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.

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