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—KJV] 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?”

Comments are closed.
  • All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2017 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://bible.org. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

    Scripture in brackets is from the King James Bible.

  • Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed by Craig Thompson under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

    Any reproduction of this content using passages from the NET Bible must follow NET Bible's copyright policy for use of those passages.

    For information on creating translations of Putting Words in Our Mouths, please go here.

  • Visit My Blog: Clearing Customs

    Miriam Beard on Travel: A Change in the Ideas of Living

    I’ve often wondered how a single phrase finds its way from being buried in a memoir or novel to being plucked out as a stand-on-its-own “quotation.” Of course, the creator of the thought is important, but so is the one who finds it and decides it’s worthy of display on its own. “Next to the […]

    Back Away from That Keyboard: These Books for Cross-Cultural Workers Should Remain Unwritten [—at A Life Overseas]

    Seen any good best-of-the-year book lists lately? I have, but this isn’t one of them. Instead, I’ve created a much different kind of list. First, it is a collection of book titles—for cross-cultural workers—but there aren’t real books to go with the names. Second, these titles aren’t any kind of best, and probably shouldn’t even make it […]