From the pen of Dr. Sam Jones
“This, too, shall pass” is a memorable phrase which implies all conditions in life, whether positive or negative, are temporary. This phrase is not a saying of any of the writers of the Bible. It’s believed to have originated from one of three possible sources: (1) Attar of Nishapur – a Persian Muslim poet; (2) King Solomon – one of the kings of Israel and the son of King David; and (3) St. Augustine of Hippo – the theologian who most directly influenced the medieval worldview. No one really knows the origins of this wonderful phrase, but most people credit it to the former of the three.
The story which gave rise to this phrase is about an eastern king who was extremely wealthy and very unhappy. He had everything money could purchase, but these things didn’t produce happiness in his life. One night, the story is told, he had a dream in which he saw a beautiful gold ring. The next day, he summoned together his top advisors and wisest men. He told them about his dream and the ring. He said, “That ring in my dream will bring me happiness. I must have it, and you must go out into the world and find it for me.”
The king’s advisors searched far and wide, and eventually found a ring whose quality and beauty matched that of the ring in the king’s dream, and so they bought the ring at a great price for the king. The king was elated, the story is told, and before he put the ring on his finger, he noticed an inscription on the inside that said, “This, too, shall pass.” Finally, the king realized that all the things he had sought to give him happiness would pass away, including this great ring and that as long as he placed his happiness and security in material things, he might experience temporary happiness, but would never know lasting joy. The king made the decision to stop chasing after temporary pleasures. So, the ring not only produced in his life great happiness but peace and joy.
This story of the origin of the phrase continues by advocating later, Jewish theologians took this story and kept all the details exactly the same, except they named the king as King Solomon, and the inscription inside the ring included the Hebrew words “Gam Zeh ya’avor” (which means, This, too, shall pass).
This story teaches a great lesson about life. Regardless, whether you are talking about happiness, tragedy, or whatever; it seems to apply to whatever is producing anxiety in your life. Remember the words of the story, “This, too, shall pass.” Whatever is facing you today, it shall pass. A close parallel verse in the Bible to his phrase is Psalm 30:5. The text says, “Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.” This phrase has provided Rhonda great comfort, joy, and peace.