proverbsb 31 and the use of intoxicating beverages

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by Pennsylvania Jim, Mar 24, 2005.

  1. Pennsylvania Jim

    Pennsylvania Jim
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    How does this square with repeated condemnations of drunkeness?
     
  2. williemakeit

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    My mother died from a massive stroke 1 1/2 years ago. She remained alive for approximately 24 hours after having the stroke. Early on, the doctor (an upstanding Christian man) came in and prayed with the family, and then said that he is prescribing morphine to be administered in order to make the last few hours as comfortable as possible. This is what the verses reminded me of. Of course, it may be a stretch to compare these verses with the actions of the Doctor. It seems that a better understanding of an appliation today for those ready to perish, or are of heavy hearts (heavy laden?), or in poverty and misery, would be the knowledge that they have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and the assurance of eternal life. Although the verses seem clear on a course of action, it seems to conflict with the New Testament teachings of Jesus (i.e., the Beatitudes). Good question, Bro. Jim.
     
  3. Pastor Larry

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    Certainly an interesting passage for teetotalers ...


    But omitting vv. 4-5 miss the point of the passage.


    Proverbs 31:4-7 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Or for rulers to desire strong drink, 5 For they will drink and forget what is decreed, And pervert the rights of all the afflicted. 6 Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to him whose life is bitter. 7 Let him drink and forget his poverty And remember his trouble no more.

    In it, Lemuel's mother is warning him about the dangers of alcohol. It clouds judgment, dulls sensitivity, and results in perversion of the cognitive abilities leading to treating people wrongly. It should be avoided.

    The basis for this is shown in the affects it has on people. You keep it to dying people to ease the pain of death, and this is why Christ avoided it on the cross; he did not want to ease the pain of death. Even in times like the civil war, soldiers in pain or surgery were given liquor to dull their pain. It is given to people in emotional misery to dull their senses.

    None of which is a justification for use. This passage is actually a warning against use because you use it only for people who are near death, or who are so spiritually immature as not be able to handle the life situation that God has put him in.

    Today, "strong drink to the perishing and wine to the heavy of heart" is something like morphine, or a sedative. And this passage clearly teaches that people who are on mind altering drugs should not be in positions of authority because that will dull their sense and judgment.
     
  4. williemakeit

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    Yep, Pastor Larry. It seems that we posted at the same time, and basically had the same line of thought. Maybe it the 'great minds' thing. [​IMG]
     
  5. Pennsylvania Jim

    Pennsylvania Jim
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    Thanks, Willie and Larry.

    It seems to me that in the passage there are two classifications of people: those about to die, and those with heavy hearts. Further, it seems indicated that the heaviness of heart is related to poverty.

    I agree that the context of the passage is advice or warning against intoxicating beverages; however that is the source of my question rather than the resolution. The particular instruction to let the poor man drink to forget his poverty is what I am specifically attempting to resolve.
     
  6. Pastor Larry

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    Willie, I think your point about your mother is exactly the point of hte passage. IN times of "ready to perish" it is acceptable to make someone comfortable. It is not acceptable for people in positions of leadership to use it because of its affects. Which brings an interesting point about who is in leadership? The answer: Everyone is ... Your actions and judgments are always sending messages to others and about others. Don't let those messages be clouded by an altered state of mind and judgment.
     
  7. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    Jim, I too wonder about that ... How do we specifically address that. I don't know ... I would be inclined to address the reasons why a particular person is in poverty. I am not sure whether we can draw out a mandate from this aobut how we should treat people in poverty vs. what the affects are. In other words, I wonder if vv. 6-7 are didactic or merely observational (i.e., do this vs. this is typical treatment).

    I don't know waht the answer to that is ...
     
  8. Pennsylvania Jim

    Pennsylvania Jim
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    I agree with everything you guys have said. But, even in the context of the passage, how do we handle:

    "7 Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more."

    That's what it says. What do we do with it?
     
  9. Gold Dragon

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    Excellent exegesis. [​IMG]
     
  10. Gold Dragon

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    The first thing to do is make sure we don't interpret this verse outside of its context.

    From the context, I interpret this statement as Lemuel's mother being observational of how others use alcohol and not didactic or commanding of its use. It also isn't condemning those uses either.

    The main idea in this passage is that being sober is important for one who holds authority and responsibility for others like her son Lemuel was to.

    [ March 24, 2005, 12:51 PM: Message edited by: Gold Dragon ]
     
  11. Pastor Larry

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  12. Pastor Larry

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    Can we intepret this much like something we would say to a child today ... like: If others are going to go jump off a bridge, then let them do it. Don't you do it.

    That doesn't mean we are telling others to do it. In fact, we are not addressing the question at all. We are making a different point. Similarly, Lemuel's mother may not be addressing whether or not someone else should do something. She is making a point that Lemuel should not do something.
     
  13. RockRambler

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    This passage came up in one of our Sunday School lessons about a year ago. In the Sunday School quarterly it stated that the write was probably being sarcastic.

    That is when I quit studying Sunday School quarterlies.
     
  14. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
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    Why would that cause you to quit studying Sunday School quarterlies?
     
  15. RTG

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    Possible irony?Proverbs 21:16-17 to those who have wandered out of the way of understanding.
     
  16. Pennsylvania Jim

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    Thanks for the responses. Although I have to agree with most of what has been said, I still have no answer to the question.

    It's fine to say that you have to take it in context; that is always the case. But the context does not change the words of the verse.

    And, I agree that the context is a warning against the abuse (or some might argue even the use) of alcohol.

    But that's the SOURCE of my question, not the ANSWER to it. In other words, the very thing that perplexes me is that the verse seems to contradict the context.

    Hey, if you don't know, just say so. It ain't a sin not to know everything. But I'd sure like to figure this one out.
     
  17. Gold Dragon

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    How does this square with repeated condemnations of drunkeness? </font>[/QUOTE]If you are looking for an answer to this question, I would say that this passage is supportive of the condemnation of drunkeness because of what precedes these verses.

    These two verses are observations of common uses of alcohol, without judgement of whether they are right or wrong in those situations.
     
  18. Pennsylvania Jim

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    Well, that sheds some possible light on it. Thanks.
     
  19. Gold Dragon

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    No prob. Pastor Larry already suggested a similar interpretation (in more words). [​IMG]
     
  20. Pastor Larry

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    Already said that on page one ...
     

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