Solomonic Teachings on Spiritual Care in the Book of Proverbs

Solomonic Teachings on Spiritual Care in the Book of Proverbs

WONG Fook Kong

This is an examination of what biblical passages attributed to Solomon (10:1-22:16; 25:1-29:27) have to say about caring for others.This brief study indicates that although caring for others is encouraged in the Solomonic corpus, it must be done with wisdom and prudence. Disciplining one's children is one of the most important forms of parental care advocated in the corpus. The method of discipline is mainly verbal in nature. However, in some instances, corporate punishment is exercised rather than allowing the errand child to stay in his destructive way. With regard to friends, one must continue to care them through thick or thin. A true friend is a fulltime and lifetime job. Wisdom is exercised by being sensitive to the friend's circumstances and state of mind. Care that embarrasses or inconveniences one's friend is to be avoided. Belittling one's friend in any way, whether done out of anger or as a way of shaming him to improve, is strongly discouraged. In fact, the wisdom on this is to keep quiet rather than speak. One's neighbor could just as likely be an enemy as a friend, as proximity could result in friction rather than devotion. One should care for one's enemy, if for nothing more than to cause him shame and to prick his conscience . Finally, the stranger is viewed with more suspicion than even the enemy. Prudence and caution are the keywords in caring for a stranger.

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