Drunkards and gluttons (Prov 23:20-23:21)

“Do not be

Among wine bibbers!

Do not be

Among gluttonous eaters of meat!

The drunkard

Will come to poverty.

The glutton

Will come to poverty.

Drowsiness will clothe them with rags.”

Do not be wine imbibers or gluttons of meat. Otherwise you will be a poor drunkard. You will be poor glutton. You will fall asleep with rags. Do not over drink or over eat because that is the way to poverty.

Loose woman (Prov 22:14-22:16)

“The mouth of a loose woman is a deep pit.

Whomever Yahweh is angry with

Will fall into it.

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child.

But the rod of discipline drives it far away.

Oppressing the poor in order to enrich oneself,

Will only lead to a loss.

Giving to the rich,

Will only lead to a loss.”

The mouth of a loose woman is like a deep pit. If Yahweh is angry with anyone, they will fall into that pit. In order to get foolishness out of child, it is better to discipline them with the rod to drive out that foolishness. If you oppress the poor to get rich, this will only lead to your own poverty. If you give to rich, you also will end up poor.

Yahweh knows (Prov 20:11-20:13)

“Even children make themselves known by their acts.

You can tell by whether

What they do is pure and right.

Yahweh has made the hearing ear.

Yahweh has made the seeing eye.

Yahweh has made them both.

Do not love sleep.

Otherwise you will come to poverty.

Open your eyes!

You will have plenty of bread.”

Children make themselves known by their acts on whether they are pure and right. Yahweh has made both the hearing ear and the seeing eye. Do not sleep too much or you will end up in poverty. Open your eyes and you will have plenty of bread.

Profit (Prov 14:23-14:25)

“In all toil

There is profit.

But mere talk

Leads only to poverty.

The crown of the wise

Is their wisdom.

But folly

Is the garland of fools.

A truthful witness saves lives.

But one who utters lies is a betrayer.”

There is profit or gain in all kinds of work. Mere talk, on the other hand, just leads to poverty. The crown for the wise is their wisdom, but the foolish have a garland of folly as their crown. The truthful witness saves lives, while the liar actually betrays life itself.

Hatred (Prov 10:12-10:18)

“Hatred stirs up strife.

But love covers all offenses.

On the lips of him who has understanding

Wisdom is found.

But a rod is for the back

Of one who lacks sense.

The wise lay up knowledge.

But the babbling of a fool brings ruin near.

The wealth of the rich is their fortress.

But the poverty of the poor is their ruin.

The wage of the righteous leads to life.

But the gain of the wicked is to sin.

Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life,

But one who rejects a rebuke goes astray.

Lying lips conceal hatred.

But whoever utters slander is a fool.”

Hatred stirs up things. However, love covers all faults. Wise lips have understanding. However, for the senseless they need a rod slap on the back. The wise ones have knowledge, but the babbling fools have nothing but ruin. The rich use wealth as a fortress. The poverty of the poor brings them to ruin. The righteous will have life, while the wicked will simply sin. When you follow instructions, you are on the path to life. However, if you reject a rebuke, you are probably going astray. Lying lips conceal hatred, but fools are slanderers.

The wise child (Prov 10:2-10:5)

“A wise child makes a glad father.

But a foolish child is a mother’s grief.

Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit anyone.

But righteousness delivers from death.

Yahweh does not let the righteous go hungry,

But he thwarts the craving of the wicked.

A slack hand causes poverty.

But the hand of the diligent makes rich.

A child who gathers in summer is prudent,

But a child who sleeps in harvest brings shame.”

Right from the start of these sayings there is the contrast between the wise and the foolish child. Wickedness did not bring profit, but righteousness would save you from death. Early death was considered a punishment for sin. Yahweh would not let the righteous go hungry, but the wicked would be hungry. Notice the contrast and the idea of ‘but’. Here we have the classic explanation of poverty. You are poor because you do not work hard. You are rich because you have worked hard. There is never any mention of circumstances. Once again, we are back at the prudent child who gathers in the summer, while the other shameful child sleeps during the harvest time.

Laziness (Prov 6:6-6:11)

“Go to the ant!

You lazybones!

Consider its ways!

Be wise!

Without having

Any chief,

Any officer,

Any ruler,

It prepares its food in summer.

It gathers its sustenance in harvest.

How long will you be there?

O lazybones!

When will you rise from your sleep?

A little sleep,

A little slumber,

A little folding of the hands to rest,

Poverty will come upon you

Like a robber.

Want will come upon you

Like an armed warrior.”

This admonition is very clear. Do not be lazy, a lazybones person. He took the example of an ant. It has no chiefs, officers, or rulers, yet it provides for itself. The ants prepared the food in summer and gathered in the fall. So then he turned to the lazy one. He asked how long he was going to be resting. He either was sleeping, dosing, or folding his hands resting. If he did not get a move on, he would soon be poor. Poverty would come upon him like a robber or armed warrior. This is an idea that will be repeated.

The problem of pride, idleness, injustice, and drunkenness (Tob 4:13-4:15)

“For in pride there is ruin and great confusion.

In idleness there is loss and dire poverty

Because idleness is the mother of famine.

Do not hold over until the next day

The wages of those who work for you.

Pay him at once.

If you serve God,

You will receive payment.

Watch yourself, my son,

In everything you do.

Discipline yourself in all your conduct.

What you hate,

Do not do to anyone.

Do not drink wine to excess.

Do not let drunkenness go with you on your way.”

Pride can lead to confusion. Idleness will lead to poverty and famine. It is interesting to note that idleness is the mother of famines, that somehow humans are responsible for famines, rather than weather. Tobit wanted his son to pay the worker’s wages immediately, not even wait until the next day. When his son served God, he would receive his payment. He had to be disciplined in his conduct. He was not to do to others things that he himself hated. This is the kind of ‘do not do unto others what you yourself hate done to you.’ He was not to drink wine in excess. Drunkenness should not become part of his lifestyle. Clearly these are all the prescriptions of the Jewish post-exilic life style.