Saturday, August 1, 2009

Proverbs 21: 10-19

10The soul of the wicked desires evil;
His neighbor finds no favor in his eyes.
11When the scoffer is punished, the naive becomes wise;
But when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge.
12The righteous one considers the house of the wicked,
Turning the wicked to ruin.
13He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor
Will also cry himself and not be answered.
14A gift in secret subdues anger,
And a bribe in the bosom, strong wrath.
15The exercise of justice is joy for the righteous,
But is terror to the workers of iniquity.
16A man who wanders from the way of understanding
Will rest in the assembly of the dead.
17He who loves pleasure will become a poor man;
He who loves wine and oil will not become rich.
18The wicked is a ransom for the righteous,
And the treacherous is in the place of the upright.
19It is better to live in a desert land
Than with a contentious and vexing woman.

Today's Thought Question:
  1. What proverb in today's passage spoke to you and why?

"The righteous one considers the house of the wicked, turning the wicked to ruin." (21:12)

I needed to work through the NASB's phrasing, because it was a little unclear to me. Easiest way for me to get through this is to study some alternative translations:

  • "The [uncompromisingly] righteous man considers well the house of the wicked--how the wicked are cast down to ruin." (AMP)
  • "The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked: but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness." (KJV)
"The righteous one considers...." When I first read 'considers', I thought of one who looks upon something with a more positive bent. Of course, this doesn't really make sense. The word considers carries the same meaning as showing prudence, using wisdom. Indeed, the obsolete definitions of consider--to view attentively or scrutinize--seem quite fitting. The one with wisdom is the one who scrutinizes the house, the ways, of the wicked.

"...Turning the wicked to ruin." Surely, the wicked will come to ruin. The NASB just wasn't strikingly clear about how this happens, as it almost implies "the righteous one" does this. The Amplified Bible chooses to elaborate on that being considered--that the house of the wicked implies the wicked will come to ruin. The King James is the only version that brings God into the picture.

"...but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness."

I'm not surprised that this is how it all comes out. It's always comforting to get clear wording. God overthrows the wicked, which is not a pretty picture, considering 'overthrows' can mean "wrench, subvert, twist, pervert or overturn." [Strong's]

"Good men envy not the prosperity of evil-doers; they see there is a curse on them."
--Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

Also worth considering? Solomon's earlier word to us on the subject:

"The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish." (14:11)

Shiny red shoes not required.


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Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Question:

Proverbs 21: 20-31
  1. What proverb in today's passage spoke to you and why?

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Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation, specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB). I will quote other sources if used in a post.
I also use Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (with notes from the King James Version).


T. Anne said...

Very interesting about the poor. It's almost as if it's a test of some sort.

Sue J. said...

Verse 13 is one of the more strongly stated verses, in tone, about what happens when we ignore the poor. I also think that this applies to those who are poor in regard to attaining wisdom.

14:31 says, "He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker, but he who is gracious to the needy honors Him."

Those who are truly poor know grace when it comes upon them--and it's not in the handout. Those who are poor in spirit, or poor in wisdom....when they receive encouragement and are shown a step on the path of knowledge, are they not honoring God?

If we're not poor, I think we struggle with seeing poverty, and we question whether folks are really needy, and we withhold and...bottom line, we judge, don't we?

Giving doesn't always have to be about money, because those who are poor may be poor in more than one way. But we won't know until we give.

Thanks for getting me looking at something new this morning!

Chatty Kelly Combs said...

19It is better to live in a desert land Than with a contentious and vexing woman.

Is it hot & dry out there, or is it just ME?