Ethics and Sanctions in the Proverbs

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Sometimes I feel like a professor. I’ve never written so much on theory, theology, and philosophy! The concepts of ethics and sanctions hardly ever show up in any tenth-grade education, much less a study of Proverbs.

Proverbs 1

Solomon tells his son what wisdom is used for: knowledge, discipline, righteousness, insight, discretion, and obedience. He tells his son not to go about with communistic thieves (is that an oxymoron?) for they bring themselves to ruin. He uses the metaphor of Wisdom as a woman, begging for people to come to her for salvation from poverty and distress.

As we know, ethics has to do with a moral code. In this case, as it is throughout the Proverbs, the moral code is Wisdom (and the Law). The sanctions (consequence) of people refusing to take advantage of the good gift of wisdom, is their imminent destruction.

Proverbs 1:33 “But whoever listens to me [wisdom] dwells safely, and is at ease of dread of evil.”

So the sanctions resulting from the ethical choice of listening to Wisdom is a better life.

Proverbs 2

Solomon tells his son what will happen if he accepts wisdom: He will have knowledge, and will walk in the right ways. If wisdom gives you delight in understanding every good path, then of course you will want to search for it! So seek it like you would for treasure.

The chapter goes on to say that the ‘strange woman’ lurks, and those who fall prey to her fall into death and will be plucked out of the earth, but that the righteous will remain. So DON’T go to the strange woman.

What does it mean to walk in the ‘ways of goodness’, or ‘paths of righteousness’? Yeshua was the Way. He was the Truth, the Life, and, as said in the book of John, the Word. If the Law is the Word of Yah, and the Word is the Way, then the Law is the Way -(the way to life). So, the right path is the law – walk in it, no going back, no turning around.

Proverbs 3

The commands are directly tied to wisdom and positive sanctions, such as long life and full storehouses. Solomon advises his son not to cause trouble when he could do good to others. The theme is what good things wisdom will bring you, and what you will forfeit if you do not get wisdom.

Proverbs 4

Classic parent-to-child-advice – Child, listen to me! The overriding theme here is to not let go of wisdom, because there are negative sanctions for those who are crooked. Guard the wisdom you have – protect it – don’t lose it – don’t compromise.

Proverbs 5

Rules are there for a reason. Even though most of us wouldn’t say we agree with everything our parents believe, their advice is useful and their wisdom valuable. (Unless your parents aren’t very wise!)

But for many of those young people with parents giving them sound wisdom, many choose to disregard it, and the chapter talks about how you will greatly repent if you set off along the crooked path, lamenting that you did not heed your parents’ advice.

The second half of the chapter focuses on staying with the wife of your youth, and staying AWAY from the strange woman. (For me, as a single girl, I choose to implement this principle by being moral and by preparing myself to stay faithful to my husband if I do marry.)

Proverbs 6

This chapter covers a few topics in detail …

1. Do not sign an agreement with or for someone you don’t know well enough to trust, or you may find yourself snared as by a trapper.

2. Work hard, because, if you’re lazy, you will not have any wealth and poverty is close to you.

3. The seven matters which Yahweh hates.

4. Listen to your parents’ teaching, for it will keep you away from the immoral person.

5. And lastly, do not commit adultery. You risk death.

The end of Proverbs 6 prepares us for the important principle in the next chapter …

Proverbs 7 – The immoral woman

In verse 1 through to verse 6, Solomon reiterates the importance of listening to your parents’ teachings, treasuring them and the Torah as close friends.

I know of no other example of what a woman should NOT be that has been so widely quoted as Proverbs 7. Beginning at verse 6, Solomon tells of how he beheld a woman enticing a young man to commit adultery with her. In plain language, she tells of how she has made her sacrifices and her husband is gone. She has dressed herself alluringly, has hung her bedroom with all kind of frippery, all for that simple youth, who follows her blindly like a lamb to the slaughter.

One who follows the adulteress will be ensnared. You will never be the same again. It is sin and Yah hates it, and it will bring you to destruction. (I’m looking at you too, ladies. Don’t be an adulteress or fall prey to the world.)

In Conclusion …

 I think chapters one to seven in the book of proverbs can be summarized in a few important points:

  • Do not walk in the paths of the immoral man/woman/girl/boy/person.
  • Work hard and learn lots!
  • Do not forget the Law! Keep it close to you always.
  • Listen to your parents. They have useful knowledge and teaching.
  • Seek wisdom (from your parents, family, older friends, older men, older women, anyone who has wisdom!)
  • Follow this blog (Just kidding!)

Thanks for reading!



Why we praise

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David is up and down like a yoyo all the time. But even at the end of Psalms which cry out to Yahweh for deliverance, there’s a common factor; a line about praising Yah.

So … what does this mean? Why does David praise Yahweh even when he’s being persecuted, when he’s depressed, and when he has sinned? Is he trying to appease Yah with praise? Is David simply afflicted with a case of long-term-optimism, or is he blessed with this condition?

Well, we know Yah cannot be appeased with insincere praise. In many of the Prophetic books, Yah says over and over again that Israel’s sacrifices and prayers are worth nothing to Him, and that He is sick of it because they are also worshipping false gods, and not worshipping Him with their whole heart.

Taking into account all the Psalms, we know why David praises Yahweh.

1. Yahweh is all-powerful. He is sovereign over all, and so His glory alone makes Him worthy of praise.

2. Yahweh saves. The degree to which David described His trouble is unbelievable. He describes being pursued, deceived, trapped, abandoned, and betrayed. And Yah saves him out of it all.

3. Yahweh’s law. The law is perfect, pleasing to the soul, like honey, life-bringing, everlasting. A wonderful covenant from Yah.

4. Yahweh’s love is everlasting. We have all felt the pain of some form of rejection, whether it come from our family or friends, but though mankind can be flighty, Yah always loves us.

5. Yahweh created us. He chose to bring us into being. Man was created to praise Yah! When you think about it that way, you realize just how short is the amount of time we worship in our lives. We should be praising Yah throughout the week, in addition to on the Sabbath.

And yes, instead of being afflicted with long-term-optimism, David is blessed with the above knowledge of Yah. The Hebrew word for “to know” means so much more than simply learning a certain fact. When someone “knows” someone else, it means they have an intimate understanding of the essence of the other person. Their soul. Their personality. They KNOW them inside and out.

“O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.”

– Psalm 139:1, KJV (italics added)

With such a relationship, David has no choice but to be delighted with how close he is to Yah. We can also strive to have such trust and knowledge of Yah, and to be a man or woman after His own heart.

But long-term optimism isn’t really a “thing”, as we would say these days, or at least it shouldn’t be. I would rather describe David’s constant delight in Yahweh as knowing that even though he was going through some tough times, he knew Yah would take care of him in the end. David knew that rough periods shape us into someone we need to be to deal with the situations we will face in life, and because he understood that it was for his good, he praised Yah.

~ Makayla

Historical sanctions in the Psalms

The Psalms is one of the largest books in the Bible (At least, it has the most chapters!) It can be the most wonderful book to read or the most tedious book to read, depending on how you look at it. However, it is the opinion of Gary North that everyone should read all the Psalms at least once in their lifetime, and I wholeheartedly agree. One of my favorite parts about reading the Psalms is recognizing lyrics to modern Christian songs!

I saw the main themes in the psalms quite accurately illustrated in a meme once 😉

But all kidding aside, there is an overwhelmingly large variation of themes in the Psalms. The Proverbs are pretty straightforward – the wise, the glutton, the fool, and the righteous. But when it comes to David, we get the picture. The WHOLE picture.

– Judgement upon the wrong

– Salvation for the righteous

– God’s decision to keep his covenants

– How wonderful and perfect God’s law is

– How amazing God’s creation is

– How supernatural God’s works are

– How God is capable of anything

But there are some main themes that come into every single psalm, namely: The desire for right and the presence of God being sovereign.

1. God – Sovereignty
2. Man – Authority
3. Law – Command
4. Causation – Sanction
5. Time – Inheritance

To bring up Mr. North’s model again, we will be focusing on Sanctions.

In many of the psalms, David praises God’s law and puts a positive emphasis on the righteous and on righteous acts. At the same time, he will often tear the reputation of the evildoers to pieces, beg God for their destruction and shame, and praise God when his enemies are dead. (I’m glad I wasn’t David’s enemy!) This shows us (although we could find plenty of examples elsewhere) that David had a heart that really sought after righteousness, and was grieved to see lawlessness.

The main kind of sanctions in the Psalms were that the sanctions of the righteous were prosperity, health, etc, whereas the wrongdoers got exactly the opposite. The inheritance of the righteous was God himself and long life, but the inheritance of the wrong was (and is) death.

It is important that no civilization have anarchy, otherwise it isn’t a civilization. So if there’s a law to be followed, (a) it must be followed, and (b) the people who don’t follow it must be punished, so other people don’t see the “no consequences” rule and also try to get away with it.

Obviously David wasn’t trying to write a self-help book to say, “Hey there Israelites, listen up! Sing all the time, cry your bed into an ocean when you’re sad, and float clear up into the sky when you’re happy!” He was writing songs and poems TO Yahweh to illustrate his feelings and values, and we can learn from these. And the most important thing to learn is (1) David loved and obeyed the law of God. We should do the same.

The second thing to understand is (2) Everybody gets what they deserve … but for those who repent, the consequence of death eternal is taken away, and we have a chance to be redeemed by Christ’s sacrifice. This is the importance of historical sanctions in the Psalms.

Thanks for reading!


Week 2 – Flood and Causation

When Noah was around 600 years old, Yahweh Elohim of the universe told Noah to do something crazy. He had looked upon the mankind which had multiplied and he saw that it was evil and perverse and sinful.  Noah was the only righteous man on earth, so God would spare only him, his wife, his three sons, and his son’s wives.

Yah hated the depravity that his created humans had become, and he regretted making them. So he was going to bring a great Flood upon the earth, that would wipe all of the evil that existed. In order that Noah and his family would live, Yah told them to build an ark that would contain all that he was to save – seven of every clean animal, two of every unclean animal, and seven of every kind of bird. (One interesting thing to note about the clean vs. unclean animals is that even though the first definition of clean vs. unclean animals is commonly referred to as being during the giving of the law at Mount Sinai, we know that Noah, at least, knew the definition.)

Before the flood hit the land Noah loaded all of the animals and himself and his family into the ark he’d built. On the seventeenth day of the second month (of the Hebrew calendar), during the 600th year of Noah’s life, water flooded the whole earth, and Yah shut them in. And everyone – EVERYONE – died, all but those who were in the ark.

The waters were mighty upon the earth for 150 days, and eventually the ark rested on Mount Ararat. After over a year of being in the ark, Yah told Noah and his family to come out.

As we have already established, sanctions are the direct results, or consequences of a decision. In this case, many decisions. All of mankind had turned away from Yahweh, and the Bible says that every thought was evil. That’s pretty evil! So in this case, the sanctions for the peoples’ sins was death – immediately.

This was a completely legitimate punishment. Yah had given his people a chance, and they let him down by sinning against him and his law. And it has probably been said millions of times, YHWH hates sin!! So in order that the law be upheld, he needed to dole out punishment. The main idea that Yah needed to show was that they had broken covenant with him, which is a big deal!

After Noah and his family left the ark, Noah offered Yah a lot of sacrifices, one of each clean animal! And Yah was pleased with the aroma (and likely with the heart of thanks that Noah had) and he put a rainbow in the sky to symbolize his covenant with Noah. In Genesis 9:8-17, Yahweh tells Noah about his covenant – that he would never again flood the whole earth, and would remember that promise every time he saw a rainbow. The rainbow has since then come to represent other things, but for me it will always represent Yahweh’s promise to Noah.


Hierarchy in Genesis

Is hierarchy important? Should we allow people to be in power over us? Do we have power? What should we do with the power we have? What can we do wrong? What is the result of our doing wrong?

Let us begin with the elements of a Worldview. Our worldview affects every action we make, every word we say, every step we take.

1. God – Sovereignty
2. Man – Authority
3. Law – Command
4. Causation – Sanction
5. Time – Inheritance

(I retrieved the material for the above from Dr. Gary North.)

God is sovereign. He created the world, he created man, and he created the law. The first command God gave was “Do not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.”

Sovereignty is the highest position of authority possible. God is at the top of the food chain. Any power or authority man has, he has because it was given to him by God. God can take it away if he wants to, or if man oversteps his bounds and assumes authority that was not given to him.

If you’re an oldest sibling like me, you will identify with this example. I am the only girl among three younger brothers. I have sovereignty (parents) to deal with my brothers if they do something against the law (of our home.) But I have not been given authority to deal with my brothers. Only my parents have that authority. MY authority is to protect myself, provide boundaries around MYSELF. (ie, don’t come into my room without asking, don’t hit me, etc.)

But I am banned from bossing my siblings around (ie, don’t touch that, don’t say that word, come load the dishwasher, etc.) UNLESS I have been left IN authority. Namely, as a babysitter.

Another example, directly relevant to the account of the Fall, begs for mention. (Disclaimer: This is not a true example!!! 😊) If my sovereignty (parents) tell me I can go anywhere in the house, but I cannot go into their bedroom, then I have to stay out of their bedroom, because they gave me a LAW. A law that I need to follow. If they tell me that if I go into their bedroom, I cannot live in their house, then they are giving me a CAUSATION. A sanction. The penalty for going into their room would be leaving the house.

Now we have Adam and Eve classified. They are authority, because they have been GIVEN authority. What do they have authority over? The animals, and the plants, and all on earth. But God has authority over them, because he is Sovereignty. And the law was the command from God to man, that man would have to obey, or else there would be a penalty. A CAUSATION.

And Adam and Eve violated the boundary of the law, by choosing to listen to the voice of the Nachash (commonly translated as “serpent” but also meaning “shining one”) instead of God. Therefore God gave them the penalty of their sin – life outside the garden. Adam was promised hard work and toil to bring his food and life out of the ground. Eve was promised that her husband would rule over her and that she would have pain in childbirth. And the Nachash was promised a curse … and future destruction.

Some people, including myself, have wondered why God created the Nachash if the creation would lead man astray. The truth I found in Dr. North’s video is that the creation went astray, and led other creation astray. This is the issue of free will. God can’t create robots and be happy about it. He wants a real relationship, with two willing parties, who aren’t just following his laws because they have to … They need to WANT to.

Finally we come to Time. Time corresponds to Inheritance because an inheritance is a result of two things – what you did in the time you had (your life) and what you did with the things you accomplished and acquired. Adam and Eve left both figurative and literal inheritances.

The figurative inheritance they left was … their sin. The results of their sin: hard work, pain in childbirth, a man being over his wife.

The literal inheritance they left was … their descendants, each with a sin nature. But God chose to use Adam and Eve’s descendants to someday bring someone onto the earth to save all the nations of the world from the wages of sin: death. That man would be God’s own son, Jesus, known to the Hebrews as Yeshua.

Stay strong in the Word, y’all!


Western Civilization I – Lesson 5

A Hebrew history from Abraham to Moses

When many people think of Abraham, you think of that song that goes “Father Abraham, had many sons …” Yep. That same Abraham.

Abraham was promised descendants as numerous as the stars. Yahweh (God) had promised that Abraham’s barren wife Sarah would give birth to a son. When Sarah found out, she laughed, thinking “I am too old to bear a son!”. Well, she had to eat her words when she gave birth to Isaac, whose name means “laughter”.

Fun Fact: When Isaac was born, Abraham was one hundred years old!

You can imagine, after years of waiting and waiting for a son, how Abraham and Sarah would have loved their son. Also unthinkably difficult is the command God gave to Abraham, “Sacrifice your son to me in the land of Moriah.”

Now God is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. He hates child sacrifice, he hates the false gods, and he hates all of the false God practices. He would NEVER want a child sacrificed. Yet God chooses to ask this of Abraham for a test. Would Abraham trust God and sacrifice his son, relinquishing HIS right to HIS son?

Abraham made the journey to Moriah with Isaac, makes an altar, and binds Isaac upon it. At the last minute, when Abraham is about to slay his son, (probably weeping as he does so,) … God calls to Abraham, saying “Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.” (KJV, Genesis 22:12) Abraham passed the test with flying colors. Because Abraham had faith in God, He blessed him and promised a blessing upon Abraham’s seed, and said that through his descendants all the nations of the world would be blessed.

Eventually Sarah dies. When Abraham decides that Isaac needs a wife, he commands his servant to go to Nahor, his home country, to find a bride for his son. The servant wants to find the perfect bride, and so implores God to allow the chosen woman to offer him drink for himself and for his camels. A beautiful woman named Rebekah fulfills this, and the next day she leaves with Abraham’s servant to become Isaac’s bride. When they arrive, Isaac sees them and receives Rebekah, and he loves her.

(How beautiful is the first Biblical mention of love between a man and a woman! Ravi Zacharias has a wonderful video teaching on this.)

Anyway, back to the story. Even though Rebekah turns out to be barren Isaac implores God to open her womb, and He does! Rebekah gives birth to twin boys, Esau and Jacob. The elder, Esau, grows up to be a strong hunter, covered in red hair. The younger, Jacob, remains among the tents of his family during the day. And Isaac loved Esau – but Rebekah loved Jacob.

Fun Fact: The Hebrew word used to describe Jacob (tam), often translated as ‘mild’ is used in many other cases to mean ‘blameless’ or ‘guiltless’ or ‘perfect’.

One day Jacob was cooking stew and Esau came up, hungry. He was so hungry that he agreed to sell Jacob his inheritance (his blessing) for a bowl of stew. And when Isaac their father grew old and his eyes grew dim, he told his eldest son, Esau, to go hunting for wild game and bring him a dish of it, and that he would then give Esau the blessing. But while Esau was gone Rebekah and Jacob made a dish of goat’s meat and covered Jacobs arms with hair. Jacob went to his father, pretending to be Esau … and deceitfully obtained the blessing. When Esau found out, he was furious and hated Jacob and said that he would kill him! So Rebekah quickly sent Jacob to her brother, Laban, to get him away from Esau.

Jacob’s first glimpse of his uncle’s family was his cousin Rachel, a beautiful girl, with the sheep. He rolled away the stone on the well so her sheep could drink (probably showing off his muscles!) Then he told her who he was. She ran to tell her father, Laban ran back to embrace Jacob, and Jacob had quite the favorable welcome to his uncle’s household!

He asked to work seven years for Laban, if he could only marry Rachel. This was agreed upon, but the morning after the wedding, Jacob found that he had been deceived, and boy was he mad! He had been given Leah, Rachel’s older sister, instead of Rachel! Laban said it was cultural to marry off the older sister before the younger, but that Jacob could have Rachel too. So Jacob worked another seven years so he could marry Rachel, the one he loved.

Well, Leah had four boys, and Rachel was barren. She wanted kids so badly that she gave Jacob her maid, Bilhah, so that Jacob could have children by her. Bilhah had two sons. Leah decided to jump on the whole maid-band-wagon affair and so she gave Jacob HER maid, Zilpah. Zilpah had two sons as well. Then Leah had two more sons and a daughter. Finally, after years of being barren, God healed Rachel’s womb, and she gave birth to two sons, Joseph and Benjamin. Unfortunately, she died at Benjamin’s birth.

Now Jacob has 12 sons – Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin. Already the rest are overcome with jealousy when Jacob gives a multicolored robe to Joseph, his favorite. But then Joseph starts sharing dreams, dreams that they interpret to mean that they will bow to their brother Joseph. Thus their anger turns to hatred, and the first chance they get, they rip off his robe and sell him into slavery in Egypt. Then they smear the robe with blood to make Jacob think that Joseph is dead, mauled by a wild animal. Jacob is heartbroken.

Joseph becomes a slave in Potiphar’s house, and is wise and handsome. Potiphar’s wife begins to lust after him, and when he refuses her advances, she revengefully makes up this story about him trying to take advantage of her. He is thrown in prison, yet even there he becomes in charge of the prison management. Eventually he is put in charge of a baker and a butler, who both have dreams. Joseph correctly interprets the dreams: The baker is executed and the butler ascends back to the position of Pharaoh’s butler – but the butler forgets about Joseph, at least until the Pharaoh has a disturbing dream. Then it all comes flooding back, and Pharaoh sends for the Hebrew ‘interpreter-of-dreams’.

Joseph predicts seven years of plenty and seven years of famine in the land, and suggests that the Pharaoh appoint a wise man to oversee crop collection and stores for the years of drought to come. Pharaoh appoints the wisest man in Egypt, Joseph himself, to be the most powerful man in the kingdom besides Pharaoh.

Soon Jacob’s sons go to Joseph (who’s Egyptian name is Zaphenath-Paneah) and ask for grain, but they did not recognize him. They thought he was dead. Joseph tests them several times to be sure their hearts have become unhardened. When Judah selflessly steps up in order that his father might not lose the son he loves, Benjamin, Joseph knows their hearts have been changed, and finally reveals himself to them. He invites his family to come live in Egypt, where they will be safe and well-fed.

After many years a new Pharaoh came to the throne, who did not know Joseph, and he ordered that the Hebrews be made into slaves, and that all the baby boys be killed. Levi’s nephew (Amram) was married to Levi’s daughter (Jochebed) and they have a baby boy. Jochebed tries hard to keep him hidden but finally surrenders him to the river, setting him in a floating basket and leaving her daughter (Miryam) to watch him and see what happens.

Pharaoh’s daughter finds the little baby, and has compassion on him. Miryam goes up and offers to find a nurse for the baby, and returns with her mother. Through a miracle of God, the baby is saved, and becomes a prince of Egypt. Pharaoh’s daughter names him Moses.

Moses grows up to be a great leader, one of the greatest in Hebrew history.

(Thanks so much for reading! I appreciate the few minutes you took to look at this! Be sure to check out my next post! ;))