Sunday, May 25, 2008

Book of Hezekiah

"Jesus said," spake a co-worker, "God helps those that help themselves."

And overhering this, and being of both a theological and intellectually curious mind (and armed with the power of the Internet), I choose to find out where Jesus said this.

And found nothing. More interestingly, I found nothing in the Bible at all about that bit of advice (it exists in several proverbial forms, and was echoed by Ben Franklin in Poor Richard's Almanac). But most interesting of all, I found the Book of Hezekiah, from which this quote and similar imaginary quotes come from.

Proverbial biblical wisdom that is anything but biblical is attributed to the Book of Hezekiah, a Biblical tome which is the jackalope of religious texts, a left handed smokeshifter of the seminary, the inside joke among divinity students. There is no such book (kinda), but quotes that should be in the bible, but aren't (like "The Good Lord moves in mysterious ways" or "Cleanliness is next to godliness") are sent there, along with such near-misses as "Money is the root of all evil" (closer is the version "The love of money is the root of all evil").

Now I say the book of Hezekiah is "kinda" imaginary, because Hezekiah IS in the Bible as one of the Kings of Judah, and his story is told in Isaiah, Kings, and Chronicles - the Isaiah version could be a "book of Hezekiah", or at least a "pamphlet of Hezekiah".

But if someone is quoting chapter and verse from the Book of Hezekiah, they are bluffing you. Similarly, test out your Bible lore against an opponent by trotting out the book in a quote. If they smile and laugh, then you know that they know their Biblical chops.

More later,