Origins of Sayings - Can the Leopard Change His Spots?

About the history and origins behind the famous saying can the leopard change his spots.

Stories behind Famous Sayings


Who Said It: Jeremiah

When: 700 B.C.

The Story behind It: Found in the Old Testament (Jer. 13:23), these words are spoken by the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah. He tells the people of Jerusalem-personified in the form of a shepherdess-that the city will soon be attacked by an enemy from the north. The shepherdess, a vile and hopeless creature, has been deserted by her family and friends. Jeremiah implores the woman to give up her evil ways and live according to God's laws. The prophet realizes, however, that it might be impossible for the woman to heed his warning. He says: "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil."

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