Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Proverbs 1:20-33

Proverbs 1:20-33

20Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: 21She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying, 22How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? 23Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you. 24Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; 25But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: 26I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; 27When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. 28Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: 29For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: 30They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. 31Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. 32For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. 33But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

This is the first appearance of Wisdom - in anthropomorphic representation. Wisdom is pictured as a woman, calling out something like a preacher. This makes sense, because Wisdom's message is in essence the gospel. The Greek name is especially beautiful here Σοφία (Sophia) but perhaps some will say that the Hebrew name (חכמות - Chakmoth) is also beautiful. This Hebrew name for Wisdom is used only one place in the Bible, outside of the book of Proverbs, in a Psalm for the sons of Korah:

Psalm 49:3-4
3My mouth shall speak of wisdom (חכמות - Chakmoth); and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding. 4I will incline mine ear to a parable: I will open my dark saying upon the harp.

Now, in our present book of proverbs, Solomon is speaking of Wisdom, and providing her sermon.

The first point to be seen is in respect to this sermon is that Wisdom's message is delivered publicly. The following parallels are presented:

Wisdom crieth || she uttereth her voice || She crieth || she uttereth her words

without (outside) || in the streets || in the chief place of concourse || in the openings of the gates in the city

Wisdom's message is vocal and public. She doesn't just send forth her message in some back alley or hidden away in a closet, but in the "chief place of concourse" and "in the openings of gates in the city" the busiest places in the city. Today men spend less of their time outdoors, but still Wisdom calls out publicly - where everyone can hear, whether that be in the marketplace, in the factory, or on the Internet. Wherever there are people, Wisdom proclaims her message.

The message is a simple, though not particularly complimentary one:

How long,

ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? ||the scorners delight in their scorning? || fools hate knowledge?

How long will this go on? In other words, stop. Stop loving simplicity, stop delighting in scorning, stop hating knowledge. These things are all the same. The fool of Proverbs loves ignorance, "Ignorance is bliss," is perhaps his unofficial motto. He hates knowledge and wallows in his ignorance like a pig wallows in the mud. He is the same one who heaps scorn on what he doesn't understand. He loves mocking and he mocks what he should believe.

Wisdom offers knowledge. She declares that if the fool repents, he will receive the spirit of knowledge: that she will make known her words unto him. (Ephesians 1:17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:) We are sometimes mocked by the enemies of the Gospel, as suggesting that we have only Wisdom's words. We have also that spirit of Wisdom by which the words of Wisdom are made known unto us.

Wisdom continues by explaining what the response to her preaching has been:

I have called, and ye refused || I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; || ye have set at nought all my counsel || [ye] would none of my reproof

The fool ignores the preached word of wisdom. She says, "come here and learn," and he declines. She beckons to him, but he rebuffs it. He ignores her advice as though it were worthless and blows off her criticism.

Wisdom then points out what she will do in view of this failure to heed the warnings given:

I also will laugh at your calamity || I will mock when your fear cometh

There is coming a time when the mockers will be mocked and when the scorners will be scorned. I listened today to a Muslim comedian mocking Christianity. He clearly thought himself enormously funny. If he continues to ignore wisdom, however, there is coming a day when he will face calamity and fear: in that day, when it truly matters, he will find himself the subject of ridicule.

Wisdom continues:

When your fear cometh as desolation || [when] your destruction cometh as a whirlwind || when distress and anguish cometh upon you

The time of fear, distress, anguish, and destruction will come. There is not a question about whether it will come - it certainly is coming.

At that time, Wisdom indicates:

Then shall they call upon me, || they shall seek me early,

but I will not answer || but they shall not find me:

The fool will not remain foolish forever. Eventually he will try to call upon God, but God will not answer him - he will try to seek God, but will be unable to find him. It will be too late to repent at that time, though if the fool now turned from his folly, God would answer and those that seek God now, will find him.

Wisdom continues by essentially reiterating the previous point:

For that (because)

they hated knowledge || [they] did not choose the fear of the LORD || They would none of my counsel || they despised all my reproof


they shall eat of the fruit of their own way || [they shall] be filled with their own devices.

Knowledge, the fear of the LORD, his counsel, and his reproof are all roughly synonymous. They are all alike despised by the fool. The result: they get what they deserve - what is coming to them for doing what they did. Destruction is the fruit of the tree of folly. The concept "be filled with" is basically the idea of them be stuffed with this fruit that they cultivated (Latin is lovely here: "saturabuntur" - cognate for "saturated"). They'll be richly rewarded with what they have earned by their folly.

Finally, Wisdom summarizes here message:

Negatively the message is:

For the turning away of the simple shall slay them || the prosperity of fools shall destroy them

It is the rejection of wisdom that, in essence, is the reason the fools reject wisdom. Likewise, their current prosperity (whether gained by avarice - as in the previous parable - or otherwise) destroys them, by blocking them from turning from their foolishness.

But there is a positive side to Wisdom's message, as well:

But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely || [he] shall be quiet from fear of evil

The person who hears Wisdom's cry and repents, will be saved from the coming destruction. It is really that simple. It is the gospel message: Repent and believe, for the kingdom of God is at hand.

Original (Hebrew)
Proverbs 1:20-33
20 חכמות בחוץ תרנה ברחבות תתן קולה׃
21 בראשׁ המיות תקרא בפתחי שׁערים בעיר אמריה תאמר׃
22 עד־מתי פתים תאהבו פתי ולצים לצון חמדו להם וכסילים ישׂנאו־דעת׃
23 תשׁובו לתוכחתי הנה אביעה לכם רוחי אודיעה דברי אתכם׃
24 יען קראתי ותמאנו נטיתי ידי ואין מקשׁיב׃
25 ותפרעו כל־עצתי ותוכחתי לא אביתם׃
26 גם־אני באידכם אשׂחק אלעג בבא פחדכם׃
27 בבא כשׁאוה פחדכם ואידכם כסופה יאתה בבא עליכם צרה וצוקה׃
28 אז יקראנני ולא אענה ישׁחרנני ולא ימצאנני׃
29 תחת כי־שׂנאו דעת ויראת יהוה לא בחרו׃
30 לא־אבו לעצתי נאצו כל־תוכחתי׃
31 ויאכלו מפרי דרכם וממעצתיהם ישׂבעו׃
32 כי משׁובת פתים תהרגם ושׁלות כסילים תאבדם׃
33 ושׁמע לי ישׁכן־בטח ושׁאנן מפחד רעה׃

LXX (Greek)
Proverbs 1:20-33
20Σοφία ἐν ἐξόδοις ὑμνεῖται, ἐν δὲ πλατείαις παρρησίαν ἄγει, 21ἐπ᾿ ἄκρων δὲ τειχέων κηρύσσεται, ἐπὶ δὲ πύλαις δυναστῶν παρεδρεύει, ἐπὶ δὲ πύλαις πόλεως θαρροῦσα λέγει 22Ὅσον ἂν χρόνον ἄκακοι ἔχωνται τῆς δικαιοσύνης, οὐκ αἰ σχυνθήσονται· οἱ δὲ ἄφρονες, τῆς ὕβρεως ὄντες ἐπιθυμηταί, ἀσεβεῖς γενόμενοι ἐμίσησαν αἴσθησιν 23καὶ ὑπεύθυνοι ἐγένοντο ἐλέγχοις. ἰδοὺ προήσομαι ὑμῖν ἐμῆς πνοῆς ῥῆσιν, διδάξω δὲ ὑμᾶς τὸν ἐμὸν λόγον. 24ἐπειδὴ ἐκάλουν καὶ οὐχ ὑπηκούσατε καὶ ἐξέτεινον λόγους καὶ οὐ προσείχετε, 25ἀλλὰ ἀκύρους ἐποιεῖτε ἐμὰς βουλάς, τοῖς δὲ ἐμοῖς ἐλέγχοις ἠπειθήσατε, 26τοιγαροῦν κἀγὼ τῇ ὑμετέρᾳ ἀπωλείᾳ ἐπιγελάσομαι, καταχαροῦμαι δέ, ἡνίκα ἂν ἔρχηται ὑμῖν ὄλεθρος, 27καὶ ὡς ἂν ἀφίκηται ὑμῖν ἄφνω θόρυβος, ἡ δὲ καταστροφὴ ὁμοίως καταιγίδι παρῇ, καὶ ὅταν ἔρχηται ὑμῖν θλῖψις καὶ πολιορκία, ἢ ὅταν ἔρχηται ὑμῖν ὄλεθρος. 28ἔσται γὰρ ὅταν ἐπικαλέσησθέ με, ἐγὼ δὲ οὐκ εἰσακούσομαι ὑμῶν· ζητήσουσίν με κακοὶ καὶ οὐχ εὑρήσουσιν. 29ἐμίσησαν γὰρ σοφίαν, τὸν δὲ φόβον τοῦ κυρίου οὐ προ είλαντο 30οὐδὲ ἤθελον ἐμαῖς προσέχειν βουλαῖς, ἐμυκτήριζον δὲ ἐμοὺς ἐλέγχους. 31τοιγαροῦν ἔδονται τῆς ἑαυτῶν ὁδοῦ τοὺς καρποὺς καὶ τῆς ἑαυτῶν ἀσεβείας πλησθήσονται· 32ἀνθ᾿ ὧν γὰρ ἠδίκουν νηπίους, φονευθήσονται, καὶ ἐξετασμὸς ἀσεβεῖς ὀλεῖ. 33ὁ δὲ ἐμοῦ ἀκούων κατασκηνώσει ἐπ᾿ ἐλπίδι καὶ ἡσυχάσει ἀφόβως ἀπὸ παντὸς κακοῦ.

Vulgate (Latin)
Proverbs 1:20-33
20sapientia foris praedicat in plateis dat vocem suam 21in capite turbarum clamitat in foribus portarum urbis profert verba sua dicens 22usquequo parvuli diligitis infantiam et stulti ea quae sibi sunt noxia cupiunt et inprudentes odibunt scientiam 23convertimini ad correptionem meam en proferam vobis spiritum meum et ostendam verba mea 24quia vocavi et rennuistis extendi manum meam et non fuit qui aspiceret 25despexistis omne consilium meum et increpationes meas neglexistis 26ego quoque in interitu vestro ridebo et subsannabo cum vobis quod timebatis advenerit 27cum inruerit repentina calamitas et interitus quasi tempestas ingruerit quando venerit super vos tribulatio et angustia 28tunc invocabunt me et non exaudiam mane consurgent et non invenient me 29eo quod exosam habuerint disciplinam et timorem Domini non susceperint 30nec adquieverint consilio meo et detraxerint universae correptioni meae 31comedent igitur fructus viae suae suisque consiliis saturabuntur 32aversio parvulorum interficiet eos et prosperitas stultorum perdet illos 33qui autem me audierit absque terrore requiescet et abundantia perfruetur malorum timore sublato


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