Monday, January 27, 2014

CCXXX – Ecclesiastes – The Vanity of Life

This has been said to be the most engaging and charming book in the Bible.  {I’m not so sure about that.}  But I do consider it to be the most striking book in the Old Testament, due to its stark realism, sadness, and insight into life itself.  It reflects our inner conflicts of hope, despair, confusion, and disappointment.

Chapter 1

Solomon wastes no time getting to the matters of his mind which represents the whole book.  The NIV says in verse 2, “Meaningless!  Meaningless! Says the Teacher.  Utterly meaningless!  Everything is meaningless”.  The KJV says, “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity”.  This opening phrase sets the tone of the writer’s mindset.  The Hebrew word translated “vanity” means vapor; nothingness.  He was saying that everything in and about life is like vapor, having no lasting value or significance, which would lead one to conclude that life is a disappointing and meaningless affair.  The tone is set.  The writer’s attitude about life is gloomy, dark, and dismal, and it seems the writer wants everybody to be convinced of the vanity of life and be as depressed as he is.  But I must caution you to withhold judgment about this book until we have completed our study.  Following this gloomy introduction the writer goes on in the next nine verses to list a few of his thoughts that qualify his opening comment.  He seems to be thinking out loud.  In verse 3 he is saying “why do people work so hard?  What do they gain from it?”  Verse 4 he says nothing ever changes.  He even comments about how the wind keeps blowing.  It never stops.  In verse 7 he says the streams and rivers keep flowing into the sea, but the sea never fills up.  {He wants to know why.  At this time in his life he considers himself entitled to know these things, but God does not entitle us to know all that He does.  We now know how God made the endless cycle of water returning to the earth, but it took us centuries to figure it out.  Also, I think Solomon has gone through the steps of concluding “the more I learn, the more I don’t know”.  We have all gone through this process of digging deep into a subject in the hopes of understanding, just to discover the deeper complexity, bringing us to a similar conclusion.}  He actually sums up his thoughts in verse 9 when he says “there is nothing new under the sun”.  So, in these first eleven verses we see his attitude clearly:  Life is a bore, full of endless cycles that never change in spite of how hard we work or anything we might accomplish.

So the premise has been set and stated in no uncertain terms.  Next he wants to explain how he arrived at this conclusion about life.  {This is why I’ve always thought that Solomon wanted to convince everybody that they should be as bored and depressed as his is, as he goes on to explain the process by which he has arrived at this conclusion.}  Look at the remaining verses of the first chapter.  He wants to qualify his conclusion by first stating that he is the wisest of all kings before him, and made it a priority in is life to use his wisdom to figure out all of these things.  But he goes on to say that the burden is too much.  There is too much to learn and each is too complex.  He concludes that chasing after wisdom is like trying to catch the wind in one’s hand.  It cannot be done.  In verse 15 he restates the futility of trying as he says, “the crooked cannot be made straight”.  He boasts of his superior wisdom, suggesting that if anybody can figure it out, he can.  But then he goes on to repeat himself in verse 17 and says that the quest for knowledge could drive a man insane, as complete understanding is not possible.  Look at the depressing conclusion to this first chapter in verse 18:  With much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.  {It’s almost comical.  He has allowed depression to exaggerate everything to the negative.}

Chapter 2

Solomon continues his explanation of how he has arrived at this depressing summation about life.  Read verses 1-11 of chapter 2.  He says that he experimented with trying to gain happiness through pursuing every pleasure life might offer.  He tried gaining happiness through drinking.  He undertook the building of great structures.  He gathered wealth all around himself.  He hired musicians to play music for him.  Verse 10 says he deprived himself of no possible pleasure.  He gave himself over to foolish pleasures, void of any wisdom or reason.  The result of this “experiment” was that it was a complete failure in its attempts to bring him happiness.

Then in verses 12-16 he went on to his next experiment, reversing his course from the pursuit of pleasure to the pursuit of wisdom.  He confessed quickly in verse 13 that this was a better course than the one before.  But then, after he had acquired all the wisdom that was available to him, he came to the depressing conclusion that the wise and the foolish come to the same fate:  They both die and will be forgotten.  {I warned you this is a difficult book to study.}

He begins the remaining verses of chapter 2 by stating in verse 17 that he hated life.  He says that all of his accomplishments will just go to someone else after he dies.  And he has no control over who will get those things, whether that person will be wise or foolish.  Read verse 21.  He begins to begrudge the fact that someone who did nothing to earn it will end up owning all of his wealth.  This did not seem fair and there was nothing he could do about it.  He again expresses the thought that to work hard is meaningless and a waste of effort.  In the remaining verses he takes a breath and summarizes that considering the harsh realities of life, a temperate life-style with simple pleasures was the best a person could hope for.  Depressed yet?

Next post – Chapter 3 – A Time for Everything

Friday, January 24, 2014

CCXXIX – Ecclesiastes

We have just finished the Book of Proverbs, and right before that was the Book of Psalms.  Both of those books were compilations of songs, poems, aphorisms, and wise sayings.  Both were written by different people in different places, and at various times, containing no story line nor placed in any particular sequence.  But now we come to the Book of Ecclesiastes.  In contrast to the two previous books, I believe the Book of Ecclesiastes was written by only one man and in a seldom interrupted session of whatever length of time it may have taken him to finish it. 

The word “Ecclesiastes” is a Hebrew word and is not indicative of the subject matter of the book as much as it describes the writer.  The word means “someone who gathers a group of people together”.  Various English translations include Teacher, Philosopher, and Preacher.  I feel the most appropriate is the word “Philosopher”.  In modern times as in times past, a philosopher is considered a deep thinker who concentrates his thoughts on the matters of life which remain in question by the human race at large. 

Only the serious student will seek to study and gain an understanding of this book.  At first reading it seems to be a complicated book, begging a second reading.  At second reading, the reader might be somewhat confused and perhaps frustrated in his quest for understanding of what this obviously wise author is trying to say.  I will attempt in this opening post to help you understand the mindset of the author, thus enabling you to understand the book.

My precious son, I had always hoped and prayed that you and your sister would be blessed with a higher level of intellect than I, as the higher level of intellect, the easier it is to navigate through life.  I believe those prayers have been answered, as I have observed you both very closely.  Having said that however, in contrast, I believe that I am more capable of understanding this book than either of you.  I say that with confidence because 1. I am twice your age (at the time of this writing); 2. My life experiences have been broader than yours, and 3. I have been a serious student of human nature since my adolescent years, leading me to a multitude of hours in rather “deep thought” concerning many of the subjects addressed in this book of Ecclesiastes.  IMPORTANT NOTE:  I am not placing myself in the company of this author, but rather suggesting that I understand him.

Now, as to the author:  Although the authorship has been under debate for centuries, no one disputes the fact that it took a very deep thinker to write this book.  Many theologians have suggested Solomon as the author and many have disputed that.  I believe strongly that Solomon wrote every word of Ecclesiastes.  I’ve made a number of comments in this entire blog about Solomon.  My comments have been favorable as I have always been a seeker and respecter of wisdom.  But I have been careful in making no pretense of Solomon being a perfectly Godly man his entire life.  He backslid as he became older. We know he had his priorities mixed up just by the lives of his sons.  We also know that he took many pagan wives and concubines, all of which unfavorably influenced his thoughts and actions.  Most of the recorded good works of Solomon took place in his early adulthood.  His wisdom guided him to building a nation both of military superiority and wealth too vast to be measured.  But Solomon was a human being.  Through decades of having accumulated wealth that multiplied wealth, riches no longer had any savor to them.  All of those items became mere trinkets, one item no more unique or precious than the one before.  Solomon was bound to have become bored with them.  With everything at his fingertips for so many years, I believe there would have come a time in his life when he was bored with EVERYTHING.  And I believe it was at this time in his life when he penned the book of Ecclesiastes.

This Book of Ecclesiastes contains reflections and experiences of a powerful and intelligent man whose mind was in conflict over the problems of life.  A man unaccustomed to the inability to solve any problem.  After speaking at length of the disillusionments that had come to dominate his thoughts, he tends to present the view of what many would describe as an “Epicurean Materialist”, that there is no better way to live life than to pursue carnal pleasures at every opportunity.  {I do not subscribe to any of the philosophies of Epicurus.  Epicurus had quite a following.  He dates back to the third century BC and thought he had everything figured out.  Collectively the Pharisees thought they had everything figured out also.  There are even some people today that think they have it all figured out.  They don’t.}  But the writer goes in and out of reality, as his own thoughts reveal their short-comings, compelling him to utter truths about man’s obligations toward God and His commandments.

This book prompts thoughts too numerous to cover in this opening post, but for the sake of promoting understanding, I cannot conclude this introduction without sharing with you one more thought:   As recorded in the New Testament, Jesus has shed much light on “life after death”.  John, Peter, and Paul gave us further knowledge of this subject.  But even with all that has been written, still no one on earth has a complete understanding.  But this much we do know:  In the after-life, God will bring everything and everyone to justice.  The unfairness of this world will be brought into resolve.  We can and should take comfort in this knowledge.  However, one must realize that at the time of the writing of Ecclesiastes, there was no such established knowledge, nor a consensus of thought.  I’m certain that thoughts about it was shared among Godly men and even some deep thinking ungodly men.  But nothing in writing upon which mankind could depend.  With this thought in mind, I find it easy to understand why Solomon brings a lot of his thoughts into question.  Early in this book he brings to mind some things in life that are just not fair.  For example:

·        People work hard but do not enjoy the fruits of their labor.
·        Some people are cruel to others but are not punished for it.
·        Good people suffer while evil people celebrate.
·        The wise, the good, the foolish, and the evil all die and have the same life expectancy in terms of years.

Those are just a few of the injustices Solomon couldn’t help but label unfair.  If we were not knowledgeable of Heaven waiting for us, would we not be equally as frustrated when confronted with these thoughts?

In the next post we will begin our brief journey into this book, beginning with Chapter 1 – The Vanity of Life

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

CCXXVIII – Proverbs 30-31 - Concluding Proverbs

In the last post we concluded the proverbs that Solomon wrote.  We will finish the book of Proverbs in this post, covering the last two chapters which are in three sections:
The Words of Agur  (30:1-33)
The Words of Lemuel  (31:1-9)
Description of a Virtuous Woman  (31:10-31)

We don’t know a lot about Agur and Lemuel, as they are mentioned nowhere else in the Bible.  But their writings, (how-be-they different from Solomon) are time-honored as both wise and thought-provoking.
The Book of Proverbs includes many family-related sayings.  In these last two chapters, the family becomes the main theme.  This includes a rather harsh condemnation of ungrateful children and then the virtues of a good and faithful wife.  Some scholars consider the studying of these two chapters is like entering into the pain and joy of family life.  I don’t share those extreme thoughts, but I can understand the reasoning.

Chapter 30 – The words of Agur

Agur opens with the acknowledgement that these words are inspired, as he confesses that he himself does not possess the level of wisdom necessary to write these sayings without the guidance from God.  After Agur’s opening words, he writes the remainder of the chapter as an acrostic poem, like the writings of some of the Psalms.  {Reminder:  An “acrostic” poem is using the first letter of each verse in the order of the Hebrew alphabet.  This was a popular way to write in those days and must have taken extra thought and time.}  In this acrostic poem, Agur repeats the fashion of beginning a subject by saying “there are three….., no, four……..”.  Rather difficult for me to explain this style, but you will notice it as you read this chapter.   
Verses 11-14 speaks of four different types of evil people, beginning with those who grossly disrespect their parents.  Agur, as other writers, shows little patience with disrespectful children, as he mentions them again in verse 17.  Agur is inclined to list four thoughts about a variety of subjects including things that are never satisfied (vss 15-16), things he cannot understand (18-19), things that amaze him (18-19), things that make the earth tremble (21-23), things that are small but impressive (24-28),  and things that are stately (29-31)

Chapter 31:1-9 – The Words of Lemuel

The name Lemuel in Hebrew means “belonging to or dedicated to God”.  As one reflects on this entire chapter, the first nine verses seem to serve as a basis for the larger section which is dedicated to the virtues of a good woman, or I believe in this case “a good mother”.  Note in the opening verses that Lemuel is saying what his mother had taught him.  In fact it goes in and out of his mother actually doing the talking, as she is preparing him to become a great king like Solomon, covering the most important subjects for him to be attentive to as he assumes a leadership position.  I am impressed as I read these verses as she tells him how important he is, being “the answer to her prayers”.  {I am always impressed when I hear a mother or a father make their offspring know how special they are.  I really tried to do that with my children, and my wife was especially good at it.}  She taught young Lemuel to beware of such things as alluring women, drinking too much, unfairness in judgement, and ignoring the poor.

Verses 10-31 – Description of a Virtuous Woman

The Book of Proverbs has presented cautionary space concerning contentious and morally weak women, but in this somewhat of an “epilogue”, it dedicates the final twenty two verses as a portrait of a “virtuous” or “honorable” woman.  Note that these verses are written in the acrostic form.  Also, bear in mind that these sayings were written in the language of the day, a paraphrase of which would be quite an adjustment but the spirit of the writing would remain.
Verse 10 opens with the fact that a totally virtuous woman is indeed a rare find.  I agree.
Verses 11 and 12 mentions how much confidence her husband has for her and shows it in his own life.  She cares for him and he cares for her out of love and respect.
Verses 13-19 tells that she works hard and smart, disregarding not even the smallest of details to make certain her family is cared for.  Even her business dealings are wise and profitable.
Verse 20 says she is kind and considerate to those less fortunate than she.  {Lemuel writes poetically and pretty.  Note that he says her lamp does not go out at night, which obviously means she works hard for her family on into the late hours of the night.  Also, in vs 21 it says she has no fear when it snows because she knows the clothes she has made for her family will protect them.}
In verse 21 it says her husband is respected at the city gate, which is where the elders of the city meet and only the most respected are given audience.  {A man’s wife has much influence on the level of respect he receives, and visa-versa.}
Verse 24 is interesting because (remember the times) the virtuous woman contributes to the income of the household.
The comment in verse 25 about her laughing at the future is repeating the thought that she has prepared her family for all potential situations, inclement weather being among them.  The passage continues on to speak on her being careful of what she says and how she says it.  She is not lazy and is always diligent in providing for her family.  She believes in God and honors His commandments.  And, because she is all of these things, her husband, her children, and all of the city speak nothing but praise and respect for her.

This concludes our study in the Book of Proverbs.  I hope it has enhanced your understanding and respect for this important book.  I have truly enjoyed sharing with you my thoughts.

Next Post  -  The Book of Ecclesiastes    

Monday, January 20, 2014

CCXXVII - Proverbs 28-29

This will be a relatively short post and will conclude the proverbs of Solomon as compiled by Hezekiah’s men, which also concludes all of Solomon’s sayings.

Chapter 28

About a third of this chapter deals with wealth versus poverty.  The remainder deals with various subjects, such as incapable rulers, abusers of the law, and wicked people.  Verse 6 is an example of contrasting the rich and the poor.  I says it is better to be poor and upright than to be rich and perverse.  To be perverse in this instance is to be “crooked”.  {God will deal harshly with those who gain riches by crooked means.  Usually, the perverse gain riches at the expense of the unsuspecting poor.}  Also, if you back up to verse 5, it says that wicked people do not know how to be fair.  It does not fit their realm of logic.  {This seems a bit hard to believe, but it’s true.  Fairness is mostly just a matter of seeing a situation through the eyes of everyone involved.  That is not difficult.  However, a person can lose the ability to do that if he never practices it, therefore he can only see a situation from his own perspective.  Happens all the time.}
Verse 8 speaks of gaining money from the poor through greedy and deceptive methods.  This was actually forbidden by law among the Hebrews.  Actually, loaning money to the poor was considered an act of mercy, but to take advantage of them by trapping them into a high interest rate was considered cruel and unlawful.  {We have laws today against loan-sharking for the same reason.}  But this verse goes on to say that these Ill-gotten gains will end up in the hands of the righteous.  God will see to it.
Many of the following verses speak of working diligently to provide for one’s family.  Note verse 19.  This verse is telling us to work diligently and not be focused on the "home run”.  Schemes to make a lot of money in one large deal takes our time and attention away from making money the way God intended.
I’ll conclude this chapter with verse 27, which tells us that if we will practice generosity to the poor, God will make certain we will not lack for anything ourselves.  By contrast, he who acts like he does not see the poor will be cursed.

Chapter 29 

This chapter concludes the proverbs of Solomon that were compiled by the men of Hezekiah.  The first eleven verses describe different types of people who do not follow wisdom.  The remaining sixteen verses is a mixture of sayings which deal with diverse subjects such as rulers, children, thieves, and servants.
The very first verse tells of a man who will not change his foolish behavior, no matter how many times people try to correct him or teach him.  By this stubbornness, he has sealed his fate.  Verse 2 reminds us that the public at large is happy when a righteous man prospers, and the unrighteous does not.  Although the public can become perverse, this is still generally true.
Verses 3 and 4 can be seen as personal to Solomon.  Wise sons bring joy to their father and foolish sons squander their wealth on such things as prostitutes.  {Solomon had many sons, most notable was Rehoboam, who did not grow up using wisdom, even in his adulthood.  He was a foolish king who loved pleasure and was weak against the lures of idolatry.  His foolishness caused God’s nation to split in two and his people suffered because of it.  Rehoboam squandered Solomon’s heritage.
In verse 4 Solomon speaks of the virtues of a righteous king, giving his country stability (peace and prosperity).
Note in verse 10 and 27 that the evil person hates a person of integrity.  The evil always hated the righteous, mainly because the righteous shine light on their darkness.  Remember, if everybody was evil, nobody would be.  It is only when a righteous person appears, that evil is recognized.  The same principle can be applied to a number of things.  If nobody did anything, there would be no lazy people.  But if an energetic and industrious person appears, then the lazy would be exposed.  Think on the many comparisons that can be applied to this.
Verses 13, 17, and 21 speak of child-rearing.
Verse 22 warns us about losing our tempers.  Anger causes many problems, most of which are irreversible.  Although more difficult for some than for others, anger can be controlled.  We must teach our children at an early age to control their anger.  As a result, they will be better children, adolescents, and adults. 
I’ll conclude this post with verse 24, which again warns against the company one chooses to keep.  It is saying that thieves turn on their own kind.  Beware of the company you keep and be watchful concerning the company your children choose to keep.

As stated in the beginning of this post, this concludes the proverbs of Solomon.  In the next post we will look at the final two chapters which are the sayings of Agur and Lemuel, and will conclude with a tribute to a Godly wife.

Friday, January 17, 2014

CCXXVI - Proverbs 24-27 - More “Sayings of the Wise”

We concluded the “Thirty Sayings to the Wise” in the last post.  This post will cover some additional “Sayings to the Wise”, beginning in Chapter 24:23, which is the transitional verse using the word “also”.  Actually, this refers to the remaining verses in chapter 24.  We’ll talk about chapter 25 and following in a moment.

Think on verses 23-25.  When we allow the guilty to go unpunished, we have perverted justice.  It happens all the time.  We pervert justice in the name of mercy.  Showing mercy always sounds like the Godly thing to do, and by it we can rationalize many short-sighted decisions.  But these verses offer a stern word of caution about this.  By allowing the guilty to go unpunished, we are placing him in the same status as the innocent.  By the same token (and this is where it gets sticky) we are placing the innocent in the same status with the guilty.  Think on that.  The Scripture goes so far to suggest here that even other nations will scoff at one who allows the guilty to go free and imprisons the innocent.  A successful society (nation) must have a justice system that works, without compromise or prejudices.
Verse 27 is good, practical advice.  Simply, do the most important work first.  {It’s of no value to have a nice house if the crops have not been planted.  You will simply starve in a nice house.  It is never difficult to discern which task is most important.}
Verse 29 is emphatic in telling us not to take revenge on our neighbors. God has reserved vengeance for Himself, and He shares that authority with no one.  The remainder of this chapter deals with laziness.

Chapter 25 introduces a new set of proverbs.  It says in the first verse that Hezekiah’s men compiled some additional proverbs from Solomon.  {I’m sure Hezekiah himself gave this directive.  In our study of Hezekiah we found him to be a good king, seeking God’s direction.  Although Hezekiah lived about 250 years after Solomon, he probably wanted to pattern his reign after that of Solomon.}  You’ll find these proverbs to be a bit lengthier and less “choppy” than the aphorisms we read in chapters 10 – 22.  Many are grouped in pairs.  I shall go through the next few chapters, commenting on various subjects as addressed in this section of this wonderful book.  In verse 4 it mentions removing the dross from silver (dross is the impurities) and explains itself in the following verse.  We cannot produce anything good until we remove the wicked and rotten.  It’s talking about people.
Verse 5 was speaking of the king’s court, justice being the main focus. 
I’ve used verses 6 and 7 many times.  Picture a large group of people being invited to a banquet in the presence of the king.  These verses are telling you not to seat yourself in the front.  This is a large risk.  It would be humiliating if you were then asked to take a seat in the back.  On the other hand, if you voluntarily take a seat in the back, and you were brought forward, it will bring you indescribable honor.  This thinking can be applied in so many of life’s situations.
Verses 17 can be paraphrased by the ever-familiar “Don’t wear out your welcome”.
Another ever-familiar paraphrase can be applied to verses 21 and 22:  “Kill him with kindness”.  Works every time.
25:24, 27:15 and others speak of the unpleasantness of living with a loud or quarrelsome wife.  This chapter’s final verses speak of self-control, when eating and otherwise.

Chapter 26 continues with the collection for Hezekiah.  The first 16 verses warn us about dealing at all with a fool.  We are not to argue with him or try to reason with him.  In fact we are not to waste any of our time with him, as it would prove itself a total waste of time and effort, to be better spent elsewhere.
Look at verse 17.  It says simply to mind your own business.  Don’t involve yourself in someone else’s quarrel.  {Sufficient are your own problems to keep you busy.}
Verses 18 and 19 describe a person some of us know all too well.  This is a person who causes trouble with his words, and when people expose his words as causing unnecessary trouble, he says “I was just kidding.  Can’t you take a joke”?  I can vividly remember one person in particular that I knew when I was a child.  He did this all the time.
The remainder of this chapter speaks of the deceitfulness of charming speech and gossip.

I like the way chapter 27 starts out.  Never boast about tomorrow.  You cannot be sure anything in the future except God Himself.
Verses 9 and 10 speak of friends and how much value we can put on them.  A friend is a precious thing.  A synonym for precious is “priceless”.  Friends are to be considered this way.  A true friend is a rare commodity these days.  Verse 10 even says to value a friend of your family.  This is to be done to further secure one’s friendship, as it should be extended to all family members.
Verse 19 is a good verse to commit to memory.  “As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart.”  People (especially your children) are watching everything you do.  No matter what you tell people about yourself and your convictions, your life will tell the true story of your heart.  {Isn’t the Bible wonderful?}
Verses 20 and 21 tell us that no matter how much time and effort you might put into trying to teach a foolish person, he will still be a fool, doing and saying foolish things.
The last five verses tell us simply to work hard.  Pay attention to your flocks (your responsibilities).  Work diligently and you will provide for your family, your servants, and yourself.

We should finish the Book of Proverbs in the next post, beginning in chapter 28.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

CCXXV - Thirty Sayings of the Wise - 22:17-24:22

We have concluded the section of the Book of Proverbs which was mainly a group of single aphorisms, great for the daily devotion of a person or family seeking wisdom.  Now we’re going to pick up at chapter 22, verse 17 which begin what has been called the “Thirty Sayings of the Wise”.  This section goes from 22:17 through 24:22.  The NIV actually numbers and separates these thirty sayings which range from a single verse to as many seven verses.  Many ancient cultures have had their own “thirty” sayings for the wise, used for teaching their children.  When pertaining to teachings, thirty was considered a holy number, signifying complete and perfect teaching.  I hope to touch on each of these briefly, as each has been considered extremely important for centuries among the Hebrews.  I will take the liberty to condense and paraphrase for the sake of keeping this post from being too lengthy.

1.     Chapter 22:17-21 are five verses that serve as an introduction to this whole section, urging the student to pay strict attention to these sayings.
2.     Vss 22-23  -  Don’t cheat or exploit the poor.  God looks after them and will punish offenders.
3.     Vss 24-25  -  Don’t associate with hot-tempered people.  They will influence your character.
4.     Vss 26-27  -  Don’t sign for another man’s debt (with the possible exception of a family member).
5.     Vs 28  -  Don’t steal land.  It is considered one’s most valuable possession.  “Moving a boundary marker” is stealing land.
6.     Vs 29  -  Work hard for your money, using your hands and your brain.  You will be rewarded.
7.     Chapter 23:1-3  -  Never allow food itself to consume your thoughts.  Even the appearance of gluttony should be an embarrassment to your character.
8.     Vss 4-5  -  Don’t work too hard or too long.  The riches it will get you are fleeting.  Your true riches are God and your family.
9.     Vss 6-8  -  The word “delicacies” is used to describe very tasty and rare food.  Do not be preoccupied with this when in the company of a selfish or foolish host.
10.  Vs 9  -  Do not waste your time trying to reason with a fool.
11.  V s 10-11  -  Do not take advantage of an orphan.  Remember, that orphan grew up without a father to guide and direct him, thus making him vulnerable.
12. Vs 12  -  Continue to seek wisdom and knowledge.
13.  Vss 3-14  -  Do not withhold punishment from your child when he has done wrong.  It is a disservice to him.
14.  Vss 15-16  -  Your exercising wisdom is a joy and comforting to my heart.
15.   Vss 17-18  -  Don’t envy the ungodly.  The attraction is a trap.
16.   Vss 19-21  -  Don’t associate with drunkards or gluttons.  They will influence your character.
17.   Vss 22-25  -  Your parents are the ones who will guide you with your own good exclusively in mind.  They will never have a hidden motive.
18.  Vss 26-28  -  Just plain stay away from adulterous women, and be on the lookout for them, as their ways are subtle.
19.   Vs 29-35  -  These seven verses describe a man who drinks too much and actually becomes an alcoholic.  Be careful of strong drink.
20.  Chapter 24:1-2  -  Do not envy the wicked person (evil person are easy to recognize).
21.   Vss 3-4  -  In these verses the word “house” is used to describe our lives which are to be built on wisdom, being the foundation.
22.  Vss 5-6  -  Seek wise council from many before making major decisions.
23.  Vs 7  -  Wisdom is too lofty for a fool’s understanding, therefore we cannot expect it to be spoken through his lips.
24.  Vss 8-9  -  Stay away from people who “scheme” hurt to others
25. Vss 10-12  -  This is two-fold.  When we experience troubles, we must remain strong in our faith and wise in our resolve.  Also, this passage tells us to never pretend not to notice when others are having problems and could use our help.
26.   Vss 13-14  -  Honey was always considered a special food, due both to its rarity and its distinguishable taste.  Go ahead and eat and enjoy honey when you have earned it.  Wisdom is compared with honey.  Obtain it and use it.
27.  Vss 15-16  -  Do not be like a thief who steals from a righteous man.  The righteous man will regain his riches, but the thief will squander them again and again.
28.  Vss 17-18  -  God is not please if you take pleasure in the trouble of an enemy.  We are to feel compassion for them just as we do when our friends are stricken by misfortune.
29.  Vss 19-20  -  Don’t be envious of the evildoer.  Just because he acts happy and successful, we all know he is confused and unsatisfied.
30.   Vss 21-22  -  Solomon wrote these proverbs and was the king of Israel at the time.  He says to fear the Lord and the king.  He considered himself a fair a just king, but also powerful.  Therefore he was advising his subjects to obey the laws of the land, which were good for all citizens.  To act in rebellion would only bring calamity.  {Again, this is advice for people living as subjects of a righteous king.}

This concludes the “Thirty Sayings to the Wise”.  The next post will cover some additional “Sayings to the Wise”, beginning in Chapter 24:23.

Friday, January 10, 2014

CCXXIV – Proverbs 19-22:16

Chapter 19

As we continue our study of the aphorisms, there are two subjects that seem to stand out in the next two chapters:  treatment of the poor and laziness.  Concern for the poor and unfortunate was always considered “basic” to the ancient Israelites.  Laziness was viewed as a social evil and a religious offense.  {Since the wandering in the wilderness, it was considered necessary that everyone pull his own weight.  To neglect to do so placed extra burden on others.  This basic principle has been lost in our society.  Unbalanced workloads cause problems.  Always has; always will.}
Verses 5 and 9 remind us again that God will not allow a false witness to go unpunished.
Verse 10 says it is not fitting that a fool live in luxury.
Verse 11 lauds patience and the overlooking of small offences, (something to commit to memory).
Verse 13 is rather comical at first reading, saying that a quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping of a leaky roof.  This is not the last proverb that addresses this.  In the very next verse it says that a good wife is from the Lord.
Verse 17 deals directly with the treatment of the poor.  It suggests that as we deal with the poor, we are dealing directly to the Lord.  And it goes on to say that the Lord will reward us for our compassion and unselfishness toward them.
The next three verses are interrelated.  When it says to discipline your children, one must remember that the word discipline means to “teach”.  When a child is corrected, that is a part of learning proper behavior.
Verse 19 emphasizes the necessity of penalizing a hot-head, as to ignore his actions means he will repeat them.  The same goes for child-rearing.

Chapter 20 opens with a warning against the abuse of strong drink.  We must all keep mindful of the potential hazards of drinking.  {I have observed people drinking many times.  Some show no signs at all; some get sleepy; some constantly laugh and giggle; some get destructively clumsy; some say strange things that are out of subject; some get talkative; some get quiet; some get loud in their tone of speech; some lose control of their senses; some get overly friendly; some get cruel in speaking to others; and some get quarrelsome to the point of wanting to fight.  Amazing how different we are.  How are you changed when you consume strong drink?  If you don’t know, ask someone who will be honest with you.  You need to know this.} 
Skipping down to verse 4, from which comes the old saying “to sow not is to reap not”.  Again, this common sense logic is being forsaken purposely.  The result cannot possible be anything but tragic.  Think about it.  There cannot be more people riding in the wagon than there are people who are pulling it.
Then also reflect on verse 5.  When Solomon asked God for wisdom, he stated it in words to the effect, “understanding the hearts of men”.  This verse tells us that we should seek understanding of the heart of a man.  Only then will we be successful in dealing with him.  Sometimes it takes time and a series of questions to gain understanding of a man’s heart, but with prayer, it can be done.  Try it some time.
Verse 7 tells us that one of the best things you can do for your children is to live righteously in their presence.
Verse 10 repeats that God detests dishonesty.  Look closely at verse 14.  Picture the man who perhaps is buying a car from someone.  He is extremely critical of it for the purpose of bringing down the price, then later brags about what a great car it is and what a great bargain he made.  We are to deal honestly with everyone.
Verse 18a is one to be placed in memory.  Always seek wise council for even small decisions.  Often times people are too proud to ask for advice.  Don’t be one of these people.  Protect yourself against foolish decisions.
Verses 19 and 20 are good indicators of people to avoid: one who gossips, one who talks too much, and especially one who is critical of their parents.
A very prudent warning is in verse 22.  When someone does you wrong, do not threaten to “get him back”.  Let God take care of him.
Verse 29 reminds us that the older people among us are to be respected and revered for their experience and wisdom.
Chapter 21 verse 3 is important.  The way we live our lives is more important than performing the sacrificial rites as written in the Law.
The verses following speak of the virtues diligence and hard work.  Verse 9 and 19 speak again of the quarrelsome wife and verse 13 gives a warning against shutting our ears to the cries of the poor.
Verse 15 suggests that evildoers fear and tremble when justice is served.  This only makes sense that they would fear that justice would come their way also.  The perversion of justice always gives hope to all evildoers.
Verse 23 again advises us to watch what we say and the chapter ends with saying that no matter how prepared for battle one may be, he will not win if the Lord is on the other side.

I want to cover up to 22:16, as the “sayings of the wise” begin at the 17th verse which I will begin in the next post.  The first verse in chapter 22 tells us to work on having a good name, which should require no explanation.  We need to be “righteous in the sight of God, and upright in the sight of man”.  It does matter what other people think of us.
Verse 3 tells us to use a little common sense.  Example, when a hurricane is coming the prudent person takes steps to protect his family against the elements.  To simply pray for protection and pretend the hurricane will not be of any effect is simply not using the brain God gave us.
Verse 6 makes an important promise:  Raise up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.  When children seem to go astray in their adolescent or early adult years, this promise becomes precious to your heart.
Verse 9 makes a promise to the generous.  {Generosity should never be mocked and will be rewarded.}
Verse 15 tells us that without correction a child will by nature do foolish things.  This has been a proven truth.  We all need to be taught righteousness.  Left to themselves a child will think and act in total selfishness.  Unselfishness makes no sense to a child.
And the last verse in this post is verse 16 which warns against trying to become wealthy at the expense of the poor and less fortunate.  It also mentions giving gifts to the rich to gain their favor.  Both are ungodly ways to be financially successful.

Next post  -  The “30 sayings of the wise”.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

CCXXIII –Proverbs 15-18

Chapter 15 – Continuing the aphorisms given forth by God through Solomon.

Very first verse.  My wife is particularly good at this.  A gentle answer or response calms down an angry person.  This almost always works.  {If you can’t kill them with kindness, then don’t engage at all.}  Verse 3 is encouraging as it reminds us that God is aware of everything we do, both the righteous and the wicked.
Verse 12 again remind us that fools hate and reject correction that could possibly make their lives easier.  
Verse 22 tells us the wisdom of seeking wise council.  {Throughout my life there was always a lot of things I didn’t know, but I was never too proud to ask people who had the knowledge necessary to accomplish whatever the task.  Many foolish people are too proud to admit they don’t know something.}
Verse 29b expresses a truth we will see again in our study of the Bible.  The saying is that “God hears the prayers of a righteous man”.  This alone should be reason enough to try to live a Godly life.  Think about that.   The last phrase of the last verse in this chapter is a good one to adopt as a motto in life:  “Humility comes before honor”.  My favorite patriarch Joseph could preach volumes on this truth.

Chapter 16

Verse 3 is a good reminder to involve God in ALL of your plans.  Keeping Him in mind and seeking from Him wisdom and guidance will make everything you do go better.  Remember, He wants you to be successful, and He wants to be a part of your life.
Verse 5 reminds us again of the first of the six things God hates.  In the middle verses of this chapter a “king” is mentioned, which Solomon is speaking about how a king of any nation should be.
Verse 28 tells us that to involve ourselves with a foolish and wicked person will lead to the loss of valuable friendships.
Verse 31, like many to come, tells us of the dignity in becoming old after having followed the way of the wise.  Woe to the society which disregards the wisdom and guidance of its older members.

Chapter 17

The first verse lauds peace in the home.  Our homes should be peaceful and pleasant.
Verse 5 is a warning.  We are to have compassion on the poor and less fortunate.  The second part promises punishment to those who would gloat over the poor who are victims of disaster.
Verse 6 tells us of the greatness of grandchildren.  {Grandchildren are among the few things in life that are everything they are built up to be.  Everyone should be blessed with such joy.}
Look at verse 9.  It speaks of the destructive power of gossip.  Verse 13 promises us that there will be long-lasting punishment for those who return evil for good.  {Have you ever been a victim of this?  I have.  I do a good deed, only to have evil done against me as a direct reaction.  Hurtful and discouraging.  But God promises that He will handle it.  I take great comfort in that.}
Verse 15 supports my thoughts about justice and our justice system.  {I am not without mercy.  I enjoy seeing mercy exercised and I love the thought of God being merciful to me and my family.  I’ve always asked God for mercy rather than justice.  However, I’ve always thought that our social system of justice is weakened a little bit each time a guilty person is allowed to go unpunished.  I see it all the time, not only in our courts, but also in our schools and in families where children are being raised.  We discourage good behavior every time we allow bad behavior to go unpunished.}
Verse 22 tells us that laughter is good medicine.  Everybody needs to realize this.
This chapter ends with verse 28 repeating the earlier thought that even a fool can make people think he is wise if he keeps his words to a bare minimum.  A fool never is exposed for what he is until he opens his mouth.

Chapter 18

The first verse of this chapter encourages us to be friendly.  We often forget that a smile still works wonders.
The second verse reminds us to think on our words before we speak.  It says that fools constantly voice their opinions, about every subject.
Again in verse 7 it tells us that a fool is exposed when he opens his mouth.
Verse 8 tells us again how hurtful and destructive gossip is.  Gossip perverts, therefore it is hurtful.  As gossip is repeated, truth is often a casualty.  {Try this:  When you are in a group of a dozen or more people (first, announce what you are about to do, but keep the anticipated result secret).  Imagine all of you are in a circle, seated around a table.  You are to whisper in the ear of the person next to you a description of something about a person or group of people, or simply an event that has occurred, preferably fictitious.  That person you whisper to is to repeat it to the person next to him/her and so on and so on till it completes the circle and finally gets back to you.  When it gets back around to you, after having gone through a dozen or more people, you will be amazed at how much the story has changed.  That is just one reason gossip is potentially so destructive and hurtful.}
Verse 12 reemphasizes “Pride cometh before the fall”.
Verse 13 says to listen for the finish before commenting.
Verse 16, as others, suggests that these proverbs are jotted down at random.  Suddenly, Solomon says that if one wants to be received and heard, he might consider bringing a gift.  A gift always gets attention.
Verse 18 has more wisdom that meets the eye.  There is nothing wrong with “casting lots” to decide between two people.  Example:  Joe and Sam go to lunch.  Joe wants to go to Chic-filet.  Sam wants to go to Taco-bell.  Maybe Joe should say, “let’s flip a coin.  Heads we go to Chic-filet, tails we go to Taco-bell.”  Dispute settled.  I realize that not many disputes can be solved this simply, but many of the minor ones can be.  Agree?
As we will see when we study the book of James in the New Testament, the tongue is the most powerful weapon we have, used more frequently to promote war than peace.
Verse 22 speaks of finding a good wife, thus finding favor with God.

Next post – Continuing with more aphorisms, chapter 19

Monday, January 6, 2014

CCXXII - Proverbs 12-14

For quite a few chapters we will be looking at proverbs that are “aphorisms”, which are concise statements of truth, generally short and easy to understand.  I will select various proverbs on which I will offer comment.  There are scholars who have attempted to group these aphorisms thematically, but I think that only adds difficulty to studying this book of Proverbs.  I think one should read each of the proverbs and reflect on them individually as to how they might pertain to one’s life circumstances.

Chapter 12

Verse 1 speaks to people of all ages.  We should never reject the opportunity to learn.  It always makes us better people.  By contrast, stupid (NIV) people hate being corrected.  Ignorance begets ignorance, making this a vicious trap.
Verse 9 is interesting.  To paraphrase, it says that it is better to be a “nobody” and enjoy the successes of life than to pretend to be something you are not, and actually have nothing.  This coincides with other proverbs that give laud to the wise person who withholds his comments while the fool spends his words bragging about empty accomplishments, trying to look important.  The wise man should always yield to this fool, knowing that he will expose himself before he shuts up.
Study on verse 10.  It addresses one’s treatment of animals being an indicator of true character.  There has been research that shows that many hardened adult criminals share a trait that dates back to their childhood.  That trait is cruelty to helpless domesticated animals.  It only makes sense that if a child will exercise such disrespect for animals, he will grow up to exercise disrespect for human beings.  {If you ever observe your child or grandchild disrespecting animals, please stop what you are doing and address this.  One way is to show the child how to treat the animal with kindness and council the child on just how precious each of God’s creatures are.  It would have frightened me if I observed either of my children doing this.}
Verse 16 tells us to ignore insults.  This is wise because most insults are not meant to be insults anyway.  Another person’s words are merely misinterpreted, exaggerated to the negative.
Verse 22 repeats that God hates a lying tongue, and verse 24 speaks again on laziness.
Verse 26 is a good verse to remember and teach your children.  “Choose your friends carefully”.  I’ve spoken before on the influence of one’s chosen friends.  It can be devastatingly destructive.

Chapter 13

The very first verse is supported by the Ten Commandments.  Honor your father’s (or mother’s) instruction.  This is particularly important to the learning process because a father gives only that instruction that is good for the son.  You can always trust the teachings of your father to be pure in spirit.
As it says in verse 5, as the righteous grow older, they come to hate evil and its origins because the wise know the consequences.  {I don’t like to harbor hate in my thoughts, but I find it difficult to watch what has happened in recent years and not reflect and discuss.  I hope the trend of this society turns back to the other direction in my lifetime.}
Verse 7 – We should never “pretend” to be something we are not, even to be poor.  However, this verse is saying that pretending to be poor is better than pretending to be rich.
Verse 20 repeats the thought of choosing your friends wisely.
Verse 22 is not speaking about putting money aside for future generations, but rather it is saying that the wealth of a wise man lasts for several generations, while the fool’s wealth will end up in the wise man’s coffers.
You’ve heard variances of verse 24, the most often used of which is “spare the rod and spoil the child”.  I could take up an entire lengthy post on this one proverb, but I won’t.  But I will say this:  It takes a higher level of love to force oneself to discipline his/her children.  In other words, do you love that child enough to make yourself suffer through the administration of discipline?  It is part of the job, like it or not.

Chapter 14

This chapter opens with the speaking of the wise woman and how she builds her house (home).  I’ve got to give Peggy credit.  She always did things to build up the strength of her family and lift up the individual members, constantly reminding them of how important and precious they are.  She always made them understand their potential, and encouraged them to follow their dreams.  We have been so fortunate to have her in our lives.
Verse 7 (not to be redundant) repeats the admonition to stay away from people of bad influence.  Young parents need to know when to start counseling their children on this.
Verse 9 is another indictment against the foolish person.  When he is advised to make amends for his actions, he simply makes fun of the very mention of it.  This is a sure tell.
Another sure tell is in verse 15.  A foolish person will believe anything.  He often gets “suckered” out of his money because he listens to fast-talking people.  Also related to this, I always liked the phrase “If you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything”.  Very few foolish people stand for anything that is Godly or wholesome.
Verses 17 and 29 speaks against the “quick-tempered”.  Quick-tempered people make a lot of mistakes, sometimes hurting other people as well as themselves.  These people often claim they were “born that way”.  Don’t you believe it!  A quick temper can be diminished down to an even-temperament with just a small amount of effort.
I like verse 23.  It always reminds me of certain people who waste hours and days talking about what needs to be done and how to do it, when all they need to do is stop talking, roll up their sleeves, and get started.
Verse 30 reminds us that envy will rot and burn our insides.
I’ll end this post with verse 34.  I love this great nation I was blessed to be placed in.  But I am concerned for it and my descendants.  We need to turn back to God and the Judeo-Christian principles that made us a great nation.  Perhaps all generations before me have said the same thing, but I truly believe there is a problem.

Nest post – Proverbs Chapter 15

Friday, January 3, 2014

CCXXI – Proverbs 8-11

Chapter 8 begins by professing that wisdom is available to everyone and calls for people to listen.  Then, beginning in verse 4, wisdom itself speaks as the writer.  This chapter was one of Solomon’s poems.  It is not only a plea to those who should be in search of wisdom, but also a praise to wisdom itself.

Chapter 9 is a good chapter, short but interesting.  In this chapter wisdom and folly are contrasted and are represented by two different women.  Both invite the simple into their respective houses and urge acceptance of what they have to offer.  Wisdom speaks in the first twelve verses and folly speaks in the last five.  Wisdom offers the food of life and understanding (vs 6).  Verse 10 repeats “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding”.  In contrast to what wisdom offers, folly entices with the lure of sex and immediate gratification, reminding the reader in verse 17 that “stolen food and drink tastes better”.  Although a fool understands little, he definitely understands the concept of the stolen fruit.  {During youthful years people begin to make choices that will not only effect their future, but in many cases will actually chart its course.  The writer (Solomon) in this chapter is laying out to the reader (his son) that the choice is clear, and urging him to make the right choice.  He presented the difference in such a stark manner that you will read in this chapter that he says one offers life while the other promises death.}


We somewhat shift gears at chapter 10.  The first nine chapters were written often in the form of poems, which were short stories, lauding wisdom and warning against foolishness.  Chapters 10-22 contain 375 different proverbs that are not grouped in any particular order.  They are what we would call “aphorisms”, which are concise statements of truth, generally short and easy to understand.  I’ve always enjoyed reading these.  The “Daily Bread” devotional I referred to earlier contained these aphorisms.  Many of them, how-be-they short, offer a contrast between wisdom and folly.  I could comment on almost every one of these, but I will practice restraint, and comment on a relative few select verses.  For example, look at the very first verse in chapter 10.  Herein should be sobering to a young person, charting the course for his/her life.  A wise son or daughter bring honor and joy to their parents and a foolish son or daughter brings grief, sadness, and shame.  If for no other reason, a young person should chose wisdom out of respect for his parents.  Verses 4 and 5 contrast the lazy and the diligent, warning of their respective outcomes.  I always liked verse 14 (I’ll use KJV) which says the wise man is cautious in speech.  To paraphrase, the wise man never tells everything he knows, while the fool never shuts up until he runs out of things he can tell.  Verse 17 is a good adage with which to teach the young.  A wise person, regardless of his age, will accept discipline and correction and learn from it, but a foolish person ignores the correction and instead of improving himself, he merely makes himself bitter toward his instructor.  This tells us that the “smart get smarter and the stupid get stupider”.  Their respective lives will reveal their youthful choices.
Chapter 11 continues with aphorisms.  The very first verse tells us that God detests a cheater.  In Old Testament times, the value of most items being bought and sold was determined by weight.  That remains true today.  Verse 1 mentions dishonest scales, scales made to misrepresent the exact weight, therefore cheating the customer.  In contrast, God is pleased when the merchant takes care to assure accurate weights, therefore honest business.  Verse 2 addresses the first of the six things God hates:  Pride.  As mentioned before, “Pride cometh before the fall”.  Pride and shame travel together, with pride in the forefront.  As pride leads, shame follows, usually immediately.    {It is so easy to get swallowed up in the trap of pride.  God blesses us with success and prosperity, making our “cup runneth over”.  As we enjoy the fruits of those successes and hear favorable comments from well-meaning friends and loved ones, it is easy to start giving ourselves undeserved credit.  We just need to somehow keep reminding ourselves that the only thing we deserve credit for is the sense enough to know Who the Author of our blessings is.  If we can keep this in mind, we can avoid the trap of pride and its awful consequences.}  Verse 4 reminds us that wealth is worthless in the day of wrath (Judgement Day).  Verse 10 is encouraging.  It indicates that society rejoices when a good man succeeds, and is happy when an evil man fails.  A caution is repeated in verse 15.  The word “stranger” is anyone who is not family.  Verse 21 promises that the wicked will not go unpunished.
And finally, I don’t want to end this post without addressing a subject that is touched on in various verses.  Many of the proverbs indicate that there will be prosperity enjoyed by the wise, due to diligence, honesty, and many more attributes of the wise.  But it is equally cautious (verse 28) about trusting in those riches.  One thing I must emphasize about this and other parts of the Bible:  Being successful and gaining wealth is not a sin.  God enjoys blessing His children with the finer things and a multitude of them.  But He is careful to make it clear that these blessings carry with them a stern warning:  One is never to lean on these riches for security or long life.  Neither is one to give himself credit for single-handedly gaining wealth.

Next post – Continuing with the aphorisms

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

CCXX - Happy New Year 2014

Think On These Things

To start this new year, I thought it would be appropriate to review as we do monthly and include the timeline to help keep events in perspective, as they are no longer written in calendar order after the book of Nehemiah.

We will pick back up on Proverbs chapter 8 in our next post.

The Creation
Adam and Eve
The Fall
Cain Kills Abel
Noah and the Ark
Noah's Son:  Shem, Ham, and Japheth
Tower of Babel
Sodom and Gomorrah
Isaac Is Born
Hagar and Ishmael
Abraham Tested
Isaac and Rebekah
Jacob and Esau
Stolen Birthright
Jacob's Ladder
The twelve sons of Jacob = Israel
Joseph the Dreamer
Joseph and Potiphar’s Wife  =  Prison
Cupbearer and Baker
Joseph and Pharaoh
Jacob's Son's Reunite
Israel Goes to Egypt
400 Years of Slavery in Egypt
Moses is Born
God Commissions Moses
Ten Plagues of Egypt
The Exodus
Israel Through the Wilderness
The Ten Commandments
The Tabernacle
The Ark of the Covenant
The Golden Calf
Levitican Law
Forty Years in the Wilderness
Twelve Spies sent to Canaan
Moses Gives Final Sermons
Joshua Replaces Moses as Leader of Israel
Rahab the Canaanite Prostitute
Crossing the Jordan; 12 Stones
Battle of Jericho
Land Allotments for the 12 Tribes
Baal and Ashteroth
Gideon Lays Out the Fleece
Samson and Delilah
Ruth and Boaz
Hannah Dedicates Samuel
Saul - Israel's First King
David and Goliath
Jonathan, David's Friend
The Ark Returns to Jerusalem
David and Bathsheba
Solomon Crowned King
The Temple in Jerusalem
Rehoboam and Jeroboam
Leaders Matter
The Ungodly Kings of Israel
The Godly Kings of Judah
The Fall of Israel to Assyria
The Fall of Judah
The Three Groups Return and Rebuild Jerusalem
Queen Esther and Mordecai
Job Afflicted by Satan
Psalm 23
Proverbs – Words to Live By

 An Historic Timeline

>  Approx. 4000 BC - Creation
>  Approx. 2300 BC - The Flood
>  Approx. 2000 BC - Abraham
>  Approx. 1900 BC - Israel settles in Egypt
>  1800 BC - Death of Joseph
>  1780-1380 - Egyptian Bondage/Slavery
>  1380 BC - Moses - The Exodus
>  1380-1340 BC - Wandering in the Wilderness
>  1340-1300 BC - Joshua Enters and Conquers the Promised Land
>  1300 BC - Twelve tribes allotted land
>  1300-1050 BC - The Judges
>  1050 BC - The Israelites insisted on having a king like other nations
>  1050 BC - Saul is made king of all twelve tribes of Israel
>  1010 BC - David conquers the land for the kingdom
>  970-930 BC - Solomon is the last king of the united Israel
>  930 BC - The nation Israel is divided
>  930 BC - Jeroboam becomes king of ten tribes (Israel)
>  930 BC - Rehoboam becomes king of two tribes (Judah)
>  722 BC - Israel falls and is taken captive by Assyrians
>  586 BC - Judah falls and is taken captive by Babylonians
>  537 BC - First exiles return from 70 years Captivity with Zerubbabel
>  522 BC - Temple construction stopped by opposition
>  520 BC - Rebuilding of Temple Resumed
>  516 BC - Temple Finished and Dedicated
>  458 BC - Second exile group returns to Jerusalem with Ezra
>  445 BC - Third exile group returns with Nehemiah, City of Jerusalem re-              established
>  430 BC - Books of Nehemiah and Malachi written
>  *** 400 years of silence ***
>  2 BC - Birth of John the Baptist

Next post  -  Proverbs chapter 8