Some of the statements in Proverbs look strikingly similar to those made by modern-day conservative policymakers. Take, for example, Representative Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), who, arguing that poorer people should pay more for health care, recently said, “Those people who lead good lives, they’re healthy.” It’s not quite a direct quote from Proverbs, but it’s not too far from these: “The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry” (Proverbs10:3) and “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich” (Proverbs 10:4). In short: Proverbs is probably the most Republican book of the entire Bible.
Proverbs is really a collection—or, more accurately, a collection of collections. Some of these sayings have very ancient origins, including one section that is clearly dependent on an Egyptian wisdom treatise from the second millennium B.C. Overall, though, the book was put together rather late—and not, as tradition holds, by King Solomon—and generally deals with questions of how to live a righteous life.
For example: Just this past July 5, Rubio tweeted, “They will die from lack of discipline, lost because of their great folly. Proverbs 5:23.” Of course, it’s not all diligence and righteousness—in Proverbs, faith in God, too, will keep you away from things like poverty and failure. On June 16, Rubio tweeted, “Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”
Other Republicans appear to have a thing for Proverbs, too. Ben Carson, during the 2016 presidential campaign, compared himself favorably to the blustery style of then-candidate Donald Trump by quoting Proverbs 22:4: “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches and honor and life.” Gerald Ford’s favorite Bible passage was Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust wholeheartedly in Yahweh [the Lord], put no faith in your own perception; in every course you take, have him in mind: He will see that your paths are smooth.” Ford repeated this when he served in the Navy during World War II, throughout his presidency and in his swearing-in.
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