Session #6. Encountering the Poetic (& Wisdom) Books Covering the books ofProverbs, Job & Ecclesiastes.
The example of Solomon (1 Kings 3:5-15) “God gave Solomon wisdom & very great insight.” The example of Jesus (Matthew 7:24ff.) “Whoever hears…& practices is like a wise person…” The example of James (James 1:5; 3:13-18) “If any of you lacks wisdom…that comes from heaven” The example of Paul (Ephesians 5:15ff.) “Be careful how you live, not as unwise but as wise”
“Wisdom is the basic principle in God’s revelation…in which he imparts understanding to mankind. Without it the world and human life would be devoid of meaning…It is the all-pervasive force created by God even before the world – it permeates the universe, the natural world and the social order of all human beings.” C. Hassell Bullock
Poetic books (whose theme is wisdom):Higher wisdom:Job (why do good people suffer)Ecclesiastes (what’s the meaning of life)Lower wisdom:Proverbs (right, wrong & daily decisions)Song of Songs (true love & how to nurture it)Psalms (songs – wisdom in worship & prayer)
Wisdom is practicalWisdom is everywhere The homeWisdom is a gift from GodWisdom is a lifestyle The school (of life)Wisdom must be chosen (Wisdom literature) The “fear of the Lord”Wisdom in a proverbWisdom in a song (personal relationship)Wisdom in a poem
“Wisdom is not something you do, rather it is a way of doing things. This is born out by the bewildering variety of human endeavours mentioned in the OT in connection with wisdom…such as governing a nation, the interpretation of dreams, the construction of the Tabernacle, the management of a crisis, the efficient keeping of ones home or even so simple a matter as chopping wood. Wisdom has the advantage of giving success to those who possess it. Whatever you do – can be done with wisdom. It is invariably displayed in concrete, practical living. Wisdom is basically skill – to be wise is to be skilful at living.” (William Mouser)
“The Hebrew language has an intrinsic musical quality that is inclined naturally toward poetic expression. Beneath the translation lies a poetic beauty & grandeur that is not surpassed in any other language. Even though the English reader is at a decided disadvantage as they approach Hebrew poetry, the rhythm & meter (pattern) can be detected fairly well with persistent study.” (Bullock)
It’s all about (1) pattern & (2) rhythmParallelism The main feature! Main task is to find the connection between A & B(Don’t forget) Figures of speech Simile, Metaphor, Hyperbole, Irony, Idiom, Anthropomorphism, Personification, Rhetorical questions
Synonymous (repetition of same thought)Antithetic (contrast between two lines – “but”)Synthetic (2nd line completes the 1st)Don’t forget those amazing Acrostics & Chiasms!
Remember you’re reading a poem or a song! What do you do with poems? Read What do you do with songs? Sing What do you do with prayers? Speak Don’t read poetry like Historical prose “He did this.” Don’t read poetry like Law “Do this!” Don’t read poetry like Prophecy “…or else!”
W is do m W 0 1000 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 900 S al or va ds tio n 725 W or R ds ed 319 Lo em ve pt ,P io n ea 66 ce ,JP ra oy ye r, H 916 W ea or ve sh n ip 422 ,P ra is e H 722 ol ly H S el pi l ri 14 tW "S or in ds G ", 97 ra "E ce vi l" No of Times Concepts Appear In Bible ,M E er tc cy 850 ,T ru th 449
Introduction 1:1-7Parents’ reflection on wisdom 1:8-9:18Misc. proverbs by Solomon 10:1-22:16“Sayings of the wise” 22:17-24:22Hezekiah’s collection of proverbs 25:1-29:27The sayings of Agur 30:1- 33The sayings of King Lemuel 31:1-9“The wife of noble character” 31:10-31
…for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight (v.2)…for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair (v.3)…for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young (v.4) let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance…for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. (v.6)
Skill at knowing what is right & wrong“to understand what life means and where its going”Living a productive life“a manual for living, so well know how to live well and right; learning whats just and fair”Gaining guidance for key decisions“to teach the inexperienced the ropes and give our young people a grasp on reality”Learning/understanding from others mistakes“as an encyclopedia of fresh wisdom to constantly probe and penetrate; a record of the experiences of wise men and women”
“The fear of the LORD…is essentially what we may call a personal relationship with God for, in wisdom literature, it is the description of a person’s encounter with God. The phrase capsulates the totality of ones religious faith… it is much more than just the emotion of awe & reverence. It is a comprehensive term for the worship of the LORD…the sum total of one’s relationship to God!” C. Hassell Bullock
“The fear of the LORD is the first principle of wisdom. In one form or another this truth meets us in all the wisdom books, and it is this that keeps…The shrewdness of Proverbs from slipping into mere self-centrednessThe perplexity of Job from mutinyAnd the disillusionment of Ecclesiastes from final & futile despair.” Derek Kidner
“Whoever listens to me will live in safety & be at ease, without fear of harm.” (v.33)It will keep you from harmIt will enable you to enjoy a happy life
Father’s advice:1. “Don’t give in” (passive) vv.10-142. “Don’t go along with” (active) vv. 15-19
Mother’s cry:1. Don’t mock God!2. Don’t despise knowledge!3. Don’t be so simple!
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (direct your paths) Prov. 3:5-6
1. WISDOM & FOLLY – THE WISE & THE FOOL2. THE RIGHTEOUS & THE WICKED3. LAZINESS & HARD WORK4. WEALTH & POVERTY5. LIFE & DEATH6. WORDS (AND THE TONGUE)7. THE FAMILY
He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD. Proverbs 18:22Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the LORD. Proverbs 19:14A wife of noble character is her husbands crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones Proverbs 12:4May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. Proverbs 5:18
…the smooth tongue of a wayward wife. Proverbs 6:24…a wayward wife with her seductive words. Proverbs 2:16; 7:5A wayward wife is like a (deep) narrow well. Proverbs 23:27
A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day. Proverbs 27:15; 19:13Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. Proverbs 21:9; 25:24Better to live in a desert than with a quarrel- some and ill- tempered wife. Proverbs 21:19
א A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. (10)ב Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. (11)ג She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. (12)ד She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. (13)
ה She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. (14) וShe gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. (15) זShe considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard(16) חShe sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. (17) טShe sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night (18)
י In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers (19)כ She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. (20)ל When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. (21)מ She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. (22)נ Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land (23)
ס She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes (24)ע She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. (25)פ She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue (26)צ She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. (27)
ק Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: (28)ר Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all. (29)ש Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised (30)ת Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate (31)
She loves GodShe has integrityShe is completely trustworthyShe is diligent & hard-workingShe is wiseShe is marked by generousityShe is gracious in what she says
She is a manager & leader in the homeShe is a provider (whatever the cost)She looks for the best quality @ the best priceShe is a producerShe is an investorShe has a heart for the poorShe is a teacherShe promotes & compliments her husband’s standing
The ideal husband truly appreciates his wifeThe ideal husband has confidence in his wife’s love & loyaltyThe ideal husband has confidence in his wife’s abilities and gives her freedom to express themThe ideal husband gives his wife the praise she deserves
A picture of a wonderful woman who…Loves GodCares for her family & othersIs loved & valued by her husbandBalances work at home & in societyIs respected & honoured in the community
Prologue 1:1-11Section #1. The search for satisfaction 1:12-2:26Section #2. The meaning of life 3:1-5:20Section #3. The question of suffering 6:1-8:15Section #4. The ways of wisdom & folly 8:16-12:7Epilogue 12:8-12
“meaningless, meaningless…everything is meaningless” (NIV)“vanity of vanities…”( ie. emptiness KJV/ NAS)“nonsense, nonsense…nothing makes sense” (CEV)“smoke, nothing but smoke…it’s all smoke” (The Message)
It’s not to be found in pleasures - even if you soak yourself in them!It’s not to be found in knowledge & (human) wisdom – even if you’re an Einstein!It’s not to be found in work & labour - even if you drive yourself into the ground!It’s not to be found in riches & wealth - even if you do own Microsoft or Ikea!
Where have we come from?Why are we here?Where are we going?What’s the point of it all?
Friendship - 4:9-12 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the one who falls and has no one to help them up!Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
Friendship (with God) – 12:13-14Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of everyone.For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.
“The words of the wise prod us to live well. Theyre like nails hammered home, holding life together. They are given by God, the one Shepherd. The last and final word is this: Fear God. Do what he tells you. And thats it!Eventually God will bring everything that we do out into the open and judge it according to its hidden intent, whether its good or evil.” Ecclesiastes 12:11-14
Prologue (1-2) Introduction 1:1-5Two dialogues (between the Lord & Satan)1:6-2:13 Dialogue (3-37) Job’s opening statement 3 1) First cycle of speeches 4-14 2) Second cycle of speeches 15-21 3) Third cycle of speeches 22-28 Job’s closing statement 29-31 (Elihu’s speeches 32-37) Epilogue (38-42)Two dialogues (between the Lord & Job) 38:1-42:6 Conclusion 42:7-17
Suffering (…of the righteous)Theodicy (reconciling the existence of evil with the goodness and sovereignty of God)Conflict between good & evil (God & Satan)The silence of GodGuidelines for counselling (ie…how not to)The testing & purging of faithNB. When reading Job, always remember who’s speaking!
How much power does Satan really have? (1:12ff; 2:6-7)Did Job curse God? (3:1)Why did God rebuke him? (Ch. 38-41)What did Job repent of? (42:6)Why does a good, loving & all-powerful God permit suffering?Where is God in suffering?