Proverbs 25:16 and the Full Quiver Movement

I have just recently got finished with another discussion with some full quiver advocates. As most people know, full quiver advocates will repeat the mantra that children are a “blessing.” I have often challanged full quiver advocates to show, either from the Hebrew term hk’r’B., or from the context of any text where children are called a blessing, that children are somehow something that must be received.

I had one full quiver advocate with the screenname of Zenas argue a different tact. He tried to say that, if we are correct, then having another child when you could not reasonably afford them would mean that children were a financial burden. Since children are called a blessing, we must be wrong because blessing and financial burden are mutually exclusive ideas.

Now, I sat and thought about what the best way to answer this was for quite some time. I even posted a couple of posts that I don’t think got to the heart of what I was thinking. Then, I remembered this brilliant text from the book of Proverbs!:

`At*aqE)h]w: WN[,ªB’f.Ti÷-!P, &’Y<+D: lkoåa/ t'ac'm'â vb;äD.

[If] you find honey, eat [only] what you need, lest you have enough of it, and and vomit it up.

In this text, you clearly have the presentation of a blessing, namely, honey. Yet, this text says that you are to take only what you need, because too much of a blessing is still a bad thing. Consider the comments from these scholars:

Overindulgence transformed the sweet and healing honey into repulsive and sickening food. Ecclesiastes instantiates the exemplar of honey, too. In other words, “too much of anything is bad” (cf. Sir. 37:29).

Waltke, Bruce. The Book of Proverbs, Chapters 15-31. William B Eerdmans Publishing Company. Grand Rapids, Michigan.2005 p.326

These two proverbs are joined by their second cola, each warning against overdoing good things and the bad consequences that follow from such behavior….While both of these proverbs have their applications in a particular aspect of life (eating and social relationships), they still raise the question of application even more broadly. Too much of virtually any good thing will have negative consequences.

Longman, Tremper. Proverbs. Baker Academic. Grand Rapids, Michigan. 2006. p.455

Don’t overdo good things (v 16) even friendship (v 17). Just as you should not overindulge on sweets, so you shouldn’t overstay your welcome. However pleasant you may be, your neighbor will get fed up (in two senses) and “vomit” you out. Both verses can stand as separate proverbs and very likely were originally independent. In context, v 17 applies v 16 to a particular circumstance. The idea of v 16 is also stated in 25:27a and 27:7a.

Fox, Michael V. Proverbs 10-31, A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. Yale University Press. New Haven. 2009. p.785

This is important because, as you can see, JoyFullMom tried to ask whether God knows whether or not he has blessed us sick. Obviously, the simple response is, “Does God know when he has blessed us sick with honey? Does that mean we should always eat all the honey even if we “think” it is more than what we need?” The point of this text is that God expects his people to show moderation in relation to the blessings he deals out, because too much of any blessing is not a good thing. I never heard a satisfactory answer to this text.

There was something else I learned about full quiver advocates. When they talk about children as a blessing, what they really seem to mean is that they are a blessing in a way that nothing else is a blessing, and thus, they can be arbitrary in how they apply this idea that children are blessings. Even when they could not come up with a reason why I was comparing apples and oranges, I must be comparing apples and oranges, since children are uniquely a blessing. Also, the personal stories about how people had way more children then they could reasonably afford, and ended up financially okay were repeated over and over ad infinitum ad nauseum. Of course, they ignore all of the bad personal stories that come from this movement. This kind of arbitrariness was all over the thread.

Also, the lack of a sense of humor from some of these folks was amazing. Some of these folks, like JoyFullMom, did seem to have a great sense of humor. However, that was not the norm. I even made a little rhetorical joke. I was pointing out that only having twenty-five extra dollars a month to take care of a child in the current family budget was not realistic. Someone asked me who decides what twenty-five dollars “extra” was, thus, not getting at all what I was saying. So I responded with, “The federal reserve.” All he could say was, “huh?”

However, I do think the weakness in this movement is exegetical, and it really showed in their trying to deal with Proverbs 25:16. I would commend it to you as a text you can use in your discussions with full quiver advocates.

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One Response to “Proverbs 25:16 and the Full Quiver Movement”

  1. Grand Rapids Nightclub DJ Says:

    You’re the best, I really ejoyed reading this

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