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

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Proverbs 31 Project: Commenting May 22nd on Proverbs 22:11-16

[If you have been here before, in May, then you might want to skip down below the green for today's post.]

"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 above 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 created 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 his system.  You can try to decipher what he 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.
All Bible passages are from the NIV, and are copied here from

REMEMBER: My ideas may be oh so mesmerizing, but you will get more benefit from simply reading the chapter itself!

So here I offer my amateur comments on verses 11-16.  Today's inspired verses are in red, and my comments are neither       (neither inspired, nor red).


1 A good name is more desirable than great riches;
to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

2 Rich and poor have this in common:
The Lord is the Maker of them all.

3 The prudent see danger and take refuge,
but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.

4 Humility is the fear of the Lord;
its wages are riches and honor and life.

5 In the paths of the wicked are snares and pitfalls,
but those who would preserve their life stay far from them.

6 Start children off on the way they should go,
and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

7 The rich rule over the poor,
and the borrower is slave to the lender.

8 Whoever sows injustice reaps calamity,
and the rod they wield in fury will be broken.

9 The generous will themselves be blessed,
for they share their food with the poor.

10 Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife;
quarrels and insults are ended.

11 One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace
will have the king for a friend.

11)  I worked with a guy years ago who could talk a Packer fan into rooting for the Bears!  We used to call such a guy a "schmoozer."  But I think the person described here is much more than that.  He is genuine.  He actually does "love a pure heart" and his speaking "with grace" is not calculated to charm.  The trick is for the King to discern the authentic loyal friend, from the schmoozer.

12 The eyes of the Lord keep watch over knowledge,
but he frustrates the words of the unfaithful.

12) In this campaign season I hear so many "words of the unfaithful" thrown out there.  This is how I see so many ads and talking points that deliberately veer away from taking a real stand on a real issue.  When a candidate is afraid that his worldview position is untenable or unpopular, he avoids "knowledge" and ends up only frustrating himself with "unfaithful (to the truth) words."

13 The sluggard says, “There’s a lion outside!
I’ll be killed in the public square!”

13) Solomon leaves us on our own here, to finish the typical second half of the proverb.  It is usually either an emphasis of the preliminary statement, or a contrasting revelation.  This one seems to call for a contrast.  Something like... 

The sluggard says, “There’s a lion outside! 
I’ll be killed in the public square!”
"But the courageous runs out to protect his friends!"

14 The mouth of an adulterous woman is a deep pit;
a man who is under the Lord’s wrath falls into it.

14) Does the Lord actually SEND the adulterous woman to punish someone?  I don't think so.  But "a man who is under the Lord's wrath" is there for a reason.  He has previously demonstrated his rebellion against God and because he is in such a state, God predicts that adultery is just one more of the bad choices he is likely to succumb to.  Since the man avoids God's truth, he will probably fall for the lie of the seductress.

15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,
but the rod of discipline will drive it far away.

15) What a shame that so many generations (perhaps every third or fourth?) are "protected" from the rod of discipline by societies ever oscillating moral outrages.  Right now, America is in the mood for choosing "hearts full of folly" in lieu of the "rod of discipline".  When the deeds of such folly again overwhelm us all, the pendulum (hopefully) will swing back, and a new generation will grow up delivered from such ruin.

16 One who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth
and one who gives gifts to the rich—both come to poverty.

16) The first "one" is represented well in so many books and movies.  The factory owner who doesn't care, or the corrupt politician driving through the big deal to "make a killing" make us all sick.  And then there is the other "one" with the brown nose and the "schmoozing" compliments that weedle into good graces:  More sick.

Thirty Sayings of the Wise
Saying 1

17 Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise;
apply your heart to what I teach,
18 for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart
and have all of them ready on your lips.
19 So that your trust may be in the Lord,
I teach you today, even you.
20 Have I not written thirty sayings for you,
sayings of counsel and knowledge,
21 teaching you to be honest and to speak the truth,
so that you bring back truthful reports
to those you serve?
Saying 2

22 Do not exploit the poor because they are poor
and do not crush the needy in court,
23 for the Lord will take up their case
and will exact life for life.
Saying 3

24 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person,
do not associate with one easily angered,
25 or you may learn their ways
and get yourself ensnared.
Saying 4

26 Do not be one who shakes hands in pledge
or puts up security for debts;
27 if you lack the means to pay,
your very bed will be snatched from under you.
Saying 5

28 Do not move an ancient boundary stone
set up by your ancestors.
Saying 6

29 Do you see someone skilled in their work?
They will serve before kings;
they will not serve before officials of low rank.

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

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