By Ellen F. Davis
A remark on 3 e-book of the Bible - Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and The tune of Songs. Ellen Davis emphasizes that those 3 books are usually not basically poetry but additionally useful reflections at the nature of fact that talk to us on a number of degrees. From the convinced, "wise dealing" directions in Proverbs to the area weariness of Ecclesiastes to the exuberance of The tune of Songs, those books take the reader throughout the diversity of human emotion and adventure. The phrases are conscientiously crafted to generate mirrored image on either the main usual and the main far-reaching reports of lifestyles: delivery and loss of life, poverty and wealth, schooling and paintings, grief and pleasure, human love and the affection of God.
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Extra info for Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs (Westminster Bible Companion)
27:19) The proverb speaks to human experience at several levels. A pool of water is the mirror of the poor. Therefore this proverb says something about how I may come to see myself clearly: precisely by looking into the heart of the other. It is a strong statement on human empathy; it suggests that, for all of our individual differences, we are more alike than we are different. At the same time, the image of water implies the possibility that vision will be obstructed. For if the water is turbulent, or muddied, then there is no reflection.
25:19) Unexpectedly, the most ordinary and necessary activities become excruciatingly painful. Page 22 The peculiar genius of proverbial speech is its ability to prompt moral reflection on basic truths without harangue. In other words, these teachings are not moralistic. Sometimes there is no explicit moral instruction at all. Rather the sages rely on poetic images to make their pointor perhaps more than one point. Here is an example of a saying that consists simply in a striking image that lingers in the mind and gradually yields understanding: Just as water reflects the face, so one human heart reflects another.
But the nature of the goal marks the fundamental difference between these sayings and the biblical wisdom literature. The biblical sages are aiming at peacepeace of heart and peace with God and neighborand they understand that wisdom is the path (see Prov. 3:17) to that goal. By contrast, the goal to which advertisers urge us to devote ourselves is something material: a (supposedly) better appearance, a luxury car. Yet the one indispensable thing for obtaining the advertisers' goal is not in fact sound personal character (as the commercials imply) but rather money.