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Perhaps, after reading “The Christian Atheist”, anything might seem lighter – even a book of the Bible. Perhaps that is why we relapsed into some of the bad habits of the early years of the Book Club: one of us had read the wrong chapters and another hadn’t read any! Nevertheless, it was a highly enjoyable evening, if somewhat light hearted.
We can, of course, blame our Interim Moderator, Jenny Morgan, for it was she who set us on the path of discovering Proverbs, having used five of them for discussion during our Harvest Thanksgiving Service in September. During the service, Jenny had invited us to discuss briefly the aptness of five proverbs for today’s world. With the time constraints of a service we felt we should examine these more closely and also read Chapters 10-15 of the book itself.
We managed to whittle Jenny’s choice down to three : Proverbs 14: 21; Proverbs 16: 11 and Proverbs 28; 11. We felt these were particularly pertinent to today’s world and political situations.
Then we turned to the Book of Proverbs. We all found verses which intrigued us, amused us, slightly bewildered us and at times, confused us. One minute it seemed that God was condemning the rich: the next the poor were being chastised. Peter Elliott explained to us that Proverbs is part of the Wisdom Literature of the Old Testament, which also includes Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes and Psalms. Although some of it is attributed to Solomon, around 700 BC, some of it comes from Egyptian proverbs as far back as 5000 BC. It is a sort of in-gathering of wise sayings from all over the Middle East over centuries.
There are proverbs for and about all kinds of people, all kinds of relationships and generally they attempt to teach how to behave or how not to behave towards others.
We had great fun with some and indeed some provoked laughter as we tried to narrow down our favourites.
Chapter 10 verse 26: Never get a lazy man to do something for you. He will be as irritating as vinegar on your teeth or smoke in your eyes.
Chapter 18 verse 22: He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favour with the Lord.
Chapter 21 verses 9 & 19 redress the balance. It is better to live in a desert land than with a contentious and fretful woman.Chapter 15 verse 20: A wise son makes a glad father but a foolish man despises his mother.
Chapter 16 verses 1-3: politicians and promises pay attention!
There are so many which made us smile, for example, the one where a nagging wife is likened to a dripping tap and we also enjoyed the various ways a proverb could be expressed by comparing what was written in our different translations of our Bibles. It does somewhat pain me to admit that the Good News Bible came into its own, when dealing with this Book.
One thought as we go into a New Year: Proverbs 16 verse 9.

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