The Meaning of This Too Shall Pass

One of my favorite proverbs is “This Too Shall Pass.” With origins in Persian poetry and Jewish folklore, the proverb has also been seen in Edward Fitzgerald’s poetry and was used in a speech by United States President Abraham Lincoln. Existing for hundreds of years, the proverb is now etched into many peoples minds.

The origins of the proverb come from fables of a king who seeks to be humbled. In the Hebrew version, King Solomon seeks a ring that will make happy people sad, and sad people happy. In both cases, the king is presented with a ring etched with the phrase “This too shall pass.”

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The phrase is beautiful for its simplicity and yet incredible complexity. Only four words long, the proverb is short, and yet it carries so much weight. No matter what your situation in life, eventually things will change and it will be over.

Looking at the proverb from the context of every point in a person’s life, it’s easy to see the full effect. No matter what situation you are in, eventually, you will die and everything will be no more. At the same time, every emotion you currently feel is only temporary, and new events in your life will eventually come on and change those feelings.

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Overall, it’s a tremendous proverb and it’s no wonder that it has continued on for so many years. Even looking at our economic downfall today, it should warm peoples hearts some to know that this too shall pass.


by Martin Fister