pisseth against the wall

2 Kings 9:8

9:8 pisseth against the wall. This pronouncement of coming doom on the descendants of Ahab uses language that sounds vulgar to modern ears, and modern translations invariably use some euphemism instead of the literal translation as in the Authorized Version (if nothing else, this is a striking testimonial to the strong commitment to precise rendering by the King James translators). Nevertheless the actual words uttered by the prophet, quoting the words of the Lord Himself, were exactly as given in the King James, and it would seem there must be good reason why the Spirit-inspired Scriptures would use such explicit language—in this and several other instances—when it seems at first that “every adult male” would have done just as well. Wherever it is used (also in I Samuel 25:22,34; I Kings 14:10; 16:11; 21:21), it is used as a pejorative and in a context of judgment against evil. It was evidently a proverbial expression in Israel, probably applied to those men who were of such arrogant and evil temperament as to blatantly engage in public urination against the walls of those they disliked. Not only were such descendants of Ahab to be cut off, but even those who were “shut up” (i.e., too old or too young to engage in outside work or warfare, and thus kept at home) and “left in Israel.”

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