1. Better is a dry morsel with quiet
than a house full of feasting with strife.
2. A servant who deals wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully
and will share the inheritance as one of the brothers.
3. The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold,
and the LORD tests hearts.
4. An evildoer listens to wicked lips,
and a liar gives ear to a mischievous tongue.
5. Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker;
he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.
6. Grandchildren are the crown of the aged,
and the glory of children is their fathers.
7. Fine speech is not becoming to a fool;
still less is false speech to a prince.
8. A bribe is like a magic stone in the eyes of the one who gives it;
wherever he turns he prospers.
9. Whoever covers an offence seeks love,
but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.
10. A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding
than a hundred blows into a fool.
11. An evil man seeks only rebellion,
and a cruel messenger will be sent against him.
12. Let a man meet a she-bear robbed of her cubs
rather than a fool in his folly.
13. If anyone returns evil for good,
evil will not depart from his house.
14. The beginning of strife is like letting out water,
so quit before the quarrel breaks out.
Comments: Every couplet is worth thinking about, but here are my thoughts on three of them.
- 1. Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife. Here quiet is obviously the opposite of strife. I think that it means more than silence and almost certainly doesn’t mean isolation. Lively converse with intelligent, knowledgeable and wise people makes for a pleasant experience. Mind you a good, well prepared and tasty meal is also a very pleasant experience, and this talks about a feast gives not only good food but a wide choice. What is to be avoided? Strife!
- 12. Let a man meet a she-bear robbed of her cubs rather than a fool in his folly. We don’t have bears around here except for koala bears which we are told don’t below in the bear genus really. But I can’t manage the she bear described here, angry already at the loss of her cubs, as a pleasant experience. Although you might boast about it, if you survive – but you would probably be dead. On the other hand having to deal with fools, you might avoid the scratches. But if you submit to their foolishness you have given away your good character, and if you are to survive the experience you will have gone through frustration, dealt with ignorance and be exhausted. What is to be avoided? A fool on a rampage!
- 14. The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out. For most people these days getting water is just a matter of turning on a tap connected to a large reservoir. In many parts of the world, because of the difficulty of getting water, it is a very precious commodity. Mind you it is a real commodity for us but something we don’t often have to worry about. But if you carry the family’s supply of water in a clay pot, to see it leaking away is very distressing. You’ll ry to stop the leak immediately, before your supply is broken. Quarrelling, if allowed to flow, leads to a broken empty relationship; to the end of peace; maybe even a physical altercation. What is to be avoided? Quarrelling.
Prayer: I don’t want to be ‘yes’ man; I want to stand up for my principles, but I would learn to choose my fights wisely, and to achieve important results.