Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Proverbs 31:3-7 Advice on Strength, Kings, & Alcohol

   I am gonna resist the Grand Soapbox on this particular topic, 
not because I don't feel strongly about it but because it's an easy one for me 
and yet I know it's not so easy for a lot of other people.  
Also, the text is a little confusing, and while I know what it tells me 
I do not feel qualified to speak on it with authority to others.  
I'll just lay some stuff out today, okay?
If you happen to have some insight or expertise, 
you are 100% welcome to post comments and share your knowledge or wisdom.
That's what this is all about!

    In the light studying I have done, it seems to be a generally agreed upon point that verse three is simply foreshadowing for events in King Solomon's reign.

"Give not thy strength unto women,
nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings."

   Are there any take-aways for us, the common people?  Not sure.  I will resist the temptation to extrapolate meanings where scholars have already explained something clearly and simply.  A King's mother was giving her son advice which he would later need in his reign.  I can accept that much.

The Judgement of Solomon.  
A powerful story that is painfully close to my heart.

   The next four verses seem clear enough at first blush but have incited plenty of debate.  This is where I will step back a bit, quote the scripture and references, then keep my remarks brief.  For a change.  LOL.  

"It is not for kings, O :Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgement of any of the afflicted.
Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.
Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more."

Schofield References:
  • "Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness!"  ~Ecclesiastes 10:17
  • "Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart."  ~Hosea 4:11

   Okay.  Here are some things I personally believe to be true, and they are what make the otherwise blurry line crystal clear for me and my life:

  • Alcohol is definitely a "mocker."  It alters inhibitions and for many people outright changes personalities.  I do not groove this.  I like the original, please.  
  • Alcohol is addictive and dangerous, and yes I realize that some people have a stronger propensity for alcoholism than others, but I have witnessed the fallout of this condition (disease?) in lots of relationships, first hand, and it is no small problem.  I do not groove it.  I want no part of it my life or in my home.  We have friends who drink, and I don't think we've ever "preached" to them about it, but it just doesn't come to the farm.  And I have never had to worry about someone leaving one of our fun parties here and making the long drive home intoxicated.  
  • Yes, we did "preach" to the girls about avoiding alcohol when it was warranted.  It has always been important to me that they learn to maintain control over their lives and that alcohol can poison that, can poison your temple.  Some people find this radical.  I consider it it healthy.
  • The advice for kings and princes in particular to avoid wine and strong drink is plenty enough reminder for me to heed the warning.  I am in no position of authority or control in this world, but I still need my judgement to be sound.  I still want my life to run smoothly and steadily.
  • I am not sure what to say about the last verse here, about drink given to those who are suffering.  To me it speaks of compassion, but clearly I have some studying and thinking to do.
   Okay.  Yes, smarty pants, that was me N-O-T on a soapbox.  Thoughts?


  1. I have two kids in college. I remember college. I know how much parties and drinking were a part of the scene. Still, I was not prepared to send my firstborn to a school with a tremendous reputation and discover how much drinking was not only accepted but I feel promoted and celebrated by the faculty and administration. I was tremendously disappointed (and have remained so). We have had to do some very active parenting and guidance in this environment.
    Child #2 is not at that school btw!

  2. Since you're N-O-T on a soapbox, I won't get on one either. ;-)

    For me, alcohol = personal choice. Is it dangerous? It has the potential to be, yes. Like many other things in our world, it can be used for fun and games, or it can be abused and it can kill.

    My experience has taught me that I can drink and be merry on occasion. Over the past decade, my drinking has slowed *way* down, partly due to the fact that Hubs doesn't drink and drinking alone is no fun at all. :-)

    Not following a bible path, I'm sure, influences this somewhat. I know when I'm on target with healthy choices, I have a drink *maybe* twice a year.

    Having said all of that, I personally have Zero Tolerance for drinking and driving. I've fought with friends over this, but I feel that strongly enough about it that I think the charge levied against someone who does this should be attempted murder.

    N-O-T on a soapbox!


  3. Good for you in stating your beliefs and not apologizing for it. I didn't find what you wrote to be "preachy" at all. Keep it up!


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