Gleanings from the proverbs: Four things that are pleasing


Proverbs 30:31: a strutting rooster, a he-goat, and a king with his army around him.

Now I have checked from different versions of the Bible and noticed that different versions translate the first animal differently. Verse 31 in NIV says a strutting rooster, the KJV says a greyhound. Now I am not sure which animal but for the sake of this analysis I will go with the KJV. I will use the greyhound.

Here are three more pleasing and wholesome in appearance; attractive things in their going, beautiful in the discharge of their gifts and offices (Pr 30:29-31)! The lion, the king of beasts, has already been described (Pr 30:30). If you meditate carefully on these three things, there are lessons of wisdom to be found (Job 12:7-10; Ps 107:43; 119:96). The strutting rooster is beautiful by speed, the he goat by grave leadership, and an invincible king by irresistible authority. Delight in these traits!

The list here is four things that are comely (pleasing) in their going – beautiful in their appearance, movements, and conduct (Pr 30:29-31). The lion, already mentioned in the previous verse, has a bold and majestic walk, showing confident pride; he fears no creature, and he does not turn away from any (Pr 30:30). He is the king of beasts and illustrates boldness, confidence, and fearlessness.

What is beautiful about the greyhound? The greyhound is a slender, streamlined dog, having loins tightly girded for exceptional running speed. Its name has nothing to do with colour, but rather with being a coursing dog, a hound that hunts by sight and pursuit. English gentlemen and pharaohs owned them, with references dated before 2000 B.C. The typical male greyhound weighs 31.7 kgs, and it can run short distances near 72.4kmp.

The greyhound is elegant, easygoing, and gentle. With long legs and tail, compact muscles, slender profile, and alert appearance, the greyhound is attractive, fast, and agile. With eyesight to see small moving objects at up to one half mile away, it was created and bred to hunt by sight and chase. It is comely in its going, whether walking elegantly or agilely chasing down a rabbit in an open field, a task only a cheetah could match!

What is beautiful about the he goat? With a long beard, magnificent horns, and constant presence at the head of the flock, the he goat presents a strong picture of grave and sober leadership. It was common knowledge that he goats go at the front of the flock (Jer 50:8). And God used a he goat as the powerful symbol for Alexander the Great (Dan 8:5-8), which is very fitting, as the Macedonians revered the goat. The he goat is an excellent guide and protector, illustrating the beauty of a faithful, patriarchal leader!

What is beautiful about an invincible king? It is hard to appreciate the authority of a king, against whom there is no rising up, since there are no more kings, other than figureheads. National rulers today have little authority or power in comparison. They must answer to legislators and courts, have their college conduct scrutinized, beg the votes of peasants to remain in power, obtain permission for holidays, cooperate with the media, shake hands and kiss babies, grin and wave like a mannequin, and justify every decision to scorners.

Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was the greatest king (Dan 2:37-40; Jer 27:6-7; 28:14; Ezek 26:7). He was not voted into office; he answered to no one but God; opponents did not draw rude cartoons about him; he didn’t shake hands or kiss babies. He could start a new religion on a whim and enforce it with death by fire on every politician in the world (Dan 3:1-7)! If you offended him, even if you were in his cabinet, he would have you cut in pieces, your house levelled, and a great pile of dung erected in its place (Dan 2:5; 3:29)!

Solomon and his father David were great kings in their own right (II Sam 8:1-6; I Kgs 2:12; 4:20-28). They understood the power of a king, and they wrote about it. He was to be feared as the lion is feared in the jungle (Pr 16:14-15; 19:12; 20:2; 24:21-22; Eccl 8:2-5; 10:4,20). And he was to suppress all evil in his realm (Pr 14:35; 16:10; 20:8,26; 29:14). We know by Agur’s words that the trait we are to admire is his invincibility and irresistibility, which is declared by the words, “Against whom there is no rising up.” This is a beautiful thing, no matter what the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights may imply!

What lessons can be learned by this list from the natural creation? First, the Lord Jesus Christ fulfils all these traits perfectly; and second, Christians should also seek to fulfil them. It is not enough for you to be righteous: you should also be pleasing, by adding beauty and grace to every performance. It is by pleasing conduct in duties that Christians add glory and praise to their religion. Duty and righteousness are excellent; but the manner and spirit in which you do them adds to their beauty (Pr 22:11; Matt 5:16; I Cor 13:5; Gal 4:18; 5:6; Phil 1:27; Titus 2:1,9-10)! Christian, are you comely in your going?

Are you bold and fearless like the lion in doing your Christian duties, regardless of opposition or threats (Pr 28:1; Job 32:1-14; Ps 119:98-100; Heb 13:6)? Are you quick to keep the commandments of God, like the greyhound (Ps 119:60; Gal 1:15-17)? Are you a leader by example in your marriage, family, and church, like the he goat (I Cor 16:13; Eph 4:16; 6:4)? Are you unmovable, like a great king, in defending God-ordained authority, righteousness, and the apostolic gospel (Pr 22:17-21; I Pet 3:15; Jude 1:3)?

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Lion of the tribe of Judah and turns away from none (Rev 5:5). He destroyed the works of the devil, who is described as a roaring lion (I John 3:8; I Pet 5:8). He is like the greyhound, for he is quick in understanding (Is 11:3) and coming quickly (Rev 2:5,16; 3:11; 22:7,12,20). He leads His people, as their Apostle, Bishop, and great High Priest, much like the he goat. And there is no rising up against Him, for He is King of kings, the Blessed and Only Potentate (I Tim 6:13-16)! Hallelujah! Amen!

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One Response to Gleanings from the proverbs: Four things that are pleasing

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