And there was a day – Job 1:13-22

Red and White Wine

13 And there was a day when his sons and his daughters [were] eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house:

They were in their eldest brother’s house, so the cycle of feasting had gone about, and Job had just offered his offerings to God for the family. He had just offered their sin offerings, their burnt-offerings, and had said I offer my family to God in dedication and service, and what happened. The Sabeans came down on Job’s oxen and his cattle and destroyed his servants and took the cattle away.

14 And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them:

15 And the Sabeans fell [upon them], and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

And while this man was telling Job of the appalling events, and while Job was pondering what happened, another said:

16 While he [was] yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

This was direct from God. Lightning came from heaven and destroyed and scattered all the sheep, and the servants were killed who tended them. It was a terrible storm.

17 While he [was] yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

These were not a series of chance events. There was a pattern to them of terrifying import.

18 While he [was] yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters [were] eating and Drinking wine in their eldest brother’s house:

19 And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

It was not simply a matter of taking away from Job his possessions. The adversary wanted to make it clear to Job that God abandoned him, and that men teamed up against him, and that everyone wanted to destroy him. It was clear to Job that God was involved in these events. God’s power caused these things. And God reduced him to nothing.

20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,

He rent his mantle, because he wanted to signal to all, that he was destroyed. He expressed in that action that he was heart-broken for his heart had been torn in two. Then he shaved his head. This is an action a man would take when he wanted to begin again. When you wanted to start fellowship with God you first shaved your head.

His thoughts were to start again. He fell down on the ground and worshiped God. His concern was that he had been separated from God, and he did not understand why. He did not enjoy being separated from God in any way, so he decided whatever it was that caused separation from God he would put away and begin again.

21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

Job did not abuse God as the adversary claimed he would. He simply said that God gave and now he has taken it back. And the adversary had been proven wrong. Job did not serve God simply because God made service a good financial proposition. That was not his motivation. The reason he served is one of the things we must come to. What was it that impelled this man to act in the way he did?

The adversary suggested that Job’s motive was greed, and he hoped to show his own virtue in contrast to Job, for God had shown him no favor at all, and yet he was still there. The plan backfired because Job was not the same person as he was. Even though Job was stripped of all he owned he held tight to his relationship with his Creator.

The Lord said to the adversary – Job 1:7-12

Explaining the Gospel

7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

The adversary was upset the question was asked, because it inferred there was something wrong with his worship. To him the sacrifice was a formal ceremony, with no need to examine himself. His answer expressed his resentment at the question. He was saying, you have no right to ask. The question was an invasion of his privacy. No one has a right to question me about where I have been and what I have been doing. It is an evasive and an impolite reply. He did not answer specifically. He avoided the point of the question. He was saying, you should be thankful that I am here at all.

Questioning me about where I have been, and what I have been doing, suggests I have not been doing what I should.

8 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that [there is] none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

Why do you not serve me like Job serves me? Why do you not follow his example? He is a person of whom I approve. The request to consider Job represented a rebuke to the adversary, and he took it hard. His reaction was: My life is compared with Job’s life. What right has anyone to compare me to Job? If I am going to be compared with Job, then there are a few things that ought to be said. You claim that Job is a man of integrity and of dedication, but what you fail to consider is that he is in a better position to do it than I am. If you are going to make comparisons you need two things that are alike. You have given Job advantages that were not available to me, so any comparison is irrelevant. Make him suffer the way I have suffered, and it might mean something.

9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.

Life has been easy for Job. He has not had to suffer any hardship. You have put a hedge around him so he is protected from misfortune. His possessions and his family are not at risk. He has not had to face any real problems. But looking back over my life I have had to deal with tragedy after tragedy. I have to work my fingers to the bone to make ends meet.

Everything he touches turns to gold. He has never suffered humiliating failure that has plagued me. His life has been one of joy and prosperity. He sails through life without a care in the world, and you dare draw him to my attention and ask why I am not living up to the standards that he sets for himself.

If you had done for me, what you have done for him, then the picture would be different. You would have the right then to expect more from me under those circumstances. But I have been busy fulfilling my duties to house and family. I have to contend with hardship that few would survive, and you ought to be thankful that I am here at all, because I have received little help or encouragement from you.

You might say, we draw too much from the text, but I do not believe we do. You have to realize that this person felt he was mistreated by this comparison. God’s expectation was unfair.

11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.

Take away from Job what you have given him, and then make the comparison. Take away all that you have given him and see how he stands. He will turn around and curse you, because of the bitterness he will feel toward you. You have never given anything to me but I am not bitter. I do not show resentment because I have had such a hard time. I have made it on my own, but I still come along. So do not compare me with Job.

What was the Lord to do under these circumstances? He brought Job forward as an example, and the comparison was rejected immediately. There was only one thing that he could do, and that was to test Job. But even the test would only achieve the purpose if this man decided what the test should be. God challenged this man to determine a suitable test, to see if his opinion of Job could stand.

12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath [is] in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

The adversary devised what he felt was a reasonable sequence of events given the comparison being made. What he devised, related to the circumstances of his own life. While this test is severe, and we marvel at the things that happened to Job, this test was decided by this man because he thought it was a just test. He thought it was a test that would enable a true comparison to be made between himself and Job.

Have you considered my servant Job – Job 1:1-6

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Many have tried to unravel the mystery that is Job and have drawn faulty conclusions. As a result, it is a book people read but do not study. Everyone has a view on Job and what happened to him, and many are wrong. It concerns the way God deals with us as sinners. It is a debate about what we are to do to find our way back to God. It asks “what is true.”

You need to approach this as a challenge. The story is going to attack your opinion and put you in your place. When you know the result you will not be disappointed.

The question is; on what basis are God and man reunited? How are they made one again, after sin has created a gulf between them? What are the principals of the atonement?

Consider a brief outline of the book. Chapter one and two give details of events that result in Jobs sufferings. They must be understood before any sense can be made of the following chapters. What follows then is a debate, between Job and his three friends about his sufferings and the ways of God. When the debate is finished we have a monologue, where Job summarizes the issues and invites God to answer charges he made. Elihu then puts his position, and finally God enters the argument and resolves the matter to satisfy all.

The book is a debate between Job and his three friends. It goes in cycles. From chapter three Job cries out in alarm about his sufferings, and his three friends listen to his complaint. They feel they ought to say something so Eliphaz offers his advice. Job answers Eliphaz, and then Bildad has a few words to say. Job answers Bildad and then the third of the three friends Zophar, contributes. When Job answers Zophar, the cycle begins again. Eliphaz speaks and then Bildad and Zophar, Job answering them on each occasion. The intensity of the argument builds, and tempers are frayed. There is a third and final round of debate, where Eliphaz and Bildad speak but Zophar fails to come forward. He is defeated. The debate is over. Job has silenced his friends, and is left to consider the problems on his own.

At that point the problems are by no means resolved. There are unanswered questions. There are issues to address and Job is confused. He complains again, and blames God for his problem. Then God answers him, first through Elihu, and then by speaking directly to him. Right there, we have what could be a problem for us, because the difficulty here is who is right, and opinions vary. But then that is how you get at the truth. You always question why you draw the conclusion you do, because it is likely to be the result of a faulty view of our world.

Do you think the Christian Church has doubts about its teaching? Is any religious group going to confess the foundation of their belief is unsound? They will not, and they do not. So what is it that makes one person wrong and another person right? The answer here rests in the spirit of those assessing or evaluating the evidence. If you are prejudiced the truth will elude you.

The subject is God’s dealings with us. We are talking about the atonement. There is no other subject in the book of Job than the atonement. Only one subject is discussed. This makes people squirm. They do not like to be hedged in like this. But we want the truth, and we will examine the words carefully to find it.

Chapter 1

1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name [was] Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.

God made this statement about Job. A testimony to the character of a man cannot be given in more eloquent terms. When it says he was perfect, it does not mean he was perfectly obedient in the sense that he did not commit sin. It means perfect in the sense of complete. He was a well-balanced character. He was not eccentric and he was not out of balance. He was not simply a religious fanatic who failed to face the reality of life. Here was a well-rounded man. He was not as you would often see in men of power and influence a man with narrow obsessions that limit their usefulness to issues that suit their particular interests.

He was upright. He was honest. He was straight in all his dealings, he would give his word, and if it cost him anything, then he would pay the price. He did not avoid his commitment.

He was one that feared God. That is an expression in the Old Testament scripture which is related to his faith, here is a man who had an awareness of the existence and the power of God as his creator, and he feared him. Not only so, he eschewed evil, or he ran away from evil. When he could get caught in something evil Job ran away, he did not want to be compromised or to offend God.

2 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.

3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; So that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.

Job was a wealthy man. The scriptures infer there is a connection between his godliness and his prosperity. Job felt that this was the case, and his conduct was consistent with a faithful use of God’s blessings.

Who are these men of the east? There is evidence in the details given about Job and his three friends to infer these were the children of Abraham who were sent away from Isaac. Eliphaz was a Temanite. We find that he was a descendent of Abraham through Esau, a fifth generation from Abraham. Bildad was a Shuhite. Shuah was the youngest son of Keturah. Zophar the Naamathite. He was a fourth generation from Esau. Elihu was a Buzite. Buz was Abraham’s nephew, and Uz, the land of Uz, is a land that was named after the firstborn of Nahor, Abraham’s brother. It would appear the book of Job was set in the period of the patriarchs, about the fifth generation from Abraham, somewhere between Joseph and Moses. There is no mention of the existence of the Law of Moses in the book, and it preceded that period, but it is patriarchal. Job was one of the first books of the Bible to be written.

It was Abraham who sent Keturah and her sons away from Isaac, but not until he taught them the Truth. Sending them away, while seeming harsh, was done with the approval of those concerned. When God says in Genesis “that I know Abraham that he will command his children and his household after him, they will keep the way of the Lord and do justice and judgment.” It means it was in his character to do it. He did not just send the children of Keturah away, he taught them the way of the Truth. He knew they could care for themselves. He sent away a community to become a light stand in a dark place. What we have here, is a group of men, who understood the Truth, who knew the God of Israel, who knew the God of Abraham and knew him well. This man Job was the greatest of them.

4 And his sons went and feasted [in their] houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.

Many people have seen something sinister in this. They say his children were not like Job. This feasting is inappropriate conduct for the sons and daughters of God. Job, like many wealthy parents, failed to control his sons and daughters. They were living the good life. But consider this; Job’s sons and daughters were as conscientious in the Truth as Job himself. They enjoyed the benefits of Job’s prosperity. Job was wealthy and had servants in his household. His children did not have to go out and work in the field to provide what they needed. They enjoyed one another’s company, which is desirable but not common in an adult family. What they did was done in a proper way. They feasted in their houses everyone his day, and sent and called their three sisters. They kept together as a family. The most enjoyable, and memorable activities of a family is the fraternal atmosphere of a celebration.

5 And it was so, when the days of [their] feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings [according] to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.

Job, as the head of the family, was the priest of that household. As the cycle of their feasts went about, Job, as his routine was, insisted that his sons and daughters be brought to him and he acted as priest on their behalf. He offered sin offerings, that they may be sanctified and set apart. Then, he offered burnt-offerings, to express dedication to the things of God. He was concerned they might, because of their ideal circumstance, consider they were independent of God, and say in their heart, that they do not need God. They would not say it out loud, he knew that, because outwardly they showed sincerity toward the things of God. They would not say it among their brethren, but they might say it in their heart. They might think that in the community, provided you do what everyone else does, so nobody knows, you can feign religious piety. In much the same way as we act out a role when watched, but become a different person when elsewhere. So Job was careful to ensure the family was reminded of their commitment and responsibility. To him this was an important part of the truth.

6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.

This was a regular occasion. This was something that Job and the family did when they gathered with those of different parts, together as an ecclesia.

It was not simply where the family of Job gathered. This was more a community affair. The ecclesia gathered on this special occasion. How often it took place we are not told, but it is a regular meeting. On this special day when the sons of God came to present themselves before God, the adversary came as well.

This is a most interesting passage, because so many people say, here is an example of an evil supernatural force using his power against an innocent and defenseless man. When you read carefully you find the Satan did not have any power to afflict Job at all. That means the terrible things that happened to Job were not caused by the Satan. Who then caused them? The scriptures say they were caused by God.

The immediate reaction of most people would be to ask why would God do such a thing? The answer is, because that is what the adversary wanted him to do. The adversary wanted Job to be tested to see if his worship of God was genuine. You must realize that God asked this person to change his ways, and serve God the way Job served him. The adversary claimed that he was a better person than Job, because Job’s worship was connected to all the things God gave him.

Take away those things you have given him and he will not worship you anymore. Notice what it says in verse 11 “put forth now your hand, and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” It was God’s power to be used against him. The adversary decided what the test should be, but it was God’s power that brought it about.

Notice in chapter 2 verse 3 in the middle of the verse it says; “And still he holds fast his integrity even though you move ME against him to destroy him without cause.” God claims it was his power. The adversary decided the test, but God is the only one with the power to carry it out.

Job believed it was the power of God, because he says in chapter 1 verse 21 “The Lord gave, the Lord has taken away, blessed is the name of the Lord.” And again, in reply to his wife he says in chapter 2 verse 10; “shall we receive good at the hand of God and shall we not receive evil?” We are happy to receive good things, we should, with the same grace, accept the bad things. So there is no doubt in Job’s mind whose power was used in this test against him. It was not a supernatural devil. There is no suggestion in the whole book that an evil force was involved. Nowhere in the debate is it suggested that anyone other than God made these things happen. Even at the end of the book it says in chapter 42 verse 11; “They comforted him over all the evil that THE LORD brought on him:” All his friends and relatives recognized it as the hand of God.

It is important first to realize the expression “the Satan” is not a proper noun and therefore should be given a meaning like every other Hebrew word. The Satan means “The adversary” and should be translated that way wherever it occurs.

This individual was an adversary to God, and as such, was no-more guilty than every other person who opposes the ways of God. What made this person different was that he presented himself as if he were one of the son’s of God.

These sons of God are thought by many to be angels. This conclusion is invalid and we will not discuss this subject here, because, as you know, men and women are called the sons and daughters of God.

Who then was this adversary? He was a man who thought he had the right to be there. He considered he was one of the sons of God. He came to a regular gathering of the believers claiming he was one of them.

There is no suggestion the adversary had any power of his own. The adversary was a man. The most common retort is: if he was a man then identify him. There is no way to do this unless God tells us who he is, and he has been careful not to. That of course does not stop people speculating, which seems to be an obsessive pastime. We are not intended to know, for a good reason which will emerge in our study. I can tell you however who it was not. It was not Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar or Elihu or anyone remotely connected with the debate. None of them knew anything of what occurred in chapters one and two. Had they known, then the debate would not have taken place, because they would know why he suffered.

It was usual in the days of the patriarchs for the one who was the oldest in the family to become the High Priest. The one who acted as mediator between God and man, the one who took the offerings and examined them, as was expected in those days.

When a man came before God and offered a sin offering, he was saying the perfect animal is offered to express the way he ought to be, that is, innocent and without blemish. It would not do if that animal was maimed or lame. The person making the offering would take special care to ensure that it was a perfect animal for this exercise, and the Priest would examine the offering made. The most obvious question for the Priest to ask is; why do you need to make this offering? “Where have you been and what have you been doing?” This is the ceremony that took place just as we have it recorded in the law. Much of the law was borrowed from things done prior to the days of Moses. Men were experienced in this same cycle of events. They were to present themselves before the Lord, and you can only present yourself with a sin offering. Cain learned that lesson, when he tried to offer the food he had grown, and he was told to offer a lamb.

This man boldly brought forward his sin offering, and offered it to the Lord. The Priest, speaking for the Lord, asked, as he was obliged to do, “whence comest thou,” where have you been, and what have you been doing? You present yourself before the Lord with a sin offering, but where have you been, and what have you been doing.

The Book of Job

The cover shows a religious lady confident in her way.

The most amazing story

SUMMARY OF JOB CHAPTERS

I am not the author of this book, just the presenter. God wrote this story and I gave the sense to English readers. The book of Job is Hebrew poetry so in the English some of the sense is lost in translation. We have managed to preserve this sense for our English readers. The following is a list of chapter titles to show the nature of the debate and organization of the book. On the right hand side it tells us who is speaking in the chapter. It captures the essence of the debate, and is a guide to where we are in the argument. At the end of each line is the person speaking in each chapter.

My plan is to present about one third of a chapter of the Book of Job per Post. This way we will finish the book in about one hundred and twenty Daily Posts.

The Website is called “The 66 Books.” I remind you of this so you know what we are trying to do here.  So far we have looked at Science, Prophecy and the Bible as a subject, and then we have completed Ecclesiastes (The Preacher), Proverbs (The Book of Proverbs), Empire (The Prophecy of Nahum), The eight signs of John (John’s Gospel), Isaiah (The Index), so we can claim to have covered five of the 66 Books, and at the end of Job we will have completed six of the 66.  That is progress, so let us keep going in this direction.

  1. Ch 1 I only am escaped alone to tell you. Prologue
  2. Ch 2 And still he holds fast his integrity Prologue
  3. Ch 3 Why died I not from the womb? Job
  4. Ch 4 Whoever perished being innocent. Eliphaz
  5. Ch 6 How forcible are right words? Job
  6. Ch 8 Can a rush grow up without mire? Bildad
  7. Ch 9 He destroys the perfect and the wicked. Job
  8. Ch 11 Should a man full of talk be justified? Zophar
  9. Ch 12 The deceived and the deceiver is his. Job
  10. 15 Are the consolations of God small to thee? Eliphaz
  11. Ch 17 Upright men should be astonished at this. Job
  12. Ch 18 The light of the wicked shall be put out. Bildad
  13. Ch 19 All my inward friends abhor me. Job
  14. Ch 20 His bones are full of the sin of his youth. Zophar
  15. Ch 21 How oft is the candle of the wicked put out. Job
  16. Ch 22 Is not thy wickedness great?            Eliphaz
  17. Ch 23 My stroke is heavier than my groaning. Job
  18. Ch 25 How much less man that is a worm? Bildad
  19. Ch 26 How little a portion is heard of him? Job
  20. Ch 28 Where shall wisdom be found? Job
  21. Ch 29 When the secret of God was on my tabernacle. Job
  22. Ch 32 They found no answer and yet condemned Job. Elihu
  23. Ch 32 I am according to thy wish in God’s stead. Elihu
  24. Ch 34 Hear my words, O you wise. Elihu
  25. Ch 35 Think you this to be right? Elihu
  26. Ch 36 I have yet to speak on God’s behalf. Elihu
  27. Ch 37 He seals up the hand of every man. Elihu
  28. Ch 38 Gird up now thy loins as a man. God
  29. Ch 38 Will you hunt the prey for the lion? God
  30. Ch 40 Will you also disannul my judgment? God
  31. Ch 41 He is king over all the children of pride. God
  32. Ch 42 I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes. Job

INTRODUCTION

The middle verse of Isaiah 47 is the one that gives us the subject of the Book of Job. It reads: 8 “Therefore hear now this, [thou that art] given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I [am], and none else beside me; I shall not sit [as] a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children:” It is not Job who is invited to sit in the dust, but the ones who think they sit like a queen on the throne. These people claim God will care for them so they never lose their children or suffer any inconvenience.

Combine this with the first verse of Isaiah 47 and we read: 1 “Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: [there is] no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate.” The connection is not obvious because it speaks of a daughter of Babylon. We will all accept that the daughter of Babylon is the one who has a faulty religious argument, because God complains about her religious views in many places in the other books. The book of Job is a religious argument about how God deals with us, and how we are reconciled to him. We need to see that the one addressed here is not Job, who sat in the dust but the one who opposes him who is wrong. This one is invited to take Job’s place in the dust. This is the one who thinks she will never suffer because God will make sure of that.

And then the last verse of Isaiah 47 which is verse 15 “Thus shall they be unto thee with whom thou hast laboured, [even] thy merchants, from thy youth: they shall wander every one to his quarter; none shall save thee.” We are not there yet, but Job is called on to deliver his three friends in the end. But these people in Isaiah will not be delivered, for the merchants that were her friends cannot help themselves let alone help her.

My aim is to open the book of Job, to read clearly, to give the sense, and cause people to understand the reading. You should not concern yourself if the sense is obscure at first, because the matters dealt with are profound. The issues are important to those who wish to know the God of Job.

You should approach the study with an open mind, and reserve all judgment on the issues until you read the end of the book. Job must be viewed as a whole. Incorrect conclusions are drawn by commentators failing to note the context in which the argument appears.

There is no greater teacher than God. I have therefore avoided, as much as possible the temptation to go outside the book of Job to other scriptures to support the argument. All the questions raised in the book are answered by the book. While it may be useful to expand on a point to explain it in some other context, I have deliberately avoided doing this.

Writing this book started out as a commentary skipping like a butterfly from major point to major point, until I realized after many years I could not do justice to the intent of this extraordinary book by releasing it in that form. People had to capture the mood of the book, the flow of argument, the truth and error, the poetry. This is the single most important subject in history. Get this wrong and you will have trouble with everything else.

I remind you here that the 66 chapters of Isaiah connect with the 66 Books of the Bible, and chapter 47 relates to the Book of Job.

A help suitable to him – Proverbs 31:1-31

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Lazy fri13th

16  31:16   She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

He is the king.  She is his bride.  She must be a person suitable to him in his position.  So, she shows enterprise and does something other women do not do.  She has the funds, she has the time, all she needs is the enterprise, and she becomes an example to all in the kingdom.

1  31:1     The words of king Lemuel, the prophesy that his mother taught him.

1  31:31   Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

His mother taught him these things, and so he wrote them down.  She wanted him to find a good partner to help him govern the people.  Much of what we come across in Proverbs involves finding a suitable partner.  One to avoid is the strange woman, or one of another country who worships strange gods.  You need a woman of independent mind, who has her own strategy for making things happen in a right way.  What she does will establish the praise she gets from those who observe.

2  31:2     What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?

2  31:30   Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.

That would you choose?  You have spent  time with your mother, surely you would look for someone with the same values as she has, and hope the one you choose will be a mother and wife like she has been to your father.

Graciousness is deceitful because it is done for show, beauty is empty and says nothing about her.  What you need more than anything else is a woman who fears God, because she is one who has wisdom.  If she is of eligible age and has not got wisdom she will have to go back around, because the time to get it has past.

3  31:3     Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.

3  31:29   Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

As the king you know you need to excel, for the people depend on it, and so you need one who can excel alongside you.  The virtuous woman is the one you need, and you will love her because she has made herself lovely.  She is not the reason for your being, she is someone who will help you be who you are.  Kings have a special role.

4  31:4     It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:

4  31:28   Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

You would not waste time in the drinking house with the  men who gather there, you know that much, so why would you consider marrying someone out of step with your main aim.  In the end it is all about your children, and if they are going to stand in her presence and applaude her, then you have your ideal partner.

5  31:5     Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.

5  31:27   She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

The reason you will not spend your time in the presence of riotous men in the drinking halls is you do not want to forget who you are, and what you do.  You are to manage the law and exalt that office, and nothing will intrude or compromise that.  And on the other front, the most compelling concern is the welfare of your household and provisioning all who are under your care.  Would you put any of that at risk?

6  31:6     Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.

6  31:26   She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

There might be a reason others may do that, but it is not your reason, for you do not have those problems.  In the same way you need someone who can represent you in other forums where her work is observed, and it must be complimentary to the work you do as king.

7  31:7     Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.

7  31:25   Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

None of these problems are your problems so you have no need of their solution.  And if you choose a virtuous woman then you will not have to worry about all the problems other people have, because your wife will do you well all the time.  She will be part of you.  It will not be all about her.

8  31:8     Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.

8  31:24   She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.

You represent all the people, especially those who cannot attend to their own matters.  You need to stand up and speak for those who cannot stand up and speak.  Your wife will have to do things she would not normally be called on to do as well.  It is a working relationship and other people settle what must be done in your role.

9  31:9     Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.

9  31:23   Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

Your time is not your own.  The problems you have to deal with are not of your making, they involve people who cannot help themselves.  You will be tied up in matters that do not relate directly to your own interests, and these will consume your days.  If the matters of your own house are not attended to then you must do them when these other things are finished.  That workload will be too much, unless you wife takes on much of the load.

10  31:10   Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

10  31:22   She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

You will need a virtuous woman.  And when you find her she will make everything possible for you.  She will do things in keeping with your station, and make provision for things suitable to your role in the nation.  Everything must be fit for a king.

11  31:11   The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

11  31:21   She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet

You will not need to worry about things others worry about, because your wife will attend to that.  She will work to the budget and balance the books.  She will attend to all necessary things, and keep the household running smoothly.  She will have her helpers, but she must organize them, and that is not a simple job.

12  31:12   She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

12  31:20   She stretcheth out her hand   to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

She will be a help necessary to him and all her work will enhance who he is, and what he does.  And she will do this until death parts them.  She will do all the things you do not have time and opportunity to do, and she will notice what must be done that you do not see.

13  31:13   She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

13  31:19   She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

She will work to develop skills essential to allow her to do what she must do.  She will not allow her limited skills to confine her, but will go out and get the skills she needs.

14  31:14   She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

14  31:18   She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.

She will reach out and do what others would not imagine they can do, for she has resources available others do not have.  And she will attend to the necessary things until they are complete, because she does not fail for lack of effort.

15  31:15   She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

15  31:17   She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

She rises to all occasions and gets things done, because she can see her role as the organizer and overseer.  She is running an enterprise, and if she does not perform her role as manager then all will crumble.  She knows she must be strong because she is the wife of the king, and nothing will prevent her from this duty.

He went wrong at the start – Proverbs 30:1-32

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17  17   The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.

You may think this is a strange subject for this group, but it is a strange group.  We have considered advice from father and mother and the why’s and wherefore’s of being upright in our ways.  Well, those who despise this advice ought to be aware the penalty is serious.  Agur has two students he is trying to convince to take the right road.

1  1      The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophesy: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal,

1  33    Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth strife

If you antagonize people you know what you will get.  This is not rocket science.  You churn milk and get butter, you wring someone’s nose and get blood, so if you force people into a corner to make them yield you will get strife, because they are not going to yield without a struggle.  The proverbs are all about common sense.

2  2      Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.

2  32    If thou hast done foolishly in lifting up thyself, or if thou hast thought evil, lay thine hand upon thy mouth.

One of the important steps in the procedure is to recognize how frail and susceptible you are yourself.  Agur admits he is as likely to fail to do right as they are, and warns them not to try to defend their faulty actions.  Just shut your mouth.  No one wants to hear about why you did it, they just want to know you will not do it again.

3  3      I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.

3  31    A greyhound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up.

You are frail and faulty but you are to rise to the top of the line so you are a good example of one who strives to do right.  The greyhound is the swiftest of its kind, the he goat is the toughest and fearless of its kind, the king against whom there is no uprising is the most just and powerful of his kind.  And this is what we are striving to be, all those things wrapped up in one package.

4  4     Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists?

4  30   A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any;

On what pretext do we put ourselves forward as better than others.  Have you ascended to God, are you actually like him?  Have you been anywhere that others have not been or done things others have not done?  Then who are you, but just one of them.  You might be one of them but you intend to be the strongest one of them, and you intend to be afraid of nothing.  Does that give you opportunity to boast?  I would not think so.

5  5     Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

5  29   There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going:

You talk about purity.  The only thing that is pure in this world is the word of God.  There are three things that go well, and you may even think of a fourth, but there are not many.

6  6     Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

6  28   The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces.

If you add to the words of God you corrupt them, they are no longer pure, they are contaminated by your input.  The kings court is not contaminated by the presence of a gecko, but God’s words are contaminated by the things you add to them.

7  7     Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die:

7  27   The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands;

There are only two things.  There are only two ways.  Life is not all that complicated.  The complication comes from what you have added to the word of God.  The two things are presented in Proverbs.  You do right or you do evil, and they both exclude the other so you cannot do both.  The locust knows what to do and you ought to know what to do as well.  You do what you should do in company with those of like mind, in bands.

8  8     Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:

8  26   The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks;

This is the focus.  Vanities and lies are to be removed far away.  And so I am not distracted, just give me enough to get by, this way I can get on with what I need to do.  And even though I have no strength to do what others do I will run into the refuge made available by God and be as safe as can be.

9  9     Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.

9  25   The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;

These distractions are so insidious they are a great threat.  It is so easy to lose sight of the goal and even do something for which I would be ashamed.  Ants do not lose focus.  They know exactly how to go, and where to go, and they just get on with it.  They do everything they need to do within the time available, and they survive even though they are under threat from all quarters.

10  10   Accuse not a servant unto his master, lest he curse thee, and thou be found guilty.

10  24   There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise:

Imagine a person with a complaint against another.  Who does he tell.  He can only report it to God, and when God hears of it and unravels the circumstances he finds you have the wrong end of the stick.  What are you going to do then.  You are the one who is at fault and God is the one with the complaint.  You need to be smarter than that.  Just get out of the habit of complaining about other people, and get on with what you have to do.

11  11   There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.

11  23   For an odious woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress.

You will come across things that are so obviously wrong.  The idea of a child cursing his father is just so wrong.  And failing to bless his mother is just faulty thinking.  An odious woman when she is married is still an odious woman only she has somebody to drive mad who cannot get away.  And the handmaid who becomes the mistress is just not going to get anything right.  So puzzling about what happened here is unnecessary.  Everybody knows.

12  12   There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.

12  22   For a servant when he reigneth; and a fool when he is filled with meat;

How can he be pure in his own eyes when he has the marks of his excrement all over him.  No one looking at him is going to assume he is pure.  He has deluded himself and he must change if he is to be pure.  Even so a servant who assumes the throne, must be re-educated before he can take up his new position, as does the fool when he is gets what he wants.  They all need to be trained in what to do next, because the pure is still impure, and the servant is still a servant, and the fool is still a fool.  We all need to be trained.  That is the most obvious thing in the world.

13  13   There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up.

13  21   For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear:

There are only a few things that you must fix and most important among them is discrimination for whatever reason.  The generation who does this, will offend God without even trying.  It will be the cause of the most serious crimes of humanity.

14  14   There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor .

14  20   Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wrong.

The next most serious fault of humankind are the lies.  I have done no wrong says she, as she wipes her mouth after she has had her fill.  These people are predators and they know they are predators.

15  15   The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough:

15  19   The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea;.

The next most serious fault in humankind is the person who believes they can suck the blood out of some other person so they can live.  To do this they need to leave no trace of their actions.  Just as the eagle does not leave any trace in the air, nor the serpent leave any marks on the rock, nor a ship leave a trail in the sea.  They do however suck the blood out of their victim with no real intent of saying it is enough.

16  16   The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough.

16  18   There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not:

And the next most serious fault in humankind is the one who allows desire to run away so it becomes all consuming.  You cannot satisfy the grave, or the barren womb, or the desert land with water or the fire that still has fuel.  These four things cannot say enough, and nor can the person who has rampant desire.

The faithful king – Proverbs 29:1-27

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14  29:14  The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever.

The king has only one thing to focus on and that is the welfare of those who cannot look after themselves.  You do not have to worry about the wealthy because they have friends and associates, and they can afford to pay for counsel and advisers.  The king must ensure it is not checkbook justice, but everyone’s matter is properly heard.  If the king gets into this mode of thinking, then he will be faithful in everything.

1  29:1    He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

1  29:27  An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.

It is no surprise resentment exists between the just and the unjust.  Those who refuse to be disciplined and rally the forces around their cause are going to meet opposition, because it is unjust.  Justice involves truth and if truth is obscured for reasons that are party or family, then it is no longer true, it is what the parties make it.  An unjust man is going to be opposed by the just, and the upright man is going to be opposed by the wicked.  This is how it goes.

2  29:2    When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

2  29:26  Many seek the ruler’s favour; but every man’s judgment cometh from the LORD.

Control of the agenda can vary depending which side is ascendant at the time.  When the just rule, then the many are happy, and when the wicked rule then the few are happy.  Everyone will try to get the ruler on their side, and they may win the day, but in the end God is the one who will resolve the matter properly, and sometimes the just have to wait.  It is as well to know what forces are in play.  One or other has the run of it, and the wicked scream blue murder when it changes.

3  29:3    Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.

3  29:25  The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

You get to choose the side you are on.  If you are on the side of the just then your father will be happy, because he hoped all along you would choose well.  If you keep company with people who do not care about values then you enter that world.  In that world they are only concerned with the advantage to them, and they love to live in a world with latitude to work their brand of evil.  They are always looking over their shoulder, because there is no trust in that world.  The just stay away from them and trust in God, and therefore can feel safe.

4  29:4    The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.

4  29:24  Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and betrayeth it not.

The king sets the agenda and those who live in the kingdom follow the rules.  Those who take gifts undermine good government and are working against what the king has established.  If you do not speak out against the thief you are in partnership with him.  You know what he is doing and you allow this to go on in the kingdom against the interests of the king and law and order.  You should be punished with the thief, even though you do not receive a benefit or gift from him.  Your behavior is no different from the one who took the bribe.  Your silence is evidence of your corrupt behavior.

5  29:5    A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet.

5  29:23  A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.

The wicked are always on the prowl for those they can use to further their cause.  They use flattery to get you on-side, and when you are at ease they shut the trapdoor and hold you tight.  If you are a proud person you will be susceptible to flattery.  The people who are recruited are called “henchmen” and they are as corrupt as the leader.  A person of a humble spirit would not even think about challenging the established order of things, so he is not going to be influenced by these people.  He could not hold up his head and look people in the eye when they discover he is corrupt, so they do not do dodgy things.  A henchman does not care if you know.

6  29:6    In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice.

6  29:22  An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.

They will try to catch the righteous, but they are not gullible and so manage to sidestep the tricks.  The people you need to avoid are the angry ones, because they are in the business of strife, and the furious ones are offending as they speak.  If you are fooled by them you are not wise.  The righteous have reason to sing and rejoice because in the end they do not fit the profile of the henchman.

7  29:7    The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.

7  29:21  He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become his son at the length.

The poor know who is trying to take them down, and they will soon see the person who is concerned for their welfare.  The wicked protest when you say the poor are unfairly dealt with, as if they share your concern for them, but it is just a lie, they do not care.  A master can gain the trust of a servant by the way he treats him, so the servant will honor him as he would a father in the end.  A servant would never be fooled by a wicked person trying to corrupt him.

8  29:8    Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath.

8  29:20  Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.

A few scornful men can put the whole city at risk by their manner.  The wise would not antagonize anyone, but would rather turn the anger away before it gets out of hand.  The enemy would walk away from a fool and count him as unimportant, but a man hasty in his words is likely to stir resentment, resulting in conflict that could well bring the city down.  We are protecting our family and our community and we are committed to keep them safe.  So you watch what you say.

9  29:9    If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.

9  29:19  A servant will not be corrected by words: for though he understand he will not answer.

In the previous couplet the enemy walk away from the fool because he is not worth the effort.  In this one the wise are advised to do the same because it is a fruitless cause, the fool will not let up, so you will not convince him.  If you chasten a servant you will not get through either, because he will yield whether he thinks you are right or not.  So know what you are dealing with, and there is a greater likelihood you will get where you want to go.

10  29:10  The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.

10  29:18  Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

There is a difference in attitude of the bloodthirsty and the just because the bloodthirsty would like to see the end of the upright, while the upright want to save the life of the bloodthirsty.  If you want to know who is right in the argument then identify the one who is most concerned for the victim in the matter.  The other party will be concerned about the welfare of the Perpetrator, but you can treat his concern with a grain of salt.  The vision is a world where there are no Perpetrators and bloodthirsty people, so keep this vision in front of your gaze, and you will soon work out who is right and who is wrong.

11  29:11  A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.

11  29:17  Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.

Listen to the story and then evaluate the information.  A fool will tell all in what way the other person failed to do this or that, or appeared to be doing something they should not.  The wise will only speak of the relevant and important things, because he wants the matter to be properly resolved.  These things get off the track early in life when the son is not corrected.  He grows up to believe you can do wicked things and get away with it.

12  29:12  If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.

12  29:16  When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall.

The ruler is the one who gives the Perpetrator the idea he can behave badly and not be caught.  When there are many then it gets a bit out of hand.  The lies multiply until it becomes so bad cracks form in the walls of their city and in the end it crashes down in a torrent of recrimination and self-justification.  The righteous just stand back and watch it crumble.

13  29:13  The poor and the deceitful man meet together: the LORD lighteneth both their eyes.

13  29:15  The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

These two classes do come together.  God is the one who allows the one to see and the other to remain in the dark.  He will chasten the deceitful one if he cares for him, just as a parent would discipline a child who enjoys unconditional love.  They must yield in the end.  If they want to be a king they need to be faithful.

When the wicked rule over the poor – Proverbs 28:1-28

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14  28:14  Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.

14  28:15  As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.

The subject here is the second line of this couplet.  It is all about a wicked king ruling over a poor people.  He is like a roaring lion and a raging bear because he wants more, but the people are poor and he cannot get it.  He has hardened his heart and has decided to become an oppressor.  He is an unhappy man, because he cannot make anything happen to his satisfaction.  Happy is the man that fears God always.  This is a king who is not happy.

1  28:1    The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.

1  28:28  When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase.

The wicked king has every right to feel insecure.  He is not sure who is with him, and who will stand when the time comes.  There is no way the righteous will put themselves forward to help a wicked king govern the kingdom, because they do not agree with him and his policies, so they hide themselves.  These are the ones you want in your army, because they are as bold as a lion and will take the fight to the enemy in a just cause.  When the wicked king is deposed these people will re-appear and offer their services.

2  28:2    For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.

2  28:27  He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.

Princes are kings in waiting, and when the wicked rule then they are always in the wings anxious for the opportunity to stake their claim.  When a man of understanding is in control the princes have no ambition to take over, because they must get past the wise king, and opportunities do not present often.  As the ruler you are expected to see and know what is going on in your kingdom.  If you want to change the corrupt culture the princes enjoy, then attend to the needs of the poor.  Make it the policy of the kingdom to share the wealth and meet the needs of everyone in the community.  Pay special attention to the poor, and you will be applauded, and the corrupt people will hide themselves.

3  28:3    A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.

3  28:26  He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.

The wicked king of whom we speak is not rich, and this is why he is so angry.  For him to oppress the poor is like offering the only hope he has and then taking that away.  It is easy to oppress the poor because they have little and live on a knifes edge.  Every day the poor man hopes something good will occur and he will be delivered from the worst effects of his poverty.  He does not trust in himself, he trusts in the king.  When the king makes things worse than before, then he is in total despair.

4  28:4    They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.

4  28:25  He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat.

It is in everyone’s interest, and especially the poor, to follow the law, for if you do not then you support the wicked in their wickedness.  He poor have no way of dealing with the wicked so they are at greatest risk from them.  In an environment where they exist, you need to make sure you do not stir up strife, because they will come after you.  Your only hope is to put up with things that are wrong, and trust in God to see you through.

5  28:5    Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.

5  28:24  Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer.

The reason you have judgment is so the social system will work for all those involved.  Imagine the resentment of a mother and father if their son robbed them, and then told everyone it was  all right because the money is his anyway, on the basis he will get it when they die.  That is why you need judgment.  The son has no idea of ownership and right, this is why he can say it is reasonable to steal from his parents.  Those who seek God, understand these things and will respect them.  In doing this they do not offend anyone.

6  28:6    Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.

6  28:23  He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.

You can manage people who are upright, but you cannot manage people who are perverse, because you do not know what they are thinking.  You can deal with a man who tells it as it is, but you cannot deal with a person who is always hiding his intent by flattering you and others.  Once again, because you cannot tell what they intend to do.  Upright and straight people intend to be upright and straight, and that enables you to know where they are coming from.  The rich and yet perverse and flatterers do not think like upright people, and you do not know what they plan to do.

7  28:7    Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.

7  28:22  He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.

Riotous men do not obey good taste so they are not going to be deflected from having a good time just because of some obscure and irrelevant rule of law.  A wise person will not get involved with them, because they will offend in some way.  In the same way a person who is always trying to get rich quick is a person who has an evil eye.  He is going to offend, you can count on it, even if it is only in not being careful with his own money and everyone else’s money.  And when it all goes wrong, he will say, bad luck.  It was always going to go wrong because he has an evil eye.

8  28:8    He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.

8  28:21  To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress.

Banks make money by usury.  Usury is a progression of making money even when you do not produce anything.  Banks claim they offer a service and this is valued therefore people pay the usury.  We have a unique state in our world where Japan and America have destroyed the economy to such an extent they cannot charge usury or the economy will stop working.  It will stop producing, which is where the wealth comes from.  It is a faulty system and will break down and the poor will reap all the benefits.  At least the poor will not loose all their wealth.  Respect of persons is part of that system because only the wealthy can live in that world.  The wealthy seem to be upright and full of integrity, but they will sell their soul for sixpence.

9  28:9    He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.

9  28:20  A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.

We are all kings, even if the only people we govern are the members of our own family.  So anyone who turns his ear from hearing the law will make his request to God and God will turn away from hearing him.  If you are a faithful man you will abound with blessings because God will give them to you.  Anyone who makes haste to be rich will not be considered innocent by God.

10  28:10  Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession.

10  28:19  He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.

If in your haste to be rich scheme you devise, you cause the upright to go astray, then the trap you set for them will be the way you are trapped yourself.  The upright will survive but you will not.  If a person has the integrity to work for his living he will have plenty of bread.  The one who does not want to work for a living and intends to get wealth the easy way, will not have plenty of bread, he will have plenty of poverty.

11  28:11  The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out.

11  28:18  Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once.

The rich man will infer he knows the secret held close only for the select.  A poor man will ask questions to see if the way he got rich is a “Ponzy” scheme.  A “Ponzy” scheme is a pyramid where the last one into the scheme looses everything, or nearly everything.  The person who walks uprightly will be saved.  The people who work pyramid systems will fall suddenly.

12  28:12  When righteous men do rejoice, there is great glory: but when the wicked rise, a man is hidden.

12  28:17  A man that doeth violence to the blood of any person shall flee to the pit; let no man stay him.

When righteous men have reason to rejoice you can be sure there are no victims, and therefore everyone is going to rejoice, and none will be sad.  When the wicked rise to the top, real men run for cover.  They do not stick their head above the table, because they know if they do they will be the target.  Anyone who turns another person into a victim will go straight to the grave, and there is no one who can speak for them to prevent it happening.

13  28:13  He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

13  28:16  The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.

If we have done some of these things then the course to take is fess up.  Do not try to hide the fact for shame.  You have things to be ashamed of, so confess them and put the matter behind you.  If you hide it you will not prosper.  If you confess and abandon it then you will be forgiven.  Even though you are a prince, and stand in line to become a king, if you do not understand who “Ponzy” was, there is room for mercy.  The safest thing is to hate covetousness altogether, and never get involved.

How do you fix it – Proverbs 27:1-27

Jeune femme déterminée

14  27:14  He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.

This is not the act of a discrete person.  Here is a person who has no social skills.  If you are the friend greeted in this way, then you have a job to do to teach your new friend how to behave in polite society.  Everyone needs people to think well of them.  A blessing is fine, but not with a loud voice early in the morning.  The question is what are you going to do with this person?  He wants to be your friend but you must change him, because he must change, and he is not going to do it on his own.

1  27:1    Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

1  27:27  And thou shalt have goats’ milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens. 

How can you boast about what will happen tomorrow as if you control it and can guarantee what will occur.  God controls whether you wake up to face the day.  He is the one in control of tomorrow, and all he has guaranteed is goats’ milk enough for your food, food for your household, and enough to feed the servants in your house.

2  27:2    Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.

2  27:26  The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field.

How can you announce how wonderful you are and expect people to listen and agree?  As in the last couplet the second proverb answers the behavior.  What have you got that you did not receive?  You have lambs for clothing and God provided them.  You have goats that give you money to pay for the grain to plant in your field, and God provided them.  What have you got that you have not received?  So you fix it by telling him a few things about his position.

3  27:3    A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool’s wrath is heavier than them both.

3  27:25  The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered.

This same person in his indiscrete way expects everyone to put up with his angry outbursts.  People do not put up with these things, they usually vacate the area.  You may have to carry the stone, and you may have to carry the sand, but no one has to carry the weight of a fools anger.  So what do you say to him?  You ask him what he has to be angry about and then remind him God still provides the hay, and the tender grass, and the herbs grow in the mountains that he can gather at will.  So, what does he have to be angry about?  Anger is a reaction to things he thinks ought to be put right, as if things are not allowed to be wrong.  There are  things that are right in this world that do not have to exist but they do.  So why does everything have to be right, just because it suites you?

4  27:4    Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?

4  27:24  For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?

You say I have a right to be angry, but who gave you the right to be cruel?  Anger is not only cruel, it is outrageous.  In the practice of being angry you have committed the most unreasonable wrong, much more serious than the wrong you claim you set right.  And much of the aggravation is a product of your envy, and no one has to put up with that.  So you say to him, it will pass, nothing is forever, you will get over it, and it will be unimportant when things settle down.  The alternative is to press your claim and be cruel and outrageous and satisfy your envy.

We have had several examples of indiscrete behavior, so what do we do?  It is no use overlooking it, somebody has to tell him.  So you tell him, he is your friend.

5  27:5    Open rebuke is better than secret love.

5  27:23  Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.

You tell it to him straight and do not hold back.  This is much better than saying nothing and infer you care, and do not want to hurt his feelings.  You always attend to things that must be done when it comes to your flocks and herds, so you also attend to this matter, because it must be done.

6  27:6    Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

6  27:22  Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.

You wound him, but if you do not do it, who will?  It is better you do it and try to turn him around than leave him to be dealt with by those who misuse him.  If he is a fool who does not listen, then you will have no effect whatever.  If you beat him to a pulp as you do with wheat he will not change, but you have hope if approached the right way you can make an impression.  Remember he wants to be your friend.

7  27:7    The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.

7  27:21  As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise.

It is no use dealing with him until he is in the right mood.  You need to be wise enough to choose the time.  He needs to want to change as well.  He should be willing to take your advice, because you have prepared him and have him ready to accept what you say.  You will have to apply a bit of heat.  You may have to tell him what he would prefer not to hear.  He may get agitated and react, but you must persevere.  What you are trying to do is purge him of his need to behave in this unreasonable way.

8  27:8    As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.

8  27:20  Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.

Give him a place to lodge.  Give him a new home that he can call his own.  Give him something to which he can hang on .  If a person does not have an anchor he will thrash around.  You want some sanity to enter the equation then settle this matter.  You can let him go on being the person he was at the start, but hell and destruction do not need any more people as there are  enough already, and that is where he is going.  He will go on doing what he does unless you intervene.  So work it out.

9  27:9    Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.

9  27:19  As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.

He will respond depending on the way you go about it.  If it is done as a friend who is concerned about the outcome then he will receive it well.  So let the counsel be hearty.  Let him experience the enjoyment of friendship and partnership.  He wanted to be your friend at the start even though he did not know what that involved.  To be friends you must be alike and understand the other.  If he must change to make this happen then so be it.  He saw in you something that appealed to him, and so you work from there.

10  27:10   Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.

10  27:18   Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof: so he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured.

Friendship is powerful and should never be underestimated.  A brother is fine, but when he is not around when you need him, your friend will solve the problem.  Make a point of being a friend to your neighbor because everyone needs one.  And if you invest time in building the friendship you will enjoy the benefit.  Even if the relationship is one way it still will serve a purpose, and you will be praised when you come to the aid of the other.

11  27:11  My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me.

11  27:17  Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Your efforts to be friendly reflect on your upbringing and your father will boast you are a worthy son, because of the way you deal with others.  Working in friendship together will make both parties better people.  It will make both parties happier people.  It will make both of you sensitive to the needs of the other.

12  27:12  A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.

12  27:16  Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself.

And another thing.  You need to foresee obstacles that may pop up to undo your effort.  Wisdom does not allow simplicity and no man is an Island.  Your new friend will have some baggage and given his social skills, the baggage is likely to be heavy.  If you ignore his partner in this you will meet a storm and the efforts you have made to fix this thing will unravel as if it is called to a halt.  Be wise enough to know what will occur, and deal with it at the same time.

13  27:13  Take his garment that is surety for a stranger, and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.

13  27:15  A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.

If his behavior is because of a culture of corruption then that needs to be fixed.  You will be involved in changing his values so he does not apply the law as he once did without regard to the spirit of the law.  As this person who would tell you the garment cannot be taken as a pledge, because God in the law tells you that.  The way he sees it the law applies no matter what, this is why he gets so angry.  If the person wants the money to lend it to a stranger then take his garment, because he is a fool who will not get his money back and will never pay you.  And if he wants to get money so he can do something questionable then take his garment as a pledge because he is behaving badly and he needs to know the law does not support this.

The profound change you are looking for is a change in the way the man thinks, and this involves thinking like a friend, where the terms are unconditional, and he needs to stop thinking according to law, where the rules apply.

His partner, whoever she is, is not going to be happy in the change, and she will feel at risk.  You need to sort this out or you will not succeed.  She will get hold of his ear and agitate until he yields.  She will undo all your hard work unless you bring her along as well.  She can help in the transition or she can hinder.  You need to get her on side.

The investigator – Proverbs 26:1-28

Vorfahrt missachtet - Unfall

One is almost encouraged to become an investigator.  Someone has to do it.

14  26:14  As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed.

14  26:15  The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth.

If this is the subject then we would reasonably assume it is about slothfulness, but this is not so, it is all about looking into the crime.  You must get up early if you are going to beat the wicked at their game.  You cannot afford to procrastinate, but go after the evidence energetically and in a timely fashion, as timing is important.  The evidence goes cold, and you loose the opportunity to resolve the matter.

1  26:1    As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool.

1  26:28  A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.

The unlikely story is covering serious criminal behavior.  Go after it because it will give you the most fruitful result.  Snow in summer is not likely, because it is out of season and so is rain in harvest.  The point being they will not occur.  A lying tongue is going to tell a story that is just as unbelievable and unlikely.  People have reason to believe others are as honest as they present themselves to be, and no one expects hatred to come out of the blue and afflict someone.  However an investigator does not have any expectations.  He is there to find out what is going on.

The investigator is going to look for the unlikely story.  A person who flatters another is intent on taking advantage of that person.  This is harsh criticism because liars do not present as haters, and flatterers present as loving friends.  Because of the deceit involved these people are destroyers.  The instruction is be diligent and discover every lie and reveal it.  Since truth is important to us everything inappropriate, and everything that is a lie, must be dealt with and put to rest.

2  26:2    As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.

2  26:27  Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.

A wandering bird is not likely to land on you, and a swallow is unlikely to sit on your shoulder, so to assume the lie will land and injure you is wrong.  It will not happen.  Let them dig a pit for the other to fall in, and you will find it will be a trap for the guilty.  In the same way let them dislodge a stone so it can roll, then watch who is the one most damaged by it, because it will usually be the guilty who is caught out by it.

3  26:3    A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back.

3  26:26  Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation.

Take suitable action to deal with each problem you face, and make sure the action works.  Having a horse is of no use unless it is under control.  The ass is of no use unless it is under control.  You cannot tolerate a fool unless his power to damage others is  under control.  If a person is going to falsely accuse, then you go through the process of verifying the claim.  This is involved and difficult, but must be done.  When it is found to be a lie, he is revealed before the whole congregation and branded a false accuser.  He will think twice about using deceit next time.  You are well on your way to getting at the problem.

4  26:4    Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

4  26:25  When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart.

It is easy to answer him according to his folly, the reaction is almost automatic.  What we need to do is answer properly with sound reason.  This is a different response and involves effort.

He is not going to change in an instance, so you assume he has other things to hide and treat him with suspicion.  When he speaks fair believe him not.  He is the one who behaved poorly in the first interview.  The change is feigned.  He is an actor.  Discover why he does it and it will lead you to the truth.

5  26:5    Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

5  26:24  He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him;

You must answer him because it is your job.  You are not in a position to walk away because he is a fool.  Start with his hate.  These are the things that have just come out of his mouth, so they are a good starting point.  Reveal his deceit and ask him if he wants to try to convince you he has a case.  Give him enough rope and he will hang himself.  Reveal everything until he yields.  Do not let him off the hook.  If you do, then you will have to do it all again.

6  26:6    He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage.

6  26:23  Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross.

You send a messenger because there is no other way to get the information across, and it is important enough to spend the effort to do it.  If the messenger is a fool then it will need another two messengers there and back to get the information that is necessary.  So it is like cutting off the feet, and drinking damage.  You would not consciously do that, but you would send a fool on an errand.

The use of misinformation is often a good strategy.  This is where a message is sent that gives information only the guilty will respond to.  You then seize the one who acts on the message, and you have your guilty party.

7  26:7    The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools.

7  26:22  The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

A parable is a metaphor, a tale with some other meaning.  The fool cannot make it work properly because it involves communicating information in a cryptic way.  It is done to hide information from some and reveal it to others.  The way the fool tells it the story just limps along and nobody gets it.  The talebearer loves to tell his story, because it is sensational and is bound to be remembered for the damage it does.  The idea it is not true does not worry him at all.  A wise man will want to know what the parable means and what the truth is about the tale, and he will work through it until he does.

8  26:8    As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honour to a fool.

8  26:21  As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.

You will need to show how empty he is in offering himself to do the dirty work for an unprincipled deviant, who has loaded the gun and got him to fire it.  The one who loaded the gun is the guilty party and the messenger is the dupe.  If you can show this effectively then you have made your case.  You will get the accused to reveal the part of the one who loaded the gun.  The person who put coals on the fire has the greater guilt for he is a contentious person, who can get another to do the damage, and take the blame.  To get to the bottom of it will involve a thorough investigation but it must be done.

9  26:9     As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools.

9  26:20  Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.

We are dealing with the tale again.  The fool will not be able to make up a story that works.  He is involved, and his guilt prevents him from thinking clearly.  They could not have lit this fire unless they had added fuel, which they have done with a story that is not true, or that misrepresents the facts.  Focus on the story first and when you have the truth, then go after the one who is responsible for this whole sequence of events.

10  26:10  The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors.

10  26:19  So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?

You may not be able to get to the truth of everything, and it may have to be left to God.  He is the one to deal with it and that will be done quickly.  This will only occur where the deceiver makes an excuse that cannot be settled, for it goes to the question of whether it was an accident.  Blame is often apportioned as a percentage when this occurs, and this may well be the way to resolve it.

11  26:11  As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.

11  26:18  As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death,

Criminal psychology shows the Perpetrator will return to the scene of the crime.  He will also behave the same way in similar circumstances.  If he causes damage, he must be put away until people are convinced he is no longer a danger.

12  26:12  Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.

12  26:17  He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.

While he may justify his actions in his own eyes he is just wise in his own conceit.  The more he justifies himself the less chance you have of convincing him of his guilt.  In fact it is easier to deal with a fool than a person like this.  He is as feebleminded, as one who takes a dog by the ears.  He has no idea what he is mixed up in, and deserves to get damaged from both sides.  It should not be difficult to convince others of his guilt, just explain how foolish he is.

13  26:13  The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets.

13  26:16  The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.

Whatever he tells in his story he cannot be trusted.  His story is a fantasy and no one in their right mind will give him any attention or believe what he has to say.  He may think he is fooling others, but you would have to reject the story of seven reasonable men, to accept anything this one has to say.  When you confront him with irrefutable evidence he will not remember anything about it, and expect you to find him innocent, because you have not got a signed confession, or a witness who was there at the time.