The 'BARKING OWL' always has something to say, and like the feathered version, can be either WISE...............or ANNOYING!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Proverbs 31 Project: Commenting March 31st on Proverbs 31:6-9

                     March 31st?     Read Proverbs 31!

[Please note: The first two paragraphs below are repeated each day for new readers. My amateur comments are offered below each of today's verses from Proverbs.]

Have you ever noticed that, as most months have 31 days, so the Book of Proverbs has 31 chapters? Fascinating right? Well, it is at least interesting, and coincidentally beneficial to those who would like to read a portion of thought provoking scripture every day of the month. You might like to read the calendar coordinated chapter from Proverbs every day this month (I've included the whole chapter below!) and then see if my comments on a few of those verses line up with your own observations. My plan is to go through the year, writing my response to about one seventh of each chapter's verses every day, during each of the 7 months that have 31 days.  Clear as mud? That's what I thought.

I hope you check in, and leave a comment. Especially if I say something really off base and need to be corrected, because, as we learned this month on the 27th, Proverbs 27:5 says

                                "Better is open rebuke than hidden love." 

                                          Today's inspired verses, 6-9, are highlighted in red
                                                (and my questionable comments are in blue).

Proverbs 31

Sayings of King Lemuel

1 The sayings of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him.
2 Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb!
Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers!
3 Do not spend your strength[a] on women,
your vigor on those who ruin kings.

4 It is not for kings, Lemuel—
it is not for kings to drink wine,
not for rulers to crave beer,
5 lest they drink and forget what has been decreed,
and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
6 Let beer be for those who are perishing,
wine for those who are in anguish!

6) So sorry, but if you came all this way to learn more about the famous "Proverbs 31 woman", you still have to wait until May 31st!  (It's not MY fault.  If old King Lemuel hadn't slipped his old 'sayings' into this chapter we would have gotten to the 'wife of noble character back in January, but alas, here we are.)  Although it is my system that will stretch out the study of her description through five months!  Starting at verse 10, we will finish with Proverbs 31, verse 31, on December 31st.  (But feel free to cheat and read the whole chapter below right now!)

If you are really in agony over this then Lemuel says you should go have a beer, I guess.  Or a bottle of wine maybe.  I hope his recommendation is sarcastic.  Drinking to escape has never been a good idea, and never will suffice.

7 Let them drink and forget their poverty
and remember their misery no more.

7)  You're only kidding aren't you Lemmy?  Perhaps your sympathy has gone over the edge.  Can't you think of some other solution to "say" for these poor folk?

 8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,
for the rights of all who are destitute.

8) Yes!  I knew you could do it Kingy Buddy!  Those of us outside their trouble (but possibly on the edge of  falling in after) should indeed speak up.  The born should protest the slaughter of the unborn; the working should protest the ruination of job creation; the free Church must protest the persecution of the forlorn and suffering Church worldwide.  

The difficulty here is that it is generally those who are not YET in some oppressive ruin, and therefore do not feel it, who must stand up and speak up for those under the thumb of calamity.  We do all need to hear the evil, see the evil and then speak of the evil all around us!

9 Speak up and judge fairly;
defend the rights of the poor and needy.

9) Speaking up is only half the battle.  Some protest movements consist of thoughtless soundbites, crude slogans and dumb verses poorly but obediently sung to well known tunes.  The 'judging fairly' is critical.  Being 'judgmental' is wholly different from judging, in that only one of them can be done 'fairly'.  The first step in 'defending' the 'poor and needy' would be to carefully and thoughtfully identify their true rights. 

Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character

10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.
Proverbs 31:3 Or wealth
Proverbs 31:10 Verses 10-31 are an acrostic poem, the verses of which begin with the successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

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