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

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Proverbs 31 Project: Commenting May 1st on Proverbs 1:8-12

"Thirty days hath September, 
April, June and November
All the rest have 31
Except February which has 28
Except during leap year when it has 29"

NO I DID NOT WRITE THIS "POEM"!  (Talk about free verse!)

Why didn't somebody just point out that the four months that do NOT have 31 days (except February, and everyone knows all about February The Exceptional) come every other month except that there is no 30 day month between July and August?  The silly poem mixes up the order just to hide the fact that the real 30 day months come in two orderly pairs: April/June and September/November.  Can somebody please write a non-silly poem for us that will make this clear, and stick in our minds, but without gooping them up with exceptions (and please just leave February out of it!)?

And to make matters (far) worse, MILLERWRITES has decided to make a Proverbs Pull-A-Part Plan that decimates that fine collection of wisdom in the book of Proverbs, by spreading commentary on each chapter out over 7 months (the good 31 day months)!  Oh don't ask me to explain my system.  You can try to decipher what I said about it at the top of any P31P posts from January or March if you like, or just follow along this month and figure it out.

So today I will offer my amateur comments on verses 8-12.  Today's inspired verses are in red, and my comments....are not (either red, or inspired).


Purpose and Theme

1 The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
2 for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
3 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
doing what is right and just and fair;
4 for giving prudence to those who are simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young—
5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—
6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Prologue: Exhortations to Embrace Wisdom

Warning Against the Invitation of Sinful Men

8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. 

8) ALWAYS a good idea!  Especially if 'listen' means, at least CONSIDER CAREFULLY, what Mom and Dad have to say  (THEN ignore their counsel).

9 They are a garland to grace your head
and a chain to adorn your neck.

9) NOW I know what I should have told my kids:  "No really son, my instructions are like a garland to grace your head, and a chain to adorn your neck"!  This description may seem silly, but ANY claim for credibility coming from the parent, or any instruction giver, seems by its very nature,  to be self-serving.  Exactly like God's own claim that HE has all the wisdom and that we should obey HIM!  So if we parents are right; that our kids would be better off if they listen to God is right; we should humble ourselves, and in obeying Him, we will be graced and adorned with garlands and chains!
10 My son, if sinful men entice you,
do not give in to them.

10) I'm glad this verse is followed with expanding the idea.  It would be nice if one simple command were enough, but of course our kids need some justifying explanations.

11 If they say, “Come along with us;
let’s lie in wait for innocent blood,
let’s ambush some harmless soul;

11) And here is an explicit example of what the "son" might expect in the form of enticement.  The first part is more of a generic, all inclusive type of example, but it allows the enticeable one to replace the hyperbole with something he may have actually heard: "Hey, let's go down and drop rocks off the overpass", or "Come on Petey, we're goin' for the five-finger-discount", or "We're going thumpin', you in"?
12 let’s swallow them alive, like the grave,
and whole, like those who go down to the pit; 

12) Here the enticing gets rather melodramatic.  No street thug describes his activities like this, but maybe this description is God's interpretation of what is going on behind the heart of such a bully.  He may not even know it, but acting as an agent of the Devil himself, the given-over reprobate is attempting to do the work that really belongs only to 'the grave'.

13 we will get all sorts of valuable things
and fill our houses with plunder;
14 cast lots with us;
we will all share the loot ”—
15 my son, do not go along with them,
do not set foot on their paths;
16 for their feet rush into evil,
they are swift to shed blood.
17 How useless to spread a net
where every bird can see it!
18 These men lie in wait for their own blood;
they ambush only themselves!
19 Such are the paths of all who go after ill-gotten gain;
it takes away the life of those who get it.

Wisdom’s Rebuke

20 Out in the open wisdom calls aloud,
she raises her voice in the public square;
21 on top of the wall she cries out,
at the city gate she makes her speech:
22 “How long will you who are simple love your simple ways?
How long will mockers delight in mockery
and fools hate knowledge?
23 Repent at my rebuke!
Then I will pour out my thoughts to you,
I will make known to you my teachings.
24 But since you refuse to listen when I call
and no one pays attention when I stretch out my hand,
25 since you disregard all my advice
and do not accept my rebuke,
26 I in turn will laugh when disaster strikes you;
I will mock when calamity overtakes you —
27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm,
when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind,
when distress and trouble overwhelm you.
28 “Then they will call to me but I will not answer;
they will look for me but will not find me,
29 since they hated knowledge
and did not choose to fear the Lord.
30 Since they would not accept my advice
and spurned my rebuke,
31 they will eat the fruit of their ways
and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.
32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,
and the complacency of fools will destroy them;
33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety
and be at ease, without fear of harm.

By the way...MILLERWRITES copy is COPYRIGHTED. Why cut and paste when you can simply copy the link?


  1. I had the months set, all straight in my head,
    Until here I pondered, so much to my dread.
    And now, like a millipede, counting his feet,
    I've lost my direction; confusion's complete!

    1. Do not send an invoice,
      No payment is due.
      Months still confusing.
      And brain filled with goo.

      Did not read directions;
      Your commission is lost.
      Poem fails its mission;
      Will not pay the cost.

  2. Calendars are crazy.
    Somewhere there's a glitch.
    Messages seem hazy.
    Must be bait-and-switch.

    Keep your nickel, neighbor.
    I have missed the pitch.
    Fruitless was my labor.
    Can't tell which is which.

    Poetry is drawing.
    Still, conclusions ditch.
    No more hem and hawing;
    Months are not my niche. ;-)

  3. OK. I guess I'll have to take a stab at my own task. And it won't be pretty.

    April, June, Septem n Novem(brrr)
    Fall short of thirty one.
    Feb's a mess, all on its own,
    (Don't count, just get it done).

    But thirty one, have all the rest;
    (Ignoring Febry's gall)
    And spaced apart symmetrically,
    These seven months in all.

    (It doesn't take a 'niche' to do better than that!)

  4. Your verse sent me a tumble.
    To that I must confess.
    I chuckle till I crumble.
    I simply am a mess.

    This random, reeling rumble
    Has led me to digress.
    For further words, I fumble.
    The victory, you possess.

    1. My poetry is killable,
      But yours I must eschew.
      It may be very billable,
      And earn more than a few,
      But counting feet by syllable...
      'Vic-try' has not two.

  5. In Cheeseland, we have choices
    for syllables and speech.
    The cheddar alters voices,
    Our verses to impeach.

    We count upon our fingers,
    Afraid to check our toes.
    Our feet leave scent that lingers,
    But who will count the nose?

    Yet vic-to-ry may sweeten,
    If digits numbered be.
    Crestfallen, I am beaten.
    Your counting bested me.


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