You will note that I am dealing differently with this passage. It is a series of apparently disjointed ‘proverbs’ or may be better called ‘wise sayings’. So I will put my comments in italics after what seemed to me on my reading to be on a different thought. Remember that I am by choice not looking up any references at all. Though they are helpful they weren’t there initially, and I’m trying to play the part of a person reading this for the first time.
A wise son makes a glad father,
but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother. As the father of six sons (two adopted) I’m so glad to have a glad heart! And I’m happy that my wife hasn’t had the experience of a foolish son. But the generalization sounds true to me.
Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit,
but righteousness delivers from death. This next bit seems to deal with treasures and what they bring.This surely must be looking at things with a vision that extends beyond the grave. Because within their earthly span it seems as if the wicked are profited. But they have to leave their treasures at death’s door. The righteous may have little on earth but don’t have to leave their righteousness at death’s door. They have something to face the future beyond the grave, which is a common exit/entry point for us all living here on earth. Exit from the known, Entrance into the beyond.
The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry,
but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.
A slack hand causes poverty,
but the hand of the diligent makes rich.
He who gathers in summer is a prudent son,
but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame. If we try to take these words as more than generalizations we run into many difficult spots. In addition I am convinced that we have to see life as extending beyond the grave to make much sense of them. The righteous are often found in poor geographical or social areas, or maybe persecuted so that do go hungry. Unless we flick back to the first writing considered above, where the righteous are seen as having something against future needs. Their righteousness is not taken away at death’s door. On the other hand diligence and effort are likely to be enough to escape poverty while here on earth.
Blessings are on the head of the righteous,
but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
The memory of the righteous is a blessing,
but the name of the wicked will rot.
The wise of heart will receive commandments,
but a babbling fool will come to ruin.
Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out. The wicked can do righteous acts occasionally but are still labelled with the the wicked. And it is not as if the righteous are perfect and can, and do do wicked things but it isn’t their habitual practice. Thus righteous, blessed, wise, having integrity are often linked together. On the other hand, foolish, crooked, violent are used for the wicked. There is some good and some bad in all of us, but we do have to side with right or wrong. One choice leads to blessing, the other to ‘rot’, and ‘ruin’ as it is described here.
Prayer: Choices, choices, choices. Help me to be steadfast in my choice for righteousness.