Greetings! We’ll cover Proverbs for a couple days, then start Genesis.
The first section reminds me of what I often tell my kids: “The first thing to do when you find yourself in a hole is to stop digging.” The Proverbs are actually after something more in depth, though – to make restitution once you have committed to something or erred.
Warnings Against Folly
1 My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor,
if you have struck hands in pledge for another,
2 if you have been trapped by what you said,
ensnared by the words of your mouth,
3 then do this, my son, to free yourself,
since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands:
Go and humble yourself;
press your plea with your neighbor!
4 Allow no sleep to your eyes,
no slumber to your eyelids.
5 Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
like a bird from the snare of the fowler.
While we were relaxing on the coach one morning while visiting in-laws, my wife was looking over my shoulder as I read this next section. I assured her that it didn’t apply to vacations.
6 Go to the ant, you sluggard;
consider its ways and be wise!
7 It has no commander,
no overseer or ruler,
8 yet it stores its provisions in summer
and gathers its food at harvest.
9 How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
When will you get up from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest-
11 and poverty will come on you like a bandit
and scarcity like an armed man.
12 A scoundrel and villain,
who goes about with a corrupt mouth,
13 who winks with his eye,
signals with his feet
and motions with his fingers,
14 who plots evil with deceit in his heart—
he always stirs up dissension.
15 Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant;
he will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.
The six things / seven language is a figure of speech. The author wasn’t really saying, “Oops, I meant seven.” Read them closely. It is easier to fall into these behaviors than you might think.
16 There are six things the LORD hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
17 haughty eyes,
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19 a false witness who pours out lies
and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.
If more people obeyed the following commands against adultery the world would be a phenomenally better place and human misery would be drastically reduced. Think of the tens of millions of people harmed by sexual sins, including the adulterers themselves, and especially the children involved. These are written to a son but obviously apply to women as well.
Note the imagery: Sexual sins reduce you to a loaf of bread – something to be sliced up and consumed. It is like setting your lap on fire or walking on hot coals. It carries a huge cost. It can destroy you. Why would we want to do that? There is forgiveness in Jesus Christ, of course, but why not educate people better on the costs of these sins?
I’m not in favor of vigilantism, but I’m surprised that there aren’t more murder and assaults related to adultery.
There is a better way. God’s Word has the best plan for sexual behaviors. The world has the worst plan.
Warning Against Adultery
20 My son, keep your father’s commands
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
21 Bind them upon your heart forever;
fasten them around your neck.
22 When you walk, they will guide you;
when you sleep, they will watch over you;
when you awake, they will speak to you.
23 For these commands are a lamp,
this teaching is a light,
and the corrections of discipline
are the way to life,
24 keeping you from the immoral woman,
from the smooth tongue of the wayward wife.
25 Do not lust in your heart after her beauty
or let her captivate you with her eyes,
26 for the prostitute reduces you to a loaf of bread,
and the adulteress preys upon your very life.
27 Can a man scoop fire into his lap
without his clothes being burned?
28 Can a man walk on hot coals
without his feet being scorched?
29 So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife;
no one who touches her will go unpunished.
30 Men do not despise a thief if he steals
to satisfy his hunger when he is starving.
31 Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold,
though it costs him all the wealth of his house.
32 But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment;
whoever does so destroys himself.
33 Blows and disgrace are his lot,
and his shame will never be wiped away;
34 for jealousy arouses a husband’s fury,
and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.
35 He will not accept any compensation;
he will refuse the bribe, however great it is.
Share your reflections and questions if you like.