September 19th 2018 – Proverbs 25:27-28

It is not good to eat much honey,
    nor is it glorious to seek one's own glory.
 A man without self-control
    is like a city broken into and left without walls.

Proverbs 25:27-28

The translation of 27 is problematic, and neither the AV nor the RSV is satisfactory. The NEB has 'A surfeit of honey is bad for a man, and the quest for honour is burdensome'. The verse may simply re-emphasise the thought in 6 in its warning against giving oneself airs and seeking place, and that in 16 about becoming inordinately concerned about things that are good only when kept in their place. It is not wrong, for example, to want to better oneself, or to attain a higher standard of living, but if this becomes our all-consuming aim in life, to the exclusion of all else, we had better beware, for we are on dangerous ground. The penetrating observation in 28 serves as a telling commentary on 27. The man who cannot exercise self-control, in eating his particular 'honey', is like a city without defences. When he has no rule over his own spirit, he becomes victim of these inordinate desires, which attack him as an enemy attacks a city under siege, and he crumples under the impact. Ironside comments: 'May we have grace given to hold our spirits in godly subjection, that thus we become not like a city exposed to the ready assaults of its enemies! Even when one is clearly in the right, nothing so prejudices his case as losing control of his temper and uttering heated hasty words. Others are prone to forget the minor points of the evidence at such a time, and to judge by the spirit manifested. Therefore the importance of exemplifying in our words and ways 'the meekness and gentleness of Christ''