Article Thumbnail

What’s With All These Chodes in the Bible?

And did Jacob show his chode to Laban?

Just so you know, the Bible is chock-full of chode-action. 

I mean, check out this quote from the Book of Genesis: “And Jacob was wroth, and chode with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my trespass?”

There’s also this, from the Book of Numbers: “And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD!”

Okay, that’s it actually, so the Bible isn’t really “chock-full” of chodes. 

But still, it’s a surprising word to find in Holy Scripture, especially when you consider the word’s current definition — “a penis wider than it is long.” The word “chode” might also refer to the perineum (which is the scientific name for the taint). Or it might constitute an insult, much like “dick,” as in, “Man, every dude in Reality Bites is a huge chode.” Or you might find it written as “choad,” because it’s a slang word, and the language police haven’t made it uniform yet.

But if you plug the primary definition of chode into those biblical quotes, it doesn’t really work: “And Jacob was wroth, and [a penis wider than it is long] with Laban: and Jacob answered and said to Laban, What is my trespass?”

And: “And the people [a penis wider than it is long] with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD!”

That obviously means the biblical chode is a whole other kind of chode, which, of course, it is. According to Bible translators, “chode” is the old past tense of “chide,” or to scold. Clearly then, these two chodes likely have no relation to each other, a fact etymologist Barry Popik confirms. 

Instead, the modern chode probably derives from either “chodis,” a Navajo word for penis, or “chod,” a Hindu word meaning “have sex.” Popik tells me that the word’s first recorded usage was in 1968 in the underground comic Zap Comix. It was then popularized in the 1990s by Beavis and Butt-Head

On the rare occasion that the Bible does refer to a penis, it usually does so via a polite euphemism, as author and blogger Jeremy Myers explains in his article “Boners in the Bible.” For example, “Let them make for themselves linen pants to cover the basar of nakedness.” Back then, “basar” meant “meat” or “flesh.” There’s also, “And Gideon had 70 sons who came out of his yarek,” which meant “thigh.” Sometimes things gets a bit more explicit, like in this bit of scripture: “And a man who places his sekobet in an animal will be put to death.” “Sekobet” meant “lying,” but there’s no real ambiguity as to what’s being expressed here. 

Additionally, some biblical scholars think that the “rib” God took from Adam to make Eve refers to the human male’s missing baculum, or penis bone, which many other mammals have but we humans lack

To bring things back to my game of biblical Mad Libs, the word chode fits much more nicely into these euphemistic quotes. Case in point: 

  • “Let them make for themselves linen pants to cover the [chode].”
  • “And Gideon had seventy sons who came out of his [chode].”
  • “A man who places his [chode] in an animal will be put to death.”

Actually, who am I kidding? 

Chode is a much more appropriate word for Beavis and Butt-Head than it is as the Word of God. 

Do Not Sell My Personal Information