“Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.” (Psalm 68:13)

Now one of the rules to understand the Bible is to not make assumptions … as with the above title.

That is, before we tell what it means, serious Bible students study as to what it says.

In other words we should try real hard not to bring the Bible down to our level of ignorance.

Despite the fact that you might have several advanced doctorates in Greek or Hebrew or Swahili, the plain ol’ English of the King James Bible has a sneaky way to humble us all.

Put it this way “Why should the man who mucks out a pig stall have any less knowledge and understanding of the Bible than a University lecturer in religion, just because he doesn’t know ‘da Hebrew or da Greek’? He doesn’t need to … if he knows da’ English!

The following is a prayer for any serious budding Bible student: “Dear Lord, that word doesn’t seem right, but I know you have chosen it for a reason. Please humble my heart to find out what it says before I start yapping on about what I think it should be or what it means. I will not change any word to suit me, but I will change me to suit the words you have chosen. Please give me understanding. Amen.”

Now the word “lien” is given three times in the Bible, and the word “lain” is mentioned six times.

So we have start thinking that if “lain” is the word meant, then God could, and indeed would, have used it. Did the 1611 Translators made a mistake? Has God fumbled the ball?

Should the verse be as follows: “Though ye have lain among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.” (Psalm 68:13).

I mean it makes more sense doesn’t it?

There is your poor ol’ downtrodden Israelite, in bondage, in chains, and under the whip in Egypt, so what could be a more fitting word than lain … you know lying down, nay, beaten down, among the pots … the pots they have been forced to make along with the mud bricks while under crushing Egyptian domination.

However, to a person with a Dictionary, and any publisher will do, they will discover that “lien” is a legal term meaning that someone has the rights over someone else property.

In more correct terms “A lien is a legal claim to assets used to secure the repayment of a debt or loan. When a lien is put on a house, for example, creditors gain a legal right to pursue the property if the schedule payments of a loan go unmet.”

Well, how does this apply to captive Israel in Egypt.

Initially Israel were doing great and God was blessing them hand over foot. As the Bible saysAnd the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them.” (Exodus 1:7).

In a word, Israel were going gangbusters! Why? God had given Egypt to Israel … the land was theirs, and while Pharoah was meeting his ‘payments’ to Israel by letting them prosper, it was all sweet with God.

… there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.” (Exodus 1:8) and this is where it starts to go pear-shaped (downhill) for Egypt. From the time Israel entered Egypt to the Exodus, was 215 years, with the first 71 years being fruitful and waxing as described above. It is only the last 144 years of Israel’s time in Egypt, that they serve with rigour, with their lives being made bitter with hard bondage (Exodus 1:13-14).

What does all this mean?

Egypt was not meeting its payments to Israel, who had been given the land by God to dwell in and prosper, and so the lien over Egypt begins. And we all know the end result – Israel exit Egypt and take all Egypt’s wealth with them, that is, they clean them right out! As the Bible says “...and they spoiled the Egyptians.” (Exodus 12:36).

In summary let’s go over the definition of the lien that Israel had over Egypt.

“Israel had lien, a legal claim, over Egypt and its assets, as the land was God gift to Israel. Owing to non-payment over a period of 144 years of hard bondage, Egypt failed to keep its commitments/repayments, to Israel. As a result, Israel, as the creditor, gain a legal right to pursue the property of Egypt as the schedule of payments (letting them prosper, waxing, multiplying) toward Israel was lapsing and had lapsed.”

 So lets go back and put all this into context.

“Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.” (Psalm 68:13)

Yes, while Israel was among the pots, serving with rigour and hard bondage, paradoxically, they had a lien over Egypt. Egypt’s property was theirs in the future. Egypt’s house was already Israel’s house as it were. Although slaves, they were future rich slaves with legal rights to come. Israel had a lien over Egypt that would come to fruition after 144 years.


But did we need to go through all that to know that Israel was not just laying about in Egypt among the pots?


The second half of the verse reveals that the correct word is “lien” not “lain”. Israel were not just laying about in the pots, they had an unknown lien that only God knew anything about!


Bam! Right between the eyes! Over the plate waist high! There is the meaning of the word “lien” because of the context.

In the first half of the verse, Israel are poverty stricken slaves but with a future lien over Egypt … they SHALL (future) be blessed with material goods.

The second half of the verse shows you that Israel, as history shows, bankrupted Egypt, and went on their way with wings of a dove and covered with gold.

That is, they flew out of Egypt with all the goodies as a result of their lien.

Harley Hitchcock




A.B.M. PO Box 5058 Mt. Gravatt East 4122 Qld, Australia