The Wicked Bible



They say words have power, but the absence of one 3-letter word cost two printers the right to print, and almost their lives. The Wicked Bible — sometimes called the Adulterous Bible or the Sinners’ Bible — is an edition of the Bible published in 1631 by Robert Barker and Martin Lucas, the royal printers in London. The name is derived from a mistake made by the printers: in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:14), the word "not" in the sentence "Thou shalt not commit adultery" was omitted, thus changing the sentence into "Thou shalt commit adultery". This blunder was spread in a number of copies before it was noticed. About a year later, the publishers of the Wicked Bible were called to court and fined $415 ($69,748 today) and deprived of their printing license. The fact that this edition of the Bible contained such a flagrant mistake outraged King Charles I, who wanted to put the printers to death. Fortunately, that didn’t happen. The majority of the Wicked Bible's copies were destroyed. The number of extant copies remaining today, which are considered highly valuable by collectors, is thought to be relatively low.