1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

Proverbs 20 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Proverbs 20 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

"Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise." Is it OK to drink alcohol?
To me, this verse does not seem to be a commandment not to drink alcohol. But I suppose the author of the SAB reads “is deceived thereby” as “whosoever drinks is not wise.” And others have read it this way as well. There is some division among Christians if one is allowed to drink some alcohol, or none at all. But all agree that drunkenness is forbidden by the Bible.
To understand this verse, we first need to establish what the meaning is of “wine is a mocker.” Wine promises pleasure it doesn't give: drink some more and you will receive happiness or forgetfulness. Those we seek this in wine, will be mocked by it and will be deceived. What is important is the reason why we drink wine.
Some of the resources quoted by the author of the SAB make some distinction between grape juice and wine. The Bible never makes this distinction though. The Nazarites were forbidden to touch anything from the vine, not just the variety with alcohol, Num. 6:3. And the same word as used here is used in chapter 3:10 where it is seen as a good thing. And wisdom calls people to drink of her wine, chapter 9:5, exactly the same word as used in this verse. So it is OK to drink some alcohol, but just a little. And note that Christ's love is better than wine, Song. 1:2

2 The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul.

3 It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.

4 The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.

5 Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.

6 Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?

7 The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.

"The just man walketh in his integrity."
Has the ever been a just person?

8 A king that sitteth in the throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with his eyes.

9 Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?

"Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?" Has there ever been a perfect person?
Do Christians sin?
The author of the SAB asks if there has ever been a perfect person. The answer is yes, one: Jesus Christ.
On the question if Christians sin, yes, and it grieves them and they wish to be with God to live without sin, but while on this earth they are not without sin, Rom. 7:19

10 Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD.

11 Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.

12 The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.

13 Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread.

14 It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.

15 There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.

16 Take his garment that is surety for a stranger: and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.

17 Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.

18 Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.

19 He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.

20 Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.

21 An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed.

22 Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee.

23 Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good.

24 Man’s goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?

25 It is a snare to the man who devoureth that which is holy, and after vows to make enquiry.

26 A wise king scattereth the wicked, and bringeth the wheel over them.

27 The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.

"The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly."
The spirit of the man is his conscience, which everyone has, unless he has seared it. And that conscience passes judgment on the actions of a man. And although that conscience might be silent or feeble now, it will speak loudly when it appears before the judgment seat of God.

28 Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden by mercy.

29 The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the grey head.

"The beauty of old men is the grey head."
I just don't understand why the author of the SAB finds this absurd. Is a gray head ugly? As John Gill comments:

the gray head [is] an index of wisdom and prudence; see Job 12:12. The design of the proverb is to show that both have their excellencies and usefulness, young men and old men, and should not despise one another; nor either of them be despised in a commonwealth, both being useful in it, the one for strength, the other for counsel; and so in the church of Christ

30 The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.

"The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly." What the Bible says about torture
The Bible's guide to torture
The author of the SAB comments in the link “Sometimes you just need to beat people for their own good.” Where does it say in this verse that you may punish people for their own good? No one can start beating people because it would be good for them, that's an absurd conclusion. What Solomon says here that it sometimes takes an awful lot before some turn from their evil ways. That could be punishment done by the proper authority for their evil, but also very adverse circumstances in life.