Proverbs 31: Week 32 | The Wolfe Notes

Welcome to week thirty-two of our Proverbs 31 journey. If you'd like to return to one of our previous stops, let our "Wolfe Notes" guide you. 

  • In January we examined our value with the help of Proverbs 31 verses 10 and 29.
  • In February we learned what uplifting means by looking at Proverbs 31:11 and 23.
  • In March, we considered the virtue of respect by studying Proverbs 31:12 and 28.
  • In April, we trained to be hardworking with Proverbs 31:13 and 19 as our instructors.
  • In May, we saw what it takes to be resourceful by examining Proverbs 31:14 and 21. 
  • In June, we developed our caring muscle by exercising Proverbs 31:15 and 22.
  • In July, we practiced being savvy with help from Proverbs 31:16 and 27.
  • In August, we witness exemplary behavior outlined in Proverbs 31:18 and 31:31.
If you're ready to travel with us, welcome! Grab your August calendar with daily activities, the lamp for your feet (the Bible), and let's get going! We're journeying through the concluding poem of Proverbs and we're so glad you decided to walk along this road with us! Imagine that as we walk, we're talking about the daily activities. Our side of the discussion is outlined below. What would you add? How would you challenge us? (Ideas that are our thoughts alone are designated with an *.)

Song of Solomon 8:7 quoted with a lamp burning in the background.

Contents:
About Extinguish from various sources.
Other Versions of Proverbs 31:18 and writing our own.
Commentaries on Proverbs 31:18.
*As Christ's Bride apply Proverbs 31:18.
*Look at Roles and apply Proverbs 31:18.
*Godly Wisdom found in Proverbs 31:18.
*Application of Proverbs 31:18 in the past, present, and hopes for the future.

About Extinguish

From various sources.

Hebrew from Bible Hub
  • kabah: to be quenched or extinguished, to go out
  • Also, in I Samuel 3:3-4: And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep; That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I. (*Before God's lamp was extinguished, Samuel was called.)
Definition from Merriam-Webster
  • to bring to an end: make an end of
  • to cause to cease burning
  • to dim the brightness of 
  • to cause to be void: nullify
  • A prophecy from Isaiah uses these words to describe the coming Messiah
    • "Bruised reed" and "smoldering wick" (or smoking flax) represent the weak - spiritually, physically, or morally. Damaged, but not beyond repair. Dim, but capable of more light.
    • Smoking flax references a lamps wick. Made of flax fiber strands or twisted cotton threads, ancient flaxen wicks burned quickly and rarely stayed lit. 
    • In Isaiah 39:5-7, Isaiah prophesies Judah's Babylonian captivity. With the troubling news, Isaiah prophesied impending help from the Messiah. Isaiah 42:3 promises "a smoldering wick he will not snuff out."
  • Matthew quotes the prophecy to prove fulfillment arrived in Jesus. 
    • All the people Jesus healed represented the "bruised reeds" and "smoldering wicks".
    • Jesus did not extinguish the weaning flame of any who needed He. His intention is to fan the flames of faith so all witnesses to His love burn brightly.
    • A smoking, smoldering wick represents souls who are close to eternally losing faith because of emotional, spiritual, or physical wounds. But God steps in.
    • This prophecy speaks to Jesus' compassionate care.
    • Examples of smoking flax Jesus reignited: 
  • Our response is to follow Jesus' model in fanning the flame of faith when we encounter smoking flax in others.
Verses from Knowing Jesus
  • Jeremiah 4:4 KJV: Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.
  • I Thessalonians 5:19 KJV: Quench not the spirit.
  • Song of Solomon 8:7 KJV: Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.
  • Job 29:24 LEB: I smiled on them when they had no confidence in anything, and they did not extinguish the light of my face.
  • Ephesians 6:16 MEV: and above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you will be able to extinguish all the fiery arrows of the evil one.
*Conclusions: The candle burning represents the strength of our faith. It is our work to keep it brightly shining, not only in ourselves but in others. If we fail to keep our flame lit, His fury will burn against us.

Other Versions

Of Proverbs 31:18 and writing our own.

Phrases that vary from KJV:
  • She perceiveth, sees, tastes and sees, realizes, knows, to make sure, feeleth, is confident, senses, watches, enjoys, discerns.
  • that her merchandise, gain, profits, trading, business affairs, when to buy or sell, earning, traffic, bargains, dealings, success.
  • is good: profitable, successful, go well, good timing, profit, value, sufficient, bargains, worth, earns a lot, tov.
  • and her candle, lamp, passion, fire, works
  • goeth not out at night, burns continually, stays lit, late into the night, no hurry to call it quits for the day, extinguished, undimmed, quenched.   
Notably different versions:
  • CEV: She knows when to buy or sell, and she stays busy until late at night.
  • ERV: She works late into the night to make sure her business earns a profit.
  • ISV: She is confident that her profits are sufficient. Her lamp does not go out at night.
  • TLB: and watches for bargains. She works far into the night!
  • VOICE: She tastes success and knows it is good, and under lamplight she works deep into the night.
  • AMPC: She tastes and sees that her gain from work [with and for God] is good; her lamp goes not out, but it burns continually through the night [of trouble, privation, or sorrow, warning away fear, doubt, and distrust].
*Conclusions: It's interesting that "tastes and sees" is used instead of perceives in several versions. Reminds me of Psalm 34:8: Taste and see that the Lord is good. Which compares to what is happening here. Wisdom "tastes and sees" that we, the product of her hands, are good.

*Wolfe Stew Versions:
  • Wisdom yields only good. It never abandons us, even when hope seems lost.
  • The Bride of Christ is confident that her efforts lead to righteousness because she works in the light of faith even when darkness descends.
  • (Personally) Be confident in the work of your hands by resting in commitment to the light.
  • (Relationally) Know that as you walk in the light, you bring goodness to the relationship. Fan the flame of faith when you witness a smoldering wick in another.
  • (Spiritually) Jesus is your light. Keep your passion burning for Him and only goodness will follow.

Commentaries

On Proverbs 31:18 from Bible Hub.

She perceiveth that her merchandise is good:
  • She takes great comfort and good success in her labors (Poole)
  • Her trading to heaven is of great advantage (Gill)
    • Her merchandise with Wisdom, or Christ, is better than silver (Gill referencing Proverbs 3:14)
    • It is worth the trouble (Gill)
  • She contemplates her surplus with satisfaction because of a duty successfully done (Pulpit)
her candle goeth not out by night:
  • unwearied care and industry; She works 'day and night'. (Poole)
  • The light of the Gospel is always kept burning in her, even in the darkest times (Gill)
    • She never is weary of well-doing
    • It acts as a "lamp of hope" by and for which men work (Romans 8:24)
  • She finds work even in the dark hours (Pulpit)
*Conclusions: Practically, she is satisfied because she sees the reward in her hard work, and it motivates her to continue working. Spiritually, Wisdom knows the work being done within us is good, and no contrary force will ever stop its progress.

*As Christ's Bride

Apply Proverbs 31:18.

Because Jesus:
  • Leads us by diligently working to fight darkness and refine us; and by being our source of light.
  • Loves us by seeing the good in us and remaining faithful to us.
In response, we can:
  • Submit to Him by working with Him to change according to His purposes; by seeking Him in our dark moments; and by trusting He'll always guide us to good.
  • Respect Him by believing what He says about us; and by keeping our passion for Him burning.

*Look at Roles

And apply Proverbs 31:18.

Because a Keeper:
  • Leads his wife by diligently working to fight darkness; by continuously moving toward Godliness; and by acting in alignment to God's will.
  • Loves his wife by valuing the goodness in her and by faithfully keeping her as his first earthly priority.
In response, a Helper can:
  • Submit to her husband by working with him to fight darkness; by seeking his guidance in her doubts; by keeping his motivations directed on Godliness. 
  • Respect her husband by adorning herself in the love he pours out for her; and by keeping her passion for him burning.

*Godly Wisdom

 Found in Proverbs 31:18.
  • God is good.
  • God is making me good.
  • He will never stop working.
  • He is zealously faithful to me.

*Application

Of Proverbs 31:18 in the past, present, and hopes for the future.
  • In the past, I EGOCENTRICALLY regarded this verse. I needed to say busy. I needed to be confident in my success. 
  • Presently, I am CONFIDENT that my yield is good because of God's light shining within me and I know that His light will never fade.
  • In the future, I hope to be AWARE of the constant changes within me and fan the flame of faith for change in others to witness God's fervent light shining brightly and boldly.

Final Thoughts

It is a reassurance and a warning, this verse. On God's end, His light for us will never fade. He is the light. His passion for us is unyielding. That is a promise we can rely on. 

On our end, we are fragile candles. To stay lit, we require tools, effort, and perseverance. Commit to Jesus; cut off everything that dims you. Refill your storehouses with anointed oil from God's word. Allow the passion of the Holy Spirit to fuel you. Let your light fan the flame of faith in the smoldering wicks around you. Taste and see the goodness of God.

Father, your love brightly endures. We bask in its warm glow and long to return it in equal measure. Guide us in tending your flame within us that draws others to your goodness.

Growing with You,

Ready for Week 33?

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