Proverbs 30:33 MEANING

Proverbs 30:33
(33) Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter. . . .--The same word is used in the Hebrew for the three which appear in the Authorised Version, "churning," "wringing," and "forcing." The sense will be, "For (as) pressure on milk produces butter, and pressure on the nose produces blood, (so) pressure on wrath (violence towards a hot-tempered person) produces anger." (Comp. Proverbs 15:1.)

Verse 33. - Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter. The same word, mits, is used for "churning," "wringing," and "forcing;" it means "pressure" in all the cases, though with a different application. At the present day milk is churned in the East by enclosing it in a leathern bottle, which is then suspended in the air and jerked to and fro till the butter is produced. This process could scarcely be called "pressure," though, possibly, the squeezing of the udder is meant, as the Septuagint and Vulgate take it. But most probably the reference is to cheese, the term used, chemah, being applied indifferently to curdled milk and cheese. To produce this substance, the curdled milk is put into little baskets of rush or palm leaves, tied closely, and then pressed under heavy stones. What the proverb says is that, as the pressure applied to milk produces cheese, and as pressure applied to the nose brings blood, so the pressure of wrath bringeth forth strife; the irritation and provocation of anger occasion quarrels and contentions. They say in Malabar, remarks Lane, "Anger is a stone cast into a wasp's nest." Septuagint, "Press out milk, and there shall be butter; and if thou violently squeeze the nostrils, blood will come forth; and if thou draw forth words, there will come forth quarrels and strifes." It is the third clause which is important, and to which the others lead up; and the verse must be taken in connection with the preceding, as enforcing the duty of self-restraint and silence under certain circumstances. Some of the Fathers, commenting on the Vulgate rendering (Qui fortiter premit ubera ad eliciendum lac, exprimit butyrum; et qui vehementer emungit, elicit sanguinem), apply the passage to the handling of the Word of God. Thus St Gregory ('Moral.,' 21:3), "Divine sentences require sometimes to be viewed externally, sometimes to be explored internally. For we 'press the udder strongly' when we weigh with minute understanding the word of sacred revelation, by which way of pressing whilst we seek milk, we find butter, because, whilst we seek to be fed with but a little insight, we are anointed with the abundance of interior richness. Which, nevertheless, we ought neither to do too much, nor at all times, lest, while milk is sought for from the udder, there should follow blood. For very often, persons, whilst they sift the words of sacred revelation more than they ought, fall into a carnal apprehension. For 'he draws forth blood who wringeth violently.' Since that is rendered carnal which is perceived by an overgreat sifting of the spirit" (Oxford transl.).

30:24-28. Four things that are little, are yet to be admired. There are those who are poor in the world, and of small account, yet wise for their souls and another world. 29-33. We may learn from animals to go well; also to keep our temper under all provocations. We must keep the evil thought in our minds from breaking out into evil speeches. We must not stir up the passions of others. Let nothing be said or done with violence, but every thing with softness and calmness. Alas, how often have we done foolishly in rising up against the Lord our King! Let us humble ourselves before him. And having found peace with Him, let us follow peace with all men.Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter,.... Or the pressing of it. This is a thing well known and certain, that of milk, when pressed out of the udder, and put into a churn, and there is shook together, by a constant violent agitation or motion, called churning, butter is produced; and cheese is sometimes called pressed milk (y), and is pressed with the runnet, and by the hand also (z);

and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: a too violent compression of it, or forcible blowing of it, in order to purge it from any impurity in it; instead of doing which it may break the tender skin, and bring forth blood, which may be of bad consequence;

so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife; irritating the passions of men, and provoking them by scurrilous and reproachful words to wrath and anger, produce contentions, feuds, and lawsuits, which are not soon and easily ended; and therefore such a conduct should be carefully avoided. The same word is used in the three clauses, and signifies pressing, squeezing, forcing.

(y) "Pressi copia lactis", Virgil. Bucolic. eclog. 1. v. 82. "Et lactia massa coacti", Ovid. Metamorph. l. 8. v. 666. (z) "Causem bubulum manu presssum", Sueton. in Octav. c. 76.

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