A quiet, very modest meal in a peaceful, quiet atmosphere is much better than a rich man's feast with its strife and contention. That is what the writer of Proverbs tells us. When you consider the table of Solomon as you read this - you realize that being the richest man with the most awesome feasts in history may not have been all that fantastic. You can see king Solomon thinking in his head that things may have been better without all the pomp and revelry that surrounded his royal banquets.
We read today that the relative tranquility with which you take your meal may do more for you than the meal itself. You can have a feast fit for a king - and yet if is it filled with stress and strife - it will yield indegestion. You can find yourself sick as a dog when you are filled not just with food, but also with worry and the wrestlings of bad relationships. Thus a dry morsel of food with a quiet, gracious atmosphere is better than the finest feasts of the rich.
This word "quietness" is a word we all would like to experience. It is the Hebrew word "shalvah" and it means a sense of security, prosperity, and quietness. It indicates a lack of anxiety and ease. The concept here of prosperity evidently does not speak of riches, but rather of the security and peace that come from not having to be concerned about things. Though the world may trick us for a time - we will eventually long for this more than for all that the world can give us.
The other state of mind - strife - comes from the Hebrew word "rib" and means a controversy, a contention, strife. It arises from disputes and quarrels and usually involves open hostilities and a clamoring of others for action on their behalf. Oh, what a horrid meal is experienced when we try to enjoy a meal with this kind of atmosphere and attitude present.
Peace and tranquility . . . these are often overlooked in our world's torrid search for wealth, riches, and affluence. Too bad that as they are overlooked and passed by the one searching for the other doesn't mark where they are found. The truth is that one day in spite of all the wealth, fame, and abundance of things - they will lon for peace. Better to have the simple meal and peace - than all the wealth in the world and an ulcer with it.