A few troubling Bible Verses

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"“Hath my master sent me to thy master, and to thee, to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men which sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?” 2 Kings 18:27

“Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung upon your faces…” Malachi 2:3

“I wish those who unsettle you would mutilate themselves!” Galatians **5:12 **

Can someone take a stab at the 3 Bible verses above? They seem very troubling. The 2 Kings verses seem extremely odd. The Malachi verse in which God threatens to spread dung on the faces of people seems weird. And finally Paul, in Galatians, wishing that opponents mutilate themselves doesn’t seem Christian.

Pardon me for my criticism – I am a faithful Catholic…
 
I don’t think you should feel the need to ask for pardon. In my opinion the way we learn is to ask questions. Seeking a fuller understanding of scripture and our faith is to be commended, not pardoned!

I’ll tackle the Galatians quote here, at least to the best of my understanding. One of things that comes across concerning Paul from his writings, is that he had a bit of a dry sense of humor and a tendency towards sarcasm at times. Some of his asides in the Epistles must create quite a bit of consternation from our Sola Scriptura friends from different Protestant denominations!

In Galatians Paul seems to be addressing the problem of someone coming to the community and telling them that they need to be circumcised according to the Jewish law before becoming fully Christian. As you can imagine, for adult males in an age before good anesthesia, this requirement would have been a big stumbling block to the faith! In fact, the first Jerusalem Council, described in Acts, was convened largely to address the issue of circumcision. It was determined at that time that circumcision was not required to become a follower of The Way. I’m not sure if Galatians was written before or after that council but Paul was certainly opposed to requiring circumcision.

In the Galatians passage, I think Paul is using that sarcasm/dry sense of humor of his to say that whoever is telling the Galatians they need to be circumcised should think about how he would like having to go through a painful procedure as an adult for his own salvation. The New American Bible translation of the verse, BTW, replaces mutilate with castrate.

Don’t know how close I am with my interpretation, but I guess its a place to start!
 
The first two are simply talking about humiliating the bad folk. With regards to Galatians: Let’s just say that St. Paul was quite strongly against circumcision and apparently had a vivid imagination.
 
Ok, here is my Junior Member attempt at the first one. Look at the preceeding verses. The Lord is sending a message to the men on the wall and the leaders of the city that they are doomed. The dung-eating is the level that they will be reduced to because the do not trust the Lord. They had placed their faith in Egypt and not the Lord. It is a hard passage to follow, but I think that I read it correctly. It is easier to read in my RSV-CE from Ignatius Press. In it’s era, that dung-eating would be a pretty bad form of trash-talk.
 
The first one is psychological warfare.

The second one is explaining how bad things are going to get.

The third one is St Pauls exasperation at the preaching of necessary cirmcumcison of Christ’s follwers. St Paul is just letting off steam.
 
A suggestion…
Have you tried to look up the versus and see what the Church teaches/comments from the C.C.C.?
In the back of the CCC there is a directory of versus in Scripture and here to find an explanation in the CCC.

Glory be to Jesus Christ! Glory to Him Forever!
 
The Vatican New American Bible is a little different:
Here is 2 Kings 18: 26-29

Assyria has just captured Samaria and the enemy commander is issuing a terrifying threat to the Judean defenders of Jerusalem. He is speaking of the consequence of the coming siege, where they will be reduced to eating and drinking all that’s available. The defending commander wants discretion (Aramaic, that the defenders on the wall would not understand, but the enemy commander replies that the message is really for them, and speaks Judean)

26 Then Eliakim, son of Hilkiah, and Shebnah and Joah said to the commander: “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic; we understand it. Do not speak to us in Judean within earshot of the people who are on the wall.”

27 But the commander replied: “Was it to your master and to you that my lord sent me to speak these words? Was it not rather to the men sitting on the wall, who, with you, will have to eat their own excrement and drink their urine?”

28 Then the commander stepped forward and cried out in a loud voice in Judean, "Listen to the words of the great king, the king of Assyria.

29 Thus says the king: 'Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, since he cannot deliver you out of my hand
 
If you read Chapter 1, it seems that the priests have been offering sick and otherwise imperfect AND insincere sacrifices, and by implication reserving the best animals for their own use. The Lord sees their offerings as dung, and threatens to throw it back in their faces and have them carted of with it, as dung themselves. The shoulder is the priest’s entitlement, or would be, but instead they get back the imperfect, polluted offering they tried to give Him.

(This seems like an analogy to me, not literal: Your offerings are dung, just like you, and you’ll both be carted off …)
Are any Scripture scholars awake yet?

From the New Jerusalem Bible at the Vatican web site:
Malachi 1 : 12-13

12 But you behave profanely toward me by thinking the LORD’S table and its offering may be polluted, and its food slighted.

13 You also say, “What a burden!” and you scorn it, says the LORD of hosts; You bring in what you seize, or the lame, or the sick; yes, you bring it as a sacrifice. Shall I accept it from your hands? says the LORD.

Malachi 2 Verse 3

1 And now, O priests, this commandment is for you: If you do not listen,

2 And if you do not lay it to heart, to give glory to my name, says the LORD of hosts, I will send a curse upon you and of your blessing I will make a curse. Yes, I have already cursed it, because you do not lay it to heart.

3 (1) Lo, I will deprive you of the shoulder and I will strew dung in your faces, The dung of your feasts, and you will be carried off with it.

( Note 1: I will deprive you of the shoulder: this part of a
sacrificial animal, allotted by the law (Deut 18:3) to the priests, will be withheld from them. )
 
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