The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field.
Can you do economic analysis? God and Solomon expect you to. If you cannot, or will not, you are heading for financial poverty. You will not be alone, for many in this lazy generation think no more about the future than counting the days to their next paycheck. But your Creator inspired a divine library to help you prosper financially over them.
King Solomon, God’s preacher to you for practical wisdom and success, wrote an extended lesson to warn you about the ever-changing economic landscape (Pr 27:23-27). He knew men must prudently consider their means of income, for financial or business success never stays the same and even the most secure positions are soon lost.
In an agrarian society, maximizing the yield of fields to support an estate required careful examination of all species of livestock and plants used to generate food, clothing, and revenue. In this short section, he listed flocks, herds, hay, grass, herbs, lambs, and goats – a diversified business enterprise for sure. Diversification is prudent, but it is not enough.
For each animal and plant segment of operations, a wise man analyzed its vitality and yield, market prices for its product, and compared these to maximize total revenue with the least risk. This is no small task. Farmers may be lightly esteemed by many, but they are often sharp businessmen, even using futures markets to hedge their business plan.
This proverb identified lambs and goats, two segments of the business. Lambs are only the offspring of sheep, and goats with their peculiarities may not be an exciting venture, but they are both necessary. The lambs produce wool for clothing and grow into sheep, and goats can grow and produce milk on almost nothing, giving value to inferior land.
What is the lesson for you? You must analyze each part of your economic endeavors and alter your plans to maximize profit and minimize risk in a changing world. Is your industry growing or decaying? Is your company competitive within your industry? Is your position valuable in your company? Are your skills in demand and marketable? Could you or someone else add another business? What is the prudent expected return?
Do you know the market value of your house? Are you over-exposed to real estate fluctuations? Is it insured? Have you done everything to minimize taxes? Are your investments wise in light of worldwide economic changes and your government’s fiscal policies? Are you diversified? Are you financially liquid to take advantage of exceptional opportunities that might become available? These are some financial duties from God.
If these questions intimidate or confuse you, then you should consult with some wise counselors, either professionals or your successful friends, and let them help you analyze your economic situation. Solomon taught that there is safety in a multitude of wise counselors (Pr 15:22). With their assistance, you can keep the wisdom of this proverb.
What a blessing – the Christian scriptures! From the origin of the universe to its soon renovation, from the attributes of God to the details of salvation, the Bible deals with your whole life, including economic safety and success. Those ignorant of the Bible think it an outdated and impractical doctrinal textbook, but this proverb should open your eyes.
Thank God for inspiring Solomon to write you about the necessary parts of your life – making a living and building a family estate. Read the related commentaries of the verses surrounding this one (Pr 27:23-27). Exalt God’s word by hearing it preached or explained regularly, and by all means obey the wisdom God has conveyed to you for your profit.