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Chinese7/10/2006English
經文:箴言卅一章
鑰節:「艷麗是虛假的,美容是虛浮的,惟敬畏耶和華的婦女必得稱讚。」(31:30)
提要

        箴言最後一章是由,利慕伊勒王所說,王名字的意思是「奉獻給上帝」,對這王的瞭解可從這章箴言中得知;有些譯者推測他是以實瑪利人,他的母親是一個虔敬的希伯來婦人,她將兒子奉獻給上帝,且稱她兒子為許願得來的(31:2,請與撒上1:11相對照)。

        她第一句智慧的話,就是警告她的兒子,不要貪戀女色(31:3),一個王有很大的後宮,養許多妃妾是不智慧的,下場只是毀滅(像所羅門王,王上11:3)。

        她第二個警戒是勸王不要喝酒,酒不是為王所預備,做王的必須隨時保持清醒,以致王能盡責,不忘記行上帝的律法,王應該戒酒,才不會有錯誤的判斷或壓迫人民。

        利慕伊勒王有公義的判斷,且保護那些不能說話,沒有抵禦能力及在死亡邊緣的人(31:8);當我們讀到這節經文時,使我們想到那最沒有防衛能力又不能說話的人──還未出生的胎兒,墮胎實在是今日最大的罪,我們信主的人當為這些生命申訴。

        利慕伊勒的母親又提到,酒只為將要死去的人和貧困不幸的人所用,因他們在痛苦之中;在當時醫藥並不發達的時代,人們生病疼痛時,並無葯物可減輕病痛,濃酒是唯一減輕痛苦的良方。而在現代醫藥進步,我們不再需要濃酒,也沒有任藉口,為著胃腸不適而喝一點淡酒,身體有任何病痛時,也不要用酒代替藥了(提前5:23)。因此在聖經的記載中,王和祭司都不喝任何性質的酒(利10:8~11),到了新約時代,我們信徒不但與耶穌一同做王,也是君尊的祭司,有職守在身,更不當飲酒(彼前2:9,啟1:6)。

        整本箴言,幾乎都專注討論智慧的男人,到了最後一章的結尾,提到智慧的女人(31:10~31),這廿二節的經文,是一首嵌字詩,每一節的啟始是由希伯來字母連續寫成,是一首非常動人,頌讚女性的詩歌。

        聖經形容一個智慧的婦人,是勝過無價的珍珠,她的性格是和箴言前幾處所提好辯的婦人,正好相反;一個有品德的妻子,能取悅她的丈夫,且使他感到光榮,智慧的婦人,不僅開口發智慧,說的話也仁慈(31:26),她的丈夫完全信任她管理錢財及家中所有的事(31:11);她總為丈夫追求利益,她也是丈夫成功的最大支援者,使她丈夫為眾人所知(31:23);當然她一點也不懶惰,是個殷勤的婦人,她所做的一切都是甘心樂意的去完成(31:13,27)。

        智慧的婦人除了把自己的家庭照管好,還用心的去幫助需要的人(31:20);她得智慧和成功的祕訣在那呢?「她是一個敬畏上帝的婦女」,因她的敬畏使得她真正的美麗不會褪色(31:30),她的兒女和丈夫也稱讚、尊敬她,而這一切都是她應得的。

禱告

        親愛的主!今日我們再一次奉獻自己給您,讓您的公義在我們的生命中,在我們的國家中,幫助我們支持您保護那些無抵禦能力的人,像那些還未出生、殘廢的和年老的人。奉主耶穌聖名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read Proverbs 31
Key Verse:"Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised."(Proverbs 31:30)
Overview

        The final chapter of Proverbs was composed by King Lemuel, whose name means "devoted to God". All we know of him is what we read in this chapter. Some commentators speculate he was an Ishmaelite whose mother was a godly Hebrew woman who had devoted her son to God; she calls him "son of my vows" (31:2; compare 1 Sam. 1:11).

        Her wise words warned her son firstly against lusting after women (31:3). It would not be wise for him to have a large harem, and she explained that this is what destroys kings (e.g. the downfall of Solomon, 1 Kings 11:3).

        Her second warning for Lemuel was that he not drink wine or any intoxicating drink, for this too is not for kings. A king must always be sober, so he may do his duties and never forget to put the Law of God into practice. He must also abstain from such drink so as to not pervert justice and oppress the people.

        Lemuel was to judge righteously and take up the cause to protect the "speechless" — those who were defenceless and on the verge of death (31:8). Upon reading this verse, one is reminded of the most defenceless and speechless of people — unborn children — and of the greatest crime today — abortion. We, as believers, must plead their cause for life.

        Lemuel's mother advised that wine only be used for those who were perishing and in misery — those in pain. Remember, in those days they did not have the medications we have today for pain. Strong drink was the only way to ease pain. With our modern medicine, we have no need, nor any excuse, to take "a little wine for the stomach's sake" (indigestion) or for any other infirmity (1 Tim. 5:23). Therefore, in Scripture, we see that kings were not to drink any intoxicating beverages, nor were the priests (Lev. 10:8-11). According to the New Testament, believers are both kings and priests who are always to be on duty (1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6).

        Throughout the Book of Proverbs, the concentration has been upon the wise man; now it ends with a detailed description of the wisest of women (31:10-31). It is an acrostic poem of twenty-two verses (each verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet). It is a beautiful tribute to womanhood.

        The wise woman described here is compared to a priceless, rare gem. Her character is opposite to that of the contentious wife, mentioned several times within the book. This noble and virtuous wife is one with whom her husband is pleased and proud. Unlike the contentious wife, the noble wife speaks words of wisdom and makes it a law to only speak words of kindness (31:26). Her husband has complete trust in her to wisely manage their finances and other household affairs (31:11). She always seeks the good of her husband and is a great contributor to his success and respect in the community (31:23). She certainly is not a sluggard; rather, she is active, industrious, and diligent. All this she does happily, contentedly, and "willingly" (31:13, 27).

        She not only cares for her family and home very well, but she also has enough love in her heart to reach out to help the needy (31:20). What is the secret of her success and wisdom? The answer lies in the fact that she is "a woman who fears the Lord", and because of that her beauty will never fade (31:30), and her children and husband will bless, praise, honour, and respect her; of this she is truly deserving.

Prayer

        Dear Lord, we devote ourselves anew today to You and to righteousness in our own lives and in our nation. Help us to uphold Your charge to protect the most defenceless members of our society, including the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly.


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