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Author Topic: Proverbs 29:7 - A righteous man is concerned with the cause of the wretched
Greg Davidson
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Take this as wisdom literature rather than the infallible word of G-d - and then discuss. Anyone disagree?

Proverbs 29:7, New Jewish Study Bible (Jewish Theological Seminary):
quote:
A righteous man is concerned with the cause of the wretched; A wicked man cannot understand such concern
Or if you prefer a more traditional Christian translation, King James Bible:
quote:
The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.

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Seneca
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Proverbs 21:20.
quote:
There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.
Psalm 112:3
quote:
Wealth and riches are in their houses, and their righteousness endures forever.
Proverbs 8:21
quote:
bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me and making their treasuries full.
Proverbs 14:24
quote:
The wealth of the wise is their crown, but the folly of fools yields folly.
Proverbs 22:4
quote:
Humility is the fear of the LORD; its wages are riches and honor and life.
Proverbs 15:6
quote:
In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble.
Proverbs 8:21
quote:
That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.
And how about those rich that don't work "hard" for it?

Proverbs 10:22
quote:
The blessing of the LORD brings wealth, without painful toil for it.

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AI Wessex
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Blessed are the rich, for they hath accumulated wealth.
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Wayward Son
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Matthew 9:24, Mark 10:25, Luke 18:25

quote:
It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.
Sounds like attitudes have changed since Solomon's day. [Wink] [Smile]
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msquared
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Wayward,

My uncle, who is a priest and did his PhD on that passage, says the the Eye of the Needle was a narrow caravan pass. Merchants could use it if they did not over load their camels too much. So the idea was that it was not impossible for a rich man to get in to heavan, but it might be difficult if they were too greedy.

msquared

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Seneca
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The interpretations and lectures I've heard about that passage also indicate it has more to do with the "love" of money rather than merely having it when put into full context.
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Wayward Son
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quote:
My uncle, who is a priest and did his PhD on that passage, says the the Eye of the Needle was a narrow caravan pass. Merchants could use it if they did not over load their camels too much. So the idea was that it was not impossible for a rich man to get in to heavan, but it might be difficult if they were too greedy.
I heard that many, many years ago (back in the late 70's) from a Mormon friend. He actually got an applause from the High School English class when he mentioned it. [Smile]

Nevertheless, it still shows that being rich often is an impediment to righteous, probably because of what Seneca said: when the "love" of money becomes more important than the love of God.

I Timothy 6:10

quote:
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.
And what is one of the characteristics of loving money more than God? What Greg referred to in the first post: concern for others, especially those with the most need. Even more than one's concern for money.
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LetterRip
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msquared,

you've mentioned that before, have a look at the discussion here,

quote:
However, after much historical analysis and archaeological research into how ancient cities typically functioned, scholars find no evidence at all that anything like a “Needle’s Eye Gate” ever existed. Rather, the earliest known invention of the gate concept is from the Medieval allegorist Paschasius Radbertus (ca. 829). The gate interpretation circulated through many widely used Medieval commentaries on the Bible (see Modern Language Notes, v. 66, p.550).
However it does offer some hope -

quote:
But still, some people try to make some sense out of the metaphor by saying that the people who copied the original Gospel text made a mistake. Apparently, the Greek word for rope is kamilos and the Greek word for camel is kamelos. The copyist accidentally misread one letter and wrote camel, instead of rope.
http://thewellwroughturn.wordpress.com/2007/08/30/a-caravan-of-camels-through-the-eye-of-a-needle/

quote:
The differences in what is discussed have to do with whether or not Jesus the Christ actually uses the word “camel” in these aforementioned verses, or if He uses the word “rope.” Other differences involve whether or not the “eye of the needle” pertains to an ancient trade gate to Jerusalem, used after hours for trade caravans; an ancient mountain pass that was difficult for caravans to get through without losing everything to robbers; an ancient low gate to inns; a sewing needle; or a surgeon’s needle.
quote:
In spite of the different discussions, the fact still remains that the original Greek words, those that originally mean camel, hole and needle, make it impossible for any other interpretation other than the “literal” camel passing through a “literal” sewing needle interpretation.
http://gone-fishin.org/2009/09/26/easier-for-camel-to-pass-through-eye-of-the-needle-hyperbole/

[ June 02, 2014, 01:24 PM: Message edited by: LetterRip ]

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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
Take this as wisdom literature rather than the infallible word of G-d - and then discuss. Anyone disagree?

I think it's sad when a man asks an honest question and the only answers he gets have nothing to do with the question he asked.

I'm very sorry, Greg. I wish you could have gotten an honest answer somewhere. Maybe I will if I can find the time.

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Jack Squat
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
Take this as wisdom literature rather than the infallible word of G-d - and then discuss. Anyone disagree?

Proverbs 29:7, New Jewish Study Bible (Jewish Theological Seminary):
quote:
A righteous man is concerned with the cause of the wretched; A wicked man cannot understand such concern
Or if you prefer a more traditional Christian translation, King James Bible:
quote:
The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.

I'd take the lack of actual responses to your question as no, no one seems to disagree with the wisdom that a righteous person is concerned for the poor.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
I'd take the lack of actual responses to your question as no, no one seems to disagree with the wisdom that a righteous person is concerned for the poor.
Or that the ones who do disagree know that it would look bad to do so publicly.
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Greg Davidson
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I was just in religious services that day and read that passage and was thinking about it.
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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by Greg Davidson:
I was just in religious services that day and read that passage and was thinking about it.

Would you prefer a discussion centered around the religious aspect of the passage? Or..
Philosophical/Moral?
Philosophical/Political?
Historical?
Psychological?

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AI Wessex
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It's a wise and timeless insight into man's yearnings and fallibilities. I chose not to respond to Greg's initial post because there's no need to resurrect the argument over whether the bible is literature or the word of God. If it were actually the "Word of God" there wouldn't be multiple ancient sources and newer translations, each with their own semantic nuances of language and culture. If you want to know what God actually said/says, talk to God about it.

[ June 06, 2014, 06:43 AM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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Grant
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quote:
Originally posted by AI Wessex:
I chose not to respond to Greg's initial post because there's no need to resurrect the argument over whether the bible is literature or the word of God. If it were actually the "Word of God" there wouldn't be multiple ancient sources and newer translations, each with their own semantic nuances of language and culture. If you want to know what God actually said/says, talk to God about it.

It seems to me that Greg specifically mentioned that he did not want to create a discussion concerning whether the bible was divine revelation or not. The only person who brought it up was you, Al.

But since you did, I am somewhat confused as to what you view as the requirements of a deity's revelation as to translation. Do you believe that a deity's "word" would be immune to "broken telephone" effect? That Jerome and Ambrose, translating the bible from Greek to Latin, must translate them perfectly similar, and if the translations are not perfectly similar, this is proof that the Bible is not divine revelation?

I just want to be sure, because that is what it seems you are saying. That the bible cannot possibly be divine revelation because there are different translations?

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AI Wessex
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quote:
It seems to me that Greg specifically mentioned that he did not want to create a discussion concerning whether the bible was divine revelation or not. The only person who brought it up was you, Al.
Think of my post as an affirmation of Greg's, and since he said discuss I raised the relevant issue of transient semantics. In that vein, do you consider the two quotes that Greg gave to be equivalent? For instance, here are some other English translations:
quote:
A righteous man knows the rights of the poor;
a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.

quote:
The upright man gives attention to the cause of the poor: the evil-doer gives no thought to it.
Then there is the meaning of "wicked" to consider. I find that it's roots in old English are related to "wizard" or "impure", but other people associate it with "weak" or "wicker" as in the pliable material used to make furniture or candle wicking where once twisted is unable to return to its "natural" shape. But more commonly in recent centuries we think of it as referring to evil doing. A wretch (in the thread title and other translations) means something else altogether.

Its use in any of the translations does depend on when the particular translation was made and being read by contemporaneous believers.

What do you think proverbs 29:7 means?

[ June 06, 2014, 09:49 AM: Message edited by: AI Wessex ]

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Greg Davidson
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I lean to the translation of the Jewish Theological Seminary ("A righteous man is concerned with the cause of the wretched; A wicked man cannot understand such concern"); translation is imperfect, but since few of us can have this conversation in Hebrew (myself included) I suspect the JTS is closer than some of the older translations.

And I guess I was leaning towards a (non-faith-based) discussion from a Moral/Philosophical/Political/Historical/Psychological perspective. That is, I don't see how you fully separate all of those, but I'd put the moral consideration first.

How often are we concerned with the cause of the wretched? Peter Singer has done some powerful thought experiments that show some real limits. For example, if we saw a burning art museum and ran in and could only save a child or a million dollar painting, there are few if any who would morally countenance saving the painting and letting the child die. And yet, if we were to sell the painting, we could use the proceeds to save the lives of thousands of children in some disease-stricken country.

If we wish to be "righteous" (and maybe some of us don't - no rule saying you have to want that), how should that responsibility reflect itself in our daily lives and even in our public presence in a forum such as this?

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AI Wessex
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quote:
And I guess I was leaning towards a (non-faith-based) discussion from a Moral/Philosophical/Political/Historical/Psychological perspective. That is, I don't see how you fully separate all of those, but I'd put the moral consideration first.
Morally, we have obligations to others, but in different ways. My family comes first for my empathies and considerations. That is where most of my energies are focused. I help elsewhere mainly by donating money, and here on Ornery by trying to save some lost souls from themselves [Wink] . 'Tis a hard and thankless task, neh?

Community obligations come next. I confess that I could give more of my time and effort than I do now to the community at large and to individual people with needs. If it counts, I've been saving my direct involvement in that area for when I retire, which I plan to do by the end of the year (if I can). I have personal plans for that time, too, and my family obligations will likely increase, but the time I spend on work for salary now will go away.

You ask the hard question, as you well know. The easy responses are either to ask why it should be my problem, or to answer that it is the government's problem. I agree with the latter and would be willing to pay more in taxes to give the government more resources to reach more people. That doesn't always work so well, especially in today's climate where government is seen by many as the enemy of the people rather than its collective voice.

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Seneca
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quote:
That doesn't always work so well, especially in today's climate where government is seen by many as the enemy of the people rather than its collective voice.
Teach a man to fish vs give him one... How's that EBT program working out?
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TomDavidson
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Here's the problem with that old saw, Seneca:

If you refuse to give a man a fish, but instead insist on teaching him how to fish, he will starve if:

1) He does not have the necessary tools (i.e. rod, bait, etc.) to catch fish.
2) He lives in an area without fish.
3) There are other people with more skills and equipment to catch fish, and he is not able to catch enough fish to feed himself after they have caught those fish they can catch.
4) He is one-handed, and has substantial difficulty catching fish without assistance.

I know the metaphor is an oversimplification, but the question remains: why not give the man a fish while teaching him to fish -- and then, if his fishing doesn't work out for him, continue giving him fish if he needs them?

--------

In related news, EBT programs are overwhelmingly successful, and people who say otherwise are either deliberately lying about them out of malice, don't quite understand how to define "success," or don't know the facts.

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AI Wessex
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quote:
If you refuse to give a man a fish, but instead insist on teaching him how to fish, he will starve if:
Tom, that list is expressed about as well as it can be.
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TomDavidson
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I should have used e.g. instead of i.e., I'm afraid.
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AI Wessex
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Alas, I withdraw my remark.
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Greg Davidson
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Seneca

When you made the comment
quote:
Teach a man to fish vs give him one... How's that EBT program working out?
were you expressing a genuine concern with the cause of the wretched, do you not understand such concerns, or is it that you do not really care about "righteousness" at least as defined in that bible verse?
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Jack Squat
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Seneca has a brilliant point. Instead of feeding hungry people, we should go into the inner cities and teach modern farming techniques to single moms in the projects.

[ June 07, 2014, 11:56 AM: Message edited by: Jack Squat ]

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AI Wessex
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It's good that for once we're all unified on this common point where morality, charity and politics come to the same conclusion. Thanks for facilitating, Greg!
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