Daily Archives: 09/29/2020

“As the LORD liveth?”

“AS THE LORD LIVETH?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

“As the LORD liveth” appears 27 times in the King James Bible (and only in the Old Testament Scriptures). Moreover, there are four variants: “as the LORD God of Israel liveth” (2 times), “as the LORD of hosts liveth” (2 times), “as God liveth” (2 times), and “as the LORD thy God liveth” (2 times). What exactly is being communicated here?

The connotation is a declaration of certainty. There is no doubt or question as to the statement to which the expression is attached. It is the truth, and including God’s name means it is a solemn pledge. In today’s informal English, we would say, “As sure as I am standing here,” “As certain as the sky is blue,” or “As the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.” For your convenience, the pertinent verses have been integrated into this study. Read them carefully, and see how the phrase functions as a guarantee or promise.

  • Judges 8:19: “And he said, They were my brethren, even the sons of my mother: as the LORD liveth, if ye had saved them alive, I would not slay you.”
  • Ruth 3:13: “Tarry this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform unto thee the part of a kinsman, well; let him do the kinsman’s part: but if he will not do the part of a kinsman to thee, then will I do the part of a kinsman to thee, as the LORD liveth: lie down until the morning.”
  • 1 Samuel 14:39: “For, as the LORD liveth, which saveth Israel, though it be in Jonathan my son, he shall surely die. But there was not a man among all the people that answered him.”
  • 1 Samuel 14:45: “And the people said unto Saul, Shall Jonathan die, who hath wrought this great salvation in Israel? God forbid: as the LORD liveth, there shall not one hair of his head fall to the ground; for he hath wrought with God this day. So the people rescued Jonathan, that he died not.”
  • 1 Samuel 19:6: “And Saul hearkened unto the voice of Jonathan: and Saul sware, As the LORD liveth, he shall not be slain.”
  • 1 Samuel 20:3: “And David sware moreover, and said, Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes; and he saith, Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved: but truly as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death.”
  • 1 Samuel 20:21: “And, behold, I will send a lad, saying, Go, find out the arrows. If I expressly say unto the lad, Behold, the arrows are on this side of thee, take them; then come thou: for there is peace to thee, and no hurt; as the LORD liveth.”
  • 1 Samuel 25:26: “Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the LORD hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my LORD, be as Nabal.”
  • 1 Samuel 25:34: “For in very deed, as the LORD God of Israel liveth, which hath kept me back from hurting thee, except thou hadst hasted and come to meet me, surely there had not been left unto Nabal by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.”
  • 1 Samuel 26:10: “David said furthermore, As the LORD liveth, the LORD shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish.”
  • 1 Samuel 26:16: “This thing is not good that thou hast done. As the LORD liveth, ye are worthy to die, because ye have not kept your master, the LORD’S anointed. And now see where the king’s spear is, and the cruse of water that was at his bolster.”
  • 1 Samuel 28:10: “And Saul sware to her by the LORD, saying, As the LORD liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing.”
  • 1 Samuel 29:6: “Then Achish called David, and said unto him, Surely, as the LORD liveth, thou hast been upright, and thy going out and thy coming in with me in the host is good in my sight: for I have not found evil in thee since the day of thy coming unto me unto this day: nevertheless the LORD’S favour thee not.”
  • 2 Samuel 2:27: “And Joab said, As God liveth, unless thou hadst spoken, surely then in the morning the people had gone up every one from following his brother.”
  • 2 Samuel 4:9: “And David answered Rechab and Baanah his brother, the sons of Rimmon the Beerothite, and said unto them, As the LORD liveth, who hath redeemed my soul out of all adversity,….”
  • 2 Samuel 12:5: “And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:….”
  • 2 Samuel 14:11: “Then said she, I pray thee, let the king remember the LORD thy God, that thou wouldest not suffer the revengers of blood to destroy any more, lest they destroy my son. And he said, As the LORD liveth, there shall not one hair of thy son fall to the earth.”
  • 2 Samuel 15:21: “And Ittai answered the king, and said, As the LORD liveth, and as my lord the king liveth, surely in what place my lord the king shall be, whether in death or life, even there also will thy servant be.”
  • 1 Kings 1:29: “And the king sware, and said, As the LORD liveth, that hath redeemed my soul out of all distress,….”
  • 1 Kings 2:24: “Now therefore, as the LORD liveth, which hath established me, and set me on the throne of David my father, and who hath made me an house, as he promised, Adonijah shall be put to death this day.”
  • 1 Kings 17:1: “And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.”
  • 1 Kings 17:12: “And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”
  • 1 Kings 18:10: As the LORD thy God liveth, there is no nation or kingdom, whither my lord hath not sent to seek thee: and when they said, He is not there; he took an oath of the kingdom and nation, that they found thee not.”
  • 1 Kings 18:15: “And Elijah said, As the LORD of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, I will surely shew myself unto him to day.”
  • 1 Kings 22:14: “And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak.”
  • 2 Kings 2:2: “And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel.”
  • 2 Kings 2:4: “And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho.”
  • 2 Kings 2:6: “And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on.”
  • 2 Kings 3:14: “And Elisha said, As the LORD of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee.”
  • 2 Kings 4:30: “And the mother of the child said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And he arose, and followed her.”
  • 2 Kings 5:16: “But he said, As the LORD liveth, before whom I stand, I will receive none. And he urged him to take it; but he refused.”
  • 2 Kings 5:20: “But Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, Behold, my master hath spared Naaman this Syrian, in not receiving at his hands that which he brought: but, as the LORD liveth, I will run after him, and take somewhat of him.”
  • 2 Chronicles 18:13: “And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, even what my God saith, that will I speak.”
  • Job 27:2: As God liveth, who hath taken away my judgment; and the Almighty, who hath vexed my soul;….”
  • Jeremiah 38:16: “So Zedekiah the king sware secretly unto Jeremiah, saying, As the LORD liveth, that made us this soul, I will not put thee to death, neither will I give thee into the hand of these men that seek thy life.”

SUPPLEMENTAL: “AS THY SOUL LIVETH”

“As thy soul liveth” is a similar expression, and it appears 10 times (you might have noticed a few in the previous verses). In modern speech, a related phrase is, “As I live and breathe” (an English statement dating back 400 years). Again, it is a promise that the information being relayed is a factual promise and worthy of trust.

  • 1 Samuel 1:26: “And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD.”
  • 1 Samuel 17:55: “And when Saul saw David go forth against the Philistine, he said unto Abner, the captain of the host, Abner, whose son is this youth? And Abner said, As thy soul liveth, O king, I cannot tell.”
  • 1 Samuel 20:3: “And David sware moreover, and said, Thy father certainly knoweth that I have found grace in thine eyes; and he saith, Let not Jonathan know this, lest he be grieved: but truly as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a step between me and death.”
  • 1 Samuel 25:26: “Now therefore, my lord, as the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, seeing the LORD hath withholden thee from coming to shed blood, and from avenging thyself with thine own hand, now let thine enemies, and they that seek evil to my lord, be as Nabal.”
  • 2 Samuel 11:11: “And Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.”
  • 2 Samuel 14:19: “And the king said, Is not the hand of Joab with thee in all this? And the woman answered and said, As thy soul liveth, my lord the king, none can turn to the right hand or to the left from ought that my lord the king hath spoken: for thy servant Joab, he bade me, and he put all these words in the mouth of thine handmaid:….”
  • 2 Kings 2:2: “And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel.”
  • 2 Kings 2:4: “And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the Lord hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho.”
  • 2 Kings 2:6: “And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the Lord hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on.”
  • 2 Kings 4:30: “And the mother of the child said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And he arose, and followed her.”

Also see:
» Is “God forbid” a “poor translation” in the King James Bible?
» Why did Paul write, “I lie not?”
» Does 2 Corinthians 12:16 mean Paul was dishonest?