Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Proverbs 31:1-9 commentary; the ruler that judges righteously

1 ¶ The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him. 2 What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows? 3 Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings. 4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: 5 Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. 6 Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. 7 Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. 8 Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction. 9 Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.

I have read commentators that say that Lemuel was probably a pet name given to Solomon by his mother. One meaning of Lemuel is “for God”. She warns him here about giving his strength to women. It is rather ironic that Solomon, along with breaking other rules laid down by God for a king in Deuteronomy 17:16,17 and context broke the one about multiplying wives. This led to him going along to get along with his many wives’ religious beliefs (I kings 11:4).

Here is the admonition against a king drinking fermented alcoholic beverages. Pharaoh’s butler’s statement shows how a just king handled the fruit of the vine.

Genesis 40:11 And Pharaoh’s cup was in my hand: and I took the grapes, and pressed them into Pharaoh’s cup, and I gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand.

This is the “new wine”.

Isaiah 65:8a Thus saith the LORD, As the new wine is found in the cluster,

Squeezed grape juice was pure from adulteration and fermentation.

Deuteronomy 32:14b ……. and thou didst drink the pure blood of the grape.

Strong drink was to be given to condemned criminals to make them less aware of the agony that they were about to experience. These Proverbs go on to say that wine is for the depressed and the sad, to forget their poverty and misery.

The king here is told that his duty lies in speaking for the condemned and judging the cause of the poor and needy righteously. The king was not only the giver of laws but he was a judge of men’s issues and conflicts, the final judge on earth. The three functions (our branches) of government are bound up in God, and the earthly king imitates these. James Madison did not quote the following verse in the United States’ Constitutional convention and the philosopher that was quoted, Montesquieu, does not quote it in his works either, but it existed for thousands of years before either Madison or Montesquieu.

Isaiah 33:22 For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.

Notice the king’s mother said that his duty was to speak for the condemned, the poor, and the needy. Many of our Founders spoke of the duty of government being to ensure the rights of man or, in some cases they said its duty was to seek the common good. However, in God’s Book He says over and over that the purpose of government is to see justice is done and to be the voice for the poor and needy. It has been said that the rich don’t need help. Rich and powerful men only need the help of government to get more wealth and more power. The poor and needy need government’s help just to survive. Just type in “poor and needy” into any online King James Bible and you will get a slew of verses about God’s concern for them.

Most of our Founders did not fear God. He was someone to worship and respect but not much of a concern. Even the aged Ben Franklin who said at the Constitutional Convention that he believed that God judged nations and men on the earth didn’t live his life in a way that showed he took that very seriously. The Bible was a guide book for living but hardly a living Book that judges the thoughts and intents of the heart. If government is to be Godly and after His own heart, it must be compassionate and champion the cause of those who have nothing, the condemned, and the destitute. A government, a king, without compassion for the poor and needy is Satan’s own kingdom and an excuse for atheistic ideologies like Marxism and Communism to enter in.

Next, I’m going to look at one of the greatest pictures of the church found in the Bible. Then, I’ll be through with Proverbs for this go around.

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