1. Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler,
and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
2. The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion;
whoever provokes him to anger forfeits his life.
3. It is an honour for a man to keep aloof from strife,
but every fool will be quarrelling.
4. The sluggard does not plow in the autumn;
he will seek at harvest and have nothing.
5. The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water,
but a man of understanding will draw it out.
6. Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love,
but a faithful man who can find?
7. The righteous who walks in his integrity—
blessed are his children after him!
8. A king who sits on the throne of judgment
winnows all evil with his eyes.
9. Who can say, “I have made my heart pure;
I am clean from my sin”?
10. Unequal weights and unequal measures
are both alike an abomination to the LORD.
11. Even a child makes himself known by his acts,
by whether his conduct is pure and upright.
12. The hearing ear and the seeing eye,
the LORD has made them both.
13. Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty;
open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.
14. “Bad, bad,” says the buyer,
but when he goes away, then he boasts.
15. There is gold and abundance of costly stones,
but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.
Comment: Look through these couplets slowly, and consider the points below. Have we learnt from what has been said previously? I need to often hear the same lesson repeated!
- in 1 the issue of strong drink rises again, and the evils often associated with it are listed again in part.
- Numbers 2&8 bring up the subject of ‘kings’ again. Whereas in past days the kings often sat as judge at the gate we can here picture it referring to those in authority with whom we deal face to face. In number 8 I have to picture an honest person, as I fear many in authority are not.
- Behaviour although not listed as a word is clearly the point of numbers 3, 6, 7, 10, 11, and number 9 – Who can say, “I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin”? really hits one in the solar plexus about our own failure not only before man but very much before God. How do we get cleansed from our sin?
- And we again see ‘sluggards’, and ‘the true wealth of understanding and knowledge’. Understanding and knowledge when assessed against the costly gems of this life are very precious. Thus both physical and mental laziness are frowned upon.
Prayer: I want to be on Your side, God. Help me to put into living practice what is implanted in my head.