Draught

Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught, Luke 5:4.


This little word, "draught" seems to give modern readers trouble with pronunciation. They see the "a-u-g-h-t" with which it ends and want to pronounce it like the word "aught" or "taught". I did so for years until I chanced upon a poem from the 17th century in which "draught" was made to rhyme with "laughed". In reality, draught and draft are the same word. The a-u-g-h in "aught" is to be pronounced like the a-u-g-h in "laugh. A draughtsman is a draftsman. A draught of ale is a draft of ale.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines draught as: transitive. To draw off (a party of persons, animals, etc.) from a larger body for some special duty or purpose. (Now commonly draft...). That certainly corresponds to Luke 5:4, where they let down their nets to draw off a portion of fish from the sea. That would account for two of the three occurrences of the word, but there are three times that the word is used in a delicate sense to mean sewage.

Your King James Bible really is a marvel at blunt speech, but it is always above the board in its care for the sensibilities of its readers. It is meant for every age level. When the first marriage was consummated, the word of God says; And Adam knew Eve his wife, Genesis 4:1. We're all big people and we know what just happened, but the children gathered around the family table listening to the word of God heard something on their level.

Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?, Matthew 15:17. I suppose that would be a good verse for a man opening a Christian port-a-potty business. This corresponds perfectly with 2nd Kings 10:27; And they brake down the image of Baal, and brake down the house of Baal, and made it a draught house unto this day. What could be more fitting than that the house of Baal should be filled with the sewage of a busy city as passers-by relieved their bowels?

There is something about the way that that is said which goes over the head of little children who find potty talk to be hilarious and a cause for secret snickering. In Matthew 15:17, the NIV uses the phrase "out of the body" whereas the ESV says "is expelled". I have raised eight children who regularly gathered around our table to hear the word of God. It is difficult to imagine a scenario in which one of them did not raise his or her hand to clarify "out of the body" or "expelled". We would then have a conversation about how the food we eat is defecated.

I propose in this post that God purposely kept that thought at arms length with the phrase "cast out into the draught". The adults in the room all get it, and the children are never stirred to snickers. A victorian prude could not have said it more discreetly and yet not have compromised the thought. I like that.

© 2017 by Pure Cambridge Text was Proudly created with Wix.com