Biblical Connections to Familiar Phrases and Sayings VII

Have you ever used a phrases or reference and wondered where did the saying come from? Some uses of the English language have been around for so long, no one would stop and think that they were actually quoting parts of the Bible. In this article, you will encounter sayings that deal with living the good life, children, and the description given to people who lend a helping hand.

“living off the fat of the land”

When a person is described as enjoying a good life or is benefiting from a growth of crops, they are said to be “living off the fat of the land.” During the 16th century, people referred to the richest, best part of something as being ‘the fat.’ In the Bible, the quote appeared in Genesis 45:17-18 (King James Version) regarding the Pharaoh and Joseph: “And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, Say unto thy brethren, This do ye: lade your beasts, and go, get you unto the land of Canaan; And take your father and your households, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land.”

“spare the rod and spoil the child”

In the past, there was a belief that if children were not punished or reprimanded for doing wrong, then they would not prosper. Physical and other methods of punishment were used. Over the years, the saying has appeared in a variety of writings, including a satirical poem centered on the English Civil War, which was published in 1662. In 1377, William Langland penned the line, “Who-so spareth ye sprynge, spilleth his children.” As for the Bible, a similar line was found in Proverbs 13:24 of the King James Version of the Bible. It reads “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”

“Good Samaritan”

When someone helps another person that needs assistance and they do so without any expectation of a reward, the person is usually referred to as a Good Samaritan. The expression originates in a parable found in the Bible under Luke 10:30/33. An example of the use of the phrase is:

“10:30 Then answered Iesus, and sayde: A certayne man wente downe from Ierusalem vnto Iericho, and fell amonge murthurers, which stryped him out of his clothes, and wounded him, and wente their waye, and left him half deed.
10:31 And by chauce there came downe a prest the same waye: and whan he sawe him, he passed by.
10:32 And likewyse a Leuite, wha he came nye vnto the same place and sawe him, he passed by.
10:33 But a Samaritane was goynge his iourney, and came that waye, and whan he sawe him, he had compassion vpon him”¦”