In 1631 Robert Barker and Martin Lucas, royal printers to King Charles I of England, printed about 1,000 copies of the Bible that had a curious mistake in the Ten Commandments.
The Ten Commandments are found in Exodus 20: 3-17. Here’s the list from the Wicked Bible:
- Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
- Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
- Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
- Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
- Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
- Thou shalt not kill.
- Thou shalt commit adultery.
- Thou shalt not steal.
- Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
- Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
Where’s the mistake? In commandment number 7, the Wicked Bible omits the word “not” and thus admonishes the reader to commit adultery. LOL.
Upon discovery of the error, about a year later, most of the copies were destroyed and the printers were steeply fined and stripped of their printing license. But about 20 are thought to still exist today (one was discovered earlier this year in New Zealand). Copies with this mistake are referred to as the “Wicked Bible” or sometimes the “Sinner’s Bible” or the “Adulterous Bible.”
Supposedly, some of the Wicked Bible copies also contained an error in Deuteronomy as well where the word “greatness” was printed as “great-asse” as follows: “Behold, the Lord our God hath shewed us his glory and his great-asse.” No copies with this error currently exist.