Verses 1-4 – There is a need for instruction. “Instruction” is speaking of the need for correction or chastisement “Instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
To be “brutish” is a sign of stupidity; and foolishness.
Verses 5-7 – The thoughts, purposes or devices of the righteous are right. The advice of the wicked are deceitful. This compares the counsel of the righteous with the wicked.
The wicked and the righteous are again compared in verses 6 and 7.
Verses 8-11 – Acting and/or speaking with wisdom gains the respect of others.
“Prov. 12:9–11 These are sayings about ordinary workers that illustrate either the “good sense” or the “twisted mind” of v. 8. Lack bread (end of v. 9) is paralleled by lacks sense (end of v. 11), and both verses speak of the importance of prudent labor in order to provide enough to eat. The point of the whole is that the righteous person cares even for his animals (v. 10a) and provides for his household by a sensible perspective on life (v. 9a) and sensible labors (v. 11a). By contrast, he who follows worthless pursuits (v. 11; such as get-rich-quick schemes, gambling, or lotteries, in a modern context) lacks sense and, by contrast with the first half of the verse, will probably live in poverty as well (cf. 28:19).” ESV Study Bible notes
Verses 12-14 – Sensible labor and worthless pursuits are in contrast in these verses. Those who practice sensible labors have a yield of fruit. Those who go in worthless pursuits find themselves ensnared.
Verses 15-23 – The foolish person has the perspective of being right in his/her own eyes, and can rarely if ever be taught anything contrary to what they see of themselves.
With verse 15 see the following verses: 3:7; 16:2; 21:2; 26:12; 14:12.
Note the contrast in the prudent and the foolish. Their words and their actions are the product of the heart.
Verses 24-28 – A contrast between the diligent and the slothful. The hard working individual is diligent about their tasks; and will see it through to completion. The slothful will find any excust not to even begin the job. See Proverbs 20:4.
With verse 25 see Proverbs 15:13 and Proverbs 17:22
-Tim A. Blankenship