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This blog site will feature essays, columns and musings that deal with the intersection of Christianity and journalism and the American Songbook.

Christian journalist: Be careful and appropriate in your sentiments (Proverbs 27:14)

Proverb 27:14, “Whoever blesses his neighbor with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, will be counted as cursing.”

Exegesis and Application

Here we have Solomon taking someone’s misapplication of a proverb to a new level: the use of a good thing (blessing) in an inappropriate setting (morning) will be a bad thing. The Hebrew word for “blessing” here is “baruk” which can mean “to salute” or “to wish well,” or “to go in favor and peace,” thus “to greet.” The mature Christian (the wise man) must learn to say the right thing, in the right way at the right time or else the purpose of saying it is defeated. A desired blessing becomes a curse. There is no evidence that Solomon is teaching the blessing is insincere, hypocritical or extravagant, it is just inappropriate.

What does this passage have to do with the Christian journalist?  This is a much more difficult situation for the Christian to navigate. Some commentators insist that the one giving the blessing is hypocritical in the enthusiastic and early morning greeting he gives his neighbor. This could be but it seems to me that the point of the proverb is not hypocrisy by inappropriate timing and expression.

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