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"As the Good Book says... wait, why would I need to tell You what the Good Book says?"
Tevye (to God), Fiddler on the Roof
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Having a character quote from The Bible lets us know they're either a scholar, a deeply religious person or a bonafide supernatural being. Quoting a passage from the New Testament in the ending credits will make a character The Chosen One, and, from the Old Testament, God.

Of course, as it is with all fiction, this depends not on the device itself, but on the way it is used. A Bible quote can be an effective literary tool if used in a meaningful context. But, outside it, it's an obvious, major cop-out. It is also easily open to parody or subversion, as it has been observed before that even the devil could quote the bible to his own advantage by choosing his verses with care.

Compare Literary Allusion Title, which often serves a similar purpose. Contrast Useful Book, where a "good book" means something else entirely.

Examples of As the Good Book Says... include:

Anime and Manga

  • Neon Genesis Evangelion—Quotes and references abound, though many of them have some bearing on the plot, or at least deciphering some of the symbolism.
  • Le Chevalier d'Eon focuses mostly in the Book of Psalms, especially Psalm 95.
  • In a rather subtle subversion, despite being a self-proclaimed holy man and traveling preacher, Nicholas D. Wolfwood of Trigun doesn't quote the Bible once.
    • That would be because he's not actually a priest... well, not a Christian one, anyway. He's part of The Eye of Michael in the manga, and in the anime he was intended to be the next Chapel of the Church of the Gung-ho Guns, a Knives cult before he ended up choosing Vash over his former boss. He fakes the traveling Christian holy man deal for reasons like cover (neither of his actual "faiths" would be welcome if he started preaching about them) and cash.
  • Patlabor makes extensive use of this in the first movie (possibly in an attempt to distance itself from the more comic OVA series), using the quote: "And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. Therefore is the name of it called Babel... — Genesis 11
    • The first two movies use biblical quotes to set the plot, the reason is Mamoru Oshii directed both of them. The man loves his quotes (usually biblical, but not always).
  • The infamous Hentai Bible Black, of all things. "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death. He who sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed."—Exodus 22:18-20
  • Brutally subverted in Death Note: After the Bait and Switch Credits that make it look like Light's going to do something very noble, the very first we see of him in the first episode is him quoting the Shinto classics (with "kami" unusually translated as "god" in the singular). Factoring in Beauty Equals Goodness, he looks like a noble, pious, upstanding young man. By the end of that very episode, he's embarking on a mass murder spree of criminals as part of a plan to Take Over the World and rule as A God Am I. The sheer speed with which he kills people surprises even the Shinigami who dropped the murder weapon in search of entertainment.
    • The English dub modifies the scene to have Light quoting the Bible. However, the class is implied to simply be an English class.
  • Monster starts with a quote from Revelation on the coming of The Antichrist. Gee, I wonder what that refers to...
  • Surprisingly, for a story about a nun that hunts demons, the manga of Chrono Crusade completely averts this trope. However, Gonzo's anime adaption gleefully adds it back in, having both Joshua and Aion quote the Bible in an attempt to portray Aion as some sort of antichrist. Aion even quotes the Bible as his Famous Last Words.
  • Hellsing's Alexander Anderson quotes the Bible every other sentence. Since he's a thoroughly insane priest and monster hunter, it doesn't really mean anything.
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  • Weiss Kreuz: Although Aya doesn't specifically quote the Bible, a point is made of the fact that he reads it regularly; the Radio Drama "Fight Fire With Fire" includes a scene in which he returns a Bible that he had borrowed from a church. The nun to whom he returns the Bible comments on its worn-out condition, and Aya explains that he reads it every night before going to sleep.
  • Parodied in Black Lagoon, in which Eda paraphrases Luke 11 as a sophisticated way of saying, basically, "get the **** off my porch" to someone trying to seek sanctuary in the Corrupt Church.
  • In Umineko no Naku Koro ni, the blood seals have passages from Psalms in them, and the Creepy Child gives the exact location in Bible.
  • Ghost in the Shell is so full of quotes, that it's no surprise that more than a few are from the bible. In Innocence Batou and Togusa are doing it so much, that at one point Batou has to admit that it's getting out of hand.
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Togusa: 'How great is the sum of thy thoughts. If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand.'
Batou: Psalms 139, Old Testament. The way you spout these spontaneous exotic references, I'd say your own external memory's pretty twisted.
Togusa: Look who's talking!
...
Togusa: 'His legions, angel forms, who lay entranced. Thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks.'
Batou: Now you're quoting Milton, but we are not Satan.

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    • Oshii again.
  • Claes from Gunslinger Girl frequently shows off her wide-reading. Bad developments such as Henrietta's recent breakdown prompt her to quote Ecclesiastes 11:8-9 to Rico. She never names chapter and verse, she simply answers Rico's question "Is that poetry?" with "Not quite, it's biblical."
  • In Blue Exorcist: certain bible verses can banish certain demons. One character doesn't know a certain demon's specific verse, so he recites the entire Book of John at it. From memory.


Comic Books

  • Watchmen—Would the Judge of All Earth not do Right? (Doctor Manhattan = God).
    • When compared to God Dr. Manhattan says that he doesn't think there *is* a God and if there is then it's certainly not him. Later he ruminates over this and wonders if a watch (=the universe) can be without a watchmaker.
  • Kingdom Come. The protagonist is a pastor, and since he observes the whole thing, the story is loaded. It's mainly Revelations, which features The End of the World as We Know It, so it works.
  • Used to terrible effect in Uncanny X-Men #423 and #424, as a nonsensical plot is unveiled to the religious Nightcrawler's constant quoting of Bible passages that Chuck Austen didn't bother reading beforehand.
    • Reading? He didn't even bother to get the citations right, and in one example, he made a quote up to fit the story.
  • In Fables, Kai used Bible quote about looking at people with lust as an explanation why he cut his eyes out. In his case hoever it was because he can see everything that anybody did in his life by just looking at him, so he's cutting his eyes and they still grows up again.
  • Marvel books often have had Bible allusions. Particularly where The Vision is concerned, as in the episode titles "Where There Is No Vision..." and "Your Young Men Shall Slay Visions" .. a play on the original verse where it is "SEE visions".
    • An issue of Iron Man where he must fight the giant, alien dragon Fin Fang Foom which, at the same time, is battling the spirit of the young man whose body he co-opted: "Your young men shall slay dragons".
  • The Cloak and Dagger comics paraphrase Psalm 139:12-14.
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"The darkness and light are both alike... I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

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  • Chick Tracts use this all the time, usually ripped right out of context.


Film

  • Pulp Fiction—Jules Winfield is fond of (mis)quoting Ezekiel 25:17 (with a bit of his own embellishment, as only the final lines of Jules' speech, the ones about "great vengeance and furious anger," appear in the aforementioned passage) before executing someone. As he explains to another character later, he used to think it was just some "cold blooded shit" that one said to someone before "popping a cap in his ass", but he's begun to question his lifestyle after really thinking about its meaning.
    • Jules' speech is based on this speech by the legendary Sonny Chiba that opens the classic grindhouse action movie The Bodyguard (not to be confused with the Whitney Houston movie). It should go without saying that Tarantino was a big fan of these kinds of movies.
    • He spoofs this trope at the beginning of Kill Bill, in which he portentously presents the 'Old Klingon Proverb' "Revenge is a dish best served cold" at the beginning.
  • And shepherds we shall be, for Thee my Lord, for Thee... ; which is not a actual Biblical prayer, but does fit the trope in that it sounds Biblical enough, and establishes the religious nature of the brothers, in case their huge crosses and tattoos hadn't tipped you off.
    • That prayer was explicitly a family prayer, they wouldn't even teach it to their best friend and accomplice.
  • The 6th Day—See example above—quote used to imply a religious aspect in a movie where it didn't really exist... although the anti-cloning law in that film is named after the Sixth Day.
  • The Matrix—Neo is Jesus. A few other references:
    • On the Nebuchadnezzar's dedication plate: Mark III, No. 11. Mark 3:11 (KJV) says, "And unclean spirits, when they saw [Jesus], fell down before him and cried, saying, ?Thou art the Son of God!"
    • In The Matrix Reloaded, Agent Smith's car license place is IS-5416. Isaiah 54:16 (KJV) says "Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire and that bringeth forth an instrument for this work; and I have created the waster, to destroy."
    • Also in The Matrix Reloaded when the Nebuchadnezzar is destroyed, Morpheus says, "I dreamed a dream, and now that dream is gone from me." A quote from King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2:3-5. What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?
  • In Saving Private Ryan the American sharpshooter was always quoting Psalms from the Bible (King James Version). It's particularly pointed during the opening scene where he quotes Psalm 22 ("Be thou not far from me, O Lord"). The sniper prays as he takes aim at a German gun emplacement. The shot then cuts to another soldier on the beach praying a rosary in Latin. It then cuts to a chaplain giving a dying soldier the last rites. During the final battle he quotes from Psalm 144 ("Blessed be the Lord my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight").
  • Blazing Saddles. "As your spiritual leader, I implore you to pay heed to this good book and what it has to say!" Someone in the crowd blows a hole in the Bible. "Son, you're on your own!"
  • Ghostbusters:
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Ray: I remember Revelation 7:12 [sic, it's really Revelation 6:12, (KJV)]; "And I looked, as [the Lamb] opened the sixth seal, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became as black as sackcloth. And the moon became as blood."
Winston: And the seas boiled and the skies fell.

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  • There's a Shirley Temple movie where Shirley takes advice from the Bible... by opening it to a random page and reading the first verse her finger points to.
    • Which is unwittingly Truth in Television in action—slightly. A Persian (Iranian) Muslim tradition involves paying an old, spiritual wise man some (i.e. not a lot) of money, so the wise man can close his eyes, land on a random passage from the Quran, and read from it, in order to help the other person with whatever personal problems they've come to the old man with. This was forbidden at the onset of the Ayatollah's rise to power but had come back into being by the 1990s.
    • Actually, the tradition is not necessarily Persian Muslim, but rather just Persian, as the practice is to use the book of poetry written by Hafez (Iran's national poet). The wise man is to open the book at a random point, and the sixth stanza of the poem on that page will hold the answer to your question/problem.
    • It is also used by some charismatic Christians. It is usually tongue-in-cheek, though, and never for serious purposes.
  • Gettysburg: Lee's "teaches my fingers to fight" narration is from Psalm 144.
  • Some Fritz Lang films written by Thea von Harbou use this trope, the standouts being:
    • Destiny - "For love is as strong as death" (Song of Songs 8:6, KJV), which the nameless Mary Sue protagonist misquotes ("Love is stronger than death") repeatedly after reading it on a randomly opened Bible page.
    • Metropolis - Revelation 17:4 used to describe the machine woman, and a heavily distorted story of the Tower of Babel told as an example of a classic labor dispute. Not to mention all the other runaway Biblical shout-outs present.
  • In The Mummy 1999, Jonathan thoughtfully provides any necessary Bible quotes about the plagues of Egypt. Of course, in The Mummy Returns, he actually uses the phrase "as it says in the Good Book" only to discover Alex has a different book in mind.
  • Deep Blue Sea has a cook nicknamed Preacher for using this a lot. For example, when he locks himself into an oven while cornered by sharks he says "I'm not Daniel when he faced the lion!"
  • The film Giant Spider Invasion, as immortalized by Mystery Science Theater 3000, features a recurring preacher who, despite only getting a short scene in the beginning of the movie, continues to rant about demons from hell and the punishment of Man through the movie up until the credits. This is made even weirder by the fact that it's outright stated that the giant spiders are from another dimension, and that religion is shown in a more or less negative light throughout the film.
    • Doesn't seem that weird based on the description; just another example of the old trope of deluded priest who thinks everything is demonic instead of what it really is.
  • The Shawshank Redemption has this great exchange between Andy Dufresne and Warden Norton, via KJV:
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NORTON: I'm pleased to see you reading (the KJV Bible). Any favorite passages?
ANDY: Watch ye therefore, for ye know not when the master of the house cometh.
NORTON: Luke. Chapter 13, verse 35.[1] I've always liked that one. But I prefer: "I am the light of the world. He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
ANDY: John. Chapter 8, verse 12.

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    • Of course Andy's Bible is also a Chekhov's Gun for the main plot. "Salvation lies within."
  • In CSA: Confederate States of America, slaves are given daily readings in order to encourage their compliance. Judging from the subject's reaction, it probably isn't very effective at making them loyal.
  • In Magnolia, the people in the audience at the gameshow hold up signs reading "Exodus 8:2 ("And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs"; KJV). Not only have 8 and 2 been recurring arc numbers, an actual plague of frogs then ensues.
  • The plot of the Anti Christ-conspiracy film Lost Souls revolves around a quotation from the book of Isaiah that the writers made up.
  • The killer robot from Hardware was the MARK XIII, referring specifically to Mark 13:20, "...no flesh should be saved..."
  • Gattaca opens with this quotation from Ecclesiastes 7:13: "Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what he has made crooked?"
  • In The Book of Eli, the titular book is the Bible, from which Eli sometimes quotes, even using it as a Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner (and/or monologue). Of course, he's had thirty years to memorize it.
  • Played (mostly) for laughs in Dragonheart by Brother Gilbert, while sniping from a tree w/ bow & arrow.
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Brother Gilbert fires an arrow to set off a trap, lowering a log to clothesline two knights on horseback
Brother Gilbert: "Pride goeth before the fall."
He notices a child being chased by another mounted knight, and fires off another arrow, catching the knight squarely in the butt.
Brother Gilbert: (dryly) "Turn the other cheek, brother."

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  • The Grail Tablet in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade borrows from John 4:14 (KJV). Indy reads it as, "He who drinks the water I shall give him, says the Lord, shall have a spring inside him welling up for eternal life."
  • Private Alvin York briefly debated the morality of fighting in World War I with his executive officer, Captain Danforth, by exchanging Bible quotes. The captain didn't convince York, but York later found the decisive quotation on his own.
  • In Hard Rain, Ray has a tendency to quote Bible verses. Jim even asks him for "inspiration" at one point. It leads to a rather amusing line later:
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Ray: We'd go down to the river, and into the river we'd dive. (The others give him confused looks.) Springsteen, "The River". What? I'm all out of Bible verses.

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Literature

  • In Twilight, Stephenie Meyer uses a completely out-of-context Bible quote, while presumably attempting to equate Edward to "forbidden fruit"
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"But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Thou shalt not eat of it: For in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die."

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    • "Forbidden fruit" being an Unusual Euphemism for sex is just about the most common interpretation of what it was.
      • Common but mistaken - Adam 'knew' Eve in the preceding chapter, 'know' being a Hebrew euphemism for sex.
    • Another out-of-context Bible quote she uses is "And so the lion fell in love with the lamb", a paraphrase of a passage in Isaiah:
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"The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them."

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    • The Biblical passage is talking about the world peace that will be achieved when the messiah returns, while Meyer uses it to represent Edward and Bella's "forbidden love."
  • In the novel To Sail Beyond the Sunset by Robert A. Heinlein, Ira Johnson would quote the Bible to his religious wife at various times when she objected to his actions. It was indicated that he really didn't believe in it but found it quite useful to justify anything he wanted, as the Bible is so large you can find all kinds of stuff in there that you can take to mean whatever you want.
  • Sharpe villain Obadiah Hakeswill likes to end each of his threats with "It says so in the scriptures!" ...even when it's something like "Riflemen who lose their flints will get a good flogging, Sharpie, it says so in the Scriptures!"
    • In one of the prequels he runs into a devout Scots officer who becomes increasingly incensed at this, and eventually throws it back in his face by ordering him away from tormenting Sharpe with an actual scriptural quotation.
  • Parodied in Bill Fitzurgh's Pest Control. Two cocaine-dealing druglords have a pretty much impenetrable compound. As an example of how impenetrable it is, the narrator relates an occasion where they let an assassin get into the courtyard, and just when he thinks he's hot stuff, riddle him with crossfire, then have dogs strip him to the bone. Brother A stands over his body.
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Brother A: Pride, my young brother, goeth before a fall.

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The narration notes that the second brother knew his Proverbs better.
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Brother B: Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
What followed as they went back inside was a lengthy discussion on wisdom and paraphrasing.

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  • In The Three Musketeers, Aramis does this almost as a sort of Catch Phrase, annoying his friends with his primly Holier Than Thou attitude. In the second book he does it ironically, but after his Face Heel Turn in the third, the hypocrisy is back.
  • Lu-Tze in the Discworld book Thief of Time frequently says things like "is it not written, it won't get better if you don't stop picking at it?"
    • Usually it IS written, but only in the select quotes of Mrs. Cosmopolite (proprietress of an Ankh-Morpork boarding house) which was assembled by Lu-Tze and the only copy of which resides in Lu-Tze's back pocket.
    • Sort of inverted in The Science Of Discworld III, in which Ridcully quotes The Origin Of Species to persuade Charles Darwin not to attribute Roundworld evolution to God's will in his book, but to simple natural forces instead.
  • The Ender's Game sequels from Bean's perspective involve an elaborate reference of the Tree of Life and Tree of Knowledge to explain why Bean has superhuman intelligence but a very short lifespan. which doesn't make very much sense, if you consider that humans are both the smartest animal and one of the longest lived.
    • Well, in the Christian perspective, Man was made "in God's image," which presumably included immortality. Biblically, we traded in immortality for knowledge (of good and evil); to taste the tree of life would make us know good and evil and immortal, and thus perfectly like God, which God would not care for. The tradeoff works in that, having eaten yet more of the Tree of Knowledge (or whatever), Bean becomes "more mortal," i.e. has a shorter life.
    • Don't forget, it was just an analogy to get around his brain implant
  • J. K. Rowling included a couple of verses in Harry Potter to great effect. They're both epitaphs:
    • "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:21 or Luke 12:34) This one's on Kendra and Ariana Dumbledore's headstone, and pretty much sums up Albus' regret/repentance.
    • "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." (I Corinthians 15:26) This one's on James and Lily's headstone, and how it's interpreted gives insight to the difference between the good guys and the Death Eaters.
  • The Bible itself (4th chapter of Matthew and the books of the other apostles that cover the same events) lampshades this trope, when Satan tries to tempt Jesus into throwing himself from the highest point in the temple, quoting from the Psalms to suggest that God will prevent Jesus from falling to his death. Jesus shoots back with "you shall not tempt the LORD your God" from the book of Deuteronomy. Zing!
    • It's not just this one instance. The entirety of the New Testament is the Ur Example of this trope, having numerous quotations from the Old Testament.
  • In Stephen King and Peter Straub's The Talisman, Wolf is constantly quoting "The Book of Good Farming" - an Alternate Universe version of the Bible.
  • Joseph, a crusty servant in Wuthering Heights, is constantly quoting the bible at other characters despite the fact that they are rarely guilty of what he is slinging at them. What's more, he is more vile than most of the characters, and still feels that he is destined for heaven while the rest of them are doomed to fry in hell. Oh, Joseph, not only were you completely intelligible, but you were a hypocrite too!
  • Played with in The Left Hand of God. Several characters quote or paraphrase the Bible in several places. However, owing to the ambiguous After the End future setting of the book, several details are conflated or confused. For example, people think that Jesus of Nazareth was the man trapped inside a whale, not Jonah. Justified by the fact that Christianity (as we know it now) doesn't exist anymore or has been adapted to suit the faith of the Redeemers.
  • Each chapter of Wyrm opens with a quote from the Book of Revelation.
  • Minor J. T. Edson character Deputy Marshal Solomon Wisdom 'Solly' Cole is fond of quoting Bible verses. Some of them are made up out of the whole cloth, with Solly relying on the fact that rebrobates he is lecturing will not have the biblical knowledge necessary to contradict him.
  • Reading Jane Eyre without either an encyclopedic knowledge of the Bible or an edition with good footnotes means you miss a significant proportion of the characters' allusions and epigrams.
  • The clerical brawl between Friar Tuck and Prior Aymer in Ivanhoe is mostly conducted in bad Latin and Bible quotes.
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Friar Tuck: Ossa ejus perfringam, I shall break your bones, as the Vulgate hath it. (Referring to the Vulgate Bible, the translation used by the Church in those days).

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  • Characters in Manly Wade Wellman stories, being backwoods folk, have a tendency to quote "the Book". One of the most interesting cases is when a character in "Shiver in the Pines", asked where he's from, answers, "From going to and fro in the world, and from walking up and down in it". This is how Satan introduces himself in the book of Job, and his smiling at the stunned reaction of the other characters establishes what sort of person he is.
  • Played with in Joan Hess's Maggody mysteries, in which bungling preacher Brother Verber regularly misquotes the Bible. (He was ordained through a mail-order seminary.)
  • In one of the last scenes of Roger Zelazny's Lord of Light, the title character, who revived Buddhism on a mostly Hindu-settled planet, holds a dying Christian and gently recites from "Ecclesiastes" a passage about how history repeats....
  • One of the characters in The Hostage of Zir by L. Sprague de Camp argues that The Bible forbids fornication, sex with a human you're not married to, and bestiality, sex with a dumb animal. But it says nothing about Boldly Coming on the planet Zarathustra.


Live-Action TV

  • Spoofed on Mad TV with Bible Dude, who would recite verses that had absolutely nothing to do with the situation, but people would arrive at An Aesop regardless.
  • Mr. Eko quotes the Bible frequently on Lost. At first this lets us know he's deeply religious. Then it provides irony because he's not really a priest, as he claims. Finally, one Bible quote becomes a plot point: the sun shines on his scripture stick illuminating the quote, "Lift up your eyes and look north. John 3:05." John Locke takes this as a sign to go north on heading 305, which takes him right to the Flame station.
    • The fridge brilliance of Mr Eko quoting the Bible is that he gets quite a few things about religion wrong/ has a simplistic understanding of Catholicism for someone who is supposed to be a priest which makes sense because he's not one.
  • Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report is fond of these, since both character and actor are devout Catholics. In extreme cases he has been known to rattle off the entire Nicene Creed.
  • Parodied in Garth Marenghi's Darkplace, where a completely irrelevant Shakespeare quote appears on the screen for several seconds for no apparent reason.
  • Chuck Noblet in Strangers with Candy likes to read from the Bible before dinner with his family. We only see this once: when his secret gay lover "friend" is visiting, and the verse he picks totally at random happens to be Leviticus 20:13.
  • Rowan Atkinson's sketch wherein he, as the Devil, welcomes the audience to Hell. When asked where the bathrooms were in Hell, he said, "if you'd read your Bible you'd have seen that it was damnation WITHOUT relief."
  • The Firefly episode Our Mrs. Reynolds:
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Safron: I do know my bible, sir. "On the night of their betrothal, the wife shall open to the man, as the furrow to the plough, and he shall work in her, in and again, 'till she bring him to his fall, and rest him then upon the sweat of her breast."
Mal: Whoa. Good bible.

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    • This may be a Double Subversion since a) it's not a real Bible quote and b) Mal is an atheist, so she may be relying on him to not know that it isn't.
      • Mal was once devout, but he lost faith after the Independents lost the Battle of Serenity Valley. As for the Bible quote, it's possible different settlements have their own "expanded" Bibles.
  • Dot Cottom on Eastenders frequently quoted Bible verses.
  • In one episode of The Golden Girls, Blanche tries repeatedly to quote the Bible to show others how serious she is, but she can't remember any actual verses, so she quotes the postal creed and the Marine Hymn instead.
    • Another episode has Blanche refer to her body as a temple, referring to taking care of herself...Okay, look up the original Biblical context (1 Corinthians 6: 15-20). Now think how far out of context the statement would have to be taken for Blanche Devereaux to quote it.
  • President Bartlet on The West Wing is a devout Catholic (as is his actor, Martin Sheen) and occasionally whips out his thorough and encyclopedic knowledge of the Bible as a walking Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • Blackadder:
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Richard IV: As the good Lord said: 'Love thy neighbour as thyself'. Unless he's Turkish, in which case, KILL THE BASTARD!

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  • One episode of Fawlty Towers, "The Builders", featured an Irish builder named O'Reilly, who kept starting sentences with, "as the good book says," "as the good Lord says," and "if the good Lord had meant". Finally, sick of the builder's pious excuses for laziness, Fawlty responds in epic fashion:
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O'Reilly: If the good Lord --
Fawlty: — is mentioned once more, I shall move you closer to him!

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  • The Criminal Minds episode "Revelations" has an interesting play on the book of Revelations, where Reid's kidnapper, Tobias Hankel, switches between three personalities--himself, his father, and an angel called Raphael.
    • Although the Bible is quoted multiple times, the most notable is when Reid quotes it incorrectly, alerting the team to his location, as they know he'd never mess it up because of his eidetic memory.
    • Reid also tried to use biblical quotes to dissuade some cult members from blowing themselves up as their leader'd instructed. The leader catches him at it, and belts him one when Reid tries to argue similarly with him.


Music

  • Subverted in Tom Russell's song "The Sky Above, the Mud Below" when Deacon Black, preacher-turned-corrupt-sheriff confronts a pair of horse thieves: "The Old Testament, it says somewhere eye for eye and hair for hair/Covet not thy neighbor's mare, I believe it's Revelations."
  • Not too many people realize the similarities between Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" and Isaiah ch 21 verses 5-9 on how the city of Babylon had fallen. Given the song's anti-war theme, it's actually appropriate.
  • Cradle Of Filth’s Damnation And A Day features a bit of scripture – specifically, Genesis 1:2 and Revelation 12:7-9 – read by Dave McEwen in possibly the best version of the Bible-on-tape EVER. A disappointing number of reviewers thought the quotes were from Dante or Paradise Lost, though.
  • For a secular band, Nightwish loves this trope. "The Carpenter" is about Jesus, "The Pharaoh Sails To Orion" opens with a death-grunt of Exodus 10:28, "Crownless" contains Psalm 27:17 in one of its verses...
  • Of course, one of Iron Maiden's biggest hits, "Number of the Beast", opens with the relevant biblical quote:
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Woe to you, Oh Earth and Sea, for the Devil sends the beast with wrath, because he knows the time is short...Let him who hath understanding reckon the number of the beast, for it is a human number; its number is Six hundred threescore and six.
Book of Revelation, 12:12, 13:18
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  • Johnny Cash's The Man Comes Around opens and closes with him reading from the Book of Revelation, and contains a reference to the book of Job (the reference to a "Whirlwind in a thorn tree")
  • From Charlie Daniels Band's Simple Man:[2]
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Well the good book says it, so I know it's the truth
An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth

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Newspaper Comics

  • Linus Van Pelt, of Peanuts, is frequently given to quoting Scripture.
    • Probably the most celebrated instance comes in the animated special A Charlie Brown Christmas, when a frustrated Charlie Brown asks, "Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?" and Linus duly obliges by reciting Luke 2:8-14.
    • One strip has Linus claiming that he has the right to choose what to watch on TV since he got there first, only for Lucy to change the channel and say, "In the 19th chapter of the book of Matthew it says, 'Many that are first will be last, and the last first.'[3]". Linus replies, "I'll bet Matthew didn't have an older sister!"
    • Other characters do it as well; for example, in one of the football gags, Charlie Brown cries out, "How long, O Lord?" Lucy recognizes the quote (it's from Isaiah 6:11), and continues and analyzes it, before pulling the football away.
    • In another strip, Snoopy comes in the house. Charlie Brown looks up from the Bible he'd been reading and asks, "What's up? Are you hungry?" Snoopy silently takes his Bible, turns to a page, and hands it back. Charlie Brown reads the indicated passage, Ps 50:12: "If I were hungry, I would not tell thee." He shouts to Snoopy (now presumably in the kitchen), "Give me a week, and I'll find an answer!"
    • Charles Schulz was a Sunday School teacher, and scriptural lessons are sprinkled throughout Peanuts, so much so that a man named Robert L. Short wrote a couple of bestselling "pop theology" books, The Gospel According to Peanuts (1965) and The Parables of Peanuts (1968), analyzing the strip's religious content.
  • In Modesty Blaise, Willie can find a line from the Book of Psalms to fit almost any situation, as he once spent a year in an Indian prison with nothing else to read.
  • In a Pearls Before Swine strip, while Rat is watching a football game, Pig claims that in every football game there is a guy named John who keeps forgetting his watch which forces a buddy of his to hold up a sign telling the time, hence why every game has a guy holding a sign reading "John 3:16".[4] Pig starts watching the game after Rat leaves and remarks "Great. Now Luke forgot his watch."
    • The same joke was inverted in a Get Fuzzy strip: Rob gets home and finds a spooked out Satchel sitting in the dark babbling "John 3:16! John 3:16!". He then turns on the lights and says "Your friend John called at 3:16".
    • Another Pearls example shows a squirrel, when fed by Pig, responds by quoting Revelations 18:21.
    • The name of the strip itself comes from Matthew 7:6, in which Jesus, during his Sermon on the Mount, warns his followers not to cast "pearls before swine".


Other/Multiple media

  • "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?"—Matthew 16:26, Mark 8:36 and Luke 9:25. If you see this one, count on the Aesop being With Great Power Comes Great Insanity, with Lonely at the Top being a key illustration of this. Such as:
    • Bob Guccione's Caligula (1979)
    • Stephen King's The Talisman (1984), changed to "loses his own son", where the Big Bad concludes that "It profits him the world."
    • Oliver Stone's Nixon (1995)
    • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (1997), quoted by a dying Dracula to his son, a tacit admission of weariness.
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Dracula: "Ah...sarcasm. 'For what profit is it to a man if he gains the world, and loses his own soul?' Matthew 16:26, I believe."

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    • Subverted in A Miracle of Science. "Well, he'd profit by one whole world, for one thing."
    • Quoted by The Mad Thinker to Reed Richards in a "Civil War-era" Fantastic Four story, when he sees the lengths Richards has gone to in order to prevent a predicted crisis.
    • The Ranma fanfic Pride Comes Before the Fall has Proverbs 16:18 as the intro. The title itself is a compact version of the verse.
    • Quoted and subverted in the movie version of The Bonfire of the Vanities. It's used in the bookends' narration as Bruce Willis' journalist ponders his newfound fortune coming at the expense of many reputations. At the end, he decides he's been well compensated for losing his soul.
    • A character in Piers Anthony's With a Tangled Skein misquotes it as "save the whole world", thus completely changing the nature of the point.
    • "It profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world ... but for Wales, Richard?"
    • Intentionally inverted in "Starseed", the last volume of the Stardance trilogy, with the quote, "What shall it cost a man if he shall lose the world only to gain his soul?" The Aesop in this case is, "Humanity must ultimately leave the Earth behind if we are to take our place among the stars."


Theater

  • Fiddler on the Roof employs this exact phrase with Tevye, even though we already know that he's deeply religious. There's no ulterior symbolism, other than to portray him as a religious, down-to-earth man living in a devout, tradition-bound culture. Mostly Played for Laughs, as he gets most of the quotes wrong and even makes up some of them out of the air without realizing it:
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Tevye: Of course, we don't eat like kings, but we don't starve, either. As the Good Book says, "When a poor man eats a chicken, one of them is sick."
Mendel: Where does the Book say that?
Tevye: Well, it doesn't exactly say that, but someplace it has something about a chicken.

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    • Subverted when, speaking to God, he starts to say a quote... then realizes he doesn't really need to say anything, since God knows it all already.
    • Note that he is Jewish, and this isn't reciting the Bible, but rather, the Torah.
  • At the start of the Chanukah scene of The Diary of Anne Frank, the Frank family and their friends read Psalm 121 from the KJV Bible... which counts as Fridge Brilliance when you discover that its Christian Old Testament is known as and translated from the Hebrew Bible, whose canon is called the Tanakh, a name used in Judaism.
  • In Gypsy. Mama Rose would often quote this trope before spouting an idiom with no Biblical subtext whatsoever.
  • Seen in 1776: When the Southern states have walked out of Congress over the slavery clause, Dickinson gloats at Adams and Chase (who has just arrived with the badly mistimed and insufficient good news that he's talked Maryland into supporting independence) with the deliberate misquote, "What shall a man be profited if he shall gain Mary-land, but lose the entire South?" He then smirks and adds, "Matthew, chapter 16, verse 26" before walking out himself. The meaning—that all of Adams' attempts to procure independence had just gone up in smoke and his winning over of Maryland was Pyrrhic—would haunt Dickinson the next day when it became clear he and he alone really opposed independence on principle thanks to a last-second compromise by Adams and South Carolina's Edward Rutledge.
  • In The Threepenny Opera, Macheath and Polly's dialogue before their "Love Song" is from Ruth 1:16 (Kurt Weill set this verse as a song, not in the Threepenny Opera but in The Eternal Road).
  • In The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged), when the players are just chatting about the weather, one of them has an apocryphal Bible verse: "Many are cold, few are frozen," from the Book of Galoshes in the New Testament.

Video Games

  • Left 4 Deadduring the Swamp Fever campaign in the second game, has Ellis ask Coach if he has any words to say before they enter the swamp. Coach responds with "As I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil." Ellis says "Okay. I was hopin' y'all wouldn't go all Fire and Brimstone on me."
  • Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri quotes the Bible at various points, usually as part of the description of some new civilization-changing secret project. It quotes plenty of other literary works, too, including several written by characters in the game.
    • In particular, the game's opening cutscene begins with a quote from Genesis. The Universal Translator's quotation of the Bible comes across as very creepy, given the project's cutscene.
    • So does Civilization IV.
  • Subverted in Assassin's Creed I: in one eavesdropping mission, one of the two men Altaïr's listening to claims that "God helps those who help themselves" is a Bible quote, thus justifying his unsavory activities. The other man promptly corrects him, saying it's from one of Aesop's Fables.
    • Interestingly, in spite of this early subversion, the ending of the game leaves out subtlety and just quotes Bible verses outright. During the scene with Altaïr looking at the holographic map of the Earth, a voice in the background directly quotes a verse from the book of Ecclesiastes. Additionally, once Deus Ex Machina graciously gives Desmond the ability to use his Assassin's vision just as he learns he will soon be executed, you can see quotes from various religious books and legends on the wall above his bed, including one from the book of Revelation.
  • Xenogears begins by quoting Revelation of John 22:13:
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I am the Alpha and the Omega
the beginning and the end
the first and the last.

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    • Fallout 3 uses the very similar Revelation 21:6 (KJV) — "I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely." It's the favorite quote of the protagonist's mother and "Waters of Life" forms the Arc Words of the game.
      • Another, more subtle example from Fallout 3 can be seen with the birthdate of the main character (7/13/2258). Micah 7:13 reads, "And the earth will become desolate because of her inhabitants, on account of the fruit of their deeds." It aptly describes the Fallout series as a whole.
  • Likewise, Xenosaga, although it is generally more inclined to quote Nietzsche, does borrow a quotation from the Bible: "Ye shall be as gods". This gets a lot more ominous if you happen to recall just who said the original words!
    • Also present in Xenogears, as a message that is repeated endlessly, covering all computer screens on the opening cinematic.
    • In Episode 1, Albedo quotes John 12:24 - "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone." - to describe his immortality and and the fear of living forever while his loved ones die.
  • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night falls into this trope, albeit surprisingly tastefully (considering the rest of the game's dialogue), with Dracula quoting Matthew 16:26 upon his final defeat — "For what profit is it to man if he gains the world, and loses his own soul?"
  • Call of Juarez features Reverend Ray, who quotes fire and brimstone Bible scripture every other line.
    • And It's awesome.
      • A much straighter example is found in Bound in Blood, where William constantly cites the Bible to that very Ray, trying to prevent him from falling to The Dark Side. His words fail but his actions don't.
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: Big Smoke is prone to quoting the Bible ('Man cannot live on bread alone. I know, I tried that shit'.)
  • Outlaws (1997 video game)
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Dr. Death: "What is it the Bible says, Slim?"
Slim: "I dunno Doctor,"
Dr. Death: "Ah yes, 'you don't never, never look a gift horse in the mouth' that's a pearl of wisdom."

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    • NOTE: the Bible doesn't actually say that.
  • The final story mission in Red Dead Redemption is named "The Last Enemy That Shall Be Destroyed", which is from I Corinthians 15:26. Of course, the game leaves out the last two words of the verse: "...is death," alluding to the fact that John Marston is killed defending his family.
  • The fourth episode of Ultimate Doom is entitled "Thy Flesh Consumed", which comes from Proverbs 5:11 (KJV). Every level title in that episode (Hell Beneath, Perfect Hatred, Sever The Wicked, Unruly Evil, They Will Repent, Against Thee Wickedly, And Hell Followed, and Unto The Cruel) come from the King James Version of the Bible, mostly completely and utterly out of context. But they sure do sound cool!
  • EDI quotes "My name is Legion, for we are many" when Shepard is trying to come up with a name for the captured Geth platform in Mass Effect 2.
    • Legion comes up with the proper source: "Christian Bible, gospel of Mark, verse five."
  • Used for a moment of comic relief during a pitched airel battle in Halo 3: ODST:
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Dutch: As The Good Book says, 'Payback's a bitch!'
Mickey: I don't think it actually says that, Dutch.
Dutch: I'm paraphrasing, ya' heathen!

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  • Fallout: New Vegas DLC Honest Hearts features Mormon missionary, Badass Preacher and ex-legatus of Caesar's Legion, Joshua Graham (the Burned Man), who uses several aphorisms and occasional quotes from the Bible during the DLC. Of special note is his use of Psalm 137:1 + 7-9 to express his belief that one should Pay Evil Unto Evil to the White Legs.
    • His unique sidearm has John 1:5 ("And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness [hath] comprehended it not"; KJV) engraved in the barrel in Greek.


Web Animation

  • The online flash series Broken Saints uses religious symbolism and scripture extensively. (The Big Bad has incorporated much of the Book of Revelations into his "Last Judgment" scenario for humanity.) This isn't surprising since the series has been somewhat influenced by apocalyptic pop culture works like The Matrix and Neon Genesis Evangelion.


Web Comics


Web Original

  • Each of the three chapters in Yahtzee's Twelve Thirteen begins with a Bible quote, each from a verse labeled, what else, 12:13 (he admits in the commentary he just picked the ones he thought fit the situation, as not all of the 12:13 verses had any relevance).
  • In The Angry Video Game Nerd's episode "Bible Games 3", when the Nerd types out the word "ass" in the Game Boy's The King James Version, and the results got in a list of passages with the word "ass", the following passages he reads are:


Western Animation

  • Subverted with The Simpsons in one episode where Homer tries to sneak out of the nuclear plant via secret escape route. He encounters a giant spider, and his map says that he can get rid of it by quoting a Bible verse. Pretty quickly, Homer gives up and just pegs it between the eyes with a rock, knocking it right out.
    • Actually, this kind of plays it straight, since he basically re-enacts David and Goliath.
      • Double subversion, as instead of quoting it, he enacts it
    • In The Otto Show
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Marge: Well, Homer, doesn't the Bible say, "Whatsoever you do unto even the least of my brothers, that you do unto me?"
Homer: Yes, but doesn't the Bible also say, "Thou shalt not take... moochers into thine... hut?"

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    • Again in the episode "Homer the Heretic:"
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Rev. Lovejoy: Homer, I'd like you to remember Matthew 7:26. "A foolish man who who built his house on sand."
Homer: And you remember... Matthew ... 21:17!
Rev. Lovejoy: "And he left them and went out of the city into Bethany and he lodged there?"
Homer: Yeah... Think about it!

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    • Especially hilarious when Homer would use the Bible to "justify" male chauvinism, arguing against Marge working outside the home with "Thou shalt not...horn in on thy husband's...racket" and telling Lisa that the Bible commands girls to stick to "girls' sports" like hot-oil wrestling.
    • Reverend Lovejoy also used his "knowledge" of the Bible to defend the sadistic snake-beating "Whacking Day" holiday ("Whacketh all the serpents that crawl upon their bellies and thy town shall be a beacon unto others.") and to point out to Marge that, technically, the Bible forbids human beings to go to the bathroom.
  • In the Justice League episode "Epilogue", we find that Amanda Waller has turned to the bible for comfort in her twilight years...
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Waller: Like the good book says, He moves in mysterious ways. His plan is a mystery. But here's what isn't: He gave us free will, we choose our own fate. For good, or ill.

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  • In Veggie Tales, Bob and Larry consult QWERTY the computer at the end of every episode to support the show's Aesop with a quote from the Good Book.


Troping

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Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the Garden of Eden. He drove out the man; and He placed at the east of the Garden of Eden Cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

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Real Life

  • Oppenheimer's quotation of the Bhagavad Gita on witnessing the world's first atomic explosion probably fits in here as well: 'I have become Death, the destroyer of worlds'.
  • A real-life example: What do you tell one billion television viewers who are about to see the image of the planet Earth for the first time in their lives—a tiny blue marble all alone in the night, framed only by desolate landscape that is the moon? "In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth..."
    • The first few chapters of Genesis are also being used in a modern-day Rosetta Stone project that provides the passages in all of the known languages on Earth.
  • But If Not—These are the words (taken from Daniel 3:18) that spurred the British to help evacuate a group of soldiers trapped at Dunkirk.
  • "God preserve the United States. We know the Race is not to the Swift nor the Battle to the Strong. Do you not think an Angel rides in the Whirlwind and directs this Storm?" John Page to Thomas Jefferson, July 20, 1776, quoting from Ecclesiastes 9:11
  • Ernie Harwell, the late radio announcer for baseball's Detroit Tigers, would welcome listeners to the first spring training broadcast of each season with an apropos quotation from Song of Solomon 2:11-12: "For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land."
  • A Dutchman smuggling Bibles behind the Iron Curtain once used this as the equivalent of a translating dictionary. Look up a passage in his Dutch Bible, point out the chapter and verse to the locals, they look in their Czech or Polish or Hungarian Bible and see that the message is, "All the brothers greet you."
  • Legendary rifleman Alvin York was a conscientious objector because he'd become strongly religious (he'd been quite a ruffian before). He was finally convinced it was his duty to fight in World War I because his superior was also familiar with the Bible, and offered some persuasive quotes, particularly from Ezekiel, "But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned...." The man who permitted killing by not acting was just as guilty as the man who did the killing.
  1. Actually, he probably means "Mark 13:35", when he confuses that with "Luke" by mistake.
  2. absolutely no relationship to the Lynyrd Skynyrd song of the same name
  3. Matthew 19:30 (KJV)
  4. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (KJV)
  5. which is about eleven of Jacob's sons tearing off their clothes and reloading their donkeys before returning to Egypt
  6. which is about Jesus rebuking the synagogue officials for telling him not to heal on the sabbath day, saying to them, "Does not each one of you untie your ox or your ass from the manger and lead it out for watering?"
  7. about Samuel asking the Israelites whether he has committed any sins or not
  8. about a person handing an animal to another, and the animal dying or being stolen or maimed without anyone addressing the fact, although the next passage (22:10) has said giver swear an oath that he did not harm anyone else's property, and the owner may accept the oath
  9. about Jesus asking the scribes and Pharisees if one among them would not help their ox or ass (although "ass" is replaced with the word "son" in most modern versions of the Bible) out of the cistern on the sabbath day
  10. about Jesus finding an ass' colt and sitting upon it before riding in triumph to Jerusalem on what is now Palm Sunday
  11. about St. Peter retelling the story about how Balaam got a rebuke for his crime via a mute donkey that spoke with a human voice and restraining his madness (although Balaam is not portrayed in a bad light in Numbers 22, which is soon to follow, and the words "dumb ass" are replaced by "mute beast" in modern versions of the Bible)
  12. about the same Balaam riding off to Balak with the princes of Moab on God's command
  13. about one of Jacob's sons opening a bag to feed his donkey when he is surprised to find money in the mouth of the bag
  14. about a prophet finding the servant of God lying dead on the road, with both the lion and the unharmed donkey standing next to his corpse
  15. about the angels of God standing on the road to Balak to make a sneak attack on Balaam as he was riding on his donkey (as mentioned before in the passage preceding it, 22:21), which the Lord possessed to make it talk to Balaam
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