The Bible Proverbs speak to more than merely ethereal things. The Proverbs teach many useful truths affecting our regular life. There is some honestly practical stuff. For example, consider the business wisdom you find there. Business wisdom? Yeah, lots of it. Like hiring employees. Look at this verse:
“Like an archer who wounds everyone, so is he who hires a fool or who hires those who pass by.” Proverbs 26:10
Okay…so what does archery have to do with business and hiring employees? More than you think.
The authors of the Proverbs rendered their wisdom embedded in poetry. Why? It could have been simply their style of writing. More likely it had to do with making the axioms memorable, sort of like when you hear something in a song, you naturally remember it better than if there is no melody or rhyme. Same idea.
The syncopation and the phrasing was artistic, could be sung and was very memorable. Remember the context in which the proverbs were taught – it was a royal court setting where princes and apprentices learned from the wisemen. So often we will find statements that seem out of place, such as the “archery” comment above, but in truth, it was an artistic way of expressing a deeper meaning.
And what is the meaning? Well, here the phrase about the archer wounding everyone is referring to having the power to affect many people, even those far away. The translators probably didn’t get the expression exactly right. Connecting language to language can diminish some clarity, as each language makes use of its own euphemistic terms and idiomatic phrases, and in other tongues those phrases lose their meaning. So this phrase, while sounding inappropriate, in reality is making a strong statement about someone having the power to affect many people.
This kind of issue shows up more often in the Proverbs than any other book of the Bible. Which is understandable, because the Proverbs are poetry with power.
The point of the Proverb is simply this: when someone who has the power to affect many other people entrusts his power to someone he knows is foolish, or doesn’t know at all, he hurts the people he has the power to affect.
The basis idea is to never give your influence and position to someone you shouldn’t – its foolhardy.
Illustrations of this can be seen in business everywhere. The boss promotes someone quickly without enough time to see how that person works. The manager hires a bookkeeper without first getting references. The hiring agent believes the self acclaimed skills of the applicant. The list goes on.
People ignore this wisdom all the time, and suffer for it, in business and in life in general.
The Word of God is rich in practical truths for everyday living. There is wise guidance in our personal relationships, business strategies, money handling, hiring employees, and so much more. I am so grateful God provided guidance in even the seemingly “less important” things of life.
But on the other hand, I guess hiring employees IS pretty important!