Heap Coals of Fire on Their Head (A 2017 Thought)

By Patrick Hawthorne


In prayer this morning, I could not get the thought out of my head.  “Heap coals of fire on their head.”  This word was for me, but I thought you might receive from it as well.

Many in the West have taken the verse of Scripture, “Heap coals of fire on their head,”  to mean we are to kill people with kindness…that when someone does us wrong, we are to repay with kindness.  While the thought may sound reasonable, it is totally missing the point.

In the time this was written, coals for home fires was contained in a pot called a brazier.  If a home fire went out, it was customary to run over to the next door neighbors to obtain more coals.  Would you like to take a guess on how the fire was transported?  You got it.  It was on the head.  If the neighbor truly wanted to bless the person seeking fire, they would heap coals of fire upon their head.

If you want the Biblical way to deal with your enemies, don’t just, “Kill em’ with kindness;” truly bless them.  Pray for them and ask God to intervene in their lives.  Don’t “lip service,” your kindness, but actually demonstrate true kindness.  Love endures long and is patient and kind…. think about it.  Happy 2017…be blessed.

Romans 12:20; Proverbs 25:22


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Posted in Christian, snippet, teaching, writing
26 comments on “Heap Coals of Fire on Their Head (A 2017 Thought)
  1. ColorStorm says:

    Maybe the purest of blessings is to send to the least deserving, the most despicable, the most unappreciative……..

    yeah, send it my way……..

    For WE once were……………..

    good stuff Pat


  2. Mel Wild says:

    An interesting take on that passage. Love the conclusion you made from it. Yes, we’re to Be a blessing to others (1 Pet. 3:9 MSG). May you have a very blessed 2017, Patrick.


  3. Wally Fry says:

    Happy new year my friend.

    Yes, all the feelings in the world don’t mean jack. I think James mentioned that too….something like if your friend shows up cold and hungry and you send him away with a prayer, exactly what good did you do in the first place. Certainly fits when we think of the command to “love” our enemies. Read..”help” even your enemies.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on A Blog About Healing From PTSD and commented:
    Amazing… I had no idea that the scripture which tells us to “heap coals of fire” on our enemy’s head, could mean this:


  5. luckyotter says:

    Reblogged this on Lucky Otters Haven and commented:
    Wise and beautiful thoughts for the new year!


  6. Kevin says:

    Inspiring. I key into it with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. SLIMJIM says:

    I lean towards this conclusion but want to do some more study. Let us love our enemies though with Christ as our example


    • I totally understand and agree. To help you out, if you so desire, I got this information from two sources. One is Strange Scriptures that Perplex the Western Mind by B.M. Bowen (1944). The second, (I believe), is from Manners and Customs of the Bible. I read it many years ago and it has always stuck out in my mind.

      I looked at several commentaries but did not find any that really made sense in the context of Paul’s comment in Romans 12:20. Most held to the “Kill em’ with kindness,” thought which is basically saying, “I will be kind so the Lord can take vengeance on behalf of me.” Then I found this by Adam Clarke which I believe truly expresses the mindset of Paul.

      Thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head – Not to consume, but to melt him into kindness; a metaphor taken from smelting metallic ores: –

      So artists melt the sullen ore of lead,

      By heaping coals of fire upon its head:

      In the kind warmth the metal learns to glow,

      And pure from dross the silver runs below.

      S. Wesley..

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Terri Nida says:

    I learned something new about burning coals. Thank you. Such a good reminder on how we should truly pray for our adversaries.


  9. YES! Such an important concept that some folks misconstrue, in addition to showing kindness, as something bad. Thanks for sharing. God bless.

    In Jesus’ precious name Steven Sawyer stevesaw@gmail.com http://stevensawyer.wordpress.com/


  10. Awesome context for this scripture! Thanks so much for sharing this. 🙂


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