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Q: Origin of "Men Plan, God Laughs" ( No Answer,   4 Comments )
Subject: Origin of "Men Plan, God Laughs"
Category: Reference, Education and News
Asked by: eemiller-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 07 Aug 2006 12:03 PDT
Expires: 06 Sep 2006 12:03 PDT
Question ID: 753496
What is the source/origin of the saying "men plan, god laughs?" 
Apparently there was an episode of ER bearing this title, making
searching for information about the quote pretty difficult.

Request for Question Clarification by tutuzdad-ga on 07 Aug 2006 12:26 PDT
I believe this is a modern "twist" on the Biblical verse found in Psalm 33:10:  

"The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; he frustrates
the plans of the peoples."
(In other words, men may plan but God has plans of His own)

Let me know if this seems convincing enough as an answer in lieu of
better evidence.

There is no answer at this time.

Subject: Re: Origin of "Men Plan, God Laughs"
From: pinkfreud-ga on 07 Aug 2006 12:34 PDT
There is an old Yiddish proverb, "Men tracht und Gott lacht." Roughly,
this translates as "Men plan and god laughs."
Subject: Re: Origin of "Men Plan, God Laughs"
From: markvmd-ga on 07 Aug 2006 14:01 PDT
It's "Man proposes, God disposes."
Subject: Re: Origin of "Men Plan, God Laughs"
From: markvmd-ga on 07 Aug 2006 18:06 PDT
Sorry, I meant to say the English language version is "Man proposes, God disposes."
Subject: Re: Origin of "Men Plan, God Laughs"
From: politicalguru-ga on 08 Aug 2006 12:20 PDT
The Yiddish proverb is "Mensch tracht, un Gott lacht", but I've heard
it also in German ["Der Mensch denkt - Gott lenkt"]

According to this site <>, the
etymology of the term in German is related to the Biblical verse:
"Sprichwort, das aus einem Vers der Bibel abgeleitet ist: "Des
Menschen Herz erdenkt sich seinen Weg; aber der Herr allein lenkt
seinen Schritt" (Sprüche 16,9). Bertold Brecht (1898 - 1956, deutscher
Dichter) hat in seinem Werk "Mutter Courage und ihre Kinder" das
Sprichwort durch Änderung der Satzzeichen verfremdet: "Der Mensch
denkt: Gott lenkt. Keine Red' davon" (Was so viel heißen soll wie:
Dass Gott uns lenkt, bilden wir Menschen uns nur ein)  "

"This phrase is taken from the Bible - [and then they have the German
translation of Proverbs 16:9]. In Mother Courage Brecht adopts this
verse and changes it [... Brecht quote]".

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