completely oblivious of David's presence there. So what was Saul doing in a cave all alone? Well ...
"And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet: and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave." (1 Samuel 24:3, King James Version)
If you can't figure out what "cover his feet" means, here's a handy visual aid:
Frank Fennema/iStock/Getty Images
Poop euphemisms were tricky before Cleveland was invented.
Yes, this is an old-timey euphemism for "take a dump." David literally caught the guy who wanted to kill him with his pants down. At this point David sneaks up on Saul ... and cuts off a piece of his tunic, just to prove that he could have killed him right there and didn't. And also that he's seen Saul's butt, we guess. When David confronts Saul later and shows him the cloth, he's so humbled and embarrassed by the whole thing, he promises never to kill David again (and then promptly tries to kill him again a mere two chapters later).
"Let's see you poop-voyeur your way out of THIS one!"
Luke T. Harrington would be happy to lecture you about the Bible some more over at the Western Branch of American Reform Presbylutheranism. Otherwise, go find him on Twitter.
Related Reading: Ready for some more filthy jokes in austere sources? Check out Shakespeare at his dirtiest. We bet you missed the anal sex references in Romeo and Juliet. And while we're looking at filthy jokes in old works of art, why not check out this medieval penis tree? Oh, and by the way: Shakespeare invented the "yo mama" joke.