Good morning. It is Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Several years ago, a local radio station had a morning bit where one announcer would say a word or phrase and the other announcer would expound upon its meaning, usually always VERY wrong.
I love English sayings. I love when people misquote them as well. They are equally funny.
There is an older movie titled Demolition Man starring Sandra Bullock and Sylvester Stallone. I watched it years ago, but the thing I remember most was Ms. Bullock’s misquoting phrases. Here are just three examples.
“Looks like there’s a new shepherd in town.”
“Chief, you can take this job and shovel it.”
“Looks like he matched his meet.”
We also misquote when, in our best James Earl Jones voice, we quote from Star Wars “Luke, I am your father” but the fact is that is not what he said. He actually said, “No. I am your father.”
When we mimic Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.” The actual quote is “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
And don’t even get me started with “I cannot tell a lie, I chopped down the cherry tree.” I was taught, in school that the young George Washington said that when admitting to cutting down his father’s cherry tree. But it is entirely possible the story is a myth. More on that at www.nps.gov/articles/george-washington-and-the-cherry-tree.htm
Where am I going with all of this? I love origins and many of the sayings we have today come directly from the Bible.
I have often said "It's just a season." The quote “For Everything there is a Season” comes from Ecclesiastes 3. It is also the inspiration for the song “Turn! Turn! Turn!” by the Byrds.
“We don’t see eye to eye” comes from Isaiah 52:8 “Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.”
“By the skin of my teeth” meaning you just barely got by, just barely accomplished it, you narrowly missed it. That quote comes from Job 19:20 “My bone clings to my skin and to my flesh, And I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.” NKJV
One of the first rhymes I learned as a child “Pink at night, sailors delight. Pink in the morning, sailors take warning.” I did not know that was from the Bible until just 4 or 5 years ago! Matthew 16:2-3 “He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.” NKJV
“Blind leading the blind” comes from Matthew 15:13-14 “But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.”
“Just a drop in the bucket” comes from Isaiah 40:15 “Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket,…”
“Eye for an Eye, Tooth for a Tooth” comes from Matthew 5:38-42 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.”
When you turn a light in a dark room for the first time or get batteries in your flashlight you might say “Let there be light”. That comes directly from the creation story in Genesis 1.
“The writings on the wall” comes from Daniel 5
“I am at my wit’s end” comes from Psalm 107:27 “They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, And are at their wits’ end.”
“The love of money is the root of all evil” comes from 1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
“Eat, drink and be merry” comes from Ecclesiastes 8:15 “So I commended enjoyment, because a man has nothing better under the sun than to eat, drink, and be merry; for this will remain with him in his labor all the days of his life which God gives him under the sun.”
“Don’t put words in my mouth” comes from 2 Samuel 14:3 “Go to the king and speak to him in this manner.” So Joab put the words in her mouth.”
When waking your child or spouse you might say “Rise and shine.” That too comes from the Bible! Isaiah 60:1 “Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.”
“Bite the dust” comes from Psalms 72:9 “Those who dwell in the wilderness will bow before Him, And His enemies will lick the dust.”
Other expressions I found in my search today, from unlockingthebible.org:
Can a leopard change its spots? Jeremiah 13:23 (KJV), “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.”
Cast the First Stone is from John 8:7, “And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”
Fall From Grace is from Galatians 5:4, “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”
Fly in the Ointment is from Ecclesiastes 10:1 (KJV), “Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.”
Sign of the times is from Matthew 16:3 (KJV), “And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?”
Strait and Narrow is from Matthew 7:14, “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
Twinkling of an Eye is from 1 Corinthians 15:52, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
There’s nothing new under the sun is from the book of Ecclesiastes. Ecclesiastes 1:9 (KJV) says, “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”
Wash your hands of the matter is from Matthew 27:24 (KJV), “When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.”
Weighed in the balance is from Job 31:6, “Let me be weighed in an even balance that God may know mine integrity.”
What God has joined together let no man put asunder is from Matthew 19:6 in Miles Covedale’s translation of the Bible which says, “Now are they not twain then, but one flesh. Let not man therefore put a sunder, that which God hath coupled together.”
Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing is from Matthew 7:15 (KJV), “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
Forbidden Fruit is from Genesis 3:3 when Adam and Eve were commanded not to eat from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. “But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.”
Go the extra mile is from Matthew 5:41 that says, “And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain” (KJV).
Good Samaritan is from Luke 10:30-37, the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword is from Matthew 26:52, “Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.”
How the Mighty have Fallen is from 2 Samuel 1:19, “The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen!”
Nothing but skin and bones is from Job 19:19-20, “All my intimate friends detest me; those I love have turned against me. I am nothing but skin and bones.”
The Powers that Be is from Romans 13:1 (KJV), “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”
Pride comes before a fall is from Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” (KJV)
The Root of the Matter is from Job 19:28 (KJV), “But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the Root of the matter is found in me?”
Scapegoat is from the Old Testament Law (Leviticus 16:9-10 specifically) where a goat is chosen by lot to be sent into the desert to make atonement for sin.
WOW! Who knew so much came from the Bible? But there you have it! Perhaps you do not believe in the Bible, but chances are you have been quoting it all your life. Perhaps you do believe in the Bible, but never knew those every-day sayings came from the pages of God’s Holy Word. What amazes me is the longevity of those sayings. Some of them are thousands of years old. I think that is cool.
So, rise and shine, be a good Samaritan today and remember, there is nothing new under the sun.