Wisdom and Songs

Job
(BC 538)

A poem telling a very ancient story. Satan challenged God that his favourite, Job, would curse him if he took away all the joys and comforts of his life. However, Job continued to have reverence for God even though he had a disgusting disease, terrible disasters happened to him, and his wife constantly urged him to forsake God. Job's ‘comforters' were three friends who kept telling him that he must have committed some appalling sin to be suffering so much. Finally he acknowledged his pride, but God had won the challenge and now restored to him many times what he had lost.

Quotes from Job
1:7-8And the Lord said to Satan, "Whence come you?” Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, "From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” And the Lord said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in all the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God and eschews evil?”
19:25-7For I know that my redeemer lives, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another
39:19-25 Have you given the horse strength?
Have you clothed his neck with thunder?
Can you make him afraid as a grasshopper?
The glory of his nostrils is terrible.
He paws in the valley and rejoices in his strength:
He goes on to meet the armed men.
He mocks at fear, and is not affrighted;
Neither turns he back from the sword.
... He swallows the ground with fierceness and rage
Neither believes he that it is the sound of the trumpet
He says among the trumpets, "Ha! Ha!”
42:5-6I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes




Psalms

A collection of 150 songs written by or for King David (about 1000 BC). They express praise for God, trust in him for justice, protection and provision, and love of his presence in the holy place, Zion. (Click here for examples of whole psalms)

Quotes from the Psalms
25:7 Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions
According to your mercy remember me for your goodness' sake, O Lord
51:16-17 You desire not sacrifice, else would I give it:
You delight not in burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit:
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not despise
103:12 As far as the east is from the west
So far has he removed our transgressions from us
... For he knows our frame
He remembers that we are dust
115:4-8 Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men's hands
They have mouths, but they speak not, Eyes have they but they see not
They have ears but they hear not, Noses have they but they smell not
They have hands but they handle not, Feet have they but they walk not
Neither speak they through their throat
They that make them are like unto them
So is every one that trusts in them
119:105 Your word is a lamp unto my feet
And a light unto my path
139:21-22 Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate you?
And am not I grieved with them that rise up against you?
I hate them with perfect hatred:
I count them my enemies
150:4-6 Praise him with the timbrel (tambourine) and dance
Praise him with stringed instruments and organs
Praise him upon the loud cymbals
Praise him upon the high sounding cymbals
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord
You praise the Lord!




Proverbs

The introduction of this book is about the value of wisdom and the great importance of acquiring it. There follows a collection of proverbs and wisdom attributed to King Solomon, David's son. It closes with a famous description of a good wife. (Click here for examples)




Ecclesiastes

By King Solomon. The preacher searched for the meaning of life. He tried wild parties, lots of women: he bought everything he fancied: "I withheld not my soul from any pleasure,” but says it was worthless: "all were vanity”. He concluded that "there is nothing new under the sun” and the best life is to take pleasure in one's honest work and enjoy life with one's partner.

Quotes from Ecclesiastes
3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die
A time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted
A time to kill and a time to heal
A time to break down and a time to build up
3:19-20 ... they have one breath, so that a man has no pre-eminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go to one place: all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.
9:11 ... the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happens to them all.
12:1 Remember now your creator in the days of your youth, while the evil days come not, not the years draw near when you shall say, "I have no pleasure in them.”




The Song of Solomon

A song, or set of songs, about the joys of love and lovemaking. Rural imagery abounds.

Quotes from The Song of Solomon
2:3-6 As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons
I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste
He brought me to the banqueting house and his banner over me was love
Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples, for I am sick of love
His left hand is under my head, and his right hand does embrace me
2:10 My beloved spoke and said unto me,
"Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away
For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone
The flowers appear on the earth
The time of the singing of the birds is come
And the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land


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