The importance of words (Prov 25:11-25:13)

“A word fitly spoken

Is like apples of gold

In a setting of silver.

Like a gold ring,

Like an ornament of gold,

Is a wise rebuke to a listening ear.

Like the cold of snow,

In the time of harvest,

Are faithful messengers

To those who send them.

They refresh the spirit of their masters.”

A fit correct word spoken at the right time is like a golden setting in silver, like a golden ring, or an ornament of gold. In other words, to say the right word at the right time is important. This can be like a wise rebuke to someone who will take it to heart, if they are listening. The right word sent at the right time is like a cold snow at harvest time or like a faithful messenger. Both refresh the spirit of the one working in the field or the one expecting some news.

Be careful (Prov 22:5-22:8)

“Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse.

The cautious will keep far from them.

Train children in the right way.

Then when they are old,

They will not stray.

The rich rule over the poor.

The borrower is the slave of the lender.

Whoever sows injustice

Will reap calamity,

The rod of anger will fail.”

The way of the perverse is full of thorns and snares, so keep away from them. If you train children correctly, they will not stray when they are old. The rich will rule over the poor. The borrower becomes the slave of the lender. If you sow injustice, you will harvest calamity. Beatings in anger will fail.

Strife (Prov 20:3-20:6)

“It is honorable to refrain from strife.

But every fool is quick to quarrel.

The lazy person does not plow in the autumn season.

Harvest comes.

There is nothing to be found.

The purposes in the human mind are like deep water.

But the intelligent will draw them out.

Many proclaim themselves loyal.

But who can find one worthy of trust?”

The honorable people stay away from arguments and strife, but the fools are quick to start an argument. The lazy person does not plow in the correct season so that when harvest comes, they have nothing to harvest. The human mind is deep, but the intelligent people can draw out the purposes of humans. Many people maintain that they are loyal, but it is hard to find a trustworthy person.

Generosity (Prov 11:24-11:28)

“Some give freely.

Yet they grow all the richer.

Others withhold what is due.

But they only suffer want.

A generous person will be enriched.

One who gives water will get water.

The people curse those who hold back grain.

But a blessing is on the head of those who sell it.

Whoever diligently seeks good things seeks favor.

But evil comes to the one who searches for it.

Those who trust in their riches will wither.

But the righteous will flourish like green leaves.”

There is a need for generosity. Those people who give freely usually grow richer. Those who withhold what is due only suffer more wanting of things. A generous person will be enriched. If you give water, you will get water. If you hold back your grain, hoping for a higher price, you will be cursed. However, you will be blessed if you sell it to others in the normal course of the harvest. If you are seeking good things, you will be favored. If you are looking for evil, you will find it. If you trust in your wealth, it will wither away on you. However, if you are righteous, you will flourish like green leaves on a tree.

Honor Yahweh (Prov 3:9-3:10)

“Honor Yahweh

With your substance.

Honor Yahweh

With the first fruits of all your produce.

Then your barns will be filled with plenty of wheat.

Your vats will be bursting with wine.”

If you honor Yahweh with your goods, and especially the first fruits of your harvest, then your barns will be filled with wheat and other crops. Your vats will be bursting with wine. It seems that this was an agricultural society with wheat and grapes as the dominant crop.

Praise Yahweh for all he does for you (Ps 147:12-147:20)

“Praise Yahweh!

O Jerusalem!

Praise your God!

O Zion!

He strengthens the bars of your gates.

He blesses your sons within you.

He grants peace in your borders.

He fills you with the finest of wheat.

He sends out his command to the earth.

His word runs swiftly.

He gives snow like wool.

He scatters frost like ashes.

He hurls down hail like crumbs.

Who can stand before his cold?

He sends out his word.

He melts them.

He makes his wind blow.

He makes the waters flow.

He declares his word to Jacob.

He declares his statutes and ordinances to Israel.

He has not dealt thus with any other nation.

They do not know his ordinances.

Praise Yahweh!”

The end of this alleluia psalm naturally has the phrase “praise Yahweh,” another way of saying the Hebrew “Hallelujah.” This section begins and ends with that phrase. This is a long description of what Yahweh is doing in the current time to help Israel with the use of the present tense. He keeps the bars strong on the gates into the town. He blesses them with children. He grants them peace at home. He fills them with a good harvest of wheat. Yahweh commands the whole earth. His word controls the climate as snow, frost, and hail follow his command. He sends out his wind to make the snow melt and the waters flow in the various rivers. He has given his word, his statutes, and his ordinances to Jacob or Israel. No other nation is like Israel. Notice that this is not the Mosaic code but the ordinances of Jacob.

The righteous actions (Ps 112:7-112:9)

Mem   

“They are not afraid of evil news.

Nun    

Their hearts are firm and secure in Yahweh.

Samek

Their hearts are steady.

They will not be afraid.

Ain     

In the end,

They will look to triumph over their foes.

Phe     

They have distributed freely.

They have given to the poor.

Cade   

Their righteousness endures forever.

Qoph  

Their horn is exalted in honor.”

The righteous are not afraid of bad news. Their hearts are firm and secure in Yahweh so that they are not afraid. In the end they will triumph over their foes. They distribute to the poor so that their righteousness endures forever. They will have the horn of plenty as their honor just like a plentiful harvest.

Yahweh questions Job about wild oxen (Job 39:9-39:12)

“Is the wild ox willing to serve you?

Will he spend the night at your crib?

Can you tie it in the furrow with ropes?

Will it harrow the valleys after you?

Will you depend on it because its strength is great?

Will you hand over your labor to it?

Do you have faith in it that it will return?

Will it bring your grain to your threshing floor?”

Once again, Yahweh wheeled off a series of questions which imply an answer. Does the ox serve you? Does it stay with you? Does it help you with planting? Is it strong enough for you to hand over some of your labor to it? Do you have faith that the ox will stay with you and help you with your harvest? There seems to be a difference between the wild ox and the domesticated ox.

Job thought that God was too busy for the poor (Job 24:1-24:9)

“Why are times not kept by the Almighty Shaddai?

Why do those who know him never see his days?

The wicked remove landmarks.

They seize flocks and pasture them.

They drive away the donkey of the orphan.

They take the widow’s ox for a pledge.

They thrust the needy off the road.

The poor of the earth all hide themselves.

Like wild asses in the desert

They go out to their toil.

They scavenge in the wasteland food for their young.

They reap in a field not their own.

They glean in the vineyard of the wicked.

They lie all night naked,

Without clothing.

They have no covering in the cold.

They are wet with the rain of the mountains.

They cling to the rock for want of shelter.”

Job seemed to imply that God was too busy to care about the poor. Job contrasted the ways of the rich and the poor. The day of the Lord never seemed to come. Instead the wicked remove landmarks or steal land, steal flocks, drive away with donkeys and oxen. They were stealing property from others. The poor are sent into hiding. They have to scavenge for their children’s food, work in other people’s fields, and glean or pick up the left over harvest items in the vineyard. They have no clothing to protect them from the cold and the wet. Their housing was rocks and caves.

The troubles with being human (Job 5:1-5:7)

“Call now!

Is there anyone who will answer you?

To which of the holy ones will you turn?

Surely vexation kills the fool.

Jealousy slays the simple.

I have seen fools taking root.

But suddenly I cursed their dwelling.

Their children are far from safety.

They are crushed in the gate.

There is no one to deliver them.

The hungry eat their harvest.

They take it even out of thorns.

The thirsty pant after their wealth.

Misery does not come from the earth.

Trouble does not sprout from the ground.

But human beings are born to trouble

Just as the birds fly upward.”

Being human is being in trouble just as birds fly. Eliphaz told Job to call, but no one will respond. Which angels or holy ones will respond to him? Irritation and jealousy kill the fools and simple ones. Eliphaz has cursed fools and their children so that they were crushed at the main gate to the town. No one helped them. The hungry ones took and ate their harvest, even from the thorny section. The thirsty ones went after their wealth. Misery and trouble do not come from the ground or the earth, but come from within humans. This is to suggest that human trouble comes from within and is not imposed. Humans are born to be troubled just like birds are born to fly. Accept this fact!