Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 27:8
"Like a bird that wanders from her nest, so is a man who wanders from his home"
Everyone exists in a place, which is the nexus of the web of their relationships. This is how we tell who we are: we are so and so's daughter; we are from this national heritage; we are married to…; we have these children; we work for…; we worship this way; we live in this country; we have these friends. All of these relationships are like latitudes and longitudes that determine who and where we are. This proverb is stating the case that if we wander from that place and create relationships with those who are really not to be a part of our life, then we are in a different place and this will come with dire consequences.
This proverb states the wandering as from home, but the word is place maqom. It is where I belong or have the ability to stand. When young people are disconnected from this web of relationships, they begin to lose who they are. When one injects a new dominant relationship, it changes the nature of who they are.
When young people – or even middle-aged people – ask the question "Who am I?" it is a relational question that must have a relational answer. It often means that the person has not taken a true inventory of their own skills, gifts, abilities, and desires. It can mean that a person does not like or agree with the relational pressure that is trying to define them. It can also be a rebel streak trying to define oneself outside of the relationships and relational pressure that they have known.
This proverb states that a man who wanders from his place is like the bird that wanders from its nest.
Birds exist with a complex eco system and territoriality. If they wander too far from the territory they have been dwelling in, then they will be attacked and destroyed. In this way, when a man wanders from the eco system that they have inhabited – which is defined by the web of relationships they have created – this can be disastrous.
There is also an interesting observation on the word wandering. The word is nadad in the Hebrew and means wandering, fleeing, moving about. If one looks at the emphasis on wandering in both parts of this proverb, then it is possible that what Solomon is also saying is that when a bird starts to fly about just to be flying about, it increases the danger in its life significantly. When a man just wants to see other things or to experience new things, this aimless wandering exposes the person to considerable danger. An example of this would be Dinah in the Old Testament who wanted to see what was happening in the native market place which allowed her to come in contact with the prince who fell in love with her. This led to a series of negative consequences – all from this desire in her heart to wander about.
If this is the meaning, then Solomon is saying that you would need to have a definite purpose – a place or destination to be headed – or you increase the amount of trouble that will find you.