Rock badgers are small cliff-dwelling animals closely resembling guinea pigs. They live and forage for food in large groups and are good at hiding. They are best known for posting sentries that alert the group when danger is near. Perhaps it was this mark of wisdom that earned them a mention in Proverbs (30:26).
Hezekiah’s contribution to Proverbs. Although most of the Proverbs were collected or written by King Solomon, who reigned from 971–931 b.c., the book of Proverbs did not exist in its present form until the time of King Hezekiah, some 200 years later. Hezekiah and “his men,” probably his scribes, recorded chs. 25–29.
Gluttony refers to excessive eating. The Bible condemns gluttony as well as drunkenness. Proverbs teaches that eating and drinking in excess can lead to poverty (23:19–21).
What is a crucible? In the ancient world, a crucible (27:21) was a bowl-shaped instrument used to hold metals such as gold and silver for the refining process. The crucible had to withstand the high temperatures needed to melt out the impurities within the metals. Materials such as clay or stone were used as crucibles.
Glazing over the truth? As in modern times, clay pottery was often glazed to improve its appearance. But glaze could also be used to hide poor craftsmanship. It is this dishonest use that is described in 26:23.
Rains from the north. In Palestine, winds from the north usually bring good weather. When the north wind brings rain, as in 25:23, the rain can be sudden and damaging. Thus it is compared here to a “backbiting tongue.”
The phrase kisses the lips in 24:26 probably has more to do with respect and friendly affection than with any idea of romance. The proverb teaches that speaking honestly to a person is one way of showing respect and affection.
Mixed wine. Since the process of distillation had not yet been invented, the wine of ancient Palestine had a low alcoholic content. Sometimes, people added various herbs and spices to the wine to increase its potency. The drunkenness described in 23:29–35 could have been caused by drinking such “mixed wine” (v. 30).
Landmarks (22:28) were boundary stones placed on each corner of a person’s property to show where it began and ended.
The concept of weighing the heart (21:2) originated in Egypt. Egyptians believed that when a person died, the gods placed that person’s heart on a set of golden scales along with the Feather of Truth. If the heart weighed less than the feather, the person was admitted into the afterlife. It is possible that the Israelites brought […]