Riddle me this.
March 11, 2013 11:53 PM   Subscribe

Are there the makings of a riddle in Isaiah 22:22? And can you help me come up with a tangible answer to it, just for kicks?

Not interested in the religious or historical context of the verse-- I just enjoy riddles. The part of the verse that's interesting to me is this line, paraphrased: "what he shall open, none shall close; what he shall close, none shall open."

I totally get that this is not actually a riddle, but it got my mind to thinking and I started to wonder whether there might be an object that satisfies these parameters: something that once opened is impossible to shut, AND once shut is impossible to open.

I'm more interested in tangible objects than intangible ones, because answers like "one's mind" seem obvious and easy. Just for fun--what else could fit?
posted by egeanin to Grab Bag (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
His mouth.
posted by three blind mice at 11:57 PM on March 11, 2013 [4 favorites]

Given the state of US copyright law, I'd suggest, "His source code."
posted by Monsieur Caution at 12:04 AM on March 12, 2013

An egg can't be closed once it's opened, and, if the egg has been mixed into a batter, it can't be "opened" again. That's only a 60-75% answer though....
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:08 AM on March 12, 2013

Not a physical object, but: "Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself."

The movie makes a big deal about you can't see the Matrix from inside it, but once you're outside, you can't go back in, at least not in the same way.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:46 AM on March 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

bible.cc has numerous different translations. There are also some theological notes from various public domain sources, which may be of interest.
posted by dhartung at 1:34 AM on March 12, 2013

well, the complete verse is: "And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open. " (KJV)

However, if you wanted to take it somewhat out of context, yet keep it related to the stories about Jesus, you could say "the grave".
posted by dubold at 3:21 AM on March 12, 2013 [1 favorite]

The focus is not on the object, but rather the subject. It doesn't suggest something impossible to change, it says that if God opens something it stays open, and v/v, because He is more powerful than man. It's a comparison. The door to my backyard could be described this way if you're comparing me and my cat.
posted by randomkeystrike at 4:29 AM on March 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

Heh, I was going to say "the grave" too, before I saw dubold's comment. Albeit without any Jesus reference; I was going for open grave which none shall close = inevitability of death for all humans; closed grave which none shall open = death of each individual person.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:39 AM on March 12, 2013

a pit.

You can't close a pit. Once it is filled in it is no longer a pit.
Likewise you can't open a pit as a pit is already open.
posted by 2manyusernames at 5:00 AM on March 12, 2013 [2 favorites]

My predilection says the grave as well, though the other answers are viable if, you wish to be free of historical and contextual reference.
posted by jadepearl at 6:00 AM on March 12, 2013

A riddle, or more generally a question.

Once it has been asked, it can't be unasked. Your mind keeps wanting to know the answer.

But once it's been answered, it's done. You can't pretend you don't know the answer. You can't go back to experience what it was like to not know the answer.
posted by alms at 6:15 AM on March 12, 2013 [8 favorites]

"what he shall open, none shall close; what he shall close, none shall open."

His mind.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:54 AM on March 12, 2013 [3 favorites]

« Older A race by any other slur   |   ADHD & Graduate studies Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.