Saturday, November 28, 2015

Proverbs 24.3-22 / "Thirty Wise Sayings" Part 3

COLLECTION 3: The Thirty Sayings of the Wise (24.3-24)
A. Prologue: Saying 1 (22.17-21)
B. Prohibitions about Power, Greed, and Wealth
(22.22-23.11) [2-11]
C. Character and Cautions for a Wise Son (23.22-24.2) [12-20]

D. Trying Circumstances (24:3-12/13-22) [#21-30]
            1. Strength in Distress
            2. Involvement with the Wicked

Strength in Distress
People here who are being taken to death and slaughter probably are victims of unjust oppression rather than guilty people being condemned. -Sid Buzzell in BKC
In this section we see sayings 21 & 22 describing the wise, sayings 24 & 25 describing those who fall short with saying 23 forming a connecting between the two opposites.

1. Wisdom increases wealth (24:3-4)
2. Wisdom increases strength (24:5–6)
3. Wisdom increases respect (24:7–9)

SAYING NUMBER 21: Wisdom's House. (24.3-4)
"The similarities between 1-2 and 3-4.  The suggestion that Solomon intends to reinforce his contrast between building and furnishing a house built by wisdom (23.3-4), not by envying envying sinners and plunder. --Waltke in NICOT 
…here the emphasis is primarily on the building, it is a sign of security and prosperity (Toy, p. 442)  --Allen Ross in EBC
“Instead of resorting to crime for the means to live, one can build up a comfortable and stable home by the application of wisdom. The term “wisdom” here not only embraces moral principles, but signifies shrewdness as well.”  --The Wisdom Literature and Psalms, Old Testament Survey Series

3                            And
Through wisdom    by understanding
a house                  it
is built,                  is established;
4 By knowledge the rooms are filled 
With all precious and pleasant riches. 

Synthetic parallels of v. 3 escalates the building of a household (see 11:29) from is built (see 14:1; cf. 2 Sam. 7:13) to is established (see 3:19; 8:21).  --Waltke in NICOT 
wisdom... H2451 - chokmah: skill, shrewd
… (in Christ, the true wisdom), the true riches that transcend time (Luke 12:33; 16:11; 1 Cor. 3:10-15).
built  The root meaning is to bring something into being with the consequence that its existence is a certainty.   --TWOT 
1 Cor 3:10-15; 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is.
understanding...  H8394 - tabuwn: Its main English usage is “understanding” or “insight.” The background idea of the verb is to “discern...”  --TWOT  
knowledge...  H1847 - da`ath: understanding, skillful, knowledge, concern  --DBL Hebrew
“And by knowledge (of true wisdom)  --Unger's Commentary on the Old Testament
precious...  precious, rare, splendid, weighty, noble, scarce
pleasant...  (ʿîm) pleasant, sweet, lovely, agreeable
NKJv, ESVprecious and pleasant;  niv---rare and beautiful; hcsbprecious and beautiful;  netprecious and pleasing;

Contrast with the appeal to the son in 
Proverbs 1.13
We shall find all kinds of precious possessions,
We shall fill our houses with spoil;
Provebs 15:6
In the house of the righteous there is much treasure,
But in the revenue of the wicked is trouble.
Proverbs 14:1
The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.

Cololossians 2:6-7                              
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

Is there a difference between building and establishing?
How reliable are physical prosperity at indicating wisdom?
Do you think Solomon has more than a physical house and riches in view here?  What causes a house to be established?

SAYING NUMBER 22: Wisdom's Strength. (24.5-6)
Again we see that the wise person is not completely self-reliant. He recognizes his own imperfection and looks to others to supplement his own personal deficiencies. “Wage war” means to seek to overcome any obstacle one may face in life. Wise strategy is always more important than mere strength.  --Thomas Constable's Expository Notes 

5 A wise man is strong,
Yes, a man of knowledge increases strength;
6 For by wise counsel you will wage your own war,
And in a multitude of counselors there is safety.

man... The twenty-first saying seems to be concerned with the need for wisdom in warfare. In line with that, the word used here is גֶּבֶר (gever), “mighty man; hero; warrior.”  --NETBible Study Notes
knowledge...   H1847 - da`ath: understanding, skillful, knowledge, concern  --DBL Hebrew
strength...  H5797 - `oz: might, strength; material or physical, personal or social or political  --BLB
counsel...   H8458 - tachbulah: direction, counsel (prob. orig. of rope-pulling, i.e. steering, directing a ship) — guidance  --BDB
Conscious ignorance is the first principle of knowledge (1K. 3:7; 5:12[27]; 10:23-29; 2 Chr. 27:6)   --Waltke in NICOT 
The might of the wise is not solitary, not is wisdom gained in isolation…”  --Koptak in NIVAC
wage your own war…wisdom enables him to use his strength to the fullest advantage. A specific example of this principle is found in the waging of war.”  --The Wisdom Literature and Psalms, Old Testament Survey Series
multitude  H7230 - rob: 1 multitude, abundance, greatness. 1A multitude. 1A1 abundance, abundantly. 1A2 numerous. 1B greatness. --Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon
(rōb) multitude, abundance. The initial occurrence appears in Gen 6:1 and many other passages in the sense of “become many” referring to human population...  --Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament

What characteristics of wisdom are alluded to in this proverb?
(Humility, listening, teachable, wise friends/advisors, perception and planning)
What number value does the word “multitude” have?
What is the likelihood that a multitude of counselors will all give the same counsel about a situation?
Why do we often tend to pull in to ourselves away from others when we are in distress? 

SAYING NUMBER 23: Silent Fool (24.7)
Connected to the previous two by the word, "wisdom"
Verset A presents the cause, and verset B presents the consequence.  --Waltke in NICOT
7 Wisdom is too lofty for a fool
He does not open his mouth in the gate 

Wisdom... (okmâ) wisdom. Used similar to Hebrew. Related to ḥakkîm. --Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament
Wisdom is plural here:  --Kidner at TOTC
The terms “high” and “wisdom” are plural, indicating the many different facets of this godly grace are beyond the reach of a fool.  --The Wisdom Literature and Psalms, Old Testament Survey Series
lofty...  The MT reads רָאמוֹת (ra’mot, “corals”) – wisdom to the fool is corals, i.e., an unattainable treasure. With a slight change in the text, removing the א (alef), the reading is רָמוֹת (ramot, “high”), i.e., wisdom is too high – unattainable – for a fool. The internal evidence favors the emendation, which is followed by most English versions including KJV."  --NETBible Textual Criticism Notes
fool...  H191 - 'eviyl: Fool, be foolish
gate...   Heb “[city] gate,” a metonymy of subject, meaning what goes on in the gate – court cases and business transactions.
If guidance and counsel help one win a battle, the fool has none to give at the gate. --Koptak in NIVAC
…it is also possible to be silent when justice calls for a wise word. --Koptak in NIVAC

What kind (realm) of wisdom is in view here?
What makes wisdom out of reach for a fool?  Why can he (she) not reach it?
How does this saying relate the two sayings in either side (21-22 & 24-25)?
Notice how the first two sayings in this subsection are mirrored in the last two
   Wisdom builds her house and the schemer devises sinful plans.
   The wise build strength through wisdom while the some are disheartened and withdraw from a rescue.
SAYING NUMBER 24: Scheming. (24.8-9)
The third saying is connected to the preceding two by the catchword “wisdom” (vv. 3, 5, 7) and functions as a foil to the second [#22] saying by noting the incompetence of fools…   --Waltke in NICOT
Scheming is the root idea of these two proverbs, in the sense of calculated (8) and brazen (9) wickedness. --Kidner at TOTC
On the other hand, the fool is one who “plots evil.” People refer to such a scheming, mischief-making individual as, literally, a “lord of mischiefs.” In this person misapplied cleverness abounds.  --The Wisdom Literature and Psalms, Old Testament Survey Series

8 He who plots to do evil 
Will be called a schemer.
9                                                 And
The devising of foolishness        the scoffer
is                                                is 
sin,                                             an abomination to men.

Plots  On the other hand, the fool is one who “plots evil.” People refer to such a scheming, mischief-making individual as, literally, a “lord of mischiefs.” In this person misapplied cleverness abounds.  --The Wisdom Literature and Psalms, Old Testament Survey Series
evil...  (ʿaʿ) be bad, evil. Denominative verb.   The essential meaning of the root can be seen in its frequent juxtaposition with the root ôb. Thus Moses concluded, "See I set before you today life and what is good [ôb], death and what is evil/bad [raʿ] (cf. Mic 3:2). Frequently they occur in the merism that one distinguishes “good and evil/bad” (II Sam 14:17; 19:35 [H 36]; I Kgs 3:9; Isa 7:15; cf. here “tree of good and evil,” Gen 2:9, 17). … Since the decision that something is bad depends subjectively on one’s taste, the root frequently occurs with the formula “in the eyes of.”  --Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament
“…effects strategies that are designed to further his own interest at the expense of the community.”   --Waltke in NICOT
schemer... (Lit. master of evil plots)
Heb “possessor of schemes”; NAB “an intriguer.” The picture of the wicked person is graphic: He devises plans to do evil and is known as a schemer. Elsewhere the “schemes” are outrageous and lewd (e.g., Lev 18:7; Judg 20:6). Here the description portrays him as a cold, calculating, active person: “the fool is capable of intense mental activity but it adds up to sin” (W. McKane, Proverbs [OTL], 399).  --NETBible Translation Notes
“Here the description “schemer” portrays him as a cold, calculating, active person: ‘the fool is capable of intense mental activity (mezmmah) but it adds up to sin’ (McKane, p. 399).”  --Allen Ross in EBC
9  chiastic parallel
The outer frame presents the acts…and the actor
The inner … their consequences on society.  Villainy is defined for what it is, “sin” (i.e. a transgression against society as ordered by God)…   --Waltke in NICOT
devising of foolishness... (mĕzimmâ) purpose, plot. --Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament
Heb “the scheme of folly” (NIV similar). The genitive functions as an attributive genitive, meaning “foolish scheme.” But it could also be interpreted as a genitive of source, the scheme that comes from folly (or from the fool if “folly” were metonymical).  --NETBible Translation Notes
scoffer... H3887 - luwts: to scorn, make mouths at, talk arrogantly  --BLB
abomination H8441 ʿēbâ: 1 a disgusting thing, abomination, abominable. 1A in ritual sense (of unclean food, idols, mixed marriages). 1B in ethical sense (of wickedness etc).  -- Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon
the thought.  The Hebrew is connected with the word for mischievous expresses harmful planning intrigue.  Since the term for foolish denotes a low moral standard, it follows that such a person’s schemes will be sinful.  The intention is that the plan itself although not executed, is regarded as sin (Metsudath David).  –-Cohen in Proverbs by Soncino Books…

The thought therefore gathers strength in every acting till its full influence is developed in the “scorner’s seat” (Ps. i.1)—an abomination not only to God, but to man.  For however misused the wit and talent may gain for the fool a bad pre-eminence; he secures not respect, and is generally avoided or dreaded, and ultimately brought to shame.  --Charles Bridges


Why does this proverb highlight “abomination to man” instead of what the Lord thinks about it?
When is “peer pressure” a helpful agent in our and our children’s lives?
How do we use peer pressure to properly mold good behavior without making our children "men pleasers" or conformist? (One thought is that disapproval or bad reactions from others should prompt us to check our motives and actions to make sure they are right before the Lord.)

SAYING NUMBER 25: Strength Weighed. (10-12)
It is the hireling, not the true shepherd, who will plead bad conditions (10), hopeless tasks (11) and pardonable ignorance (12); love is not so lightly quieted—nor is the God of love.  --Kidner at TOTC
The saying is connected with the third and fourth sayings that pertain to fools and their antisocial behavior by warning the son against complicity with them by passivity.   --Waltke in NICOT
“What is new here is that the threat is directed at the reader, not some wicked third party.”  --Koptak in NIVAC
God will not excuse him for his lack of gritty determination, mental toughness, and moral courage to do the right thing.   --Waltke in NICOT

10 If you faint in the day of adversity
Your strength is small.
11                                    And
Deliver                           hold back
those who are drawn     those stumbling
toward death              to the slaughter.
12 If you say, "Surely we did not know this," 
Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it?                     (justice/wisdom)
He who keeps your soul, does He not know it?                        (omniscience)
And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?  (omnipotence)

faint  Hithpael Stem: This form primarily expresses a "reflexive" action of Qal or Piel 
Qal--"he wore" / Hithpael--"he dressed himself"
 (rāpâ) sink down, let drop, be disheartened.  The Hithpael stem occurs three times, twice in Prov (18:9), “One that is slack in his work”; (24:10), “If you are disheartened in the day of adversity,” KJV, “If thou faint in the day of adversity” and other similar readings miss the full force of the root. The stem occurs once in Josh 18:3, KJV, “How long are ye slack,” does not do justice to the full weight of rāpâ. The preferred reading is, “How long will you remain disheartened.” This is an interesting and significant root. However, each occurrence must be carefully compared with other similar contexts. Interestingly enough, rāpâ is used in poetic contexts only a very few times.  --Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament
Hebshow yourself slack” (NASB similar). The verb רָפָה (rafah) means “to sink; to relax.” In the causative stems it means “to let slacken; to let go; to refrain; to fail; to do nothing.” In the Whiptail stem BDB 952 s.v. defines it as “to show yourself slack.” It has also been rendered as “give up” (NCV, CEV); “fail” (NLT); “falter” (NIV). The colon implies a condition, for which the second part of the verse is the apodosis.  –-NETBible Translation Notes
And the paronomasia צרה and צר may be rendered, where possible, “if thy strength becomes, as it were, pressed together and bowed down by the difficulty just when it ought to show itself (viz., להרחיב לך), then it is limited, thou art a weakling.” –Keil and Delitzsch
niv84, tnivfalter;  hcsbdo nothing; nlv--fall
adversity... H6869 - tsarah: straits, distress, trouble; ārar may refer to anything which is narrow or confining.  --Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament
The Hebrew includes a wordplay by placing the word for small (ar, “narrow, tight, restricted”) immediately after the word for “trouble” (ārâh). -Sid Buzzell in BKC
strength ... H3581 - koach: From an unused root meaning to be firm;  --Strong’s Notes
small... H6862 - tsar: narrow, tight  --BLB
The verse employs a paronomasia to underscore the point: “trouble” is צָרָה (tsarah), literally “a bind; a strait [or, narrow] place”; “small” is צַר (tsar), with the same idea of “narrow” or “close.” –-NETBible translation notes

There are two cases presented here.   
1. The first is stated in terms of delivering someone from an attack or trap.   
2. The second paints the picture of rescuing someone who through disease, danger, or illness, etc. is staggering toward danger.  
People here who are being taken to death and slaughter probably are victims of unjust oppression rather than guilty people being condemned. –-Sid Buzzell in BKC  
deliver  (Hiphil). 1c1 to take away, snatch away. 1c2 to rescue, recover. 1c3 to deliver (from enemies or troubles or death). 1c4 to deliver from sin and guilt.--Strong’s Notes
drawn...  H3947 – lāqa: take (get, fetch), lay hold of (seize), receive, acquire (buy), bring, marry (take a wife), snatch (take away). –-NETBible translation notes
death...  (māwet) death, dying, Death (personified), the realm of the dead. --Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament
hold back (āśak) withhold; keep in check; refrain.  The ASV and RSV translate similarly, each attempting to render the same idea. The root refers to the free action of holding back something or someone (also used intransitively, Ezk 30:18; Job 16:5. See G. R. Driver, JTS 34:380). The actor has the power over the object. This root is to be distinguished from mānaʿ “to withhold, deny.”  --Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament
 stumbling...  The idea of “slipping” (participle from מוֹט, mot) has troubled some commentators. G. R. Driver emends it to read “at the point of” (“Problems in Proverbs,” ZAW 50 [1932]: 146). But the MT as it stands makes good sense. The reference would be general, viz., to help any who are in mortal danger or who might be tottering on the edge of such disaster – whether through sin, or through disease, war, or danger. Several English versions (e.g., NASB, NIV, NRSV) render this term as “staggering.”  --NETBible Translation Notes
slaughter... H2027 - hereg: The root includes the ideas of murder and judicial execution, as well as the killing of animals.  --Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament
we knew not  [The plural we, instead of ‘I,’ obviates the plea that one man by himself could not have accomplished a rescue, which would have been countered by the question why he did not call upon other s to co-operate with him.] … (Ibn Ezra).  –-Cohen in Proverbs by Soncino Books…
weighs...  H995 - biyn; According to Dhorme the basic meaning of the root tkn is “gauge,” i.e., “estimate a thing by comparing it with a standard” (E. Dhorme, Le Livre de Job, Paris, 1926). --Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament
Heb “weighs” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV) meaning “tests” or “evaluates.”  --NETBible Translation Notes

KJV--pondereth; NET--evaluates
hearts...  H3820 - leb:  inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding  --BLB 
keeps...  (ar) watch, guard, keep. The etymology of this root is illustrated in the Akkadian naāru “watch over, protect.” The Arabic cognate naara means “keep in view,” “look at.” --Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament
He that keepeth the soul.  [Better, ‘He Who observeth thy soul,’ looks into its depths and judges its motives. –-Cohen in Proverbs by Soncino Books…

NIV, TNIV, NET, NLT--guards; HCSB--protects
know  consider it.  More lit. ‘understand.' Does not God understand the thoughts of the heart as distinct from the words of our lips.  He will therefor reject the excuse (Metsudath David). –-Cohen in Proverbs by Soncino Books…
soul...  H5315 - nephesh: soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion --BLB
render H7725 – shuwb: (Hiphil) to cause to return –TWOT

  • "The fear of the Lord is the awareness that God is watching, weighing, and rewarding all that I do say or think."  What words in this verse highlight the key points in this statement.
  • What attributes, characteristics, and/or functions of God are alluded to in this saying.
  • What character traits are hightlighted in this saying.
attentiveness (awareness) - listening with my ears, eyes, and heart (This is often applied to listening to instructions, but has an important application to being aware of my situation with a special focus on the "downtrodden." 
taking note of the plight of the weak and unfortunate
Tenderheartedness - strong enough to feel the joys and hurts of others.  / Compassion –
Courage - doing something no matter how scared I am
Responsibility – being accountable for our actions and words/doing what I know I ought to do
Fear of the Lord – living my life in the light of what God thinks.

24:11, 12 must be taken in conjunction with this proverb (as Delitzsch points out); the former forbids indifference to suffering; the latter forbids interference with justice. Cf. Numbers 35:31. --Kidner at TOTC

Involvement with the Wicked

  • Saying 26 of the Thirty Sayings again encourages the son to obtain wisdom,  marking off the last unit of four double prohibitions sharing the same syntax and substance after this introduction.  Its five sayings are all proverb pairs consisting of double admonitions in the odd verses (vv. 13, 15, 17, 19,21) with validation in the even verses (vv. 14, 16, 18, 20, 22).   --Waltke in NICOT

[1] The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982).

[2] “133 אָנֵף,” ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 58.

[3] Andrew Bowling, “907 יָרֵא,” ed. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1999), 400.