This starts off with something else for me to rant about, something I’ve noticed before but forgot to include in that list of attitudes I’m tired of. “Don’t envy evil people or desire their company. For their hearts plot violence, and their words always stir up trouble.” (v 1-2). This illustrates a common theme – that people who do bad things are somehow irrevocably evil and wicked. Character is viewed as entirely black or white, and unchangeable. The primitive people who wrote the bible had no knowledge of behavioral sciences, and so they made no allowances for mistakes. It seems that once you committed a ‘sin’ you were simply written off by society and shunned. Here’s another verse that seems harsh “If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small.” (v 10) Compassion, much?
Verses 2-5 seem to support the power and authority of kings. I think that fits right in with the theme ‘mind your place’. So do v 6-7. Yup – shut up, wait your turn, and do what you’re told. Still, there is some good stuff in here: try v 9-10; or 16-20. But v 24 brings us back to those quarrelsome women. Yeesh!
This chapter begins with another verse insulting ‘fools’. The author continues to mock fools right up to v 11, but the worst is v 3, “Guide a horse with a whip, a donkey with a bridle, and a fool with a rod to his back!” Having completed his diatribe against fools (which obviously, as seen in the meme below, includes me), the author then turns to lazy people (v 13-16). Again, no allowances are made for circumstances such as illness (either physical or mental).