Many people believe that the phrase “This too shall pass” has its origins in the Bible. But, this isn’t true. However, there are Bible verses that are similar to what the phrase means. The phrase is from an anecdote about King Solomon. According to Rabbi Lisa Rubin, the King was trying to teach his wisest servant a lesson about humility.
He ordered his servant to find a ring that would allow a happy man to become sad and a sad man to become happy. Such a ring, of course, did not exist, and the servant failed at his task. King Solomon then went to a jeweler and had a ring made. The ring bore an inscription in Hebrew that read “gam zeh ya’avor.” This translates into “this too shall pass.”
The phrase since then has been widely used to suggest that we should wait out bad circumstances or believe that our good fortune is impermanent. The phrase perfectly encapsulates the transient nature of all things on earth and suggests that the rewards we seek should be of a more divine nature. But why do many of us identify the phrase with the Bible? The answer to this question comes from other Bible verses.
In Deuteronomy, the phrase “It shall come to pass” is repeated twice. The first time is when the verse outlines what will happen if you obey the voice of God and observe his commandments – “The Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth.” The second time around, the phrase states what may happen if you don’t listen to God’s voice – “All these curses will come upon you…” This shows us that God’s blessings come before any curses. God delights in blessing us if we follow his way.
We find resonance with the phrase “this too shall pass” because hope is at the heart of the Christian faith. Rather than get caught up in the circumstances of material life – good or bad – Christians believe that God has the best plan for us and so we spend our time serving Him and glorifying His name.