Thursday, August 27, 2015

Proverbs 22.17-21 - Prologue to Proverbs' "Thirty Wise Sayings" - 150913AM-SS

COLLECTION 3: The Thirty Sayings of the Wise (22.17-24)
     A. Prologue: Saying 1 (22.17-21)
     B. Section A: A Decalogue of sayings about Wealth (22.22-23.11) [#'s 2-11]
     C. Section B: An Obedient Son (23.22-24.2) [#'s 12-20]
     D. Section C: Trying Times (#'s 24.3-22)
               1. Strength in Distress (24.3-12) [#'s 21-25]
               2. Prohibitions against Involvement with the Wicked (24.13-22) [#'s 26-30]
"A portion of the book of Proverbs (22:17–24:22) seems to imitate, at least in part, the literary structure of the Egyptian Instruction of Amenemope. Both contain a general introduction that is followed by thirty chapters or units of very similar advice on proper behavior. There is some dispute among scholars on the identification of the thirty units within the biblical text, since there are breaks in the sections that may indicate unrelated segments (see “my son” diversions at 23:15, 19 and 26). Also arguing against the connection is the fact that the NIV had to slightly emend the text to arrive at thirty units and had to provide the noun sayings so that there would be something that there were thirty of. Beyond this difficulty is the fact that the thirty sections in Proverbs would each be only a few verses long (four to six lines), while the thirty chapters in Amenemope average twelve to sixteen lines in length. The closest parallels between Amenemope and Proverbs come to an end at 23:11, and the remaining units have close ties to other pieces of wisdom literature, including the teachings of Ahiqar. This may indicate that the biblical writer or wisdom school had a general familiarity with Amenemope and other wisdom literature, but also a measure of literary independence."  --Victor Harold Matthews, Mark W. Chavalas, and John H. Walton, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament, electronic ed. (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), Pr 22:20.
A. Prologue: Saying 1 (22.17-21) 
1. Motivating the Son to Learn

A series of proverbs demands much of the reader, if it is not to remain for him a string of platitudes.  ...                                                                                                                                                                                   
Does he read with alert concentration (17)?
How much is retained and ready for passing on (18)?
Does he receive it in the spirit in which it is given – to deepen his trust (19), guide his decisions (20), and strengthen his grasp of truth (21)? 
Does he see himself as the virtual envoy (cf. send thee, 21) of those whose knowledge of the truth depends on him?  --Derek Kidner in TOTC
22.17                             And
Incline                            apply
your ear and hear          your heart
the words of the wise,   to my knowledge;

The words/knowledge go from the external ear to the internal orientation of the heart.
incline... To “incline the ear” means to “listen carefully” (cf. NCV); the expression is metonymical in that the ear is the instrument for hearing. It is like telling someone to lean over to hear better. --NetBible Study Notes
wise... The essential idea of ḥākam represents a manner of thinking and attitude concerning life’s experiences; including matters of general interest and basic morality. These concerns relate to prudence in secular affairs, skills in the arts, moral sensitivity, and experience in the ways of the Lord.  --Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament
apply... The most frequent object of šît is the word “heart.” The phrase “to set the heart” is used ten times. The phrase is used once even for God, “What is man … that you set your heart on him’.” (Job 7:17). Negatively the phrase means “to ignore, dismiss, take no notice of”...   --Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament 

For it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you;
Let them all be fixed upon your lips,

pleasant... NIV, TNIV, HCSB, NLT--"pleasing"
keep... "exercise great care to protect them" and entails memorizing them forever.
within you... lit. belly, womb  --BLB;  "In your belly may be a shortened form of the Egyptianism "in the casket of your heart: (see 18:8; 20:30)."  --Waltke in NICOT
fixed... be established, be fixed; to prepare, be ready  --BLB
             ...always be ready to speak what was retained. --NetBible Study Notes 

2. Janus (transition)
So that your trust may be in the LORD;
I have instructed you today, even you.

trust... trust, confidence, refuge
This active trust in the Lord, who reveals His will through the adjusted sayings, entails a constant commitment to the Lord and His words, not an autonomous reliance on oneself (cf.3:5-6 ) or a passive resignation to fate.  This faith distinguishes Solomon's sayings from those of his peers in the ancient Near East.  --Waltke in NICOT
instructed... yādaʿ   lit. cause to know, teach  --BLB
today...  Heb “I cause you to know.” The term “today” indicates that the verb should have the instantaneous nuance, and so an English present tense is used in the translation (“am making…known”).   --NetBible Transaltion Notes 

3. The Father's Purpose
Synthetic parallels:
Have I not written excellent (or thirty) things 
Of counsels and knowledge
That I may make you know the certainty of the words of truth,
That you may answer words of truth to those who send you?

excellent...  Three. This number plays a significant role in the Old Testament. ... A threefold act gives a sense of finality, of definitiveness.  --Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament
šālišîm (Qere), šlšwm (Kethib).  This word is difficult. KJV, NASB, NIV marg. translate “excellent things” as the pl. of šālîš. RSV, NIV and many translate “thirty sayings” as from šĕlōšîm. Another possibility is šilšōm “formerly” (NIV marg., NASB marg.). The question is complicated by the somewhat similar Egyptian work “Wisdom of Amen-em-Opet” which is divided into thirty chapters and urges attention to “these thirty chapters.” Some claim that a dependence on this work can be found in the following sayings of Prov 22:22–24:22 which can be divided into thirty sayings. First, it may be said that dependence on the Egyptian work is sometimes overemphasized and cannot be found at all in the latter part of this section. Second, the division into thirty sayings is not certain. They may be divided differently.   --Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament
counsels...  or plans 
knowledge... (daʿat) knowledge.  expresses a multitude of shades of knowledge gained by the senses. Its closest synonyms are bîn "to discern" and nākar "to recognize."--Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament know the certainty of the words of truth...  Heb “to cause you to know the truth of words of truth” (NASB similar). --NetBible Translation Notes 
know...  yādaʿ is used to express acquaintance with a person in such statements as “do you know Laban?” (Gen 29:5; Ex 1:8; II Sam 3:25). The Pual participle designates kinfolk (II Kgs 10:11, etc.) and acquaintances (Job 19:14; Ruth 2:1, etc.).  yādaʿ is also used for the most intimate acquaintance. God knows Moses by name and face to face (Ex 33:17; Deut 34:10). He knows the Psalmist’s sitting and arising (Ps 139:2).
yādaʿ is also used for sexual intercourse on the part of both men and women in the well-known euphemism “Adam knew Eve his wife”... 
--Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament 
certainty...  (qōšṭ) truth (Prov 22:21, only): just words, truth, i.e., communicable words or thoughts that are just and right according to a standard, and so a sound teaching -Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew
Basically this root denotes binding or tying something to something. --Theological Wordbook of the
truth... (ʾĕmet) reliability, trustworthiness, i.e., a state or condition of being dependable and loyal to a person or standard (Ge 24:27); 2.true, certain, sure, i.e., that which conforms to reality, and is so certain not to be false 3.honesty, integrity  --Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew

At the heart of the meaning of the root is the idea of certainty. (One interesting illustration of the relationship between “belief” and “being established” is seen in Isa 7:9. Ahaz is told that unless he believes (Hiphil) he will not be established (Niphal), i.e. without faith he has no stability.) --Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament
answer words of truth...  Heb “to return true words”; NAB “a dependable report”; NIV “sound answers.”

1. Note the progression in verses 17-19a   (It can be cyclical with deepening circles.)
Where are your kids?
2. Written:  What have you written for your children?
3. What end purposes are given for parents “sayings” to their children?
To trust in the Lord
To be reliable truth speakers
4.  What causes “sayings” to be memorable?  What are you making memorable for your children?

Write a 1-3 work summary of each of the next ten sayings.
Think about what your 30 truths would be for your children.

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