- Dr. Stieglitz
Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 8:8
"All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness. There is nothing crooked or perverted in them."
This is the Hebrew word emer which means speech, words, arguments, declaration, etc. In this proverb Solomon is giving voice to wisdom. He says that you will hear wisdom speak in various people, in various situations, in various ways; but there is a consistency to what wisdom says. It will never say that which is unrighteous. It will not be involved in what is crooked. It will never suggest that the answer to your dilemma is to do something morally twisted.
This is the Hebrew word sedeq which means justice or righteousness. The actual Hebrew words read, righteousness is what I utter.
Now it is important to remind ourselves about what righteousness looks like in the Proverbs. It is actions that are within the boundaries of the Ten Commandments and are reflective of the intent of the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments are both a boundary and a positive direction. Just as wickedness is defined as that which is outside of these moral lines, so righteousness is defined as living within these lines and living in accordance with the spirit of the commandments.
Solomon is trying to alert us to the fact that there will be many voices claiming to be wisdom. They will all be telling us what to do. Just as the adulterous women of chapters 5 and 7 say similar phrases to wisdom, so there will be lots of other fake wisdom counselors. They will tell you that embezzling is the wise thing to do. They will tell you that getting drunk is wise or hitting the party scene will advance your career or that letting go of your Sunday School morality is required to make it in the real world or that you need to experience other religions to know which one is true. These and all kinds of other advice will be offered to you as wisdom. ANY WISDOM THAT SUGGESTS THAT THE RIGHT COURSE OF ACTION IS OUTSIDE THE TEN COMMANDMENTS IS NOT WISDOM. This is what Solomon is saying. It may sound impressive, clever, and cunning; but it is not wisdom and it will not result in a long-term win.
This is the Hebrew word patal which means to twist, crooked, clever, cunning. This would be the opposite of straightforward.
This is the Hebrew word iqqesh which means twisted, perverted, crooked.
These two words are somewhat similar but when used together, it seems best to understand the difference between the words in this way.
The word patal translated crooked should be taken to mean cunning, clever, or deceptive. This is something that wisdom will not be saying. So if someone is talking to you and what they are saying to you sounds deceptive, cunning, and wickedly deceitful, then it can't be wisdom.
The word iqqesh, which is translated perverted, should be taken to mean actions or behavior that is beyond just normal sin moving into abhorrent sins. Sin begins with a violation of God's law. But it doesn't stop there. As selfishness progresses, people are able to invent all kinds of ways of sinning: bizarre false religions, blasphemous words, unusual forms of rebellion, sadistic forms of violence, unthinkable forms of sexual debauchery, etc. Some people will suggest that the only way out of some dilemma that you will face is to think outside the box of your old morality; that the way to truly learn wisdom is to let go of your Sunday School morality and embrace a "higher" truth. What they are about to say cannot be wisdom and following their advice is being sent on a fool’s errand. But this is how "normal" people get sucked into incredibly abnormal things.
Another way that people get sucked into this kind of behavior is they begin a relationship with a person who does these things and that friendship, romance, or partnership at first doesn’t require that they participate in what is clearly crooked or perverted. But it will down the road. It is better to end the partnership, friendship, or romance before it begins because it is headed in the wrong direction from the start.
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