Biblical wisdom on bowel movements – pooping the Bible way!

[From the archives. Enjoy. If you’re not repulsed, that is.]


Who says the Bible doesn’t have practical advice?

Designate a place outside the camp where you can go to relieve yourself. As part of your equipment have something to dig with, and when you relieve yourself, dig a hole and cover up your excrement. (Deuteronomy 23:12-13.)

Sound advice. If you’re going to poop, don’t leave it in your tent. Don’t leave it in your neighbor’s tent. Don’t leave it in the space between your tent and your neighbor’s tent.

After all, why stink up the camp? And as you’ll see below the picture, there’s a spiritual aspect to this burying poop, too.

The Indecency of Bowel Movements?

The passage goes on to say:

For the Lord your God moves about in your camp to protect you and to deliver your enemies to you. Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you. (Deuteronomy 23:14.)

I read that passage a few nights ago and wondered what connection there could be between our bodily excrement and holiness before God. After all, God called all his creation very good (Genesis 1:26-31), so I figure even our bowel movements must have been a good thing for God to create.

Then again, the connection of pooping and holiness isn’t the only connection I wonder about. Food is another area. God told the Israelites what they could and could not eat, calling permitted foods clean and forbidden ones unclean.

Then there is life under the New Covenant, where these food rules no longer apply and the spiritual connection with eating formerly forbidden food no longer exists. (Acts 10.) The New Testament writings don’t speak of bowel movements specifically, but with all that the New Testament does say about our freedom from Old Testament legal regulations it’s safe to say that the spiritual aspect of disposing with poop is gone too.

Why, then, should we bother learning the cleanliness regulations in Deuteronomy 23 at all?

Because it still provides an analogy for our spiritual lives now.

Burying Sin in a Hole

God used physical excrement to represent spiritual uncleanness to the Israelites. Having to step outside the camp provided a tangible and daily opportunity for the nation of Israel to remember that God dwelled with them, right there with them in their very camp, and that they were to live in a way that acknowledged his holy presence.

God is with us under the New Covenant too, and he lives not in our camps but in our very selves. (Ephesians 2:22.) The Bible encourages us to remember that we are cleansed of our sins (2 peter 1:9), meaning that unlike the Israelite camp which the Jews needed to keep holy we are now kept holy by God himself.

Yet God’s people still sin. (Romans 7.) The question then becomes: what are we to do with that sin?

  • First, we should rejoice that all of our sins – past. present and future – have already been forgiven. (Colossians 2:13.)
  • Second, we are to remember that God never condemns us for our sins. (Romans 8:1-2.)
  • Third, we can follow the example of the Israelite camp. If you have sinned in whatever way, don’t keep that sin close to you where it will continue to tempt you. (James 1:14.) Don’t keep it somewhere you will come across it easily. Instead, put it aside and remove yourself as best you can from the temptations the led you to it, and move on by the power of the Holy Spirit.

No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13.)

What about when we don’t resist temptation, though. The passage in Deuteronomy 23 gives good advice on what to do with that sin: leave it behind like the refuse it is.

And remember, the Spirit of Christ lives in us and we are eternally holy to our heavenly Father who never lets us go. (John 10:27-30.)


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23 Responses to Biblical wisdom on bowel movements – pooping the Bible way!

  1. Jeannie says:

    What ARE you guys, like, eleven? 🙂

  2. Carmen S. says:

    Tim, this is what you post on my birthday??? Yes, I waited until the following day to say something. But I will say “removing sin as far away from you as best you can, and leaving sin behind like the refuse it is” was a wonderful birthday gift. These memes are cool!

  3. VelvetVoice says:

    This post stinks! I love poop.

  4. DragonLady says:

    #everybodypoops 🙂

    • Tim says:

      One of the books we had when the kids were young was “Stop and Go Potty”, and it ended with a page full of people who all had to stop and go potty.

  5. pbeeli says:

    Maybe before the Fall, Adam and Eve’s bodies didn’t need to poop.

    Rom. 7:8 says “apart from the law, sin [hamartia] is dead” (not something buried in a hole). While Christians can still do immoral stuff, that immoral stuff is apparently not the gloss of hamartia of 7:8b.

    Thus in Rom. 7:9-25 Paul is using the first person and present tense to describe a historical man who characterizes the plight of sin through Adam and increased sin through Moses and who yearns for the deliverance from the flesh that comes with the new creation.

    This deliverance from the flesh with the new creation, according to both Rom. 7:5 and 8:9, is that the Christian is no longer in the flesh.

    Yet the voice of Rom. 7:9-25 is one “of the flesh” (v. 14). This reinforces the interpretation that 7:9-25 is the voice of a non-Christian.

  6. Emilin says:

    I have a question, I dreamed a really weird dream and it was with feces. But the thing is that my husband would be next to me while the ceilings of my house would drip my baby boys feces!! Meaning my sons room was on top floor and we weee on the bottom floor, so I would see the ceilings full with feces and it was kind of nasty but I just knew it’s was my sons feces and in a way didn’t bother me. I just want to understand because this dream has left me thinking and wondering what is God trying to tell me?? I will ask him to dcode this for me in my prayers.

    • Tim says:

      I don’t think your dream is a message from God at all. It’s just you thinking about things you didn’t finish thinking about when you were awake. Dreams are weird but that doesn’t make them visions from heaven.

  7. Amber Epley says:

    Whats most important here is that there are clear and concise methods of sanitary waste disposal. Long used before modern ‘Germ Theory’ came about

  8. Julie Frady says:

    I dare you to preach this as a sermon some time

  9. Donna says:

    You amazed me in the spiritual lesson here Tim thanks! I never saw it as such. Here all these years I had just simply read that verse as the Israelites being so dim-witted and uncooth, or just plain vulgar in what is simply common sense to 21st century minds… that it took God Himself to have to tell them something on the lines of (as an exasperated parent would say) “Hey guys I’m walking around here, get a spade, dig a hole I don’t care to see your excrement laying around!” kind of thing. *giggle

  10. Julia says:

    Very helpful and I love the Bible references

  11. Ojema James says:

    Good morning,
    I greet you in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holly spirit. Am JAMES from Uganda, actually I want to know meaning of. this dream. I dreamt of seeing someone pooing feces in unopen ground then after doing so, he covered it with grass and soil by the time I wanted to help him to cover it. what does it mean, please make me understand. thanks.

  12. Bill says:

    This is the most moronic thing ever written. The fact that a anyone has even questioned a completely natural and necessary part of biological existence shows how much of a fascistic hold religions have on people. This sort of thought helps no one. Human waste is dealt with sanitarIly for health purposes, not because it’s a sin.

  13. Paula says:

    Enjoyed this. I’m not surprised in the least that God would tell us to cover our p**p. And I’m not surprised you can make a spiritual connection to it.
    Hey, there’s also this from Leviticus 28:42-43. “You shall make for them linen undergarments to cover their naked flesh. They shall reach form the hips to the thighs; and they shall be on Aaron and on his sons when they go into the tent of meeting or when they come near the altar to minister in the Holy Place, lest they bear guilt and die.”
    I guess God’s saying, “Yes, you’re fearfully and wonderfully made, but I don’t need to see what’s under your shorts.” *teeheehee* — Hashtag AnswersInLeviticus
    side note: I wasn’t just reading this the other day; it’s one of those silly things I remember about how God covers everything. (pun intended)

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