The leech has two daughters: “Give, give!” There are three things that are never satisfied, four that never say”Enough!”
Sheol and a barren womb, a land that is not saturated with water, and fire that does not say “Enough!”
Why a leech?
Well, it sucks the blood of its host until seemingly overfull, and never seems to be satisfied. Interesting how even today we use the term “leech” to refer to someone who attaches themselves to a person in order to drain them of their resources.
The two daughters, Give and Give?
Scholarly scholars believe this refers to a leech’s suckers, admitting they have only one, but from a distance they appear to have two.
Then comes four examples of things never satisfied:
- Sheol–this refers to the grave with overtones of the underworld. It is an entity never satisfied for there is always room for one more dead person. It is insatiable.
- The barren womb–Having a child in OT times was of paramount importance, and a barren woman lamented deeply, and was insatiable since a child was all that would satisfy.
- A land not saturated with water–Palestine is a land where rainfall is minimal (unlike Indianapolis this morning). Rain on parched ground soaks up the available water and never seems to get enough.
- Fire–As long as there is combustible material, fire does not stop. Throw another log onto a raging fire, and it burns and burns.
So the examples in these verses all illustrate this principle of insatiable desire, and may have been intended to be used when confronting situations in which no matter how much is given, it will never be enough. This is just how some people are, which is draining to those around them. But as we know, they do not have to stay there.
She opens her mouth in wisdom, and covenantal instruction is on her lips.
The second part of this proverb praises the noble woman’s speech which is characterized as “instruction” of hesed. Hesed is tough to translate into an English word which would capture the whole range of its meaning. This particular translation underlines the connection between this word and the covenant. The word itself does not mean covenant, but it characterizes the type of relationship that exists between covenant partners.
Other translations highlight “kindness” or “loyalty,” “faithfulness,” “goodness.” All appropriate, but “covenantal” is intended to cover them all, thus rendering a more full translation of this rich Hebrew word. It also safeguards against the idea that her words are just generally kind. They are kind by flowing from the covenant between God and His people.
A crowd gathered, with the result that people couldn’t even get near the door as He was telling them the message. A party arrived: four people carrying a paralyzed man, bringing him to Jesus. They couldn’t get thru to Him because of the crowd, so they opened up the roof above where He was. When they had dug thru it, they used ropes to let down the stretcher the paralyzed man was lying on.
Here is a great illustration of a hunger for God. Here is a real desire for Him and faith in what He can do. We do what we really want to do, and we let nothing stay in the way of it. And as we’ve said lately, Jesus can only work with desire, e.g. He could not do many miracles there because of their unbelief. (As always, I defer to mystery as there have been many situations where YHWH called those who were not necessarily looking for Him, i.e. Paul the apostle. But you know what I mean here, I think.)
God is looking for those who seek Him, those who seek Him from their heart, not just their intellect. Think of playing hide & seek. What do you do as the seeker? You look hard for the person(s). You look under and behind things until you have found them, if you’re really playing at all.
There is God’s part, and there is our part. Belief is obviously a main ingredient for our part. There is the mystery of “I have chosen you, you have not chosen Me.” I see desire, hunger, thirst that comes after belief, or regeneration of the heart by the Holy Spirit. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. A genuine hunger and thirst is sought to be satisfied. Here is our part, our following hard after God.
So along these lines, I’ve been thinking about Jesus Paid It All, and also that discipleship is costly. I love the paradoxes of God and Scripture. There’s no way around them. Embrace them or else be confounded into oblivion!
The picture I’ve had the past few days that is helping me is this: Let’s say the most amazing experience you can ever have here is climbing Mt. Everest. And let’s say the fee to scale it is an impossible 1 trillion dollars, an amount we are likely never to see ourselves, let alone ever earn. But some long-haired dude, who is the absolute nicest, most loving guy you’ve ever met, pays the entire fee for you. Apparently he’s loaded. So does that automatically put you on top of Mt. Everest? Of course not! You’ve got to train your fat booty off and put in considerable effort, at the cost of no longer eating donuts and sitting around watching tv for hours, so that you are in shape to get up that monster. But oh how worth it when you are there. How exciting the journey! I’ve been up only around 13,000 feet on a couple of my hiking trips, able to see about a hundred miles in every direction, and that was breathtakingly beyond words to describe the feeling and experience of being up there. The hard work involved to get my 200 pound extra large butt up there made it much sweeter than if I was dropped there by helicopter.
You get what I’m saying, Jesus paid our impossible entrance fee, for entrance into the presence of God which was not available to all people before Jesus tore that curtain in two. But it is up to us to take full advantage of what He purchased for us. It is worth every ounce of effort to go against this ridiculous, seemingly incompatible society to follow Jesus, to put Him first every day and fill ourselves with God and the things of God, crowding out all that is not God or of God. We are going against the stream that screams at us to stay busy doing so many things, some good, some valueless.
“The stream that screams.”
I like that. I’m gonna use that.
Let’s fight together to train for Everest. We can’t do it on our own. It is worth the sacrifice to experience the presence and goodness of God in a tangible way in this life, to experience shalom. But I do not believe we are carried to the top of the mountain. It does not appear to be God’s design. Thank God (literally) that He paid that entrance fee!*
I would like to share a text message I got yesterday from someone who gets this and asks good questions on seeking:
“Those who seek Me diligently find me”…This clearly states that there is a human responsibility to seek God before the blessing of His presence (right?) It’s not a “let go and let God” but there is a responsibility on our part, to do the will of God and run after Him (as hard as that can be at times) and in return, you will find Him.
Meaning the Holy Spirit will be so present in you? God won’t seem like a distant intangible being, but truly like a father?
Ok…so it’s kind of like God calling our bluff on a “raise my hand and say the prayer for an eternal safety net to be in place”…He will not be found in that. It’s a diligent hunt for God (Bible, prayer, meditation, fellowship, church, worship, obedience) in the meantime the knowledge of Him is grown intellectually but more importantly through the Holy Spirit, a language that fills in the (large) gaps left when you try and understand Him solely on an intellectual level. Love sprouts, He waters it. The love and faith grow and the unbelief and doubt dwindle until there is nothing but a full on love relationship?
*I realize that this is not a perfect analogy, but hope it is at least somewhat helpful in comprehending this mystery!