A 400 year-old edition of a blasphemous edition of the Bible that actually commanded people to commit adultery has hit the auction block.
When Moses was handed the Ten Commandments by God, the laws were very specific and every edition of the holy book contained the laws correctly – that is, except for one edition – the notorious "wicked bible".
Also known as the "sinner's bible" this edition has a rather glaring typo – the omission of a word in the Seventh Commandment. Instead of it reading "Thou shall not commit adultery", this version of God's laws omitted a key word.
It erroneously stated, "Thou SHALL commit adultery," the UK Guardian reported.
During the reign of England's King Charles the First in 1631, the adultery permitting tome was published by the royal printers, Robert Barker and Martin Lucas.
Back then, type was painstakingly set by hand, one letter at a time, often taking months or years to prepare a book. They were often assisted by a young apprentice who was nicknamed the "printer's devil" whose job was to mix tubs of black ink and help set individual letters.
Despite their seeming best efforts, this sacrilegious Bible was completed with a typo so egregious it appeared as if God had commanded the sinful act of adultery to be performed.
Finishing the print run, the first one thousand volumes were then distributed from the royal printing house when all hell – literally - broke loose.
It is said that a livid King Charles quickly ordered all the Bibles retrieved and the blasphemous edition expunged with fire.
The books were quickly burnt and the offending printers received harsh penalties. Heavily fined, the two partners were also stripped of their license to publish. Barker, one of the publishers, never recovered from the humiliation and was in and out of King's Bench Prison before dying there in 1645.
Ten copies of the "adulterous bible" were known to have escaped the King's fiery wrath.
"The jury is still out on why the misprint happened," Simon Roberts, a specialist at Bonhams auction house, revealed.
"Originally it was thought that it was just a mistake which didn’t get noticed, which to me seems slightly unlikely – if you’re going to check 10 things, then you’d think you would check that page.”
He also speculated it may have been an act of sabotage by rival printers looking to acquire the coveted title of royal printers.
Bonhams auction house which is offering the "wicked bible" for sale next month said initial bidding begins at an asking price of $23,000.
The profane edition is expected to garner far more by the time the final gavel sounds.