I have a vague notion of a quote that says something about offering everything freely, but reserving some small part as absolutely off-limits.

I seem to recall the phrasing was short and sweet. I can't put my finger on it, but I'm quite sure I've seen allusions to this used as a literary device, perhaps humorously. Is there something like that in the Bible? How does it go and what was it about?

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    This is much more appropriate for English Language & Usage, rather than here. Although, not knowing the answer, I can't say for sure that it should be migrated/closed. – Richard Nov 1 '11 at 21:58
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    What popped into my mind immediately is the bit at the end of 2010 (the sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey), with all the planets that are now somewhat hospitable (with Jupiter becoming a star) given to mankind, except Europa. Not really related to Christianity. ;-) – Jürgen A. Erhard Nov 1 '11 at 22:00
  • @JürgenA.Erhard I think that even might be it! It seems like the same kind of edict you might find in a religious text. – Andrew Vit Nov 1 '11 at 22:19
  • @Richard probably right to move it to EL&U... I was unsure of the source. – Andrew Vit Nov 1 '11 at 22:21
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    "All your base are belong to us" has some similarities... – Flimzy Nov 2 '11 at 4:50

Genesis 2:16-17 is the closest that comes immediately to my mind. (quoted from NIV):

16And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”

  • Yes, this one did cross my mind too. – Andrew Vit Nov 1 '11 at 22:22

John 17:10 is similar:

All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. John 17:10 NIV84


Abraham's dealings with the King of Sodom come to mind. (Genesis 14:21-24; see the whole chapter for context.)

21 And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself.

22 And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth,

23 That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich:

24 Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.

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