The Virtuous Man; The Virtuous Woman

“The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.
What, my son? And what, the son of my womb? And what, the son of my vows?  Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.  Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.  Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.”  Proverbs 31:1-9 (KJB)

Man of Virtue; Woman of Virtue – Proverbs 31:1-31

No one is for certain who Lemuel was. The name means “Belonging to God”, and could be another name for Solomon.
We often hear about the woman/wife of verses 10-31, but little about the virtuous king/man in verses 1-9.
According to Strongs Dictionary of the Hebrew language “Virtuous” means ‘a force’ or ‘valour’, ‘strength’. Probably referring to moral excellence and strength or power.
1. The king should be virtuous in his judgment/justice and other decisions. He is to stand for the weak and defenseless.
The word “strength” (v. 3) is the same as the word “virtuous” of v. 10 [chayil; khah’-yil]. Not controlled by unethical women, nor by power, neither by mind altering drink or drugs. Only a virtuous/strong man or king can make righteous judgments. (vv. 1-9)

“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.  The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.  She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.  She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.  She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.  She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.  She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.  She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.  She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.  She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.  She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.”  Proverbs 31:10-22

2. The woman/wife of virtue. A force of moral integrity. Look at her value “far above rubies”. She has the “trust” of her husband; he knows she will not bankrupt their home and family – morally or financially (vv. 10-12).
She is a hard and diligent worker and wise shopper (vv. 13-15). She endeavors to increase her resources (vv. 16-19) She is thoughtful of others, and cares for her own (vv. 20-21).
The wife of virtue is an artist, designer, homebuilder, etc. (vv. 22-24).
“Strength” (v. 25) is a different [‘oz; oze] meaning “force, security, majesty, praise”. And honour are her clothing; her covering; her unashamed quality. This virtuous woman is honoredby her neighbors, her husband, her children.

“Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.  Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.  Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”  Proverbs 31:29-31

The virtuous woman is more concerned with the way her life and family appears, than her personal beauty. A woman who has the adoration of her family, friends, and neighbors due to her strength in the Lord has much, very much, and is praised by others (vv. 26-31).

The Wisdom of Agur

“The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal, surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man. I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.
Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? Who hath gathered the wind in His fists? Who hath bound the waters in a garment? Who hath established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is His Son’s name, if thou canst tell?
Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him.  Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.
Two things have I required of Thee; deny me them not before I die: remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: lest I be full, and deny Thee, and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.”  Proverbs 30:1-9 (KJB)

Agur’s Wisdom – Proverbs 30:1-33

“The words of Agur the son of Jakeh”. It is not known who Agur is. There is no other reference to this name in Scripture. Some have thought it to be reference to Solomon, as a nickname; but seems unlikely. There are some who believe that Agur was a court counselor to Solomon. Agur does begin the wisdom a bit differently than the other writings.

1. “The man declares, I am weary, O God; I am weary, O God, and worn out.” from ESV verse 1. It seems more likely that Agur is addressing pupils he might be teaching with the names of Ithiel and Ucal.
Agur seems also to be a man of humilty, note; “Surely I am more brutish [stupid] than any man, and have not the understanding of a man.” (v. 2-3).

2. Note the wisdom of his theology (v. 4). The obvious answers to these questions can only be “God”. Now look at his beliefs concerning Scripture (vv. 5-6); 1) It is pure; 2) God is a shield; 3) To add to the word of God makes one out a liar.

3. Agur asks for two things (vv. 7-9); 1) Give me neither poverty, nor riches; 2) Provide what I need to live.

4. The matter of slander is addressed in verse 10. See Psalms 15:3 & 101:5 “a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report” Dictionary.com

5. There are four types of evil characters in verses 11 – 14; 1) Those who do not respect their parents; 2) Those who are immoral, but refuse to acknowledge it; 3) Those who are arrogant; and 4) Those who take advantage of the poor, and enslave them. “There is a generation…”

6. There are five things in fours which are lessons wisdom can teach us. Verses 15-17 tells us of thing which have unquenchable thirst or hunger, that cannot be satisfied. Verses 18-20 tells us of things that are mysterious and wonderful; with a warning in verse 20. Verses 21-23 four things that are out of place, and unnatural. Verses 24-28 gives tell us of four tiny creatures who are prepared for life and living. Verses 29-31 tells us four things which have honor, and are without shame.

7. Verses 32 – 33 deal with those who involve themselves in everything of others; have a comment about others situation, and find themselves with bloody noses; or worse.

Detestation or Acceptation

“He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.
When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.
Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.
The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.”  Proverbs 29:1-4 (KJB)

Some thoughts from Proverbs 29:1-27

  1.  The ruin of stubborn, rebellious minds; and the value of the righteous (vv. 1-4; 16:12);
  2.  The practices of evil, and evil men leads to their own ensnaring (vv. 5-6);
  3.  The understanding of the righteous versus the evil; concerning the poor (v. 7; 28:50; Job 29:16; Psalm 41:1);
  4.  A description of the rage, havoc, and folly that accompany evil practices (vv. 8-11);
  5.  A wise king listens to good counsel (vv. 12-14);
  6.  A good society and good culture begin with the parents at home in the discipline and teaching of their children; guiding them in their lives with vision (vv. 15-18);
  7.  People in authority are wise to use words of positive and negative words with actions to discipline (vv. 19-22)
  8.  The fall of the proud (16:18( and the honor of the humble (v. 23);
  9.  The peril of the soul of a thief and his partner (v. 24);
  10.  Fearing God and/or fearing man – the contrast (vv. 25-26);
  11.  Righteousness and evil detest one another (v. 27),

“An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.” Proverbs 29:27

This detestation of evil for righteousness, and righteousness for evil is quite visible in our society and culture of 2019.

There is only One Righteous One, and He will give, and has given His righteousness to all who will call on His name.  He is Jesus the crucified, buried, and bodily risen One.  If you detest; that is hate; the Righteous One, then you will perish.

Having a Just Society

“The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.  For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state shall be prolonged.
A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.
They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.
Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all.
Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.
Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.”  Proverbs 28:1-7  (KJB)

Having a Just Society – Proverbs 28:1-28

Verses 1a, 4, 12, 15, 28 –   A look at the wicked.   The wicked are those who refuse to recognize the way of God, His Word, and refuse to submit themselves to Him; whether rich, or poor.  1.) The wicked see a conspiracy behind everything that is against them, and flee.  2.) For anyone to turn their backs on righteous laws is to give praise to the wicked who break those laws.  3.)  When the wicked rule and are in leadership people tend to hide.  4.)  Wicked rulers among poor people are as devastating as an angry growling lion (Job 24:4;  Prov. 19:12;  1 Peter 5:8).

Verses 2, 5, 8-9, 11, 16-17, 21-22, 25-26 –  A look at the wicked who are wealthy; leadership, rulers.  1.)  Many rulers, maybe “Big government” is a result of a wicked nation.  2.)  True justice is not understood by the unjust; and that goes along with exorbitant interest, profits, low wages, etc..  3.)  The unjust will be “cruel oppressors”, and will most likely have “blood on their hands” thus face eternal judgment.  4.)  Greed, partiality, will ultimately bring poverty into the lives of those who practice it – ultimate destruction.

Verses 3, 10a, 13, 24 –  The wicked poor.  1.)  You would think a poor man would be more understanding of the poor; but the wicked poor will stoop to the lowest degree in order to improve their own situation in life.  2.)  Destruction awaits those who would lead an upright individual astray – take Balaam as an example (Numbers 31:8, 16).  3.)  It is the tendency of all wicked people to cover their transgressions, and even refuse to believe they have transgressed (v. 24).

Verses 1b, 6-7, 10b, 12a, 14, 18-20, 23, 27 –  The way of righteousness.  1.)  The righteous have no reason to fear the thing so the world or of man; they have died to the wickedness of the world.  2.)  The poor upright are better off, and wise in God.  3.)  The Lord will bless those who are upright in the things he/she possesses.  4.)  There is glory and happiness in the fear of the LORD (vv. 12, 14).  5.)  Salvation, plenty, and blessings are the reward of the righteous.  6.)  A just and righteous tongue is favored; and gives to the poor, and shall not lack (vv. 23, 27)

Wounds of a Friend; the Kisses of an Enemy

“Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.
Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.
A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool’s wrath is heavier than them both.
Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?
Open rebuke is better than secret love.
Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”  Proverbs 27:1-6  (KJB)

– Proverbs 27:1-27

Verses 1-6 –  Boasting, pride, arrogance, leads to sorrow (vv. 1-2).  The anger and wrath of the cruel is heavier on their own lives than is a stone over a wells mouth (vv. 3-4).

“The rabbins have a curious story on this subject, and it has been formed by the moderns into a fable. There were two persons, one covetous and the other envious, to whom a certain person promised to grant whatever they should ask; but double to him who should ask last. The covetous man would not ask first, because he wished to get the double portion, and the envious man would not make the first request because he could not bear the thoughts of thus benefiting his neighbor. However, at last he requested that one of his eyes should be taken out, in order that his neighbor might lose both.”

The rebuke of a friend is sweeter than the flattery of an enemy (vv. 5-6).

Verses 7-10 –  “Prov. 27:7–10 These four proverbs each teach an element of wisdom that can stand on its own, but they have additional application when taken together. Verse 7 deals with honey, a pleasant treat, and v. 9 deals with oil and perfume, luxuries that here represent a banquet (an ancient host provided perfumed oils for his guests at a banquet). Also, v. 7 says that something bitter is sweet to a hungry man, while v. 9 speaks of the sweetness of earnest counsel. Together, vv. 7 and 9 suggest that it is good to have friends for the occasional party, but it is better yet to have a friend willing and able to give good advice. Verse 8 speaks of someone who wanders far from his home (his immediate family) and leaves it unprotected, while v. 10 concerns someone in need whose brother (his immediate family) is far away. Together, they teach that there are benefits in remaining close to family, but a person should not hesitate to turn to a true friend when in need.”  From the ESV Study Bible pp. 1181 & 1182.

Verses 11-12 –  A wise son is a blessing to his father.  His words, and acts are the fruits, quite often, of the father’s teaching and life.  With that in mind we know of examples where the teaching and life of the father never took root with some sons (v. 11).

The wise father and son both know how to examine things before proceeding forward with acts.  The wise will hide themselves from evil; the “simple” will proceed into it (v. 12).

Verses 13-14 –  More warning of co-signing a loan for someone; and having anything to do with foreign women – that is; foreign to the faith, morality, and righteousness.
Sometimes even social greetings and encounters must be measured by tact (v. 14).

Verses 15-16 –  See Proverbs 19:13; 21:9.  The type of woman mentioned here is one who is hard to get along with, and hard to hold on to.

Verses 17-18 –  Not only is encouragement needed among men and women, but also teaching, correction, instruction, and exhortation (v. 17).
For verse 18; See Song of Solomon 8:12;  1 Corinthians 3:8: 9:7;  2 Timothy 2:6.

Verses 19-22 –  Many of us have looked into a clear pool of water, and have seen our reflection.  We know what we look like on the surface; but only God knows our heart (v. 19).
God knows the heart of man and a man.  The foolish individual is one who will never learn, even though he/she might be beaten and bruised over and over; the foolishness will not depart from them (vv. 20-22).

Verses 23-27 –  Those who have possessions, whether it be cattle, sheep, other material goods, homes and lands needs to realize they are not permanent; they are temporary.  Because of this we must be wise in the maintenance and care of what God has entrusted to our care.

The Secret Life of the Hypocrite

“As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honor is not seemly for a fool.
As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.
A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool’s back.
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.
Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.
He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage.
The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools.
As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honor to a fool.
As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools.
The Great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors.
As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.
Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? More hope of a fool than of him.”  Proverbs 26:1-12 (KJB)

The Secret Life of the Hypocrite –  Proverbs 26:1-28

Verses 1 – 12 —  Matters concerning the foolish individual.

Verse 1 –  The honor of a fool, a foolish person, is about as likely as “Snow in summer”, and as unneeded or as unwanted as “Rain in harvest”.  See 1 Samuel 12:17.  Verse 2 –  See Psalm 32:9.

vv. 4-5 –  These seem to be a contradiction; however it is a matter of judging when to be silent and when to speak.  Use discernment.

v. 12 –  Romans 12:16; Proverbs 29:20

Verses 13 – 16 —  A description of the slothful, lazy individual  (22:13).

v. 13 –  Excuses and difficulties, even dangers of the job are ever the slothful man’s heart and tongue.  Note the location of the lion [on the streets].  Lions do not inhabit streets, but rather the plains, woods, and fields. (20:4)

v. 15 –  Proverbs 19:24

Verses 17 – 23 —  The character of the “talebearer”.

From the Believer’s Bible Commentary – “I am more deadly than the screaming shell of a howitzer. I win without killing. I tear down homes, break hearts, and wreck lives. I travel on the wings of the wind. No innocence is strong enough to intimidate me, no purity pure enough to daunt me. I have no regard for truth, no respect for justice, no mercy for the defenseless. My victims are as numerous as the sands of the sea, and often as innocent. I never forget and seldom forgive. My name is Gossip!” Alanta Journal

“Prov. 26:17-22 These proverbs describe a person who uses his words carelessly. Examples include interfering in other people’s arguments (v. 17), deceiving people as a joke without concern for the consequences (vv. 18–19), and gossiping, especially where gossip provokes conflict (vv. 20–21). Verse 22 directly warns the reader that gossip is seductive, and the proverb serves as a bridge to the next section (vv. 23–28), on the liar.”  ESV Study Bible note

“He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him; when he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart. Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation.
Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.  A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.” Proverbs 26:24-28

Verses 24 – 28 —  The deceitful, lying hypocrite.  Care will be taken by the wise individual when hearing the words of someone who might gain by the telling of lies.  Whether the lie be flattery, or denial of a charge one must hear with judging ears, and mind.

The hypocrite’s life ends up not being so secret.

Kings, Neighbors,Enemies, and Honey

“These are also proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out.
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honor of kings is to search out a matter.  The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.  Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.  Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.
Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men: for better it is that it be said unto thee, ‘Come up hither;’ than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.”  Proverbs 25:1-7  (KJB)

Kings, Neighbors, Enemies, and Honey – Proverbs 25:1-28

VERSES 1-7 –  On verses two and three the MacArthur Study Bible notes, “God…kings. The roles of God and the king are compared.  God, whose knowledge is above all human knowledge (cf. Ps. 92:5; Eccl. 3:11; Is. 46:10; Acts 15:18; Heb. 4:13), and whose ways are unsearchable (cf. Job 5:9; Ps. 145:3; Is. 40:28), keeps things to Himself because He needs no counsel (see Rom. 11:34).  On the contrary, kings should rightly seek to know what they must know in order to rule righteously.”

Looking at verses four and five we can conclude that kingdoms of men are established by God when wickedness is removed and righteousness is in place.  There is silver present, but it must be refined by fire.

In verses six and seven we see that humility is an honorable trait even in places of authority.

VERSES 8-20 –  Getting along with neighbors will be aided by not being hasty in judging them when they seem to be unwise, and in the end you are shamed by your own actions (vv. 8-10).

Using words wisely when dealing with our neighbors (vv. 11-12).  Refreshing and encouraging  words from a messenger (v. 13).  Forbearance or patience is a necessity for good neighbors (vv. 14-15).  Too much of a good and sweet thing will end in hatred of that very thing (vv. 16-17).

Being a good neighbor involves confidence in the right place and people, respecting truth and, others comfort, shelter, and nourishment (vv. 18-20).

VERSES 21-28 –  We ought to treat our enemies as we would treat our neighbors.  “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Matt. 19:19; 22:39;  Mark 12:31;  Luke 10:27;  Rom 13:9;  Gal. 5:14;  James 2:8).

VERSES 16 and 27 –  Honey is a natural sweetener.  Too much of this sweetener will make one sick.  Verse 16 prepares us for verse 17 where spending too much time a neighbor’s can be a thing that turns to hatred if not done in moderation.

To search for one’s own glory is as bad as eating too much honey.  It will make others sick, and possibly you sick as well.

Envy, Evil, and Poverty

“Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them.  For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.
Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: and by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.  For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.
Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate.
He that deviseth to do evil shall be called a mischievous person.  The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.  If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small. If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; if thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it, and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it and shall not he render to every man according to his works?
My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste: so shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.
Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place: for a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.
Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him.”  Proverbs 24:1-18  (KJB)

Envy, Evil, and Poverty – Proverbs 24:1-34

VERSES 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 19-20, 24 –  The evil and the wicked.  The wise are instructed to not envy the evil.  The devices of the evil and the wicked are contrary to God, and the wise.
Those who are just and righteous (v. 16) when they are knocked down, will get back up; but he wicked “shal fall into mischief”.

“Candle of the wicked” (v. 20) probably refers to the spirit within every man, which is the door way to knowing God. Look at these verses… Job 21:17;  Psalm 18:28;  Proverbs 20:27.
To call the wicked “righteous” is to bring a curse on the one who does it (v. 24).

VERSES 3 – 7, 27 –   Wisdom is needed in building a house and a home; in filling that home with material blessings as well as true riches.
The foolish man does not know what to speak when it is time for good judgment (v. 7).
There is wisdom in being prepared before one builds a home (v. 27).

VERSES 10 -14 –  Wisdom leads to strength to stand in times of adversity.  Understanding will help us make the right decision at important, difficult times; for ourselves and others (vv. 11-12).
On verses 13-14  –  The ESV Study Bible notes state… “Prov. 24:13–14…  …Just as honey is sweet to the taste and good for the body, so wisdom is pleasant to the soul that feeds on it, fostering a secure hope (cf. v. 20; see notes on 23:17–18; Ps. 37:9).”

VERSES 17 – 18 –  It is not wise to rejoice when we see an enemy, or a foolish individual fall.

Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked; for there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.
My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change: for their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?
These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.  He that saith unto the wicked, ‘Thou art righteous;’ him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him: but to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.  Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer.
Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.
Be not a witness against thy neighbor without cause; and deceive not with thy lips.  Say not, ‘I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.’
I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.  Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: so shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.  Proverbs 24:19-34

VERSES 28 – 34 –  We ought always to refuse to return evil for evil (vv. 28-29; Romans 12:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:15;  1 Peter 3:9).  The wise man or woman will not allow themselves to grow slack in following that which is good.

One thing to keep in mind the poor are just as prone to greed and lust for more; as are the rich.

Wisdom and Discernment

“When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: and put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.  Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.  Labor not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.  Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.  Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.  The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.”  Proverbs 23:1-8  (KJB)

Wisdom and Discernment – Proverbs 23:1-35

Verses 1 – 3; 6 – 8 —  Be alert and aware when people in places of authority and power invite you to their table.  The discerning one will be sickened by what the powerful is or was trying to do.

Verses 4 – 5 —  The wise and discerning will not make seeking wealth and riches their life pursuit.

“Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.
Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless: for their Redeemer is mighty; He shall plead their cause with thee.   Proverbs 23:9-11

Verse 9 —  The wise will know when to be silent around the foolish individual.  Remember the words of Jesus “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” (Matthew 7:6).

Verses 10 – 11 —  (Prov. 22:28;  Deut 15:9)  Further confirms this teaching.  In these verses, however, there is reference to orphans.  Someone seizing the land of an orphan or orphans will have the Redeemer defend the orphan against the land grabber.

“Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.
Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.  Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine.  Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.  Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.  For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.
Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.”  Proverbs 23:12-19

Verses 12 – 16, 19 —  It is good to teach others [our children] to pursue instruction and knowledge.  The Bible does teach corporal punishment (vv. 13-14).  There is rejoicing within parents when their child is a success in life; especially in Christian parents when they see their child following the LORD.

Verses 17 – 18  —  The Christian discerner should make godliness the prime search and pursuit of his/her life.  The Christian has no right to envy “sinners”.  If the Christian is living for God and His Son Jesus Christ the sinner will desire Christ too.

“Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: for the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.
Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.
Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.
The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.
My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways. For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit.  She also lieth in wait as for a prey, and increaseth the transgressors among men.
Who hath woe? Who hath sorrow? Who hath contentions? Who hath babbling? Who hath wounds without cause? Who hath redness of eyes?  They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.
Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his color in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.  At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.  Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.  Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.  They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.”  Proverbs 23:20-35

Verses 20 – 26 —  Wise words from parents guide children in life, living righteously; education, labor; learning truth and its value.  Children also learn from the example of parents (v. 26).

Verses 27 – 35  — In a world with the rebellious, feel good, party attitude, “Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die”; the wisdom of God warns of the perils of licentious (unrestrained by law or general morality; lawless; immoral), rebellious, iniquitous living.

The Poor, The Rich, and the Slothful

“The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.  He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.
Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.
He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.
The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, and He overthroweth the words of the transgressor.
The slothful man saith, ‘There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.’
The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall therein.
Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.
Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.  For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips.  That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.  Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, that I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?
Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: for the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.
Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.
Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts.  If thou hast nothing to pay, why should he take away thy bed from under thee?
Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.  Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.”  Proverbs 22:7-29  (KJB)

The Poor, The Rich, and the Slothful – Proverbs 22:7-29

Verses 7, 16, 22-23 —  There is a contrast between the rich and poor.  The poor; people who are often in need of borrowing are placed in servitude to the lender; the rich.  The rich who would oppress the poor by holding their wages; charging a higher interest; etc.  will surely be in want.  Giving to the rich seems like a pointless statement;  however it is done.

Verses 8, 10, 13-15 —  The Geneva Bible notes (v. 8): “His authority by which he oppressed others, will be taken from him. ” Ref: (v. 10) Genesis 21:9-10;
The slothful or lazy will find any excuse not to do their labors.  The person who is abhorred by the LORD will fall into a life of destruction.  Correction is necessary to drive foolishness from a child; even some grown children who are following the path of foolishness.

Verses 9, 11-12, 17-21, 24-25 —  The good individual who is blessed will also be a blessing to the poor. References:  Luke 14:13-14.  See 16:13 and Psalm 101:6 for verse 11.  “The eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).

There is learning of wisdom and knowledge in listening to the wise.  Keep them on your mind and on your lips; ready to speak them.  By them we know what is “right and true” (ESV).

Being a constant companion of the angry will cause your own life to become endangered by unruly anger and a snare.

Verses 26-29 —  Business matters according to Scripture;  Co-signing for debt of another binds you; putting your living at stake, even your family.

The “landmark” is your word.  Should be as sound as a concrete pillar 10 feet in the ground as a corner stake – marking the corner of a property.

When we are “diligent” in our labors we will stand before “kings”, be blessed, and kept from those who would seek to harm us.

Wisdom and Education for All

A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold.
The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.
A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.
By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honor, and life.
Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:1-6 (KJB)

Wisdom and Education – Proverbs 22:1-6

Verses 1- 6 –   (1)  The value of a good name.  (2) The LORD is the maker of all.  (3) The sensible have forsight to danger; the simple (Naive) will not see or just ignore it. See Proverbs 14:16 and 27:12.  (4) Humility and fear of the LORD are essential to God’s blessings.  (5)  Troubles for the perverse;  avoidance for the one who keeps themselves clean.

Verse 6 –  From the Believers Bible Commentary;

“22:6  The usual interpretation of this proverb is that if you train up a child properly (in the way he should go), he will go on well in later life. Of course there are exceptions, but it stands as a general rule. Henry Ward Beecher observes:It is not hard to make a child or a tree grow right if you train them when they’re young, but to make them straighten out after you’ve allowed things to go wrong is not an easy matter.

Susannah Wesley, the mother of Charles, John, and 15 other children, followed these rules in training them: (1) Subdue self-will in a child and thus work together with God to save his soul. (2) Teach him to pray as soon as he can speak. (3) Give him nothing he cries for and only what is good for him if he asks for it politely. (4) To prevent lying, punish no fault which is freely confessed, but never allow a rebellious, sinful act to go unnoticed. (5) Commend and reward good behavior. (6) Strictly observe all promises you have made to your child.
The proverb can also be understood as encouraging parents to train their children along the lines of their natural talents, rather than forcing them into professions or trades for which they have no native inclination. Thus Kidner says that the verse teaches respect for the child’s individuality and vocation, though not for his self-will.

And the proverb may be a warning that if you train a child in the way that he himself wants to go, he will continue to be spoiled and self-centered in later life. Jay Adams writes:

The verse stands not as a promise but as a warning to parents that if they allow a child to train himself after his own wishes (permissively), they should not expect him to want to change these patterns when he matures. Children are born sinners and, when allowed to follow their own wishes, will naturally develop sinful habit responses. The basic thought is that such habit patterns become deep-seated when they have been ingrained in the child from the earliest days.”

Verse six note from the ESV Study Bible:

“Prov. 22:6 Train up a child. This proverb, founded on the covenant with Abraham (cf. Gen. 18:19), encourages parents to “train” (i.e., to “dedicate” or “initiate”; this is the sense of the word in Deut. 20:5; cf. Ezra 6:16) their children in the way (i.e., the right moral orientation) by pointing to the kinds of conduct that please or displease the Lord, and to the normal outcome of each kind of conduct (on the matter of consequences, see Introduction: Literary Features). The training will include love and instruction as well as “the rod of discipline” (Prov. 22:15).”

Prepared for the Battle

There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.
He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.
A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty, and casteth down the strength of the confidence thereof.
Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.
Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath. The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.  He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.
The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?
A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly.
A wicked man hardeneth his face: but as for the upright, he directeth his way. There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.
The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.  Proverbs 21:10-31 (KJB)

Prepared for the Battle – Proverbs 21:20-31

Verse 20 –  The treasure to be desired.  The oil in the dwelling of the wise.  Foolish spending.

Verse 21 –  Following righteousness and mercy.  The fruit of the find is righteousness and honor.

Verse 22 –  While the mighty may believe their wall is impregnable; the wise will scale the wall and defeat the city.  The confidence of the city is then cast down too.

Verse 23 –  More wisdom concerning the mouth and the tongue.  Keeping the mouth equals guarding what you say.  Those who will guard their mouth and tongue will have far less troubles and sorrows of soul.

Verse 24 –

“If you meet a proud and haughty man, just call him “Scoffer.” That’s his name! The name, of course, stands for what a person is. “For as his name is, so is he” (1 Sam. 25:25).”  From Believer’s Bible Commentary.

Verses 25-26 –  A difference in the slothful and the righteous.  The slothful desires big things, but refuses to labor; while the righteous labor in order that they might have to give to need.

Verse 27 –  Sacrifice of the wicked; the wicked mind.  Compare Cain’s sacrifice with Abel’s (Genesis 4:1-15); King Saul’s sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:10-15ff) with the heart of David (Psalm 51:1-19).

Verse 28 –

“The contrast of a false witness with one who hears indicates that a person who testifies falsely has chosen not to listen carefully to either the matter at hand or the requirements that a witness act justly. Both the person and the perjury of such a witness will ultimately perish, because it is the Lord who clearly sees and judges these things (vv. 2, 12) and causes the word of the faithful witness to endure (cf. 12:19; 19:5, 9).”  From the ESV Study Bible notes.

Verse 29 –

“A wicked man hardeneth his face,…. Against all corrections and reproofs of parents, masters, ministers, and others; he blushes not at sins committed, and is not ashamed of them, but glories in them: or, he “strengthens with his face” (l); he puts an impudent face upon his words, and confirms them by his impudence; if he tells the most notorious lies, and says things the most shameful and scandalous, his countenance does not alter, by which he would be thought to have spoken what is right and true;

but as for the upright, he directeth his way; or “his ways” (m); according to the various reading; the man that is upright in heart, and walks uprightly, he directs his way according to the word of God; and, if he does amiss, when sensible he is ashamed of it, and amends.”  John Gills Expostion of the Bible.

Verses 30-31 –  “And the land shall tremble and sorrow: for every purpose of the LORD shall be performed against Babylon, to make the land of Babylon a desolation without an inhabitant.”   (Jeremiah 51:29).  Note; “…for every purpose of the LORD shall be performed…”  No plan working against God will succeed.

The Believer’s Bible Commentary summarizes verses 30 and 31 this way:

“Verse 30: Nothing avails against God.
Verse 31: Nothing avails without God.”

No one is prepared for a victorious battle whose heart, mind, weapons, and armor are against the LORD.

Between the Rooftop and the Desert…

“It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.”  Proverbs 21:9
“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.” Proverbs 21:19  (KJB)

Between the Rooftop and the Desert – Proverbs 21:9-19

Verses 9, 19 –  In the days of ancient Israel rooftops were flat, and used quite often for relaxing in the evening, or early morning.  The husband or wife could go to the rooftop, without leaving home, to get away from the other.
The desert or “wilderness” was not home.  This is leaving the house entirely.

Verse 10 –  Between home and the wilderness are many temptations.  The wicked desire evil, and one of those evils is no love for their neighbor.

Verse 11 –  There is also much learning.  The “simple” (Naive, foolish, open minded) learn by seeing the “scorner” (One who mocks God and religion) punished for their evil mouth and behavior.  The wise seek every opportunity to learn of God, holiness, righteousness, salvation- through the writings of others and reading them and applying them to their own lives.

Verse 12 –  “The righteous maketh the house of the wicked to prosper.”  Gersom from John Gill Commentary  e-Sword.  A good example is the house of Potipher with Joseph (Genesis 39:1-7).  God has blessed the United States of America because of the Righteous.  In the end the wicked will be overthrown.  Not by the United States, but by the breath of the Lord Jesus Christ when He comes again.

Taking out the italicized words consider this for verse 12…

“The righteous wisely considers the house of the wicked, overthrowing the wicked for wickedness.” v.12

Verse 13 –  A stern warning about turning away from the cries of the poor.  To willfully neglect to hear and help the poor when it is in the power of our hand to do it could bring the same judgment on ourselves.  Luke 16:10-31

Verse 14 –  See Proverbs 17:8; 18:16.  “The Bible often reports facts without approving them. Thus it observes that an angry man will quiet down if the offender slips him a gift, and a man who is in a rage is appeased by a bribe tucked in his pocket.”  From Believer’s Bible Commentary

Verse 15 –  People who are just rejoice when Judgment or justice is done.  There is ruin or destruction to those who work iniquity.  It is proper to rejoice in righteous judgment.  It is iniquity to rejoice when evil is done.

Verse 16 – 18 –  The wandering individual, the one who goes astray from the paths of God and understanding find themselves with the dead.  When pleasure is all that one seeks they will not be rich.
For verse 18 consider Haman’s taking the place of Mordecai (Esther 7).

Verse 19 –  Between the Rooftop and the Desert there are many things to understand and learn.  There are sometimes troubles at home, and there are in the desert as well; with or without a spouse.  The thing is for the people of God to be faithful and true to Him who is with us always.

Heart and Life Directions

Heart and Life Directions – Proverbs 21:1-8

It is a staple of life to know that God can take the heart of a king and turn it the direction He chooses.  Even when the king is evil, from an evil empire or kingdom God uses kings to fulfill His will and purposes.

Verses 1 – 4 –  Streams of water are often changed in their courses due to flood waters.  In the early 1800’s [1811-1812] the Mississippi River flowed backwards for a period of 10-24 hours filling, forming the Reelfoot lake.  Even streams as massive as the Mississippi can be changed by the hand of God; so too can a king’s heart.
Examples of king’s hearts being changed can be seen in Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Ahaseurus, Darius, Cyrus (Exodus 12:31;  Daniel 4;  5;  6;  10;  Ezra 1, 4;  Esther 9-10).
The Lord looks on and knows the hearts of mankind. Even Jesus is said to have known what was on the hearts of some people who wanted to force Him to be king (John 2:23-25; 6:14-15).
The “High look” and the “Proud heart” go like peas in their pod.  The plowing of the wicked, leads to the sowing of sin.  “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7)

Verses 5 – 8 –  There is contrast in v. 5 between the diligent and the hasty.  There is reward for diligence; while there is waste and want to the hasty.

“The getting of treasures by a lying tongue,…. By telling lies in trade; by bearing false witness in a court of judicature; or by preaching false doctrines in the church of God: is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death: such treasures, though ever so great, are like any light thing, smoke or vapour, straw, stubble, chaff, or a feather, tossed about the wind; which is expressive of the instability uncertainty of riches ill gotten; they do not last long, but are taken away and carried off by one providence or another; and they are likewise harmful and pernicious; they issue in death: and those that seek after them, and obtain them in a bad way, are said to “seek death”: not intentionally, but eventually; this they certainly find, if grace prevent not; see Pro_8:36. Jarchi reads it, they are the “snares of death” to him; and so the Septuagint version.”  From John Gill Commentary

and the MacArthur Study Bible note

“21:5-7 These verses address the evils of ill-gotten gain.  They show three major defects in the way this gain is acquired: 1) hastily (v. 5; cf. 19:2;28:20);  2) deceitfully (v. 5 cf. 13:11); and 3) violently (v. 7; cf. 12:6).”

Verse 7 –  NKJV

“The violence of the wicked will destroy them, Because they refuse to do justice.”

ESV

“The violence of the wicked will sweep them away, because they refuse to do what is just.”

Verse 8 –  People without God, and walking in His paths live lives which are perverse, crooked, criminal, and guilt riden lives.  The path of those who walk with God, are pure through the purity of Christ Jesus and do right through Him.

The Power and Weakness of the Mind

The Power and Weakness of the Mind – Proverbs 20:1-30

Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.  The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul.  It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling. Proverbs 20:1-3 (KJB)

Verses 1 – 5 –  Wine, any beverage alcohol will affect the thinking and actions of any who allow it to.  Those who would allow it to are not wise affecting their relationship to leaders (v. 27).
It will also affect them in matters of strife, and work plans (vv. 3-4).
It will take a clear mind – understanding – to bring out wise counsel in one’s inner being.

Verses 6 – 11 –  In many cases it is also true that beverage alcohol will give a man or woman an higher opinion of themselves; high thoughts of themselves that they do not normally have.
There is an arrogance in humankind which causes most of us to exalt ourselves anyway.
Faithfulness, integrity is a rare find.  It would be especially rare among those who stimulate their minds with drugs, or other stimulants.
Those who walk in their integrity will have a good example for their children to follow.
The king whose mind is not messed up by booze or other drugs will have good judgment and scatter away evil with just his “eyes”  (vv. 26; 25:5;  Revelation 1:14)  “Winnows all evil” (ESV)
It is an evil mind who misuses measures to gain mammon for themselves without considering their neighbor (v. 23).  We all also know children by their behavior; whether it is pure and right.

Verses 12 – 17 –  While verse twelve seems to stand alone by telling us who made the ear and the eye verses 13 – 17 deal with wealth.  The ear allows us to hear and learn.  The eye allows us to see, learn, and enjoy what we see.
One who loves sleep will never be wealthy; nor will they ever be a happy, satisfied individual (v. 13).
In order to get something at a lower price the buyer will make little of an article they desire; then after the purchase build up the item, and make much of the value, and his/her cheap purchase (v. 14).
There is value in rubies; there is “Precious” value in the “Lips of knowledge” (v. 15).
The use of collateral was a part of early systems of finance; even one’s garment.  Receiving collateral is good advice if one secures a debt for another; especially if the other person is an immoral individual (v. 16).
Deceit may be “sweet” at the beginning but in the end it will be like “gravel” (v. 17).

Verse 18 –  Good planning comes by wise counsel.  The wise individual will seek counsel in matters of person, state, or nation.

Verse 19 –  The gossip or “talebearer” will be sure to tell one thing and another.  What someone says to you about someone else he/she will probably tell someone else of you.

Verse 20 –  For a child to curse parents is a sure warning of darkness in that life.

Verse 21 – This verse could be also pointing to any wealth gotten quickly; such as lotteries, gambling, or thefts.  Since it was not worked for it has little meaning.

Verse 22 –  Recompense belongs to the LORD.  It is of great benefit to the child of God to wait for His “vengeance”.  See Romans 12:19 and Deuteronomy 32:35

Verse 24 –  Though a man or woman is led by the LORD we may not know our path ahead.  We walk by faith, not by sight.

Verse 25 –  Be careful when vowing something to God.

Verse 28 –  Mercy and truth are good and godly qualities of a great king or a great leader.

Verse 29 –  Strength is the blessing of the young; while wisdom grows in the aging of mankind.

Verse 30 –  Probably referring to discipline, punishment in some cases.  The right use of corporal discipline/punishment will deter much evil behavior.  See Proverbs 10:13.

All of these ways of life have to do with the power and/or weakness of the mind.  The mind that is in the “Mind of Christ” will prosper in righteousness.

 

Integrity, Discretion, and Fear

Integrity, Discretion and Fear – Proverbs 19:1-29

Verses 1 – 10  Integrity is defined in the Mirriam/Webster Dictionary as… “SOUNDNESS: adherence to a code of values: utter sincerity,  honesty and candor: COMPLETENESS.”
This is once again a comparison between the poor man who has a completeness about him; being content with his life; family, friends, and God.  The wealthy can far too often not be content with their wealth, wanting more, feeling they have a lack.
As we look at verses 2 – 10 we can see the comparison even further.  Many who are wealthy depend on their wealth for friendships (vv. 4-6), getting good judgments from whomever it may count and luxury is not seemly for those who are without wisdom of God.  The wealthy are far too often servants to their wealth.

Verses 11 – 22  Discretion is defined as… “The quality of being discreet: PRUDENCE:  Individual choice or judgment: power of free decision or latitude of choice.” M/WD  The one who is discreet or having discretion will not prolong anger at the “transgressions” of others.  Discretion is having good sense.
“A person with good sense is level-headed and can defuse conflict (15:18).” Faithlife Study Bible Online.  The person with good sense will not be out to upset the king (v. 12), cause his/her parents grief and/or shame(v. 13), and will seek to find the right person to start a home (vv. 13-14).
The person with good sense will be a hard worker, keep the commandments of the LORD, show kindness to the poor, and be honest in his dealings (vv. 15-22).

Verses 23 – 29  The fear of the LORD…  We have dealt with this topic before (1:29; 2:5; 8:13; 9:10; 10:27; 14:26, 27; 15:16, 33; 16:6) and it is mentioned more as we journey to the end of Proverbs in 23rd verse; in 22:4 and 23:17.
The fear of the LORD is not a dreadful thing.  It is knowing that He is holding on to you; knowing He will not let go, even though we might.  Even though we might let go, because He does not He will pursue us until we are back in right relationship with Him.
Anyone having the fear of the LORD will be a hard worker (v. 24), be growing in knowledge and wisdom (v. 25), honor their father and mother (v. 26), be a godly witness, and trusts good judgment(vv. 27-29).

Please Note:  I just corrected a sentence I had made an error in.  In the section for verses 10-22  it was written, “The one who is discreet or having discretion will prolong anger at the “transgressions” of others.”  I did add the word “not” to read “…discretion will not prolong anger…”. (12/31/18)

Use Your Words Wisely

“The words of a man’s mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.” Proverbs 18:4
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” 18:21

Using Words Carefully – Proverbs 18:1-24

Verses 1-4 –  These verses carry over from verses 27 and 28 of chapter 17.  There is much in the Proverbs of speech, the tongue and words.  We are taught to choose and handle words carefully; and not deceitfully.  The fool is one who cares only for his own words; is in the process to thought while another is talking; and only to have something further to say.
On a first look verse 1 could seem to have a positive intent; however with the word “intermeddleth” it means that the individual contends with wisdom.
Verses two and three then show the intent of the heart of verse one.  On verse 4 see Proverbs 20:5

Verses 5 – 9 –  Speaking good of evil, and evil of good to overthrow the righteous is not good.  Backbiting,  and slander is the heart of the destruction of the fool’s mouth.
A lazy individual is akin to the great waster (v. 9).

Verses 10 – 11 –  Many a wealthy individual has all their hopes in their wealth, investments, and possessions.  An island of safety in the midst of words of warning and hope (v. 10).

Verses 12 – 21 –  You can see that the words of the foolish individual is more important to him/her than listening to others in verses 13, 17.  Verses 16 speaks of giving gifts – not bribes to buy off judges, law enforcement, etc.  Probably could be likened to a gift someone might bring to the King’s birth.
In verse 18 there seems to be some wisdom in “casting lots” for the ceasing of contentions.
There is reward or destruction in our use of words.  They can be the difference in life and/or death; destruction or building up.

Verses 22 -24 –  See Proverbs 12:4; 19:14.  Marriage is good if it be found in the way of God.  For a marriage to be good the man and a woman must choose and use words carefully.  Good communication is a key.
In verse 23 we have a contrast between the poor and the rich.  The poor is humble before others when asking something from them.  The rich have no need of anything so they speak roughly to others.  Again whether one is rich or poor really makes no difference when it comes to our choosing and use of words.
In verse 24 we have a sentence which is familiar, “And there is a friend who sticketh closer than a brother”.   Before that we learn that if one is to have friends, then, we must be a friend.
Friends choose and use words carefully.  The choosing and using words carefully has nothing to do with “Political Correctness”; but using words to build up.  A lot of times hard/truth words need to be used to bring out good quality in another.

A Merry Life

Having a Merry Heart – Proverbs 17:21-28

21  He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow: and the father of a fool hath no joy.
25  A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him.
28  Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding

Verses 21, 25, 28 –  To beget a fool seems to be a doing of the father in the context of this verse.  The NKJV refers to this son as a “Scoffer”; the Hebrew “kes-eel’

From (Strongs’ Concordance) H3688; properly fat, that is, (figuratively) stupid or silly: – fool (-ish).”  No joy for the father of the fool.

22  A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
24  Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.
27  He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.

Verses 22, 24, 27 –  There are three things mentioned in these verses (20-22) which are devastating to a “Merry heart”: 1) A crooked and deceitful life;  2) A foolish son; and 3) Discouragement.

Having a “Merry heart” requires that one have these: 1) A sound and guiltless heart and mind;  2) Children growing and walking in the grace of God; and 3) Encouragement by the Spirit, the Word and others.

23  A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment.
26  Also to punish the just is not good, nor to strike princes for equity.

Verses 23, 26 –  These two verses speak of perversions of justice.  Bribery is a culprit of an evil giver and an evil judge.  It blinds what could have been righteous judgment.  Bribes take place in many forms.

One could be a friendship with strings attached.  Another could be a job which requires lying on forms of acquisition or payroll.  Still another could be… ______________________  I will let you fill in the blank.

It is a grave and evil thing when evil judges and evil people call evil good.  It is evil when good people are punished for what evil people have done.  On this think of the only good man who ever lived.  His name is Jesus.  He went to the cross, suffering at the hands of evil men; and in His death He took the penalty for sin, bearing the wrath of God the Father, and was buried; then three days later arose from a borrowed grave justifying forever all who will believe.

The Tongue of the Wise

The Peacemaker Has a Wise Tongue – Proverbs 17:14-20

The verses of these Proverbs warn us of the folly of strife, wickedness, evil, injustice, adversity, and the peril of those who follow that way of living.  I want us to look at the opposite side of these warnings.

Verse 14 –  A dam may start to break with just a pinhole in it, and if it is left untended it becomes a flood of water.  Think of the flooding of the biggest part of New Orleans a few years ago.  Most of the damage was caused by the breaking of the dikes that held back water from the city.  When they broke the breaks got larger until there was no stopping the flow. That is likened to someone loving strife.
The answer to that is when we see the beginning of strife it needs mended.  If it is passed that point then we should probably leave it alone and walk away.

Verse 15 –  As God’s children we should always honor justice, and condemn injustice whenever we see it.  There is a great tendency in this 21st century to vilify the righteous, and justify wickedness.  From this verse we see that that is an abomination to God.  (Isaiah 5:20).

Verse 16 –  Biblically wise people will pay any price for godly wisdom.  If it takes money we will pay it.  If it takes study of God’s Word, then we will study God’s Word; if it takes listening to others, then we will listen to others.  The price we will pay for wisdom is worth it.
For those who have no heart for wisdom he/she will spend their money, time and listening to other things.

Verse 17 –  John Gill says of the first part of this, “A friend loveth at all times,…. A true, hearty, faithful friend, loves in times of adversity as well as in times of prosperity: there are many that are friends to persons, while they are in affluent circumstances; but when there is a change in their condition, and they are stripped of all riches and substance; than their friends forsake them, and stand at a distance from them; as was the case of Job, Job_19:14; it is a very rare thing to find a friend that is a constant lover, such an one as here described;”  SEE Proverbs 18:24; 27:10;  Ruth 1:16;  Job 6:14.

I am thankful for the Friend who sticks closer than a brother.  His name is Jesus.

Verse 18 –  A true friend would not ask a friend to be “surety” on a debt; at least in my mind.  Why would a friend want to make a friend do a foolish thing.  The proverb author says this is only the act of “A man void of understanding”.
The Believer’s Bible Commentary states, “17:18  This verse modifies the previous one by showing that love should not be without discernment. It would be a case of bad judgment to agree to guarantee a friend’s debts in the event that he should default. Any man who needs a surety is a bad credit risk. Why be surety for a bad credit risk?”

Verses 19-20 –  This verse takes us back to verse 14.  Transgression is the treasure of one who loves strife.  The obedient and humble hate transgression as well as strife.
The froward heart is as the one who loves transgression, and finds no good.  The heart of a man or woman who loves God not only will find good, but also be the source of good to others; even those who do not seek it.

A Mother Bear and Her Cubs

Reproof, Rebellion, and Mother Bears – Proverbs 17:10-13

“A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool. An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him.
Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.
Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.”

Proverbs 17:10-13

Verse 10 –  “Reproof” means “Blame or censure for a fault” (MIRRIAM/WEBSTER DICTIONARY).  Good criticism is of benefit to those who have wisdom and understanding.
A man or woman is foolish who will not heed criticism; nor the sting of a good lashing.

Verse 11 –  Let us define evil.  “Evil”, again from the MIRRIAM/WEBSTER dictionary, “1. Wicked, 2. causing or threatening distress or harm: Pernicious”    In our text it would mean displeasing – Displeasing to God.  Contrary to the heart and will of God.
The heart of sin does seek rebellion against God.  The Wise writer says that this “wicked person will be met by the cruel messenger” probably sent by the king.

Verse 12 –  One of the most tragic events that I have heard of happening is a hiker and his spouse getting caught between a mother bear and her cubs.  In saving her life [the life of his spouse], the mother bear took his.  It is a dangerous thing.
The writer of Proverbs saw it as better to be met by a mother bear separated from her cubs as to be caught in company with a foolish individual.

Verse 13 –  (Psalm 35:12;  109:4-5; Proverbs 20:22;  Matthew 5:39).  King David rewarded evil to Uriah after the good and faithful service he had provided in the king’s military forces.  David paid dearly for that grave evil.
We can also see from David’s evil act what happened to his house after his death.  It could be that Solomon has these matters in his mind as he penned these words to the scroll.

A Dry Morsel, and Friends

A Dry Morsel and Friends – Proverbs 17:1-9

Verse 1 –  Many of the sacrificial times in the Old Testament were also times of feasting.  There are seven feasts mentioned in OT Scriptures.  A dry morsel with peace is better than a house of “feasting” with strife.

“Prov. 17:1 Like 15:17, this proverb asserts that a poor but loving home is better than a home filled with feasting and strife. As the esv footnote indicates, “feasting” is lit., “sacrifices,” specifically peace offerings; such offerings would provide for a meal including meat—a luxury in ancient times.”  From ESV Study Bible

Verse 2 –  There are examples of servants who were teachers for sons and daughters of their “master”.  Abraham’s servant (Gen 24) is a good example.  He goes to find a bride for Isaac.  Isaac was not foolish son, but the servant did seek a wife for him.  At one time Abraham even asked the LORD to give his inheritance to the servant Eliezer (Gen 15:1-4).
In the Law there is no provision for this; but it must have been a feasible possibility.  No wise father would turn the inheritance over to a son who was causing shame to the name of the family; nor to a son who would foolishly squander away the business/inheritance.

Verse 3 –  Refining for silver and gold requires fire.  When the gold and silver is melted down the impurities of each comes to the surface.  The refiner can then take a metal scoop, and skim the surface, removing the impurities.  The more the fine metals are refined through the fire the more pure they become.
Why is it when we want to prepare ourselves for a marathon run, a mountain climb, and we suffer to prepare for those things without too much complaining; but let God use adversity (the weights, the climbs, the trials), and we ask, “Why is God doing this to me?”  He does know what is best for us; and exactly where we are going.  He knows the trail ahead.
It is a great comfort to know that the LORD is the One who tries the hearts of men.  Yet that too is sometimes like fire.

Verse 4 –  Those people involved in wickedness will often listen to “false lips”; those who give bad, and false witness.  It is easier, many times, to believe a lie; than it is to believe the truth.
People who are prone to lying themselves are also more likely to listen to lies, and believe them.  This may have more to do with malicious gossip than other things.

Verse 5 –  Many times I have probably “Mocked the poor”.  If we say things like, “Well some poor people are that way, because they want to be.”  Is that not mocking?  At least the mockery which the verse speaks of.  We are told in this verse that it “Reproaches his Maker”; that is GOD.
Have we ever rejoiced to see someone, some place or city striken by calamity?  Woe be to the one’s who do such things.  They shall not be “Unpunished”.

Verse 6 –  See Psalm 127:3-4 and 128:6

Verse 7 –  A “fool” in the Biblical sense is one who despises God, Godly wisdom and understanding.  There are many eloquent, proficient, even thoughtful speakers who are foolish concerning the things of God.
What is worse than a fool who despises God, godliness, and wisdom and understanding; is the “Prince”, future ruler, or ruler who has lying lips.

Verse 8 –  Bribery is the idea that is being written of in this passage.  The one who has the means to bribe, and will bribe others to his own advantage holds this as though it were a precious gem in his sight.  Much greed and selfish things can be accomplished through bribery.
v. 23;  18:16;  19:6;  21:14;  Exodus 23:8;  Isaiah 1:23;  Amos 5:12

Verse 9 –  Covering a trangression is an act of love; if the transgression being covered is that of another.  Someone who is always bringing up another’s transgression is separating friendships.  We can look at Galations 6:1.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Right Way; and the Way of Death

The Right Way; The Way of Death – Proverbs 16:25-33

Verses 25 – 26 –  There are many times men think what they do or are doing is the “right thing”; however the “right thing” in man’s vision can often be the wrong thing with God.  These ways are the ways that lead to death.  Proverbs 14:12; 24:20.  The “way” is a course of life, or mode of action; the “conversation” mentioned in the New Testament (2 Corinthians 1:12;  Galations 1:13;  Ephesians 2:3; 4:22;  Philippians 1:27; 3:20;  1 Timothy 4:12;  Hebrews 13:5, 7)

In most cases the laborers labor for their own benefit.  We hunger for things, particularly sustenance; these three main things, survival, security, and success.

Verses 27 – 30 –  These verses are connected to those who seek to do what they have deemed to be right.  Those who always keep trouble stirred, or “dug up”; seeking to cause strife among others.

16:27–30 These proverbs address people who cause problems. People who are worthless (v. 27), dishonest (vv. 28; 16:30), or violent (v. 29) negatively affect those around them. They bring evil by tempting and dividing those who associate with them.  From FAITHLIFE Study Bible online

We are warned about some of these things in the New Testament as well. The qualifications for the pastor includes “No striker”, and “Not a brawler” (1 Timothy 3:3); and we are warned of the “works of the flesh” in Galations 5:19-21.

Verses 31 – The gray haired individual is considered by some to be weak; however, the one who is in the way of righteousness, and his hair is a “crown of glory”.  Gray hair is often associated with age, and wisdom.  Proverbs 17:6; 20:29.  Also see Proverbs 3:1, 2.
“Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.”  Leviticus 19:32

We are told by history that the young men were to rise from their seated position when an older man passed within a distance of four cubits (From John Gills commentary of Lev. 19:32)

Verse 32 –  Mighty men can take a city by force; but a man, slow to anger, has conquered himself, and can lead a city in the way of righteousness.

He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty,…. Than a mighty warrior or conqueror; as Alexander who conquered his enemies, and even all the world, and yet in his wrath slew his best friends: a man that is slow to anger is esteemed by the Lord, respected by men, and is happy in himself; and is preferable to the strongest man that is not master of himself and of his passions;

and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city; one that has the command of his temper, that can govern himself, and not suffer his passions to exceed due bounds, is superior in strength to him that can storm a castle or take a fortified city; it is easier to do the one than the other; courage of mind joined with wisdom, and assisted by a proper number of persons, may do the one; but it requires the grace of God, and the assistance of his spirit, thoroughly to do the other. Cicero says (t), in all ages

“fewer men are found who conquer their own lusts than that overcome the armies of enemies.”
From John Gill e-Sword

Verse 33 –  “Casting lots” was the toss sometimes of multi colored stones, and the lay of the stones determined the outcome of the decision to be made.  It could be similar to a vote, the toss of a coin, or the roll of the dice.  We must realize that this be done with prayer and trust that the LORD will show His direction.  It is in no way associated with gambling, games of chance.

At any rate the ultimate decision will be God’s

The Treasure of Wisdom

Wisdom’s Gold,  and a Honeycomb – Proverbs 16:16-24

Verse 16 –  The worth of wisdom and understanding compared to gold and/or silver.  What, if anything, is lost by having one without the other?  Prov. 3:13

Verse 17 – 19 —   Life is sometimes compared to a road.  Is that a good comparison?  Why?  How would you describe the “Highway of the upright?”  Think about what it means to stay on (“Keepeth his way”) that highway.
In what way does pride lead to destruction?  Is “Pride” some of the time, or all the time related to refusing to see and acknowledge there is a problem?  Jeremiah 49:16
The “Humble spirit” needs no spoils.  For verse 19 reference see Psalm 84:10.

Verse 20 – 24 —

“Prov. 16:20–24  These verses commend the speech characteristic of the wise of heart (vv. 21a, 23a): the wise consider their words carefully (vv. 20a, 23a) so that their words are both persuasive (vv. 21b, 23b) and good for body and soul (v. 24);  they exhibit faithfulness to God (v. 20b) and are considered discerning by others (v. 21a).  Such wisdom is a fountain of life, and foolish speech is empty of any such benefits (v. 22).”  Note from the ESV Study Bible

Pleasant and precious words are sweet and comes from hearts of wisdom of understanding (verses 16 and 24).

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Heart of the Righteous King

The Heart of the Righteous King –  Proverbs 16:10-15

In the United States of America we have no Monarchy.  We live in a Republic which is governed of the people, by the people and for the people.  I do believe, however, that seeing our leaders as under the same rules as a king would be sufficient to show us how a ruler should govern the people.
This surely is reference to the King of kings, and all are to pattern themselves after Him.

Verse 10 –  The godly ruler is one who represents God to the people; and should speak the “Divine sentences” “Oracles” of God.  Solomon’s wisdom was known and respected (1 Kings 3:28).  See Proverbs 20:28; and 28:15-16.

Verse 11 –  Though a monarch or any ruler is not mentioned in the verse it is certainly a decree that leaders/rulers are to operate function in business with the proper scales and weights.  Proverbs 11:1.

Verse 12 –  It is a moral tragedy for leaders to place their leadership; whether it be king or President; over the throne and sovereign power of God.  The throne of David, and every king of Israel was established due to the righteousness of the king.  Proverbs 25:5; 29:14; Isaiah 16:5.

Verse 13 –  Righteous words and lips should be the desire of kings and all leadership who lead people.  Proverbs 14:35;  22:11.  We must remember that what is in the heart will be manisfested through the lips and the life (Matthew 15:10-20).

Verse 14 –  John Gill from e-Sword:

The wrath of a king is as messengers of death,…. Or, “angels of death”, as the Targum. As the wrath of Ahasuerus was to Haman; when it is either discovered in the countenance of a king, or expressed by his words, or signified by a messenger; it sometimes has been immediate death to a person, and often as terrible as if a messenger brought the sentence of death; yea, it is as if one messenger after another was sent on such an errand, and therefore the word is in the plural number. How terrible is the wrath of the King of kings; and even to kings themselves, who are represented as flying to rocks and mountains to hide them from it! Rev_6:15;

but a wise man will pacify it; by a proper acknowledgment of the offence committed; or by a prudent representation of his case, or the case of his friends; by soft answers and strong arguments, as Jonathan pacified the wrath of King Saul his father against David. He is a wise man that believes in Christ, and pleads his propitiatory sacrifice for the expiation of his sin, at the same time frankly acknowledging it.”

Verse 15 –  Just as the “wrath of the king” is as “Messengers of death” so is the “Light of the king’s countenance”… “Life”.

The “Latter rain” was the final rain fall before the harvest of the crops; and was the necessary rain for nourishing the harvest.  So the king’s favor would be like that rain.
“Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” Proverbs 14:34

The Heart of Man

The Heart of Man – Proverbs 16:1-9

Verses 1 – 2 –  “Preparations of the heart in man”  and “The answer of the tongue” are both “from the LORD”.   V. 2 – “Ways of man…”  but “The LORD weigheth the spirits”.
All the plans of men (James 4:13-15) are only successful through the directions of the LORD.  Good plans are from the LORD, and will be successful.  Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34).

There are many times we think we are doing good and clean things; but our hearts may yet be doing an evil deed.  God alone, and maybe, the individual knows the heart and motives.

Verse 3 –  “Commit”  “Works” “Thoughts” “Shall be established”.  Some words to think on in verse 3.
“Roll unto Jehovah thy works, And established are thy purposes,” YOUNG’S LITERAL TRANSLATION  (See 1 Peter 5:7)

Verses 4-6 –  “The LORD has made all things for Himself”, “The wicked”, “Proud in heart”, “Abomination to the LORD”; “By mercy and truth iniquity is purged”, and “By the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.”

On a certain day in time all that have refused God’s Christ will glorify God in their judgment.  Departing from evil because one sees it as offensive to the holiness and righteousness of GOD.  It [Evil] is seen, by one who fears the LORD; as being a sour and bitter thing.

Verse 7 –  See Revelation 3:9; Isaac and Abimelech, Genesis 26;  Jacob and Esau, Genesis 33.  “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.”  Hebrews 11:6

Verse 8 –  The attitude of the heart of man with “Little” of material things, righteous in the LORD; contrasted to “Great revenues” without righteousness.

Verse 9 –  “The word rendered “deviseth” implies, by its spectra, intensity of thought and care. Man meditates and prepares his plans with the utmost solicitude, hut it rests with God whether he shall carry them to completion or not, and whether, if they are to be accomplished, it be done with ease or with painful labour. (comp. Gen_24:12, etc.)” From the Pulpit Commentary note.

“Deviseth” can mean scheming, to fabricate, to weave.  It can also mean to carefully plan out “His way”.  The wise man knows that “The LORD directeth his steps”.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Eyes of the LORD

Proverbs 15:1-33

1. THE ALL-SEARCHING EYES OF THE LORD (vv. 1-7) focus 3).
He watches from a “lofty tower” or a very high place.

“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.” 2 Chronicles 16:9

22 times in the Old Testament is the “Eyes of the LORD” written and only once in the New Testament in 1 Peter 3:12
How John describes the eyes of the LORD – “His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;” Revelation 1:14

2. THE SACRIFICE AND WAY THAT IS ABOMINATION TO THE LORD (vv. 8-10) focus 8-9).
Think of Cain’s sacrifice. Think of Saul’s sacrifice of disobedience (1 Samuel 15:22). God is not delighted by wicked sacrifice (Jeremiah 6:20).

3. THE INESCAPABLE PRESENCE OF THE LORD (vv. 10-24)focus v. 11).
Verse 11-

“If God knows the secrets of the world beyond the grave, much more does he know the secret thoughts of men on earth. The heart is the source of action. (see Mat_15:19, etc.)” Pulpit Commentary

4. THE DESTROYED HOUSE (v. 25).
The house of pride will be torn down, destroyed.
Psalm 52:1-5; 138:6; Isaiah 2:12; 1 Peter 5:5

“The proud, self-confident man, with his family and household and wealth, shall be rooted up. The heathen saw how retribution overtook the arrogant.” Pulpit Commentary

5. THE ABOMINATION AND THE PLEASANT WORDS (vv. 26-28)focus 26).
The righteous or good man or woman thinks before they speak. The tongue; a mighty force; will show the heart of an individual.

“O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” Matthew 12:34-37 (KJB)

6. THE PRAYER THE LORD WILL HEAR (vv. 29-33)focus v. 29).
“A MAN”S NEARNESS TO GOD IS TO BE MEASURED BY HIS CHARACTER.” Pulpit Commentary. Long prayers are not a sign of one’s nearness to God, neither are big and impressive words.

God is impressed with the humble and contrite heart. See Psalm 51:17

Instruction and Authority from Proverbs 13

Instruction, Transgressions, and Authority – Proverbs 13:1-25

Verses 1 – 6 –  Once again we are dealing with the issues of the “mouth”.  Eating here seems to be speaking of much more than physical food; but rather of self-control with food and with the tongue.
Also speaking of control of one’s work habits; and speaking the truth.

Verses 7 – 8 –  When one makes themselves “rich” they are usually poor in many other ways.  Jesus said of the poor; “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
Riches are counted, by God, to be much more than material gain or wealth.  When the wealthy pay “ransom” in fear for their lives; they are genuinely poor.

Verses 9 – 19 –  Verse 13 is the central part of these verses; and words to be heeded by all who will trust the Lord.

“Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.”

The instruction of God’s Word gives wisdom, grace, knowledge, salvation, fellowship with God, Peace with God, and peace with Mankind.

Verses 20 – 21 –  How many times have parents guarded the people their children hang out with?  Good parents will keep watch.  “Evil communications corrupt good manners” 1 Corinthians 15:33  “Communications” in the KJV can be interpreted “companionship”
All Christians need to learn and know that there is much to be said about who you keep company with.  You can be known by who your friends and who your enemies are.

Verses 22 – 25 –  There is work and labor involved in caring for our future.  It begins by self discipline, and teaching our children.

“Prov. 13:24 Physical discipline is a common theme in Proverbs (see e.g., 10:13; 17:10; 22:15; 23:13–24; 29:15). It is viewed as an important part of the correction and training of a child, to teach him to avoid wrong behavior, to embrace what is right, and to build godly character. Equally important, physical discipline is an expression of love for a child, while the one who spares the rod hates his son. Taking into account all of the teaching of Proverbs, physical discipline of a child must never be severe and must always be exercised in love. Cf. Heb. 12:5–11.”  ESV Study Bible note.

The rod spoken of in verse 24 is one that speaks of “authority”.  The shepherd had a staff with a crook on the upper end; the king held a sceptre.  Both of these were signs of authority.
Our children need to learn to recognize authority.  When we have some who yell about corporal punishment as teaching children violence they are teaching children to disrespect authority.  Those who are in authority have the power to discipline.  God is the ultimate Authority.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Some Thoughts from Proverbs 12

Proverbs 12:1-28

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

Desire, Delight, Deception, and Destruction

Desire, Delight, Deception, and Destruction – Proverbs 11:15-31

Verse 15 –  From the Believer’s Bible Commentary:

“To be surety for a stranger means to guarantee his debt or his promissory note. The person who does this will suffer for it, that is, he will pay a stinging penalty. The man who hates suretyship saves himself a lot of headaches.”

The note from chapter 6:1-5:

“The first five verses are a warning against becoming surety, that is, making oneself liable for someone else’s debt in case that other person is unable to pay. Suppose your friend wants to buy a car on the installment plan but doesn’t have much of a credit rating. The loan company demands the signature of someone who can pay in case the borrower defaults. The neighbor comes to you and asks you to cosign the note with him. This means that you will pay if he doesn’t.

The friend in this verse is your neighbor. The stranger is the loan company to which you give your guarantee.”

Verses 16 – 21 –  Study notes from the ESV Study Bible:

“Proverbs 11:16-21 There are three pairs of proverbs here (vv. 16–17, 18–19, 20–21), all relating to a common theme. The gracious woman (v. 16) and the man who is kind (v. 17) contrast with violent men (v. 16) and the cruel man (v. 17). By itself, v. 16 might suggest that there is wisdom in pursuing violence, since one can get rich by that means. But in the larger context of vv. 16–21, it is clear that their wealth brings the violent no happiness, and that it comes at a high price. The idea of striving to gain something governs vv. 18–19. Verse 18 speaks of laboring (earns and sows), whether it be for deceptive wages for the evil or for a sure reward for the good. Verse 19, similarly, speaks of pursuing righteousness or evil and of the results that follow. Verses 20 and 21 both concern divine judgment, with punishment for the evil and deliverance for the good.”

Verse 22 – Note from ESV Study Bible:

“Prov. 11:22 The attractiveness of a gold ring would be nullified by its strange presence in the snout of a pig. This image turns typical notions of value on their head: the attractiveness of a beautiful woman is insignificant if there is a lack of discretion in her character (see 31:30).”

Verse 23 –  From Matthew Henry Commentary:

“This tells us what the desire and expectation of the righteous and of the wicked are and how they will prove, what they would have and what they shall have. 1. The righteous would have good, only good; all they desire is that it may go well with all about them; they wish no hurt to any, but happiness to all; as to themselves, their desire is not to gratify any evil lust, but to obtain the favour of a good God and to preserve the peace of a good conscience; and good they shall have, that good which they desire, Ps. 37:4. 2. The wicked would have wrath; they desire the woeful day, that God’s judgments may gratify their passion and revenge, may remove those that stand in their way, and that they may make an advantage to themselves by fishing in troubled waters; and wrath they shall have, so shall their doom be. They expect and desire mischief to others, but it shall return upon themselves; as they loved cursing, they shall have enough of it.”

Verses 24 – 26 –  From The MacArthur Study Bible –

“11:24-26 scatters, yet increases.  The principle here is that generosity, by God’s blessing, secures increase, while stinginess leads to poverty instead of expected gain.  The one who gives receives far more in return (Ps. 112:9;  Eccl. 11:1;  John 12:24-25;  Acts 20:35;  2 Cor. 9:6-9).” pg. 892
Verses 27 – 31 –  From the Believer’s Bible Commentary for verse 27; “When a man’s motives are pure and unselfish, he wins the esteem of others. But the man who is out to cause trouble for others will get it for himself.”

The commentary of John Gill for verse 28 –

“He that trusteth in his riches shall fall,…. As leaves in autumn, which are withered and dry. To trust in riches is to trust in uncertain things; things not to be depended on, being here today and gone tomorrow; it is like leaning upon a broken staff, which giving way, the person falls: and so the fall of Babylon will be, while she is trusting in and boasting of her riches and grandeur, Rev_18:7;

but the righteous shall flourish as a branch; that abides in the tree, is alive and green, full of leaves, and laden with fruit: so the righteous are as branches in Christ, and receive life and nourishment from him, and abide in him; and bring forth fruit and flourish, like palm trees and cedars, in the house of the Lord, and grow in every grace, and in the knowledge of Christ; see Jer_17:7.

“For verse 29 and from the Adam Clarke’s Commentary;

“Shalt inherit the wind – He who dissipates his property by riotous living, shall be as unsatisfied as he who attempts to feed upon air.”
For verse 31 see also 1 Peter 4:18.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Mouth; Wisdom or the Lack of It

The Mouth; Wisdom and Wickedness – Proverbs 11:7-14

Jesus said, “Hear and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.”  Matthew 15:10b-11

In this study there is more in dealing with the mouth and the tongue.  This is a very important matter with God, or there would not be so much of Scripture dealing with it.  In chapter ten we dealt with “The Mouth of the Wise and the Righteous”.

Verses 7 – 8  –  A contrast is given of the hope of the wicked; and the hope of the righteous.  It could be highly implied within these verses that the wealth spoken of is unjustly acquired.

From the ESV study Bible notes:

“Proverbs contrasts this with the hope of the righteous (see 10:28) to warn against being fooled by the apparent security in dishonest gain and to assure those who fear the Lord that their hope, manifested in seeking the path of wisdom, will not be in vain (see 23:18; 24:14).”

Verses 9 – 11 –  Notice there is still the contrasting of the wicked and the righteous.  The contrast is a matter of dealing with the mouth.  Even when the righteous are slandered they know how to conduct themselves in the right fashion.  Conducting one’s self in the right fashion does not include slandering the slanderer.

The mouth of the righteous blesses people (v. 11)

Verses 12 – 13  –  The evil intent of a talebearer is to destroy another’s life, reputation, or character.

From Matthew Henry Commentary:

“Speaking spitefully of a man behind his back: A tale-bearer, that carries all the stories he can pick up, true or false, from house to house, to make mischief and sow discord, reveals secrets which he has been entrusted with, and so breaks the laws, and forfeits all the privileges, of friendship and conversation.”

Verse 14 –  It is good for leaders, Christians and for all to have godly counselors.  Those who would be godly counselors would also keep watch over their tongues, lips; their mouth.

The ESV Study Bible notes:

“The role of counselors is to aid a person in making wise decisions (cf. 15:22; 24:6). While this is particularly important for those who lead a people, Proverbs also stresses its broader application to people’s decision making in all sorts of situations—cf. 11:5 and the contrasting description of how the wicked falls “by his own wickedness.””

-Tim A. Blankenship

Right and Just Business Practices

Balances, Integrity and Righteousness – Proverbs 11:1-6

1.  Balances were a means of conducting much agricultural, metals, and other forms of business in days of the past.  Notice that the “False balance” is an “Abomination to the LORD” – something that is disgusting, and wicked in the sight of the LORD.

This proverb (v. 1) can be tied with the command to “Love our neighbor” (Matthew 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31) as ourselves; and the final six of the Ten Commandments.  The Lord delights in a just weight or right balances.

2.  Pride, arrogance, insolence, presumptuousness are words very similar in meaning.  Most people hate arrogance when it is seen in someone else.  The Mirriam/Webster Dictionary defines “arrogant” as being “Offensives exaggerating one’s own importance”;  “insolent” is defined as “contemptuous, rude, disrespectful, or brutal in behavior or language: OVERBEARING, BOLD”; “presumptuous” means “overstepping due bounds; taking liberties: OVERBOLD.”  With this “Pride” comes shame following closely on the heels – see Proverbs 16:18.

In contrast is the “lowly” or the modest individual.  These are usually the thankful person.  The individual who knows they are not alone and trust the Lord for their every need.

3.  “Integrity” equals “Soundness:  adherence to a code of values: utter sincerity, honesty, and candor: completeness.”  These, of course, would be guided by the teachings of God’s word and the Holy Spirit in the Christian.

In this verse as well as verses 2, and 4 through 6 there are contrasting statements:  “The integrity of the upright” and “The perverseness of transgressors”;  Riches and righteousness;  “The righteousness of the perfect… but the wicked shall fall…”

There is destruction awaiting those connected to unrighteousness.

There is deliverance for the righteous; but “transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.”  (Jeremiah 2:19)

-Tim A. Blankenship

More on the Mouth

The Mouth of the Wise and Righteous – Proverbs 10:1-32

At least 13 times in chapter ten there is reference to “mouth”, “lips”, or “tongue”.  Verses 6, 11, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20, 21, 31, and 32 with a couple of  verses having two references.

There is power in our use of words with our tongues, lips, our mouth; hear what God says about the power of the tongue; “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Proverbs 18:21).

From Warren W. Wiersbe –

Wise and righteous are key words in this chapter, and they go together, for the wise practice righteousness and the righteous grow in wisdom.
The wise bring joy and not grief to their parents (v. 1). They will take advantage of God-given opportunities (v. 5) and will obey orders (v. 8). Wise people gather knowledge (v. 14) and share it with others (vv. 13, 21, 31). They also know when to be quiet (v. 19). They do not jest about sin (v. 23) but are serious about obeying the Lord.
The righteous have God’s protection and provision (vv. 2–3, 24–25), and He blesses them in life (v. 6) and after death (v. 7). Their words give life (vv. 11, 20–21, 31–32), and their works prosper (v. 16). Their future is secure (v. 30) and joyful (v. 28).
If you are wise and righteous, those traits will be revealed by your words (vv. 6, 11, 14, 20–21, 31–32) as well as by your works.

Of verse 6 Matthew Henry Commentary says,

“Verse 6
Here is, 1. The head of the just crowned with blessings, with the blessings both of God and man. Variety of blessings, abundance of blessings, shall descend from above, and visibly abide on the head of good men, real blessings; they shall not only be spoken well of, but done well to. Blessings shall be on their head as a coronet to adorn and dignify them and as a helmet to protect and secure them. 2. The mouth of the wicked covered with violence. Their mouths shall be stopped with shame for the violence which they have done; they shall not have a word to say in excuse for themselves (Job 5:16); their breath shall be stopped with the violence that shall be done to them, when their violent dealings shall return on their heads, shall be returned to their teeth.”

The Believer’s Bible Commentary –

10:11  The mouth of a righteous person is a well of life flowing with words of edification, comfort, and counsel. The mouth of the wicked is silenced by his violence and malice.

10:15  The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Those who have money can make money. The poor man can’t get started; his poverty is his undoing. The rich can buy quality merchandise that lasts longer. The poor buy worn-out, second-hand things that keep them poor with repair bills. This is the way things are in life, but not the way they should be.

The ESV Study Bible –

Prov. 10:12–18 These verses constitute a paragraph, with both vv. 12 and 18 mentioning hatred and both using the word covers/conceals (Hb. kasah); the individual verses relate to this overall theme. At the center of the section is a statement about wealth and poverty (v. 15) that requires careful attention. Though wealth can represent strength, and poverty can lead to ruin, the verses that precede and follow v. 15 (vv. 12–14 and 16–18) reinforce the call to recognize that what people pursue and how they pursue it are more important than what they possess (see 28:6, 20). Deception conceals a hatred (10:18a) that causes contention among others (v. 12a) and ruin for the person who deals in it (vv. 14b, 16b). Seeking wisdom (vv. 13a, 14a, 17a) through obedience, by contrast, fosters a love that can make peace with others (v. 12b); such a path leads to life (vv. 16a, 17a).

Prov. 10:19–21 These three proverbs contrast the prudent and productive character of righteous speech with the revealed emptiness of what is concealed in foolish speech (see v. 18).

It would seem, in looking at most of these verses, not related to the mouth, that they are connected by slouth.

Verses 31 – 32 speak of the froward (Perversive, fraudulent) mouth.  First the froward mouth will be cut off; secondly, it is the way of the wicked.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Woman Wise; Woman Folly

The Woman Wise, and the Woman Folly – Proverbs 9:1-18

In this chapter we have already spent one study on verse 10.  We continue in this chapter by looking at the comparisons, again, of Wisdom and Folly or foolishness, and seeing both as personified in a feminine personality.

Verses 1 – 6 –  Wisdom’s Divine Invitation.
The house wisdom builds is a complete, perfect, holy, unified, house of blessing; represented by the number seven [7].

Jesus Christ has prepared Himself the Church (Ephesians 5:23-27).  She is wise, beautiful, and complete in Him.  As individuals within that body called the church; we are to be wise; through reading and spiritual understanding of the word of God

The table of Wisdom and the table of the LORD are filled with delicious delacacies of food and drink.  Jesus said, “I am the bread of life”.

Verses 7 – 12 –  Warnings of Wisdom to the Wise.  (Matthew 7:6).

John Gill writes of verse 7;

He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame,….Intimating, that though the simple, and such as want understanding, and of whom there is hope of doing them good, are to be invited into Wisdom’s house; yet not the haughty scorner, the abandoned sinner, the scoffer at all religion, who walks after his own lusts, and is quite irreclaimable; it is but casting pearls before swine, and giving that which is holy to dogs, to reprove and exhort such persons; though the Gospel is to be preached to every creature, yet when men despise it, and make a mock at it, they are to be turned from, and no more is to be said to them; as the Jews of old, they were the first invited to the Gospel feast, the same that is described in the context; they made light of it, contradicted and blasphemed the word, and so judged themselves unworthy of it; wherefore Wisdom’s maidens, or Christ’s ministers, were bid to turn from them, and go to the Gentiles, and preach it to them; for it is to no purpose to address such persons; “shame” is the sure consequence of it, because a man is disappointed of the end he has in view, which is doing good;

and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot; this shows who is meant by a scorner, a very profligate man, bent on his wicked ways, and quite incorrigible; to rebuke such an one is not only labour lost, and in vain, but the rebuker getteth himself an ill name, and is sure to have the dirt of reproach and scandal cast upon him; though this a man might patiently bear, if there was any hope of doing good.”

Verses 13 – 18 –  Folly’s Invitation to Death.
The woman known as folly may be beautiful in appearance, yet, vain, deceitful, malicious, hating God and all that is holy.  Revelation 17:3-5.

Her destination is Hell, and she will lead others in that same direction, to that same eternal destination.

The Fear of the LORD

The Fear of the LORD – Proverbs 9:10

Within the Wisdom/Poetry Literature of Scripture the phrase “Fear of the LORD” is mentioned 18 times.  Fourteen of those are in Proverbs.  The remaining four are in Job and Psalms.
“And unto man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.” Job 28:28 (KJV)

“The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.” Psalm 19:9

“Come, ye children, hearken unto me: I will teach you the fear of the LORD.” Psalm 34:11

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.”  Psalm 111:10

Then, we will look at the verses in Proverbs,

1:7, 29;  2:5;  8:13;  9:10;  10:27; 14:26, 27;  15:16, 33;  16:6;  19:23;  22:4;  23:17

You will notice that the verse in Job 28:28 uses the word “Lord”, and it is speaking of God, but with a different name – Adonay.

When we look at the previous verses in Proverbs we read, “The fear of the LORD…”  “…is the beginning of knowledge” (1:7);  People who hate knowledge… “did not choose the fear of the LORD” (1:29).  We see also, “Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.” (2:5).  In chapter 8 verse 13 we read, “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil…”.

In our verse today we read, “The fear of the LORD  is the beginning of wisdom…” (9:10).  In chapter 10 verse 27 the writer says, “The fear of the LORD prolongeth days…”

In the entire Bible the term “fear of the LORD” is used only thirty times, from 1 Samuel 11:7 through Acts 9:31.

Is the fear of the LORD relevant to society of our day?  Most certainly, and probably never more needed than it is today.

Where does the fear of the LORD begin?  Knowledge, Understanding and Wisdom comes from the fear of the LORD.  Hearing Him, believing what He says, through His Son Jesus, and doing His Word.

Jesus said, “This is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom He has sent.” (John 6:29)  Upon receiving the grace of God you receive the fullness of God in His knowledge, understanding and wisdom.  That will be the “fear of the LORD” in you.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Appeal of Wisdom

Wisdom’s Appeal – Proverbs 8:1-36

Verses 1 – 11 –  In dealing with the title here I want to point out the definitions of the word “appeal”.  First of all it can be a “request for aid; a petition, or a plea.  Secondly, it can be a legal term; as in “to appeal a lower courts, or another judges ruling” and; thirdly, it can be the “power or ability to attract, interest, amuse or stimulate the mind or emotions”.

In the matter of Wisdom; it would seem to fit all three of those meanings.  “Wisdom cries” She cries out for the simple, naive, and foolish to hear her.  The crying out is the first meaning; though she needs no aid; she is petitioning all who hear her to follow.

Something to think about here is that previously in this study of Proverbs we have seen a wicked woman who calls the simple, naive youth to her bed; and he follows like an ox to the slaughter; and is like a bird taken in a snare (7:22-23).

In the second, we must see that Wisdoms judgment is higher than that of any court of the land.

In the third, we also can see Wisdom stirring the mind and emotions to follow our God and Saviour.  Wisdom is of greater value than any material thing; even gold or rubies cannot equal her value.  The Christian is in fact given aid by Wisdom.

Verses 12 – 21 –  Justice is found through Wisdom.  Remember the wisdom of Solomon when he took a sword, and would divide the child, due to the dispute between two mothers (1 Kings 3:16-28).  To the erring mind that judgment would seem harsh; however there was prudence, discretion, subtilty, in that judgment.

You could also use that event to show that wisdom “find’s out knowledge of witty inventions”.

Wisdom hates what God hates; loves what God loves.  Here in verse 13 we see some of what God hates again, through Wisdom – Pride, arrogance, evil paths, and a froward mouth.  The “froward mouth” is a perverse mouth.  You ever hear someone that when they speak all that comes out of their mouth is rot, stink and filth.  That is not just dealing with vulgarity of language, but assassination of anothers life and character, gossip – whether it is from a bitter heart or not.

True and good “counsel” belongs to Wisdom (v. 14).  Leadership of sponsored by Wisdom is a leadership fo Justice.  The Judge of all promises riches and righteousness, and will fill the treasures of those who follow Wisdom.

Verses 22 – 31 –  We see in these verses that Wisdom was present in the Creation of all that is.  From the Matthew Henry Commentary we read…

“That it is an intelligent and divine person that here speaks seems very plain, and that it is not meant of a mere essential property of the divine nature, for Wisdom here has personal properties and actions; and that intelligent divine person can be no other than the Son of God himself, to whom the principal things here spoken of wisdom are attributed in other scriptures, and we must explain scripture by itself. If Solomon himself designed only the praise of wisdom as it is an attribute of God, by which he made the world and governs it, so to recommend to men the study of that wisdom which belongs to them, yet the Spirit of God, who indited what he wrote, carried him, as David often, to such expressions as could agree to no other than the Son of God, and would lead us into the knowledge of great things concerning him. All divine revelation is the revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, and here we are told who and what he is, as God, designed in the eternal counsels to be the Mediator between God and man. The best exposition of these verses we have in the first four verses of St. John’s gospel. In the beginning was the Word, etc.”

Verses 32 – 36 –  Part of the “appeal” of the Person of Wisdom are the blessings she gives.  What we can find in Wisdom is life, favor of the LORD.  In order to obtain Wisdom one must hear the instruction of Wisdom and not refuse it.  Keep her ways.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Precious of Your Eye

The Apple of Your Eye – Proverbs 7:1-27

Verses 1 – 5  –  The keeping, protecting power of the Commandment.  A commandment to “guard”, “give heed to”, “wait for”, “retain”, “treasure”

v. 2 – “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings…” Psalm 17:8, See also Deuteronomy 32:10;  Lamentations 2:18;  and Zachariah 2:8.  The pupil of the eye is a sensitive part of the eye, thus the faithful Christian is one who will treasure, retain, “Keep” the commandments, the word of God as precious in life, for life.

v. 4 –  “Sister” Part of the family, one dear to the heart.  See Song of Solomon 4:9, 10, 12; 5:1, 2. The way of evil is to keep one from holiness, and to move the naive toward unrighteous and evil deeds.

Verses 6 – 23 –  The path of the simple minded and ignorant.

v. 9 – “The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, ‘No eye shall see me: and disguiseth his face.” Job 24:15

v. 14 – See Leviticus 7:11-18.  “Peace offerings” were a part of the Hebrew worship.  This is the way of evil.  There is probably more evil within the churches of the USA than most of us would like to admit, or think.   Hypocrisy is pretending to be something one is not.  Whether it is a wolf acting as a sheep; or a sheep acting as a wolf it is hypocrisy.

“…Ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.  For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour…” 1 Thessalonians 4:2-4

There is a much greater danger than the husband returning home (vv. 19-20).  There is first the offense of God; there is the offense to one’s self; there is the offense of one’s future spouse; and the offense of the offended spouse.  There is also possible reference to disease in verse 23.

Verses 24 – 27 –  God’s plea for knowledge and wisdom to control one’s thinking.  Matthew Henry Commentary states,

“Take fair warning when it is given you.’’ (1.) “Look back, and see what mischief this sin has done. The adulteress has been the ruin not of here and there one, but she has cast down many wounded.’’ Thousands have been undone, now and for ever, by this sin; and those not only the weak and simple youths, such as he was of whom he had now spoken, but many strong men have been slain by her, v. 26. Herein, perhaps, he has an eye especially to Samson, who was slain by this sin, and perhaps to David too, who by this sin entailed a sword upon his house, though so far the Lord took it away that he himself should not die. These were men not only of great bodily strength, but of eminent wisdom and courage, and yet their fleshly lusts prevailed over them. Howl, fir-trees, if the cedars be shaken. Let him that thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. (2.) “Look forward with an eye of faith, and see what will be in the end of it,’’ v. 27. Her house, though richly decked and furnished, and called a house of pleasure, is the way to hell; and her chambers are the stair-case that goes down to the chambers of death and everlasting darkness. The cup of fornication must shortly be exchanged for the cup of trembling; and the flames of lust, if not quenched by repentance and mortification, will burn to the lowest hell. Therefore stand in awe and sin not.”  From the Libronix Digital Library System.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Security

The Security of The Word – Proverbs 6:1-35

Verses 1 – 5 –  Warning or caution against being the security for anothers debt; or “co-signing” for others.  From the ESV Study notes,

“The main point of the appeal begins in v. 3: save yourself from the whim of the one in debt and plead urgently with him. The point of such pleading is made clear by the comparison to game caught in a trap: focus all your energy and seek to get out of such a situation and thus save yourself (v. 5) from ruin.”

See Proverbs 11:15; 17:18; 20:16;  22:26; and27:13

Verses 6 -11 –  Sloth or laziness is not commended by the wise.  God has created that human kind be the intelligent ones; however the wise can also learn from the creatures of God’s creation.  It should have a humbling affect on us.

If there is a tie between verses 1-5, and verses 6-11; it is in that the “ant” needs no surety from another; but is wise to save for that “rainy day”.

There is no wrong in providing a co-signature for a friend; not so wise in providing one for a stanger; and even more foolish to provide one for a slothful and lazy individual.

See Prov. 10:5;  24:33-34.

Verses 12 – 15 –  The walk of the wicked leads to destruction.  The whole body of the wicked man or woman communicates evil.  His mouth, eyes, feet, and hands [fingers].  It begins in the heart.  Jeremiah the prophet said,

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”  Jeremiah 17:9

Prov. 10:10;  16:27;  Psalm 35:19.  See also Matthew 6:31;  12:35.

Verses 16 – 19 –  Seven things which God hates.  These seven things are directly related to the heart of evil.

From the ESV Study notes we read of verse 16,

“This numeric literary device presents a representative rather than exhaustive list (cf. 30:15–16, 18–19, 21–31) that seeks to draw particular attention to the final item as the focus of God’s hatred. It is easy to agree that God hates the first six items; it is also easy to overlook the seventh (v. 19b), and thus the author pulls the reader up short.”

From the Matthew Henry Commentary we find,

“God hates sin; he hates every sin; he can never be reconciled to it; he hates nothing but sin. But there are some sins which he does in a special manner hate; and all those here mentioned are such as are injurious to our neighbour. It is an evidence of the good-will God bears to mankind that those sins are in a special manner provoking to him which are prejudicial to the comfort of human life and society. Therefore the men of Belial must expect their ruin to come suddenly, and without remedy, because their practices are such as the Lord hates and are an abomination to him, v. 16. Those things which God hates it is no thanks to us to hate in others, but we must hate them in ourselves.”

Verses 20 – 35 –  Make the Word of wisdom and of God familiar, that sin be not familiar.  We are told often about the preciousness of the Word of God.  It is valuable.  It is eternal.  It is to be cherished and counted a treasure.

These verses show why.  The words of wisdom from parents, received from Scripture, are eternal gifts to be received and practiced.

See these Scriptures:  Matthew 24:35; 1 Peter 1:25;  Psalm 19:7-11;  Psalm 119:9, 11, 89, and 105

-Tim A. Blankenship

Faithfulness in Marriage to God

Faithfulness in Marriage – Proverbs 5:1-23

Verses 1 – 6 –  The path of adultery leads to death.  We can see by these wise words that there is a likeness in marriage of one man and one woman to the relationship between men and God.

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the Saviour of the body.  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: for we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones.  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.  Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.” Ephesians 5:22- 33

Verses 7 – 14 –  Give diligence to keep yourself from the strange woman.  I think it would be correct to say that any man who cannot be faithful to his wife; will probably not be faithful to God; in fact; is not faithful to God by the very act of adultery.  Not only is the man, or woman committing adultery against their spouse, but against God, because they are holding something dearer to their heart than the commandment of God.

“But our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.  They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: they have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: they have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.”  Psalms 115:3-8

Verses 15 – 20 –  The wife, or husband is  to be the source of the man’s, or woman’s physical intimacy, refreshing, and intoxicating.  Likewise the Lord GOD is to be the source of the man’s and womans spiritual intimacy, refreshing, and intoxicating;

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit…” Ephesians 5:18

Verses 21 – 23 –  The LORD sees and knows the ways of man.

“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him…”  2 Chronicles 16:9

Since the eyes of the LORD run to and fro througout the whole earth; it shoud be obvious that they will also see the wicked and know their hearts.
The best of human relationships can be found in the marriage of a man and woman who are happily serving the Lord together, in their lives individually, and in their faithfulness in marriage.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Hear and Hold On

Hearing and Holding On – Proverbs 4:1-27

Verses 1-13 –  Hold on to wisdom; like a family heirloom.  Children are the fruit of marriage, and the responsibility of their teaching, their learning is that of the father and mother.  It is, however the responsibility of the child to learn the teachings which they are taught.  Hearing instruction; godly instruction; as lived by the parent is necessary for the child to see as well as hear.

When God is our Father, our Instructor/Teacher we know that His teaching is never in error.  If we err from His teaching it is the child who errs not the Father.  Remember Wisdom is personified in Proverbs, and is seen in the New Testament as Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God.

Verses 14-19 –  There are two paths which each individual must choose from.  “The way of wisdom” is mentioned in verse 11.  We are shown that there are two  paths people can take.  “…The path of the wicked…” (v. 14), and “…The path of the just…” (v. 18).

The just and wise person is warned not to enter the path of wickedness.  It is the path of darkness and the way of evil men.  The path of the just is “…as the shining light…”.  The way of darkness is filled with dangerous, headlong, falls, that lead to death, destruction, deception, and eternal despair.  Most of all eternal darkness, separated from God, and His grace, mercy and love.

The path of the just is light filled with visibility.  There are falls, but the righteous can fall and rise again to continue in the way of light (Proverbs 24:16).  Decisions are made with clarity, and with a cause that will glorify the LORD.

Verses 20- 22 –  The child must give heed to the teaching of the parent’s wisdom received from God.

“Then Jesus said unto them, ‘Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.” John 12:35 KJV

There is life and light for all who choose wisdom, justness, and righteousness.

“For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8;  also see Psalm 16:11).

Verses 23-27 –  From the e-Sword edition of the Pulpit Commentary we find,

“WHAT IS TO BE KEPT. The heart. In the Bible the “heart” represents what we call the “head” as well as the affections and conscience to which we confine the word “heart;” i.e. it stands for the whole inner nature, the life of thought, feeling, and will. This is the “Town of Mansoul,” and it has the various constituents of a town.
1. Entrance gates. The soul is always receiving thoughts and impulses from without. It is important to see that no adulterated article, no poison, no subject of infectious disease comes in. Debased, false, and immoral impressions must be warded off.
2. Ways of exit. The broad river bears on her bosom argosies from the busy city to many a distant port. Let us see that the cargo is of good wares, in good measure, honestly realizing professions, containing no injurious things. Some hearts export only sham products, some deadly poisons. Deeds, words, even smiles and glances carrying thought and influences out of the soul must be carefully guarded.
3. Internal thoroughfares. The town is a network of streets and passages. Busy thoughts run to and fro in the heart. Let the traffic be orderly, the road well preserved, lest pure thoughts should be smirched with the mire of an unwholesome mental habit.
4. Storehouses. Memory has her treasuries, warehouses, granaries. Let us see that they are not crowded with rubbish, left in disorder, made fever nests by the corruption of any unhealthy contents. Nourishing truths and beautiful ideas should stock them.
5. Factories. In the heart we weave fine webs of fancy see that the pattern has the beauty of holiness; there, too, we forge great engines for future work see that they are constructed on safe and serviceable principles.
6. Halls of amusement. Let them be places of recreation, not of dissipation.
7. Shrines for worship. See that no idol takes the place of the true God, no hypocrisy does service for the incense of spiritual prayer and praise.
8. Graveyards of dead hopes and loves; keep them beautiful with flowers of tender memory. Are there also graves of dead sins? Plant weeping willows of penitence over them.” Pulpit Commentary; e-Sword edition

“A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.”  Matthew 12:35

The point of verses 25 – 27 is for the just to keep their eyes open so as not to end up on the path of darkness and wickedness.   See Deuteronomy 5:32.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Road of Wisdom

The Road of Wisdom, and Her Blessings – Proverbs 3

Verses 1 – 12 –  In these verses we find that there are conditions for traveling the road of wisdom.

vv. 1-4; In these verses we find that we are expected to learn the “law of God”, keep His commandments; hang on to mercy and truth.  They are important enought to “write on the table of thine heart”.  The Psalmist says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.”

vv. 5-6;  Trust is a complete surrender to His way.  It is like the defeated warrior submitting to the conquering king, or general, and putting your life into their hands.  Submission, Commitment, Obedience to God.
When we choose our own way, we are unruly, uncommitted, and disobedient.

vv. 7-10;  The following is excerpts from the Matthew Henry Commentary; Matthew Henry was born October 18, 1662 and died June 22, 1714.  He was born, raised, and lived and preached in England.

“We have here before us three exhortations, each of them enforced with a good reason:—I. We must live in a humble and dutiful subjection to God and his government (v. 7): “Fear the Lord, as your sovereign Lord and Master; be ruled in every thing by your religion and subject to the divine will.’’
II. We must make a good use of our estates, and that is the way to increase them, v. 9, 10. Here is,
1. A precept which makes it our duty to serve God with our estates: Honour the Lord with thy substance. It is the end of our creation and redemption to honour God, to be to him for a name and a praise; we are no other way capable of serving him than in his honour….
2. A promise, which makes it our interest to serve God with our estates. It is the way to make a little much, and much more; it is the surest and safest method of thriving: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty.
III. We must conduct ourselves aright under our afflictions, v. 11, 12. This the apostle quotes (Heb. 12:5), and calls it an exhortation which speaks unto us as unto children, with the authority and affection of a father. We are here in a world of troubles.”  MHC on Proverbs.

For the Christian, is there; or should there be a difference between spiritual and material?

vv. 11-12;  As Christians we must submit to God’s discipline; His chastening (Hebrews 12:6-8).

Verses 13 – 35 –  In these final 23 verses we will see the blessings of those who are willing to walk the “Road of Wisdom”.

vv. 13-18;  The wealth of wisdom.

“3. It is the happiness of paradise (v. 18): She is a tree of life. True grace is that to the soul which the tree of life would have been, from which our first parents were shut out for eating of the forbidden tree. It is a seed of immortality, a well of living waters, springing up to life eternal. It is an earnest of the New Jerusalem, in the midst of which is the tree of life, Rev. 22:2; 2:7. Those that feed and feast on this heavenly wisdom shall not only be cured by it of every fatal malady, but shall find an antidote against age and death; they shall eat and live for ever.”  MHC on Proverbs.

vv. 19-20;  In peace and harmony with God’s creation.

“This should make us in love with the wisdom and understanding which God gives, that the Lord by wisdom founded the earth, so that it cannot be removed, nor can ever fail of answering all the ends of its creation, to which it is admirably and unexceptionably fitted. By understanding he has likewise established the heavens and directed all the motions of them in the best manner. The heavenly bodies are vast, yet there is no flaw in them—numerous, yet no disorder in them—the motion rapid, yet no wear or tear; the depths of the sea are broken up, and thence come the waters beneath the firmament, and the clouds drop down the dews, the waters from above the firmament, and all this by the divine wisdom and knowledge; therefore happy is the man that finds wisdom, for he will thereby be thoroughly furnished for every good word and work.” MHC on Proverbs

vv. 21-26; God cares for His own.  Those who have the wisdom of God and rest in His provisions, faith, His word, His precepts, His laws; need not fear at all.  He will take care of you [us] who are in Him (1 Peter 5:7).

vv. 27–35; The Christian has positive and caring relationships with their neighbors.  The second commandment which Jesus gives, “Love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Matthew 22:37-40) could come into focus here.  Who is our neighbor?  Jesus answered that question with the story of the “Good Samaritan” (Luke 10:25-37).

Of verse 35 Matthew Henry has written,

“4. The end of sinners will be everlasting shame, the end of saints endless honour, v. 35.”

-Tim A. Blankenship