All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword

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Heba

Senior Member
Egypt, Arabic
Hi everybody
I am reading Hemingway's Fiesta. I have a problem with what his characters sometimes mean.

One of the characters used the following sentence and I could not understand its meaning or how it is related to the events:
''we that live by the sword shall perish by the sword'' (she said that when she was reprimanding her boyfriend for not keeping his promise of marrying her). When I was refered to the notes on the texts, I found that this sentence is taken from a sentence in the Bible :''All they that take the sword shall perish with the sword'', but the notes did not provide any explanation of its relation to the context or what the character meant by it.

Can you please tell me what this sentence or expression mean?

Thank you
 
  • Tabac

    Senior Member
    U. S. - English
    Heba said:
    ''we that live by the sword shall perish by the sword'' (she said that when she was reprimanding her boyfriend for not keeping his promise of marrying her).
    Of course, the immediate idea is that if you live a violent life you will exerience a violent death. In this case: perhaps that if you break an important promise, someone will break an important promise made to you. "As ye sow, so shall ye reap".
     

    herman238

    Member
    English, England
    yeah, maybe those who fight (in the army) will die in battle

    WR Rule #21 - Except as a topic of discussion, chatspeak and SMS style are not acceptable. Members must do their best to write using standard language forms. <<This includes using capital letters where appropriate.>>
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    In essence what she was saying was "It will happen to you too." He has 'killed' her by his not keeping his promise. She is implying that someone will treat him similarly some day.
    The phrase used to be common but now seems to have been superseded by "What goes around comes around" (probably because no-one reads the bible anymore and also because no-one uses swords anymore. "O mores, o tempores."
     

    maskow

    New Member
    Chicago/English
    Hemingway's phrase is more commonly heard as, "He who lives by the sword dies by the sword". Sometimes "gun" is substituted for "sword".

    The phrase most commonly warns of a violent end for persons that live by violent means. Correct usage of the phrase always involves behavior that is dangerous or socially unacceptable.

    However, it is sometimes used figuratively, ironically, or even comically for non-violent people and non-violent lives. For example, a librarian that dies from a falling book.

    This phrase, correctly used, almost always is a warning from someone who does NOT lead a dangerous life to someone who DOES lead a dangerous life.

    The context that you gave from Fiesta (We that live...)implies that the woman lives by lying as much as the man. Is that correct?
     

    Heba

    Senior Member
    Egypt, Arabic
    maskow said:
    The context that you gave from Fiesta (We that live...)implies that the woman lives by lying as much as the man. Is that correct?
    Hmmm, perhaps she was lying to someone else. I do not know much about her yet, all I know up till now is that she is possessive. You know Hemingway does not reveal everything about his characters upon first encounters with them. So perhaps the next pages will tell more. Thanks for your help.

    Thank you all for explaining the expression for me. Now I understand it perfectly well
     
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