A STUDY OF THE BOOK OF PROVERBS
Violence is the tool of fools
Proverbs 29:1-15 SCC 1/23/16
Violence has been the world’s way of resolving issues since the beginning. Cain premeditated his brothers murder. In several places in this chapter we are confronted with the reality of using violence as a means of settling issues in life. Violence comes in many different forms—it can be verbal, personal, physical, and psychological. Violence is brutal, painful, and terrifying. Violence is abusive, threatening, and coercive. Violence creates snares, controversies, oppression, bloodshed, and thievery. Violence is the tool of fools. Wisdom counters violence by self-control. Wisdom respects the sanctity of life. Wisdom refuses to use violence to advance a cause, get ones way, or take what belongs to others. Solomon indicates that wise people will not resort to violence because violence violates people.
GOD ESTABLISHES GOVERNING STRUCTURE TO ENSURE JUSTICE NOT VIOLENCE
Justice and not violence is the result of righteous leaders v 2
Good people can enjoy life when righteousness predominates in government. When righteous governing thrives people are glad because they are more secure and prosperous.
Discipline at home secures justice in the street v 3, 15, and 17
Verse 3: Wisdom ensures joy and prosperity for the family. A wise person who brings joy to his father is contrasted with the son who brings grief by squandering his wealth on prostitutes.
Verse 15: Discipline makes a Childs behavior enjoyable. A child not disciplined and left to himself doing as he pleases getting whatever he wants will become an unruly person.
Verse 17: A disciplined child brings contentment to parents. Correction brings peace to parents and joy later to children who grows wiser because of it.
Security is based in justice not bribery v 4
A nation is secure when justice prevails. A king breaks the backs of his people with demands for monetary gifts thus causing divisions and strife (1 Sam 8:11-18). Rehoboam (1 Kgs 12:1-19).
Corruption breeds’ violence v 12
Once a ruler begins to listen to lies, his court will be corrupted. Courtiers will adjust themselves to the whims of the prince learning to play the game.
Moral character is essential for justice to prevail v 14
The duration of an administration depends upon its moral character. Fairness toward those least able to care for themselves is a mark of a good leader. Good leaders will preserve truth and righteousness loyal to those they lead. But loyalty must always be in the context of truth and righteousness.
Eventually violence is corrected v 16
No matter how much wickedness spreads in the land righteousness will live to see it destroyed. Wicked leaders will only encourage sin. Their transgressions increase before this however.
Even leaders can be bought v 26
Appealing to a ruler for justice is no guarantee that justice will be done. True justice ultimately comes only from God.
NB: The remedy for violence in society is righteous rulers and leaders who themselves do not contribute to violent means but determine a righteous rule that establishes stability and security.
VIOLENCE IS NEVER A REMEDY BUT MUST BE CIRCUMVENTED WITH WISDOM
Violence is the tool of fools. Fools will wield it but wisdom must restrain its use.
Don’t be stubborn about the need to change v 1
Destruction comes swiftly to those who stubbornly refuse to change. This verse is warning about the peril of persisting in sin. The ‘stiff neck’ portrays the obstinate person who disregards all rebukes. The stubborn person does not foresee misfortune and so will suddenly ‘be destroyed’ without any healing. The idea of hardened and stiff necked refusing to repent or submit to repeated correction. The sudden destruction refers to there no longer being a remedy available.
Refuse to accommodate scoffers v 8
Mockers and scoffers keep things in an uproar making dangerous situations even worse while the wise ensure peace (2 Sam 20). Mockers laugh at moral restrictions and blow on embers stirring up trouble. The wise maintain peace and harmony on society. Averting anger and calming people otherwise is wise.
Disputes with a fool only create turmoil v 9
A foolish man exacerbates strife. It is a waste of time to try and settle a dispute calmly or rationally with a fool. Whether going to court or in society one can only cut the losses and have no further dealings with him. Trying to win against a fool is illusive since he follows his emotions and not logic or reason keeping things in turmoil with his ranting.
Violent people are hostile v 10
Bloodthirsty men loathe the integrity of the upright. Since the wicked despise all sense of decency they will seek to destroy and curtail it. Fools hate honest people. Fools or men of bloodshed prefer killing the honest ones so they could not testify against the wicked in court. They are antagonistic. Seeking a life is a hostile act. Men of integrity have regard for those with integrity.
It takes wisdom to restrain anger v 11
The wise man holds his anger in check but the fool is the slave of impulse at its mercy every moment when irritated. A fool readily gives in to anger. It is his ‘go to’ mechanism. A wise man manages his anger like the calming of the seas waves. He keeps it from turning into a fierce storm.
Oppression is shortsighted v 13
Oppression is violent control over another. The poor man and the oppressor are opposites morally. One thing each has in common though, is that regardless or status or circumstances all people receive their life from God. Poor victims and their persecutors both have a direct link to their maker. One may get an advantage over the other by oppressing them but in the end both are accountable for the one who gave them life. God creates and controls them all. You would think that this might temper relations with each other. But the oppressor is motivated by short-term gain.
Knowledge of Gods Word restrains violence v 18
If there is no revelation from God people can expect spiritual and political anarchy. Without God’s word people abandon themselves to their own sinful ways. On the other hand keeping God’s laws bring happiness since they are not contrary to wisdom. Good leaders provide vision that includes knowledge and understanding. God, being infinite, provides us with mysteries. But our search to comprehend these has to be based upon understanding and knowledge, not mysticism. This vision provides laws, or reasonable principles, which people can follow.
Anger will lead to strife v 22
Anger brings strife. A hot tempered one also cause transgression, violating law, to multiply. The effects of a volatile temperament argue against its validity. When one loses control of oneself many other transgressions are committed like cursing, insulting, rudeness, cruelty, oppression, and pride. These transgressions compound the lack of self-control and exacerbate the consequences of one’s rage.
Being and accomplice makes you guilty v 24
An accomplice in crime like thievery will find no easy way out of his or her dilemma. If a witness does not speak up he is held accountable for the crime (Lev 5:1). When a curse or verdict is pronounced upon the unknown perpetrator, the curse then attaches itself to the accomplice as well. Now his or her involvement in the crime, no matter how minimal, works against him or her. If he testifies he may implicate himself. If he says nothing he is assumed guilty. The point is not to use crime and violence to resolve disputes, or get ahead or even.
Find your security in the Lord v 25
True security is the result of trusting God and not humans. Such fear becomes a snare when it gets to the point of letting others control your life—their opinions and attitudes put subtle pressure on you, even hindering you from speaking the truth or doing what is right. A man ensnares in the sense that one’s actions are controlled or confined by the person who is dreaded. Security in the Lord removes intimidation by man.
NB: Violence becomes an option for the stubborn fool who prefers to be hostile creating strife and oppression. The wise hear God’s Word, restrain violence whenever possible secure in the Lord.