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Don't Eat With Your Mouth Full

Where can we live but days?

steepholm steepholm
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Rain in Heaven
"You will become children of your Father in heaven, because he makes his sun rise on both evil and good people, and he lets rain fall on the righteous and the unrighteous." (Matthew 5.45)

I've just realized that I've always read this Levantine verse with myopically British eyes. When I read of God sending rain to fall on the righteous I imagine the righteous shivering and saying, "Thanks a bunch!" But I live in a cold country with no shortage of rain. If I were in first-century Palestine, perhaps I'd think of the rain primarily as a blessing, irrigating crops and so forth. The sun and rain, rather than being used in contrast, as they normally are in English (sun good, rain bad - as per a million song lyrics), form a classic Psalmic doublet, saying the same thing twice in different ways. We enjoy not dying of drought just as much as we like not living in perpetual night.

This theory depends of course on the climate in that region in Jesus's time being much like it is today, where lack of water is a real problem. It may have been wetter then - a question for the palaeo-climatologists, I suppose. Either way, the thought that the reading of a verse might be dependent on the climate in which it is read pleases me.

There was cooler ground that retained water better, as the forests hadn't yet been burned to graze goats. Logistics of wind and mountains already sucked, though.

The rain it raineth all around
on both the just and unjust fella;
but more on just than on unjust:
the unjust hath the just's umbrella.



There's that too!

I was thinking almost the same thing - 'almost', because it seems I have been misquoting it all my life!

I'm pretty sure it's oral tradition? By which I mean I suspect there is more than one version.

Well, there certainly IS an oral tradition (I'm pretty sure that's how I learned it) and there clearly IS more than one version (mine is close to this one).

Wikipedia knows the same version as you do, and attributes it to Charles Bowen, Baron Bowen, who was also, I am delighted to learn, junior counsel against the Tichborne Claimant.

Belatedly, I too came intending to quote that, and for what little it's worth, the version I know matches *almost* word for word with the version in your NY Times link (I have 'hath' instead of 'steals', which I think more likely (i.e. I prefer) because the stealing is thus more subtly implied.)

It neatly illustrates, of course, how differences of era, like differences of climate, can make familiar things seems strange. Dating from a period where umbrellas (in the UK) were new, fancy and therefore expensive, they become desirable objects of theft (like handkerchiefs in Oliver Twist) and not the annoying eye-poking and wind-bedevilled objects we regularly curse today :-)