How many of you have one of these?
Now, how many of you have been called upon to read out loud in, say, a Sunday School class, and have read the following verses this way:
“And I will shew (shoo) wonders in the heaven, and in the earth…” Joel 2:30
“And thou shalt set upon the table shewbread (shoobread) before me alway.” (Exodus 25:30)
“For the Father loveth the Son and sheweth (shooeth) him all things that himself doeth: and he will shew (shoo) him greater works than these, that ye may marvel. “John 5:20
When I first read the Old Testament in high school, my mother told me that “shew” should be pronounced “show”. I never thought to ask her why, but I thought my mother knew everything, so I read it aloud that way. But I soon became very aware that everyone reading around me was saying “shoo”, and it wasn’t long before I crumbled beneath the peer pressure and started reading “shoo”, too.
I have continued to do so for years, until recently I was listening to a panel discussion on the Old Testament on TV, where one of the panelists said that “shew” should be pronounced “show”, comparing it to our word “sew”.
“Duh!” I thought to myself. “Now that makes sense!” After all, we don’t “sew/soo” a dress, we “sew/so” a dress, right?
Still just to be sure…after all, how did I know this panelist actually knew what he was talking about?...I pulled out my Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary and looked up the word “shew”. Sure enough, it said right there that “shew” should be pronounced “show”, being an Old English version of our modern spelling for “show”.
What do you know? My mother was right all along! (As mothers usually are.)
So(!) the next time you’re called upon to read out loud at Church, don’t say “shoo” for “shew”, say “show”!
And spread the word so others will know how to say it, too!