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Love Makes Even Simple Things Delightful, and Hate Spoils Even the Best Things
Proverbs 15:17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is
than a fattened ox and hatred with it.
This verse suggests that a simple meal shared with love is better than a lavish feast shared with hatred. The idea is that love and positive relationships are more valuable than material possessions or indulgences.
Better – This is an comparative word indicating that one thing is superior to another.
Is a dinner of herbs – The phrase “dinner of herbs” refers to a simple meal, possibly made with vegetables or plants.
Where love is – The phrase “where love is” indicates that the presence of love is an important factor in determining the value or quality of the meal.
Than a fattened ox – The phrase “fattened ox” could refer to a sacrificial animal that has been made ceremonially unclean, or it could simply be a metaphor for a lavish or expensive feast.
And hatred with it – The phrase “hatred with it” means that hatred is present alongside the lavish feast.
Proverbs is a collection of wise sayings and teachings attributed to Solomon; the king of Israel completed in the late 8th century BCE. The book of Proverbs was likely written during this time period and is thought to have been compiled from a variety of sources.
In the historical and cultural context of ancient Israel, meals were an important social and cultural activity. Meals were often shared with friends and family and were seen as an opportunity to bond and strengthen relationships. In this context, the idea of a simple meal shared with love being better than a lavish feast shared with hatred would have held particular significance.
In addition, the value placed on material possessions and indulgences was likely different in ancient Israel than it is in modern times. In ancient Israel, wealth and material possessions were often seen as a sign of God’s favor and blessings, and people were expected to use their wealth to help others and to honor God. In this context, the idea that love and positive relationships are more valuable than material possessions would have had a strong moral and spiritual significance.
Overall, the verse says that a simple meal shared with love is superior to a lavish feast shared with hatred. The presence of love is seen as more valuable than material possessions or indulgences.