Bible Proverbs Explained
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3: 1Heavenly promises seem detached from Earths realities. The promise of health, wealth and prosperity can be misleading. These proverbs are proverbs of probabilities rather than the immediate reality.
The law alluded to here are the ten commandments and general catechetical teachings that revolve around the ten commandments. Among the Jews they have the Torah, which are the teachings (10 commandments), and the Catechism (Misrah) which expounds on the same. In following the law one is able to produce Hesed and Emeth.
Hesed is Mercy, kindness, loyal love, to those unable to help themselves.
- Joseph sought his brothers filial love in the promise that when he died, he would be taken to the promised land
- Naomi uses this term, to describe Boaz kindness to Ruth, in filling his familial obligations.
The Emeth person is the one you trust; they are faithful and can be counted upon. Christ is both Hesed and Emeth.
3:2 The teaching will bring you shalom (peace and prosperity) harmony with God and man and thus avoid conflict
3: 3This is about one’s usefulness in society, by helping the helpless (by being kind and faithful). We are meant to carry this attitude and teachings around our necks (meaning it should be ingrained in us). Bind the teaching of Hesed (helping the helpless) around your neck. Don’t forget the teaching. To the poor conduct yourself with righteousness, justice and equity.
3:4-8A Promise that you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Immerse yourself in God’s word and your interior and external life will change. You will begin to resonate with Him in all that you do. He will make your paths Yashar (straight and smooth). God knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to destruction. God is alienated from the way of the wicked. You will not stumble. Your paths are made straight.
Do not be wise in your own eyes, namely don’t be autonomous. Let Him come to mind first in all that you do. Put this into effect by always offering your first fruits. In fear of the Lord, submit yourself to revelation. Bones refers to psychological health
I interpret the issue of first fruits a little differently from others. What is offered to his priests is generally for the upkeep of the clergy and to aid the poor. We as Christians give what we can, we are not bound by mosaic law. Give more or less than 10% depending on your circumstances and inclination; there is in my view no penalty. Those nearest and dearest come first, then give what you can. A gift from God is first to take care of those under your care and then your neighbours.
The only thing I ask all my fellow Christians to be wary of, is not to give to wolves that wear priestly garb. Upkeep for the clergy is about basic living, and not Jets and Ferraris.
Promise of long life Proverbs 3:8-11Yes, there is a promise of long life, peace and even an increase (in this world and the one to come), but do so sensibly, caring for your nearest and dearest first. Honour means weight. If something has weight to me, then it has value and dignity. In honouring a person, you give them dignity and significance in the community.
When I give my wealth to the Lord, I am giving my skin to the Lord. Giving oneself to the Lord. I am honouring the Lord when I give. The skin protects the body and anything that acts in a similar manner does the same. Money is a form of skin, that you can run to, to resolve all your problems. In giving it out, you are sharing your skin with God.
Value of wisdom and its application to neighbors Bible Proverbs 3:13-35
Proverbs 3:13-18It shows the value of Wisdom to humanity in general, the value of wisdom to the Lord and then the value of wisdom to the son. Blessed is he who understands. Her value is greater than all the jewels on the earth; Honour, long life, peace, prosperity, psychological and physical wellness.
Gold is good, but what use is Gold without genuine friends? Beauty is good, but what good is it without love? A woman’s jewellery is good, but what good is it without the love of he who gives it?
Blessed, Ashra in Hebrew, means “how rewarding is this way of life”, referring to future rewards based on the present relationship with God. Blessedness looks to the future. Wisdom puts food and fellowship around the table. She gives you a house as well as a home. She gives you the good things of life, as well as the love we want.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, the American essayist, says rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only real gift is a portion of yourself; what we all really want is for the other person to give themselves to us. It’s easier to give a gift, than it is to give yourself. It’s easier because one is an object, while the other is time. We are self-centred with respect to time. We live for ourselves instead of others.
The prodigal son, in not esteeming his parents, shamed his father by risking his life for something other than the honour due to his father. He risked all and failed. Instead of honouring his father (namely giving social weight to him), he risked his life for something unwise; self-centeredness.
Value of wisdom and its application to neighbors
Proverbs 3:13-35 The value of wisdom to the creatorWisdom separates chaos, by separation and demarcation. In Old Testament understanding, the sea is considered the abode of Chaos and dry land, order. It is an allusion to separate yourself from the wicked man and woman, and this entails making boundaries. The Lord will be at your side and he will keep you stable in your walking and protect you from being snared.
A neighbour is a person with whom one is brought into contact with, with whom one must live on account of life’s circumstances. Jesus defined it as one with whom you are brought into contact with, who needs your help. Do not help a bad neighbour; those morally bad. Do not hold good from the morally good. Also, you do good, only when you have the power to do good. If it is not within your ability, don’t! For example, if you take from your child or loved one, or if you have to borrow.
Galatians 6:10 Therefore as we have opportunity, let us do good, especially those who belong to the family of believers. (The family of believers are fellow Christians and anyone else that pursues the moral good).
In regards to the violent person verse Proverbs 3:31; the Hebrew word is Chamas or Hamas; namely terror or violence towards others out of greed or hate. For you reading this, Hamas may easily conjure up terrorist acts, which are palpable and easily understood e.g 9-11. However, what of the violence of greed? Some can be common sense e.g the war on drugs, but others are subtler e.g underpaying workers, driving people out of business simply for more profit, dominating the entire business value chain when there is really no need for it other than greed, substandard products etc the list is endless; note however, if you are not inculcated in this way of thinking, you would live your life thinking that such practices were normal.