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The meaning and origin of the expression: The powers that be

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The powers that be

Meaning

The established government or authority.

Origin

This phrase derives from the Bible, Romans 13 - first appearing in print in English in Tyndale's Bible, 1526:

13:1 1 Let every soule submit him selfe vnto the auctorite of ye hyer powers. For there is no power but of God.
13:2 The powers that be are ordeyned of God. Whosoever therfore resysteth power resisteth the ordinaunce of God. And they that resist shall receave to the selfe damnacio.