Most people, even if they’ve never watched Star Trek, associate “Live long and prosper” with this iconic show/movie. More specifically, they associate it with one of the most well-known characters in science fiction, Spock.
Usually accompanying a Vulcan hand gesture, the phrase actually finds its origins in the Bible.
“Stay on the path that the Lord your God has commanded you to follow. Then you will live long and prosperous lives in the land you are about to enter and occupy.” (Deuteronomy 5:33)
The Bible in Star Trek
Leonard Nemoy, the original Spock, had a childhood memory of visiting an Orthodox Jewish synagogue service in Boston, MA. “Live long and prosper” was given as part of a blessing along with a hand gesture similar to the now-famous Vulcan one associated with the phrase.
The gesture is actually the shape of the first letter of several Jewish words.
- Shaddai — a name for God
- Shalom — hello, goodbye and peace
- Shekhinah — prayer that inspired the salute
Nemoy, mesmerized by the sound and look of the prayer, never forgot it. When a Star Trek script had Spock go home to Vulcan, Nemoy wanted to find a touching way to help further develop Vulcan sociology. He wanted a special greeting for the Vulcans and suggested the prayer gesture from his childhood. The gesture and the phrase took off from there.
“People don’t realize they’re blessing each other with this.” (Leonard Nemoy)
A General Truth
After discovering this connection between Star Trek and the Bible, I realized that the general truth it expresses is actually a thread throughout Scripture. Since, Repetition Means Pay Attention when it comes to Bible study, let’s look at a couple more verses expressing the same sentiment.
“Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: ‘The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.’ So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.” (Number 6:23-27)
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother — which is the first commandment with a promise — so that it may go well with you and that you may be long-lived on the earth.” (Ephesians 6:3)
“Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” (3 John 1:2)
The thread of this idea of long life and prosperity does not end with the Scriptures we’ve looked at in this post. Far from it, actually. To help you delve deeper, check out the following links: