Albert Maslar / August 15, 2013

‘God Helps Those…’ NOT Biblical – One of Several Errors

In my recent commentary, “Climate Change, Taxes, Waste, & GOP-Dem CopyCats”, I stated the following:

Use of credit cards in excess of what can be paid in full each month is the eventual cause of a majority of personal bankruptcies, matched only by unpayable medical bills. Consumers should strive to pay cash only, avoiding credit card interest that is generally about 25%. The bottom line: God helps those who help themselves.

Kudos to Gregg Kowalski who raised the question as to the source of the adage, “God helps those who help themselves.”

“Albert, isn’t the old adage ‘God helps those who help themselves’ spoken by Ben Franklin? Just curious.” –Gregg Kowalski

My response: Greg, I checked it out. I was wrong in the way I used the phrase. As usual the truer saying is, “There is nothing new under the sun.”

“God helps those who help themselves” is probably the most often quoted phrase that is not found in the Bible. This saying is usually attributed to Ben Franklin, quoted in Poor Richard’s Almanac in 1757. In fact, it originated from Algernon Sydney in 1698 in an article titled Discourses Concerning Government.

The phrase “God helps those who help themselves” is a popular motto that emphasizes the importance of self-initiative.

However, the phrase originated in ancient Greece and may originally have been proverbial. It is illustrated by two of Aesop’s Fables and a similar sentiment is found in ancient Greek drama. Although it has been commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin, the modern English wording appears earlier in Algernon Sidney’s work.

The phrase is often mistaken as scriptural, but it appears nowhere in the Bible. Some Christians have criticized the expression as being contrary to the Bible’s message of God’s grace.

“God helps those who help themselves!” –Hezekiah 6:1

This verse, of course, is not in the Bible. Hezekiah sounds plausible enough, but is not a real book of scripture. Per internet, “Yeah! That’s from the book of Hezekiah, isn’t it?” is the code-word for these kinds of phantom texts. This would seem old news by now, but just recently a friend of theirs was scandalized when told this “verse” did not exist. More important, this “verse” is unbiblical in its meaning. It is exactly the opposite of the message of scripture.

Jeremiah 17:5 (NIV) says, “This is what the LORD says: ‘Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD.’” Proverbs 28:26 (NIV): “He who trusts in himself is a fool…”

Note to Commander Brad Veek

I am making too many mistakes now. Note that in my last piece, “How to Talk to Muslims” I inadvertently typed instead of

In the same commentary, I typed “Jacob’s” first-born son instead of “Isaac’s” first-born son. The strange part is that I had it right the first time, but changed it.

Notes and asides: In my opinion, some countries and cultures need a dictator as their fragmented warring tribes are violent in the first place and need someone strong to keep it together. Democracy is not for everyone, and the US cannot democratize the 57 Islamic countries as that does not coincide with their Qur'an.

I finally published my long-delayed novel in 2006, “Rocky Time In Philly,” which I actually begun about 1996. It was published as a trilogy instead of three separate books. That is the story of Rocky after boxing, no boxing at all, and the down and out Rocky becomes a champion again … as a human being.

I followed that in 2007 with a short treatise, “Imus M US” that might have been a blunder as I took shots at Fox News type Conservatives, and I don’t know that I would write that again.

Recall at about the 5 or 6 month mark of Obama’s first term, Republican wannabes were scrambling for the 2012 presidential nomination on the then accepted conventional wisdom that ANY GOP candidate can beat Obama. But 17 months before, I wrote a piece outlining why they were wrong and that Obama would in fact be re-elected.

Right now I am sitting on about 2,000 pages of commentaries beginning with the Obama era but I self-publish and there are limitations of around 750 pages, so I have my hands full trying to edit and assemble those into one book rather than three. At the same time I write 3 to 6 new commentaries each week, and along with time needed as a 24/7 care giver for my disabled wife – along with almost constant interruptions – leaves me precious little time for anything, as I do not even eat right as that interferes with self-inflicted duties. I couldn’t work harder if I were paid.

Anyway, I’m as close to crazy as one can get and between times I holler and scream at the TV talking heads. I am contrarian, recalcitrant, opinionated, argumentative, judgmental, and ornery as a stubborn mule, but other than that, I am quite abnormal, mistakes and all.

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