George Washington Knew the Bible

Phil Jensen

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I knew about President George Washington’s letter to a Jewish congregation in 1790, and I also knew that it contained Biblical allusions in its language.

George Washington's box pew in Christ Church

George Washington’s box pew in Christ Church

But what I did not know, until I was listening to a recent podcast from Wallbuilders Live this morning, was just how many Biblical references there were in this letter.

As historian David Barton pointed out on the broadcast, as Washington came to the closing sentiments of his letter, he referenced 10 Bible verses in the span of two sentences:

Rick Kriebel 2016

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May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants — while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and fig tree and there shall be none to make him afraid.

May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in His own due time and way everlastingly happy.

What were those Biblical references?  From the King James Version of 1611, which likely would have been the most common version of that time:

Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. (Acts 13:26)

But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the Lord your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety (Deut 12:10)

And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon. (1 Kings 4:25)

But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the Lord of hosts hath spoken it. (Micah 4:4)

Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort (2 Cor 1:3)

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105)

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety. (Psalm 4:8)

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called (Ephesians 4:1)

He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end. (Ecc 3:11)

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. (Isaiah 35:10)

For Washington to so artfully weave that many Biblical allusions into a letter in such a short span, he had to know the Bible very well.

This is just one more reason why secularist revisionism concerning the founders is so transparently silly. As Washington’s adopted daughter Nelly Custis said after his death, if one is going to question Washington’s Christianity, one might as well question his patriotism.

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Woodrow Wilcox

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Bob Ellis has been the owner of media company Dakota Voice, LLC since 2005. He is a 10-year U.S. Air Force veteran, a political reporter and commentator for the past decade, and has been involved in numerous election and public policy campaigns for over 20 years. He was a founding member and board member of the Tea Party groups Citizens for Liberty and the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance. He lives in Rapid City, South Dakota with his wife and two children.
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