An Idea Borrowed

Years ago on a radio program someone shared that they read a chapter in Proverbs every day. Since there are 31 chapters and the longest month has 31 days it allows you to read through Proverbs on a regular basis. I use it as the launch pad for my personal worship time and branch out from there. On this blog I will try to share some of the insights I have in the Word. I will try to organize them in the archive by reference.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Rights Are Wrong

(Proverbs 31:9 KJV)  Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.

This verse also shows how our cultural expectations begin to force their way into the translation. 
If you look at the older KJV it says “plead the cause” (1777) instead of “defend (1777) the rights (1779)”.  The older translations tend to focus on the idea of justice and have the idea of an objective standard.  The newer translations like the NASB tend to use the idea of “rights”.  The word comes from the meaning of judging.  It is not the same family of words for “judge” (8199)  used earlier in the verse.  It has the idea of bringing in unchanging standards and applying them.

“Rights” is a modern concept that seems to focus more on modern political theory than Biblical standards.  Rights are something that give us leverage where justice advocates equal treatment.  Rights say I have an advantage, justice awards equality.  Most people mix those up.  When they say they want equality they really mean special treatment.  Justice is illustrated by Jesus parable about the workers all getting the same pay because that was the agreement.  Rights mean “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”  The government emphasizes the first half, the citizen the second.  That is a tenet of Marxism, by the way.

So?  Don’t hide behind the American concept of “rights” when it is applied in a way that is just glorified selfishness.  We are called to do what is best for the other person, not what serves our purposes. 

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