Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Prov 17:2 A Servant's Inheritance

Pro 17:2  A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren.

In today's world, it may be difficult for us to get our heads around this verse, at first. We are far removed from the world in which this was written. In that era, it was common for wealthy people to have servants - in some nations that would be natives of another land, who were captured in conquests. Other servants were called "bond" servants, and would serve for six years, as set up in the Mosaic law. He would then choose to go free, or to remain a servant, but this time it would be forever. (Check out Exodus 21 for all the details.)

Many servants would then mature, marry, raise a family and grow old, all in the service of that one person that they had chosen for their master. (There is a whole other lesson that we could go into here, but I'll save it.) They became trusted members of that family; they were relied on and beloved. In some cases, their dependability and wisdom brought them nothing but love in return, but Solomon notes that it was possible for them to be rewarded in more tangible ways -- with an inheritance.

Let's see one example of this . . . in the book of Genesis, we find Abraham thinking about his son, Isaac, and anxious to find the "right" girl for him to marry.  He instructed his trusted servant to travel, bearing gifts, and told him what sign to observe, so that he would know the girl that God had chosen.  Abraham's servant is not even named in this passage, but without him, the Hebrew nation's history might have been quite different. The servant followed God's plan and his master's instructions, and all was well.  Because of his devotion and his service to his master, this servant may well have been rewarded with an inheritance when Abraham died.

We can find several stories in the Scripture of sons who caused disappointment to their fathers, and in that era, it was common for wayward or estranged sons to be left out of the inheritance plans of their dads. Solomon is noting here that a wise and trusted servant might well be rewarded for his devotion, while a son might not receive a portion.

Lord, thank you for being my Father, and preparing an eternal inheritance for me. Help me to be a wise and trusted servant.

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