Proverbs is one of the Wisdom books of the Bible. It has some interesting things to say about food that readers of modern translations may not fully appreciate.
Whoever loves discipline, loves knowledge but he who hates correction is stupid. Proverbs 12:1 NIV
To any parent that verse is plain. If you correct a child over and over again but they continue on doing as they choose, one might say they lack sense. The verse and its meaning are obvious. It may even be simple to some folks but not to me.
Not being stupid has been somewhat of a goal over the course of my life. Now that I’m older, occasionally, a person here or there will even say I’m smart. That feels good even when it is not true. None of us knows everything. Such goals and thinking were making me miss the point entirely.
With the rest of everyone around me, I believed the Scripture above to be talking about the English word ‘stupid’ instead of going to the real Hebrew meaning of the word. While reading my Bible the other day I decided to ask the question, “What is ‘stupid’?”
Fleshing that nuance of truth out provided me with the realization of years of wasted effort. Let’s see if we can work through this realignment and make our lives reflect #GodsWayNotMine and use our time more efficiently on purpose.
The English definition of ‘stupid’ is:
- lacking ordinary quickness and keenness of mind; dull.
2. characterized by or proceeding from mental dullness; foolish; senseless:
a stupid question.
3. tediously dull, especially due to lack of meaning or sense; inane; pointless:
a stupid party.
4. annoying or irritating; troublesome:
Turn off that stupid radio.
5. in a state of stupor; stupefied:
stupid from fatigue.
6. Slang. excellent; terrific.
7. Informal. a stupid person.
In actuality the proper translation of this word as it is used in Proverbs is “food as consumed” which makes a lot more sense.
H198 – Ba`ar Most often used as ‘burn’, this word carries the picture of being burned cattle eaten by people or being grazed over grasslands that the cattle eat. (I used the My Sword app on my android phone as a source but you can also study this in more detail using biblestudytools.com where you will find the description brutish. That term comes from this word’s connection to the cattle raised for food.)
Food as consumed.
Therefore, following the logical wisdom of Proverbs, people who choose to hate correction are “food” just as the jungle animals view humans as simply another resource.
(In jungle book, Mowgli cautions jungle travelers to be careful because the jungle animals see them as “food”. In the 1994 version of the remake, Bagheera watches from among jungle greenery and catches the eye of a bad guy to make Mowgli’s point that much more dramatic. LOVE that version. )
So PAY ATTENTION!
This matches with all the surrounding texts about advice. Learn how to take advice. Be selective based on the guidelines set out in Scripture but do pay attention to what you are told, why and whether or not it is true and valuable. Then do something with the advice you receive. To do otherwise is to make yourself a prey to hunters who,like Kaa, are hungry… some are even hungry for your soul.
For on account of a prostitute one is reduced to a piece of bread [to be eaten up],
And the immoral woman hunts [with a hook] the precious life [of a man].
Proverbs 6:26 Amplified Bible (AMP)
This is important especially to the previously abandoned. Often they perceive themselves as prey that no one will protect.
I remember one gal I spoke with described her frustration with trusting people as having a sign on her forehead inviting people to do whatever they wanted with her. Sometimes she thinks about it. Sometimes she doesn’t. Being preyed upon always catches her by surprise and has impacted her children as well.
Here in Proverbs there is a realignment that provides a solution. Hallelujah! Thank you God!
Love discipline. Love knowledge
To be put another way, create a delight in your heart to do the right thing over and over and over again. Add to that a sincere seeking out of truth as it applies to each situation, and to the people involved including yourself. A little science. A few boundaries. A lot of love.
This is the practical way. This is God’s way.
The path of Love and Knowledge ensures you do not end up as someone else’s dinner. (Two wrongs do not make a right. Eating people is wrong! Trying to take God’s job of executing wrath on wrongdoers is wrong. Hannibal is wrong and his thinking is twisted.
19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[a] says the Lord. Romans 12:19 NIV)
Yet that movie also makes an interesting social point like Alice in Wonderland or Animal Farm make political ones.
That point? People consume people. Doing so is vile on a variety of levels..
In case you are thinking that eating people is a concept best left to the Donner party or crazy movie characters, God talks about this same idea when He spoke though Micah. Apparently people have less compunctions about eating people’s lives than they do about eating people’s flesh but the reality is that both are just as dastardly…uh… stupid.
The words of Micah, “The word of the Lord that came to Micah of Moresheth during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah—the vision he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem. Hear, you peoples, all of you, listen, earth and all who live in it, that the Sovereign Lord may bear witness against you, the Lord from his holy temple.”
Then I said,
“Listen, you leaders of Jacob,
you rulers of Israel.
Should you not embrace justice,
2 you who hate good and love evil;
who tear the skin from my people
and the flesh from their bones;
3 who eat my people’s flesh,
strip off their skin
and break their bones in pieces;
who chop them up like meat for the pan,
like flesh for the pot?”
“As for the prophets
who lead my people astray,
they proclaim ‘peace’
if they have something to eat,
but prepare to wage war against anyone
who refuses to feed them.
6 Therefore night will come over you, without visions,
and darkness, without divination.
The sun will set for the prophets,
and the day will go dark for them.
7 The seers will be ashamed
and the diviners disgraced.
They will all cover their faces
because there is no answer from God.”
8 But as for me, I am filled with power,
with the Spirit of the Lord,
and with justice and might,
to declare to Jacob his transgression,
to Israel his sin.
9 Hear this, you leaders of Jacob,
you rulers of Israel,
who despise justice
and distort all that is right;
10 who build Zion with bloodshed,
and Jerusalem with wickedness.
11 Her leaders judge for a bribe,
her priests teach for a price,
and her prophets tell fortunes for money.
Yet they look for the Lord’s support and say,
“Is not the Lord among us?
No disaster will come upon us.”
12 Therefore because of you,
Zion will be plowed like a field,
Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble,
the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets.
This is a picture of the Temple in Jerusalem in ruins and thickets. Temples made by man will come to ruin but you are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Food for thought, is it not?