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April 29, 2009

Biblical Smacktalk

Joakim Noah You know, you really can find everything in the Bible, including some good examples of smacktalk. I think I'm going to use this the next time I want to intimidate someone in a good game of Settlers of Catan. (Lori, this needs to be your quiet time as you work on your smacktalk skills; you know I'm talking to you. Don't bring me anymore of the Pride and Prejudice trash talk next time you come to my house; "no compliments to your mother" is not the same thing as saying "your momma's so old she still owes Moses a dollar.")

But seriously, or at least somewhat seriously, I was just thinking today that I need a little more swag. The thought popped up rather suprisingly as I was reading about one of the Gators I liked watching most, and how his college antics are playing out now that he's playing for the Bulls in the NBA. Apparently, while I love to love Joakim Noah, other people love to hate him. Noah doesn't let it bother him; he thrives on the jeers. In fact, Greenburg tells us that the seersucker-wearing, 6-foot-11 center with the hair that just won't quit is pretty comfortable in his skin. And that's where the swagger comes in. It's game-play.

It's sort of shocking really to find that boasting has a place in the Bible. I don't expect it there. But when I do a search I discover that while most kinds of boasting are bad, there are a few kinds that get a holy high five. Here's the low-down on the swag that's legit:

1) When behemoth Philistines insist on dissing your God, it's okay to holler back. Come prepared with a slingshot, though.

2)  When you know your Dad really can beat up their dad, but that He chooses to show justice, kindness, and righteousness instead.

3) When your homeskillet gets it right, it's okay to boast on the day of the Lord.

Now, I need to get back to my hoop shot. As one king said (at least in my translation), it's one thing to boast when you're putting on the jersey, it's another thing when you're taking it off.

(Image © Kathy Willens for the AP)

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Dan Gill

For biblical smacktalk, I always think of Elijah jeering at the prophets of Baal. When he says, "Perhaps he is busy," he is using a euphemism that really means "going to the bathroom."

Ben W

Or Elisha and the youths - they mocked him, and he calls out a bunch of bears to maul them.

Catherine Larson

Nice...anyone else have any good examples of biblical smacktalk? I want to increase my repertoire.

Steve (SBK)

Galatians 5:11,12 is always enjoyable:
"Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!"

Catherine Larson

Paul certainly didn't mince words. Good one. I'm sure there are more. Come on, y'all are holding back on me.

Jason Joyner

After reading The Point rather regularly, I didn't picture Catherine being the Biblical smack-talker. Very interesting.

As far as Elisha, my understanding is that "youths" is a little misleading with our modern understanding. Gang-bangers may be a more appropriate translation.

I'm fond of the exchange between the prophet Micaiah and Ahab and his false prophets in 1 Kings 22.

Catherine Larson

I'm multi-faceted. But then again, aren't we all?


Catherine, along with the rest of the Pointificators, I am shocked that you don't speak like a Jane Austin character 24x7. But then, a diamond with only a few facets would just look like glass.

Need some help to help you, though; it it talking "smack" if you can really do it? If so, then the whole Bible - from Generations to Revolutions - is God talking smack to Satan. That's especially true for the four chapters about 2/3 of the way in, where that crazy itinerant rabbi not only said every one of the religious authorities was wrong, but that even if they killed him they wouldn't shut him up - and in fact, killing him would accelerate his plan.

But for some more specifics, I'd say Moses talked smack to Pharaoh. Samson talked smack to everyone. (A preacher I know likes to say that there's no physical description of Samson anywhere in Scripture; despite Hollywood depictions of him, for all we know he could have been short and fat.) Peter and John talked smack to the crippled man at Solomon's Colonnade.

But my favorite is Paul talking smack to Peter over Peter's withdrawal from eating with Gentiles. I really do envision a Chihuahua barking at a St. Bernard, and big dog Peter backing away with tail tucked from little dog Paul.

Paul repeatedly talked smack in 1 and 2 Corinthians, particularly 2 Cor. 10.

And Paul talked smack after *getting* smacked by the servant of the High Priest, until he found out who's who, in Acts.

1, 2 and 3 John are smack for Gnostics. James is smack for the rich. And Jude is uncut, laboratory-grade smack.

Did that help, or hinder?

Catherine Larson

Lee, I knew you'd come through for me. Now here's the real shocker. Lori Smith was aghast when I told her. I put down Pride and Prejudice without ever finishing it. And I'd much prefer watching Braveheart, Last of the Mohicans, Horatio Hornblower, or college football than Sense and Sensibility any day of the week. Gina also regularly chastises me for the fact that I don't have a Dickens household god--I mean--action figure on my desk.

Gina Dalfonzo

Psst . . . neither do I. (Just the tote bag.)



Catherine wrote: "action figure on my desk"

Makes sense - why have one on it, and also one sitting at it? Redundant, I say.


My other alltime personal favorite "smack story" (alongside Paul making Peter back down, and Elijah asking if Ba'al is on the *other* throne) is when Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (who, I think, deserve better from us than getting called by their Babylonian names "Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego") glanced at the hot furnace they'd get thrown into, then looked Nebuchadnezzar straight in the eye, and said "But even if He doesn't, *know* **this**, O king: ...".


Wow, I was in quite a state earlier: I misspelled Jane Austen's name, wrote "it it" instead of "is it", and as a capper, implied that I think Catherine is stiff and plastic - rather than clearly communicating my intention that I think she's a lady of action who gets results in spite of the hazards. (Evidence for that can be found in the stir her book has created.) If Indiana Jones was a writer, and female,...

But that's not how it all came out.

Along the lines of "If you drink, don't drive", I'm coining "If you're distracted, don't Pointificate". But I suppose nanny-staters on the Left will try to make that into law. Testimony will be taken on the addictive nature of The Point. So I'm proactively checking myself into rehab at the "Shady Rest Methadone Clinic". Too much smack, mainlining kilobytes...

Catherine Larson

Lee, I'd have to have my eyes-crossed to take offense at anything you write to us. You regularly make our day around here.

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Job 40 and 41. Righteous smack. With the effect smack should have--to leave the receiver stunned, silent and undone.

Jason Joyner

LeeQuod - Amen and amen to the names of Daniel's three friends. Their very names are so honoring of God, and their Babylonian names were a mockery.

Oh, Job 40-41 is *the* ultimate in smack down. Leave it to the Ultimate to show us how it's done.


"Hell hath no furies..." http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=9&chapter=25&verse=36&end_verse=38&version=31&context=context

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