1 Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity [tohm (integrity, guilelessness)], than he that is perverse in his lips [sfatayim], and is a fool [kesil].
Better is little with the fear of Yahweh
Than great treasure and trouble therewith (15: 16)
2 Also, that the soul [nefesh] be without knowledge [da'as], it is not good [tov]; and he that hasteth with his feet [raglayim] sinneth.
Acting impulsively or recklessly causes mistakes. So exercise restraint, caution, and moderation.
A merely natural man is an empty earthen vessel. He contains none of "the golden oil." What he knows, he knows only as a natural brute beast; and like other animals, obeys only the impulses of his "inner consciousness." Such a human creature is utterly destitute of inspiration; and the efforts to enlighten him prove fruitless, he is fit only for capture and destruction.
The unmeasured Court of the Gentiles is the aggregate of such; and in the midst of so dark and dangerous a community, the Spirit's Witnesses were appointed to operate for a testimony against them.
3 The foolishness of man perverteth his way [maketh his derech crooked]: and his heart fretteth [ lev rages] against Yahweh.
Fools blame Yahweh for their own mistakes. This is disloyalty and disobedience.
4 Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor [dal] is separated from his neighbour [re'a].
1. Wealth attracts superficial friends whereas...
there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother (Prov 18 : 24)
2. In contrast the poor are disregarded and may be abandoned by even their closest friends
5 A false witness [An ed shekarim] shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies [kezavim] shall not escape.
Under the law a false witness received the punishment he thought to inflict upon his brother...
And the judges shall make diligent inquisition: and, behold, if the witness be a false witness, and hath testified falsely against his brother; Then shall ye do unto him, as he had thought to have done unto his brother: so shalt thou put the evil away from among you.
(Deut 19: 18-19)
6 Many [Rabbim] will intreat the favour of the prince [ruler]: and every man [ish] is a friend [re'a] to him that giveth gifts [mattan].
7 All the brethren of the poor [kin of the rahsh (pauper)] do hate him: how much more do his friends go far from [avoid] him? He pursueth them with words, yet they are wanting [yet they are not there] to him.
Continues the realistic assessment in v4. People are fickle and relationships fail, especially when a brother falls into poverty...but the commandments of Messiah applied faithfully will keep the brethren united in the bonds of love and unity in the faith.
8 He that getteth wisdom [lev (a heart of understanding)] loveth his own soul (nefesh): he that keepeth understanding [shomer over tevunah] shall find good [tov].
9 A false witness [An ed shekarim] shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies [kezavim] shall perish.
10 Delight [Luxury] is not seemly [fitting] for a fool [kesil]; much less for a servant [an eved]to have rule over princes [sarim.]
A servant ruling was improbable and considered absurd according to ancient cultures. So also a fool becoming wealthy was both unlikely and discordant. (In these modern times of surplus and hoarded wealth we see many appalling examples of hard earned inherited fortunes foolishly frittered away).
11 The discretion of a man [seichel adam] deferreth his anger; and it is his glory [tiferet] to pass over a transgression [peysha].
1. A level headed approach can defuse conflict
'he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife'. (Prov 15:18).
Patience and self-control are the instructions of wisdom
He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty;
And he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. (16:32).
2. Be forgiving and forebearing (1 Cor 13:4). Do not be oversensitive or hold grudges...
'love covereth all sins' (Prov 10: 12).
15 Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.
Christ will approve no slothful servant
Let it not be our aim to make and keep ourselves comfortable; but to do his work and help his need. He can be assisted in an abundance of ways. The honour of his name, the interests of his truth, the well-being of his people, present us many opportunities of writing an account that we shall not be ashamed to confront in the day of reckoning.
While, then, we comfort ourselves, let us be quite sure we are entitled to the comfort by obedience, first, by purity in all things, and second, by seeking out and performing the Master's will in all things, and occupying ourselves in the execution of it. And let us make up our minds that this won't always be necessarily agreeable.
Sometimes it will be exceedingly otherwise; occasionally there will be a little uprush of the true nectar of heaven as it were, from the bottom of the spring around which we are working, but at most times it will be hard and trying, and toilsome work.
Then we are not to lose confidence; because we sometimes lack joy. The truth is calculated to impart joy, but the absence of joy is no necessary indication of the absence of our standing in his sight; for if we take David and Jesus, we find them both overborne with suffering.
Take the Psalms of David; see how much they have to do with sleepless pillows, and Christ himself was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Therefore we must not conclude that, because we do not see the sun all the time, God is not smiling upon us. We may do well and suffer. The principle remains good;
"If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?"
That was said to Cain, and is said to every servant of Christ.
"But if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door."
The Christadelphian, Apr 1872
21 There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of Yahweh, that shall stand.
Adam set aside the divine will
Adam, the exiled, propagated himself, and filled the earth at last with a race in his own unhappy position. The race continues to this day, amid all the evils that result from man having to take care of himself, instead of living under the open guidance and friendship of his Creator.
Sunday Morning 173