Thursday, August 13, 2009

Proverbs 25: 11-20

11Like apples of gold in settings of silver
Is a word spoken in right circumstances.
12Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold
Is a wise reprover to a listening ear.
13Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest
Is a faithful messenger to those who send him,
For he refreshes the soul of his masters.
14Like clouds and wind without rain
Is a man who boasts of his gifts falsely.
15By forbearance a ruler may be persuaded,
And a soft tongue breaks the bone.
16Have you found honey? Eat only what you need,
That you not have it in excess and vomit it.
17Let your foot rarely be in your neighbor's house,
Or he will become weary of you and hate you.
18Like a club and a sword and a sharp arrow
Is a man who bears false witness against his neighbor.
19Like a bad tooth and an unsteady foot
Is confidence in a faithless man in time of trouble.
20Like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar on soda,
Is he who sings songs to a troubled heart.


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

Beautifully poetic yet stingingly striking the target, these selections come to us like the "cold of snow in the time of harvest." (25:13) Refreshing!

"Like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar on soda, is he who sings songs to a troubled heart." (25:20)

One of the reasons I've had it on my heart to study Proverbs is to take apart the simple lines, like the above, to make sure that I understand what they mean. At first glance, this reads like one who is a great friend. He willingly takes his garment off on a cold day to share it and sings songs to comfort. And vinegar on baking soda makes a kid's science fair volcano erupt. Huh?

"Singing cheerful songs to a person with a heavy heart is like taking someone’s coat in cold weather or pouring vinegar in a wound." (New Living Translation)

OH.....

[Don't you love it when you receive understanding! I'm living for the "OH" moments in this study--daily!]

Of course, this means something entirely different. We're now back to looking at the fool. He casts wisdom and his garments to the wind, even in a time of chilling. The NLT suggests he then takes another's!

'Soda' does refer to a baking soda like substance or lye, a soap additive. Some translations extrapolate the reference to mean putting the vinegar on a wound, which would hurt, even as it was being cleansed. The Hebrew translation seems to stick more to the literal meaning of the word.

"Soda or lye has been used as a cleansing agent from earliest times. It effervesces energetically, when treated with an acid; hence, the comparison in Prov 25:20 of the heavy-hearted man roiled by the sound of singing to the sizzling of soda on which vinegar has been poured."
--International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
The 'troubled' heart is translated 'heavy' heart in different versions, including the King James'. Music can be soothing. Music can lift your spirits when your heart is troubled. But, when your heart is sad, sometimes, music doesn't help. In fact, it can really irritate you. Ever have the "wrong" song come on the radio and set you off? I'm hearing Olivia Newton-John beg, "Please, Mister, Please, Don't play B17...It's over!"

King Darius had the same experience, as the law he was fooled into signing sent his faithful servant Daniel to the lions' den. Darius had no choice but to enforce the law of his kingdom. But, he was distraught over his actions and, to put it simply, had a really bad night.

"Then the king went to his palace and passed the night fasting, neither were instruments of music or dancing girls brought before him; and his sleep fled from him."
--Daniel 6:18 (AMP)


For Darius to have enjoyed his usually kingly pleasures on such a night was like someone robbing him of his robe in December and setting off a kingdom's number of kids' science fair volcanoes all night long.

So, rather than foolishly putting those in anguish under more duress, how should we respond? "Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest." To be refreshing to those who need uplifting, we need to come with what is needed at the proper time.

"Rejoice with those who rejoice [sharing others' joy], and weep with those who weep [sharing others' grief]."
--Romans 12:15 (AMP)


Photo: http://www.emotionalmachines.org/images/sad-into-happy.gif


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Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Question:

Proverbs 25: 21-28 (of the transcribed proverbs of Solomon)
  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).

3 comments:

T. Anne said...

25:20 you did a great job explaining it! Thank you I found this refreshing.

Kelly Combs said...

Like apples of gold in settings of silver Is a word spoken in right circumstances.
Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear.

11,12 - you know the jewelry lover just RELATES to these verses. Verse 11 actually refers back to 8:19 and the fruit of WISDOM. The earring of gold is comparable to the wreath & necklace that represent the adornment of wisdom & sound teaching. (my study bible)

See my love of jewelry is really just my hunger for wisdom showing. *grin*

Carmen said...

"Like a bad tooth and an unsteady foot is confidence in a faithless man in time of trouble."

Huh? Not sure what that means, but I'm thinking that... allowing a man who does not place his faith in Christ, to fix something for you, is going to cause more pain, or more problems in the long run? This one escapes me.