Friday, 8-May-2020

Proverbs 8

32 “Now then, my children, listen to me;
blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Listen to my instruction and be wise;
do not disregard it.
34 Blessed are those who listen to me,
watching daily at my doors,
waiting at my doorway.
35 For those who find me find life
and receive favour from the LORD.
36 But those who fail to find me harm themselves;
all who hate me love death.”

Proverbs is essentially divinely inspired Hebrew poetry. Hebrew poetry is very different from English poetry.

Most of us reading Proverbs in English might be tempted to interpret it in the way we know best – in English. But the original tongues of the Old Testament (OT) are Hebrew and some Aramaic. Hence, some understanding of how Hebrew poems are structured will help.

Some Bible readers also make the mistake of misunderstanding personification of inanimate objects or abstractions, since they are given human qualities, such as wisdom. It is interesting that wisdom is personified as a woman in Proverbs 8 (v1-3).
But why is wisdom personified as a woman? Does this mean men are not wise? While most men would wonder why this is so, women readers might simply respond by asking: “Why? Isn’t it obvious?” I dare not answer that question! However, I would like to point to the way the Hebrew language works with nouns.

In Hebrew, every noun has a gender. Wisdom (“Chokmah” in Hebrew) is a noun, and it is in the feminine gender. Some Jewish Rabbis say that this is mainly because, just like women who give birth, wisdom also gives birth to more wisdom. In other words, wisdom can reproduce. It spreads and makes people wiser, reproduced in others.
This morning, let us look at Proverbs 8:32-36. The writer emphasises that those who keep the ways of chokmah will be blessed (v32). But to be wise, we need to listen and not disregard chokmah (v33). But is this wisdom accessible to all? Can everyone attain wisdom?

It appears that wisdom is not far from us. Wisdom waits at the doorway of the house (v34). Hence, wisdom is accessible to all of us. We can be wise, if only we listen and obey.

With wisdom, we receive life and favour from God (v35). However, those who hate wisdom, a tragedy awaits them.

This reminds me of an interesting antagonist in John Bunyan’s fictional Christian allegory, The Pilgrim’s Progress. The main character, Christian, was going to the Celestial City, as per the directions given by another character called The Evangelist. As Christian was on his journey, he meets Mr Worldly Wiseman who hailed from the great town of Carnal Policy. The man tries to entice Christian to abandon his journey to the Celestial City and instead live a contented secular life of enjoyment and materialism.

“Hear me, I am older than thou; thou are like to meet with, in the way which thou goest, Wearisomeness, Painfulness, Hunger, Perils, Nakedness, Sword, Lions, Dragons, Darkness, and in a word, Death, and what not? These things are certainly true, having been confirmed by many Testimonies. And why should a man so careless cast away himself, by giving heed to a Stranger (The Evangelist)?” asks Mr Worldly Wiseman.

Swayed by the logic, Christian followed the counsel of Worldly Wiseman, to his later suffering. The Evangelist then comes, rebukes and rescues Christian.
Yes, the wisdom of the world can distract us from God. It causes us to doubt our faith. Causes us to stray away. But the wisdom from God’s Word daily calls out to us and shows the Way. So, let us turn our backs to the wisdom of the world and seek God earnestly. The Holy Scriptures are able to “make us wise unto salvation” (2 Tim 3:15). Avoid all evil, hate and pride. Instead, let us seek chokmah that comes by daily reading and obeying His instructions to gain prudence, discretion and sound judgment (v 12-14).

Prayer: O Lord Almighty. Your Word alone is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Help me to avoid the wisdom of the world. Instead, help me to seek Your wisdom daily and walk obediently before Your Holy presence. In Jesus name, I pray. Amen.

xxx

每日灵粮
8/5/20
作者:帕拉他伯(Prathab V.)
箴言 8:32-36
8:32 众子阿、现在要听从我.因为谨守我道的、便为有福。
8:33 要听教训、就得智慧、不可弃绝。
8:34 听从我、日日在我门口仰望、在我门框旁边等候的、那人便为有福。
8:35 因为寻得我的、就寻得生命、也必蒙耶和华的恩惠。
8:36 得罪我的、却害了自己的性命.恨恶我的、都喜爱死亡。

箴言本质上可以说是受希伯来语启发的诗。希伯来诗与英语诗是有很大的差别。我们大多数人都用英语来阅读箴言,这样以来我们就可能会以我们最熟悉的方式来了解箴言-英语。但是旧约的原始语言是希伯来语和一些阿拉姆语。因此,如果我们对希伯来诗的结构有一些理解的话那我们阅读箴言时就会比较容易。

一些圣经读者也误解了无生命物体或抽象的人格化,因为它们被赋予了人类特质,例如智慧。有趣的是,在箴言8:1-3节中智慧被人化为女人。但是为什么智慧会被人化为女人呢?这是否意味着男人并不明智?虽然大多数男人会想知道为什么会这样,但是女性读者可能会简单地回答:“有什么好奇怪的?这还不明显吗?”我本人是不敢回答这个问题!但是,我想指出的是希伯来语与名词配合使用的方式。 在希伯来语中,每个名词都有性别。智慧(希伯来语中的“ Chokmah”)是一个名词,以女性性别表示。一些犹太人拉比说,这主要是因为,就像在生產的妇女一样,智慧也能孕育更多的智慧。换句话说,智慧可以“生产”。她散发并使人们变得更有智慧,并在他人当中生产。
今天早上,让我们看看箴言8:32-36。作者强调,那些遵守神的道的人(32节)。但是,智慧的做法是,我们需要倾听而不是弃绝“chokmah”(33节)。但是,是不是所有人都能获得这种智慧吗?

看来,智慧离我们并不遥远。智慧在房屋的门口等候(34节)。因此,我们所有人都可以获取智慧。只要我们听从并顺服,我们就能得到智慧。凭着智慧,我们从上帝那里得到生命和恩惠(35节)。然而,那些讨厌智慧的人,悲剧正在等待着他们。

这让我想起了约翰•班揚(John Bunyan)虚构的基督教寓言詩《天路歷程》(Pilgrim’s Progress)中一个有趣的角色。主角基督徒(Christian)按照另一个名为宣道师(Evangelist)的角色所指示前往天界之城去。基督徒(Christian)旅途中,遇到了老世故(Worldly Wiseman)先生,他是来自繁华的享乐主义城(Carnal Policy)。老世故试图诱使克里斯蒂安放弃前往天界之城的旅程,而是来享受在世俗的生活中。

“我年纪比你大,你听着:在你走的这条路上,你还会碰到疲乏、痛苦、饥饿、艰险、无衣无食、刀剑、黑暗、狮子、毒龙,总而言之, 死亡,以及其他的一切。这些事情完全是真实的,因为许多人都曾证实过。为什么去听一个陌生人的胡扯而随便把自己毁了?”老世故说。基督徒安在逻辑上摇摆不定,最终跟随老世故的忠告而受苦。然后,宣道师来了,斥责并营救了基督徒。

是的,世界的智慧会分散我们对上帝的注意力。它使我们怀疑自己的信仰,使我们流浪。但是从神的话语中所获得的智慧向我们指明了道路。因此,让我们背弃世界的智慧,认真的寻求上帝。圣经能够“使你因信基督耶稣有得救的智慧”(提摩太后书2:3:15)。避免一切邪恶,仇恨和骄傲。让我们寻求日常阅读和服从祂的指示来获得智慧,谋略、和真知识(第12-14节)。

祷告:万能的主啊。祢的话是我脚前的灯路上的光。帮助我避免世界的智慧。相反的,帮助我每天寻求祢的智慧,并顺服地来跟随祢。我奉主耶稣的名祷告。阿们

胡斐译

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