The Wicked Bible

A scandalous printing mistake in a 17th century King James Bible caused it’s printers to lose their license, and a vast majority of the bible copies to be hunted and destroyed. The copy itself earned the nickname “Wicked Bible”, thanks to an unfortunate, but hilarious mistake in the Ten Commandments.

In 1631, Robert Barker and Martin Lucas, both royal printers in London, obtained permission from King Charles I of England to print a word-for-word copy of the King James Bible. About a thousand copies were printed. However, when the bible was inspected it was found to contain a grave printing mistake. Compared with modern printing, books of this time often contained careless mistakes, but this one was hard to ignore. In Exodus 20:14, also known as the Ten Commandments, Barker’s bible proclaimed “Thou shalt commit adultery.” Barker’s type-setter had forgotten the very important “not” part of the sentence.

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Wicked Bible


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