Intolerable Things
Proverbs 30:21-23
For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear:…


1. The slave in authority. (Ver. 22.) The inversion of objects is intolerable to the trained eye; things standing upside down, etc. So in social relations and in political Government belongs to the wise and the strong; the feeble in mind and the narrow in heart are emphatically the wrong men in the wrong place, in seats of power.

2. The self-satisfied fool. His fatuous smile is a satire upon himself and upon the condition of things which permits him to bask in so fantastic a paradise. Those are sights to make the "angels weep."

3. The ill-tempered wife. (Ver. 23.) She, again, is emphatically "out of place." For home, in any sweet sense, is the place which woman's presence makes a delight.

4. The ambitious maidservant. The effort to supplant, to grasp a place beyond one's rights and deserts, hurts our intuitive perceptions of what is right. An Oriental proverb says, "Sit in your place, and none shall make you rise," on which we have a pointed commentary from Christ in Luke 14:11, "He that humbleth himself shall be exalted."

II. THE GENERAL LESSONS. Order and rank are Divine institutions. To overturn this is no work of the true reformer or friend of the social weal. Rule rests ultimately upon ability to rule; government, upon power; authority, upon wisdom. When these relations are actually reversed, society is disturbed, matters are unhappy. When they only seem to be reversed, there will be distress and discomfort in right minds, until the just order and the nominal state of things shall be restored. - J.

Parallel Verses
KJV: For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear:

WEB: "For three things the earth tremble, and under four, it can't bear up:

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