Proverbs 30:21 “Under three things the earth trembles, under four it cannot bear up…”
The purpose of wisdom is to please God and men (Pr 3:3-4; Luke 2:52), so the Wiseman Solomon gives us four kinds of people that are irritating and annoying. If you are wise, you will never be one, and you will reject those who are. Here are four kinds of people that so much irritate the world, and you must learn to avoid being like them, being around them, or approving of them.
Chapter 30 of Proverbs contains several lists of things to teach wisdom (Pr 30:11-31). The Wiseman Solomon used this method to teach inspired wisdom (Pr 30:1-6). In this list, we have four kinds of people that cause the earth to tremble- disturb the peace and pleasure of life, and that the earth cannot bear – are irritating and frustrating to most men.
Most men love a quiet life – one of peace, pleasure, and security. But that goal is ruined, if one of these four is near. You will be angered by their disrespectful and intolerable conduct. Relaxation and rest will be impossible, for they are bent on making life miserable for others, even though they never grasp how much they are despised!
The first is a “servant who becomes king.” God made masters and servants, leaders and followers. When this divine order is altered, and a person God made to serve is put in authority, the power corrupts their weak character and makes them unbearable. Solomon despised this perversion of roles (Pr 19:10; Eccl 10:5-7). It is found today in labour unions, employee committees, some deacon boards, political polls, and spoiled children.
The second is a “fool when he is filled with meat other versions say a fool who is full of food.” Prosperity and pleasure are a curse to the fool, for they flatter his sinful -depraved soul and cause him to boast and offend. The best thing for a fool is a beating and starvation (Pr 20:4; 26:3). The worst thing you can give a fool is honour and kindness (Pr 19:10; 26:1,8). Such fools are found today in rebellious youth with pampered lives, athletes and sports persons with excessive salaries, and actors with contracts.
The third is an “odious woman when she is married/ an unloved woman who is married.” Here is a common curse to mankind – an irritating, overbearing, and repulsive woman. Many men have had their lives ruined by these deplorable creatures. Solomon warned about her many times (Pr 11:22; 12:4; 19:13; 21:9,19; 25:24; 27:15-16). She will hide her ugly soul and character while dating in order to entrap a foolish man, but after marriage he will discover marital hell. It is wise and important for young men to let married men interview their dates if possible!
The fourth is a “handmaid that is heir to her mistress/a maidservant who displaces her mistress.” A female servant could become heir of her mistress by legitimate service, earning the approval of her mistress, or by marrying her master (Gen 16:1-4). Either the prospect or the possession of the mistress’s position had a subverting effect. Though of low origin and character, the servant would swell in pride and haughtiness. If promotion comes, men must remember their humble beginnings and reject arrogance. Today we see excessive divorce settlements, haughty politicians from slums, critical employees with stock option plans, and estate battles.
These four kinds of people ruin a peaceful and pleasant life. You must examine yourself to see if you are like any one of them, and repent before God and men if you are! Do you seek or have a position above your God-given abilities? Does your foolishness come out when prospered or in pleasure? Are you an overbearing woman? How many good men and women love your company? And are you from humble origins? Then stay humble!
You must also identify such people around you and oppose them. Do not approve promoting employees over employers! Do not allow fools to enjoy honour or pleasure! Do everything you can to keep odious girls and women single! Protect foolish young men! And remind those from poverty that their promotion is by God’s grace (I Cor 4:7)!