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Biblical Connections to Familiar Phrases and Sayings X

Oftentimes, some of the phrases and sayings that we say today have been attributed to famous authors when in fact, they have already appeared in the Bible. In this article, you may learn the connection between some of your favorite phrases.

“the writing is on the wall”

If something bad is going to happen , dangerous times are ahead, or a disaster seems to be brewing, one may say “the writing is on the wall.” The origin of the quote is found in the King James Version of the Bible in Daniel 5:5/6. It reads:

“In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.
Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.”

“wash your hands of the matter”

If you are disappointed in a person or a turn of events, and turn your back on the individual or situation, you may say that you “wash your hands of the matter.” In the King James Version of the Bible, a variation of the quote is found in Matthew 27:24 : “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. “

“woe is me”

When a person is grieving, sad, or feeling distressed, they may exclaim, “woe is me.” The phrase has appeared throughout many different publications, including literary genres and the Bible. The form ‘woe unto me’ appears in one of the oldest books of the Old Testament (Job). The earliest version of the book dates back to around 1200 BC. In Job 10:15, you will find ” If I be wicked, woe unto me; and if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head. I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction.” Shakespeare was also famous for using the saying, which appeared in the 1602 publication of Hamlet.

Other instances that appear in the Bible showcase the ‘woe is me’ version. They appear in Psalms, Isaiah, and Jeremiah:

1) Psalms 120:5: Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar!
2) Isaiah 6:5: Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.
3) Jeremiah 4:31: For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, and the anguish as of her that bringeth forth her first child, the voice of the daughter of Zion, that bewaileth herself, that spreadeth her hands, saying, Woe is me now! for my soul is wearied because of murderers

“you reap what you sow”

The basic premise of the phrase “you reap what you sow” is that whatever you accomplish (for the good or the bad) will come back to you in the same manner. The origin of the phrase comes from the Bible in Galatians VI, it states “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

“put words in one’s mouth”

In the King James Version of the Bible, you will find “put words in one’s mouth” in  II Samuel 14:3: “And come to the king, and speak on this manner unto him. So Joab put the words in her mouth.”