Vol. 17, No. 47 – November 25, 2018
Prov 22:16, “He who oppresses the poor to make more for himself or who gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.”
This is the final verse in Collection II of Proverbs that includes chapters 10:1 – 22:16. Here, we have a final warning that goes back to the beginning of this chapter that speaks about desiring a good reputation through equal treatment for everyone, the rich and powerful, as well as for the poor and weak, within the society. This verse is the exact opposite of the exhortation in vs.1, to desire a “good reputation” more than obtaining wealth, silver, and gold. In this verse, we see the individual who desires the riches of this world and will deal treacherously with others in order to obtain it.
Right off the bat, we can say that this verse is speaking about the anti-Robin Hood, who takes from the poor and gives to the rich. But unfortunately for the anti-Robin Hood, he will not end up with fame and fortune. Instead, he will end in poverty and misery.
There are two forms of abuse in this passage:
1) The first form of abuse is towards the poor or powerless. It begins with “He who oppresses,” which is the Qal Active Participle of the Verb ASHAQ, עָשַׁק that means, “to oppress, to wrong, to extort, to abuse.” The base meaning of this word is “to oppress” by the abuse or manipulation of power in burdening a perceived lesser class. At times, it has the strong overtone of “extortion” or “taking by extortion,” e.g., “deceitfully gotten” in Lev 6:2-4. With additional meanings of “extort” and “abuse,” once again we are taken into the court room, the legal system or even the political world, where powerful sinful people are able to illicitly take advantage of the less powerful and poor.
Prov 14:31, “He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker, but he who is gracious to the needy honors Him.”
Prov 28:3, “A poor man who oppresses the lowly is like a driving rain which leaves no food.”
In God’s displeasure with the nation Israel, he exclaimed in Ezek 22:12, “‘In you they have taken bribes to shed blood; you have taken interest and profits, and you have injured your neighbors for gain by oppression (Noun OSHEQ- oppression, extortion), and you have forgotten Me,’ declares the Lord GOD.”
Ezek 22:29, “The people of the land have practiced oppression (ASHAQ – they have extorted) and committed robbery, and they have wronged the poor and needy and have oppressed (extorted) the sojourner without justice.”
As you may know, oppression and extortion were forbidden by the Lord according to the Mosaic Law. If an individual were found guilty of extorting money from a fellow Israelite, the convicted extorter had to make full restitution plus an additional one-fifth of the amount to the injured party, Lev 6:4f. Psalms warns us to not try to get rich through unjust means like oppression or robbery, Psa 62:10. Later, the psalmist expressed frustration to God because wicked oppressors were allowed to prosper, Psa 73:8. The Lord also forewarned rebellious Israel that because she resorted to oppression, her walls would be smashed to pieces like a potter’s vessel, Isa. 30:12ff; cf. Jer. 6:6; 22:7.
With these passages and many others, God has made the wise way known to us and has also made wisdom’s rewards clear in the form of strong contrasting choices. Therefore, we can choose to value a good name or reputation above riches, vs. 1, or we can value riches above good relationships, vs. 16. Nevertheless, we cannot claim we do not know that one is better than the other. Just as YHWH wants us to become students of wisdom so we can teach it to others, He also sets the example for a teacher by laying out clear choices and consequences, which we have seen throughout this chapter.
As you also know, Satan wants us all to get in line with his way of thinking and doing, the way of his cosmic system that is wrought with sin, human good, and evil. The way his cosmic system works is to “choose power, riches, things, and people to be occupied with, and if there is any free time left over when you get home from the office, work on your reputation.”
But God says, “In all things keep in mind the reputation you are building, one that is full of Divine Good Production from the application of My Word in your life.” Be occupied with Jesus Christ while on the job, at home, in the neighborhood, etc., and not just while you are at church. The oppressor is occupied with the things of this world, yet the true Robin Hood is concerned about the welfare of others and his walk with Jesus Christ.
Back in our verse, the one’s to be exploited are once again, the “poor,” DAL, דַּל that means, “poor or weak,” that we noted in vs. 9, 16. Yet, we know that the poor are not to be exploited in commerce, in the legal system, in society, or forgotten in their need.
The reason the rich and powerful take advantage of and oppress or extort the poor and weak is, “to make more for himself,” LE RABAH LE. RABAH, רָבָה means “to be numerous or to be great,” it speaks to an increase in quantity. In the Hiphil Infinitive construct, it is the causal purpose of the sentence; to cause to get more… more power, more money, more authority, more prestige, etc. And, as our passage shows, many times to get more means you give less or not at all. LE meaning, “to or towards,” means these individuals are abusing the law to make more come “to or towards” themselves, that is to make more for themselves.
2) The second form of abuse is noted in the phrase, “or who gives to the rich,” which is the Qal active Participle of NATHAN, נָתַן, “to give, allow, or put,” that we noted in vs. 9, with the Preposition LE, and the pronominal use of the Adjective ASHIR, עָשִׁיר that means, “rich man,” which we noted in vs. 2, 7.
As we have noted above, Scripture does not portray riches as wrong or sinful, but it does place more responsibility upon the wealthy. In that, the rich were prohibited from oppressing the poor. Here we have a rich or powerful man giving only to the rich or powerful, and by comparison, are not giving to the poor as they should. It says that their giving is only to those who are able to reciprocate their favor with a like or greater favor, so that the original giver increases his wealth, power, or prestige. It is an illicit “Quid pro quo,” something for something scenario, or a favor for a favor.
When someone’s charitable nature is only towards those that can reciprocate with a favor, it is evil and sinful in God’s eyes. Charitable giving should be without strings attached. It should be done with impersonal and unconditional love, as all of our deeds should be. Yet, if they are not done with motivational virtue AGAPE love, there is a warning given here.
“Will only come to poverty.” This is the warning from God. It is the compound word AK-LEMAHSOR, which is made up of the Adverb AK, “only or surely,” the Preposition LE, “to, towards, come to,” and the Noun MACHSOR, מַחְסוֹר that means, “want, lack, or poverty.” It is derived from the Verb, CHASER that means, “to decrease, to lack, or to be needy.”
It is used in Prov 11:24; 24:34; 28:7, for “want,” Prov 6:11; 14:23; 21:15, for “poverty,” and Prov 21:17, for a “poor man,”
Prov 11:24, “There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want.”
Prov 14:23, “In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”
Prov 21:17, “He who loves pleasure will become a poor man; he who loves wine and oil will not become rich.”
Prov 28:27, “He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses.”
Taking advantage of the weakness of the poor in order to aggrandize or enrich oneself, and giving generously to the rich for the same purpose, are both wrong and will fail, cf. Prov 14:24. Both actions are considered the folly of fools.
Prov 14:24, “The crown of the wise is their riches, but the folly of fools is foolishness.”
The juxtaposition of the one who takes from the poor, who need it, with the one who gives to the rich, who do not need it, points to the folly of his thinking and actions.
The converse and same warning in our verse is also stated in Prov 11:24, “There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want.”
“This failure is not because this behavior is not good business sense, but because it violates the standards of the Covenant and sets a course against that required by God (Deut. 15:7-11; cf. Prov. 22:22f).” (Complete Biblical Library Commentary.)
Therefore, in this last phrase, we see that the oppressor and self-aggrandizer unexpectedly suffers loss, cf. Luke 14:12.
Luke 14:12, “And He also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, ‘When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment’.”
Our Lord also taught that to give to the weak, poor, and needy would result in greater blessings, yet, the self-aggrandizer would lose out on these things, Luke 14:13-14.
Luke 14:14, “And you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
The giver to the rich only is unrighteous, for when the righteous give, they enrich others and are enriched themselves by God, Prov 11:25; 21:26; 22:9; not by the recipient(s) of their gift.
Prov 11:25, “The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered.”
This chapter makes clear that the paradoxical outcome for oppressor and self-aggrandizer is due to the “eyes of the Lord,” who protects his moral supreme power to enforce His righteousness, Prov 14:31; 15:25; 17:5; 22:12, 23. The punishment for extortion and bribery is poverty.
Prov 22:12, “The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, but He overthrows the (words, matter, event or affair) of the treacherous man.”
Prov 14:31, “He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker, but he who is gracious to the needy honors Him.”
Prov 22:23, “For the LORD will plead their case and take the life of those who rob them.”
So the principle is, it is foolish to seek to accumulate wealth by oppressing the needy or to endeavor to gain the favor of the rich by giving them gifts or bribing them. Both courses lead to want instead of increase. An operator who first takes advantage of the poor to make himself rich and then uses that wealth to buy more illegitimate influence; that cycle will be broken. Oppressors will wake up to find they have become one of the groups they have oppressed!
He who practices either of these habits, may seem to prosper and flourish for the moment, Psa 73:7-10; but his end will show the truth of God’s Word. He will not find the happiness he sought, and he will at last be obliged to admit that his purpose has been utterly defeated because of the iniquity of his heart, cf. James 5.
Psa 73:7-9, “Their eye bulges from fatness; the imaginations of their heart run riot. 8They mock and wickedly speak of oppression; they speak from on high. 9They have set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue parades through the earth.”
This verse concludes Collection II, and is also a bridge that introduces a topic to be resumed after the next prologue, “Do not plunder the poor,” vs. 22. The prologue starts with vs. 17, and ends with vs. 21. Then, the topic is resumed in vs. 22-23.
These proverbs are designed to persuade individuals to learn wisdom and love its characteristics, though the goal of such persuasion is interrelatedness and relationship, not isolation. Therefore, the wise person is a connected one.
In vs. 1, we were exhorted to have a good reputation; in vs. 2, to have good community relationships; in vs. 3, to have good avoidance of evil; in vs. 4, to have a good relationship with the Lord; in vs. 5, to have good in our soul by guarding it from sin through humility; in vs. 6, to have good training in the precepts of God; in vs. 7, we are to have good management of our finances, in vs. 8, we are to have a good temperament wielding our authority, in vs. 9, we are to have goodness in our giving; in vs. 10, we are to rightly drive out those who are abusing the legal system; in vs. 11, we are to have honesty and integrity in our heart and speech, especially inside our legal system; in vs. 12, the Lord desires truth in the court system; in vs. 13, we are not to avoid our civic duty with fanciful lies; in vs. 14, we are not to be seduced to falsify evidence; in vs. 15, we are to have righteousness and integrity in our heart due to being disciplined in the Word of God; in vs. 16, we are not to oppress the poor or entice the rich with our gifts.
Therefore, with the theme of this section in vs. 1, “desire a good reputation more than wealth,” we accomplish that by abiding by the principles laid forth in vs.2-16. So ends Collection II, and we now begin Collection III.
Next, we begin what is called Collection III of Solomon I, of the Book of Proverbs that encompasses chapters 22:17 – 24:22. Recalling the makeup of this Book:
Collection I, chapters 1-9;
Collection II, chapters 10:1-22:16,
Collection III, chapters 22:17-24:22
Collection IV chapters 24:23-24:34
Collection V, chapters 25-29
The Sayings of Agur Son of Jakeh:
Collection VI, chapter 30
The Sayings of Lemuel:
Collection VII, chapter 31
In Collection III, we have the “Thirty sayings of the wise,” Prov 22:17 – 24:22. It is broken down as follows:
A) Introduction to the 30 sayings; the prologue, Prov 22:17-21.
B) The 30 sayings, Prov 22:22 – 24:22.
Thirty, being the number of Divine perfect order, symbolizes a complete and perfect teaching. And, when we have this word in our souls, we will operate in God’s perfect divine order within society and in our relationship with Him.
In Chapter 22, we have now concluded the proverbs encouraging godly living, Prov 16:1-22:16, and will begin the proverbs concerning various practices, Prov 22:17-24:34, in Collections III and IV.
Most of these sayings are hortatory, beginning with a prohibition, followed by an argument, reason or motive. For example, these verses warn against injustice, Prov 22:22f, 28; 23:10ff; 24:11f, 15f, 23-26, 28f, excessive living, Prov 23:19ff, 29-35, sexual immorality, Prov 23:26ff, response to the wicked, Prov 23:1ff, 6ff, 17f; 24:1f, 10, 17-22, and laziness, Prov 22:29; 24:30-34; all topics addressed in the rest of the Book. The positive commands are like those of the prologue, commanding attention to the teacher’s instruction.
Specifically, in Chapter 22, we have seen:
1.) How the wise discipline themselves to follow God in everything, vs. 1-16.
And now, in the second half of Chapter 22, we will note:
2.) Wisdom tells us when to speak and when to be silent, vs. 17-21.
3.) The wise ones care for and protect the poor, vs. 22-29.
Therefore, in the introductory prologue to the “Thirty sayings,” we have the 2nd main message, “Wisdom tells us when to speak and when to be silent,” vs. 17-21.
In the second half of this chapter, we have “6 Sayings,” vs. 17-21; 22-23; 24-25; 26-27; 28; 29. We will study each “saying” in its entirety, rather than verse by verse, as we have done above.
Saying 1, The Prologue:
The first “Saying” is the prologue that has three main points:
- Motiving the son to hear / learn, vs. 17-18.
- Theological motivation; trust in the Lord, vs. 19.
- The Father’s purpose for teaching these things, vs. 20-21.
Prov 22:17-21, “Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your mind to my knowledge; 18For it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, that they may be ready on your lips. 19So that your trust may be in the LORD, I have taught you today, even you. 20Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge, 21To make you know the certainty of the words of truth that you may correctly answer him who sent you?”
Interestingly, there is a relationship of this section of Proverbs to the Wisdom of Amenemope, an ancient Egyptian text of wisdom, as well as other ancient wisdom texts. When introducing this text, Bruce Waltke, who at the time was Professor of Old Testament, Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia, gave the following parallelism to ancient Egyptian writings.
“The external evidence of the Egyptian Instruction of Amenemope (ca. 1186-1069 b.c.) confirms the internal evidence that the Thirty Sayings of the Wise is a distinct anthology of wisdom sayings. Most scholars believe that the Thirty Sayings of the Wise shows a creative use of Amenemope. The structural model for this collection, “Do I not write for you thirty sayings,” derives from the last chapter of Amenemope (27:6): “Look to these thirty chapters.” But, its material dependence on Amenemope extends only for the first eleven sayings (22:16-23:11). The next saying introduced by the educational saying at 23:12 that separates it and the next unit of the Thirty Sayings is common to the Aramaic Ahiqar. The saying against debt surety finds thematic analogy in the Aramaic and Akkadian wisdom tradition, but not in the Egyptian. The lampooning saying against drunkenness (23:29-35) descends from the Egyptian tradition, but not Amenemope.” (New International Commentary)
Now, for our understanding in application to the Christian way of life, we begin with:
1.) Motivating the Son to Hear, vs. 17-18.
Prov 22:17, “Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your mind (heart) to my knowledge.”
Reminding us of Prov 5:1, this calls attention that equates the teacher’s words with the teachings of “the wise.” Just as when the Pastor-Teacher teaches God’s Word, He is teaching the mind of Jesus Christ, the wisdom of God for life.
Once again we are instructed to learn God’s Word, which is true wisdom so that we can apply it to our daily lives. It reminds us of the admonition repeated seven times in Rev 2 and 3, “He that has an ear, let him hear…”
The Word “incline” is the Hebrew Verb NATAH that means, ”to spread out, to turn aside, to bend down,” in the causative active Hiphil Imperative for a command. It means, “to pay close attention to something.” Stop what you are or have been doing and pay attention to this thing, (i.e., the Word of God). In that, we are to use the “ear gate,” OZEN, “ear,” to “listen to,” SHAMA, in the Qal Imperative for another command, to take in the “words of the wise,” DAVAR CHAKAM, “the speech or sayings of the wise,” i.e., the wisdom of God’s Word, Bible Doctrine. This may have been the heading for this section, “The sayings of the wise.”
In our learning, we are to “apply” SHITH, ourselves to think about what the Word of God says, contemplate it in the mentality of our souls, as we compare it to other things we already know about God’s Word and the way the world works. We should not be strictly mechanical or robotic in our intake and application of Bible Doctrine. We are to be highly interactive with it, based on our own personal and unique situations of life.
“Mind” or better translated “heart,” which is LEB or heart of your soul, the right lobe of your soul, tells us of the application of God’s Word. The heart is where we store and apply the “knowledge,” DA’ATH, of God’s Word.
The parallels, “the sayings of the wise” and “to my knowledge,” indicate that Solomon is adopting and adapting the wisdom of his sage-peers. And, we see that the ear, as the exterior organ that receives the information, and the heart, as the interior organ that directs the whole body with it, Prov 4:20-27; cf. Prov 2:2, tell us of the outer and inner workings of God’s Word through our souls.
Prov 22:18, “For it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, that they may be ready on your lips.”
Here, we are taught that the intake and application of Bible Doctrine will be “pleasant or lovely,” the Adjective NA’IM, to us and in our lives. Yet, there is a caveat, “if you keep them within you.” The Hebrew reads, “when you are observing them,” with the Qal Imperfect of the Verb SHAMAR that means, “to observe, guard, protect, or keep.” It means to not allow the thoughts or temptations of the world or the Old Sin Nature steal God’s Word away from you. Instead, we are to hold on to the Word of God in our souls, guard it, and protect it, so that we can apply it to our lives. It emphasizes memorizing these teachings so that they are in us forever. And, when you do, it will be pleasant or lovely to you and your life.
“Within you,” is the Hebrew BETEN that means, “stomach, womb, or inner parts.” Interestingly, “in your stomach,” may be a shortened form of the Egyptianism, “in the casket of your heart.” It means, your inner most being, your soul, your spirit, your heart, etc. So, it means, keep it in your heart and it will be pleasant within your soul and spirit.
The psalmist reflected on the pleasantness of the atmosphere in a society when brothers dwell together in unity, Psa 133:1. Likewise, singing praises to God is not only a good thing to do, but is also pleasant and beautiful Psa 135:3; 147:1. Therefore, when you take in, guard, and apply God’s Word in your life, it will lead to having a great relationship with those around you and with God.
“That they may be ready on your lips,” uses the passive Niphal Imperfect of the verb KUN to mean, “they will be prepared or established.” The Imperfect says that this is an ongoing situation. The Passive says we receive this action as result of having God’s Word in our soul. In other words, you will always be ready to apply God’s Word in your speech, “lips,” SAPHAH, no matter what the situation is. You will always be ready to give an account of the faith that is in, 1 Peter 3:15.
1 Peter 3:15, “But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.”
The Hebrew also uses the Adverb YACHDAW in this verse that means, “together or at the same time.” It is derived from YACHAD that means, “to be united.” This emphasizes that our inner most being, the mentality of our soul, will be in sync with the words that come forth from our lips. The two will be united and there will be harmony between our thoughts and words; which sometimes can be in great conflict. Yet, with the power of God’s Word resident within our souls and the filling of God the Holy Spirit, there will be unity within us.
We see then, that when God’s Word has been internalized, i.e., made part of our way of thinking, then it will be pleasing to our souls. Therefore, these verses outline three stages of wise living:
- Listening, vs. 17a.
- Learning, vs. 17b-18a.
- Using or applying, vs. 18b.
The third stage, speaking wisely and truthfully, vs. 18b; cf. vs. 21, is the reason for both listening and learning, and grows out of the trust in the Lord that results from this knowledge, as noted in the next verse.
As we have seen in this saying, the imagery of organs associated with the learning process, ear, heart, stomach, and lips, bind the admonition together to accept and memorize God’s Word with motivation, vs. 18. Therefore, the learning process progresses from the outward ear that acquires God’s Word, vs. 17a, to the interior heart set upon the acquisition of God’s Word, vs. 17b, to preserving God’s Word in the stomach, vs. 18, (that was thought to house the heart), to the outward lips that present God’s Word to others, cf. Prov 4:20-27.
2.) The Theological Motivation, vs. 19.
Prov 22:19, “So that your trust may be in the LORD, I have taught you today, even you.”
This passage shifts from the son’s role in the learning process to that of the teacher, and more importantly, adjusts the adopted sayings of the wise, to faith in God.
“Trust” is the Hebrew Noun MIBTAH, that means, “trust or security.” It refers to trust or confidence, that in which one trusts or an attitude of confidence itself. This trust, confidence, or sense of security should be placed “in the Lord,” YHWH, which includes His Word.
Beyond making you charming to others, these teachings enable you to realize a dynamic, trusting relationship with God.
“I have taught” is the causative active Hiphil Perfect of the Verb YADHA that means, “to make known, to make understand, to teach.” The perfect speaks of the completed past action. The teacher has taught his student(s) these things. It has the double emphasis of “even you,” at the end. This is not an insult, but a double emphasis that the teacher has taught the student these principles and precepts of God.
It offers another motivation for the exhortations of vs. 17, that the son’s trust may have its proper object in the Lord and his wisdom, rather than in his own understanding, Prov 3:5f. And, it is saying, “Yes, I am talking to you, not somebody else. Trust in the Lord!”
So, this tells us that God inspired the teaching of His Word in writing it down and teaching it through His Spirit so that you and I, the believer, may have a relationship with Him. Through the mediation of the inspired Word, that is so trustworthy, we have the Lord as our object of trust, power, and authority.
The daily calling to mind of God’s Word, becomes the “today,” not just one day in the past when they were first learned or memorized. It also entails the contemporary relevance of God’s Word for each day into the indefinite future.
Therefore, the active trust in the Lord, who reveals His will through His Word, entails a constant commitment to the Lord and His words, not an autonomous reliance upon self, cf. Prov 3:5-7, or a passive resignation to fate. This faith distinguishes Solomon’s teaching from those of his peers in the ancient Near East.
3.) The Father’s Purpose, vs. 20-21.
Prov 22:20, “Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge.”
“Excellent things,” is actually an idiom using the word SHILSHOM that literally means, “the day before yesterday, three days ago, or the third day.” It means, “some time ago or previously.” This term usually refers to a point in the past when conditions were different than the present. Therefore, the teacher wrote this information some time ago for the student to learn. At that time, the student was ignorant of these things, now, after learning them, he has wisdom.
It is used in comparison with vs. 19, “I have taught you today.” Therefore, the teacher has taught in the past and is teaching in the present the principles and precepts of God. The point is that the teacher’s instruction is and has been consistent.
Though they might be “excellent things,” that were “written,” KATAB, that is not the emphasis. The emphasis is on the content of this teaching being “counsel,” MO’ETSAH and “knowledge,” DA’ATH. It is real and tangible information that allows the student to excel in life having been given the appropriate advice and knowledge to handle all situations. Therefore, it is this “knowledgeable advice” that is definite, unchangeable, and authoritative that will lead and guide us beautifully and peacefully in all areas of life.
Prov 22:21, “To make you know the certainty of the words of truth that you may correctly answer him who sent you?”
Here, we see that these “sayings” aim to make us reliable to the one who commissioned us, i.e., God Himself.
“To make you know,” is the causative active Hiphil Infinitive Construct for purpose of the verb YADHA, “to know or understand.” The purpose of the teacher’s teaching is “to cause the student to know,” God’s Word, i.e., “truth.”
“Certainty” is the rare Hebrew Noun QOSHET that means, “truth or certainty.” It is only used here and in Psa 60:4. It means in our verse, the “realization” of a person’s truthfulness by an intimate knowledge of that individual; in this case, of God by means of His Word. An Aramaic cognate and the use of its denominative verb in post-Biblical Hebrew, also show us that the term has the sense of right, justice, rectitude, and aptness, and not just truth.
Some say it is the quality of a man whose speech and actions conform to what reality is and requires. In that sense, it is close to the meaning of truth, justice, righteousness, correctness, order, and proportion, whose implications for social justice remind us of what is to follow in the rest of the 30 Sayings.
“Words” is the Noun EMER that means, “word, speech, or saying.” This is where we get the title, “30 Sayings” from. It means the spoken words particularly. Those written words that are spoken by the teacher when teaching.
“Truth” is the more common word EMETH that means, “faithfulness, reliability, firmness, or truth.”
Through these “sayings,” the king insures that the entire chain of command within his administration will be honest, making its decisions on the basis of truth, and not on distortions, intrigues, and misrepresentations. As such, God desires for you and I to operate in the truth which is highly reliable and trustworthy, and not fall into the snares and traps that come with the lies and deceptions of Satan’s world, and the OSN.
“That you may correctly answer him who sent you?,” literally says, “to bring back the word of truth to the one who sent you,” SHUB EMER EMETH LE SHALACH. It expresses the purpose of the teaching. It speaks of the man who tells his councilors, diplomats, ambassadors, or emissaries, to look into various situations on which he expects reliable reports back.
This brings the “saying” to a conclusion, in that the result of learning, knowing, and understanding the truth, vs. 21a, is the ability to discern and apply it at the appropriate time, vs. 21b.
God is the one who sends us out into the world. When the situations of life come up, if we have learned God’s Word, we will apply it to the situation, and are in essence giving it back to Him. That gives us the principle, that when we apply God’s Word, we are in essence giving it back to the one who gave it to us in the first place. God has given us His Word, particularly through His Son, Jesus Christ, (the mind of Christ, 1 Cor 2:16, through the teaching ministry of God the Holy Spirit, utilizing the conduit of the Pastor-Teacher. When we learn and apply it, through the empowering ministry of the Holy Spirit, we are in essence applying or giving that Word back to God.
The exhortation is given to learn and pass on the teaching of God’s Word, vs. 17, followed by three motivations:
- There will be a pleasing store of wisdom, vs. 18.
- There will be a deeper trust in the Lord, vs. 19.
- It will build reliability, as you will grasp the truth, vs. 20.
And, as a result, you will be a special envoy to God to keep wisdom in your heart and on your lips so you can give it to others as well, vs. 21.
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If you would like more information on this subject, you may watch/listen to lesson:
# 18-123 & 18-124
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A PERSONAL NOTE FOR YOU
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, I am here to tell you that Jesus loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His life for you. God the Father also loves you. He loves you so much that He gave His only Son for you by sending Him to the Cross. At the Cross Jesus died in your place. Taking upon Himself all of your sins and all of my sins. He was judged for our sins and paid the price for our sins. Therefore, our sins will never be held against us.
Right where you are, you now have the opportunity to make the greatest decision in your life. To accept the free gift of salvation and eternal life by truly believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was raised on the third day as the proof of the promise of eternal life. So right now, you can pause and reflect on what Christ has done for you and say to the Father:
“Yes Father, I believe that Your Son, Jesus Christ,
died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.”
If you have done that, I welcome you to the eternal Family of God!