instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Whenever I notice that the Lectionary elides a verse or two in a reading, I wonder why. Sometimes it makes the reading more cohesive, sometimes it makes the homilist's life easier, sometimes there's no particularly evident reason.

Today's first reading, for example, is Proverbs 21:1-6,10-13. When I saw that, I asked myself what it is about Proverbs 7, 8, and 9 that They Didn't Want You to Know. Here are the first 13 verses of Proverbs 21, with the elided verses emboldened:
  1. A king’s heart is channeled water in the hand of the LORD; God directs it where he pleases.
  2. All your ways may be straight in your own eyes, but it is the LORD who weighs hearts.
  3. To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
  4. Haughty eyes and a proud heart—the lamp of the wicked will fail.
  5. The plans of the diligent end in profit, but those of the hasty end in loss.
  6. Trying to get rich by lying is chasing a bubble over deadly snares.
  7. The violence of the wicked will sweep them away, because they refuse to do what is right.
  8. One’s path may be winding and unfamiliar, but one’s conduct is blameless and right.
  9. It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop than in a mansion with a quarrelsome woman.
  10. The soul of the wicked desires evil; their neighbor finds no pity in their eyes.
  11. When scoffers are punished the naive become wise; when the wise succeed, they gain knowledge.
  12. The Righteous One appraises the house of the wicked, bringing down the wicked to ruin.
  13. Those who shut their ears to the cry of the poor will themselves call out and not be answered.
I suppose I could, if my GPA depended upon it, cobble together a sequence of words that bore a superficial resemblance to a reason for leaving vv 7-9 out of the reading. Though I have to say it would be a lot easier if "chasing a bubble over deadly snares" was included in the elision.

If I had not abjured the cynicism of my youth, I might think v. 9 was left out to spare pastors the ire of quarrelsome female daily communicants, with vv 7-8 as cover with which to plausibly deny it.

Here, by the way, are the elided verses in Douay-Rheims translation:
  1. The robberies of the wicked shall be their downfall, because they would not do judgment.
  2. The perverse way of a man is strange: but as for him that is pure, his work is right.
  3. It is better to sit in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling women, and in a common house. 
I don't have a clear preference for one translation over the other across all three verses. "They refuse to do what is right" works better, I think, than "they would not do judgment." On the other hand, the Douay-Rheims has it all over the NABRE with v. 8. And I personally like the idea of combining the two on v. 9, to get "than in a mansion with a brawling woman." (You can't say that's irrelevant to life today; entire cable television networks are built upon that proverb.)