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Proverbs

Proverbs

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Published by cpmacau
Christian Community Bible (OT) - 48th Ed (2009)
Christian Community Bible (OT) - 48th Ed (2009)

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Published by: cpmacau on Nov 27, 2009
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07/16/2010

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 Proverbs and Wisdom
The word of God came to the people of Israel in different ways. We have already dealtwith the origin of the
 prophetic
and
historical
books: they arose from the prophets’ preach-ing and from the reflection of religious circles on the history of Israel.However, other believers preferred to meditate on human behavior, the vicissitudes of life, the different fortunes of those who are irresponsible and those who control their desires.In particular, they wanted to understand God’s justice in this world.The wisdom of people of all times has developed around these themes. We hear aboutChinese wisdom, Hindu wisdom… Yet, the wisdom of the Middle East may have come first.There had been an abundance of wisdom writings for almost thirty centuries before Christboth in Egypt and Mesopotamia (as we know, Palestine is between the borders of these twocountries).Having come to culture later, the Israelites took part in this “sapiential” literature at thetime of king Solomon who had gathered the first “sages.” Their first works (such as chap-ters 10–31 of Proverbs) owed a great deal to their Egyptian predecessors although, for themost part, they merely used the “proverbs” or the “maxims” of popular wisdom. In turn, bytheir writings, they were to help every effort in developing the instruction and moral senseof future generations. There must have been a Temple school where young people receivedtheir formation by learning, meditating and developing the sages’ proverbs and instruction.The Jewish people were profoundly marked by this wisdom which shines through al-most all the parables and “sayings” of Jesus who was formed at that school.This literature, what the religious community has preserved and accepted, is no less theword of God than the prophetic books. Even if, at times, this wisdom seems a bit pedestrianand utilitarian, it does attest to many convictions of the Jewish and the Christian faiths,namely, as human beings, we are responsible for our actions; experience is a teacher of truthand it is the touchstone of what sages have declared; God created the world and he revealshimself in his creation. Finally, our wisdom has its limits and beyond that, we can only putour trust in the justice and the providence of God.The greater part of the Book of 
Proverbs
is very old (chaps. 10–31). The first section(chaps. 1–9), however, is much recent, around the second century before Christ. There wefind a meditation on the
Wisdom of God 
, from which all human wisdom proceeds. The heightof all this contemplation in divine Wisdom is found in the famous eighth chapter.
 
1
These are proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:
2
for you to obtain wisdom and instruction,to penetrate words of significance,
3
to acquire well-ordered knowledge,and become just with discernment and integrity.
4
Simple people will become cleverand the young will acquire understanding and foresight.
5
Let the wise man listen: he will add to his learning,and the man of sound judgment will acquire skill,
6
to understand the proverbs and sayings,the words of the wise and their riddles.
7
The beginning of knowledge is the fear of Yahweh,only fools have contempt for wisdom and discipline.
1
Listen to me today
20
Wisdom shouts aloud in thestreets, she raises her voice in themarketplace;
21
at street corners shecries; she delivers her speeches atthe city gates:
22
“You ignorant people, how longwill you continue to cling to yourfoolishness? How long will mockersrevel in their mockery, and foolshave contempt for knowledge?
23
Listen to my warning. I will nowpour my spirit upon you and makeyou know my words.
24
Indeed if I cry out and you re-fuse to listen, if I offer my hand andno one cares,
25
if you ignore my ad-vice and reject my warning,
26
I, inturn, will laugh at your disaster, I willsneer when terror grips you;
27
whenterror comes down on you like a hur-ricane, and distress and anxiety be-fall you.
28
Then people will cry to me but I
1.
1 From the beginning, people are di-vided into two groups. On one hand, the wisewhich includes the intelligent, clever and re-sponsible; on the other hand, the foolish, in-cluding also those who are stupid, lying and evil.
The beginning of knowledge is the fear of Yahweh
. This word “fear” does not have forus the meaning it had in the Bible. It is not, infact, a matter of being afraid of God, but to beconscious of acting in his presence and ofbeing responsible to him. Those who “fearYahweh” make fidelity and obedience to hisword the basis of their decisions.20. An invitation to be converted today.Tomorrow will be too late. Jesus will say thesame: Matthew 7:21 and 25:1.
Wisdom shouts aloud in the streets
. Whowill be able to say that no one awakened himand showed him the way? Subhuman condi-tions of life make a people irresponsible, butirresponsible people also make a subhuman
Ps111:10;Job28:286:20Sir 6:24;6:298:1-10;9:3;Jn 7:37Is 65:2;65:12;66:4;Jer 7:13Jer 11:11;Jn 7:34
PROVERBS 11016
 Avoid the company of evildoers
8
Listen, my son, to the teaching of your father, do not ignore your mother’sinstruction:
9
for they will be your grace-ful crown, a precious chain around yourneck.
10
My son, if sinners try to tempt you,do not give in.
11
They will invite you, “Come with us,let us spill blood, let us ambush the in-nocent without a second thought.
12
Wewill engulf them as does the netherworldand snatch them suddenly as doesdeath.
13
We will help ourselves to manyriches and fill our houses with booty.
14
Join forces with us; one purse will beshared between us!”
15
My son, do not go with them, do notset foot along their way.
16
See how theyspeed on to evil! How they hasten to spillblood!
17
What bird would fall into a trap if you set it up in its sight?
18
But these peo-ple stalk themselves and set a trap fortheir own lives.
19
Such is the lot of all who live byplunder: plunder will rob them of theirown lives.
 
will not respond. They will seek mebut will not find me,
29
because theydespised knowledge and did notchoose the fear of Yahweh;
30
theywould not listen to any advice andthey rejected all my warnings.
31
They will harvest the fruit of their evil ways and have their fill of their own designs.
32
For the error of the ignorant leads to death, the idle-ness of fools brings about their ruin.
33
But whoever listens to me willfeel secure and at ease, without fearof evil.”
It is good to acquire wisdom
1
My son, if you heed my words andvalue my commands,
2
with your earattentive to wisdom and your heart obe-dient to understanding;
3
if you call forperception and raise your voice for in-sight;
4
if you seek it as silver and searchfor it more than any treasure
5
then youwill understand the fear of Yahweh, andyou will find the knowledge of God.
6
For Yahweh gives wisdom and fromhis mouth come knowledge and insight.
7
He reserves his help for the upright andis a shield for those who walk in integrity;
8
he guards the ways of the just and pro-tects the steps of his faithful.
9
Then you will understand justice,discernment and integrity—all that leadsyou to happiness.
10
Wisdom will abide in your heart andknowledge will comfort your inner self.
11
Foresight will guide you and under-
2
standing will protect you.
12
It will guardyou from evil, from people of misleadingspeech,
13
from those who have aban-doned the ways of honesty to walk theroads of darkness;
14
they rejoice in evil-doing, they revel in perversions;
15
theirpaths are crooked and their ways devious.
16
Wisdom keeps you from the alienwoman, from the stranger with hersmooth words,
17
who deserts the partnerof her youth and forgets the covenant of her God.
18
For her house inclines towards death,her paths towards the grave.
19
Thosewho go to her never return, they do notregain the paths of life.
20
So you will walk along the way of the good, and keep to the paths of thevirtuous.
21
For the honest will inherit theland; the people of integrity will live on it.
22
The evildoers instead will be cut off from the land. The wicked will be rootedout of it.
1
My son,do not forget my instruction,my commands; keep them in yourheart.
2
For they will bring you length of days, years of life and peace.
3
Let loyalty and kindness never leaveyou; tie them around your neck, writethem on the tablet of your heart,
4
thatyou may find favor and a good name inthe eyes of God and people.
Put wisdom into practice
5
Trust in Yahweh with all your heart;do not rely on your own insight.
6
Let hispresence pervade all your ways and hewill protect your foot from the snare.
3
world. All are invited, however, to come out oftheir passivity.
They did not choose the fear of Yahweh
.It is easy to excuse oneself: “There is no mal-ice on my part; it is a question of negligence.”Wisdom rejects these excuses. Negligence is aform of contempt for God.
2.
1 The wisdom of God protects thosewho love it against evil influences. They are nolonger like straw carried off by the wind, or inour world a number lost in the crowd, submis-sive to the pressure of media and the attrac-tions of the consumer world. They resist thecall of drunkards, of frivolous women and ofunscrupulous companions.
3.
5 The first paragraph deals with the at-titudes leading to wisdom: humility, being will-ing to sacrifice what God wants, not becomingdiscouraged when the Lord corrects us, that isto say, when we are tested (see Heb 12:5 andRev 3:19).The proverbs insist on the value of advice,discipline, correction: to live as one pleases,according to one’s fantasies causes all sorts ofmisfortune: this is a saying of Proverbs (see5:12).
Then the years of your life will be multi- plied
(4:10). The teachings of wisdom assureyou of life and well-being. It is even healthy forthe body (3:8 and 4:22).
Mt 13:44-46;Job28:28Is 14:9Ps 37:9;37:29Mt 5:46:21;7:3;Dt 6:6-9Rom 12:16-17;Lk 2:52
1017PROVERBS 3

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