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B. Instructive Analogies 25:2-27:22
The emphasis in this section continues to be on wisdom and folly and their accompanying virtues and vices.
3. Virtues and vices 27:1-22
Many of the analogies in this pericope deal with virtues and vices that are characteristic of the wise and the foolish.
The point of this proverb seems to be that the quantity of a person’s material possessions affects his attitude toward them. Those who have much do not appreciate some things, even some things that are valuable. On the other hand, a person with little tends to appreciate even the comparatively insignificant items he receives or owns. For example, a person who receives much praise may find it nauseating, but someone who gets very little praise may savor what little he gets. [Note: Ibid.]
"Hunger is the best sauce." [Note: Toy, p. 483.]
The first statement makes the point of the proverb: friends are important allies that we should retain if possible (Proverbs 27:10 a). The second statement is not as clear. The thought seems to be, "Do not go all the way to your blood brother’s house in a crisis if he lives far from you." The third statement gives the reason for the second. A friend nearby who is not a blood relative can be of more help than a close relation who lives farther away. A friend nearby should be more advantageous than a brother who lives miles away.
"The teacher is held responsible for the faults of the pupil." [Note: Ibid., p. 487.]
The point of this parable and the one in Proverbs 20:16 is the same. We should hold people to their obligations.
The person who hypocritically blesses his neighbor, for example by praising him unusually loudly at an unusually early hour, will receive a curse from other people. One’s manner of blessing others will be shown to be hypocritical if he does it in excess. Therefore one needs to be careful to do good things in the right way and at the right time, sincerely rather than hypocritically.
If you want to see what your face looks like, look in a placid pool of water. If you want to see what a man is really like, look in his heart. That is, find out what he loves and values and you will know what kind of person he is. One’s thoughts reflect his or her true character. Jesus taught that what a person says reveals what is in his or her heart (Matthew 12:34).
As the family manager, a man needs to know what he owns, and what condition his possessions are in, to lead wisely. Moreover, he needs to care for what he owns in order to preserve his livelihood. Proverbs 27:24-27 go on, poetically, to advocate preserving one’s income.
C. A Discourse on Prudence 27:23-27
This poem recalls the earlier discourses in chapters 1-9. In this one, Solomon gave some basic and practical advice designed to assure success in the context of Israel’s most common occupation: animal husbandry. The essentials stressed here are the care of one’s resources, hard work, and a recognition and appreciation of God’s provisions. The reader should apply these essentials to whatever occupation he or she may pursue. These are the basics for wise living in practical daily work.
"Meat was rarely eaten; the staples of food were bread, honey, fruits, and the products of the dairy." [Note: Ibid., p. 494.]
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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Proverbs 27". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 14 / Ordinary 19