The Causeless Curse
1. This proverb is designed to encourage the faint of heart.
2. It is designed to bring comfort to the hearts of those who worry needlessly about the “causeless curse.”
1. Solomon uses two “bird” illustrations to make his point.
a. Sorry to all the bird lovers, but birds do not have a very good reputation in the Bible.
b. They are portrayed as dumb, evil, or both.
c. Job 39:14-15 – speaks disparagingly about the ostrich – as a dumb bird that buries her eggs and forgets where she buried them.
d. Lam. 4:3 – speaks of the ostrich as being cruel.
e. Prov. 7:23 – speaks of dumb birds hastening into the trap set for them.
f. Rev. 18:2 – Birds are spoken of as unclean and hateful: Babylon has “become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.”
2. In this proverb they are pictured as wandering and flying about overhead aimlessly and harmlessly.
a. Most people don’t worry about a harmless dove or swallow flying overhead… that is unless you have a severe case of ornithophobia – an irrational fear of birds.
b. They might make a lot of noise, but they are really quite harmless.
A. The Curse Causeless
1. The Curse
a. Defined: Curse; imprecation; to bring to a lower or lesser state or condition; the invoking of divine harm under certain conditions; this noun describes the general speaking of ill-will against another.
b. It is closely related to a word that means to mock, deride, ridicule, or scorn.
c. Solomon is not speaking about a divine curse invoked by the Lord as a judgment upon a person.
d. Rather, he is speaking about a curse that another person invokes against someone he seeks to demean.
e. This is not the curse of a pagan priest or witchdoctor.
f. This is more like the many imprecations found in the Old Testament, especially in the Psalms.
g. For example:
• May your children be dashed upon a stone!
• May you rot in hell!
h. In general, a curse is wishing ill for others.
i. The curse often comes in the form of a threat.
j. They are designed to hurt and cause pain.
k. They are designed to cause you to inflict fear, anxiety, worry, distress or even panic.
2. A causeless curse
a. Causeless defined: Gratuitously; for nothing; freely; undeservedly; especially of groundless hostility or attack; for no purpose; in vain; not having a basis or ground for an argument.
b. Thus, the causeless curse is an imprecation, a vicious insult, or ridicule that that has no basis in reality.
• It is a groundless accusation or threat.
• It is a form of derision that is malicious but given for nothing… it is vain… it has no real point or purpose other than for the one cursing to vent his anger in your direction.
• Solomon speaks here of someone who is being cursed or condemned for something that is not worthy of a curse or condemnation.
• They may condemn you for your politics or religion.
• They may condemn you for your skin color or ethnicity.
• They may mock you because of your looks, clothing, or just for being different from them.
c. It is the kind of threat or malicious speech that was intended to hurt your feelings, but has no basis in reality.
d. There was no good reason for them to say such a thing… it was causeless.
Ps. 109:17-18 – he loved cursing; let it come to him.
B. Shall Not Come
1. “Shall not come” defined:
a. Come/go; i.e., make linear movement of a general kind; have an event or state happen or come to pass.
2. Solomon is speaking about a “curse” (imprecation; mockery; threat) which is groundless and it will not come to pass.
a. When someone curses you without a cause (with no grounds; a baseless curse; a senseless curse or threat), then it will not come to pass.
b. Nothing will come of it… it was causeless and vain… an empty threat… idle words.
c. Num.23:8 – “How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? or how shall I defy, whom the LORD hath not defied?” Balaam sought to curse Israel but was unable to do so. Nothing came of it.
d. Of course, this is a proverb – which is a truth stated in generalities.
e. Normally such curses and threats never come to pass. There may be a few exceptions, but the rule is that they most often come to nothing.
f. Most such curses are idle threats. They are just malicious words that never come to pass.
3. That is the point of this proverb: Solomon is making a statement about those who curse others without cause.
a. They are really weak and powerless people.
b. They scream loudly and speak maliciously, but they have no ability to bring it to pass. They are nothing but hot air.
c. Thus, those who “curse” without cause are both wicked and weak.
d. They are NOT to be feared.
4. These kinds of curses, threats, or malicious words are likened to a dumb bird wandering about aimlessly.
a. Birds fly from tree to tree and wander in the sky. They fly overhead and do a lot of chirping, but can do you no harm.
b. So too, such idle threats and malicious words are nothing to worry about… they will do no more harm than a swallow flying overhead.
c. Goliath bellowed out some frightful curses against little David, but the curses were ineffective… powerless… and did not come to pass. Eventually those words flew away like a little sparrow in the sky and were gone. They were empty words…
5. Thus, Solomon is attempting to instill courage, strength of character, and comfort into the hearts of those who are thus maligned.
a. In verse one Solomon noted that a fool should not be given a position of honor.
b. In this proverb, Solomon states that a fool with a big mouth should not be feared. He can shoot of his mouth, but is really weak and powerless.
c. There are many timid souls in the world who hear words of cursing and condemnation and take those words to heart.
• Ex: “You’re nothing but a dumb Irishman and you’ll never amount to anything!”
• A timid soul might take that to heart… and actually believe it… and it can become a self-fulfilling prophesy.
• Solomon says that since the curse is causeless and unfounded, it should not be feared.
• It will not come to pass. It is as harmless as a loud, chirping swallow flying overhead.
b. What a good message for young people in the Facebook generation to hear.
• We have heard of several stories of young people who were threatened or cursed or ridiculed on the internet, and were so devastated, they committed suicide.
• To those cursed and ridiculed, Solomon has words of encouragement: don’t fear the mocker.
• He is wicked but weak; has a big mouth but is all words; he sounds frightening but nothing shall come of his threats. He is like the little man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz… nothing to fear.
• The little swallow never lights upon us; neither will the causeless curse light upon us.
• Fear of the causeless curse leveled against us is as irrational as ornithophobia: an irrational fear of harmless birds.
• Most of the things we worry about never come to pass. A fear of the one who screams out curses is just one more example.
• Ps. 27:1 – “The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”