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Hide his light under a bushel

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on July 15, 2007

In Reply to: Hide his light under a bushel posted by Smokey Stover on July 15, 2007

: : : I would like to know the meaning of this phrase "hide his light under a bushel"

: : It's from the Bible, Graziela:

: : Matthew 5:15 - Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

: : It means if you have something useful - a talent, for example - you should use it where it can do the most good rather than keep it hidden. A bushel would, I think, be a pile of grain or fruit and if your light were underneath such a pile it would be invisible.

: : The phrase is often used ironically, too. If we say a man is not one to "hide his light under a bushel" we might mean he makes the best use of his talents OR we might be suggesting he's a bit of a show-off who just wants you to know he HAS those talents.

: I'm guessing that "bushel" here stands for a bushel basket or other such measuring device, turned upside down. Maybe not, but that's what they told us in Sunday School.
: SS

I agree, Smokey, especially as a "light", in first-century Palestine, was normally a pottery oil-lamp - just a vessel holding olive oil with a wick sticking out. That's not something you could light and then hide under a pile of fruit or grain; but you could certainly put an upturned bushel basket over it. (VSD)