Neither Never Not


I recently heard something thought-provoking about a verse you may already know by heart, Hebrews 13:5.

The ending of the verse reads: “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.”  (Being such an essential verse, we actually set it to music in our kids album, God’s Words from A to Z.)

In English, the verse says “never” twice which serves to underline the point that God has promised to always be with us.

But what caught my imagination is what is actually present in the original Greek.  Instead of 2 negatives as in our English translations, there are actually FIVE negatives present!

Here it is in the Greek:

Οὐ μὴ σε ἀνῶ οὐδ’ οὐ μὴσε ἐγκαταλίπω

And a literal (and awkward) translation might go something like this:

“Never not will I leave you and neither never not will I forsake you.”

It struck me as an overwhelmingly affectionate reassurance from a God who knows how weak we are and how much we need to know that He constantly remembers and cares for us.  So in His great kindness He took the trouble to inspire the author of Hebrews to say it over and over (and over!) again.

I think it would make a perfect catechism question for our kids:

Question: Will God ever leave or forsake us?

Answer: Never, never, never.  Never, never, ever!

liza philip