Proverbs 4-6

Chapter 4

This chapter is mostly good. It’s about the value of wisdom. The only verses that give me pause are 14-17. I get the uncomfortable feeling that the author believes that evil people are just born evil. Of course there wasn’t much in the way of behavioral psychology in those days.

Chapter 5

The good: V 15-19 (mostly) – advice about fidelity in marriage. Compare translations of v 15-16 as above and you’ll see what I mean about the metaphors. But it makes me wonder – does it even make sense that this advice is supposedly from Solomon? The same Solomon who had 700 wives and 300 concubines? Who couldn’t keep his hands off ‘foreign’ women? WTF?

The bad: We’re in for a rant about women. V 3-14 – a stern admonishment to stay away from ‘loose women’. V 11 refers, I think, to STD’s – at least, it does if you read the NLT. It’s interesting to compare translations of this chapter. I have open the KJV, the NLT, and the NIV in columns on the same web page. It’s clear to me that in the KJV some of the verses contain metaphors. The NIV mainly keeps the metaphors, just updates the language. The NLT spells out the metaphors, leaving no room for ambiguity (unless, of course, you disagree with the way the translators’ interpretations).

Chapter 6

Proverb 6The first thing I notice is that the NLT has updated the language to be gender-inclusive. The first verse starts with advice for ‘my son’, but in the NLT this is ‘my child’.

The good: V 1-11 are life lessons. V 16-19 – a list of behaviors to avoid. V 20-23 – heed your parents.

The bad: V 12-15 is another rant against ‘wicked’ people. I guess in the bible, if you do something bad, you’re labeled forever. Kind of explains why conservative Christians favor ‘lock-em-up’ justice and hanging judges. V 24-35 you gotta read for yourself. It’s a warning against adultery, and I’m all for faithfulness in marriage, but this warning is given for the wrong reasons. There’s that ‘wicked woman’ attitude (why is it always the woman’s fault?) again, followed by the assertion that adultery is wrong because the husband has been violated by having his property stolen, and will want compensation.

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