Sharing little nuggets from the Bible: Where did the expression, "Holy Cow" originate?
| My sister, Hannie, has a guest who is visiting from the Philippine Islands for a couple of months.
A few nights ago, when we had a get-together at my sister's house, her guest was amused at the expression, "Holy Cow" when she heard it from me during our kaffeeklatch.
"’Holy Cow!’ That's something different. I'm lost. I don't understand what that means," she said in almost a whisper, hiding a little embarrassment. And then she added, "You need to explain to me what your American slang means, so I can follow."
"Oh, it's just an expression like any other we use when we're at a loss for words," I said.
But that gave me something to think about. Honestly, how do we come up with such expressions? I let her comment soak in overnight; then, I put it in the back burner of my brain-storage pot because I couldn't think of a meaningful explanation that would satisfy her curiosity.
Hmm, what I do know is that in the Old Testament account of Israel’s journey in the wilderness, Aaron led the Israelites in melting all their gold to make a golden calf on their way to the Promised Land. It was taking Moses too long to come down from Mt. Horeb and their impatience led them to create some form of a god to worship. When Moses came down from the mountain and found out what the people had done, he was angry to the extent that he threw the tablet of stones where the Ten Commandments were inscribed and they broke into pieces. Could that be how the expression was born?
Unbelievably, the Indians in the country of India do not eat beef because they consider the cow holy and worship them. Whether these two instances are related, I couldn't ascertain. I’m still searching for an answer.
This morning, as I continued my Bible reading from the book of Numbers, I came across Chapter 18: verse 17. It says and I quote, "But the firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat, thou shalt not redeem, they are holy..."
Holy smokes! So there it is. That's where that "Holy Cow" expression came from.
I couldn't waste any minute to send Hannie's friend, Vivien, a message showing her the verse referring to "holy cows" with their company of holy herds, the sheep and the goats!