Carved in stone

Some mistakes are harder to erase than others. In Oklahoma, state representative Mike Ritze sponsored a bill (and donated money) to install a granite monument of the Ten Commandments on the grounds of the state capitol building. The monument is 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide, and it weighs 2,000 pounds.

One potential problem is that it might invite a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union because the monument violates the separation of church and state. But perhaps of more immediate concern is the fact that the granite contains a few spelling errors.

The Fourth Commandment mistakenly says, “Remember the Sabbeth day, to keep it holy.” (The correct spelling is Sabbath.)

The Tenth Commandment says, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidseruant . . .” That final word, of course, should be maidservant. (Or perhaps this is actually a clever way to get around the rule. “Hey, God’s totally cool with me coveting my neighbor’s maidservant! It’s just the maidseruants I’ve gotta stay away from.”)

Ritze plans to have the misspellings corrected. No word on whether he’s adding another commandment that says, “Thou shalt not skip the spellcheck.”

The photo comes from this site.

3 thoughts on “Carved in stone

  1. Indeed there should be.

    I’m particularly amused, personally, by “seruant.” It reminds me of the misreadings of some period printing pieces where the “v” and “u” in lowercase are difficult to separate. That in turn reminds me of the elongated “s” common in the 18th century, leading some people to say things like “apple crifp” instead of “apple crisp.” (This is in no wise an expose of life in my family home during the 1970’s when Mom papered the kitchen with a pattern that included “woodblock prints” of Colonial inns and menus, which my father took great pleasure in misreading just to see her wince. I want to make that perfectly clear.)


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