Updated: Jul 29
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A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
and favor is better than silver or gold.
The rich and the poor have this in common:
Yahweh is the maker of them all.
Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity,
and the rod of anger will fail.
Those who are generous are blessed,
for they share their bread with the poor.
Do not rob the poor because they are poor,
or crush the afflicted at the gate;
for Yahweh pleads their cause
and despoils of life those who despoil them.
This is the Track 1 optional Old Testament selection for the fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost [Proper 18], Year B, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. If chosen, it will be paired with Psalm 125, which sings, “The scepter of the wicked shall not hold sway over the land allotted to the just, so that the just shall not put their hands to evil.” This set will be read before the Epistle selection from James, which asks, “What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works?” All will accompany the Gospel reading from Mark, where Jesus said, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”
I wrote about this in 2018. I stand behind my views then, as they still apply well today. The commentary can be viewed by clicking on this link. I will not re-interpret these verses; but instead, I will add some additional thoughts about what I see now, which I did not see then.
Reading my posting, I see that I made several references to “Holy Spirit” and “Jesus Christ.” This Ordinary after Pentecost season (and before) I have become more strict in my translations from the Epistles, where those words readily appear. I now see the truth of each being two separate, capitalized words in Greek, meaning each word is vital to grasp separately. First of all, the “Spirit” (some form of “Pneuma”) is the extension of Yahweh into the material plane, when the word is capitalized. There is “spirit,” which is not only a “soul,” but other non-material presences that aid Yahweh’s plan, which makes the physical universe be the playground of eternal “spirits,” where they bring the pretense of life to dead matter.
When the “Spirit” of Yahweh enters into and possesses a soul (a presence that comes from willing commitment and divine marriage), then a soul-flesh entity will act in ways that are “Holy.” In short, it is not the “Spirit” that is “Holy,” but the soul’s flesh acting in ways that please Yahweh, allowed by the soul through divine marriage. The word that translates as “Holy” (Hagios”) means: “sacred (physically, pure, morally blameless or religious, ceremonially, consecrated):--(most) holy (one, thing), saint.” [Bible Tools] Therefore, the same words ["Spirit Holy" or "Pneuma Hagios"] can be read as “Spirit of a Saint.”
As for “Jesus Christ,” reading how often I said that it sounded as if I thought the ‘last name’ of “Jesus” was “Christ.” I no longer use those words together, in the same way I now call what I used to call the “Holy Spirit” the “Spirit of Yahweh.” By understanding “Jesus” and “Christ” are two separate, capitalized words, one can see “Jesus” in the same light as “Spirit.” Because one places focus on that name, one sees how the name means “Yah[weh] Will Save” or “Yah Saves.” I pointed out a similar translation in the article of 2018. However, one must realize the meaning of “Christ” is “Anointed one,” whereas “christo” means “anointed one.” Samuel “anointed” David with physical oil; but it was Yahweh who “Anointed” David with His Spirit, meaning one is physical and one is spiritual. Every Patriarch and Prophet, as well as every Saintly Apostle, is so because of having become an “Anointed one” of Yahweh. The resurrection of the soul of “Jesus,” who was THE Christ, automatically makes the soul-body be transformed into another “Christ.” How ever many souls represent the resurrected "Jesus" is how many "Christs" there are in the world. Therefore, I now see it as wrong to lump two capitalized words of Scripture together, as it gives the wrong impression.
I write this in a commentary about Proverbs 22 because I used those terms in a commentary about this reading in 2018. I wanted to clarify my new views. That does not negate anything I wrote in 2018, as the same essence of “Jesus” and “Spirit” were conveyed, in terms that most people still use, although slightly wrong. Another such wrong use if the written name “Yahweh” being lessened to a translation as “Lord.” While I am sure that the minds of Christians read “Lord” and think “God,” the reality is the Old Testament names the specific God of Israel. The Hebrew letters written are “יְהוָֽה,” which transliterate as “Yah-weh” [the capitalization is not the truth of an alphabet without capital letters, but an honor given to that name]. The problem that I now see in the misuse of “Lord” is anything can be a “lord” over one’s body of flesh. Demon spirits can possess a soul and turn it and its body of flesh into a slave to sin, where such a demonic possession [seen many times in the Gospels and Acts] needs to be cast out. Therefore, to one led by such a “Lord” as Satan, reading the generality of “Lord” can make Scripture seem accepting of such demonic possessions. This means using the proper name, as “Yahweh,” brings a soul closer to the truth that must be known. In the above text, I have restored the name Yahweh, where it was written in two places.
This Proverb is twenty-nine verses long. The Episcopal Church elders (of old) pared this length down to only six of those verses, in three sets of paired verses. This reading, of those specific verses, is only read on this Sunday in the lectionary cycle. In all, Proverbs will only be read eight times in the lectionary cycle, with only six times coming on a set Sunday. To me, this is a statement that the writings of Solomon are not to be leaned heavily on, in order to find one’s faith in Yahweh enhanced. It should be seen that Solomon was not a great priest of Yahweh, because his brain was so large. Still, the truth of Yahweh does shine forth in his writings, even if he was most likely unaware of that presence.
In verse one, it is more likely that Solomon was not writing wisdom about the “good name” of Yahweh. He was probably writing about having been born a prince, whose name he inherited as king. He was of the Davidic lineage and thus more than all the silver and gold that came with any firstborn male, born into a wealthy household of a father of substance and position, Solomon was allowed greater abilities to act, because he became king. By seeing that, verse two’s mention of “Yahweh” says both the “rich and poor” have their social status given to them by Yahweh. More than a statement of praise to the One God of Israel, that acknowledgement should be seen as Solomon saying God made the poor poor and the rich rich, therefore because Solomon was King of Israel, Yahweh had blessed him above all the “common” people.
It is from this first pair of verses that touts Yahweh as the “maker” [from “‘ō·śêh”] that we skip forward to a pair of verses that place focus on “he who sows inequity,” compared with one “who has a generous eye.” The impression given is that the evildoer will be beaten by the “rod” of Yahweh, as the “sorrow” or “shortcoming” [from “’ā·wen”]. Meanwhile, the one with a “giving” disposition will be “blessed” [“yə·ḇō·rāḵ”], such that giving bread to the poor brings a soul redemption. While there is certainly truth to the deeper meaning of these words written, they guide many to think that issuing punishment is only done by the wicked, causing many to idolize the axiom “spare the rod,” where they then think evil deeds can be balanced by good deeds, such as the wealthy giving a small portion of their wealth to others [“alms for the poor”], rather than give their souls completely to Yahweh. Again, in this set of verses, a focus is placed on the rich and the poor, where it appears Yahweh blesses His servants with wealth, so they can rise to govern the people and order the poor be cared for.
In the final pair of verses, the wisdom shared by Solomon says not to “rob” [“tiḡ·zāl”] or “crush” [“tə·ḏak·kê”] the poor, who can then be seen as “afflicted” ones. To the contrary, Solomon says “Yahweh will plead their cause.” This “contention” [from “yā·rîḇ” meaning “strive, contend”] is then projected as a “plundering” [from “qaba”], which says Yahweh is also a “robber,” who steals the souls of the ones who “rob” and “crush” the poor and afflicted. This gives the impression of Yahweh being the one who serves kings like Solomon, who makes the rich the protectors of the poor, by using Yahweh to do their bidding as kings. It projects Yahweh as some knight in service to a human ruler.
The truth that can rise to the top of these words from a large human brain means the “rich and poor” in Solomon’s eyes are reversed in Yahweh’s view. Spiritual wealth comes from souls submitted to Yahweh as His wives [male and female bodies of flesh]. To “rob” one who is materially poor, but spiritually rich, means to take advantage of one who serves Yahweh. It says the “affliction” such a soul-flesh entity has is a refusal to sell its soul for material gains. It is then those who are rich in Spirit that “contend” for “Yahweh,” as His Saints on earth. It is through their presence that those poor in Spirit, yet rich in material wealth, can have their demonically possessed souls be “plundered,” thereby leading them to see the light of truth, after casting out their worldly lusts.
In the years since 2018, I have grown less enjoyment from anything that has to do with Solomon. His wisdom is a reflection of the world’s worship of intelligence, masquerading as divine insight. The reliance on science, when yesterday’s wonders most often become tomorrow’s embarrassments, having to admit a failure of intellect (once again, and again), is worship of a false idol or dead god. I can see how little the lectionary focuses on Solomon; although it is important to see the seeds of evil having been planted into the son, as a necessary reduction of a kingly line for materialistic peoples who were no longer servants of Yahweh by marriage of their souls to His Spirit. One has to comb thoroughly through all the knots of his intellect to find the truth deeply embedded by Yahweh. It is like the work necessary to open an oyster, looking for slimy food, but finding a pearl. It is more work than I enjoy doing, for such little reward.
As an Old Testament possibility for the fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost, when one’s own personal ministry for Yahweh should already be well underway, the lesson here is to see the world through the eyes of the rich and the poor. The common view is like Solomon had, which is to think knowledge (store-bought from some seminary, graduating with a diploma to be a hired hand for some religious organization) makes one the protector of the ignorant, huddled masses. The lesson is to see how poor one is, when all one does is try to figure out how to produce miracles that solve all the world’s problems [in the name of Jesus Christ, presumably]. True Spiritual wealth comes from giving one’s soul to Yahweh out of love and devotion, and Him accepting that soul, knowing it truly submits to His Will. True wisdom comes from getting one’s big brain out of the way and admitting how stupid one is, when one tries to enter ministry with only a brain to guide one. That is the truth of robbing the poor; and, for such actions one’s soul will be self-plundered.