Approximately 3 millennia span the time between Solomon’s (and Hezekiah 25:1, Agur 30:1, Lemeul 31:1) words of wisdom in Proverbs and the finalizing of the human genome project. While Solomon could never have grasped the complexity and function of the transcription and translation of the genetic code and a molecular approach to health in modern medicine, God knew all along that microscopic biological mechanisms and interventions would require a macroscopic context for application. Enter the “writings” of the Old Testament, the “ketuvim”. These books, of which Psalms and Proverbs are preeminent, are full of principles for health and wellness. These truth principles, applied in the context of modern medicine, can be a guide towards dealing with many forms of biologic pathology.
As noted previously, the foundational principle for learning these truths is a fear of God (see previous posts on Proverbs 1 for definition). With that established, verses 8-19 begin our exploration of these “ketuvic health” principles. On a positive note, hearing and not forsaking one’s parents’ instruction help to preserve life (verse 19). On a negative note, not consenting to or “throwing one’s lot” with those conspiring toward violent gain avoids “taking away the life of its possessor” (vers19). We are all familiar with the phrase “having the life drained out of us” and many have experienced interactions with people that leave one feeling that way. These verses emphasize that listening to wise parental instruction and avoiding conspiring for violent gain add years to ones life.