Idioms and Allusions from the Bible
1. A tree is known by its fruit: A man is known by the company he keeps
Matthew 12:33 Either make the tree good, and its fruit good, or make the tree corrupt, and its fruit corrupt; for the tree is known by its fruit.
2. Aaron’s serpent: the power conquering everything
Exodus 7:10 Moses and Aaron went in to Pharaoh, and they did so, as Yahweh had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh and before his servants, and it became a serpent. 7:11Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers. They also, the magicians of Egypt, did in like manner with their enchantments. 7:12For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods. 7:13Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he didn't listen to them; as Yahweh had spoken.
e.g. Thus Prussia was the Aaron's serpent that swallowed up the lesser German States between 1866 and 1870.
3. Absalom hair: a handsome or pretty person is ruined critically by his or her appearance 4. Adam: the symbol of being old, obsolete and primitive
e.g. That joke you told is as old as Adam, but I still think it’s very funny.
5. Adam’s ale: water
6. Adam’s apple: the protruding part in a man’s throat
According to the Bible, when deceived by the serpent, Eve and Adam ate the apple and the
latter was choked by the forbidden fruit. Since then, there has been a protruding part in men’s
throat, which is one of the primary physical differences between males and females. 7. Adam’s profession: agriculture, gardening
8. Adam’s son: men or human beings
9. after one’s (own) heart[13:14]: satisfying
I Samuel13:13Samuel said to Saul, You have done foolishly; you have not kept the commandment of Yahweh your God, which he commanded you: for now would Yahweh have established your kingdom on Israel forever. 13:14But now your kingdom shall not continue: Yahweh has sought him a man after his own heart, and Yahweh has appointed him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept that which Yahweh commanded you.
e.g. She was engaged to a man after her own heart.
10. Ahab: insatiably avaricious, extremely greedy man
Ahab was the king of Israel (869-850 BC). He married Jezebel, a Tyrian princess, and through her influence the Phoenician worship of the god Baal was introduced into Israel. Ahab coveted a farmer Naboth’s vineyard, and wanted to use it to grow herbs. When Naboth refused to give the vineyard—the inheritance from his father, Ahab complained to his evil wife Jezebel who then comforted him, and soon managed to have Naboth stoned to death after accusing him of cursing God and the king. Thus, they took the possession of the vineyard of Naboth. 11. Aholah and Aholibah: licentious women
In the book of Ezekial There were two sisters who played the prostitute in Egypt. The name of them were Aholah the elder, and Aholibah her sister. Yahweh thought they had committed adultery and defiled His sanctuary and profaned Sabbaths. Yahweh punished them by making a company of people stone them, dispatch them with their swords, kill their sons and their daughters, and burn up their houses with fire. Thus all women were taught not to do lewdness.
12. ;be；all things to all men: to try to please everyone, even when it is impossible to do
I Corinthians 9:20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain those who are under the law; 9:21to those who are without law, as without law(not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law. 9:22 To the weak I became as weak, that I might gain the
weak, I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some. e.g. Though she is quite young, she is very all things to all men in making social connections. 13. alpha and omega: wholeness or the most important part
Revelation1:8 “I am Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
e.g. Rice is the alpha and omega of their diet.
14. Am I my brother’s keeper? It’s none of my business
Genesis 4:9Yahweh said to Cain, "Where is Abel, your brother?" He said, "I don't know. Am I my brother's keeper?"
15. anchor: spiritual pillar, backer or patron, comforting man or object
16. answer a fool according to his folly: teeth to teeth, arm to arm
Proverbs 26:4-5 David said, Don't answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own eyes.
17. apple of Sodom: superficially clever or good but without practical use
Sodom and Gomorrah were two cities destroyed by God for people there were sinful. After the big fire that had destroyed everything, there appeared many trees on this land, which yielded pretty fruits. But if you taste these apples, they became ashes immediately.
e.g. The bed he bought yesterday turned out to be an apple of Sodom.
18. apples and oranges: things so different from each other in types of nature 19. (The) ark rested on Mt. Ararat: out-of-date news
20. Armageddon: large scale wars or destructive accidents
This word appears in Revelation. Armageddon is the battlefield of the war between the good and the evil.
21. as poor as Lazarus
The Gospel According to Luke
A beggar named Lazarus was laid at his gate, full of sores, and desiring to be fed with the crumbs that fell from the rich man's table.
e.g. He spent all his parents' money within two years, and now he's as poor as Lazarus. 22. as the sparks fly upward: inevitable truth
Job 5:6 For hardship does not spring from the soil, nor does trouble sprout from the ground. 5:7 Yet man is born to trouble, as surely as sparks fly upward. Things unreasonable are never durable, as the sparks fly upward.
23. ask for bread and be given a stone: what is given is not what is asked, be fooled or cold
24. at one’s wit’s end: without effective ways to solve problem
The Psalms 107:27They reel back and forth, and stagger like a drunken man, And are at their wits' end.
25. at the eleventh hour: at the last crucial moment
The Gospel according to Matthew
"For the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who was the master of a household, who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 20:2When he had agreed with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard. 20:3He went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace. 20:4To them he said, 'You also go into the vineyard, and whatever is right I will give you.' So they went their way. 20:5Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise. 20:6 About the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle. He said to them, 'Why do you stand here all day idle?' 20:7 "They said to him, 'Because no one has hired us.' "He said to them, 'You also go into the vineyard, and you will receive whatever is right.' 20:8 When evening had come, the lord of the vineyard said to his steward, 'Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning from the last to the first.' 20:9"When those who were hired at about the eleventh hour came, they each received a denarius.
20:10When the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise each received a denarius. 20:11When they received it, they murmured against the master of the household, 20:12 saying, 'These last have spent one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat!' 20:13"But he answered one of them, 'Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Didn't you agree with me for a denarius? 20:14Take that which is yours, and go your way. It is my desire to give to this last just as much as to you. 20:15Isn't it lawful for me to do what I want to with what I own? Or is your eye evil, because I am good?' 20:16So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few are chosen."
26. Babel: noisy place or castles in the air
27. Balaam’s ass: a person who is usually silent and tamed but revolted suddenly
The children of Israel traveled, and encamped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan at Jericho. Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were many. Moab said to the elders of Midian, Now will this multitude lick up all that is round about us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field. Balak the son of Zippor was king of Moab at that time. He sent messengers for twice to Balaam to curse this people and promised to give Balaam great honor and wealth. Balaam saddled his donkey, and went with the princes of Moab. God's anger was kindled because he went; and the angel of Yahweh placed himself in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding on his donkey, and his two servants were with him. The donkey saw the angel of Yahweh standing in the way, with his sword drawn in his hand; and the donkey turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam struck the donkey, to turn her into the way. Then the angel of Yahweh stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side. The donkey saw the angel of Yahweh, and she thrust herself to the wall, and crushed Balaam's foot against the wall: and he struck her again. The angel of Yahweh went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. The donkey saw the angel of Yahweh, and she lay down under Balaam: and Balaam's anger was kindled, and he struck the donkey with his staff. Yahweh opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times? Balaam said to the donkey, Because you have mocked me, I would there were a sword in my hand, for now I had killed you. The donkey said to Balaam, Am I not your donkey, on which you have ridden all your life long to this day? was I ever wont to do so to you? He said, No. Then Yahweh opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of Yahweh standing in the way, with his sword drawn in his hand; and he bowed his head, and fell on his face.
The angel of Yahweh said to him, Why have you struck your donkey these three times? I am come forth for an adversary, because your way is perverse before me: and the donkey saw me, and turned aside before me these three times: unless she had turned aside from me, surely now I had even slain you, and saved her alive. Balaam said to the angel of Yahweh, I have sinned; for I didn't know that you stood in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease you, I will get me back again.
28. be condemned out of one’s own mouth: criticize and confess one’s own faults
e.g. By admitting that excessive drinking does more harm than good, the man who indulged in the practice was condemned out of his own mouth.
29. beam in one’s own eye: one’s own serious mistake (See Mathew 7:1-5)
e.g. He is always quick to point out other peoples' faults, but can't see the beam in his own eyes.
30. beat swords into plowshares [Isaiah: 2:4]: bury the hatchet, turn hostility to friendship The prophet Isaiah received the prophecy, which predicted that God's enemy would be destroyed while His faithful servants would be saved. At the end of the world, 2:4He will judge between the nations, And will decide concerning many peoples; And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning-hooks.
e.g. Peace will not come until the swords are beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning
31. beat the air: futile efforts
32. before the flood: a long time ago
33. Benjamin’s mess: the dominant portion
Joseph forgave his brothers and reunited with them. Before they went back to get their father Jacob to Egypt, he gave his brothers wagons, according to the commandment of Pharaoh, and gave them provision for the way. To all of them he gave each man changes of clothing, but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five changes of clothing. e.g. In the joint venture, Benjamin's mess of the benefit goes to him.
34. blind leading the blind: layman instructs layman, misleading guider
35. bone of the bone and flesh of the flesh: very closely linked
36. brand from the burning: a survivor of a disaster
37. break bread with somebody: dinner with somebody
38. broken reed: unreliable person or object [See Isaiah 36:6]
e.g. I asked him to speak at the meeting, but he didn't even attend; what a broken reed! 39. build on sand: build on not solid foundation [See Matthew 7:24-27]
e.g. His plan, like a house built on sand, has no solid foundation.
40. bull of Bashan [Psalms 22:12]: a person with a loud voice or a very strong man;
ferocious enemy or great obstacles
41. by the skin of one’s teeth [Job]: almost fail in something or fortunate escape
God wanted to test Job and made him lose his wealth, children and suffer from illness. Job didn't make any complaint. When his friends came to see him, he said to them: "He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me. My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me. They that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight. I called my servant, and he gave me no answer; I intreated him with my mouth. My breath is strange to my wife, though I intreated for the children's sake of mine own body. Yea, young children despised me; I arose, and they spake against me. All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me. My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth."
e.g. We drove to the station at full speed and caught the train by the skin of our teeth. 42. Cain: killer (especially a person who kills his brother), destitute and homeless persons 43. Can the leopard change his spots [Jeremiah 13:23-24]: It’s impossible or uneasy to
change a person’s nature
44. Canaan: paradise, land of hope
45. cast one’s bread upon the waters: without hope to be reciprocated
Ecclesiastes11:1Cast your bread on the waters;/For you shall find it after many days e.g. I suspect this man. He doesn't seem to be a person who could cast his bread upon the waters. 46. cast pearls before swine: choose the wrong audience
Matthew7:6 "Don't give that which is holy to the dogs, neither throw your pearls before the pigs, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces. e.g. Giving them advice is only to cast pearls before swine. They are incapable of understanding good taste and manners.
47. cast/throw the first stone [John]: be the first attacker or accuser
The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman taken in adultery. Having set her in the midst, 8:4they told him, "Teacher, we found this woman in adultery, in the very act. 8:5Now in our law, Moses commanded us to stone such. What then do you say about her?" 8:6They said this testing him, that they might have something to accuse him of. But Jesus stooped down, and wrote on the ground with his finger. 8:7But when they continued asking him, he looked up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone at her." 8:8Again he stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground. 8:9They, when they heard it, being convicted by their
conscience, went out one by one, beginning from the oldest, even to the last. Jesus was left alone with the woman where she was, in the middle. 8:10Jesus, standing up, saw her and said, "Woman, where are your accusers? Did no one condemn you?" 8:11She said, "No one, Lord." Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you. Go your way. From now on, sin no more." Although Ben saw the girl cheating, but he didn't wan to cast the first stone.
48. change from Saul to Paul: change one’s ideas completely
Saul didn't believe in Jesus, on the contrary, he persecuted those Christians. One day, on his way to send a document to persecute Christians, God presented Himself before him and persuade him stop his evil activity. After that, Saul converted to be a very pious disciple of Jesus. He changed his name to be Paul and accompanied Jesus to preach Christianity everywhere.
49. chastise with scorpions: punish severely
After Solomn died, his son Rehoboam succeeded his throne. Jeroboam and all the assembly of
Israel came and spoke to Rehoboam, Your father made our yoke grievous: now therefore make you the grievous service of your father, and his heavy yoke which he put on us, lighter, and we will serve you. He said to them, Depart yet for three days, then come again to me. The people departed. Rehoboam took counsel with the old men, who had stood before Solomon his father while he yet lived. They spoke to him, saying, If you will be a servant to this people this day, and will serve them, and answer them, and speak good words to them, then they will be your servants forever. But he forsook the counsel of the old men and took counsel with the young men who had grown up with him, who stood before him. The young men spoke to him, saying, thus shall you speak to them, My little finger is thicker than my father's loins. Now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions. So Jeroboam and all the people came to Rehoboam the third day, as the king bade, saying, Come to me again the third day. The king answered the people roughly, and spoke to them after the counsel of the young men. When all Israel saw that the king didn't listen to them, the people answered the king, saying, What portion have we in David? neither have we inheritance in the son of Jesse: to your tents, Israel: now see to your own house, David. So Israel departed to their tents and rebelled against the house of David to this day. Thus Israel was separated into two parts. e.g. He was chastised for his crime with scorpions.
50. choose that good part: the best strategy
51. clean hands: innocence
Psalm 24 The earth is Yahweh's, with its fullness; /The world, and those who dwell therein./For he has founded it on the seas,/And established it on the floods./Who may ascend to Yahweh's hill?/Who may stand in his holy place? /He who has clean hands and a pure heart;/Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood,/And has not sworn deceitfully.
e.g. He retired from office with clean hands.
52. come to light: be exposed to the public
John3:20For everyone who does evil hates the light, and doesn't come to the light, lest his works would be exposed. 3:21But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his works may be revealed, that they have been done in God."
e.g. New facts about ancient Egypt have recently come to light.
53. corn in Egypt: something of abundant quality
e.g. I say, here is unopened tin of tobacco. Corn in Egypt.
54. cornerstone: foundation
Isaiah28:16therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner -stone of sure foundation: he who believes shall not be in haste. e.g. It is a cornerstone of foreign policy.
55. countenance fell: be angry or disappointed (See Cain’s story in Genesis )
e.g. "I say, John," said Mr. Pinch, as his countenance fell and he shook his head in a dejected
manner. "I hope you are not getting into bad company."
56. covenant of salt: contracts never betrayed
Numbers18:19All the heave-offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer to Yahweh, have I given you, and your sons and your daughters with you, as a portion forever: it is a covenant of salt forever before Yahweh to you and to your seed with you.
e.g. Once you have made a covenant of salt, you should keep to it.
57. crown of thorns: humiliation and torture
Matthew27:26Then he released to them Barabbas, but Jesus he flogged and delivered to be
crucified. 27:27Then the governor's soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium, and gathered the whole garrison together against him. 27:28They stripped him, and put a scarlet robe on him. 27:29They braided a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and a reed in his right hand; and they kneeled down before him, and mocked him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" 27:30They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. 27:31When they had mocked him, they took the robe off of him, and put his clothes on him, and led him away to crucify him. 58. curious as Lot’s wife: be too curious (as the consequence of her curiosity, she was turned
into a pillar of salt)
59. cut the coat according to the cloth: act according to present conditions
e.g. You must cut your coat according to your cloth and be content with a smaller house. You know quite well you can't afford that large one on your salary.
60. daily bread: daily necessities
61. Daniel in the den of lions: a person of integrity stand severe tests or a fortunate survivor Daniel
Daniel was a prophet and was set in higher position than satraps. Then this Daniel was distinguished above the presidents and the satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. Then the presidents and the satraps sought to find occasion against Daniel as touching the kingdom; but they could find no occasion nor fault, because he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. Then these presidents and satraps assembled together to the king, and said thus to him, King Darius, live forever. All the presidents of the kingdom, the deputies and the satraps, the counselors and the governors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a strong interdict, that whoever shall ask a petition of any god or man for thirty days, save of you, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the interdict, and sign the writing, that it not be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which doesn't alter. Therefore king Darius signed the writing and the interdict. When Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house and he kneeled on his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did before. Then these men assembled together, and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God. Then they came near, and spoke before the king concerning Daniel's violation against the king's interdict. Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored until the going down of the sun to rescue him. Then these men assembled together to the king, and said to the king, Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians, that no interdict nor statute which the king establishes may be changed.
Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spoke and said to Daniel, Your God whom you serve continually, he will deliver you. A stone was brought, and laid on the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting; neither were instruments of music brought before him: and his sleep fled from him. Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste to the den of lions and found Daniel safe and sound because God had sent his angel to shut the lions'
mouths. Then was the king exceeding glad, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. The king commanded, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and broke all their bones in pieces, before they came to the bottom of the den. 62. daughter of the horseleech: greedy persona or parasites
Proverbs 30:15 The horseleech has two daughters, crying, give, give.
e.g. He said it with a little bow, and a face that would have taken the heart to ask favors out of the daughters of the horseleech.
63. David: young heroes
64. David and Jonathan: bosom friends
65. Delilah: seductive bad women ;See Samson；
66. depart form evil and do good [Psalms 37:27]
67. Diana of the Ephesians [Acts]: a person who forgets all principles at the sight of profits Ephesians worshipped Diana. Paul, one of Jesus' disciples, preached among them and persuaded them to believe in Yahweh. He asked them abolish worshipping idols, which aroused the Ephesians' opposition because they made good fortunes by making idols. So Paul's preach met with strong obstacles there.
68. divide garments by casting lots: not filial children who divide property when parents are
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots and then they sat down there and kept watch over him.
e.g. The poor old man! Even when he was quite healthy, his three sons began dividing garments by casting lots.
69. do as you want to be done by: treat others kindly
70. don’t make any graven image: don’t worship anything blindly ;See Ten Commandments；
71. double-edged sword [Proverbs 5:3-4]: something with both positive and negative
functions (more stress on negative side)
e.g. The argument he used to justify his position proved to be a double-edged sword which ultimately led to his own defeat.
72. doubting Thomas: persons with skeptical attitude
The Gospel according to John
Three days after his crucifixion, Jesus resurrected and did many signs in the presence of his disciples. But Thomas, one of the twelve, wasn't with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, "We have seen the Lord!" But he said to them, "Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe." After eight days again his disciples were inside, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, the doors being locked, and stood in the midst, and said, "Peace be to you." Then he said to Thomas, "Reach here your finger, and see my hands. Reach here your hand, and put it into my side. Don't be unbelieving, but believing." Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Because you have seen me,* you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen, and have believed."
e.g. You should believe what he said. Don't act like a doubting Thomas.
73. dove of peace
74. draw a bow at a venture [I Kings]: succeed by good fortune
The king of Israel, Ahab, disguised himself in others' robes and went into the battle to confuse the enemy. But A certain man drew his bow at a venture, and struck the king of Israel between the joints of the armor: therefore he said to the driver of his chariot, Turn your hand, and carry me out of the host; for I am severely wounded. The battle increased that day: and the king was stayed up in his chariot against the Syrians, and died at even; and the blood ran out of the wound into the
bottom of the chariot.
e.g. Jack was both clumsy and careless; he always drew a bow at a venture.
75. drive out of temple: drive away unqualified corners
The Gospel of John
Jesus went to Jerusalem with his family and disciples when the Passover of the Jews was at hand. He found in the temple those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, and the changers of money sitting. He made a whip of cords, and threw all out of the temple, both the sheep and the oxen; and he poured out the changers' money, and overthrew their tables. To those who sold the doves, he said, "Take these things out of here! Don't make my Father's house a marketplace!"
e.g. We've got too many members in our organization and we should drive some out of the temple.
76. drop in the bucket/ocean: Something that is not important because it is very small
Isaiah 40:15Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are accounted as the small dust of the balance: Behold, he takes up the isles as a very little thing
77. dust and ashes: humble persons
78. earmark: appoint a person or something for a certain purpose
Exodus 21:5But if the servant shall plainly say, 'I love my master, my wife, and my children. I will not go out free;' 21:6then his master shall bring him to God, and shall bring him to the door or to the door-post, and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl, and he shall serve him for ever. e.g. I've earmarked Peter for the job.
79. eat one’s own flesh: lazy and idle persons
80. eat the fat of the land: enjoy high position and live in ease and comfort
Exodus 45:16The report of it was heard in Pharaoh's house, saying, "Joseph's brothers have come." It pleased Pharaoh well, and his servants. 45:17Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Tell your brothers, 'Do this. Load your animals, and go, travel to the land of Canaan. 45:18Take your father and your households, and come to me, and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and you will eat the fat of the land.'
81. eat the fruit of one’s own doings: reap what one has sown [See Isaiah 3:10]
e.g. You'd better stopping cheating, or you will surely eat the fruit of your own doings one day. 82. Eden garden: paradise
83. eloquence of Aaron: eloquent genius
84. entertain angels/an angel unawares: entertain an honored guest without knowing his identity
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by doing that, some have entertained angels unawares.
85. Eve: women (especially curious ones)
86. ewe lamb: favorite child or object (See King David’s story)
87. eye for eye: revenge
Exodus 21:22 If men fight and hurt a pregnant woman so that she gives birth prematurely, and yet no harm follows, he shall be surely fined as much as the woman's husband demands and the judges allow. 21:23But if any harm follows, then you must take life for life, 21:24eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 21:25burning for burning, wound for wound, and bruise for bruise.
e.g. I didn't believe in the death penalty-an eye for an eye-but how else can stop this sort of thing?
88. fall by the wayside: go astray or give up halfway
89. fall from grace: go astray, degenerate, or be out of favor
It refers to the story that Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and were driven out of Eden, which was human beings' original sin.
e.g. He had assisted in extricating from the consequences of their folly several young girls of
good family who had fallen from grace and could not otherwise be secured.
90. fall of Jericho: impossible miracle
After Moses' death, Joshua led Israel people wander in the wildness and they came to a city named Jericho, the only way to Canaan. At this news, the king of this city was terrified and ordered the city to be was tightly shut up. None went out, and none came in. With God's instructions, Joshua arranged seven priests to bear seven trumpets of rams' horns, and blew the trumpets: and the ark of the covenant of Yahweh followed them. The armed men went before the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rearward went after the ark, the priests blowing the trumpets as they went. They went about the city for six days I this way. On the seventh day, all the seven priests blew the trumpets together and al the soldiers shout together, and the city fell. 91. fall on stony ground: fruitless, ineffective or (suggestions and advice) not seriously
92. fall to the ground: fail
93. fear the Jews: fear the authority or power
The Gospel according to John
After Jesus was crucified, Joseph, a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked of Pilate that he might take away Jesus' body. Pilate gave him permission. He came therefore and took away his body. Nicodemus, who at first came to Jesus by night, also came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds. So they took Jesus' body, and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as the custom of the Jews is to bury.
94. feet of clay: fatal shortcoming, famous persons’ unknown defects
The king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, was troubled by his dream in which he beheld a great image, which was mighty, and whose brightness was excellent. As for this image, its head was of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of brass, its legs of iron, its feet part of iron, and part of clay. He saw until a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet that were of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken in pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that no place was found for them: and the stone that struck the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. Daniel was invited to interpret the dream. He said, the king was the head of gold with whom God endowed great power. After him shall arise another kingdom to replace his. As the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. Since iron does not mingle with clay, the king's kingdom would be disintegrated. Then the king fell on his face, worshiped Daniel, gave him many great gifts, and made him to rule over the whole province of Babylon, and to be chief governor over all the wise men of Babylon.
e.g. I discovered that my uncle had feet of clay; he had stolen money from my father. 95. field of blood: ill-gotten wealth
The Gospel of Matthew
Judas betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. When he saw that Jesus was condemned, he felt remorse and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, "I have sinned in that I betrayed innocent blood." But they said, "What is that to us? You see to it." He threw down the pieces of silver in the sanctuary, and departed. He went away and hanged himself. The chief priests took the pieces of silver, and said, "It's not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is the price of blood." They took counsel, and bought the potter's field with them, to bury strangers in. Therefore that field was called "The Field of Blood" to this day.
96. fig leaf: something to hush up one’s scandal or to cover up one’s embarrassment
After Adam and Eve ate the apple, both of their eyes were opened, and they knew that they were naked. They sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
e.g. Come straight ahead; you don't have to put your idea in fig leaves.
97. filthy lucre: ill-gotten wealth or money
98. flesh-pots of Egypt: materialistic happiness, contemptible desires
Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt and wandered in wilderness. The journey was bitter. The whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron in the wilderness; and the children of Israel said to them, "We wish that we had died by the hand of Yahweh in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh-pots, when we ate our fill of bread, for you have brought us out into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger." 99. flourish like the green bay tree: succeed or a short life success
Wait for Yahweh, and keep his way,/And he will exalt you to inherit the land./When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it./I have seen the wicked in great power,/Spreading himself like a green tree in its native soil. /But he passed away, and, behold, he was not./Yes, I sought him, but he could not be found.
e.g. Sometimes the wicked flourishes like the green bay tree, but in the end they will be punished. 100. fly in the ointment: a blemish in an otherwise perfect thing
Ecclesiastes 10:1Dead flies cause the oil of the perfumer to send forth an evil odor; so does a little folly outweigh wisdom and honor.
e.g. I find the house wonderful but there is a fly in the ointment-it is too far from the town. 101. forbidden fruit
102. friends in high places: backers or powerful and influential friends
The Second Book of Samuel
David wrote an elegy for his dead good friend Jonathan: How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle! /Jonathan is slain on your high places. /I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan: /Very pleasant have you been to me: /Your love to me was wonderful, /Passing the love of women. e.g. She has had a new job and three increases in her wages this month. She must have friends in high places.
103. from Dan to Beersheba: from one bottom to another, all over the world
Dan was the northmost city in Palestine, while Beersheba the southmost town there. So if you traveled from Dan to Beersheba, you will travel across the whole Palestine.
e.g. You might travel from Dan to Beersheba without finding such a beautiful vase. 104. from the housetops: spread everywhere or spread publicly
Luke12:1Meanwhile, when a multitude of many thousands had gathered together, so much so that they trampled on each other, he began to tell his disciples first of all, "Beware of the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. 12:2But there is nothing covered up, that will not be revealed, nor hidden, that will not be known. 12:3 Therefore whatever you have said in the darkness will be heard in the light. What you have spoken in the ear in the inner chambers will be proclaimed on the housetops.
e.g. He was so happy that he wanted to shout it from the housetops.
105. gall and wormwood: unhappy or detestable things
In 586 B.C., Jerusalem was looted by Babylon army. At this miserable sight, Jeremiah the prophet lamented: Remember my affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. /My soul still remembers them, and is bowed down within me.
e.g. To see his son go over to the side of the enemy was gall and wormwood to the old man. 106. gift of the Magi: the most precious gift
107. give up the ghost : die or give up
108. gnash one’s teeth: express a strong emotion, usually rage.
109. go from strength to strength [Psalms 84:5-7]: become increasingly stronger