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Proverbs 1:8-10 1
8 Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. 9 They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck. 10 My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them.

clip_image046Background

Although the book of proverbs begins with a title ascribing the proverbs to Solomon, it is clear from later chapters that he was not the only author of the book. Pr 22:17 refers to the “sayings of the wise,” and 24:23 mentions additional “sayings of the wise.” The presence of an introduction in 22:17–21 further indicates that these sections stem from a circle of wise men, not from Solomon himself. Ch. 30 is attributed to Agur son of Jakeh and 31:1–9 to King Lemuel, neither of whom is mentioned elsewhere. Lemuel’s sayings contain several Aramaic spellings that may point to a non-Israelite background.

Most of the book, however, is closely linked with Solomon. The headings in 10:1 and 25:1 again include his name, though 25:1 states that these proverbs were “copied by the men of Hezekiah king of Judah.” This indicates that a group of wise men or scribes compiled these proverbs as editors and added chs. 25–29 to the earlier collections. Solomon’s ability to produce proverbs is specified in 1Ki 4:32, where 3,000 proverbs are attributed to him. Coupled with statements about his unparalleled wisdom (1Ki 4:29–31,34), it is quite likely that he was the source of most of Proverbs. The book contains a short prologue (1:1–7) and a longer epilogue (31:10–31), which may have been added to the other materials. It is possible that the discourses in the large opening section (1:8—9:18) were the work of a compiler or editor, but the similarities of ch. 6 in this section with other chapters (compare 6:1 with 11:15; 17:18; 20:16; 27:13; compare 6:14,19 with 10:12; 15:18; 16:28; 28:25; 29:22; compare 6:19 with 14:5,25; 19:5) fit a Solomonic origin equally well. The emphasis on the “fear of the Lord” (1:7) throughout the book ties the various segments together.

If Solomon is granted a prominent role in the book, most of Proverbs would stem from the tenth century B.C. during the time of Israel’s united kingdom. The peace and prosperity that characterized that era accord well with the development of reflective wisdom and the production of literary works. Moreover, several interpreters have noted that the 30 sayings of the wise in 22:17—24:22 (especially the first ten) contain similarities to the 30 sections of the Egyptian “Wisdom of Amenemope,” an instructional piece that is roughly contemporary with the time of Solomon (see chart, p. xxii). Likewise, the personification of wisdom so prominent in chs. 1–9 (see 1:20 and note; 3:15–18; 8:1–36; 9:1–12) can be compared with the personification of abstract ideas in both Mesopotamian and Egyptian writings of the second millennium B.C.

The role of Hezekiah’s men (see 25:1) indicates that important sections of Proverbs were compiled and edited from 715 to 686 b.c. This was a time of spiritual renewal led by the king, who also showed great interest in the writings of David and Asaph (see 2Ch 29:30). Perhaps it was also at this time that the sayings of Agur (ch. 30) and Lemuel (31:1–9) and the other “sayings of the wise” (22:17—24:22; 24:23–34) were added to the Solomonic collections, though it is possible that the task of compilation was not completed until after the reign of Hezekiah.

The Hebrew word translated “proverb” is also translated ”oracle” (Nu 23:7,18), “taunt” (Isa 14:4) and “parable” (Eze 17:2), so its meaning is considerably broader than the English term. This may help explain the presence of the longer discourse sections in chs. 1–9. Most proverbs are short, compact statements that express truths about human behavior. Often there is repetition of a word or sound that aids memorization. In 30:33, e.g., the same Hebrew verb is translated “churning,” “twisting” and “stirring up.”

Biblical Truths

[8-19] A warning against association with the greedy and the violent who seek to destroy the honest man and to steal his possessions (Proverb 1:11-14). The trap which the wicked set for the innocent (Proverb 1:11), in the end (Proverb 1:19) takes away the life of the wicked themselves.

1:7-9 Fools are persons who have no true wisdom, who follow their own devices, without regard to reason, or reverence for God. Children are reasonable creatures, and when we tell them what they must do, we must tell them why. But they are corrupt and willful, therefore with the instruction there is need of a law. Let Divine truths and commands be to us most honorable; let us value them, and then they shall be so to us.

Items for Discussion

  • Why do people give advice?
  • Before people take advice, what should they consider?
  • What kind of advice do you remember from your mother and grandmother?
  • Why should we take advice from God?

 

John 16:20-27
“20 I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. 23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. 25 “Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. 26 In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. 27 No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.”

Background

The Gospel of John is the fourth gospel in the New Testament, written by John the Evangelist. Like the three synoptic gospels, it contains an account of some of the actions and sayings of Jesus, but differs from them in its distinguishing character, sentiment, moral nature, guiding beliefs and theological emphases. The purpose is expressed in the conclusion, found in verses 20:30-31: “…these [Miracles of Jesus] are written down so you will come to believe that Jesus is the Anointed, God’s son — and by believing this have life in His name.” Of the four gospels, John presents takes the highest position, implicitly declaring Jesus to be God. Compared to the synoptics, John focuses on Jesus’ cosmic mission to redeem humanity over the earthly mission to teach, cast out demons (which is not mentioned), and comfort the poor.

Biblical Truths 2

Verse 20. Ye shall weep, At my crucifixion, sufferings, and death.

The world. Wicked men. The term world is frequently used in this sense. See John 16:8. It refers particularly, here, to the Jews who sought his death, and who would rejoice that their object was obtained.

Shall be turned into joy. You will not only rejoice at my resurrection, but even my death, now the object of so much grief to you, will be to you a source of unspeakable joy. It will procure for you peace and pardon in this life, and eternal joy in the world to come. Thus their greatest apparent calamity would be to them, finally, the source of their highest comfort; and though then they could not see how it could be, yet if they had known the whole case they would have seen that they might rejoice. As it was, they were to be consoled by the assurance of the Savior that it would be for their good. And thus, in our afflictions, if we could see the whole case, we should rejoice. As it is, when they appear dark and mysterious, we may trust in the promise of God that they will be for our welfare. We may also remark here that the apparent triumphs of the wicked, though they may produce grief at present in the minds of Christians, will be yet overruled for good. Their joy shall be turned into mourning, and the mourning of Christians into joy; and wicked men may be doing the very thing–as they were in the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus–that shall yet be made the means of promoting the glory of God and the good of his people, Psalms 76:10.

Verse 22. I will see you again. After my resurrection.

Your joy no man takes from you. You shall be so firmly persuaded that I have risen and that I am the Messiah that neither the threats nor persecutions of men shall ever be able to shake your faith and produce doubt or unbelief, and thus take away your joy. This prediction was remarkably fulfilled. It is evident that after his ascension not one of the apostles ever doubted for a moment that he had risen from the dead. No persecution or trial was able to shake their faith; and thus, amid all their afflictions,

Verse 23. In that day. After my resurrection and ascension.

Ye shall ask me nothing. The word rendered ask here may have two significations, one to ask by way of inquiry, the other to ask for assistance. Perhaps there is reference here to both these senses. While he was with them they had been accustomed to depend on him for the supply of their wants, and in a great degree to propose their trials to him, expecting his aid. See Matthew 8:25; John 11:3. They were also dependent on his personal instructions to explain to them the mysteries of his religion, and to remove their perplexities on the subject of his doctrines. They had not sought to God through him as the Mediator, but they had directly applied to the Savior himself. He now tells them that henceforward their requests were to be made to God in his name, and that he, by the influences of his Spirit, would make known to them what Jesus would himself do if bodily present. The emphasis in this verse is to be placed on the word “me.” Their requests were not to be made to him, but to the Father.

Verse 24. Hitherto. During his ministry, and while he was with them.

Have ye asked, From the evangelists, as well as from this declaration, it seems that they had presented their requests for instruction and aid to Jesus himself. If they had prayed to God, it is probable that they had not done it in his name. This great truth–that we must approach God in the name of the Mediator–was reserved for the last that the Savior was to communicate to them. It was to be presented at the close of his ministry. Then they were prepared in some degree to understand it; and then, amid trials, and wants, and a sense of their weakness and unworthiness, they would see its preciousness, and rejoice in the privilege of being thus permitted to draw near to God. Though he would be bodily absent, yet their blessings would still be given through the same unchanging Friend.

Ask. Now they had the assurance that they might approach God in his name; and, amid all their trials, they, as well as all Christians since, might draw near to God, knowing that he would hear and answer their prayers.

Verse 25. In proverbs. In a manner that appears obscure, enigmatical, and difficult to be understood. It is worthy of remark, that though his declarations in these chapters about his death and resurrection appear to us to be plain, yet to the apostles, filled with Jewish prejudices, and unwilling to believe that he was about to die, they would appear exceedingly obscure and perplexed. The plainest declarations to them on the subject would appear to be involved in mystery.

The time cometh. This refers, doubtless, to the time after his ascension to heaven, when he would send the Holy Spirit to teach them the great truths of religion. It does not appear that he himself, after his resurrection, gave them any more clear or full instruction than he had done before.

I shall show you plainly. As Jesus said that he would send the Holy Spirit (John 16:7) and as he came to carry forward the work of Christ, so it may be said that the teachings of the Holy Spirit were the teachings of Christ himself.

Of the Father. Concerning the will and plan of the Father; particularly his plan in the establishment and spread of the Christian religion, and in organizing the church.

Verse 26. I say not unto you that I will pray. In John 14:16, Jesus says that he would pray the Father, and that he would send the Comforter. In chapter 17, he offered a memorable prayer for them. In Hebrews 7:25, it is said that Jesus ever lived to make intercession for us; and it is constantly represented in the New Testament that it is by his intercession in heaven now that we obtain the blessings of pardon, peace, strength, and salvation. Comp. Hebrews 9:24. This declaration of Jesus, then, does not mean that he would not intercede for them, but that there was no need then of his mentioning it to them again. They knew that; and, in addition to that, he told them that God was ready and willing to confer on them all needful blessings.

Items for Discussion

  • How can something as painful as childbirth be forgotten? It must be because we see families of more than one child?
  • Jesus is telling us that there will be a time of grief followed by a time of great joy. Can you think of some examples other than childbirth?
  • Jesus’ mother Mary is held in the highest esteem. What do you think made this relationship so unique?
  • John quotes Christ as He describes a relationship between ourselves, Him and God? What makes this relationship like motherhood?

Discussion Challenge

  • How can we today create a relationship with Christ that is described by the Apostle John?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. Barnes Notes – http://www.studylight.org/com/bnn/view.cgi?book=joh&chapter=016
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