University of the Philippines
Puting Kahoy Silang Cavite
the Requirements for the Degree
of Science in Theology
verse six the tone suddenly changes from the strong prohibition against wine
and strong drink (Proverbs 31:3, 4) to an order that is quite the opposite,
“Give strong drink to him who is perishing” (31:6) the contrast is quite
Statement of the problem
a proverb 31 allow the drinking of alcoholic beverages?
purpose of this study to discover the theological meaning and its implications
to the Christian life and their relationship to God
of the Study
The significant of the study are the
following: to fully understand the right theology, to understand the context,
to understand what mother Lemuel meant for him, what is mean for us today.
and Limitation of the Study
is limited in the context of Proverbs 31: 1- 9, specifically in verse 6- 7. It
delimits on the theological understanding of what mother Lemuel meant and its
concept in the light of Christians status in Christ.
of the Study
Christians believe taking alcohol is allowing now in our time for the sake of
sickness base in 1 Timothy 5: 23. In Proverbs 31: 1- 9 Mother Lemuel pointing
that the alcohol is only to those who are ready to perish and to those who have
sick. But her King son, she counsel to him not to take alcohol because he
forget the standard of justice.
The methodological approach that
will use in this study is contextual and theological analysis. In Chapter I
presents the introduction of study; it contains the statement of the problem,
the purpose of study, the limitation of study, presupposition of study and
methodology. While in chapter II is about the contextual and theological study
of the passage. And lastly, in Chapter III contains the summary and conclusion.
Some Adventist scholar views
strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to him whose life is bitter. Let
him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his trouble no more Proverbs
English Word and Hebrew Translation
long perplexed readers of the Old Testament since it appears not only to
condone the use of “strong drink” (shekar) and “wine” (yayin) but actively to
promote it. A superficial reading of the text could give the impression that
under certain circumstances it is permissible to drown one’s troubles in
translation of the term “strong drink” (shekar)
follows the translation of the NKJV. Another translation of the term is “beer” (NIV). The term denotes an
alcoholic beverage that is not based on grapes but most probably involved a
fermentation process based upon grains. However, it should not be forgotten
that this beverage is no distilled liquor. Distillation is a relatively late
development in the history of alcoholic beverages.
A mother’s counsel
31:1-9, which contains the wise counsel of the King Lemuel’s mother to her
royal son. The mother’s final piece of advice is an admonition to take
leadership in doing what was mentioned. This would be difficult to accomplish
if he was intoxicated: Speak up?lit.?,
open your mouth for those who cannot speak for themselves ?lit.?, the dumb, for the rights of all who are destitute ?lit.?, sons of passing. “The underlying
subject of the poem is a king’s duty to effect justice for the poor. How easy
it is for a king to squander the authority God has given him to protect the
weak!” (Clifford: 270).
warning her son of what to avoid, the mother in her next two poems turns to
advise him on what he should be doing instead. Interestingly, her first word of
counsel in a more positive vein is to point out his responsibility for
providing beer and wine to those who are
perishing (31:6a). While not appropriate for kings, there are those for whom alcohol may be just what is needed.
The more concrete examples given are those in
anguish, a reference perhaps to the sick and dying (31:6).
she is so concerned about is that her son might crave beer and wine. What is so terribly wrong with an
addiction of this kind for kings, she points out, is that it affects their
memory and judgment? They tend to forget
what is decreed (in the law) and
hence deprive their subjects of their rights before the law (cf.? 23:29–35; Isa
5:11–12; Amos 6:5–6).
The prohibition against wine and strong drink
wine nor strong drink is advisable for kings and rules because these beverages would impair their remembrance of the
law and consequently their ability to establish and execute justice –Proverbs
Perverted justice or lack of justice is strongly rebuked by the
prophets (Isa 1:17, 23; 5:7; Amos 5:7, 12), particularly when it concerns a
king because he is the one who administers justice (2 Sam 8:15).
So, anything that may cause him to pervert justice should be shunned
by him like the plague, especially when his action will affect the poor, as
suggested by Proverbs 31:5. Those in positions of authority who administer
justice seem to be central to this first section of Proverbs 31.
In verse six the tone suddenly changes from the strong prohibition
against wine and strong drink (Proverbs 31:3, 4) to an order that is quite the
opposite, “Give strong drink to him who is perishing” (31:6) the contrast is
A. No wine
B. …Nor strong drink (shekar) to kings or
Since it will lead to injustice for the
B’. …Give (pl.) strong drinks (shekar)… (31:6a)
wine (yayin) to the perishing and bitter (31:6b)
type of literary device is typical in biblical Hebrew is called chiasm, means an inverted structure in
which the center is considered to be of major importance.
text under consideration refers to those who are “perishing” and those whose
life is “bitter.” Both terms in Hebrew denote a desperate and hopeless
situation. The particular form of the Hebrew verb meaning “to perish” Can refer
to a nation who has entirely lost all
rationality to people lost in a foreign country
or to an animal that has wondered off the track and has gotten lost which would
ultimately lead to its death. Lions means perish if they do not eat (Job 4:11),
as do human beings, though not always for that particular reason. All of these
examples paint a sad picture.
An ironic counsel
strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to him whose life is bitter.”
What an ironic statement, considering the fact that the queen mother has just
admonished her royal son not to touch wine or strong drink. In light of this
categorical prohibition it seems hardly possible that in verse 6 the inspired
writer now recommends alcoholic beverages
to relieve common pain, stress, and tension.
are going to give alcoholic beverages to anyone, then give strong drink to him
who is perishing’ to relieve him of his misery.” in that case verse 6 must be
understood as (satirical) paradoxical and ironical statement.
be found in the larger context of the book of Proverbs as a whole? Does the
rest of the book view the use of wine and strong drink? Unwise, unfit to
distinguished the real life issues and crucial choices of his life.
was already that proverb 31; 4 strongly discourage its use. In Proverbs 4:17
wine is employed in a (metaphorical) figurative, symbolical, allegorical, way
as a characteristic of the wick. Proverbs 21:17 admonishes that the love of
wine will result in poverty while Proverbs 23:20-31 repeatedly warns against
its consumption and any communion with those indulging in it.
can be seen from the many references found in the book, Proverbs’ perspective
concerning wine and strong drink is entirely negative—the only exception being
the statement in Prov. 31:6, 7, which in turn should be understood as an
exercise in irony, employed by the wise mother of Lemuel to teach more
effectively one of the main points of royal
in ancient Israel: to judge fairly and to give a voice to those who are
downtrodden and powerless. Both the immediate, as well as the larger context,
suggest this interpretation, which is also in harmony with other scriptural
advice concerning the use or abuse of alcohol.
text is an ironic statement which means, “If you are going to give alcoholic
beverages to anyone, then give strong drink to him who is perishing to relieve
him of his misery.”
God love us. He take care us in the bad things.
The bad things effect in our health. The things destroy the character of God.
The things cause loose the standard of God. In Proverbs 31: 6,7 we learn much
more the counsel of mother Lemuel to his son. How alcohol can affect his
health. Alcohol affects all the responsibility especially to King Lemuel in the
standard of justice. To lost the standard of justice. Alcohol destroys the
things that we have.
see in Proverbs 31: 4- 7 advise the king to maintain sobriety in order to carry
out the work of establishing justice in the kingdom. The queen mother does not
recommend a free beer program for the poor or justify its use as an opiate for
the masses; her point is simple that the king must avoid drunkenness in order
to reign properly. The comparison to the suffering poor and to their use of
alcohol is meant to awaken Lemuel to the
duties that go with his class and status rather than to describe some kind of
.Duane A. Garnett, The New American Commentary, (Broadman Press
Nashville, Tennessee, 1973), p. 246.
Nichol, Seventh- day Adventist. Bible Commentary Volume 3 ( Review and Herald
Publishing Association Washington D. C., 1954), p. 1052.
.George W. Reid, Understanding Scripture Adventist Approach, (Review
and Herald Publishing Association Hagerstown, MD 21740, 2006), p. 171- 174.
.Gerald A. Kingbeil, Interpreting Scripture, Vol. 2 (Biblical Research
Institute Silver Spring, MD 20904, 2010), p. 213- 215.
.Samuel Rolles Driver D. Alfred Plummer M. A, International Critical
Commentary, (38 George Street, 1977), p. 540- 541.