Proverbs 31:8
Open your mouth for those with no voice, for the justice of all the dispossessed.
Job's ExampleGeorge Lawson, D.D.Proverbs 31:8
The Sin of Cruelty to the Brute CreationDavid Runciman, M.A.Proverbs 31:8
The Words of LernuelE. Johnson Proverbs 31:1-31
A Mother's MaximsE. Johnson Proverbs 31:2-9
The Function and the Privilege of PowerW. Clarkson Proverbs 31:8, 9
God gives to some men place and power; they may inherit it, or they may win their way to it by the force of their talent or their merit. When they have reached it, what should be the use they make of it? We may look first at -

I. WHAT HAS BEEN ITS HABIT. Only too often the actual use that has been made of high station and of civil or military lower is that of

(1) indulgence; or

(2) appropriation; or

(3) oppression.

Men have used their elevation only to drink the sweet cup of pleasure; or to secure to themselves the spoils of high office, the treasures which law within their grasp; or to find a mean and despicable gratification in the enforcement of their own dignity and the humiliation of those beneath them. This is "human," if by human we understand that which is natural to man as sin has dwarfed and spoilt his nature, perverting his powers and degrading his delights. But of man as God meant him to be, and as a Divine Redeemer is renewing him, all this is utterly unworthy, let us see -

II. WHAT IS ITS TRUE FUNCTION. It is that of righteousness. A man is placed on high in order that he may "judge righteously." Whether he be the king, as in David's and Solomon's time; or whether he be the magistrate, as in our own time; or whether he be the teacher, or the manufacturer, or the farmer, or the master or father in the home; whatever be the kind or measure of authority enjoyed, the function of power is to judge righteously; it is to do justice; it is to see that innocency is acquitted and guilt condemned; it is to take pains and exercise patience in order that worth may be rewarded and that sin may be shamed; it is to be a tower of refuge to those who are conscious of rectitude, and to be a source of fear to those who know that they have been "doing evil;" it is to be a strength to the righteous and a terror to the guilty.

III. WHAT IT SHOULD COUNT ITS PECULIAR PRIVILEGE; IT IS TO BEFRIEND THE FRIENDLESS. There are those who are too weak to be of much service to their neighbours; there are those who are too selfish to cherish the ambition; but the strong man who is the good man, the man in power who has in him the spirit of his Master, will rejoice in his power mainly because it enables him to help those who would otherwise go on and go down without a helper;

(1) those suffering from physical privation - the blind, the deaf, the dumb;

(2) those lacking mental qualifications - the weak minded, the timid, the reserved;

(3) those too poor to purchase the aid that is sometimes essential to justice and right;

(4) those over whom some great disaster, which is at the same time a cruel wrong, impends - "appointed to destruction." To lift up those who have been wrongfully laid low, to befriend the unfortunate and the desolate, to stand by the side of those who cannot assert their own claims, to be eyes to the blind and a voice to the dumb, to "make the widow's heart to sing for joy," to place the destitute in the path which leads up to competency and honor, - to act in the spirit and to promote the cause of beneficence is the true privilege, as it is the brightest crown and the deepest joy, of power. - C.

Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.
There is no necessary reference in this verse to the inferior animals. We use it merely for our accommodation. That there is such cruelty requires neither proof nor argument. What persuasions should urge to guard against this cruelty in every form?

1. The affecting consideration that the lower animals have not the power of expressing and complaining of their wrongs.

2. Their subserviency to the comfort and happiness of man.

3. They are the objects of God's peculiar and providential care.

4. Cruelty to animals is utterly inconsistent with the spirit and law of Christianity.

(David Runciman, M.A.)

Job was an excellent pattern to all princes. He was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame, and a father to the poor, and no doubt he was a mouth also to the dumb. Such a prince the mother of Lemuel wishes her son to be. She exhorts him to do justice and judgment to all his people, but to regard with peculiar tenderness those unfortunate men that were in danger of losing their estates and lives by reason of accusations brought against them. If they were unable, through ignorance, or awkwardness, or fear, to plead their own cause, she would have him to be their advocate, and to plead everything that truth and equity would allow on their behalf. But charity to the poor, and clemency to the accused, must not interfere with the due administration of justice. It is the business of princes, in the administration of justice, to see that the poor do not suffer.

(George Lawson, D.D.)

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