What does Proverbs 3:9 mean?
ESV: Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
NIV: Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;
NASB: Honor the Lord from your wealth, And from the first of all your produce;
CSB: Honor the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest;
NLT: Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.
KJV: Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase:
The Israelites were commanded by the Lord to give the first of their crops to the Lord out of gratitude for his bountiful provisions (Deuteronomy 26:1–3, 9–11). They were also commanded to tithe: to give a tenth of their wealth to the Lord (Numbers 18:21–24). About 400 years after Solomon's death, the Lord accused Israel of robbing Him by not tithing. He ordered: "Bring the full tithe into the storehouse" (Malachi 3:10).
It's important to recognize that tithing was mandated for Israel, not for all people everywhere. Although God does not require Christians to tithe, the idea of giving a portion of our income to God's work is a good start to our giving. We ought to give regularly and proportionately (1 Corinthians 16:2), as well as bountifully (2 Corinthians 9:6) and of one's cheerful free will (2 Corinthians 9:7).
The Lord deems the heart of the giver of greater value than the gift. When Jesus saw a poor widow deposit two small copper coins into the temple's treasury, He commended her, saying, "She out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on" (Mark 12:44).
Proverbs 3:1–12 is an exhortation from Solomon to his son, urging him to heed his teaching and trust wholeheartedly in the Lord. He cites some of the valuable results of obedience and trust. This section builds on the counsel Solomon gave in Proverbs 2. The following section describes the blessings that come to those who find wisdom and understanding.
This chapter of Proverbs is addressed to Solomon's son. The term, ''my son'' occurs 15 times in chapters 1—7. The words may apply to one of Solomon's students in his court or to one of his biological sons. The application of wisdom in Proverbs 3 shows the benefits of trusting in the Lord with one's whole heart. Solomon credits obedience to and trust in God for longevity, success, guidance, health, reward that exceeds monetary wealth, enjoyment, peace, security, confidence, excellent human relationships, the Lord's blessing and favor, and honor. As with all ''proverbs,'' biblical or otherwise, their purpose is to impart general wisdom, not absolute prophecy. Like the original audience, modern readers are not expected to see these guidelines as absolute guarantees for any one person.
This passage lies in the second section of the book, found in chapters 1—9. The author, King Solomon, reigned over Israel from 971 to 931 BC. The first section of Proverbs, the preface, is found in Proverbs 1:1–7. The third section, chapters 10—22, were also written by Solomon. These proverbs were likely written by Solomon in his middle years, whereas he probably wrote Song of Songs in his early adulthood, and Ecclesiastes near the end of his life. As in the first two chapters, wisdom is stressed in Proverbs 3.
Proverbs is best understood in context with the books of Ecclesiastes and Job. In Proverbs, “wisdom” is given in short, simple, general terms. Ecclesiastes represents wisdom based on observation and experience. This often shows how the general principles of the book of Proverbs don’t apply in absolutely every circumstance. Job represents wisdom based on the experience of suffering and injustice. All three come to the conclusion that God does indeed know best, and the most sensible course of action is to follow His will.
Accessed 11/30/2023 5:17:33 AM
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