Churning, Wringing, and Forcing

Saturday, April 20, 2013

“Surely the churning of milk bringeth forth butter, and the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood: so the forcing of wrath bringeth forth strife” (Proverbs 30:33 KJV).

There is more to today’s Scripture than meets the eye….

Today’s Scripture is an example of parallelism. Note the gerunds “churning, wringing, forcing” and their corresponding nouns “butter, blood, strife.” This grammatical structure is a teaching technique that God the Holy Spirit utilizes here in His Word to reinforce both comparison and distinction. He helps us understand deeper concepts by using simpler, more familiar ones.

Interestingly, one Hebrew word, miyts, is translated to render three diverse English words—“churning,” “wringing,” and “forcing.” Nevertheless, these three different English terms convey the same concept: effort vigorously applied to achieve a desired result.

So, what does today’s Scripture mean? It should be pretty obvious. If you churn (stir) milk long enough, butter will be produced. If you twist someone’s nose long enough, blood will gush out. If you anger someone long enough, strife (fighting) will result. (Notice the parallelism in this paragraph.)

“The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with” (Proverbs 17:14). This verse likens the beginning of strife to a giant wall of water rushing forth—you had better leave quickly, or you will literally be swept away by a flood of conflict!

One of the main reasons why sinful man wants to argue is pride. He does not want to admit that he is wrong, that he is not the final authority, and that he is a feeble frame of dust that is subject to fallibility. Having one individual like this is bad enough, but when two such persons are gathered together, our Lord Jesus Christ anticipated the outcome—anger and a disagreement that, if not settled in a Christian manner, may never be resolved.

Today’s Scripture could not be simpler. If you do not want butter, churn not the milk. If you do not want blood to come forth, wring not the nose. If you do not want the argument, force not the anger.