Thursday, April 21, 2011

Proverbs 19:10 commentary

10 ¶ Delight is not seemly for a fool; much less for a servant to have rule over princes.

From the literal perspective for the ancient Hebrews there was much of good, sound advice in this Proverb about the injustice of servants ruling over princes and about how out of place it seemed that fools should enjoy the blessings of God.

Delight is defined as appreciation of, enjoyment with, and pleasure in. See verses like Genesis 34:19; Numbers 14:8; Deuteronomy 10:15; 21:14; 1 Samuel 15:22; 18:22.

A fool is defined most prominently in Psalm 53:1.

The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.

Now, we could not imagine the President of the United States going home to the White House and he and his staff and cabinet having to answer to the White House butler. It might make for a funny sitcom on TV but it would be ridiculous to imagine. It’s not even conceivable in normal terms. We would think absolutely goofy the idea of a group of Senators being ordered around by a Capitol Hill janitor (unless, of course, he had some unpleasant photographs he was blackmailing them with). To rule is to have power over as per Esther 9:1.

The very idea of a fool taking delight in the blessings of the Lord appears unreasonable, and Solomon, speaking with the understanding that God’s inspiration gave him, says that it is unseemly. In God’s commonwealth of Israel it was unseemly for an unbelieving person to receive the things of God that he would by virtue of his living in Israel that the Hebrews received and this is linked to the injustice and odd thought of a servant having rule over princes.

We find it unseemly and awkward that God’s blessings pour out on fools and God’s people alike, but that’s the way God would have it.

Matthew 5:43 ¶ Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

The prophets of old lamented this fact of God’s mercy toward the wicked.

Jeremiah 12:1 Righteous art thou, O LORD, when I plead with thee: yet let me talk with thee of thy judgments: Wherefore doth the way of the wicked prosper? wherefore are all they happy that deal very treacherously?

Habakkuk 1:13 Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?

It riles some of us that the wicked don’t always seem to have the trouble that we think they deserve. But God’s mercy is longsuffering. His patience is enduring. The fools will never be able to say they didn’t have a chance to turn to the Living God. As unseemly as it appears, they have their delight in God’s blessings even though they refuse to acknowledge His grace in their lives. And, to some of us, this looks about as ridiculous and strange as the idea of the King of Saudi Arabia’s gardener having power over him.

No comments: