Proverbs 20:1-4

In Proverbs 20:1-4 Solomon addresses the reality that is caused by wine and alcohol.  It has the potential to cause some pain and sorrow. Guzik writes: “This is true in at least two senses. First, alcohol mocks and fights with those who abuse it in any sense. Second, alcohol leads one to be a mocker and a brawler. Many men and women have had their lives dominated by the mockery and brawling of alcohol.”: “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” Solomon makes it clear that if we are controlled by alcohol, we are not wise. Wisdom is displayed by the ability to not be led astray by alcohol. For many this means not drinking alcohol at all. For others this will mean the decided, evident moderation in their use of alcohol.

Solomon next reminds us that irritating those in power can certainly cause a powerful response. Those in power and leadership have potential to deliver wrath. “The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion; whoever provokes him to anger forfeits his life.” We do well when we learn how to connect with and communicate properly with those in power.  There is a knack of how to do that without arousing the anger that can happen if we do it wrong. Since in many ways the king held the power of life and death over his subjects, to provoke the king to anger was to endanger one’s own life. While it may not be quite the same in today’s world, there is no question that those with power can certainly express wrath in a way that can be painful.

There is much wisdom and honor in avoiding strife and entering into struggle with those in our patch.  Many men feel that honor drives them to dispute and fight with others if there is a disagreement. This proverb reminds us that often times it is even more honorable for a man to stop striving. “It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling.” Fools are always looking for a fight. In many circumstances it takes a man of honor to stop the fight, but any fool can start the quarrel and continue it. A wise man is more concerned about having peace than being right.  They know when to walk away.

Solomon again discusses a topic that he has addressed before – that of being lazy.  The lazy man always finds some excuse not to do his work. It is always too early or too late in the season to begin. It is always wet, and the ground is too hard for plowing. Any excuse will work when the heart is set on not working. “The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing.” The lazy man will work, after a fashion – he will do the work of begging. Having no reward from the work of his hands, he will even have to beg during harvest. Often his begging will go unrewarded and he will have nothing.

One response to this post.

  1. Reblogged this on Matthews' Blog.


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