Proverbs 30-31: Appendixes.

October 22, 2014.

Daily Reading: Proverbs 30-31.

Background: Proverbs 28-29.

Concepts and Connections.

Chapter 30

The words of Agur: As we approach the final two chapters of the book of proverbs, it is interesting to note that these are not proverbs of Solomon, but attributed to other people (though some would say that these people are just other names for Solomon, though there is no evidence to suggest this). The author of this chapter, Agur the son of Jakeh, is mostly unknown to history besides this wiring. It is important to note, however, that both of these passages are referred to as oracles/prophecies, which implies divine inspiration. Agur begins by humbling himself before God, indicating that it is not his wisdom or intellect that can show anything, but rather the wisdom and word of God that always proves true.  We are warned not to add to His words, lest we be rebuked by God, for we do not know the mind of God (see also Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32, and Revelation 22:18). Then Agur makes a wise statement, asking for neither poverty or riches and for only the food that is needful. This level of balance in our earthly wealth is very wise and helps us to keep from stumbling into either pride or jealousy. There is a focus on honesty here, as Agur asks the Lord to remove falsehood and lying from him, and then warns never to slander a servant to his master. Then he goes into a discourse about those who do evil, cursing their parents, not seeing their own evil, prideful, evoking strife and oppressing the poor and needy. Later we see that the adulteress pretends that she has done nothing wrong (v. 20). A discussion on satisfaction is begun in verse 15, as we see spoiled children and four things that are never satisfied: Sheol, the barren womb, thirsty land and persistent fire. Then we are shown that it is not wise to mock a father or score to obey a mother. For much of the remainder of the chapter, categories containing four things each are laid out. Four things that are hard to understand: the way of the eagle in the air, serpent on the land, ship in the sea and man when he lies with a virgin. Four things that cause the earth to tremble: a slave turned king, a fool given food, an unloved woman married and a servant who replaces her mistress. Four things that are small but very wise: Ants as they prepare for the future, rock badgers as they without strength make their home in the cliffs, locust as they march in rank with out a king, and lizards that are small but find their way into great places. Four things that are stately in stride: the lion, the rooster (depending on translation), the he-goat and a king with his army. Finally, Agur ends with a call to the foolish and evil to turn from their ways, as what they are doing will eventually lead to their downfall.

Chapter 31

The words of King Lemuel: As we reach the final chapter in the book of proverbs, we again see that it is not attributed to Solomon, but rather an unknown king named Lemuel (some again say this name, which means “unto God” is referring to Solomon, but it is widely disputed). It is important to note, as in the last chapter, however, that this is still called an oracle/prophecy. Perhaps one of the most famous passages in the book of Proverbs comes from the latter potion of this chapter. Lemuel begins with the oracle that his mother had taught him, as she gives him practice advice for being king. He should not be too swayed by women, nor give away his secretes to those who might rise up against him using this information. Kings should also avoid wine and strong drink, as they hinder judgment and would put the king in a position of not ruling properly. It is interesting to note here that wine and strong drink are rather advised for the one who is perishing or in bitter distress. Lemuel is reminded to speak for those who cannot speak, and stand for the rights of the destitute. Kings should judge righteously and defend the rights of the poor and needy. Then he moves on to the famous passage which praises the woman who fears the Lord. This section (v. 10-31) is actually an acrostic poem, in which each line starts with the succeeding letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Here, we see that her value is far above jewels and earthly wealth, as her husband trusts in her and does not lack. Her hard work is praised, ever sacrificing and working to provide for her home, not neglecting the poor and needy. Her husband is known in the gates (indicating a godly couple) and she is clothed with strength and dignity. Note here that these sayings were probably quite revolutionary for the culture and time period, showing that the Lord has always lifted women above the standard that so many cultures and time periods have unfortunately set for them. She is shown to be prepared, wise and teaching with kindness, never idle. She is blessed by her children and praised by her husband. Charm and beauty are fleeting, but the fear of the Lord establishes a good marriage. Let us praise her in the gates.

Tomorrow’s Reading: Obadiah 1.

Peace and rest.

-Walter

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