far be it from (me)

not to want to do something; should not; will not
—Far be it from me to interfere, but I think you should apologize to your friend.

Following the attempted takeover of Israel by King David’s son, Absolom, a man named Sheba rebelled against the king and was joined by many Israelites. Abishai and Joab led David’s army to pursue Sheba, finding him in the city of Abel Beth Maakah. As they attacked the city, a woman called out to Joab:

“I represent the peaceful and the faithful in Israel. You are attempting to destroy an important city in Israel. Why should you swallow up the Lord’s inheritance?”

Joab answered, “Get serious! I don’t want to [Far be it, far be it from me that I should] swallow up or destroy anything! That’s not the way things are. There is a man from the hill country of Ephraim named Sheba son of Bicri. He has rebelled against King David. Give me just this one man, and I will leave the city.”  (2 Samuel 20:19-21)

The woman gave the message to the people of the city, who killed Sheba, and Joab went back to Jerusalem.

Far be it from me is now often used in a sarcastic way, mocking what someone else believes to be true, as in “Far be it from me to be kind to my children! Honestly, why do you think I’m such a bad parent?”

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