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.

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