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Proverbs 9:17-18 Waters and Bread a Detailed Study

Posted by adventbiblestudy on November 2, 2008


KJV Proverbs 9:17-18
17. Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. 18. But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.

Look at the physical. Stolen waters may be sweet to the thief thinking they have gotten away with something for free. Water may not be expensive so this verse may be referring to water that is stolen after another person has put the work into drawing it up out of a well. Much like the shepherds that were about to steal the water from the daughters of Midian, before Moses helped them. “Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. And the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.” KJV Exodus 2:16-17

We also see bread eaten in secret is pleasant. This creates a picture of a person eating bread inside of a closet, hiding themselves, not taking a chance of being seen. How could hiding yourself to eat plain bread be a pleasant experience? Since this does not make much sense in a physical nature there must be a spiritual meaning to the text.

Water

KJV James 3:10-11
10. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. 11. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?

KJV Isaiah 17:12
12. Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters!

KJV Isaiah 57:20
20. But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.

KJV Revelation 12:15-16
15. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 16. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.

KJV Psalms 29:3
3. The voice of the Lord is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the Lord is upon many waters.

KJV Proverbs 18:4
4. The words of a man’s mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.

KJV Proverbs 20:5
5. Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.

KJV Isaiah 12:3
3. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.

KJV Mark 1:8
8. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.

KJV 1 John 5:5-6
5. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? 6. This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

KJV 1 John 5:7-9
7. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 9. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.

KJV Revelation 7:17
17. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

KJV John 4:13-14
13. Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14. But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

Water

The Bible makes it clear that there are multiple spiritual meanings for the word water. Water can be used to represent a group of evil people, nations and bitterness used by Satan. Water also represents the Spirit, Christ, the word of God and everlasting life.

Bread

KJV Proverbs 4:17
17. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.

KJV Proverbs 20:17
17. Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.

KJV 1 Corinthians 5:8
8. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

KJV Amos 8:11
11. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord:

KJV John 6:35
35. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

KJV John 6:51
51. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

Bread
The word bread also has multiple spiritual meanings. Bread can be used to represent wickedness and deceit. Bread also represents sincerity, truth and the word of God. Bread is also used to represent Christ.

KJV Proverbs 9:17-18
17. Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. 18. But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.

To paraphrase Proverbs 9:17-18

Because the words water and bread have multiple meanings we can write the paraphrase using each of the spiritual meanings.

Stolen deceits (waters) are sweet, and bitterness (bread) in secret is pleasant. But they do not know the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.

When we look at the literal translation we see that the word eaten is added to the King James translation.

LIT Proverbs 9:17

17. |4325| waters |1589| Stolen |4985| are sweet, |3899| and bread |5643| {in} secret |5276| is pleasant.

When we look at the paraphrase using the spiritual interpretations of the words water and bread we see it agrees with the physical characteristics of the original text. The spiritual meaning helps to explain a deeper meaning lying just below the surface. When people steal things they think they may experience a sweet feeling when they feel they will not be caught. This is the same feeling people may have while harboring bitter feelings in secret. But the end for both lies in the depths of hell.

We can also paraphrase the text using the other spiritual meanings for the words water and bread.

Stealing the word of God and the faith of Christ is sweet, and the truth of Christ in secret is pleasant.

This paraphrase also seems to be accurate when looking only at verse 17, but when we add verse 18 it raises questions. ” But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.” Proverbs 9:18

Following are a couple of verses that will help us to understand this predicament.

KJV Revelation 12:15-16

15. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. 16. And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.

KJV 1 Corinthians 5:8

8. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

Revelation 12 shows us the serpent, Satan, can use water. When this water is spiritually interpreted as the word of God it shows that Satan has the potential to use scripture for his own purpose. This is further explained in Matthew chapter 4. Satan used scripture to tempt Christ.

1 Corinthians explains the same concept used for the word bread. There are two types of bread. God used unleavened bread to symbolize the pure word. Bread containing leaven represents God’s word that has been tainted, signifying that something has been added. The bread has been altered from it’s pure form.

Looking at the second paraphrase we can now begin to understand the conflict.

Stealing the word of God and the faith of Christ is sweet, and the truth of Christ in secret is pleasant.

Our first clue is given in the fact the word of God is stolen. Who would steal the word of God and the faith of Jesus and what would they do with it? The second disturbing statement we see tells us the truth of Christ is in secret is pleasant. Now we can see how verse 18 helps us to understand the spiritual meaning of verse 17. “But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.” Proverbs 9:18

Now the spiritual meaning to this text becomes clear. It is in fact a warning telling us there will be people twisting the word of God to serve their own purpose. We have been given an example when Christ was tempted in the wilderness. Satan will continue changing the word of God and use people to deliver his twisted message. Satan is the one who wants to keep the truth of Christ in a secret place.

One Response to “Proverbs 9:17-18 Waters and Bread a Detailed Study”

  1. Janet Rigarlsford said

    I am still not sure I fully understand vs. 18.

    Like

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