Good morning! Here we have another day of readings from Proverbs (27-29), and another wearisome reference to a “contentious wife”. We also find some curious passages that lead one to wonder about the specific situations that led to them, including Proverbs 27:14, “Whoever blesses a neighbor with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, will be counted as cursing.” A short story about that encounter practically writes itself.
Good morning! Many verses in the Hebrew Scriptures have been given further life by their inclusion in more recent texts. This morning’s chapters from Proverbs (25-26) draw particular attention for the ways their wisdom has been relayed into different contexts through echoes in the New Testament.
Good morning! Today’s two chapters of Proverbs (23-24) expand the genre slightly to allow for proverbs that take more than one verse to complete. Now the message of a proverb might be unfurled over the course of multiple verses, allowing for thoughts to be more fully developed.
Good morning! Today in Proverbs 20-22, the list of one saying after another continues, barely interrupted by chapter markings. Then, midway through chapter 22, the writer switches to what’s labeled “Sayings of the Wise”, presumably because these “thirty sayings” (which continue into tomorrow) are no longer directly attributed to Solomon.
Good morning! There are many interesting diversions we might pursue in reflecting on today’s reading (Proverbs 17-19), but one proverb is an especially good summary of the orientation of the whole book. 19:8 reads, “To get wisdom is to love oneself; to keep understanding is to prosper.” Before all the other reasons to pursue wisdom (healthy relationships, discerning leadership, etc), it is in the end an act of self-love. The wise person has greater confidence in navigating the troubles of life, can disassociate more easily from conflicted situations, has a greater grasp of world events, and is good company with oneself. Furthermore, and particularly for the scribe of Proverbs, wisdom might lead to prosperity and abundance for oneself and for loved ones. Within that context and desire to love the self, we could spend quite a bit of time talking about slavery, grandchildren, fools, friendship, loners, marital quarrels, childhood discipline and mercy to the poor. However, I think it better to let you go and read for yourself. After all, in the words of another, non-biblical proverb: “Better to be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” Happy reading!
Please join discussion of this passage at the Daily Bible Facebook group, or comment below. The passage for tomorrow is Proverbs 20-22. Thanks for reading!
Good morning! Today as we continue in the book of Proverbs (chapters 15-16), I find myself noticing the heavy reliance of this book on absolute binaries. The use of black/white binaries makes it simple to understand a complex issue, but oversimplifying a situation or presuming that human beings are less complicated than we are may lead to painful assumptions.
Good morning! The proverbs in chapters 12-14 concern many of the themes we read yesterday as well, including the nature of righteousness and wickedness, the importance of discipline and hard work, as well as prudence in speech and action.
Good morning! We start the proverbs of Solomon in earnest today with chapters 10-11. These pithy sayings are 1-2 verses at most, and they encompass all manner of subjects, none of them in great detail. We read about childhood, righteousness, industriousness, love, wisdom, wealth, falsehood, and restraint in chapter 10, followed by justice in industry, pride, integrity, civic leadership, gossip, advice, loan guarantees, generosity, and merchant practices in Proverbs 11. The award for “most local color” goes to 11:22, which reads, “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman without good sense.” The point behind these proverbs is to crystalize an opinion on a given matter, with a brevity that makes it memorable. I question, however, if these proverbs are universally applicable. Some of them seem to be true in every circumstance, but others reveal the privilege and class of their writer. I’ll be interested to know what you think of these short quips. Happy reading!
Please join discussion of this passage at the Daily Bible Facebook group, or comment below. The passage for tomorrow is Proverbs 12-14. Thanks for reading!
Edina Morningside Community Church (Edina, Minnesota)
Last month I attended the Minnesota Conference Annual Meeting, the yearly get-together of UCC people at the College of Saint Benedict near St. Cloud. I had received the thrilling invitation to be your final candidate by that point, though the news was not public. Still, I just had to share it with someone. So I mentioned it to a colleague who serves our UCC church in Grand Marais. “Edina Morningside!” she said. “I’ve always loved that name! It invokes the morning, with all the beautiful serenity I know along the North Shore.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. “Morningside” suggests to me possibilities, freshness, and an eternal new start. Certainly I also feel that way because I’m thrilled at the idea of serving as your next pastor!
Good morning! One of the most compelling yet unknown characters of Hebrew Scripture is Wisdom from the book of Proverbs, and we learn much more about her in today’s reading, Proverbs 7-9. She’s been part of our readings the past several days, but Proverbs 8 in particular gives us her voice directly, calling all who live to seek after the wisdom of creation itself.