The contrast in verse 11Better is a dry morsel and quietness with it,
Than a house full of feasting with strife.
, rendered in a “better … than” construction, is simple and understandable. The wise will agree that poverty with peace is better than prosperity with strive (cf. Pro 15:16-1716Better is a little with the fear of the LORD
Than great treasure and turmoil with it.
17Better is a dish of vegetables where love is
Than a fattened ox [served] with hatred.). He prefers “quietness”, while there is no more than “a dry morsel” to satisfy the hunger, above “strife” with an abundance of food. The “dry morsel” is bread without anything that makes it easier and tastier to swallow it (cf. Rth 2:1414At mealtime Boaz said to her, “Come here, that you may eat of the bread and dip your piece of bread in the vinegar.” So she sat beside the reapers; and he served her roasted grain, and she ate and was satisfied and had some left.; Jn 13:2626Jesus then *answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.” So when He had dipped the morsel, He *took and *gave it to Judas, [the son] of Simon Iscariot.).
A sober meal “and quietness with it” means that those who participate in it, find satisfaction in the fellowship with God and with one another. In that way the sober meal becomes a festive meal. That is better than “a house full of feasting” whereby those who participate in it, are in conflict with one another. In that way the festive meal is immersed in bitterness. Abundance often comes together with a decrease of values and standards, with the result of an increase of jealousy and quarrel.
Here it looks like it is about offering animals, which were brought in the temple, God’s house, as peace offerings and of which those who brought the offerings were allowed to eat a portion together with others (Lev 3:1-171‘Now if his offering is a sacrifice of peace offerings, if he is going to offer out of the herd, whether male or female, he shall offer it without defect before the LORD.2He shall lay his hand on the head of his offering and slay it at the doorway of the tent of meeting, and Aaron’s sons the priests shall sprinkle the blood around on the altar.3From the sacrifice of the peace offerings he shall present an offering by fire to the LORD, the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails,4and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, which is on the loins, and the lobe of the liver, which he shall remove with the kidneys.5Then Aaron’s sons shall offer [it] up in smoke on the altar on the burnt offering, which is on the wood that is on the fire; it is an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the LORD.6But if his offering for a sacrifice of peace offerings to the LORD is from the flock, he shall offer it, male or female, without defect.7If he is going to offer a lamb for his offering, then he shall offer it before the LORD,8and he shall lay his hand on the head of his offering and slay it before the tent of meeting, and Aaron’s sons shall sprinkle its blood around on the altar.9From the sacrifice of peace offerings he shall bring as an offering by fire to the LORD, its fat, the entire fat tail which he shall remove close to the backbone, and the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails,10and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, which is on the loins, and the lobe of the liver, which he shall remove with the kidneys.11Then the priest shall offer [it] up in smoke on the altar [as] food, an offering by fire to the LORD.12‘Moreover, if his offering is a goat, then he shall offer it before the LORD,13and he shall lay his hand on its head and slay it before the tent of meeting, and the sons of Aaron shall sprinkle its blood around on the altar.14From it he shall present his offering as an offering by fire to the LORD, the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails,15and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, which is on the loins, and the lobe of the liver, which he shall remove with the kidneys.16The priest shall offer them up in smoke on the altar [as] food, an offering by fire for a soothing aroma; all fat is the LORD’S.17It is a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings: you shall not eat any fat or any blood.’”; 7:28-3428Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,29“Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘He who offers the sacrifice of his peace offerings to the LORD shall bring his offering to the LORD from the sacrifice of his peace offerings.30His own hands are to bring offerings by fire to the LORD. He shall bring the fat with the breast, that the breast may be presented as a wave offering before the LORD.31The priest shall offer up the fat in smoke on the altar, but the breast shall belong to Aaron and his sons.32You shall give the right thigh to the priest as a contribution from the sacrifices of your peace offerings.33The one among the sons of Aaron who offers the blood of the peace offerings and the fat, the right thigh shall be his as [his] portion.34For I have taken the breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the contribution from the sons of Israel from the sacrifices of their peace offerings, and have given them to Aaron the priest and to his sons as [their] due forever from the sons of Israel.). To have strife while eating the peace offering, is in contrast with its character. In the church at Corinth, such a situation happened. The believers felt themselves to be spiritually rich, but there was division among them. Paul admonishes them about it (1Cor 11:17-3417But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse.18For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it.19For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.20Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper,21for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk.22What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you.23For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread;24and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”25In the same way [He took] the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink [it], in remembrance of Me.”26For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.27Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.28But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.29For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.30For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.31But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged.32But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.33So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.34If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you will not come together for judgment. The remaining matters I will arrange when I come.).
The proverb in verse 22A servant who acts wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully,
And will share in the inheritance among brothers.
is about “a servant who acts wisely” and who in the service for his lord takes well advantage of all his capacities. The behavior of the servant stands against the behavior of the son of that particular lord. The son is living a wicked life. His father is ashamed of it. He disinherits his son and instead he makes the servant to become fellow-heir of the brothers, which means that he adopts him as son. In that way the servant gets a place above the disinherited son, with the result that he rules over the son.
It is an encouragement to all who are faithful in their work. Faithfulness is rewarded with a position of ruling and the sharing of the inheritance of the family. One who serves in humility, is placed above one who has a certain position, but behaves himself unworthy of that position.
The first line of verse 33The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold,
But the LORD tests hearts. makes clear what the intention is of the second line of the verse. As silver and gold are heated in “the refining pot” and in “the furnace”, in order to refine precious metals more and more, the LORD tests the hearts (Mal 3:2-42“But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap.3He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness.4Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the LORD as in the days of old and as in former years.; 1Pet 1:6-76In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,7so that the proof of your faith, [being] more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;; cf. Isa 48:1010“Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.
; Zec 13:99“And I will bring the third part through the fire,
Refine them as silver is refined,
And test them as gold is tested.
They will call on My name,
And I will answer them;
I will say, ‘They are My people,’
And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’”). God examines every thought and every motive. Those examinations and tests are always for the increase of the value of him who is being refined.
By the heat of trials God wants to purify the hearts of His own from everything that stands in the way to make Christ visible. The godly person himself also asks God to do that to him (Psa 26:22Examine me, O LORD, and try me;
Test my mind and my heart.
). In that mind we are able to eat the peace offering with quietness (verse 11Better is a dry morsel and quietness with it,
Than a house full of feasting with strife.
) and are we worthy of being heirs (verse 22A servant who acts wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully,
And will share in the inheritance among brothers.