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Archive for the ‘Proverbs’ Category

July 27th, 2015 by Joel Watts

Proverbs 22 as the Mimetic Precursor to Matthew 10 (Also, Luke used Matthew and Mark)

The Two Source hypothesis solution to the Syno...

I’d like you to compare, for a moment, Matthew 10 and Proverbs 22 (see it in the LXX here). Not, especially Matthew 10.18 and Proverbs 22.29.

A man who is skillful in his work, you shall see:
    before kings, he will serve;
    he will not serve before the commoners. (Proverbs 22.29)

And you will be brought before both governors and kings because of me, for a witness to them and to the Gentiles. (Matthew 10.18)

I can turn to Mark 13.9 as the literary precursor — as if often the case with Matthew who uses Mark as his primary Gospel source. But, I think the whole of Matthew 10 is pulling from something more here — or at least using something like Proverbs to expand Mark 13.9. I think Matthew 10 is looking at Proverbs 22 and giving it the mimetic wink.

Matthew only has this idea about standing before kings and rules/governors once, here at 10.18 — just like Mark does. Once — at Mark 13.9.1

Luke, on the other hand, has it twice.

Luke 12.11 mirrors Matthew 10.18, in placement of context. But, Luke 21.12 mirrors Mark 13.9 — a mirror absent in Matthew’s version of the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24.

I think if you compare Proverbs 22 and Matthew 10, you’ll note a general overlay of concepts and points. I’d encourage you to do so.

I’m busy writing a review, but this stuff interests me too much to not document this.

  1. It is possible Mark used Proverbs 22.29, but that is another analysis much deeper than this one.
July 11th, 2013 by Kim Majeski

Lady Wisdom

Kimberly-Majeski-5x7 (2)

My beautiful and brilliant niece with hair the color of summer strawberries was five years old the first time I heard her recount the story of Lydia, “the lady with the purple cloths.” Blue eyes dancing, freckles sprinkled across her nose, she knew, she was aware that women were part of the story of God and she knew the story was her own. “Wise beyond her years , this one” we always said of her.

I was thinking of my niece Lylah, dreaming of home while in a summer intensive on Wisdom Literature at the University of Notre Dame; it was then and there that I first began to see her take form. I caught a glimpse of her silhouette as I read through the apocryphal books, those early writings that informed the evangelists as they wrote the gospels, undergirded Paul as he shepherded the fledgling congregations, and inspired the early church for centuries until they were removed in 1790 at the formation of the Protestant Canon. Books of poetry and prose, ancient literature, windows into the world of theocentric faith prior to the revelation of Jesus, in many instances the missing pieces of the so called “four hundred years of silence” that literally thundered with Persians and Greeks and Romans.

Wisdom protected the first-formed father of the world, when he alone had been created;
she delivered him from his transgression,
and gave him strength to rule all things.
But when an unrighteous man departed from her in his anger,
he perished because in rage he killed his brother.
When the earth was flooded because of him, wisdom again saved it,
steering the righteous man by a paltry piece of wood…

There it was, staring back at me, the stories of the beginning, tales of the patriarchs but this time Wisdom saved, healed, rescued. Here Wisdom personified as in Proverbs, “she.”

She gave to holy people the reward of their labors;
she guided them along a marvelous way,
and became a shelter to them by day,
and a starry flame through the night.
She brought them over the Red Sea,
and led them through deep waters;
but she drowned their enemies,
and cast them up from the depths of the sea (Wisdom of Solomon10).

The word for wisdom in both Hebrew hokmah and Greek sophia are feminine such that the ancients then wrote of the Wisdom of God as a female. This is the Wisdom that emanates from the mouth of Jesus in Matthew’s gospel, the Wisdom that is Paul’s banner and proclamation in Corinthians, it is this Wisdom in John’s prologue that is God come to us in Jesus.

As you trace the lines, follow the grace filled pathways to discover Lady Wisdom you will find God is not always nor completely “He” rather there is a long biblical tradition that stretches from Old Testament to New, wherein the Wisdom of God is female, you will begin to see our story written right into the text.

Our little wisdom teacher turns 15 in a few days and for all the gift she has been to us, I thank God for the gift of the Wisdom Lady standing tall and serene guiding us, reminding us we are God’s own.

– See more at: http://www.kimberlymajeski.com/#sthash.IprduvTZ.dpuf

May 26th, 2011 by craigbenno

Proverbs a subversive text

I have been busy the last few weeks, building a shed, getting a new car (Ssangyong Actyon Tradie Duel Cab Ute) fighting of a bad cold / flu, preparing and preaching a sermon and finishing a 2500 thematic essay on Proverbs. I have 800 words to go and its due tomorrow night at 11:55pm.

One of the main themes that I am increasingly finding in Proverbs is the meaning of what “The fear of the Lord” really means. And that is wisdom is actually applied knowledge and not just knowledge. The book of proverbs spurs us onto and into a life of subversive living within a culture that ignores and doesn’t fear God. It reminds me of what Paul said about living a life that is so good that though people might mock your religion; they will be silenced through your good life…which in reality amounts to subversive living at its best.

Within the book of Proverbs we find the metaphor of  wisdom being an evangelist  in chapter’s 1:20-33 and 8:1-21. Here we read of her public sidewalk evangelistic activity, positioning her-self wherever people gather. Placing her-self at the highest places, the busiest part of the noisy streets, the city gates and even the market place she calls out understanding raising her voice. She calls out loudly, “What I have to say pertains to all mankind!” and the thrust of her message is found in Pro 8:13

The fear of the LORD is to hate evil. Pride, arrogance, an evil lifestyle, and perverted speech I despise. But the person who listens to me will live safely and will be secure from the fear of evil.

The opposite of pride, arrogance, evil lifestyle and perverted speech is humility, gentleness, godliness and speaking truthfulness in love and we are spurred on to live in an outward manner in keeping with wise knowledge.[1]

[1] The resemblance of Peter’s injunctions in 2 Peter 1:5-10 to this passage is notable.


[1] The resemblance of Peter’s injunctions in 2 Peter 1:5-10 to this passage is notable.


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January 5th, 2011 by Joel Watts

The Personification of Wisdom in Proverbs 1:20-33

Hans Burgkmair the Elder "The Whore of Ba...
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A while ago, I was reading Proverbs 1 and noticed that Wisdom assumes a personification like she does later in the infamous chapter 8. I hadn’t realized that before or rather I was focused only on chapter 8, so when Jason posted on short post on Wisdom, Jesus and ‘She’, I thought that I should at least start the ball rolling again. Of course, this was in the middle of last year and updated again in September and I am just now getting around to it.

What strikes me about this passage, besides the Creative Agent/Attribute of God being feminine (compare with John 1.1-3) is the prophetic role which Wisdom occupies. In Reclaiming the Old Testament for Christian Preaching, Tremper Longman III writes of the constant call in the first section of the book between two women, Wisdom and Folly, while noting that it is the development of the person of Wisdom in Proverbs which transforms wisdom into a ‘theological idea.’ (p107) This idea, of course, if enjoined by other sources, such as the essential books of Wisdom and Sirach, into the Logos of John. Longman also suggests that it is the choice between Wisdom and Folly which is the author(s)’s allegory of choosing between God and false idols, a definite prophetic hue. I would go on to note that while Wisdom is personified, the other woman remains only as a literary, or allegorical, protagonist although in many ways, she is the forerunner of John’s Whore of Babylon.

While some may note that John used the Wisdom Literature to interpret Christ thereby (to which I utter a loud academic and theological, duh to), what is also interesting is that in both sections of Proverbs in which Wisdom is easily seen as personified, it gives the over all impression that Wisdom is the agent which draws humanity to God through a prophetic call to understanding. Of course, some cannot separate interpretation of and creation from but that is generally understood to be the domain of those who know the woman Folly intimately.

20 Wisdom shouts in the streets. She cries out in the public square.

21 She calls to the crowds along the main street, to those gathered in front of the city gate:

22 “How long, you simpletons, will you insist on being simpleminded? How long will you mockers relish your mocking? How long will you fools hate knowledge?

23 Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you and make you wise.

24 “I called you so often, but you wouldn’t come. I reached out to you, but you paid no attention.

25 You ignored my advice and rejected the correction I offered.

26 So I will laugh when you are in trouble! I will mock you when disaster overtakes you–

27 when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster engulfs you like a cyclone, and anguish and distress overwhelm you.

28 “When they cry for help, I will not answer. Though they anxiously search for me, they will not find me.

29 For they hated knowledge and chose not to fear the LORD.

30 They rejected my advice and paid no attention when I corrected them.

31 Therefore, they must eat the bitter fruit of living their own way, choking on their own schemes.

32 For simpletons turn away from me– to death. Fools are destroyed by their own complacency.

33 But all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm.”

(Pro 1:20-1 NLT)

20 Wisdom shouts in the street, She lifts her voice in the square;

21 At the head of the noisy streets she cries out; At the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings:

22 “How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing And fools hate knowledge?

23 “Turn to my reproof, Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.

24 “Because I called and you refused, I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention;

25 And you neglected all my counsel And did not want my reproof;

26 I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes,

27 When your dread comes like a storm And your calamity comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you.

28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently but they will not find me,

29 Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the LORD.

30 “They would not accept my counsel, They spurned all my reproof.

31 “So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way And be satiated with their own devices.

32 “For the waywardness of the naive will kill them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them.

33 “But he who listens to me shall live securely And will be at ease from the dread of evil.”

(Pro 1:20-33 NASB)

I can see several prophetic hues in this section which, at least to me, places the Person of Wisdom as God’s prophet.

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November 1st, 2010 by Joel Watts

Thoughts on Proof-texting for Hate

Moses Pleading with Israel, as in Deuteronomy ...
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An anonymous commentator posted this verse in response to today’s post on a deceased blogger,

The whole city celebrates when the godly succeed; they shout for joy when the wicked die.

Like most proof-texting, a single, solitary verse will do for their argument.

The aim of this short post is not to show him how wrong he is according to the entire witness of Scripture, including the Gospel, but to call attention to the fact that the use of this verse in context is wrong.

Simply, I note the next verse,

Upright citizens are good for a city and make it prosper, but the talk of the wicked tears it apart.

Taken together, the passage is dealing with the city, a city, during a time, perhaps, of war or oppression. So, if this is the case, why wouldn’t the Righteous want to see oppression cease? Further, K&D state,

The בּ of בּטוּב denotes the ground but not the object, as elsewhere, but the cause of the rejoicing, like the ב 10b, and in the similar proverb, Pro 29:2, cf. Pro 28:12. If it goes well with the righteous, the city has cause for joy, because it is for the advantage of the community; and if the wicked (godless) come to an end, then there is jubilation (substantival clause for תּרן), for although they are honoured in their lifetime, yet men breathe freer when the city is delivered from the tyranny and oppression which they exercised, and from the evil example which they gave. Such proverbs, in which the city (civitas) represents the state, the πόλις the πολιτεία, may, as Ewald thinks, be of earlier date than the days of an Asa or Jehoshaphat; for “from the days of Moses and Joshua to the days of David and Solomon, Israel was a great nation, divided indeed into many branches and sections, but bound together by covenant, whose life did not at all revolve around one great city alone.” We value such critical judgments according to great historical points of view, but confess not to understand why קריה must just be the chief city and may not be any city, and how on the whole a language which had not as yet framed the conception of the state (post-bibl. מדינה), when it would described the community individually and as a whole, could speak otherwise than of city and people.

This might match with the first chapter or two of the Wisdom of Solomon, but nevertheless, the context is still king.

So, unless Ken Pulliam was oppressing people and his death brought freedom to the city, then the context states that the anonymous commentator was proof-texting.

What is really interesting, however, above the discussion of context is the verse after this passage:

It is foolish to belittle one’s neighbor; a sensible person keeps quiet. (Pro 11:10-12 NLT)

Amazing… if only they had read but that statement… then maybe instead of belittling the departed, they would have simply kept quite, refusing to gloat when their enemy fell.

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