Self discipline (Prov 30:32-30:33)

“If you have been foolish,

Exalting yourself,

Put your hand on your mouth.

If you have been devising evil,

Put your hand on your mouth.

Pressing milk produces curds.

Pressing the nose produces blood.

Pressing anger produces strife.”

This numerical interlude ends with a warning about being foolish without self discipline. If you tried to exalt yourself, put a hand to your mouth to stop talking. If you have been devising evil, put a hand to your mouth so that evil does not come out of your mouth. Pressing or suppressing things may have evil consequences. If you press milk you end up with curds. If you press your nose, it will bleed. If you press your anger, it will produce strife.

Perverse scoundrels (Prov 16:27-16:30)

“Scoundrels concoct evil.

Their speech is like a scorching fire.

A perverse person spreads strife.

A whisperer separates close friends.

The violent entice their neighbors.

They lead them in a way that is not good.

Whoever winks their eyes

Plans perverse things.

Whoever compresses their lips

Brings evil to pass.”

Scoundrels plan evil. Their speech is like a raging fire. These perverse people spread strife. The whispering ones separate close friends. The violent ones entice their neighbors in leading them in the wrong way. Whoever winks their eyes is planning perverse things. If they press their lips, they are working on evil things.

The plight of the poor (Job 24:9-24:12)

“There are those who snatch

The orphan child from the breast.

They take as a pledge the infant of the poor.

They go about naked,

Without clothing.

Though hungry, they carry the sheaves.

Between their terraces they press out oil.

They tread the wine presses,

But suffer thirst.

From the city,

The dying groan.

The throat of the wounded cries for help.

Yet God pays no attention to their prayer.”

Job maintained that God did not pay attention to the prayers of the poor. They have their children snatched from their breast as collateral. They have no clothing. Although hungry and thirsty, they carry the wheat and press the olive oil and the grapes for wine. They groan from the city, but no one hears them. Their prayers go unanswered.