1902-1909
   Home | Biblical Index | Statistics | Eulalie
1902-1909 | 1910-1919 | 1920-1929 | 1930-1939 | 1940-1949 | 1950-1959 | 1960-1969 | 1970-1977
 

The Pothunters (1902) [P] • A Prefect's Uncle (1903) [PU] • Tales of St Austin's (1903) [TSA]
The Gold Bat (1904) [GB] • William Tell Told Again (1904) [WTT] • Love Among the Chickens (1906/21) [LAC]
The White Feather (1907) [WF] • Not George Washington (1907) [NGW] • The Swoop (1909) [S]
Mike (1909) • Mike at Wrykyn (1909/1953) [MW] • Mike and Psmith (1909/1953) [MP]

THE POTHUNTERS

P, Chapter 1

From east and west, and north and south

Psalm 107:2-3 / 2 Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy; 3 And gathered them out of the lands, from the east, and from the west, from the north, and from the south.

Opening verses of a psalm of thanksgiving, inviting those who have returned from exile to praise God.

Luke 13:29 / And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.

Jesus, possibly quoting the same passage from Psalm 107, proclaims God's salvation for all mankind.

From Dan even unto Beersheba

Judges 20:1 / Then all the children of Israel went out, and the congregation was gathered together as one man, from Dan even to Beer-sheba, with the land of Gilead, unto the Lord in Mizpeh.

Dan, one of the twelve sons of Jacob, is the ancestor of the tribe of Dan, who lived in the extreme north of Israel. The town of Beersheba was situated on the southern limit of the territory occupied by the Hebrews. "From Dan to Beersheba" became a stereotyped expression denoting the whole extent of the Promised Land.

Tony was weighed in the balance and found correct

Daniel 5:27 / Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

Belshazzar, whom the book of Daniel calls "king" of Babylon and son of Nebuchadnezzar (he was, in fact, the son of Nabonidus and was never king), was giving a great banquet—one of these "Babylonian orgies" to which the Master periodically refers—when suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the wall: "Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin". Daniel was able to interpret this "writing on the wall", and gave the meaning of the word "tekel": "You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting". That same night, Belshazzar was murdered.

The right cross-counter is distinctly one of those things which it is more blessed to give than to receive

Acts 20:35 / I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

One of the sayings of Jesus not recorded in the gospels. Its use in a boxing context is a hit!

P, Chapter 4

The case of Cairns versus The Powers that were

Romans 13:1 / 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.

In modern English, the expression "the powers that be" is often applied in a humoristic way to the people in authority.

P, Chapter 5

When the last sausage had gone the way of all flesh

1 Kings 2:1-2 / 1 Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying, 2 I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man.

The phrase "to go the way of all the earth" is regularly quoted as "to go the way of all flesh". The word "flesh", in the Bible, often denotes man as a frail and mortal being. Given the other meaning of the word "flesh", viz. "meat of animals used as food", Wodehouse's use of the biblical phrase is delightful...

P, Chapter 6

Are we not as the beasts that perish

Psalm 49:12 / Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.

P, Chapter 17

My ewe lamb

2 Samuel 12:3 / But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.

I am not at all sure if this or any other biblical text is the direct source of the expression "my ewe lamb". However, Charteris does not appear less devoted to his shilling than the poor man in the second book of Samuel to his lamb!

When the spirit moved him

Judges 13:25 / And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.

This verse—speaking of Samson—is a possible source for the phrase which sounds very biblical indeed, but which is difficult to trace back to any passage in particular.

Come on, you man of blood

2 Samuel 16:7 / The words of his curse were these: Be off, be off, man of blood, scoundrel! (Jerusalem Bible)

Shimei, a partisan of the house of Saul, cursing David. This verse is the first of many biblical passages featuring the expression "man of blood" (in Hebrew, literally, "man of bloods", denoting a bloodthirsty, violent person. The King James Version reads "bloody man", which even in 1902 Charteris could not have used to address Tony!

P, Chapter 18

The Head retired to bed that night with a virtuous resolve to seek Jim out on the following day, and speak a word in season to him

Proverbs 15:23 / A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!

Back to top

A PREFECT'S UNCLE

PU, Chapter 1

I want a quiet word in season with the authorities.

Proverbs 15:23 / A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!

His spirit was willing, but his will was not spirited.

Matthew 26:41 / Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

The Powers that Be, however, were relying on Gethryn to effect some improvement.

Romans 13:1 / 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.

In modern English, the expression "the powers that be" is often applied in a humoristic way to the people in authority.

Did he mention amongst other things that Reynolds was the worst idiot on the face of this so-called world?

Genesis 6:1 / And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them

This is the first verse where the frequent biblical expression "face of the earth/world" occurs.

PU, Chapter 3

The bitter cup was full, the iron neatly inserted in Gethryn's soul.

Psalm 105:18 / Whose feet they hurt in the stocks: the iron entered into his soul (Book of Common Prayer).

A possible allusion to the Psalm which is quoted more literally elsewhere in the Wodehouse canon.

PU, Chapter 5

"You remind me of the psalmist and the wicked man, surname unknown", said Marriott. "You can't see the good side of Monk."

Psalm 73:3 / For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

Given the great number of psalms that complain about the wicked, it is difficult to identify the one Marriott had in mind. My guess is based on the probability of an allusion to Psalm 73:3 in "Tales of St Austin's", chapter 6.

To resent this extending of the right hand of fellowship to owners of studies and Second Eleven men

Galatians 2:9 / And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

PU, Chapter 9

The mere mention of Monk was sufficient to uncork the vials of his wrath.

Revelation 15:7 / And one of the four beasts gave unto the seven angels seven golden vials full of the wrath of God, who liveth for ever and ever.

The seven vials, in the symbolical language of the Apocalypse, are a series of plagues God sends on the wicked to bring them to repentance.

PU, Chapter 11

Permission to play having been granted by the powers that were

See above.

PU, Chapter 12

Where a hired ruffian hits you up catches which bite like serpents and sting like adders.

Proverbs 23:31-32 / 31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. 32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.

It was not likely, therefore, that he would take kindly to this mortification of the flesh

Colossians 3:5 / Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

PU, Chapter 14

For he had been hoping against hope

Romans 4:18 / Who [Abraham] against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.

PU, Chapter 16

He had prepared to annihilate Lorimer hip and thigh

Judges 15:8 / And he [Samson] smote them [the Philistines] hip and thigh with a great slaughter: and he went down and dwelt in the top of the rock Etam.

PU, Chapter 18

Norris and Gethryn stuck to their men closer than brothers.

Proverbs 18:24 / A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

Back to top

TALES OF ST AUSTIN'S

TSA, Chapter 1 (How Pillingshot Scored)

An expression passed over his face like unto that of the baffled vilain in transpontine melodrama.

Exodus 8:10 / And he said, Be it according to thy word: that thou mayest know that there is none like unto the Lord of God.

This is the first of many verses where the Authorised Version uses the words "like unto", which must be the source of Wodehouse's own use of the archaic turn of phrase.

TSA, Chapter 4 (Harrison's Slight Error)

Harrison, as he watched the struggling crowd, congratulated himself that he was not as other men.

Luke 18:11 / The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

In the parable of the Pharisee and the publican going up to the Temple to pray (Luke 18:9-14), Jesus praises the latter's conduct: the publican (or tax collector) "smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner", whereas the Pharisee prided himself on being virtuous and despised everyone else.

He would (...) blot him off the face of the earth.

Genesis 7:4 / For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.

A possible reminiscence of the biblical story of the flood; other translations read "blot out" instead of "destroy".

But he was a youth who never took overmuch heed for the morrow. Sufficient unto the day was his motto.

Matthew 6:34 / Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

It was the rule at St Austin's that every fag had the right to refuse to serve two masters.

Matthew 6:24 / No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

"Mammon" is an Aramaic word for wealth or money.

Do you know what it is to wish you had never been born?

Job 3:1-3 / 1 After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day. 2 And Job spake, and said, 3 Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.

This may be an allusion to the very first words of Job's long lamentations.

TSA, Chapter 5 (Bradshaw's Little Story)

The unmistakable signs of a "touching up", which, being interpreted, is corporeal punishment.

Matthew 1:23 / Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

This is one of several passages in the New Testament where a Greek turn of phrase is translated literally as "which being interpreted is ...", or "which is, being interpreted ..."

TSA, Chapter 6 (A Shocking Affair)

Once a term a demon entered into Mellish.

John 13:27 / And after the sop Satan entered into him [Judas Iscariot]. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.

The reason I chose this verse to illustrate Wodehouse's text, is that the word "demon" does not occur in the Authorised Version. There are other biblical passages, however, where "unclean spirits" or "devils" are said to "enter into" people.

He wandered through dry places seeking rest

Matthew 12:43 / When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.

Dry and desert places were thought to be inhabited by evil spirits.

If Cain expressed indignation at being asked where his brother was

Genesis 4:9 / And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?

Cain is the first son of Adam and Eve, and a tiller of the soil, while his brother Abel was a shepherd. When both made gifts to God of their produce, the Lord accepted the latter's offering, but not the former's. Cain killed Abel, after which the Lord called him to account.

The moral of which is that the wicked do not always prosper.

Psalm 73:3 / For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. / 73:12 / Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.

TSA, Chapter 8 (The Manoeuvres of Charteris), section 1

Prescott, who stuck to him closer than a brother

Proverbs 18:24 / A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

Another source of bitterness in him towards the Powers

Romans 13:1 / 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.

Given the allusion in The Pothunters to this biblical text, it is tempting to flair the same reminiscence here. In modern English, the expression "the powers that be" is often applied in a humoristic way to the people in authority.

Spare the rod, spile the choild.

Proverbs 13:24 / He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

No immediate quotation here, but the verse of Proverbs is certainly the source of the old and politically incorrect saying.

Charteris walked on with Welch to their sanctum.

The Latin word means "holy place" (Exodus 26:33, Authorised Version). In the Temple of Jerusalem, the Holy (Place) was the middle room, between the Porch and the Holy of Holies.

TSA, Chapter 8 (The Manoeuvres of Charteris), section 3

He saw no use in mortifying the flesh with strict training.

Colossians 3:5 / Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

He went about with his arm in a sling, and declined to be comforted.

Jeremiah 31:15 / Thus saith the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.

Several Bible texts speak of persons who refuse to be comforted, but the verse quoted above is more likely to have left its marks in the memory of P G Wodehouse, as it is quoted by the evangelist Matthew to illustrate the distress of the mothers of the slaughtered innocents. When Herod, king of Judaea, heard of the birth of an infant who was to be king of the Jews, he ordered the massacre of all the children of two years and younger, expecting the newborn king to be among the victims. "Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not" (Matthew 2:17-18).

TSA, Chapter 8 (The Manoeuvres of Charteris), section 5

To wish fervently (...) that he had never been born.

See above.

TSA, Chapter 9 (How Payne Bucked Up), section 1

This was the unpardonable sin.

Matthew 12:32 / And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

The one unpardonable sin, according to teaching of Jesus, is the "sin against the Holy Spirit", i.e. deliberately and consciously resisting God's grace.

TSA, Chapter 10 (Author!)

Until the standing room around the desk was completely filled with a great cloud of witnesses.

Hebrews 12:1 / Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.

The "witnesses" mentioned by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, are all the Old Testament saints whom he has just depicted as examples of faith in the eleventh chapter of his writing.

Now they seemed to realize that there was a time for everything

Ecclesiastes 3:1 / To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

TSA, Chapter 11 ("The Tabby Terror")

He had been bidden to the feast, and was feeling ready for it.

Matthew 22:2-4 / 2 The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, 3 And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. 4 Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.

In Matthew 22:4, the Wycliffe New Testament reads "bidden to the feast".

Ripton (...) was robbed of his one ewe lamb in the shape of half a tin of anchovy paste.

2 Samuel 12:3 / But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.

I am not at all sure if this or any other biblical text is the direct source of the expression "my ewe lamb".

TSA, Chapter 12 (The Prize Poem)

Mrs Lee's method of entering a room was in accordance with the advice of the Psalmist, where he says, "Fling wide the gates".

Psalm 24:7 / Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

This must be the Psalm which Wodehouse had in mind, although he does not quote the Authorised Version. Contemporary translations, such as "Today's English Version", read: "Fling wide the gates, open the ancient doors, and the great king will come in". Wodehouse may be quoting from "The Crucifixion", a composition by Sir John Stainer (1840-1901)—words by the Rev J Sparrow-Simpson—in which the choir sings: "Fling wide the gates / for the Saviour waits / to tread in His royal way / He has come from above / in His power and love, / to die on this Passion day."

The first-fruit of your brain has been—ah—plucked by others, who toiled not neither did they spin.

Matthew 6:28-29 / 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: / 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

TSA, Chapter 13 (Work)

Sentencing a victim to the wailing and gnashing of teeth provided by two hours' extra tuition on a hot afternoon.

Matthew 22:13 / Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Traditional biblical description of damnation. The variant "wailing" can be found in Matthew 13:42 and 13:50.

Entering the sanctum of the Headmaster

See above.

TSA, Chapter 15 (Now, Talking About Cricket—)

His loins girt

Luke 12:35 / Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning.

Wearing a girdle round one's loins or waist means being ready for action, or equipped for a journey.

It will be a sign that the millennium is at hand.

Revelation 20:4 / And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

The thousand-year period or "millennium" described here in the Book of Revelation, has been explained in different ways throughout the ages. "Millenarianists" are those who interpret these texts literally, and who believe in a future millennium of blessedness, either in heaven or on earth.

Back to top

THE GOLD BAT

GB, Chapter 1

All of which, being interpreted, meant that the first match of the Easter term had just come to an end

Matthew 1:23 / Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

This is one of several passages in the New Testament where a Greek turn of phrase is translated literally as "which being interpreted is...", or "which is, being interpreted..."

GB, Chapter 2

I've known chaps break rules when the spirit moved them

Judges 13:25 / And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.

This verse—speaking of Samson—is a possible source for the phrase which sounds very biblical indeed, but which is difficult to trace back to any passage in particular.

We will have it melted down in a fiery furnace

Daniel 3:20 / And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

In view of the enormous popularity of these three biblical characters in the Wodehouse canon, I am inclined to see a reminiscence here of their "fiery furnace".

And so it came to pass that at the time of our story Trevor was in possession of the little gold bat

Genesis 6:1 / And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them

This is the first of many hundreds of times the Authorised Version uses the phrase "it came to pass". It is a hebraism, i.e. an idiomatic pecularity of the Hebrew language, directly transferred into English by the seventeenth-century translators.

GB, Chapter 11

It could play "friendlies" as much as it liked, but, play it never so wisely, it could not lift the cup.

Psalm 58:3-5 / 3 The ungodly are froward, even from their mother's womb: as soon as they are born, they go astray, and speak lies. / 4 They are as venomous as the poison of a serpent: even like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ears; / 5 Which refuseth to hear the voice of the charmer: charm he never so wisely. (Book of Common Prayer)

The phrase "play it never so wisely" is an indirect reference to the "deaf adder" Psalm verses, highly popular in the Wodehouse canon.

GB, Chapter 12

He wished he had never been born.

Job 3:1-3 / 1 After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day. 2 And Job spake, and said, 3 Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.

This may be an allusion to the very first words of Job's long lamentations.

GB, Chapter 13

Anything that gave the school a bad name in the town was a crime in the eyes of the powers

Romans 13:1 / 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.

Given the allusion in The Pothunters to this biblical text, it is tempting to flair the same reminiscence here. In modern English, the expression "the powers that be" is often applied in a humoristic way to the people in authority.

Trevor knew his people well, and he could imagine their feelings when the prodigal strolled into their midst

The "prodigal son" is the name usually given to the younger of two sons in the parable told by Jesus in Luke 15:11-32. Having demanded of his father his share of the estate, he left for a distant country and "wasted his substance with riotous living." Came a famine, and he hired himself out to one of the inhabitants who made him feed his pigs. "And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him." So he decided to go home. Instead of rebuking him, his father clasped him in his arms, kissed him, and ordered his servants to bring out the best clothes and to kill the fatted calf. One of the most beautiful parables of the Gospel, illustrating God's mercy.

GB, Chapter 14

After school he went to Milton's study, and found him still brooding over its departed glories.

1 Samuel 4:19-21 / 19 And his daughter in law, Phineas' wife, was with child, near to be delivered: and when she heard the tidings that the ark of God was taken, and that her father in law and her husband were dead, she bowed herself and travailed; for her pains came upon her. 20 And about the time of her death the women that stood by her said unto her, Fear not; for thou hast born a son. But she answered not, neither did she regard it. 21 And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband.

"Ichabod" means "Where is the glory?", viz. the glory of the Lord, whose "throne", the ark of the covenant, has been captured by the Philistines. The "departed glories" are probably an allusion to this biblical passage, because Wodehouse uses the "Ichabod" exclamation elsewhere.

GB, Chapter 17

A babel of voices discussed the match of the afternoon, each trying to outshoot the other.

Genesis 11:9 / Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

In Genesis 11:1-9, Babel is the name of the city, where God caused the confusion of languages, in order to put a halt to the presumptuous construction of a tower reaching to heaven.

They were not likely to be seen—the blackness of the vault was too Egyptian for that

Exodus 10:21-23 / 21 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. 22 And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days: 23 They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.

This is the ninth of the "Ten Plagues of Egypt", as narrated in Exodus 7-12.

GB, Chapter 18

And there was more than a chance that he might be seen by one of the Powers.

See above.

GB, Chapter 20

Besides, you'll want a bodyguard of some sort, in case the infuriated occupant turns and rends you.

Matthew 7:6 / Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Back to top

WILLIAM TELL TOLD AGAIN

No biblical allusions found.

Back to top

LOVE AMONG THE CHICKENS

The 1906 novel was revised in a new edition in 1921. My biblical analysis is based on the latter.

LAC, Chapter 1

Where is the man of wrath?

Proverbs 19:19 / A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: for if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again.

Exhibit the son of Belial.

Deuteronomy 13:13 / Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known.

"Belial" is a Hebrew word of uncertain etymology, probably meaning "worthlessness" or "wickedness". It gradually came to be taken as the proper name of an evil spirit.

LAC, Chapter 3

Lost sheep, singly and in companies, rushed to and fro

Matthew 18:12 / How think ye? If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

LAC, Chapter 4

Freeze onto the handle of the door, and, when I give the word, fling wide the gates.

Psalm 24:7 / Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

A passage in Tales of St Austin's proves that Wodehouse is referring to this psalm here, although he does not quote the Authorised Version. Contemporary translations, such as "Today's English Version", read: "Fling wide the gates, open the ancient doors, and the great king will come in". Wodehouse may be quoting from "The Crucifixion", a composition by Sir John Stainer (1840-1901)—words by the Rev J Sparrow-Simpson—in which the choir sings: "Fling wide the gates / for the Saviour waits / to tread in His royal way / He has come from above / in His power and love, / to die on this Passion day."

LAC, Chapter 6

On this lawn I perceived, as through a glass darkly, three figures.

1 Corinthians 13:12 / For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

The apostle Paul compares the believers' present imperfect knowledge of God—a dim reflection in a mirror—with the perfect understanding that will be theirs in heaven.

LAC, Chapter 8

The frame of mind when men turn and rend their nearest and dearest.

Matthew 7:6 / Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

LAC, Chapter 9

Dies irae

Zephaniah 1:15 / That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness.

Zephaniah 1:14-18 evokes the "day of the Lord", that is God's final intervention in favour of his people. According to the Old Testament, this "day" will be accompanied by cosmic phenomena. The traditional imagery used by the prophets to evoke these signs should not be taken literally. Zephaniah's description inspired the mediaeval author of the "Dies irae" (Latin for "day of wrath"), a chant used in the Masses for the Dead.

But he was evidently a man who had no objection whatever to letting the sun go down upon his wrath

Ephesians 4:26 / Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.

LAC, Chapter 11

The man whom I had lured from the straight and narrow path.

Matthew 7:14 / Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

LAC, Chapter 13

I felt a worm and no man.

Psalm 22:6 / But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.

At the eleventh hour I had shown her of what stuff I was made.

Matthew 20:6 / And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?

In the "Parable of the vineyard labourers", Jesus tells us of a landowner going out several times a day to hire workers for his vineyard: at daybreak, at the third hour (about 9 am), at the sixth hour (midday), at the ninth hour (3 pm) and, surprisingly, even at the eleventh hour (about 5 pm)! In the end, those who were hired at the eleventh hour receive the same wages as those who have been working all day. This story thus illustrates God's generosity, which exceeds the human understanding of justice.

The professor gets a little restive if I keep him waiting for his daily bread.

Matthew 6:11 / Give us this day our daily bread.

One of the petitions of the Lord's prayer, of course.

LAC, Chapter 14

The Lord has delivered Harrod's into our hand.

Genesis 14:20 / And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand...

This is the first verse where the frequent biblical phrase occurs.

LAC, Chapter 15

And generally behaved as if he had been David and I Jonathan.

1 Samuel 18:1 / And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

The friendship of David and Jonathan, son of Saul, is celebrated by the Bible.

Who let Samson in so atrociously? Woman again.

Judges 16:4-5 / 4 And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5 And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver.

Full story in Judges 16:4-22. Samson's wife Delilah betrayed the secret of his great strength—namely that his head had never been shorn—to the Philistines, lulled him to sleep in her lap, and summoned a man who sheared Samson's hair. The Philistines were so enabled to seize him and put out his eyes.

LAC, Chapter 16

With the iron planted immovably in his soul

Psalm 105:18 / Whose feet they hurt in the stocks: the iron entered into his soul (Book of Common Prayer).

A possible allusion to the Psalm which is quoted more literally elsewhere in the Wodehouse canon.

LAC, Chapter 18

Why, go in like a mighty, rushing wind!

Acts 2:2 / And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

This verse describes the Holy Ghost descending on the Apostles on the feast of Pentecost.

LAC, Chapter 19

Spying in the distance the grey head of the professor bobbing about on the face of the waters

Genesis 1:2 / And the earth was without form, and void: and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

The biblical sounding "face of the waters" may be a reminiscence of the well-known beginning of the book of Genesis.

LAC, Chapter 23

"Oh!" I said, a light shining on the darkness of my understanding.

Isaiah 9:2 / The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

Back to top

THE WHITE FEATHER

WF, Chapter 2

Their manner towards the powers that be is, as a rule, suave

Romans 13:1 / 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.

In modern English, the expression "the powers that be" is often applied in a humoristic way to the people in authority.

Always rigidly obeying the eleventh commandment, "thou shalt not be found out".

The Ten Commandments or Decalogue (literally "Ten Words") constitute the heart of the Law of Moses. You can find the text in Exodus 20:1-17, or in a slightly different version in Deuteronomy 5:6-21. Most of the commandments begin with the words "thou shalt" or "thou shalt not".

WF, Chapter 3

"Greed", said Dunstable unkindly, "seems to be the besetting sin of the Menzies'."

Hebrews 12:1 / Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.

The "witnesses" mentioned by the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, are all the Old Testament saints whom he has just depicted as examples of faith in the eleventh chapter of his writing.

WF, Chapter 5

Well, we have fought the good fight.

2 Timothy 4:7 / I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.

The apostle Paul, shortly before his martyrdom in 67, looks back on a well-spent life.

We have smitten the Philistines this day.

1 Samuel 14:31 / And they smote the Philistines that day from Michmash to Aijalon: and the people were very faint.

There are other passages in the Bible where the Israelites smite the Philistines, who were one of their most bitter enemies in the Old Testament.

WF, Chapter 10

You'll be making some of the young gentlemen at the college wish they had never been born.

Job 3:1-3 / 1 After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day. 2 And Job spake, and said, 3 Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.

This may be an allusion to the very first words of Job's long lamentations.

WF, Chapter 12

If you ask me, I should say an enemy hath done this.

Matthew 13:24-28 / 24 Another parable put he [Jesus] forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25 But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26 But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27 So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? From whence then hath it tares? 28 He said unto them, An enemy hath done this...

WF, Chapter 19

It would fall to him (...) to meet this man of wrath at Aldershot

Proverbs 19:19 / A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: for if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again.

WF, Chapter 20

To flee Albert and his wicked works.

Colossians 1:21 / And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled

WF, Chapter 22

It was Joe—at the eleventh hour.

Matthew 20:6 / And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?

In the "Parable of the vineyard labourers", Jesus tells us of a landowner going out several times a day to hire workers for his vineyard: at daybreak, at the third hour (about 9 am), at the sixth hour (midday), at the ninth hour (3 pm) and, surprisingly, even at the eleventh hour (about 5 pm)! In the end, those who were hired at the eleventh hour receive the same wages as those who have been working all day. This story thus illustrates God's generosity, which exceeds the human understanding of justice.

WF, Chapter 23

"Some are born with sprained wrists", continued the speaker, "some achieve sprained wrists—like Stanning—"

Matthew 19:12 / For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

Jesus is speaking of celibacy. Using the metaphor of castration, he invites those of his disciples who would consecrate themselves entirely to the kingdom of God, to make themselves "unmarriageable" by means of perpetual continence. I have a strong suspicion that Linton is jocularly referring to this gospel text.

Back to top

NOT GEORGE WASHINGTON

NGW, Part One, Chapter 3

Which would convert all the other avenues to wealth on which I have my eye instantly into royal roads.

Numbers 20:17 / Let us pass, I pray thee, through thy country: we will not pass through the fields, or through the vineyards, neither will we drink of the water of the wells: we will go by the king's high way, we will not turn to the right hand nor to the left, until we have passed thy borders.

On their way to the Promised Land, Moses asked the king of Edom for permission to pass through his territory, promising to keep to "the king's highway", or "royal road", as other translations have it. The expression has come to indicate an auspicious way or means to achieve something.

NGW, Part Two, Chapter 7

Someone had told me that the glory of Covent Garden Ball had departed.

1 Samuel 4:19-21 / 19 And his daughter in law, Phineas' wife, was with child, near to be delivered: and when she heard the tidings that the ark of God was taken, and that her father in law and her husband were dead, she bowed herself and travailed; for her pains came upon her. 20 And about the time of her death the women that stood by her said unto her, Fear not; for thou hast born a son. But she answered not, neither did she regard it. 21 And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband.

"Ichabod" means "Where is the glory?", viz. the glory of the Lord, whose "throne", the ark of the covenant, has been captured by the Philistines. The tragic circumstances surrounding the boy's birth have lead to his name being used as an exclamation of distress.

NGW, Part Two, Chapter 10

An apology for a blow which landed on your chest with the delicacy of an Agag among butterflies was extolled to the skies because it was a stylish blow.

1 Samuel 15:32 / Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past.

When Saul defeated the Amalekites, but spared the life of their king Agag, inspite of God's order that the Amalekites be destroyed completely, the prophet Samuel was sent to finish the job. After rebuking Saul, Samuel summoned Agag, who "came unto him delicately", and "hewed" him "in pieces".

NGW, Part Two, Chapter 11

And when I had finished he turned his face towards the wall

2 Kings 20:1-2 / 1 In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live. 2 Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the Lord...

NGW, Part Two, Chapter 13

Saw The Walls of Jericho three times.

Hebrews 11:30 / By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.

Judges 6:1-21 relates the taking of Jericho by Joshua. For six days the Israelites marched round the walls of the city with the ark of the Lord. On the seventh day, they repeated this procedure seven times, blew the trumpets, and raised the war cry, whereupon the walls of Jericho collapsed.

NGW, Part Two, Chapter 15

For the smell of the flesh-pots of Kensington had laid hold of my soul

Exodus 16:3 / And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

NGW, Part Two, Chapter 17

Blowed if 'e shall 'ide his blooming light under a blanky bushel any longer.

Matthew 5:15-16 / 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

NGW, Part Two, Chapter 22

I never came across a finer example of seething the kid in its mother's milk.

Exodus 23:19 / The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk.

NGW, Part Two, Chapter 23

But I was sure Eva had chosen the better part.

Luke 10:38-42 / 38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he [Jesus] entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. 40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her therefore that she help me. 41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Other translations read: "Mary has chosen the better part".

NGW, Part Two, Chapter 26

Actresses, breaking down, sobbed in the wings and refused to be comforted

Jeremiah 31:15 / Thus saith the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.

Several Bible texts speak of persons who refuse to be comforted, but the verse quoted above is more likely to have left its marks in the memory of P G Wodehouse, as it is quoted by the evangelist Matthew to illustrate the distress of the mothers of the slaughtered innocents. When Herod, king of Judaea, heard of the birth of an infant who was to be king of the Jews, he ordered the massacre of all the children of two years and younger, expecting the newborn king to be among the victims. "Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not" (Matthew 2:17-18).

Back to top

THE SWOOP

Part Two, Chapter 7

Words begin to emerge from the babel.

Genesis 11:9 / Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

In Genesis 11:1-9, Babel is the name of the city, where God caused the confusion of languages, in order to put a halt to the presumptuous construction of a tower reaching to heaven.

Part Two, Chapter 9

But on Monday morning the fog was, if possible, denser. It wrapped London about as with a garment.

Psalm 104:1-2 / 1 Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. 2 Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain.

Back to top

MIKE

"Mike" (1909) was the book publication of two serials from "The Captain", entitled "Jackson Junior" and "The Lost Lambs". Each was subsequently published separately in book form: "Jackson Junior" as "Mike at Wrykyn" (1953), "The Lost Lambs" as "Enter Psmith" (1935) and "Mike and Psmith" (1953). My biblical analysis is based on the two separate novels.

MIKE AT WRYKYN

MW, Chapter 1

Seem to think playing forward the alpha and omugger of batting.

Revelation 1:8 / I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

"Alpha" and "omega" are respectively the first and the last letter of the Greek alphabet.

MW, Chapter 2

Providentially roped in at the eleventh hour on his way to Scotland

Matthew 20:6 / And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?

In the "Parable of the vineyard labourers", Jesus tells us of a landowner going out several times a day to hire workers for his vineyard: at daybreak, at the third hour (about 9 am), at the sixth hour (midday), at the ninth hour (3 pm) and, surprisingly, even at the eleventh hour (about 5 pm)! In the end, those who were hired at the eleventh hour receive the same wages as those who have been working all day. This story thus illustrates God's generosity, which exceeds the human understanding of justice.

MW, Chapter 8

Determined to assert himself even at the eleventh hour

See above.

MW, Chapter 10

A form-master has the strongest objection to being made to skip like a young ram

Psalm 114:4 / The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs.

This Psalm deals with the crossing of the Red Sea by the children of Israel, as related in Exodus, chapter 14. The phrase "skipping like the (high) hills" is one of Wodehouse's favourite biblical gags. But "leaping like a young ram" may be another possible application of the same Psalm.

MW, Chapter 14

He was enjoying life amazingly, and, as is not uncommon with the prosperous, he waxed fat and kicked. Fortunately for him—though he did not look upon it in that light at the time—he kicked the one person it was most imprudent to kick.

Deuteronomy 32:15 / But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.

The name Jeshurun, of uncertain etymology, is applied to Israel, who "waxed fat and kicked" like a bull ("shor" in Hebrew, to which "Jeshurun" may be alluding) and did not remain faithful to God amidst the riches of the Promised Land.

MW, Chapter 16

Mike's Uncle John was a wanderer on the face of the earth.

Genesis 6:1 / And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them

This is the first verse where the frequent biblical expression "face of the earth/world" occurs.

MW, Chapter 17

There would have been serious trouble between David and Jonathan if either had persisted in dropping catches off the other's bowling.

1 Samuel 18:1 / And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

The friendship of David and Jonathan, son of Saul, is celebrated by the Bible.

He felt towards him much as a father feels towards a prodigal son whom there is still a chance of reforming.

The "prodigal son" is the name usually given to the younger of two sons in the parable told by Jesus in Luke 15:11-32. Having demanded of his father his share of the estate, he left for a distant country and "wasted his substance with riotous living." Came a famine, and he hired himself out to one of the inhabitants who made him feed his pigs. "And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him." So he decided to go home. Instead of rebuking him, his father clasped him in his arms, kissed him, and ordered his servants to bring out the best clothes and to kill the fatted calf. One of the most beautiful parables of the Gospel, illustrating God's mercy.

Chicken-pox is no respecter of persons.

Acts 10:34 / Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.

MW, Chapter 19

One would have felt, looking at him, that Mike, in coming to his den, was doing a deed which would make the achievement of Daniel seem in comparison like the tentative effort of some timid novice.

Daniel 6:16 / Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said to Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.

The satraps of the kingdom of Darius, resenting Daniel's promotion, had set a trap for him by inducing Darius to sign a decree banning prayer to anyone but the king. When Daniel was seen praying to his God, the king had no choice but to order him to be thrown into a den of lions. Next morning, Daniel was found, unhurt, and his accusers were thrown to the lions instead.

MW, Chapter 21

With a strong hand she had shaken the cat out of the bag

Exodus 13:9 / And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the Lord's law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the Lord brought thee out of Egypt.

A most likely allusion to the "strong hand" with which God led his people out of Egypt.

MW, Chapter 26

Mike's father owned vast tracts of land up country, where countless sheep lived and had their being.

Acts 17:28 / For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

The curious expression "lived and had their being" can probably be traced back to the above excerpt—referring to God—from the apostle Paul's speech before the council of the Areopagus, which itself may be an indirect quotation of the poet Epimenides of Cnossos.

Back to top

MIKE AND PSMITH

MP, Chapter 1

Henfrey, the Wrykyn cricket captain of the previous season, was not returning next term, and Mike was to reign in his stead.

Genesis 36:33 / And Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned in his stead.

The above verse is the first of a long series containing the phrase "reigned in his stead", which is much used in the biblical genealogies, chiefly in the books of Genesis, Kings and Chronicles.

But to Mike at the moment the sky was black, and an icy wind blew over the face of the earth.

Genesis 1:2 / And the earth was without form, and void: and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

There might be a reminiscence here of Genesis: the blackness of the sky reminds one of the darkness that existed before the creation of light; the wind (in Hebrew, the same word means either "Spirit" or "wind", hence the different translations of this verse); and the very biblical phrase "the face of the earth", compared with "the face of the waters". But I am open to better suggestions!

MP, Chapter 2

Mike's heart bled for Wrykyn, and he found himself loathing Sedleigh and all its works with a great loathing.

A very puzzling sentence! "Sedleigh and all its works" must be an adaptation of "the devil and all his works", from the baptism ritual as found in the Book of Common Prayer: "Dost thou renounce the devil and all his works, the vain pomp and glory of the world", etc. "Loathing with a great loathing" has a genuine biblical ring. The King James Version contains numerous examples of the same Hebrew construction, such as "hating with great hatred", or "rejoicing with great joy".

MP, Chapter 3

When I was but a babe, my eldest sister was bribed with a shilling an hour by my nurse to keep an eye on me, and see that I did not raise Cain.

See Genesis 4:1-26. Cain is the first son of Adam and Eve, and a tiller of the soil, while his brother Abel was a shepherd. When both made gifts to God of their produce, the Lord accepted the latter's offering, but not the former's. Cain killed Abel and was condemned by God to be "a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth." Making trouble is raising the spirit of Cain.

Lost lambs. Sheep that have gone astray.

Isaiah 53:6 / All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

MP, Chapter 8

"Thus far", said Psmith, hitching up the knees of his trousers, and sitting down, "and no farther."

Job 38:11 / And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed.

A possible allusion to the words with which the Creator limits the power of the sea.

That Saturday, Lower Borlock smote the men of Chidford hip and thigh.

Judges 15:8 / And he [Samson] smote them [the Philistines] hip and thigh with a great slaughter: and he went down and dwelt in the top of the rock Etam.

MP, Chapter 9

It was, indeed, his pet hobby and the apple of his eye.

If it is possible for a man to have two apples of his eye, Sammy was the other.

Deuteronomy 32:10 / He [the Lord] found him [his people] in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.

MP, Chapter 10

As a punishment for some slip from the narrow path which the ideal boy should tread

Matthew 7:14 / Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

MP, Chapter 11

The seeds of your eloquence have fallen on fruitful soil and sprouted.

Matthew 13:8 / But other [seed] fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.

This is indeed Saul among the prophets.

1 Samuel 10:11 / And it came to pass, when all that knew him [Saul] beforetime saw that, behold, he prophesied among the prophets, then the people said one to another, What is this that is come upon the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?

Shortly after his consecration as king of Israel, the spirit of God seized on Saul, and he fell into ecstasy in the middle of a group of prophets. Those who knew Saul were astounded that a man of his rank should mix with these fanatics, hence the question.

It had been that master's somewhat injudicious practice for many years to treat his own house as a sort of Chosen People.

Deuteronomy 7:6 / For thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.

MP, Chapter 12

Twenty-eight off one over, not to mention three wides, would have made Job foam at the mouth.

Job is a God-fearing and honest man, who loses his possessions and his children, and whose own body is afflicted with horrible ulcers. The Book of Job chiefly consists of long discussions between Job and three of his friends who, while trying to comfort him, are more trying than comforting.

MP, Chapter 16

"Sufficient unto the day" had been the gist of his reply.

Matthew 6:34 / Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

MP, Chapter 24

Stone and Robinson (...) had caught catches and fielded drives which, in the cool morning air, had stung like adders and bitten like serpents.

Proverbs 23:31-32 / 31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. 32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.

MP, Chapter 25

Geddington had wiped them off the face of the earth.

Genesis 7:4 / For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.

A possible reminiscence of the biblical story of the flood; other translations read "blot out" instead of "destroy".

MP, Chapter 26

The whole face of his world had undergone a quick change.

Psalm 104:30 / Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.

A possible reminiscence of the Psalm verse; "face of the world/earth" is a biblical phrase.

Back to top