1960-1969
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Jeeves in the Offing (1960) [JO] • Service with a Smile (1962) [SWS] • Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves (1963) [SUL]
Galahad at Blandings (1965) [GAB] • Plum Pie (1966) [PP] • Do Butlers Burgle Banks? (1968) [DBB]
A Pelican at Blandings (1969) [PB]

JEEVES IN THE OFFING

JO, Chapter 1

A cane of the type that biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder, as the fellow said.

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.

All flesh is grass, I often say.

Isaiah 40:6 / The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field.

JO, Chapter 2

Brinkley Court's an earthly paradise.

Genesis 2:8 / And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

The Hebrew word for "garden" was translated as "paradise" in the Greek version of the Old Testament.

Though you may flourish for a time like a green bay tree

Psalm 37:35 / I myself have seen the ungodly in great power : and flourishing like a green bay-tree (Book of Common Prayer).

Causing me to skip like the high hills

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

One of Wodehouse's favourite biblical gags. This Psalm deals with the crossing of the Red Sea by the children of Israel, as related in Exodus, chapter 14. Although the book of Exodus does not mention any "skipping mountains", this and other extraordinary phenomena are part of the metaphorical language the Bible uses to evoke the power and glory of God. The "high hills" instead of "mountains" may be found in Psalm 68:16 / Why leap ye, ye high hills? This is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the Lord will dwell in it for ever.

As if the Last Trump had sounded.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 / 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. / 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

The trumpet is a traditional feature of so-called apocalyptic imagery, i.e. the language describing metaphorically what will happen at the end of time. The instrument symbolises the solemn fulfilment of God's plan.

JO, Chapter 3

I was making his path straight.

Matthew 3:3 / For this is he [John the Baptist] that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

The salt of the earth.

Matthew 5:13 / Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Hence the use of this phrase to indicate a person who is thought to make the world a better place.

JO, Chapter 5

The Cream started like a Boy Scout at the sound of the bugle.

While admitting that a Boy Scout is not a war-horse, could this be a reminiscence of Job 39:25, where the Authorised Version presents a war-horse saying "Ha, ha" among the trumpets, but where a different version speaks of the war-horse starting (or snorting) at the sound of the bugle?

Like a sower going forth sowing.

Matthew 13:3 / And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow.

Opening verse of one of Jesus' best-known parables.

The Cream continued to dig her toes in like Balaam's ass, of whom you have doubtless heard.

Numbers 22:23 / And the ass saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way.

Read the full story in Numbers 22:1-35, and discover that the priceless ass was Balaam, not his donkey.

JO, Chapter 6

"Did young Bobbie Wickham tell you that you'd got to stick to Wilbert 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.

Turn the other cheek, you poor fish.

Matthew 5:39 / But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Christ forbids his disciples to return evil for evil in the "Eye for eye, tooth for tooth" spirit. His own example in John 18:22-23 shows us that it is not forbidden to resist unjust attacks.

I yearned for that drink as the hart desireth the water-brook

Psalm 42:1 / Like as the hart desireth the water-brooks: so longeth my soul after thee, O God (Book of Common Prayer).

To have let the dead past bury its dead.

Matthew 8:21-22 / 21 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

The actual quotation, however, comes from Longfellow's "A Psalm of Life": "Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant! / Let the dead Past bury its dead! / Act,—act in the living Present! / Heart within, and God o'erhead!"

JO, Chapter 7

One would not be far out in describing it as Uncle Tom's ewe lamb. (...)

Uncle Tom is short one 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".

I could see that she was going to come out with one of those schemes or plans of hers that not only stagger humanity and turn the moon to blood

Joel 2:31 / The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.

According to the Old Testament, the "day of the Lord", God's final intervention in favour of his people, will be accompanied by cosmic phenomena. The traditional imagery used by the prophets to evoke these signs should not be taken literally.

Had always remained graven on the tablets of my mind

Exodus 32:16 / And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.

On Mount Sinai, Moses was given two tablets of stone containing the Ten Commandments. More recent translations of the Bible have "tablets" instead of the "tables" of the Authorised Version.

Augustus is a broken reed to lean on in the matter of catching mice.

Isaiah 36:6 / Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him.

JO, Chapter 8

Just when the spirit moves me, don't you know?

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.

How art thou fallen from heaven, oh Lucifer, son of the morning, I said to myself.

Isaiah 14:12 / How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

Isaiah 14:3-21 is a satire on the king of Babylon's death. The name "Lucifer", Latin for "light-bearer", is used in classical mythology for the planet Venus. The Fathers of the Church saw in the fall of this "morning star" a symbol of that of the devil. That was how "Lucifer" became a synonym for Satan.

Prepared to sing if Ma Cream, modelling her strategy on that of the Assyrian, came down like a wolf on the fold.

Allusion to the opening lines of "The Destruction of Sennacherib", by Lord Byron: "The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold, / And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold; / And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea, / When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee." According to the Bible, when Hezekiah, king of Judah, refused to become an Assyrian feudatory, Sennacherib marched on Jerusalem. Isaiah promised Hezekiah that God would not allow the Assyrian king to take the holy city. "And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses" (2 Kings 19:35).

JO, Chapter 9

She is a sweet, gentle girl, unlike certain scarlet-headed Delilahs who shall be nameless

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.

What a helpmeet!

Genesis 2:18 / And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

She can have anything she asks, even unto half my kingdom.

Mark 6:22-23 / 22 And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, she danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it to thee. 23 And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom.

Whereupon, at her mother Herodias' request, the girl asked for the head of John the Baptist, who had denounced Herodias' illegal marriage with Herod Antipas.

Yes, he was and he will be, but he isn't.

Revelation 16:5 / And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.

"He who is, who was and who shall be (or: who is to come)" is one of God's titles in Jewish literature.

JO, Chapter 10

Deep had called to deep

Psalm 42:7 / Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.

Waters are often used in the Bible as a symbol of deadly peril.

I called her a carrot-topped Jezebel whom I was thankful to have got out of my hair.

See the next item.

JO, Chapter 11

"This cannot be done by calling them carrot-topped Jezebels."

"No, sir."

"I know if anyone called me a carrot-topped Jezebel, umbrage is the first thing I'd take. Who was Jezebel, by the way? The name seems familiar, but I can't place her."

"A character in the Old Testament, sir. A queen of Israel."

"Of course, yes. Be forgetting my own name next. Eaten by dogs, wasn't she?"

"Yes, sir."

"Can't have been pleasant for her."

"No, sir."

1 Kings 21:23 / And of Jezebel also spake the Lord, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.

2 Kings 9:35-36 / 35 And they went to bury her: but they found no more of her than the skull, and the feet, and the palms of her hands. 36 Wherefore they came again, and told him. And he [Jehu] said, This is the word of the Lord, which he spake by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jizreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel.

Jezebel was the wife of Ahab, king of Israel. Her despotism and idolatry have made her a symbol of female wickedness. Ahab's general Jehu ordered that she be thrown out of her window. You can read about her in 1 Kings 16-21 and 2 Kings 9.

He was death-were-is-thy-sting-ing like nobody's business.

1 Corinthians 15:55 / O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

Another verse often quoted by P G Wodehouse, and always, one regrets to say, used in the wrong way! In the 15th chapter of his first epistle to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul reminds his readers of the fundamental creed of the Christians: the resurrection of the dead, heralded by Christ's own rising from the dead. At the end of his explanation, he exclaims triumphantly: "When this perishable nature has put on imperishability, and when this mortal nature has put on immortality, then the words of scripture will come true: Death is swallowed up in victory. Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?" (Jerusalem Bible)

I wouldn't marry anyone else if they came to me bringing apes, ivory, and peacocks.

1 Kings 10:22 / For the king [Solomon] had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.

In the Bible, "T(h)arshish" stands for the western limits of the earth. It is interesting to note that modern translations read "baboons" instead of "peacocks".

JO, Chapter 12

The scales have fallen from my eyes

Acts 9:18 / And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Acts 9:1-19 relate the conversion of Saul, as the apostle Paul was known then. He was travelling to Damascus, in order to persecute Jesus' disciples there, when there came a light from heaven, causing him to fall to the ground, and a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" When Saul got up, he could see nothing at all, until a disciple who lived in Damascus, Ananias, laid his hands on him, whereupon the "scales fell away from Saul's eyes".

She's all for not letting the sun go down without having started something calculated to stagger humanity.

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

A possible reminiscence?

Sympathy and condolence rather than this crackling of thorns under a pot, as it is sometimes called

Ecclesiastes 7:6 / For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.

JO, Chapter 13

She stiffened in every limb, rather like Lot's wife, who, as you probably know, did the wrong thing that time there was all that unpleasantness with the cities of the plain and got turned into a pillar of salt, though what was the thought behind this I've never been able to understand. Salt, I mean. Seems so bizarre somehow and not at all what you would expect.

Genesis 19:26 / But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

When Lot, Abraham's nephew, was summoned by angels to take his wife and his daughters and leave the city of Sodom, which was soon to be destroyed, he was told that they should not look behind them. Lot's wife did, however, with desastrous results. This anecdote is probably a popular explanation of some strangely shaped mass of rock which is still pointed out to tourists near the Dead Sea.

Genesis 19:29 / And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt.

The "cities of the plain" include Sodom and Gomorrah.

JO, Chapter 15

Oh, well, you know, when one sets one's hand to the plough.

Luke 9:62 / And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Regretting having parted with his ewe lamb

See above.

JO, Chapter 16

Which she had no doubt picked up from a fellow-Nimrod in her hunting days.

Genesis 10:8-9 / 8 And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.

Nimrod's name has become a synonym for a hunter.

I flung wide the gates and found Bobbie and Kipper on the threshold.

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."

It was more than a year since I had been inside this 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.

Some recent departure 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.

JO, Chapter 17

"Thou art the man, Upjohn!" seems to me the way to sum it up.

2 Samuel 12:7 / And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man.

After sleeping with Bathsheba, wife of Uriah, King David had the latter killed by sending him into the front line of battle. Nathan the prophet was sent to David, and told him the (fictitious) story of two men, one rich, the other poor. The poor man had nothing but a "ewe lamb" (see above, chapter 7), "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" (2 Samuel 12:3). When a traveller came to stay with the rich man, the latter, refusing to take one of his own, took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for his guest. David's reaction to this tale was as Nathan had foreseen: "As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die". After which Nathan only had to draw the conclusion: "Thou art the man", thus denouncing David's crime, as symbolised by the parable of the ewe lamb.

JO, Chapter 18

Cast him into the outer darkness, where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth.

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.

JO, Chapter 19

I garaged the car and went to Aunt Dahlia's sanctum

See above.

"You would stick your ears back and be stubborn and non-cooperative, like Jonah's ass in the Bible."

I could not let this go uncorrected. It's pretty generally known that when at school I won a prize for Scripture Knowledge.

"Balaam's ass. Jonah was the chap who had the whale. Jeeves!"

"Sir?"

"To settle a bet, wasn't it Balaam's ass that entered the nolle prosequi?"

"Yes, sir."

For Balaam's ass, see above.

Jonah 1:17 / Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. / 2:10 / And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.

The "great fish" has become a "whale" in popular imagination.

Much as I disapproved in many ways of this carrot-topped Jezebel, as she was sometimes called

See above.

Back to top

SERVICE WITH A SMILE

SWS, Chapter 1, section 1

"Looks kind of a plugugly", she said, having weighed George Cyril in the balance.

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.

SWS, Chapter 1, section 2

Isn't there something in the Bible about the Israelites worshipping a pig? No, it was a golden calf, but the principle's the same.

Exodus 32:4 / And he [Aaron] received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

While his brother Moses was with God on Mount Sinai, Aaron acceded to popular demand to make a god. Having collected the people's gold earrings, he turned them into the effigy of a calf which he allowed the Israelites to worship.

SWS, Chapter 2, section 1

The iron enters into the soul pretty deeply.

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

This Archibald is a sealed book to me.

Isaiah 29:11 / And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed.

Revelation 5:1 / And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

The sealed book symbolises God's secret decrees. Only the Lamb (i.e. Jesus Christ) is worthy "to take the scroll and break the seals of it" (Revelation 5:9).

SWS, Chapter 2, section 2

I always look on that little shack of yours as an earthly Paradise.

Genesis 2:8 / And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

The Hebrew word for "garden" was translated as "paradise" in the Greek version of the Old Testament.

Putting the fear of God into these Church Lads.

Proverbs 1:7 / The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

One of the countless mentions of the "fear of the Lord" in the Bible. It may be useful to remark that this "fear" has nothing to do with feelings of danger or terror, but is practically synonymous with reverence and devotion.

We shall be like a great big family. Peace and good will everywhere.

Luke 2:14 / Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

The above song of praise, rendered by the angels in Bethlehem, has become the beginning of a hymn sung in both Catholic and Anglican worship, the "Gloria in excelsis Deo".

Some kind of hell which would ultimately stagger civilization and turn the moon to blood

Joel 2:31 / The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come.

According to the Old Testament, the "day of the Lord", God's final intervention in favour of his people, will be accompanied by cosmic phenomena. The traditional imagery used by the prophets to evoke these signs should not be taken literally.

How right, he felt, the author of the well-known hymn had been in saying that peace, perfect peace is to be attained only when loved ones are far away.

Isaiah 26:3 / Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteh in thee.

Isaiah 57:19 / Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord.

The hymn "Peace, perfect peace" was written by Edward H. Bickersteth, Jr. (1825-1906) in 1875, and contains the lines: "Peace, perfect peace, with loved ones far away? / In Jesus' keeping we are safe, and they".

SWS, Chapter 5, section 2

Like the Prophet Zachariah, he was saying to himself, "I have been wounded in the house of my friends."

Zechariah 13:6 / And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.

The message of Zechariah 13:2-6 is that prophecy will come to an end, because the false prophets have discredited their ministry by their abuses. As the prophets of antiquity frequently used to gash their bodies, the man who bears such scars is suspected in the above passage of belonging to that disreputable profession. He defends himself by pretending those wounds were the result of a friendly brawl.

And how did he get his riches? By grinding the face of the poor

Isaiah 3:15 / What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord God of hosts.

And taking the bread out of the mouths of the widow and the orphan.

Exodus 22:21 / You must not be harsh with the widow, or with the orphan; if you are harsh with them, they will surely cry out to me, and be sure I shall hear their cry. (Jerusalem Bible)

SWS, Chapter 5, section 3

There was in her manner a suggestion of the hart panting for cooling streams when heated in the chase.

Psalm 42:1 / As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

However, the immediate source for this quotation appears to be the hymn "Converting Grace 230", from "A New Version of the Psalms": "As pants the hart for cooling streams / When heated in the chase; / So longs my soul, Oh God, for Thee, / And Thy refreshing grace".

People who employ people to steal pigs know that the labourer is worthy of his hire

Luke 10:7 / And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.

The unfortunate young pastor of souls would be slung out of this Paradise on his ear like Lucifer, son of the morning.

Isaiah 14:12 / How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

Isaiah 14:3-21 is a satire on the king of Babylon's death. The name "Lucifer", Latin for "light-bearer", is used in classical mythology for the planet Venus. The Fathers of the Church saw in the fall of this "morning star" a symbol of that of the devil. That was how "Lucifer" became a synonym for Satan.

He'd be darned if he'd bring his grey hairs in sorrow to the grave

Genesis 42:38 / And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.

SWS, Chapter 6, section 2

You took my advice, didn't you, and pulled a sword of Gideon on those tented boys?

Judges 7:14 / And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host.

Judges 6-8 describe how Gideon delivered Israel from the oppression of the prowling troops of Midian.

Lavender Briggs was not actually skipping like the high hills

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

One of Wodehouse's favourite biblical gags. This Psalm deals with the crossing of the Red Sea by the children of Israel, as related in Exodus, chapter 14. Although the book of Exodus does not mention any "skipping mountains", this and other extraordinary phenomena are part of the metaphorical language the Bible uses to evoke the power and glory of God. The "high hills" instead of "mountains" may be found in Psalm 68:16 / Why leap ye, ye high hills? This is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the Lord will dwell in it for ever.

SWS, Chapter 6, section 3

From the other side of the door there came a sound 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.

SWS, Chapter 7, section 2

Which made a similar sound when about to give up its all after a too busy day among the fleshpots.

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.

The Duke of Dunstable might not look like a green bay tree, but everything pointed to the probability of him flourishing like one.

Psalm 37:35 / I myself have seen the ungodly in great power : and flourishing like a green bay-tree (Book of Common Prayer).

An ordeal somewhat comparable to that of the prophet Daniel when he entered the lion's den.

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.

SWS, Chapter 7, section 3

He wants his ewe lamb to be happy.

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".

She seemed to have been turned into a pillar of salt, like Lot's wife.

Genesis 19:26 / But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

When Lot, Abraham's nephew, was summoned by angels to take his wife and his daughters and leave the city of Sodom, which was soon to be destroyed, he was told that they should not look behind them. Lot's wife did, however, with desastrous results. This anecdote is probably a popular explanation of some strangely shaped mass of rock which is still pointed out to tourists near the Dead Sea.

As if a sudden light had shone on her darkness

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.

SWS, Chapter 7, section 4

We're the salt of the earth.

Matthew 5:13 / Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Hence the use of this phrase to indicate a person who is thought to make the world a better place.

SWS, Chapter 9, section 3

"Have you ever been engaged to two girls at the same time?"

"Not to my recollection. Nor, now I come to think of it, do I know of anyone who has, except of course King Solomon and the late Brigham Young."

1 Kings 11:1 / But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites.

1 Kings 11:3 / And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hunderd concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.

Uncle Alaric fawning on me and telling me I can have anything I want, even unto half his kingdom.

Mark 6:22-23 / 22 And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, she danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it to thee. 23 And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom.

Whereupon, at her mother Herodias' request, the girl asked for the head of John the Baptist, who had denounced Herodias' illegal marriage with Herod Antipas.

SWS, Chapter 10, section 1

The feeling of having 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.

SWS, Chapter 10, section 2

Before Lord Emsworth had driven him with a flaming sword from his garden of Eden

Genesis 3:24 / So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

After the Fall, Adam and Eve were banished from paradise, while cherubs, one of the two highest orders of angels, were posted at the entry.

She's Lady Constance Keeble, sister of the Earl of Emsworth, with a pedigree stretching back to the Flood

Genesis 6:5—9:17 relates the biblical story of Noah and the flood.

SWS, Chapter 11, section 2

The possibility of his having been snatched up to heaven in a fiery chariot

2 Kings 2:11 / And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

SWS, Chapter 12

Let this get about, and not only would his name be a hissing and a byword

Jeremiah 29:18 / And I will persecute them with the sword, with the famine, and with the pestilence, and will deliver them to be removed to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, and an astonishment, and a hissing, and a reproach, among all the nations whither I have driven them.

Other versions of the Bible, found on the Internet, read "byword" instead of "reproach".

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STIFF UPPER LIP, JEEVES

SUL, Chapter 1

No wonder Uncle Tom mourned and would not 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).

SUL, Chapter 2

The relations between his ewe lamb and myself

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".

Stiffy Byng's Aberdeen terrier (...) biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder.

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.

Our relations have always been on strictly David and Jonathan lines.

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.

SUL, Chapter 3

When footballing is as steady on his pins as a hart or roe or whatever the animals are that don't trip over their feet and upset things.

Song of Solomon 8:14 / Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices.

The immediate source for this quotation is Hymn 78 by Isaac Watts (1674-1748), the final stanza of which runs: "Come, my Beloved, haste away, / Cut short the hours of thy delay; / Fly like a youthful hart or roe / Over the hills where spices grow."

Rugby football is more or less a sealed book to me

Isaiah 29:11 / And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed.

Revelation 5:1 / And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

The sealed book symbolises God's secret decrees. Only the Lamb (i.e. Jesus Christ) is worthy "to take the scroll and break the seals of it" (Revelation 5:9).

Roderick Spode went about seeking whom he might devour

1 Peter 5:8 / Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

A gentle soul with whom a child could have played.

Isaiah 11:8 / And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.

Isaiah 11:1-9 is a poem which describes the marvels to be accomplished by the Messiah: the verse quoted here shows that in the messianic era the peace and harmony will be restored which once reigned supreme in Eden.

SUL, Chapter 4

He lets the dead past bury its d.

Matthew 8:21-22 / 21 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

The actual quotation, however, comes from Longfellow's "A Psalm of Life": "Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant! / Let the dead Past bury its dead! / Act,—act in the living Present! / Heart within, and God o'erhead!"

Try to start the dove of peace going into its act

Genesis 8:11 / And the dove came in to him [Noah] in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.

The olive leaf or branch, heralding the end of the flood, has become the universal symbol of peace and goodwill.

SUL, Chapter 5

Stop his ears like the dead adder, which, as you probably know, made a point of refusing to hear the voice of the charmer, charm he never so wisely.

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)

These verses are certainly among the Bible texts most often quoted by Wodehouse.

Rejoice with me, for I have found the sheep which was lost, he was no doubt murmuring to himself.

Luke 15:6 / And when he cometh home, he calleth

together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.

SUL, Chapter 7

Never to throw in the towel and turn our face to 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...

My cup runneth over.

Psalm 23:5 / Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

SUL, Chapter 8

This was no thief in the night

1 Thessalonians 5:2 / For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

It being more or less the apple of his eye.

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.

Pop Bassett (...) took to himself the wings of a dove and floated down beside me on the chest.

Psalm 55:6 / And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! For then would I fly away, and be at rest.

SUL, Chapter 9

"I arranged that Harold should preach a very strong sermon on Naboth's Vineyard. Not that I suppose you've ever heard of Naboth's Vineyard." (...)

"I doubt if there's a man in London and the home counties who has the facts relating to Naboth's Vineyard more thoroughly at his fingertips than me.

1 Kings 21:1 / And it came to pass after these things, that Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria.

Naboth was the owner of a vineyard coveted by his neighbour, king Ahab. As Naboth refused to hand it over, Ahab's wife, the infamous Jezebel, made the local elders to bring false evidence of blasphemy against him. Naboth was stoned to death, and Ahab took possession of his vineyard.

How wrong it is to put over a fast one on the widow and the orphan. I am assuming for purposes of argument that Plank is an orphan, though possibly not a widow.

Exodus 22:21 / You must not be harsh with the widow, or with the orphan; if you are harsh with them, they will surely cry out to me, and be sure I shall hear their cry. (Jerusalem Bible)

Bartholomew bit the butler, and the sins of the Scottie are visited upon its owner.

Exodus 20:5 / Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them [viz. idols], nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.

I spoke as harts do when heated in the chase and panting for cooling streams.

Psalm 42:1 / As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

However, the immediate source for this quotation appears to be the hymn "Converting Grace 230", from "A New Version of the Psalms": "As pants the hart for cooling streams / When heated in the chase; / So longs my soul, Oh God, for Thee, / And Thy refreshing grace".

SUL, Chapter 10

The bimbo I want is a sturdy tiller of the soil

Genesis 4:2 / And she [Eve] again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

Other versions read "tiller of the soil".

SUL, Chapter 11

The discovery that Pop Bassett had got hold of a thousand-quid thingummy for practically nothing would have been gall and w. to Uncle Tom.

Deuteronomy 29:18 / Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood.

SUL, Chapter 12

The spectacle of the forces of darkness stubbing their toe

Luke 22:53 / When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.

Chanting hosannas like the Cherubim and Seraphim, if I've got the names right.

Probable allusion to the hymn "Glorious Majesty" by Samuel Johan Hedborn. The first stanza runs as follows: "Glorious Majesty, before thee / We bow to worship and adore thee; / With grateful hearts to thee we sing, / Earth and heaven tell the story / Of thine eternal might and glory, / And all thy works their incense bring. / Lo, hosts of cherubim and countless seraphim / Sing hosanna, holy is God / Almighty God, all merciful and all wise God!" Cherubim and seraphim are the two highest orders of angels. In the Temple of Jerusalem, cherubs (or cherubim, in Hebrew) covered the ark with their wings, garding God's presence. In the prophet Isaiah's vision (Isaiah 6:1-13), seraphim stood above God's throne. In the Bible, however, angels never sing "Hosanna"; this shout of acclaim is only heard at Jesus' solemn entry in Jerusalem (Matthew 21:9).

SUL, Chapter 13

I would have liked to reward him by sending camels bearing apes, ivory and peacocks to his address.

1 Kings 10:22 / For the king [Solomon] had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.

In the Bible, "T(h)arshish" stands for the western limits of the earth. It is interesting to note that modern translations read "baboons" instead of "peacocks".

My whole future depended on Augustus Fink-Nottle sticking to the straight and narrow path and not blotting his copybook, and I could not but feel that by taking Emerald Stoker for walks he was skidding off the straight and narrow path and blotting his c. in no uncertain manner.

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

SUL, Chapter 14

The scales fell from my eyes.

Acts 9:18 / And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Acts 9:1-19 relate the conversion of Saul, as the apostle Paul was known then. He was travelling to Damascus, in order to persecute Jesus' disciples there, when there came a light from heaven, causing him to fall to the ground, and a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" When Saul got up, he could see nothing at all, until a disciple who lived in Damascus, Ananias, laid his hands on him, whereupon the "scales fell away from Saul's eyes".

SUL, Chapter 15

When he did intervene, it was merely with the soft word that's supposed to turn away wrath.

Proverbs 15:1 / A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

Adding something about out of the mouths of babes and sucklings which I thought a bit offensive.

Psalm 8:2 / Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.

Jesus quotes this verse in Matthew 21:16, to justify the behaviour of the children shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David" in the temple, on the day of his solemn entry in Jerusalem.

There seemed to me a strong resemblance in the newcomer's manner to that of those Assyrians who, so we learn from sources close to them, came down like a wolf on the fold with their cohorts all gleaming with purple and gold.

Allusion to the opening lines of "The Destruction of Sennacherib", by Lord Byron: "The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold, / And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold; / And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea, / When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee." According to the Bible, when Hezekiah, king of Judah, refused to become an Assyrian feudatory, Sennacherib marched on Jerusalem. Isaiah promised Hezekiah that God would not allow the Assyrian king to take the holy city. "And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses" (2 Kings 19:35).

She had unquestionably 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.

The iron had entered into my soul, but the upper lip was stiff.

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

SUL, Chapter 17

"Who was the fellow—or fellows, for I believe there was more than one—who went into the burning fiery furnace?"

"Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, sir."

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.

These three friends of Daniel—perhaps the most popular biblical characters in the Wodehouse canon—had refused to worship the statue of king Nebuchadnezzar, and were thrown in the furnace. But the fire had no power on them, "nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them" (Daniel 3:27).

"The girl was as welcome as manna in the wilderness."

Having won that prize for Scripture Knowledge I was speaking of, I had no difficulty in grasping her allusion. She was referring to an incident which occurred when the children of Israel were crossing some desert or other and were sorely in need of refreshment, rations being on the slender side. And they were just saying to one another how well a spot of manna would go down and regretting that there was none in the quartermaster's stores, when blowed if a whole wad of the stuff didn't descend from the skies, just making their day.

Deuteronomy 8:16 / Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end.

John 6:49 / Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

After their flight from Egypt, God provided the Israelites in the desert with a miraculous sort of food, called "manna" (full story in Exodus 16:1-36).

SUL, Chapter 19

There is a time for girlish frivolity, and a time when it is misplaced.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 / 1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.

Possible reminiscence of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, with its repeated mentions of a time to do something, and a time to do the opposite.

The tremolo in her voice might have been expected to melt what is usually called a heart of stone

Ezekiel 11:19 / And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh.

Well, what would you have expected Harold to do? Turn the other nose?

Matthew 5:39 / But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Christ forbids his disciples to return evil for evil in the "Eye for eye, tooth for tooth" spirit. His own example in John 18:22-23 shows us that it is not forbidden to resist unjust attacks.—Your webmaster thinks this biblical adaptation the most outrageously funny he has come across so far!

He had been looking like a man with no bowels—of compassion, I mean of course

1 John 3:17 / But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

The "bowels" or "entrails" are often used like this in Hebrew (and in the Greek of the New Testament, which was nearly always written by men whose mother tongue was a Semitic language), because they are the source of feelings. A good contemporary translation would say "heart".

The words acted on Pop Bassett as I'm told the sound of bugles acts on war-horses, not that I've ever seen a war-horse.

See Job 39:25. Curiously enough, this is one of the passages where Wodehouse does not quote the Authorised Version, which he uses elsewhere ("He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha"), but a different translation, in which the war-horse starts at the sound of the bugle. On the internet, I have found only one version that comes close to our text, the so-called "New Living Translation": "It snorts at the sound of the bugle." Unfortunately, this translation was only published in 1996! Could someone help me to identify the version used by Wodehouse?

SUL, Chapter 20

Our prop forward proved a broken reed.

Isaiah 36:6 / Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him.

SUL, Chapter 22

But now that Plank has eased the situation and made our paths straight

Matthew 3:3 / For this is he [John the Baptist] that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

As pronounced a goop as ever preached about the Hivites and Hittites

The Hivites and the Hittites are two of six or seven pre-Israelite Palestinian peoples mentioned in the Bible.

SUL, Chapter 24

But I am innocent. My hands are clean.

Matthew 27:24 / When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

A possible reminiscence, as Wodehouse often uses the phrase "to wash one's hands of someone".

Get a move on, officer. Fling wide those 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."

Help me bring his ginger hairs in sorrow to the grave.

Genesis 42:38 / And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.

Ask of me what you will, even unto half my kingdom.

Mark 6:22-23 / 22 And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, she danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it to thee. 23 And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom.

Whereupon, at her mother Herodias' request, the girl asked for the head of John the Baptist, who had denounced Herodias' illegal marriage with Herod Antipas.

He is well stricken in years

Genesis 18:11 / Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age...

Luke 1:7 / And they [Zacharias and Elisabeth] had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.

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GALAHAD AT BLANDINGS

GAB, Chapter 1, section 1

Can I trust you to do this when I have passed beyond the veil?

Hebrews 6:19-20 / 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

The most sacred room of the Temple of Jerusalem, called the "Holy of Holies", was separated from the rest of the edifice by a veil, beyond which only the high priest was allowed to go. The Epistle to the Hebrews presents Jesus as the eternal high priest, who, through his death and resurrection, has passed "beyond the veil" of the heavenly sanctuary, to take place at God's right hand. The phrase "beyond the veil" or "passing the veil" is therefore commonly used with reference to the next world.

GAB, Chapter 1, section 2

There are times when shaking the head creates the illusion that one has met Jael the wife of Heber, incurred her displeasure and started her going into her celebrated routine.

Judges 4:21 / Then Jael Heber's wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.

Judges 4:17-22 tells how Jael, one of the Master's all-time favourites, managed to kill Sisera, the commander of the armies of Jabin, king of Canaan. One hates to contradict Jeeves, but Jael's conduct was obviously not dictated by feelings of warm friendship.

A Daniel come to judgement, he was feeling.

"A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel! / O wise young judge, how I do honour thee!" Shakespeare, Jeeves? Yes, sir, his "Merchant of Venise". The Swan of Avon's words echo the "History of Susanna", in the protestant Bible one of the apocryphal books, but in the catholic tradition chapter 13 of the Book of Daniel. Daniel 13:1-64 tells the story of two elders who surprise Susanna, the beautiful wife of Joakim, while she is bathing in her garden. The elders want her to yield to their passions, and when Susanna refuses, they accuse her in public of having made love to a young man. She is tried and condemned to death, but a young boy of the name of Daniel, by shrewdly questioning the two elders separately, manages to establish Susanna's innocence.

GAB, Chapter 2, section 2

A blinding light flashed upon Gally.

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.

GAB, Chapter 3, section 3

My sister Hermione will see to it that her ewe lamb doesn't get ideas into her head.

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".

GAB, Chapter 3, section 4

Unlike his younger brother, to whom it had always been an earthly Paradise

Genesis 2:8 / And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

The Hebrew word for "garden" was translated as "paradise" in the Greek version of the Old Testament.

Under the ministrations of Monica Simmons she has flourished like a green bay tree.

Psalm 37:35 / I myself have seen the ungodly in great power : and flourishing like a green bay-tree (Book of Common Prayer).

The prospect of having his sister Hermione substituted for his sister Constance had affected him rather as the announcement that for the future they might expect to be chastised with scorpions instead of, as under the previous administration, with whips must have affected the Children of Israel.

1 Kings 12:11 / And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

After his father Solomon's death, Rehoboam, when asked to lighten his predecessor's severity, gave the above harsh answer.

GAB, Chapter 5, section 2

Her voice came to them like a bugle call to a couple of war horses.

See Job 39:25. Curiously enough, this is one of the passages where Wodehouse does not quote the Authorised Version, which he uses elsewhere ("He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha"), but a different translation, in which the war-horse starts at the sound of the bugle. On the internet, I have found only one version that comes close to our text, the so-called "New Living Translation": "It snorts at the sound of the bugle." Unfortunately, this translation was only published in 1996! Could someone help me to identify the version used by Wodehouse?

The cross which all English country policemen have to bear

Matthew 10:38 / And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

GAB, Chapter 6, section 1

Why he found Sandy Callender such a thorn in the flesh.

2 Corinthians 12:7 / And lest I should be exalted through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

Exegetes still quarrel about the exact meaning of the apostle Paul's ordeal: he may be referring to a mysterious disease, or perhaps to the impermeability of the Jewish people, his brothers "according to the flesh", to the Christian faith.

GAB, Chapter 7, section 3

Your position, as I see it, is more or less that of the hart that pants for cooling streams when heated in the chase.

Psalm 42:1 / As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

However, the immediate source for this quotation appears to be the hymn "Converting Grace 230", from "A New Version of the Psalms": "As pants the hart for cooling streams / When heated in the chase; / So longs my soul, Oh God, for Thee, / And Thy refreshing grace".

My cup runneth over, he said

Psalm 23:5 / Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

You don't see how this solves all your little difficulties and makes your path straight?

Matthew 3:3 / For this is he [John the Baptist] that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

GAB, Chapter 7, section 4

Gally was the salt of the earth.

Matthew 5:13 / Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Hence the use of this phrase to indicate a person who is thought to make the world a better place.

GAB, Chapter 8, section 1

Wilfred groaned in spirit.

John 11:33 / When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.

There is a time for worrying about pigs and a time for not worrying about pigs.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 / 1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.

Possible reminiscence of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, with its repeated mentions of a time to do something, and a time to do the opposite.

GAB, Chapter 8, section 2

She's like the deaf adder in Holy Scripture. I don't know if you're familiar with the deaf adder. It comes in a bit in the Bible I used to learn at Sunday school. Like the deaf adder, it says, what don't pay a ruddy bit of attention to the charmer, though he charms till his eyes bubble.

Psalm 58:3-5 / 3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. 4 Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear; 5 Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely.

These verses are certainly among the Bible texts most often quoted by Wodehouse.

"I suppose you know what happens when you call your brother a fool", he said austerely. "You're in danger of hell fire, that's what you're in danger of. You'll find it in the Good Book. ‘If thou sayest to thy brother, Thou fool...'"

Matthew 5:22 / But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

The Aramaic word "raca" means "nitwit".

"You're not my brother!" said Lord Emsworth, at the same time thanking God. (...)

"For purposes of argument I am. All men are brothers. That's in the Good Book, too."

Matthew 23:8 / But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.

GAB, Chapter 9, section 3

What was in progress seemed to combine the outstanding qualities of the Johnstown flood and the Day of Judgement.

2 Peter 3:7 / But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

The New Testament teaches that Christ will return in glory on the "day of the Lord", which will also be the "day of judgment", when the dead will rise to be judged.

GAB, Chapter 10, section 2

You will see Evans and friend heading our way, prowling and prowling like the troops of Midian in the well-known hymn.

Allusion to a hymn by John Mason Neale (1818-1866), first published for congregational use in his Parish Hymn Book (1863): "Christian, dost thou see them / On the holy ground? / How the troops of Midian / Prowl and prowl around? / Christian, up and smite them, / Counting gain but loss; / Smite them by the merit / Of the holy cross." In the Old Testament, the Midianites lived to the south of the Promised Land. Their raids on the neighbourhood lead them to blows with the Hebrews. Judges 6-8 describe how Gideon delivered Israel from their oppression.

GAB, Chapter 11, section 1

The hand is the hand of Veronica, but the voice is the voice of her blasted mother.

Genesis 27:22 / And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.

Isaac, old and blind, had sent his oldest son Esau to make a kill for a savoury meal, after which he would give him his blessing before dying. His wife Rebecca, having overheard their conversation, told Esau's younger brother Jacob to go and kill two kids, to take them to his father and to receive his blessing in Esau's place. Esau being hairy and Jacob smooth-skinned, Rebecca clothed the latter in Esau's clothes and covered his hands and neck with the kids' skins. Isaac was thus deceived when speaking the words recorded above and bestowing his blessing on his younger son. When he found out, Esau was not amused.

GAB, Chapter 11, section 3

What a helpmeet

Genesis 2:18 / And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

The angel with the flaming sword was no longer on the spot

Genesis 3:24 / So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

After the Fall, Adam and Eve were banished from paradise, while cherubs, one of the two highest orders of angels, were posted at the entry.

It caused Sandy, the weaker vessel, to give a gasp

1 Peter 3:7 / Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

GAB, Chapter 12, section 1

It did not bite like a serpent and sting like an adder

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.

GAB, Chapter 12, section 2

I should have thought you'd feel it was just retribution and the wages of sin and all that.

Romans 6:23 / For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

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PLUM PIE

PP, Chapter 1 (Jeeves and the Greasy Bird)

Of course, like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, if I've got the names right, we passed through the furnace together, and that always forms a bond.

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.

These three friends of Daniel—perhaps the most popular biblical characters in the Wodehouse canon—had refused to worship the statue of king Nebuchadnezzar, and were thrown in the furnace. But the fire had no power on them, "nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them" (Daniel 3:27).

A night of terror wandering through Chuffnell Regis with no place to lay our heads, as the expression is.

Matthew 8:19-20 / 19 And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee withersoever thou goest. 20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

It made me feel like that fellow in the Bible who tried to charm the deaf adder and didn't get to first base.

Psalm 58:3-5 / 3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. 4 Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear; 5 Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely.

These verses are certainly among the Bible texts most often quoted by Wodehouse.

I think I should extend something in the way of an olive branch or amende honorable.

Genesis 8:11 / And the dove came in to him [Noah] in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.

The olive leaf or branch, heralding the end of the flood, has become the universal symbol of peace and goodwill.

It's enough to make an aunt turn her face to the wall and give up the struggle.

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...

It has often been said of Bertram Wooster that when he sets his hand to the plough he does not readily sheathe the sword.

Luke 9:62 / And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

Six of the juiciest with a cane that bit like a serpent and stung like an adder

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.

When you've outsmarted the powers of darkness.

Luke 22:53 / When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.

Some terrific scheme for foiling Jas and bringing his greasy hairs in sorrow to the grave.

Genesis 42:38 / And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.

There was a sound 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.

PP, Chapter 3 (Sticky Wicket at Blandings)

Feeling that the head of the family was a frail reed on which to lean in an emergency.

Isaiah 36:6 / Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him.

Joy cometh in the morning, he told himself

Psalm 30:5 / For his anger endureth but a moment: in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

Camels bearing apes, ivory and peacocks, all adressed to you, will shortly be calling at the back door of Blandings Castle.

1 Kings 10:22 / For the king [Solomon] had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.

In the Bible, "T(h)arshish" stands for the western limits of the earth. It is interesting to note that modern translations read "baboons" instead of "peacocks".

PP, Chapter 4 (Ukridge Starts a Bank Account)

It was months since I had seen that battered 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.

But something more on the lines of a Babylonian orgy.

Daniel 5:1-4 / 1 Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. 2 Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein. 3 Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. 4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.

This banquet, given by Belshazzar, in reality son of the last king of Babylon, Nabonidus, may well be the prototype of the "Babylonian orgy" to which Wodehouse periodically refers. It was during this meal that the "writing on the wall" appeared, announcing Belshazzar's downfall.

For his words had removed the scales from my eyes

Acts 9:18 / And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Acts 9:1-19 relate the conversion of Saul, as the apostle Paul was known then. He was travelling to Damascus, in order to persecute Jesus' disciples there, when there came a light from heaven, causing him to fall to the ground, and a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" When Saul got up, he could see nothing at all, until a disciple who lived in Damascus, Ananias, laid his hands on him, whereupon the "scales fell away from Saul's eyes".

A wolf in butler's clothing

Matthew 7:15 / Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

PP, Chapter 5 (Bingo Bans the Bomb)

Joy, in short, had come in the morning, precisely as the psalmist said it always did

See above.

Why she was not skipping like the high hills

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

One of Wodehouse's favourite biblical gags. This Psalm deals with the crossing of the Red Sea by the children of Israel, as related in Exodus, chapter 14. Although the book of Exodus does not mention any "skipping mountains", this and other extraordinary phenomena are part of the metaphorical language the Bible uses to evoke the power and glory of God. The "high hills" instead of "mountains" may be found in Psalm 68:16 / Why leap ye, ye high hills? This is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the Lord will dwell in it for ever.

PP, Chapter 6 (Stylish Stouts)

The realisation that by this miracle at the eleventh hour he had been saved from the fate that is worse than death

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.

"Up from the depths!" he murmured. "Up from the depths!"

Psalm 130:1 / Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord.

A possible allusion?

PP, Chapter 7 (George and Alfred)

The one who's doing the great Bible epic Solomon And The Queen of Sheba?

1 Kings 10:1 / And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to prove him with hard questions.

I will go there ahead of you and sow the good seed

Matthew 13:24 / 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.

There is nothing like a conjuror to keep a monarch amused through the long winter evenings, and King Solomon is bound to have had one at his court. So what happens? The Queen of Sheba arrives. The magnificence of her surroundings stun her. "The half was not told unto me", she says.

1 Kings 10:6-7 / 6 And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. 7 Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.

PP, Chapter 8a (Our Man in America)

The latest to become one with Nineveh and Tyre is the annual woolly bear hunt on Bear Mountain.

Quotation from Kipling's "Recessional": "Lo, all our pomp of yesterday / Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!" Nineveh, capital of the Assyrian empire, was destroyed in 612 BC. The fall of the city is the main subject of the Book of Nahum, one of the Minor Prophets. Tyre, at the beginning of the 6th century BC, was a flourishing commercial city. It was devastated by the Babylonians in 573 BC. Ezekiel 26-28 contain several oracles against Tyre.

PP, Chapter 9 (Life with Freddie)

Mr. Bunting, who though well stricken in years

Genesis 18:11 / Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age...

Luke 1:7 / And they [Zacharias and Elisabeth] had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.

He became suddenly electrified, like a war horse hearing the sound of a bugle.

See Job 39:25. Curiously enough, this is one of the passages where Wodehouse does not quote the Authorised Version, which he uses elsewhere ("He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha"), but a different translation, in which the war-horse starts at the sound of the bugle. On the internet, I have found only one version that comes close to our text, the so-called "New Living Translation": "It snorts at the sound of the bugle." Unfortunately, this translation was only published in 1996! Could someone help me to identify the version used by Wodehouse?

In a voice that rang out like the Last Trump.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 / 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

The trumpet is a traditional feature of so-called apocalyptic imagery, i.e. the language describing metaphorically what will happen at the end of time. The instrument symbolises the solemn fulfilment of God's plan.

Joe, who at their first meeting had seemed to be giving an impersonation of Lot's wife when turned into a pillar of salt

Genesis 19:26 / But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

When Lot, Abraham's nephew, was summoned by angels to take his wife and his daughters and leave the city of Sodom, which was soon to be destroyed, he was told that they should not look behind them. Lot's wife did, however, with desastrous results. This anecdote is probably a popular explanation of some strangely shaped mass of rock which is still pointed out to tourists near the Dead Sea.

He becomes so mellowed that a child could play with him.

Isaiah 11:8 / And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.

Isaiah 11:1-9 is a poem which describes the marvels to be accomplished by the Messiah: the verse quoted here shows that in the messianic era the peace and harmony will be restored which once reigned supreme in Eden.

What Arlene had been instrumental in securing for him was nothing but Dead Sea fruit

Deuteronomy 32:32 / For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter.

The vine of Sodom is a thorny plant found around the Dead Sea. It is sometimes called the "apple of Sodom" or "Dead Sea fruit". Its fruit has a bright red skin, but is not edible because it is full of hard black seeds mingled only with silky hairs resembling ashes. Hence its application to attractive looking things with deceiving contents.

You'll be glad to hear that I have made your path straight.

Matthew 3:3 / For this is he [John the Baptist] that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

And does the wrath of heaven strike him?

Numbers 11:33 / And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote the people with a very great plague.

The "wrath" or "anger" of God is, in the biblical language, an aspect of his holiness, his righteous displeasure with sin and man's unfaithfulness to his covenant.

PP, Chapter 9b (Printer's Error)

His hand set to the plough, / He did not sheathe the sword

See above.

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DO BUTLERS BURGLE BANKS?

DBB, Chapter 2, section 1

Like the Queen of Sheba she felt that the half had not been told her.

1 Kings 10:6-7 / 6 And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. 7 Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it: and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.

DBB, Chapter 2, section 4

The good fight she had fought against the powers of darkness.

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.

Luke 22:53 / When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.

One of those orgies which got Babylon such a bad name.

Daniel 5:1-4 / 1 Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. 2 Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein. 3 Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. 4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.

This banquet, given by Belshazzar, in reality son of the last king of Babylon, Nabonidus, may well be the prototype of the "Babylonian orgy" to which Wodehouse periodically refers. It was during this meal that the "writing on the wall" appeared, announcing Belshazzar's downfall.

Horace said that all flesh was as grass, and Ada agreed that there was a resemblance.

Isaiah 40:6 / The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field.

1 Peter 1:24 / For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.

DBB, Chapter 3, section 1

But his eye was not dimmed

Deuteronomy 34:7 / And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.

DBB, Chapter 5, section 1

The cousin who nearly passed beyond the veil through being bitten in the leg by an angora rabbit.

Hebrews 6:19-20 / 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

The most sacred room of the Temple of Jerusalem, called the "Holy of Holies", was separated from the rest of the edifice by a veil, beyond which only the high priest was allowed to go. The Epistle to the Hebrews presents Jesus as the eternal high priest, who, through his death and resurrection, has passed "beyond the veil" of the heavenly sanctuary, to take place at God's right hand. The phrase "beyond the veil" or "passing the veil" is therefore commonly used with reference to the next world.

DBB, Chapter 5, section 4

The writing on the wall at Belshazzar's feast had not been more ominous.

Daniel 5:5 / In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.

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.

DBB, Chapter 6, section 1

You don't shout from the house tops that it's short two hundred thousand pounds in its funds.

Matthew 10:27 / What I tell you in darkness, that preach ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.

DBB, Chapter 7, section 3

He had had difficulties with his little flock

Luke 12:32 / Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

It was the sort of voice that might have proceeded from some particularly hard to please prophet of the Old Testament days when building up a head of steam before starting to rebuke the sins of the people.

Wodehouse usually attributes a rebuking role to the "minor prophets" of the Old Testament.

I was a lost sheep, but I heard the shepherd calling to me and I'm back in the fold and everyone's not half pleased about it.

Matthew 18:12-13 / 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? 13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.

The gentleman who made the principal address said there was more joy in heaven over one sinner that repenteth than over ninety-nine I think it was he said that didn't have to

Luke 15:7 / I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

"Swear not at all", the gentleman who made the principal address told us.

Matthew 5:34-35 / 34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God's throne: 35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.

Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man, he said, but that which cometh out of it.

Matthew 15:11 / Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

Don't forget, he said, you'll have to account on the last day for every ruddy word you've spoken. It's all being entered up on the charge sheet, he said.

Matthew 12:36 / But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

Think of the parable of the talents.

The "Parable of the Talents" can be found in Matthew 25:14-30. It is about a man who, before going abroad, entrusts his property, in the form of "talents", to three of his servants. The meaning is clear: Jesus wants his disciples to make a good use of the gifts God has given them.

The wages of sin. They're better without it.

Romans 6:23 / For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Get thou behind me, Satan, and take your extra cuts with you.

Matthew 16:23 / But he [Jesus] turned, and said to Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

And what I came here for (...) was to restore my ill-gotten gains. I can't restore all of 'em because I've spent 'em, but here's what's left.

Luke 19:8 / And Zacchaeus stood, and said unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.

A possible allusion to an evangelical gesture.

DBB, Chapter 8, section 1

In the days that had passed since he had felt compelled to withhold from this labourer in the vineyard the hire of which he, the labourer, had made it so plain that he considered himself worthy

Matthew 20:1 / For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.

Luke 10:7 / And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.

He called that money the wages of sin

See above.

I'm what they call a brand from the burning.

Zechariah 3:2 / And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?

"This" refers to Joshua, the high priest, who has escaped the fire that destroyed Jerusalem in 587 BC and the subsequent deportation of the people by the Babylonians.

You won't half cop it on judgment day, Charlie.

2 Peter 3:7 / But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

The New Testament teaches that Christ will return in glory on the "day of the Lord", which will also be the "day of judgment", when the dead will rise to be judged.

Go to one and take a look at the fire they've got there. Flames that burn and scorch. But nothing to what's waiting for you if you go busting banks.

Matthew 25:41 / Then he shall say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.

DBB, Chapter 8, section 2

Gussie was looking forward to that whisky-and-soda as harts are said to do for cooling streams when heated in the chase.

Psalm 42:1 / As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

However, the immediate source for this quotation appears to be the hymn "Converting Grace 230", from "A New Version of the Psalms": "As pants the hart for cooling streams / When heated in the chase; / So longs my soul, Oh God, for Thee, / And Thy refreshing grace".

You did not have to wait till Judgment Day to get what was coming to you.

See above.

DBB, Chapter 8, section 3

Especially when well stricken in years

Genesis 18:11 / Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age...

Luke 1:7 / And they [Zacharias and Elisabeth] had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.

I was expecting you, if not to skip like the high hills, at least to let your eyes sparkle a bit

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

One of Wodehouse's favourite biblical gags. This Psalm deals with the crossing of the Red Sea by the children of Israel, as related in Exodus, chapter 14. Although the book of Exodus does not mention any "skipping mountains", this and other extraordinary phenomena are part of the metaphorical language the Bible uses to evoke the power and glory of God. The "high hills" instead of "mountains" may be found in Psalm 68:16 / Why leap ye, ye high hills? This is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the Lord will dwell in it for ever.

DBB, Chapter 9, section 1

Frank was not to be consoled.

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).

DBB, Chapter 9, section 2

They would be sorry when they snuffed out and came up before the judgment seat

2 Corinthians 5:10 / For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ: that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

They did not seem to have got very far with their wicked work

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

So that an eleventh hour repentance was still possible.

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.

Had come in the hope of being taken back into the fold.

See above.

If you sons of Belial are waiting for Charlie

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.

He was like the deaf adder which, as I dare say you know, stuck its feet in and wouldn't listen to argument.

Psalm 58:3-5 / 3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. 4 Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear; 5 Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely.

These verses are certainly among the Bible texts most often quoted by Wodehouse.

Horace was standing silent and motionless, as if like Lot's wife he had been abruptly converted into a pillar of salt.

Genesis 19:26 / But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

When Lot, Abraham's nephew, was summoned by angels to take his wife and his daughters and leave the city of Sodom, which was soon to be destroyed, he was told that they should not look behind them. Lot's wife did, however, with desastrous results. This anecdote is probably a popular explanation of some strangely shaped mass of rock which is still pointed out to tourists near the Dead Sea.

DBB, Chapter 10, section 2

It was as if a bright light had been switched on behind it.

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.

DBB, Chapter 11, section 1

Her manner was that of one from whose eyes the scales have fallen.

Acts 9:18 / And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Acts 9:1-19 relate the conversion of Saul, as the apostle Paul was known then. He was travelling to Damascus, in order to persecute Jesus' disciples there, when there came a light from heaven, causing him to fall to the ground, and a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" When Saul got up, he could see nothing at all, until a disciple who lived in Damascus, Ananias, laid his hands on him, whereupon the "scales fell away from Saul's eyes".

DBB, Chapter 12, section 2

And that Mr. Appleby, whom he had so respected, should have proved to be a wolf in butler's clothing!

Matthew 7:15 / Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

DBB, Chapter 13, section 1

The breath he had expelled had been virtually a hosannah.

Matthew 21:9 / And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.

"Hosanna", heard at Jesus' solemn entry in Jerusalem, is a shout of acclaim, which literally means "Pray, save".

DBB, Chapter 13, section 4

In her present mood a child, if fairly stout-hearted, could have played with her.

Isaiah 11:8 / And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.

Isaiah 11:1-9 is a poem which describes the marvels to be accomplished by the Messiah: the verse quoted here shows that in the messianic era the peace and harmony will be restored which once reigned supreme in Eden.

Many a man who has seen the light is apt to switch it off when the Old Adam starts to come to life in him.

Romans 6:6 / Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him [Christ], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

The "old man" or "old Adam" is man considered as sinful and in want of redemption and re-creation.

Even a back-sliding Horace (...) would hardly venture into Miss Bond's inner 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.

DBB, Chapter 15

By a woolly baa-lamb the hem of whose garment I ought to be kissing.

Matthew 9:20 / And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him [Jesus], and touched the hem of his garment.

A possible reminiscence?

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A PELICAN AT BLANDINGS

PB, Chapter 3, section 1

But all too soon it was borne in upon him that snakes could sometimes penetrate into this gentlemanly Garden of Eden.

Genesis 2:8 / And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

The Hebrew word for "garden" was translated as "paradise" in the Greek version of the Old Testament.

Genesis 3:1 / Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

The serpent symbolises a force hostile to God and mankind. The New Testament and the Christian tradition identify this being with the Devil or Satan.

PB, Chapter 3, section 3

He's utterly devoid of all the finer instincts which raise Man above the level of the beasts that perish.

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

Wilber Trout whose only fault is that he marries rather too often, which is the sort of thing that might happen to anyone. King Solomon, if you remember, had the same tendency.

1 Kings 11:1 / But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites.

1 Kings 11:3 / And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hunderd concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.

He will cough up anything he's asked, even unto half his kingdom.

Mark 6:22-23 / 22 And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, she danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it to thee. 23 And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom.

Whereupon, at her mother Herodias' request, the girl asked for the head of John the Baptist, who had denounced Herodias' illegal marriage with Herod Antipas.

PB, Chapter 4, section 2

No suggestion that the Empress had fallen in a fit or was being snatched up to heaven in a fiery chariot.

2 Kings 2:11 / And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

PB, Chapter 6, section 1

He's got the same pasty look Balsam had before he was stricken with whatever it was and passed beyond the veil.

Hebrews 6:19-20 / 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

The most sacred room of the Temple of Jerusalem, called the "Holy of Holies", was separated from the rest of the edifice by a veil, beyond which only the high priest was allowed to go. The Epistle to the Hebrews presents Jesus as the eternal high priest, who, through his death and resurrection, has passed "beyond the veil" of the heavenly sanctuary, to take place at God's right hand. The phrase "beyond the veil" or "passing the veil" is therefore commonly used with reference to the next world.

PB, Chapter 6, section 2

Warm? I feel like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the burning 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.

These three friends of Daniel—perhaps the most popular biblical characters in the Wodehouse canon—had refused to worship the statue of king Nebuchadnezzar, and were thrown in the furnace.

PB, Chapter 7, section 1

He was conscious, as he went, of a momentary pang for the years which the locust had eaten.

Joel 2:25 / And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.

The first part of the Book of Joel deals with an invasion of locusts. In the above passage, the Lord promises the cessation of the plague.

PB, Chapter 7, section 3

The impression (...) was that he had been turned into a pillar of salt

Genesis 19:26 / But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

When Lot, Abraham's nephew, was summoned by angels to take his wife and his daughters and leave the city of Sodom, which was soon to be destroyed, he was told that they should not look behind them. Lot's wife did, however, with desastrous results. This anecdote is probably a popular explanation of some strangely shaped mass of rock which is still pointed out to tourists near the Dead Sea.

He burst upon the scene with the animation of an Assyrian coming down like a wolf on the fold

Allusion to the opening lines of "The Destruction of Sennacherib", by Lord Byron: "The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold, / And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold; / And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea, / When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee." According to the Bible, when Hezekiah, king of Judah, refused to become an Assyrian feudatory, Sennacherib marched on Jerusalem. Isaiah promised Hezekiah that God would not allow the Assyrian king to take the holy city. "And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses" (2 Kings 19:35).

PB, Chapter 7, section 6

Again a snort like the sound of the Last Trump rang through the portrait gallery.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 / 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

The trumpet is a traditional feature of so-called apocalyptic imagery, i.e. the language describing metaphorically what will happen at the end of time. The instrument symbolises the solemn fulfilment of God's plan.

PB, Chapter 8, section 2

Dash it all, Johnny, Linda Gilpin isn't the Queen of Sheba.

1 Kings 10:1 / And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to prove him with hard questions.

PB, Chapter 8, section 3

Howard's unexpected impersonation of a Gadarene swine rounding into the straight

Mark 5:11-13 / 11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. 12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. 13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.

For the full story, read Mark 5:1-20, and the parallel versions in Matthew 8:28-34 and Luke 8:26-39. The incident, takes place in the country of the "Gadarenes" or "Gerasenes", east of the Sea of Galilee.

The labourer is proverbially worthy of his hire, and it was plain that this labourer intended to get it.

Luke 10:7 / And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.

PB, Chapter 9, section 1

He advised John to see the error of his ways

James 5:20 / Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

PB, Chapter 9, section 2

He could understand how those Old Testament snake charmers must have felt who tried to ingratiate themselves with the deaf adder and did not get to first base.

Psalm 58:3-5 / 3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. 4 Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear; 5 Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely.

These verses are certainly among the Bible texts most often quoted by Wodehouse.

You've let the sun go down on your wrath, which is the worst possible thing to do.

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

His only son, the apple of his eye

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.

PB, Chapter 9, section 5

Now that I've come to know him better I can see he's the salt of the ruddy earth

Matthew 5:13 / Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Hence the use of this phrase to indicate a person who is thought to make the world a better place.

Dance before him.

2 Samuel 6:14 / And David danced before the Lord with all his might: and David was girded with a linen ephod.

1 Samuel 16:23 / And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

Because of other passages where Wodehouse mistakenly refers to David dancing before Saul, I have a feeling there is a biblical allusion here. The Master confused king David dancing before the ark of God (Saul was dead by then), with the young David relieving king Saul of his depressions by playing the harp.

PB, Chapter 10, section 3

When she had ample opportunity of observing him and weighing him in the balance.

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.

He was far too juvenile a reed on which to lean.

Isaiah 36:6 / Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him.

The illusion that she was in the presence of something out of the Book of Revelations.

The Book of Revelation, or "Apocalypse of John", is the last book of the New Testament and of the entire Bible. Like other apocalyptic literature, its aim is to reveal hidden things, especially what will happen when this world ends. The language used in this sort of writing is highly symbolic, and its visions of horror and destruction should not be taken literally. The true message of the Book of Revelation is a hopeful one: God protects his persecuted Church and will lead her to victory.

Lady Constance was looking like a dying duck because a sudden bright light had flashed upon her.

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.

PB, Chapter 11, section 1

I noticed when I was talking to him that the iron seemed to have entered into his soul quite a bit.

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

PB, Chapter 13, section 4

He was bitten in the leg by a Siamese cat, got gangrene and as near as a toucher passed beyond the veil.

See above.

PB, Chapter 14

Peace, perfect peace with loved ones far away, as one might say.

Isaiah 26:3 / Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteh in thee.

Isaiah 57:19 / Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord.

The hymn "Peace, perfect peace" was written by Edward H Bickersteth, Jr (1825-1906) in 1875, and contains the lines: "Peace, perfect peace, with loved ones far away? / In Jesus' keeping we are safe, and they".

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