Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Proverbs 13.20-25

COLLECTION 2: Solomon I  (10-22.16)
A. Collection 2A: Antithetic Parallels of the Righteous Versus the Wicked (10-15)5. Good Teaching, Ethics, and Living (13:1-25)
     (a) Introduction (1)
     (b)Speech and Ethics (2-6)
     (c) Wealth and Ethics (7-11)
     (d) Fulfillment through Wisdom versus Frustration through Folly (12-19)
   (e) The Blessed Future of a Wise Son versus the Baneful* End of Fools (20-25).
           * Baneful means harmful or destructive to someone or something.destructive; pernicious
v. 20  introductory verse calling on the son to join the wise.
v. 21   asserts the proposition
...the alternating pattern noted by Duane A. Garrett in NAC
A.  A Material inheritance  (v. 22)
          B.  Hunger because of wickedness  (v. 23)
A'.  A moral heritage  (v. 24)
          B'.  Hunger of the wicked  (v. 25)
  ---Waltke in NICOT
20                                              But
He who walks with               the companion
wise men                                 of  fools
will be wise,                           will be destroyed.  
13.20a  walks with...  When used with the preposition אֶת (’et, “with”), the verb הָלַךְ (halakh, “to walk”) means “to associate with” someone (BDB 234 s.v. הָלַךְ II.3.b; e.g., Mic 6:8; Job 34:8). The active participle of הָלַךְ (“to walk”) stresses continual, durative action.  One should stay in close association with the wise, and move in the same direction they do.     --NET Bible Translation Note
13.20b  will be destroyed...   suffers harm (yērōa; see 11:15) plays with the noun in v. 19.b, but whereas there is denoted moral harm against others, here the verbal root denotes harm to oneself.     ---Waltke in NICOT

21                                             But
Evil                                  (2)   good
pursues                          (3)   shall be repaid.
sinners,                        (1)   to the righteous,   
13.21  In this personification the evil that sinners inflicted on others turns around to destroy them, and the good that the righteous bestowed on others justly rewards them.    ---Waltke in NICOT
I don't know if  it is just a literary variation or is significant to the meaning, but 21a does say that evil pursues which might imply that it does not always catch someone, but the wording of the righteous being repaid in 21b seems to be a certain thing even though it doesn't say when.

13.21a  Evil...    “evil,” is likewise “misfortune” (cf. NAB, NIV, NRSV) or calamity.     ---NET Bible Translation Note
13.21b    This statement deals with recompense in absolute terms. It is this principle, without allowing for any of the exceptions that Proverbs itself acknowledges, that Job’s friends applied (incorrectly) to his suffering.   ---NET Bible Study Note
compare with Matthew x.42

22                                                           But
A good man                                  (2)  the sinner
leaves an inheritance                 (1)   the wealth of
to his children's children,          (3)  is stored up for the righteous. 
13.22  Compare with Psalm 49 
The proverb ... it supposes that a "good" family will successfully pass on its patrimony (cf. 1 K. 21.3).  By contrast, "the  sinner's undisciplined children can usually be depended on to make ducks and drakes of their inheritance."      ---Waltke in NICOT
13.22b  Hayil, glossed wealth, has the essential meaning of "strength" or  "power."

23-24  These two proverbs qualify vv. 21-22 respectively.  Tyranny outside the family keeps the principle of retribution from being realized in a tidy calculus, and discipline based on love between the generations provides for the successful transmission of wealth within the family.      ---Waltke in NICOT
Much food is in the fallow ground of the poor, 
And for lack of justice there is waste. 
Fallow: adjective  
1.(of land) plowed and left unseeded for a season or more; uncultivated.
2.not in use; inactive:
13.23  According to this proverb, the lack of food for the hard-working poor is due to tyrrany, not the environment.      ---Waltke in NICOT
13.23  "The poor you will always have with you"  (Matt. 26.11) because there always will be people with poor ways, and because there are always tyrants to sweep away the food to feed them.          ---Waltke in NICOT 
13.23  The MT reads “there is what is swept away because [there is] no justice” (וְיֵשׁ נִסְפֶּה בְּלֹא מִשְׁפָּט, vÿyesh nispeh bÿlomishpat). The LXX reads “the great enjoy wealth many years, but some men perish little by little.” The Syriac reads “those who have no habitation waste wealth many years, and some waste it completely.” Tg. Prov 13:23 reads “the great man devours the land of the poor, and some men are taken away unjustly.” The Vulgate has “there is much food in the fresh land of the fathers, and for others it is collected without judgment.” C. H. Toy says that the text is corrupt (Proverbs [ICC], 277). Nevertheless, the MT makes sense: The ground could produce enough food for people if there were no injustice in the land. Poverty is unnecessary as long as there is justice and not injustice.   -----NET Bible Textual Criticism Note
He who spares his rod hates his son, 
But he who loves him disciplines him promptly
12.24 This proverb is based on several assumptions.
- First, that the home is the basic social unit for transmitting values (Ex. 20.12).
- Second, that parents have absolute values, not merely valuations. 
- Third, that folly is bound up in the heart of the child (22.15; cf. Gen. 8.21).
- Fourth, "that it will take more than just words to dislodge it."       ---Waltke in NICOT
13.24a  spares the rod...   R. N. Whybray cites an Egyptian proverb that says that “boys have their ears on their backsides; they listen when they are beaten” (Proverbs [CBC], 80). Cf. Prov 4:3-4, 10-11; Eph 6:4; Heb 12:5-11.     ---NET Bible Study Note

25                                                           But
- - -                                                         the stomach
The righteous                                      of the wicked
eats                                                       shall be in want
to the satisfying of his soul,        - - -
13.25b  belly...  Heb. beten  From an unused root probably meaning to be hollow    ---Blue Letter Bible. "Dictionary and Word Search for beten (Strong's 990)". Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2012. 22 Aug 2012. < http:// >
13.25  However, this judgement applies only to the end of a person; before then people live in an upside-down world.     ---Waltke in NICOT 

1. "companions"  While parents cannot control their children's universe forever, there is a lot we can do.  First, we can use passages like this one to teach the importance of choosing friends wisely.  What are the characteristics you teach your children to look for in a friend?  When they are young, you can control pretty much everything about who and what they see.  As they grow older (especially in our information age) that control slips.  Remember, you need to win their hearts, not just legislate and enforce behavior.  Helping (by coaching and orchestrating) your children choice good friends is key.
2.  "children's children"  The end target is not how our children fare, but also how our grandchildren do.  That's the real test of our parenting.  My mom told me she would know how well she did with her children when she saw her grandchildren.
3.  "Spares the rod"  Corporal punishment is looked down on in our culture.  I imagine that the real abuse to many children is part of the reason.  Sometimes you reason and sometimes you punish.  If our children injure their physical bodies we take the steps to make them better even if is causes temporary pain.  We don't like it, but know we have to do it.  A judicious and wise use of reasonable spankings usually in some combination with other methods is almost always part of the mix. 
4.  "Our greatest need in life is someone to make us do what we can."  We are not parenting to be our children's best friends, but to be the people who bring out the best in our children for the long haul.  I am a lot more concerned about what my 30 year old child will think of my child raising that what the ten year old in front of me today wants.  If the substance of loving and firm discipleship is in place, the friendship part will take care of itself.  Have the self-discipline, wisdom, and resolve to parent for the long term results.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Rant about doctrine.

As George Guthrie (NIV Application Commentary) commented on the contemporary significance of Hebrews 1:1-4, he made these observations. “Yet grave danger lies in focusing on the so-called “practical” teachings of Christianity to the neglect of the “theological.”   “Right theology lays an important foundation for a Christian life robustly lived.”

He included this Dorothy Sayers quote in his discussion of the topic.  

Christ, in His divine innocence, said to the woman of Samaria, “Ye worship ye know not what”—being apparently under the impression that it might be desirable, on the whole, to know what one was worshiping.  He thus showed himself sadly out of touch with the twentieth-century mind, for the cry today is: “Away with the tedious complexities of dogma—let us have the simple spirit of worship, just worship, no matter of what!”  The only drawback to this demand for a generalized and undirected worship is the practical difficulty of arousing any sort of enthusiasm for the worship of nothing in particular.

Her point is well taken with one exception. I am afraid the Church today seems curiously able to whip up a nice enthusiasm for content-weak worship.  Dr. Guthrie followed up this quote with the observation that “Those who neglect theology may live a shallow, insipid for of Christianity that, in the end, neither affects life nor endures the test of time.” 

Note two qualifiers about teaching doctrine.  First, we do not get to the point of splitting sophisticated doctrinal hairs in order to have serious, content rich teaching.   Second, it is very helpful and necessary to help people make a concrete connection between their theology and orthopraxy ("right practice").  We need to have a solid understanding of what to believe about God, etc. and how that should affect our thoughts, words, and actions on Monday.