Personal lament of Jeremiah (Jer 20:7-20:9)

“Yahweh!

You have enticed me!

I was enticed!

You have overpowered me!

You have prevailed!

I have become a laughingstock

All day long!

Every one mocks me!

Whenever I speak,

I must cry out!

I must shout!

‘Violence!

Destruction!’

The word of Yahweh

Has become for me

A reproach.

It has become

A derision all day long.

If I say.

‘I will not mention him,

I will not speak any more

In his name,’

Then within me

There is something

Like a burning fire

Shut up in my bones.

I am weary

With holding it in.

I cannot.”

Jeremiah seems to blame Yahweh for enticing him into being a prophet in this personal lament. Yahweh has overpowered him so that he cannot prevail. He has become a laughing stock all day long, as everyone mocks him. Every time Jeremiah cries out “violence and destruction” to others, they reproach and deride him, despite the fact that it is the word of God in him. If he tries not to mention Yahweh and not speak about him, then there is something within him like a burning fire in his bones. Jeremiah was tired of holding it in. Thus he has no other option than to shout it out despite everything that happened to him. He can no longer hold it in.

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Your eyes (Prov 30:17-30:17)

“The eye that mocks a father

Will be picked out by the ravens of the valley.

The eye that scorns to obey a mother

Will be picked out by the ravens of the valley.

They will be eaten by the vultures.”

Anyone who mocks his father or does not obey his mother will have their eyes plucked out by the ravens in the valley. Then they will be eaten by the vultures since they will be blind.

Worthless mocking witness (Prov 19:28-19:29)

“A worthless witness mocks at justice.

The mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.

Condemnation is ready for scoffers.

Flogging is for the backs of fools.”

The worthless witness mocks justice. The wicked devour iniquity. The mockers or scoffers are to be condemned. Fools should be whipped. Those who mock justice and other people are useless.

Shared wealth (Prov 17:1-17:5)

“Better is a dry morsel with quiet

Than a house full of feasting with strife.

A slave who deals wisely

Will rule over a child who acts shamefully.

The slave will share the inheritance as one of the brothers.

The crucible is for silver.

The furnace is for gold.

Yahweh tests the heart.

An evildoer listens to wicked lips.

A liar gives heed to a mischievous tongue.

Those who mock the poor

Insult their maker.

Those who are glad at calamity

Will not go unpunished.”

You are better off with a dry morsel of bread in quiet peaceful solitude than having a house full of feasting and strife at the same time. A slave who is wise will rule over a child who acts shamefully. In fact, this slave will gain the inheritance as if he was one of the brothers. Both silver and gold have to go through a crucible furnace. So too, Yahweh tests the human heart. An evildoer listens to wicked lips, while a liar follows mischievous tongues. Anyone who mocks poor people actually insults their maker, the creator. Those who are happy about bad news will not go unpunished.

Wisdom cries out in public (Prov 1:20-1:23)

“Wisdom cries aloud in the street.

In the squares,

She raises her voice.

At the busiest corner,

She cries out.

At the entrance of the city gates

She speaks.

‘O simple ones!

How long

Will you love being simple?

How long

Will scoffers delight in their scoffing?

How long

Will fools hate knowledge?

Give heed to my reproof!

I will pour out my thoughts to you.

I will make my words known to you.’”

Wisdom is personified as a female here. She cries out in the streets and raises her voice in the city squares like a prophetess. She cries out and speaks at the busy corners and at the gate to the entrance to a city or town. She calls out people for being simple. She wanted to know why they were deriding her. How long would these fools hate knowledge? There is a lot of mention of scoffers in these proverbs. A scoffer is someone who mocks others, a kind of a cynic. Why would they not accept a criticism? Nevertheless wisdom was going to pour out her thoughts and make her words known to them.