Today’s quote seems almost too straightforward to write about. Alas, I know I could count on at least a few of my friends to be smart alack enough to say something about it.
This quote isn’t about ordering at a restaurant for your date or about the way our presidents and leaders seem to like to wage wars in our names on a whim, or make sweeping statements about our culture without so much as consulting a poll.
I actually saw this on a poster in church today. It’s from the Bible, my favorite book: Proverbs.
Instead of having the presumption that I can “explain” the true meaning of a text that predates me by a couple millennia, I’m just going to post the better part of the text from which it came. The author, as it appears in the Bible, is said to be writing down the teachings of a rather ambiguous, King Lemuel, who was reiterating the teachings he received from his mother. Nothing is known for certain about this king of the Jews other than this specific reference at the beginning of this text, and the fact that Jewish lore actually makes it another name for the very famous King Solomon.
“The sayings of King Lemuel – an inspired utterance taught to him by his mother.
Listen my son! Listen son of my womb!
Listen, my son, the answers to my prayers!
Do not spend your strength on women, your vigor on those who ruin kings.
It is not for kings, Lemuel—
it is not for kings to drink wine,
not for rulers to crave beer, lest they drink and forget what has been decreed, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.
Let beer be for those who are perishing, wine for those who are in anguish!
Let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”