Sunday Cliches

Another scattered Sunday; and as I sit here I wonder, what the heck should the theme be this week?  My brain has not caught up to my fingers yet.  I think we shall do more bible phrases. That is a deep subject to mine, I could probably do a half-dozen posts on that alone. Then a few more on Shakespeare. I guess I really don’t have to worry about not have enough clichés to continue this series 🙂

And this time, a little background on the King James Version of the Bible. Who was King James? Why was he so important in defining the bible? How did his version reach the top of the pile? Well, the King in question was James I of England and James VI of Scotland. He authorized the translation by 47 biblical scholars who worked in six committees. The first printing of the King James Version to come out of this collaboration was in 1611. It was not the earliest printing of the Bible in English, which is attributed to John Wyclif’s translation in 1382, followed by William Tyndale’s translation in 1528. Tyndale’s was, in large part, the basis of the KJV. It is likely that the KJV lasted so long simply because it was in such a primary language: English.

man does not live by bread alone: Not only do we need physical nourishment, we, as humans, need spiritual nourishment as well.  This was a popular phrase in the Bible (does that tell us something?), appearing three times in three separate books.

   Deuteronomy 8: 2-3 King James Version (of course):

And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.

red sky at night, shepherd’s delight: weather lore that has been twisted a bit through the centuries.  Most people who live on a coast have heard “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight; red morning, sailors take warning.”  I know my sailor husband lives by that when we think about taking the boat out. Obviously, both shepherds and sailors have a keen interest in what the weather will bring.
       “When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for              the sky is red and louring.”–authorised King James version

pearls before swine: an over-used literary phrase indeed.  Meaning, of course, to self-importantly throw cultural tidbits to an audience that can’t hope to understand them. The biblical text is generally interpreted to be a warning by Jesus to his followers that they should not offer biblical doctrine to those who were unable to value and appreciate it–which doesn’t seem to be very Christian to me! And, it truly puts missionary work in jeopardy. I believe the self-important arrogance associated with the phrase has arisen mostly through the 20th century literature.

land of Nod: sleep. I have always wondered about this one.  So: ‘We now usually think of ‘The Land of Nod’ as a mythical place, where we go to when we sleep. Nod was indeed a mythical location, but it was originally a place of anguished exile rather than of peaceful sleep. The very first few pages of the Bible refer to Nod, and locate it ‘East of Eden’ and it is where Cain dwelt after being cast out by God after Cain’s murder of his brother Abel. ‘East of Eden’, being clearly not in Eden (Paradise) has also been taken up into the English language as a place/state of considerable discomforture.’*

 Genesis 4:16:

4:11 And now art thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand;
4:12 When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth.
4:13 And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.
4:14 Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.
4:15 And the LORD said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold. And the LORD set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.
4:16 And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.

*www.phrases.org.uk

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