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Proverbs 14 Commentary

Proverbs 14 Commentary

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Solomon teaches the many ways we can be wise or foolish in living a life pleasing of displeasing to God.
Solomon teaches the many ways we can be wise or foolish in living a life pleasing of displeasing to God.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jun 22, 2010
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Written and edited by Glenn Pease

In this commentary I quote the resource Let God Be True extensively, but I have also greatly edited it and cut out much of what can be found at their site. It would get too lengthy to quote all, and so I have taken just the key ideas, and cut out the preaching element that follows. I have also quoted a number of very old and out of print commentaries, and, again, I have cut much that is too technical or outdated and not relevant to our day. The purpose of this work is to save Bible students the enormous amount of time to research all of these resources. I have brought them together in one place for a quick grasp of what each proverb is saying. You will note that some commentators are using an old translation, and it does not seem like the same proverb we are dealing with in the IV. They were doing the best they could with an incomplete translation, and their comments can still be useful even if they are not accurate for the proverb they are commenting on. Just because I add a quote does not mean I agree with it, for there are different perspectives, and I give them all for the reader to decide on their value. It also needs to be pointed out that some of the old translations of the Proverbs were quite different than the new translations. The Hebrew text can be very complicated, and it has taken a great deal of scholarship to better understand the text. Even yet there is uncertainty in some cases, and so commentators have a different slant on the same proverb. This is not a problem when the several ideas that are followed all deal with some aspect of wise or foolish living. This theme has endless possibilities, and so even if different men have varying ideas of what a proverb means, take them all in, for no idea, or even several can ever exhaust the ways men can be wise or foolish. You might even come up with an idea of what Solomon is getting at yourself. As always, I am grateful for all who have made comments on this chapter, but sometimes I do not have their name, and so cannot give credit. If anyone can verify they are the author, I will gladly give credit. If anyone does not wish that their work be shared in this way, please let me know and I will remove it. My e-mail is glenn_p86@yahoo.com


1. Charles Spurgeon has an introduction to one of his sermons that is appropriate to the study of any chapter in the Proverbs. He wrote, “In the Book of Proverbs you meet with sentences of pithy wisdom, which to all appearance belong entirely to this world, and pertain to the economy of the life that now is. I do not know whether it is true, but it was said that years ago our friends in Scotland had a little book widely circulated and read by all their children which consisted of the Proverbs of Solomon, and that it was the means of making the Scotch, as a generation, more canny, shrewd, and wiser in business than any other people. If it be so, I should suggest that such a book be scattered throughout England as well, and indeed, anywhere and everywhere. The book might have been written in some parts of it by Franklin or Poor Richard, for it contains aphorisms and maxims of worldly wisdom, pithy but profound, sometimes poetic, but always practical. Has it never surprised you that there should be such sentences as these in the book of inspirationalrbs, for so they are—secular proverbs intermixed with spiritual proverbs—the secular and the spiritual all put together without any division or classification? You might have expected to find one chapter dedicated to worldly business, and another chapter devoted to golden rules concerning the spiritual life; but it is not so. They occur without any apparent order, or at any rate without any order of marked division between the secular and the spiritual: and I am very glad of it. The more I read the Book of Proverbs the more thankful I am that there is no such division, because the hard and fast line by which men of the world, and I fear some Christians, have divided the secular from the spiritual, is fraught with innumerable injuries. Religion, my dear friends, is not a thing for churches and chapels alone; it is equally meant for counting-houses and workshops, for kitchens and drawingrooms. The true Christian is not only to be seen in the singing of hymns and the offerings, of prayers, but he is to be distinguished by the honesty and integrity, the courage and the faithfulness of his ordinary character. In the streets and in the marketplaces or wherever else the providence of God may call him, he witnesses the good confession. It is easy to secularize religion in a wrong sense. There are many I doubt not that desecrate the pulpit to worldly ends. How can it be otherwise if “livings” are to be bought and sold? I cannot doubt that the sacred desk has been a place simply for earning emoluments, or for gathering fame, and that sacred oratory has been as mean in the sight of God as the common language of the streets. I do not doubt that many people have put religion as a show-card into their business, and have tried to make money by it. Like Mr. By-ends, they thought that if by being religious they could get a good smile —if by being religious they could be introduced into respectable society—if by being religious they would bring some excellent religious customers to their shop, and if indeed, by being religious they could get themselves to be esteemed, it would be a very proper thing. ow, this is making religion into irreligion; this is turning Christianity into selfishness; this is the Judas-spirit of putting Christ up for pieces of silver, and making as good a bargain as you can out of him; and this will lead to damnation, and nothing short of it, in the case of

anybody who deliberately attempts it. Woe to that man! He is a son of perdition. Better for him had he never been born. Instead of profaning the spiritual, the right thing is to spiritualize the secular till the purity of your motives and the sanctity of your conscience in ordinary pursuits shall cause the division to vanish. Why, there should be about an ordinary meal enough religion to make it resemble a sacrament. Our garments we should wear, and wear them out in the service of the Lord until they acquired as much sanctity as the very vestments of a consecrated priesthood. There should be a devout spirit in everything we do. “Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks unto God and the Father by him.” o, it is not a less holy thing to be the Christian merchant than to be the Christian minister. It is not a less holy thing to be the mother of mercy to your own children than to be the sister of mercy to the sick children of other people in the hospital ward. It is not a less sacred thing to be the married wife than it is to be the virgin consecrated to Christ. Wherever ye are, if ye discharge the duties of your calling as in the sight of God, ye can by prayer and thanksgiving saturate your lives with godliness and make every action drip with sanctity, till, like Ashur of old, it shall be said of you that you have dipped your foot in oil. So shall you leave the mark of grace wherever your footstep is put. Let us endeavor to be so minded, and forbear to sort out our actions, saying to ourselves, “In this thing I am to be a Christian: in the other thing I am to be a business man.” “Business is business,” says somebody. Yes, I know it is, and it has no business to be such business as it very often is. It ought to be Christianized, and the Christian that does not Christianize business is a dead Christian—a savourless salt; wherewith shall such salt be savoured when the salt itself has lost its savor? Mix up your proverbs. Be as practical as Poor Richard counsels, and then be as spiritual as Christ commands. You need not be a fool because you are a Christian. There is no necessity to be outwitted in business. There is no necessity to be less shrewd, less sharp. There is no necessity to be less pushing because you are a Christian. True religion is sanctified common sense, and if some people had got a little common sense with their religion, and some others had got a little more religion with their common sense, they would both be the better for it. And this Book of Proverbs is just this common sense, which is the rarest of all senses, saturated and sanctified by the presence of God and the power of the gospel ennobling the pursuits of the creature.” 2. Spurgeon's point is important, for Christians need to become more and more aware that all of life is to be the Christian life. There is no secular aspect of life that is not a part of our spiritual life. All that we do is to be done with the attitude in our hearts and minds of asking, “What would Jesus do?” We do not always know for sure, but just asking the question will almost always help us make a wise decision about how we conduct our daily life, and how we decide how to deal with the various problems that life brings our way. The Proverbs tell us what is the way of wisdom in contrast to the way of folly, and we can almost always see the difference if

we look at life with Christlike eyes. May God help us sharpen these eyes as we study these guidelines for wise living.

1 The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
1. othing new under the sun, for even back then women were classified as home builders or home wreckers. Women have always been the key to a good home life for the family, but they can also be foolish and bring the house down in shambles. She can do this single handed without assistance from anyone else. 1B. Chuck Smith, “"But a wise woman builds her house." I'll tell you, there's no greater reward in all the world than to see the fruit of a wise woman who has built a house in which there is love and security for the children, who can grow up in that kind of an environment and blossom forward into manhood and womanhood. What a reward and what a blessing! "The wise woman builds her house." 1C. Barnes, “The fullest recognition that has as yet met us of the importance of woman, for good or evil, in all human society.”

2. Let God Be True, a resource devoted to expounding Proverbs says,“Solomon did not likely ever look out of his palace window and see a woman on the roof of her home putting the finishing touches on the completed project, nor is it likely he looked down the street and saw another woman with an instrument in her hand bashing in the wall of her home as she finishes her demolition project of tearing her house down. He is not comparing women in their construction giftedness or lack thereof. He is using the house to stand for their family, estate, and life. It is her husband and their marriage; her children and grandchildren, and even future generations that he has in mind. A wise woman looks long range and does those things that build up and strengthen all her relationships so that they grow stronger and improve so that she and them enjoy the happiness of positive experiences together. The foolish woman neglects her relationships and wastes her time in selfcentered laziness and indifference and guarantees that her marriage will fall apart and the kids will be glad to get out of the house as soon as possible. In the end she will be alone with nobody to care, for she never cared for anybody when they were near. This was not her plan, but because she had no plan she reaped as she sowed. Mothers play the major roles in the discipline and character building of children. If they fail in this task the child will break her heart, and she will thereby tear down her own house. Prov. 29:15 says it clearly, "The rod of correction imparts wisdom,

but a child left to itself disgraces his mother." When you see a child that has no restraint but does whatever they like regardless of what is damaged or who is annoyed, you can be sure you are watching the product of a mother who does not realize she is a demolition expert in her own home. There is no better modern example than Sarah Pierrepont, the wife of Jonathan Edwards. She was a great wife to an exceptional man and public figure, raised eleven children in the fear and love of the Lord, provided a model home in holiness and warmth, and established a legacy through her descendants unmatched in American history. (I want to add this: If you want a fascinating study of a marvelous wife and mother, type Sarah Pierrepont into Google and read about a life seldom matched in home building.) 3. Let God Be True goes on, “For children to be successful in relating to others, they must be taught. To be diligent and successful workers, they must be taught. To be truly spiritually minded, they must be taught. To be organized, neat, and orderly, they must be taught. To be gracious, noble, virtuous, and zealous, they must be taught. And wise women know that their example is at least as important to this training as the frequent and careful instruction they give. A wise woman teaches and enforces the virtues of Christian character. She instills in her children an ambition for holiness, love of truth, service to others, and gracious conduct. She crushes sibling rivalry, foolish talking and jesting, sarcasm, backbiting, disrespect of authority, and ungodly attitudes. She requires virtuous deportment at all times. 4. Charles Bridges, “Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.” “WE have seen the wife to be a blessing or a curse to her husband. (Chap. xii. 4.) Such is She to his house. Her wisdom may supply many of his defects ; while all the results of his care and prudence may be wasted by her folly. The godly matron is the very soul of the house. She instructs her children by her example, no less than by her teaching. She educates them for God and for eternity; not to shine in the vain show of the world, but in the Church of God. Her household order combines economy with liberality (Chap. xxxi. 13, 18-27); strict integrity in the fear of God. Thus, as godly servants bring a blessing to the house (Gen. xxx. 27; xxxix. 5), so does the wise woman build her house (Chap. xxiv. 3) But mark the foolish woman: her idleness waste, love of pleasure, want of all forethought and care, her children's wills allowed, their souls neglected, their happiness ruined! We see her house plucked down in confusion. A sad issue, if an enemy had done this! But it is the doing, or rather the undoing, of her own hands. In proportion to her power and influence is her capability of family mischief. Such was Jezebel, the destroyer of her house.” 4B. Peter Leithart, “The first verse describes a woman building a house, alluding to the wise woman who builds and arranges her house in 9:1. In 9:1, the woman who

builds the house is Wisdom herself, and the linkage with 14:1 suggests that the wise wife is an embodiment of feminine Wisdom. The choice presented to the son in the first 9 chapters of the book is a choice between Wisdom and Folly, but 14:1 shows that this choice is not a disembodied spiritual decision. The choice between Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly presents itself in real life as a choice of companions, a choice of career paths, a choice of counselors and teachers. Above all, though, the choice between Wisdom and Folly presents itself as a choice of women, the need to choose a prudent, wise wife. The son of the Proverbs is being trained to make that choice, and parents, especially fathers, need to train their sons as Solomon did his son. Fathers must teach their sons wisdom, so they can recognize a wise woman when they see one, and desire the wise woman who is, like Wisdom herself, more precious than rubies. 14:1 emphasizes how important this choice is. The state of the house – not, obviously, just the architectural house, but the whole household – depends on the wisdom and folly of the wife. A wise woman will build up, improve, adorn her house in every way; a wise woman will raise children diligently, maintain good order in the home, assist her husband in his calling, give her husband sound advice, manage the wealth of the house carefully, and so on. In all these ways, she is building her house. A foolish woman does the opposite: She is negligent or overly harsh in discipline, too lazy to do keep the house running, demands her own way instead of seeking the good of her home, spends the money of the house badly. A man who chooses a foolish woman is doing damage to his whole life, and a man who chooses a wise woman will be blessed. Proverbs 14:1 also has redemptive-historical significance. Yahweh chose Israel to be the keeper of His house, but Israel proved a foolish woman and tore down her house rather than building it up. On the other hand, Jesus is the wise Son whose bride has been given His Spirit to build a house rather than destroying it.”

5. Gill, “ wise woman buildeth her house,.... ot only by her fruitfulness, as Leah and Rachel built up the house of Israel; but by her good housewifery, prudent economy; looking well to the ways of her household; guiding the affairs of her house with discretion; keeping all things in a good decorum; and bringing up her children in virtue, and in the fear and admonition of the Lord. So Christ, who in this book goes by the name of "Wisdom", or the wise woman, builds his house upon himself, the Rock; and all his people on their most holy faith, by means of the ministry of the word, and administration of ordinances: he guides and governs his house, where he is, as a Son in it and over it; and of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, taken care of, and wisely and plentifully provided for: and so Gospel ministers, who are wise to win souls, being well instructed in the kingdom of God; these "wise women" (y), so it is in the original text, or wise virgins; these wise master builders lay the foundation Christ ministerially, and build souls on it; and speak things to the edification of the church and people of God, and the building of them up in faith and holiness;

but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands; the Vulgate Latin version adds, "being built"; this she does by her idleness and laziness; by her lavish and profuse way of living; by her negligence and want of economy; by her frequenting playhouses, and attention to other diversions; and so her family and the affairs of it go to wreck and ruin. Thus the apostate church of Rome, who is called a "woman", and may be said to be a "foolish" one, being a wicked one and a harlot; see Rev_17:2; pulls down the true church and house of God with both hands, as much as in her lies, by her false doctrines, and superstitious worship and idolatry; and by her murders and massacres of the saints, with the blood of whom she is said to be drunk; nay, not only pulls it down with her hands, but treads upon it with her feet, Rev_11:2. So likewise all false teachers do as this foolish woman does, by their impure lives and impious doctrines, defile the temple of God, subvert the faith of many; by means of whom the tabernacle of David, or house of God, is fallen down; the ruins and breaches of which Christ will repair in the latter day.” 6. Henry, “A good wife is a great blessing to a family. By a fruitful wife a family is multiplied and replenished with children, and so built up. But by a prudent wife, one that is pious, industrious, and considerate, the affairs of the family are made to prosper, debts are paid, portions raised, provision made, the children well educated and maintained, and the family has comfort within doors and credit without; thus is the house built. She looks upon it as her own to take care of, though she knows it is her husband's to bear rule in, Est_1:22. 2. Many a family is brought to ruin by ill housewifery, as well as by ill husbandry. A foolishwoman, that has no fear of God nor regard to her business, that is wilful, and wasteful, and humoursome, that indulges her ease and appetite, and is all for jaunting and feasting, cards and the play-house, though she come to a plentiful estate, and to a family beforehand, she will impoverish and waste it, and will as certainly be the ruin of her house as if she plucked it down with her hands;and the husband himself, with all his care, can scarcely prevent it.” 7. “There is but an hour a day between a good housewife and a bad one. ( English proverb)” This woman made sure she used that one hour wisely, and the whole family benefited by it. 7B. Joseph Parker, “To build her house is to promote the best good of her husband and her offspring. 1. How will such a woman affect their estate ? Her wisdom will save more than her hands could earn. 2. She will render her family respectable. 3. She will render her family happy. She will so manage as not to irritate their passions. Her example will breathe through the house a mild and soft atmosphere. There is no resisting the combined influence of so many virtues. What she cannot do by her precepts and examples, she effects by her prayers. Her influence surely extends beyond her own family. Reflections : 1. Females see how they are to rise in the scale of being. 2. See the importance

of supporting good schools. 3. See the importance of the gospel. 4. Females should make the Scriptures their daily study. From the mother, rather than the father, the members of the family will take their [[character. (D. C. Clark.) Wise and foolish wives : — The foolish woman does not know that she is plucking down her house ; she thinks she is building it up. By unwise energy, by self-assertion, by thoughtless speeches, by words flung like firebrands, she is doing unutterable mischief, not only to herself, but to her husband and family. There are, on the other hand, wise women who are quietly and solidly building the house night and day : they make no demonstration ; the last characteristic that could be supposed to attach to them would be that of ostentation ; they measure the whole day, they number its hours, they apportion its worth ; every effort they make is an effort which has been reasoned out before it was begun ; every word is looked at before it is uttered ; every company is estimated before it is entrusted with confidence. In this way the wise woman consolidates her house.” 8. Margaret Mead, I think, was going too far when she said, “Each suburban housewife spends her time presiding over a power plant sufficient to have staffed the palace of a Roman emperor with a hundred slaves.” But I think Eleanor F. Rathbone was right on when she said, “There is, I suppose, no occupation in the world which has an influence on the efficiency and happiness of the members of nearly all other occupations so continuous and so permeating as that of the working housewife and mother.” 9. Roseanne Barr was just kidding when she said, “As a housewife, I feel that if the kids are still alive when my husband gets home from work, then hey, I've done my job.” But that attitude does describe the negative woman of this text who brings her house down. Erma Bombeck is also kidding when she says, “My theory on housework is, if the item doesn't multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. o one else cares. Why should you?” But, again, we see a good description of what is behind door number two with the woman who tears her house down. If you lived in a house like this, you would probably be glad to help tear it down. Especially so if mom also feels like Anne Gibbons who said, “ ature abhors a vacuum. And so do I.” 10. What is funny is that it is female comedians who illustrate by their humor what is the way of folly that this foolish woman practices. Phyllis Diller said, “Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.” What we see is, if a behavior makes you laugh because it is so ridiculous, you know you are on the road to tearing down rather than the wise road of building up your house. 11. Mercy King gives us an eloquent description of the negative woman. “In opposition, the foolish woman will be the one that pulls down with her hands what

she does have. That which she alone has been entrusted with to cultivate, nurture, and beautify, she destroys. With crass words, complaining lips, and a murmuring spirit, she finds discontentment in everything. Her work is to chase vanity and to imitate vain people. Rather than work on her home (her very heart) she lets the thorns of bitterness encapsulate the life pulses of love and tenderness. Mark that woman! And, approach not unto her home to learn her ways. She will continue to sink lower and lower as her foundations crumble. Eventually, she will have nothing left. She who pulls it down, uses others to gratify her own desires. Her pleasure is mounted on the dis-pleasures and discomforts of others.” 12. I don't want to end this verse on a bad note, and so I quote this poem that takes us back to the house building woman. Where is the happiest home on earth? 'Tis not 'mid scenes of noisy mirth; But where God's favor, sought aright, Fills every breast with joy and light. The richest home? It is not found Where wealth and splendor most abound; But wheresoe'er, in hall or cot, Men lived contented with their lot. The fairest home? It is not placed In scenes with outward beauty graced; But where kind words and smiles impart A constant sunshine to the heart. On such a home of peace and love God showers his blessing from above; And angels, watching o'er it, cry, "Lo! This is like our home on high!" -M.A.S.M

2 He whose walk is upright fears the LORD, but he whose ways are devious despises him.
1. You can discern the respect that a man has for the Lord by the fact that he walks in obedience to what the Lord has revealed to be his will. When a person lives by the Word of the Lord, you know they do so in honor of the one who revealed his will for

their benefit. They fear to disobey, for they know it is folly to do so, for he has given them guidance for walking in a path of wisdom that leads to true joy. The man, on the other hand, who walks in ways by which he seeks to get around the godly laws of living, only proves that he has no love for the Lord. He rejects all respect for God's guidance, for he despises any interference with his own will. He insists on doing his own thing regardless of how it goes against the will of the Lord. The first is a wise man, and the second is a fool. 2. Charles Bridges, “ The proof that we believe the reality of religion, is that we walk in the power of it. The proof of the influence of the fear of God is, that we "are in it all the day long" (Chap. xxiii. 17); not saints in our prayers, and worldlings in our conduct; not substituting active zeal for personal devotedness; not teaching our families half of religion, to read and pray; but "whatsoever things are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, and of good report, to think on these things." (Philip. iv. 8.) Man may boast of his moral uprightness, that he would scorn a mean action. But the heart-searching Savior lays open the root of worldly selfishness, and spews his way to be perverse before him. (Luke, xvi. 14, 15.) Does he remember, or does he know, while he slumbers in the delusion of external decency, that the allowed supremacy of any earthly object (1 Sam. ii. 29, 30), or the indulgence of a secret lust (2 Sam. Xii. 9, 10), brings him under the fearful guilt of despising God? 3. Let God Be True, “When you stay on the right path, walking in a way that pleases God, you do so because you respect God's will for you, and you do not want to disappoint him. It feel good and right to walk that way and you are grateful to God that by his grace you can do it. Walking is far more than taking a step. Many take the step of praying for to receive Christ as Savior, and others take another step of being baptized and then another of joining a church. This is all good and essential, but they stop after a few steps and do not continue to walk the way that demonstrates that they live in the fear of God. They do not demonstrate by their life-style The one that walks away from the path of wisdom that God has laid out goes into places that are forbidden. They are crooked paths that wander into territory ruled by evil forces. They are dark paths and those who walk them do not want any of the light of God's truth to shine on them. They hate the light and despise the God of light who hates the places they choose to travel to. When you walk where God forbids walking you hate him for his restriction. You are a rebel against restraint. When God puts up a sign that says " O TRESSPASSI G," that becomes the place you most want to go, and you despise God for putting any limitation on your freedom to go where you want to go.” 4. Gill, “is plain that the fear of the Lord is upon the heart and before the eyes of such that walk according to the word of God, with a sincere desire to glorify him; for it is by the fear of the Lord that men depart from evil, and because of that they cannot do what others do; and therefore when a man walks uprightly, and his conversation is in all holiness and godliness, it shows that the fear of God has a place

in his heart, which influences his outward behavior; 5. Henry, “are, 1. Grace and sin in their true colors. Grace reigning is a reverence of God, and gives honor to him who is infinitely great and high, and to whom all honor is due, than which what is more becoming or should be more pleasing to the rational creature? Sin reigning is no less than a contempt of God. In this,more than in any thing, sin appears exceedingly sinful, that it despises God, whom angels adore. Those that despise God's precepts, and will not be ruled by them, his promises, and will not accept of them, despise God himself and all his attributes. 2. Grace and sin in their true light. By this we may know a man that has grace, and the fear of God, reigning in him, he walks in his uprightness,he makes conscience of his actions, is faithful both to God and man, and every stop he makes, as well as every step he takes, is by rule; here is one that honors God. But, on the contrary, he that is perverse in his ways,that willfully follows his own appetites and passions, that is unjust and dishonest and contradicts his profession in his conversation, however he may pretend to devotion, he is a wicked man, and will be reckoned with as a despiser of God himself.”

3 A fool's talk brings a rod to his back, but the lips of the wise protect them.
1. It is the mouthy kid who sasses his mom, or who talks back to the teacher, who gets sent to their room, or to the principal's off ice. The man who is foul mouthed with his boss, or with the authorities, is the man who gets himself fired or arrested. Any person who cannot control his tongue, but lets it spew forth with rage or cursing is a fool, for he will alienate all people and get himself into trouble everywhere he goes. A wise man knows that his words either draw people to him or repulse them, and so he learns to speak in ways that are not offensive. Even in confrontations he will not provoke anger that could lead to injury, but will seek to smooth the tension with words of peace. The fool get himself punched in the face for his smart remarks, but the wise man keeps his confrontation calm and peaceful, and avoids the punch. He knows that his words are his most effective weapon. The fool does not get it, but makes everyone angry at him for his foolish talking. 1B. Prov. 18:6, “ ew International Version ew International Version A fool's lips bring him strife, and his mouth invites a beating. ew Living Translation Fools' words get them into constant quarrels; they are asking for a beating.

2. Charles Bridges, “In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve him.” How many figures does the wise man employ to sew the destructive evils of the tongue! Here it is a rod (Ezek. vii. 10, 11), a rod of pride. The rod in the mouth is often sharper than the rod in the hand. (Jer. xviii. 18.) Sometimes it strikes against God (Exod. v. 2. Ps. Xii. 3, 4. 2 Kings, xix. 10); sometimes it is "the rod of his anger" (Isa. x. 5) against his people; permitted (Rev. xiii. 5), yet restrained. (Ps. cxxv. 3.) Always in the end is it the rod for the fool himself. (Ib. lxiv.8.) Yet when the heart is humbled, and filled with wisdom, the tongue becomes the preservative from imminent dangers (Chap. xii. 6), even from the threatened scourge of the rod of pride. (Job, v. 21. Ps. xxxi. 20.) 3. Let God Be True, “There are two extremes of speech - arrogant or gracious. All speech falls somewhere between these two extremes. Where does your speech fall? Does your speech tend toward being gracious and kind? Or does it tend toward being arrogant and hurtful? There are consequences to pay for your speech. Harsh and arrogant speech brings punishment and trouble; discreet and gracious speech brings blessing and safety. How you use your tongue, one of the most difficult things to rule, will dictate how you are treated in life. Both death and life are in the power of the tongue, and if you indulge yourself in talking, you will realize one or the other result (18:21). Solomon warned often about the consequences of your speech (10:20,31; 15:2; 21:23; 26:28; Eccl 10:12-14). What is this rod of pride in the mouths of fools? It is a metaphor describing how the proud speech of a fool hurts others and himself. His tongue becomes a weapon for pain (Job 5:21; Jas 3:9-12). A fool cannot control his proud speech, and it causes others and him much grief wherever he goes (12:18; 13:10; 14:16; 18:6-7,21; 21:24; 28:25; 29:20). But a wise man is preserved and honored by the same bodily member! He uses speech for the good of others, and they love him for it (15:4,23; 24:26; 25:11-12). His gracious and kind speech wins the blessing and favor of others (11:16; 22:11; 31:26). He preserves his soul from much grief by wisely dealing with others (6:1-5; 12:13; 15:1; 18:7). The word of God is plain here. Corrupt speech is to be replaced with gracious and edifying speech (Eph 4:29). Bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking, and malice are to be replaced with kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness (Eph 4:31-32). Your speech is to always be gracious, allowing room for only a little salty seasoning (Col 4:6). The Lord Jesus Christ spoke with the purest grace ever (Ps 45:2; Luke 4:22). Even officers sent by the Jews to apprehend Him could not believe His excellent speech (John 7:45-46). The wisdom from heaven is distinctly different from the wisdom of

hell, and both kinds are evidenced in the heart attitude and speech of men (Jas 3:1418).” 4. Gill, “proud tongue, or a tongue speaking proud and haughty things; with which foolish or wicked men smite others and wound and hurt their reputation and credit, and in the issue hurt themselves also; their tongue is not only a rod to others, but a scourge to themselves, or is the cause of evil coming upon them; such was the tongue of Pharaoh, as Jarchi on the place observes, Exo_5:2; and of those the psalmist speaks of, Psa_73:9; and particularly of antichrist, whose mouth is opened in blasphemies against God, and his tabernacle, and his saints, Rev_13:5;” 5. Henry, “See here, 1. A proud fool exposing himself. Where there is pride in the heart, and no wisdom in the head to suppress it, it commonly shows itself in the words: In the mouth there is pride,proud boasting, proud censuring, proud scorning, proud commanding and giving law; this is the rod,or branch, of pride;the word is used only here and Isa_11:1. It grows from that root of bitterness which is in the heart; it is a rod from that stem. The root must be plucked up, or we cannot conquer this branch, or it is meant of a smiting beating rod, a rod of pridewhich strikes others. The proud man with his tongue lays about him and deals blows at pleasure, but it will in the end be a rod to himself; the proud man shall come under an ignominious correction by the words of his own mouth, not cut as a soldier, but caned as a servant; and herein he will be beaten with his own rod, Psa_64:8. 2. A humble wise man saving himself and consulting his own good: The lips of the wise shall preserve themfrom doing that mischief to others which proud men do with their tongues, and from bringing that mischief on themselves which haughty scorners are often involved in.” 6. Brenda Branson gives us a profile of a fool that explains why they cause so much strife for themselves. a. He is always right. “The way of a fool seems right to him . . .” Proverbs 12:15 b. He trusts in his own heart. “He who trusts in himself is a fool.” Proverbs 28:26 c. He doesn’t learn from past mistakes, and is chronically foolish. “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.” Proverbs 26:11 d. He doesn’t want to change. “Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding him like grain with a pestle, you will not remove his folly from him.” Proverbs 27:22

e. He will not listen to reason. “Do not speak to a fool, for he will scorn the wisdom of your words.” Proverbs 23:9 f. He is motivated by anger. “A fool gives full vent to his anger . . .” Proverbs 29:11 g. He is opinionated. “A fool finds no delight in understanding, but delights in airing his own opinions.” Proverbs 18:2 h. He invites violence. “A fool’s lips bring him strife, and his mouth invites a beating.” Proverbs 18:4 7. Peter Leithart, “In 14:3, Solomon reflects on the self-destructive speech of the fool, vividly describing the fool's tongue as a rod that will beat him. (Picture that.) The fool is his own worst enemy, provoking hatred and anger by his words; stirring up strife by his tongue; alienating and separating himself from people, and turning others away, by his lips. His lips produce no fruit, but only a barren rod, good for nothing but discipline. On the other hand, wise speech offers protection: Their soft answers turn away anger; the sweet fruit of their lips nourishes others and wins them over; they are peacemakers with their tongues. The last phrase of v. 3a is translated as "for his back" in the ASB but the Hebrew means "of pride." The fool's tongue is a rod of pride. This means, first, that the fool uses his tongue proudly, talking arrogantly and self-confidently about things he is wholly ignorant about, and, second, that his tongue brings beatings on him for his pride. The more he talks out of pride, the more his pride gets beat, but the folly of the fool is such that he keeps on trying to talk his way out of beatings and wins only more beatings.”

8. A key characteristic of the fool in the Proverbs is the unwise use of his tongue. And the key characteristic of the wise man is the sensible use of his tongue. Below are a few examples of each. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. 15:2 A wise man's heart guards his mouth, and his lips promote instruction. 16:23 A fool's mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul.

18:6-7 Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a fool whose lips are perverse 19:1 The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment. 10:20-21 The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but a perverse tongue will be cut out. The lips of the righteous know what is fitting, but the mouth of the wicked only what is perverse. 10:31,32 Through the blessings of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed. 11:11 An evil man is trapped by his sinful talk, but a righteous man escapes trouble. From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things, as surely as the work of his hands rewards him. 12:13,14 The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil. 15:28 The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction. 16:21 Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. 16:24 When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. 10:19 A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself,

but the heart of fools blurt out folly. 12:23 He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin. 13:3 Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue. 17:28 He who guards his mouth and his tongue, keeps himself from calamity. 18:13 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. 15:1 A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of undrstanding is even-tempered. 17:27 A perverse man stirs up disension, and a gossip separates close friends. 16:28 A man who lacks judgment derides his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his tongue. 11:12 Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. 12:18 The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. 15:4 A north wind brings rain, so a sly tongue brings angry looks. 25:23 It is to a man's honor to avoid strife,

but every fool is quick to quarrel. 20:3

4 Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest.
1. The bottom line is, you cannot be successful without the proper resources needed to reach your goal. If you desire to be a doctor, you have to get the education that makes that goal possible. If you do not have the degree, it is like wanting your barn full of harvest, but having no tractor or combine to get the harvest reaped and into the barn. If you have no oxen, meaning no power source, you cannot achieve your objective. Your barn can never be filled until you have the resources, or power, to fill it. You cannot have your car fixed and running smoothly without someone with the power, meaning the knowledge, to know how to fix it. Every goal needs the resources to reach that goal. The wise make sure the resources are there, and they succeed, but the fool seeks to achieve his goal without the resources, and ends in failure. o ox, no harvest. o degree, no career. 1B. Jason Jackson, “Solomon is not simply giving a lesson in agriculture. Here are two principles: a. get the right tools for the job you need to do, and b. the cost of the right tool is worth it. This is true for both material and spiritual work. How many times has money been wasted by trying to “cut corners”? It is important to be wise in one’s work and financial matters. Christians can reap an “abundant harvest” by using tools of a spiritual nature. Good books, study materials, and evangelism aids are invaluable. Build yourself a library of tools. Don’t buy just anything. Get recommendations. The job is to learn, love, and live the Bible. Good tools will pay great dividends.” 1C. The Biblical Illustrator, “ Where no cattle are, the crib is clean." True. But what of that ? Is the cleanness worth considering, in comparison with the increase that comes by the strength of the ox ? And now, I think, we have hold of the principle. There is no good to be got without its accompanying drawbacks ; let the drawbacks and the good be weighed carefully together, and if the good outbalance the drawbacks, then let the good be chosen and the drawbacks faced with

resolution, intelligence, and cheerfulness. Sentiment is right in its place, fastidiousness is proper in its season ; but sentiment is worse than idle, fastidiousness is worse than false, when we permit them to stand between us and a substantial good, the good that Providence intends us to get or the good that Providence commands us to do.” A Mr Gray in this volume points out that there is folly in seeking to avoid all messes in order to keep everything clean. Many things that are good can only be achieved by getting dirty. He wrote, “Clean garments, clean hands, who set a value upon these, as the continuous, the indispensable prerequisite of life ? I will tell you who do not. ot the surgeon, as he walks the battlefield with the sponge that wipes the blood and the linen that binds the wounds. ot the rescue party, as they enter the mine, amidst the heat, the soot, and the smoke of a recent explosion, with which the caverns still echo, and the earth still smokes. ot the sailor, as he pulls to the wreck, through a troubled sea that casts up mire and dirt, till his arms are twined with the seaweed and his coat is drenched with the ooze. Clean hands and clean garments, you must be content now and then to forgo them, if the world you live in is to be cleansed.” 1D. It is possible to keep a lot of things clean by not using them, but this defeats the purpose of their existence, which is another example of folly. If you never use your dishwasher because you do not want it to become stained and needing some special cleanser, or your stove because things might spill and make it messy with burned stuff on the bottom, you are not a wise person at all. It is folly to never get dirty. The only way any of your clothes make sense is to get them dirty so they need washing. Anyone who never wears their socks because they want to keep them perpetually clean is not an example of wisdom. In almost every useful activity of life something has to get dirty, and wisdom says it is worth it. Only a fool will choose to so live that everything stays clean along with his empty spotless barn. 1E. Peter Leithart, “Verse 4 is a witty proverb about labor and productivity. Waltke points out the chiastic structure of the verse: The ox is mentioned at the beginning and end, and the consonants of the two words "clean" and "increase" are in reverse order in Hebrew (BAR and ROB). Solomon’s point is that it's possible to avoid clutter, dirt, waste, and mess if you don't use an ox. It's possible to keep your barn in a condition of museum-like order and cleanliness. But preserving that state of cleanliness does not lead to much productivity. Oxen make a mess (like children), and have to be constantly cleaned-up-after. But the benefits of having the ox far outrun the costs in messiness disorder. This proverb has dozens of specific applications, beyond the economic realm that is overt. A church can maintain good order and peacefulness, but as soon as the church begins to move and act and do something, there is waste and dirt to clean up. A house can be kept in pristine condition, but not if you want to live in it. In every case, you can avoid clutter only if you are willing to forgo a harvest.”

2. Charles Bridges, “Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.” Oxen are used in husbandry. (Deut. xxv. 4. 1 Kings, xix. 19.) Where, therefore, no oxen are, to till the ground, the crib is clean. (Amos, iv. 6.) Because, where is no labor, there can be no food wherewith to supply it. God works by means, not by miracles. There must be good husbandry, in order to an abundant harvest. Let the ox be put to his work, and much increase will be by his strength. (Ps. cxliv. 14.) In the spiritual husbandry, where there are no laborers, all is barrenness and desolation. But see the much increase, the harvest of precious souls —the fruit of their strength and effectiveness.* "In all labor," both in the natural and spiritual husbandry, "there is profit." (Verse 23.) But God will never acknowledge a slothful servant. 3. Clarke, “But much increase is by the strength of the ox - The ox is the most profitable of all the beasts used in husbandry. Except merely for speed, he is almost in every respect superior to the horse. 1. He is longer lived. 2. Scarcely liable to any diseases. 3He is steady, and always pulls fair in his gears. 4He lives, fattens, and maintains his strength on what a horse will not eat, and therefore is supported on one third the cost. 5. His manure is more profitable. 6. When he is worn out in his labor his flesh is good for the nourishment of man, his horns of great utility, and his hide almost invaluable. It might be added, he is little or no expense in shoeing, and his gears are much more simple, and much less expensive, than those of the horse. In all large farms oxen are greatly to be preferred to horses. Have but patience with this most patient animal, and you will soon find that there is much increase by the strength and labor of the ox. 3B. Walter C. Smith s Thoughts and Fancies for Sunday Evenings: Were there no oxen feeding in the stall, The crib were clean : But without oxen harvest would be small, Housekeeping lean : Wherefore, we may not be too prim and nice ; There is no good that doth not cost a price.

3C. The Rewards of Wisdom, “An empty stable stays clean, but no income comes from an empty stable”―A clean stable makes a pretty picture, but the only way to get it is to have no horses. We can make it a priority to avoid mess, to have our lives be a pretty picture. But there is real danger that by avoiding mess we are avoiding profit as well. What are the things that threaten to bring mess or complication to your life, or generally to disturb your peace? What profit are you foregoing if you say no to those things?” 3D. The above paragraph does have a great point. I have always had a messy study because of the many books, magazines, and other resources I use to write. If I had it all cleaned up, I would not have what I need to get the ideas necessary to write. I prefer my mess to all being clean and in order, for it is the mess that keeps me learning. If I clean it all up, it will cease to grow in new knowledge. On the other hand I have seen messes that are just the result of laziness, and they serve no purpose. It is only wise to be messy when the mess is a motivation and help to producing something of order and beauty. 4. What is the point of Clarke on the ox, and what is the value of his comments? It is just this: The quality of the power source is important, for the best will assure one of greater reward in farming, or in any endeavor. The greater the quality of the foundational resource, the greater will be the quality of the end product. The wise will seek to use the best resource to achieve their goals, and they will succeed. The foolish will seek to achieve high goals with very inadequate resources, and they will end short. 5. Let God Be True, “Adam Smith wrote "The Wealth of ations" in 1776; and savings, investment, capital, means of production, income-producing assets, and distribution of labor were little understood until then. But the Preacher taught these things in 920 BC, or almost three thousand years before Adam Smith! Give God the glory! Love Scripture! Love Proverbs! If a farmer plows, cultivates, and harvests by hand, he only has the strength and endurance to work a very small section of ground. His family may barely survive. And he will never get ahead. The storage crib for corn or other produce will be clean - empty, because he and his family will have eaten all he could plant and harvest. ations in the world even today that still rely on manual labor are as poor as they were 4000 years ago. But if a farmer can scrimp and save to purchase an ox, he will have invested in the means of much greater production. The strong ox can pull a plow through the soil for many hours a day (I Kgs 19:19). Many acres can be cultivated. The ox can trample the raw corn and separate it from the stalk (Deut 25:4), and he can drive a grinding wheel much better than Samson (Judges 16:21). The ox can pull heavily loaded wagons to market ( um 7:3). The farmer now produces much more than he needs to eat and increases his wealth and farm. This great reversal of fortune came

by saving and investing. Saving and investing are pillars of a capitalistic economy. To buy an ox, a farmer denies himself short-term pleasure to accumulate the needed funds: this is saving. Then he must spend it for an ox that eats much feed each day and requires expensive upkeep: this is investing. By saving some of his own production, the farmer created capital; by investing it in better means of production, he has converted his capital to be income producing. Capital so invested will bring wealth, which creates more capital and investment, which leads to even greater wealth. Much increase is by the strength of the ox! Paul applies care of oxen to ministers, so let us consider how our proverb addresses them (I Cor 9:6-14; I Tim 5:17-18). A church without a pastor will see little spiritual growth, for the God-given strength of the spiritual ox is missing. But where there is a laboring pastor, the church will benefit by this God-ordained means of increase. A hard working minister can be very profitable - and this is his calling (I Tim 4:1316). And the harder he works, the more he should be fed (I Tim 5:17-18).” 6. Gill, “much better is the mystical sense, thus; that where there are no ministers of the Gospel, there is no food for souls. Oxen are an emblem of faithful and laborious ministers. The ox was one of the emblems in the cherubim, which design Gospel ministers; the names by which oxen are called agree with them. Here are two words used of them in the text; the one comes from a root which signifies to "teach", "lead", "guide", and "govern"; and the same word for "oxen" signifies "teachers", "leaders", "guides", and "governors"; names which most properly belong to ministers of the word: the other word comes from a root which signifies to "see", to "look"; because these creatures are sharp sighted. Ministers are seers, overseers, and as John's living creatures in Rev_4:6; one of which was an ox, were full of eyes, within, and before, and behind. So ministers of the word had need to have good sight, to look into the Scriptures, and search them; to look to themselves and to their flock, and to look out to discover enemies, and danger by them; and to look into their own experience, and into things both past and to come. There is a likeness in ministers to these creatures, as to the nature of them; they are clean, creatures, as such should be that minister in holy things; and chew the cud, as such should revolve in their minds and constantly meditate upon divine things; and, like them, are patient and quiet under the yoke; and are not only strong to labour, but very laborious in the word and doctrine; submit to the yoke, draw the plough of the Gospel; bring home souls to Christ, to his church, and to heaven; and tread out the corn, the mysteries of grace, out of the sacred writings. but much increase isby the strength of the ox; as there is a large increase of the fruits of the earth, through the tillage of it by proper instruments; as by the strong and laborious ox, whose strength is employed in ploughing the ground (d)and treading the corn; which is put for all means of husbandry, where that is used or not: so through the unwearied labours of Gospel ministers, the blessing of God attending them, there is much spiritual food; see Pro_13:23. There is an increase of

converts, a harvest of souls is brought in; and an increase of gifts and of grace, and of spiritual light and knowledge, and plenty of provisions; which spiritual increase, through the ministry of the word, is owing to God, 1Co_3:6.” 7. Henry, “neglect of husbandry is the way to poverty: Where no oxen are,to till the ground and tread out the corn, the cribis empty, is clean;there is no straw for the cattle, and consequently no bread for the service of man. Scarcity is represented by cleanness of teeth,Amo_4:6. Where no oxen arethere is nothing to be done at the ground, and then nothing to be had out of it; the cribindeed is cleanfrom dung, which pleases the neat and nice, that cannot endure husbandry because there is so much dirty work in it, and therefore will sell their oxen to keep the crib clean; but then not only the labour, but even the dung of the ox is wanted. This shows the folly of those who addict themselves to the pleasures of the country, but do not mind the business of it, who (as we say) keep more horses than kine, more dogs than swine; their families must needs suffer by it. 2. Those who take pains about their ground are likely to reap the profit of it. Those who keep that about them which is for use and service, not for state and show, more husbandmen than footmen, are likely to thrive. Much increase is by the strength of the ox;that is made for our service, and is profitable alive and dead.” 8. Pulpit Commentary, “The Connection or Means And Ends. (Verse. 4.) Such seems to be the point of the saying. " othing costs nothing." If you keep no oxen, you have no manger to supply. But at the same tune, nothing brings nothing in. The larger income is secured by the keeping of oxen. This is, in fact, the sense of the old saw, " Penny wise and pound foolish." In short, it is part of the science of life to know the limits of thrift and of expense. "A man often pays dear for a small frugality." " Cheapest," says the prudent," is the dearest labor." In the more immediate interests of the soul, how true is it that only first expense of thought, time, love, upon others is the truest condition of our own blessedness!”

5 A truthful witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies.
1. This is not a profound insight at all, for what could be more obvious than this. aturally a true witness will not be deceiving, and a false witness will be deceiving with his lies. It is no revelation, but just another way of describing the wise and foolish man. The wise tell the truth so that it is the actual facts of reality that is being dealt with. The fool muddies the water with deceiving lies that confuse people and hinder the goal of justice. The wise are a blessing to society, and the foolish are a hindrance to a just society. When lies abound, the culture goes the way of corruption and out of the graces of God, and this happened many times in Israel,

and all through history it has led to the downfall of nations. 1B. ewman Smyth, “Truth is the highest thing that man may keep," and the noblest child or man is he that keeps the truth ever between his lips. Walter was the important witness in a lawsuit. One of the lawyers, after cross-questioning him severely, said, "Your father has been talking to you and telling you how to testify, hasn't he ? " " Yes," said the boy. " ow," said the lawyer, " just tell us how your father told you to testify." " Well," said the boy modestly, " father told me that the lawyers would try and tangle me in my testimony; but if I would just be careful and tell the truth, I could tell the same thing every time." The lawyer didn't try to tangle that boy any more.” 2. Charles Bridges, “A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies. This might seem to be a truism, unworthy of inspiration. But a closer inspection brings out a valuable maxim of practical wisdom. A faithful witness is moved neither by entreaties nor bribes, neither by promises nor threats, to swerve from truth. He is the man to trust. He will not lie. But a false witness has lost all principle of truth. He will utter lies, without any inducement but his own interest or pleasure. Flee from his very breath. (Chap. Xxv. 19.) The faithful witness answers God's requirements. (Ps. li. 6.) He is therefore his delight. (John, i. 47.) He is the citizen of the heavenly Zion (Ps. xv. 2; Isa. xxxiii. 15), and the ornament of godliness. (Philip. iv. 8.) In the Sacred Office he will not lie. His spirit is firm and independent. His message is full and transparent truth. (1 Thess. ii. 3, 4.) But the false witness is a true child of "the father of lies." (John, viii. 44. 1 Kings, xxi. 13.) Thus "the good and the corrupt tree," each brings forth its own fruit. (Matt. vii. 17, 18.) Let us remember, that our principles, good and evil, are exemplified in the most trivial transactions, and gather strength from the slightest, as well as from the most important, exercise. (Luke, xvi. 10.) 3. Let God Be True, “Is this proverb too simple for your time? You can grasp its obvious meaning with a single reading. But have you considered the less obvious importance of faithfulness, honesty, and truth? We must take Solomon's dark saying and open it to the light of Holy Scripture and the Holy Spirit. Let every reader be gripped by the importance of perfect faithfulness. Faithful men (or women) are rare. David said, "Help, LORD; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men" (Ps 12:1). Solomon asked, "Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?" (20:6). Jeremiah said, "Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it" (Jer 5:1). Micah added, "The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright

among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net" (Micah 7:2). It is no different today; in fact, it may be worse, even among so-called Christians. For the character of carnal Christianity, which makes for perilous times, includes truce breakers, false accusers, and traitors, among other sins (II Tim 3:1-5). Let us rather follow Paul in carefully providing things honest in the sight of all men (Rom 12:17; II Cor 8:21). The world watches Christians, so you must be impeccably honest at all times to silence their accusations (I Pet 2:12; 3:16). Paul commanded you to even avoid the appearance of evil (I Thess 5:22). Honesty is the only policy! Is your word always as pure as gold? Jesus is the Faithful and True Witness (Rev 3:14). He is called Faithful and True (Rev 19:11). Men falsely accused Him on trial (Mark 14:56-60); they hated Him for His honesty (Is 53:9). His true disciples will be as perfectly honest (John 1:47; Rev 14:5).” 4. Henry, “In the administration of justice much depends upon the witnesses, and therefore it is necessary to the common good that witnesses be principled as they ought to be; for, 1. A witness that is conscientious will not dare to give in a testimony that is in the least untrue, nor, for good-will or ill-will, represent a thing otherwise than according to the best of his knowledge, whoever is pleased or displeased, and then judgment runs down like a river. 2. But a witness that will be bribed, and biassed, and browbeaten, will utter lies(and not stick nor startle at it), with as much readiness and assurance as if what he said were all true.” 5. Gill, “ faithful witness will not lie,.... For that would be contrary to his character as faithful; and as he will not witness to a falsehood upon oath in a court of judicature, so neither will he tell a lie in common conversation. This may be applied to Gospel ministers, who are witnesses of Christ; the Gospel they preach is a testimony concerning him, and they bear a faithful witness to the truth; nor will they, knowingly and willingly, deliver out a falsehood, or a doctrinal lie, since "no lie is of the truth", 1Jo_2:21; the character of a faithful witness is given to Christ, Rev_1:5; who is a "witness" of his father's love and grace, of his mind and will, and of the doctrines of the Gospel relating to himself, and the method of salvation by him; and he is "faithful" to him that appointed him; nor can he nor will he lie, for he is "truth" itself; but a false witness will utter lies; or "blow" (e)them out, and spread them abroad in great plenty; he will not stick to tell them, and, having no conscience, will utter them as fast as he can, with all boldness and confidence; for one that fears not to bear testimony to a falsehood upon oath, will not scruple to lie in common talk. Or the words, "nay" be rendered, "he that uttereth lies will bea false witness"; he that

accustoms himself to lying, in his conversation with men in private company, will become a false witness upon occasion in a public court of judicature: such an one is not to be depended on; lesser sins lead to greater, lying to perjury. So false teachers, and the followers of the man of sin, speak lies in hypocrisy, doctrinal ones, which they are given up to believe; and such as do so are false witnesses, deceivers, and antichrist.”

6 The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.
The Message, “Cynics look high and low for wisdom—and never find it; the open-minded find it right on their doorstep!” 1. Chuck Smith, “It used to be always after the test in school someone would say, "Well, was it a hard test?" And I'd always respond, " ot if you know the answers." Only hard when you don't know the answers, you know. Then it's tough, because, man, you got to think of something and make up something. That makes a hard test. But if you know the answers, the test isn't hard at all. So, "The knowledge is easy unto him who understands." o problem if you understand it.” 1B. Four things unfit such a man for impartial inquiries after Divine truth ― a very proud, or a very suspicious temper, false wit, or sensuality. The two last generally belong to him ; but the two first are essential to him, and inseparable from him. There is no quality that sticks more closely to a scorner than pride, and nothing more evidently obstructs right reasoning. Suspicion makes him doubt everything be hears and distrust every man he converses with. An extremity of suspicion in an inquirer after truth is like a raging jealousy in a husband or a friend ; it leads a man to turn all his thoughts towards the ill-natured side, and to put the worst construction upon everything. False wit is a way of exposing things sacred and serious, by passing a bold jest upon them and ridiculing arguments instead of comforting them. The sensual man is, of all men living, the most improper for inquiries after truth and the legist at leisure for it. He is never sedate and cool, disinterested and impartial.” {Bp. Atterbury.) 2. Charles Bridges, “A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy to him that understandeth.” What then?—Is the promise belied--"He that seeketh findeth?" The failure lies at the scorner's own door. He seeks indeed, but without seriousness; without honesty of purpose; without delight; solely for his own interest. He finds therefore matter enough for his humor, but none for his instruction! He charges the darkness upon the Scripture, not, where it really belongs--to his own heart. He feels himself able to comprehend the subject, and therefore free to reject what is beyond his conception, or contrary to his prejudices.

He scorns the humbling submission of faith, so that the glory even of the wisdom of God is foolishness with him. (Rom. ix. 31, 32; x. 3.) o wonder that, while he makes an effort to seek, he findeth not. (Chap. xxiv. 7. 2 Tim. iii. 7.) He seeks his object, but neglects the means, and perishes in the scorn-fulness of his own unbelief (1 Cor. iii. 19.) To another class of seekers, knowledge is easy. (Chap. viii. 9.) The Ethiopian Eunuch gathered his knowledge from simplicity. (Acts, viii.31.) God gave him a ready will, a right taste; and in " doing his will he knew his doctrine." (John, vii. 17.) Obedience is the path of understanding. " Whosoever shall humble himself as a little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. Xviii. 4.) Shall not we thus unite with our Divine Master in adoring the gracious Sovereignty of this dispensation?—"Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes." (Matt. xi. 25.) Shall not we seek for deeper humility, as the pathway to higher instruction? While we "are in our Father's hands" as the object of his love, think of the privilege of "sitting down at his feet, every one to receive of his words." (Deut. xxxiii. 3.)” 3. Let God Be True, “He does not find it because he will not look in the right place for it. He rejects the wisdom of God’s word and seeks it among the wisdom of the world only. A scorner resents correction and instruction, and he despises those correcting and instructing him. He is a perverse rebel, and he will not grow in wisdom. But a man with understanding, who loves correction and instruction, will grow in knowledge easily. What a difference among men! It is your duty and privilege, reader, to be the wise man. The blessed God has no use for scorners. He hates them, and He is their enemy during life. They wander ignorantly in arrogance and self-righteousness, while He mocks them before angels and men. The LORD loves humble men, who willingly receive His Word and are thankful for it. They love His preachers and teachers, whether parents or pastors. Men are born helpless and ignorant. They take a year to learn to stumble, another year to learn a few basic words, another two to ride a tricycle, and another twelve to drive a car dangerously. Men of understanding know their ignorance and dependence on God's revelation and teachers. They love parents, pastors, and any other instructors who will teach them wisdom. They realize God has chosen others to lead them to true knowledge. But scorners are in love with their own thoughts, and they resent being told they are wrong. Their arrogance about their opinions makes them worse than a fool (26:12). They will not go to wise men to learn, because they presume they already know it all (15:12). And because they are scorners, wise men ignore and reject them (9:7-8). They are lost!

The most important rule for wisdom is to become foolish and humble (I Cor 3:18). God resists the proud and hides truth from them (Matt 11:25-27; Jas 4:6). Solomon said he was but a little child; Jehoshaphat said he did not know what to do: both men were blessed abundantly. The lower you can go in true humility, the higher God will raise you.” 4. Clarke, “believe the scorner means, in this book, the man that despises the counsel of God; the infidel. Such may seek wisdom; but he never can find it, because he does not seek it where it is to be found; neither in the teaching of God’s Spirit, nor in the revelation of his will.” 5. Gill, “A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth itnot,.... So the scornful Greeks, that scoffed at the plainness and simplicity of the Gospel, sought natural wisdom, and thought they found it, and professed they had; but professing themselves to be wise they became fools, and with all their wisdom knew not God; and false teachers, that boasted of their evangelical wisdom, and of their great attainments in Gospel light, and derided others, were ever learning, and never came to the knowledge of the truth; and the scornful Jews, that mocked at the true Messiah, would seek him, the Wisdom of God, as they have done, and find him not; see Joh_7:34; Men often seek for wisdom in a wrong way and manner, in the use of wrong means; and seek it of wrong persons, and to wrong ends and purposes, and so seek amiss and find not; and some seek for wisdom, even evangelical wisdom, in a scornful manner, in a jeering sarcastic way, as the scoffing Athenians did, Act_17:18; and find it not, nor Christ the substance of it, and so perish for lack of knowledge of him; but knowledge iseasy unto him that understandeth; the knowledge of Wisdom, or of Christ, is easy to him that has a spiritual understanding given him; the knowledge of the Gospel, and the doctrines of it, is easy to him to whom it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven; there is nothing perverse or froward in the words and doctrines of Christ; they are all plain to man whose understanding is opened by the Spirit of God; especially such as relate to the glory of Christ's person, and to the way of life and salvation by him; see Pro_8:8. 6. Henry, “The reason why some people seek wisdom, and do not find it, is because they do not seek it from a right principle and in a right manner. They are scorners, and it is in scorn that they ask instruction, that they may ridicule what is told them and may cavil at it. Many put questions to Christ, tempting him, and that they might have whereof to accuse him, but they were never the wiser. o marvel if those who seek wisdom, as Simon Magus sought the gifts of the Holy Ghost, to serve their pride and covetousness, do not find it, for they seek amiss. Herod desired to see a miracle, but he was a scorner, and therefore it was denied him, Luk_23:8. Scorners speed not in prayer. 2. To those who understand aright, who depart from evil(for that is understanding), the knowledgeof God and of his will is easy.The parables which harden scorners in their scorning, and make divine things more difficult to them, enlighten those who are willing to learn, and make the same things more

plain, and intelligible, and familiar to them, Mat_13:11, Mat_13:15, Mat_13:16. The same word which to the scornful is a savour of death unto deathto the humble and serious is a savour of life unto life.He that understands,so as to depart from evil(for that is understanding), to quit his prejudices, to lay aside all corrupt dispositions and affections, will easily apprehend instruction and receive the impressions of it.”

7 Stay away from a foolish man, for you will not find knowledge on his lips.
1. Avoiding the foolish man is an act of wisdom, for it can only have a negative effect to have a relationship with one who is a fool. The best cure is prevention. Prevent being influenced by folly by not associating with it. If you choose to hang out with those who never have an intelligent thing to say, you will be tempted to surrender to ignorance rather than seek companionship where there is perpetual learning. If your companions are not encouraging you to go in a direction that conforms to the wisdom of God, you are with the wrong crowd. Hang out with people who motivate you to know and display the will of God for the good life. 1B. “Bertheau supposes the meaning to be somewhat sarcastic. When thou hast gone to a foolish man to learn any thing, thou hast gone to the wrong door. There is no knowledge there to be had.” 2. Charles Bridges, “Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge.” “Fellowship with the ungodly is absolutely forbidden, and it is never safe to contradict a plain command. (Chap. ix. 6. 2 Cor. vi. 17.) Let us labor to win their souls to Christ. But the rule of prudence directs-"Cast not your pearls before swine." ‘Avoid'--says the holy Leighton—'the mixture of an irreverent commonness of speaking of holy things indifferently in all companies.' Therefore when we perceive not in the foolish man the lips of knowledge, go from his presence. Some may be called to dispute with him. But take care that the call is clear. It is at least the safest path to dispatch your business with him as in a shower of rain, and not to loiter in his society. Sweet indeed is the glow of the Savior's name upon the young Christian's lips. Its warmth may put elder Christians to shame. But we must warn him--Harm may be got in an imprudent endeavor to do good. Confess your Master, wherever he may open your door and your mouth. But better retreat from cavillers. (Chap. xxvi. 4. 1 Tim. vi. 4, 5.) You may be foiled by specious reasoning. Beware of tampering with your simplicity by the hazardous experiment, how much poison your constitution may bear. (1 Cor. xv. 33.) If our Lord. Exposed himself to moral danger; yet think of the impenetrable cover of his sanctity, his perfect self-government, his rules of godly prudence. Do we feel secure in the strength of our Christian habits? one are

so confirmed, as to be safe in relaxation of watchfulness, and wanton rushing into danger. There is a perpetual warfare with the old principles of corruption. o dependence can be placed upon any habits, that do not produce right conduct, and right apprehension of present duty. The path of sin is much more easily avoided than relinquished. We can far more readily keep out of the course of the stream, than stem the torrent. Walk closely with God; and under his cover and shield bear a protest against the ungodly. (Ps. cxix. 114, 115.) Commune much with his people. The very sight of a man of God is refreshing. (Chap. xxvii. 9.)” 3. Let God Be True, “All people are to be loved and won to the Lord, but not all are fit for companionship and friendship. The foolish can only get you into trouble if you hang out with them, and so keep your distance. You will not gain anything to improve your life by this association. There are people that you need to avoid. Fools must be strictly avoided. There are several dangers. If you give them attention or honor, they will think their ignorant babbling is acceptable and right (26:1,4,8). If you keep company with them, they will corrupt your knowledge and good manners (9:6; 13:20; I Cor 15:33). But before you leave them, shut their mouths with the truth (26:5)! When you meet a man that disregards God and the Bible, or freely offers his opinions, or follows the dolts in front of him into evolutionary science or other insane theories, you have found a fool. They do not deserve any honor or attention from you (19:10; 30:21-23). They do not deserve truth, for they have sold their haughty little hearts to a lie. Jesus Christ, Lord of heaven and earth, despised fools. He said, "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" (Matt 7:6). Fools do not deserve any truth. They will mock and ridicule it, and they will twist your words to slander you. Go from them! If a man argues, debates, or questions the doctrine of Jesus Christ, he is a fool (I Tim 6:3-5). Paul said the man is proud, does not know anything, and his babbling leads to perverse disputings of men with corrupt minds, who are destitute of the truth. What was the advice Paul gave Timothy about such men? The same as Solomon's! Go from them! How far should you go away? Solomon taught, "Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away" (4:14-15). Get away! You cannot help them. They do not deserve truth. They will return to their folly as sure as dogs eat their own vomit and swine return to wallowing in mud (26:11; 27:22). The God of heaven has a fitting reward for

them (Rom 1:21-28). Amen! 4. The Proverbs are very clear about the wisdom of non-association with those who are not righteous. Unfortunately, it is rare that children and youth give heed to these wise words, for they cannot see the consequences of their becoming friends with people who will shape their live in the wrong way. Look at all the ways the Proverbs are telling us to avoid people of bad influences. 1:10 My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. 1:11 If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: 1:12 Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: 1:13 We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: 1:14 Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: 4:14 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. 4:15 Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. 9:6 Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding. 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. 19:27 Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge. 22:25 Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul. 24:1 Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them. 25:5 Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness. 29:24 Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not. 5. Clarke, “The meaning of the adage is plain: ever associate with a vain, empty fellow, when thou perceivest he can neither convey nor receive instruction.” 6. Gill, “ from the presence of a foolish man,.... A wicked one; avoid him, shun his company, depart from him, have no fellowship with him, it, being dangerous, infectious, and hurtful; when thou perceivest not in him lips of knowledge; when it is observed that his lips pour out foolishness, what is corrupt and unsavoury, unchaste and filthy; what does not minister grace to the hearers, nor is for the use of edifying, nor any ways improving in useful knowledge, but all the reverse: the Targum is, "for there is no knowledge in his lips,'' in what is expressed by them; some understand this ironically, and render the words

thus, "go right against a foolish man" (f); join in company with him, "and thou shalt not know the lips of knowledge", or learn anything by him; if you have a mind to be ignorant, keep company with a foolish man; so Jarchi and Gersom: or rather to this sense the words may be rendered, "go to a foolish man, seeing thou knowest not the lips of knowledge" (g), since thou dost not approve of wise and knowing men, whose lips would teach knowledge; and despisest the Gospel, and Gospel ministers the pope of Rome, as Cocceius on the text serves, and hear him, what his holiness and infallibility says; or some other false teacher.” 7. Henry, “How we may discern a fool and discover him, a wicked man, for he is a foolish man.If we perceive not in him the lips of knowledge,if we find there is no relish or savor of piety in his discourse, that his communication is all corrupt and corrupting, and nothing in it good and to the use of edifying,we may conclude the treasure is bad. 2. How we must decline such a one and depart from him: Go from his presence,for thou perceivestthere is no good to be gotten by his company, but danger of getting hurt by it. Sometimes the only way we have of reproving wicked discourse and witnessing against it is by leaving the company and going out of the hearing of it.”

8. Biblical Illustrator, “Go from the presence of a foolish man. — The society to be shunned :Man is a social being. The text holds up the society which we should avoid — the society of the foolish. I. It is unprofitable. What you want in society is knowledge. True knowledge shall — 1. Rightly guide. 2. Truly comfort. 3. Religiously inspire the soul. But such knowledge is not to be got from the foolish man. He has no power to help you, and therefore time spent in his society is waste. " The folly of fools is deceit." 1. They cheat themselves. They fancy they have the true ideas, and the true pleasures, but it is a miserable delusion. 2. They cheat others. They mislead by the falsehood of their speech and the craftiness of their policy. 3. It is wicked. They "make a mock at sin." " Go," then, " from the presence of a foolish man." Seek the society of the wise. (D. Thomas, D.D.) Safety inflight : — It is the intention of their Maker that some creatures should seek safety, not in fighting, but in fleeing. In the moral conflict of human life it is of great importance to judge rightly when we should fight and when we should flee. The weak might escape if they knew their own weakness, and kept out of harm's way. That courage is not a virtue which carries the feeble into the lion's jaws. To go in among the foolish for the rescue of the sinking may be necessary, but it is dangerous work, and demands robust workmen. Your first duty is your own safety. But on some persons at some times there lies the obligation to encounter danger for the safety of a neighbor. (JT. Arnot, D.D.)

8 The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.

The Message, “The wisdom of the wise keeps life on track; the foolishness of fools lands them in the ditch.” 1. Keil, “wisdom of the prudent shows itself in this, that he considers his conduct ‫הָב‬Pro_7:7, cf. Psa_5:2), i.e., regulates it carefully, examining and considering (Pro_13:16) it according to right and duty; and that on the contrary the folly of fools shows itself in this, that they aim at the malevolent deception of their neighbour, and try all kinds of secret ways for the gaining of this end. The former is wisdom, because from the good only good comes; the latter is folly or madness, because deception, however long it may sneak in darkness, yet at last comes to light, and recoils in its destructive effects upon him from whom it proceeds.”

2. Charles Bridges, “The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.” “This is not the wisdom of the learned, but of the prudent; not abstract and speculative, but sound and practical. It is self-knowledge and selfcontrol looking upward for Divine guidance. And how much is this wisdom needed to understand our way! The restless professor eagerly follows his own impulse. His constitutional bias interprets Providences, and makes openings for himself. Everything is out of place. He is so "fervent in spirit," that he becomes a slothful in business." He conceives himself to be doing good; the more so, because it is different from his brethren. He pleads the constraint of zeal as an excuse for indiscretion; as if religion was meant to destroy, and not rather to rectify, his judgment. But "God hath made everything beautiful in his time." (Eccles.iii. 11.) Religion is an orderly thing, as wise as it is warm. Whatever be the excitement to an irregular course, more good is done in steady consistency. To break the ranks in disorder; to "busy ourselves in other men's matters" (1 Pet. iv. 15. 2 Thess. iii. 11, 12); to be eager to understand our neighbor's way (John, xxi. 21, 22), obscures the light upon our own. The true wisdom is to understand what belongs to us personally and relatively. (1 Kings, iii. 6-9. Eccles. Viii. 5.) "As God hath distributed to every man, so let him walk, and abide with God." (1 Cor. vii. 17.) Let the eye do the work of the eye, and the hand of the hand. If Moses prayed on the Mount, and Joshua fought in the valley (Exod. xvii. 10, 11), it was not because the one was deficient in courage, or the other in prayer; but because each had his appointed work, and understood his own way. Many steps of our way are different from our neighbor's, and may-often be difficult to discern; being rather involved in the principles, than expressed in the detail, of Scripture. But the wisdom of the prudent will "understand what the will of the Lord is." (Eph. v. 17. Col. i. 9, 10.) " A single eye" and a sound heart will make our way plain. (Matt. vi. 22.) But while the attention of a truly wise man is occupied in understanding his way; 'the arts of deceit engross the polluted minds of the wicked.' Their wisdom of deceit is really folly. Gehazi's overreaching wisdom proved folly in the end. Daniel's

accusers "were taken in their craftiness." (Dan. vi. 24. 1 Cor. iii. 19.) Ananias and Sapphira vainly endeavored to hide their covetousness under the cover of liberality. (Acts, v. 1–10.) Who can deceive a heart-searching God? The attempt to do so is fearful provocation, certain confusion. 3. Let God Be True, “Few men understand what they do. Most men live deceived. They think they are wise and right, but they are foolish and wrong. They think they know the consequences of their actions, but they have believed lies that hide the trouble ahead (4:19). Only righteous men have the prudence and wisdom to examine their lives and choose what is right (22:3). Deceit is a horrible thing! It is a damning fault! It is the worst error a man can make. You cannot know once you are deceived, for deceit means you think a lie is the truth, or the truth is a lie! Deceit is confidence you are right, when you are horribly wrong. Deceit is lying to yourself! Deceit is believing white is black, or black is white. Deceit is walking naked in public, while thinking you are fully clothed, like a famous emperor! There is a great difference between wise men and fools. Wise men take nothing for granted. They carefully examine and prove all things. They make sure they know what they should be doing, the risks involved, and the means to accomplish them. They understand their way. They are not deceived. They have a godly plan, and they execute it. Fools live foolishly. Their folly is due to their deceived minds. They do things by instinct (lusts), by tradition (rote), by peer pressure (fear), by self-help books (selflove), by trial and error (chance), and by education (worldly wisdom). Life happens to them. They do not understand life or the one right way to live. They deceive themselves into folly! This proverb is fully seen in religion. oble men search the Scriptures, the only source of absolute truth, to prove all things and confirm what is right (Acts 17:11; I Thess 5:21). Fools cannot endure sound doctrine, so they find teachers who will entertain them with fables and lies (John 8:45; II Tim 3:13; 4:3-4; Is 30:9-11; Jer 5:30-31). 4. Gill, “wisdom of the prudent isto understand his way,.... The way of his calling, in which he should abide, and how to manage it in the best manner; the way of his duty, that he may walk inoffensively both towards God and men; and the way of life and salvation, which is by Jesus Christ, which to understand and to walk in is the highest wisdom and prudence; but the folly of fools isdeceit: or "the wisdom of fools", which the opposition requires, and is meant, and is what the Holy Ghost calls "folly", as elsewhere, 1Co_3:19; this is itself "deceit"; it is science, falsely so called; it lies in tricking and deceiving; and the issue of it is, not only the deceiving of others, but themselves also: such is the folly of the man of sin and followers, which lies in deceiving the

inhabitants of the earth with their sorceries and superstitions, with their lying wonders and miracles; see 2Th_2:10, Rev_13:14.” 4B. Peter Leithart, “Remember that a "fool" is not a simpleton, who simply blunders through life, but a man who is hardened in his distorted view of things and in his rebellion against God. The connection between folly and deceit here is complex. Folly is based on lies; the fool doesn't see the world as it is, but according to his own rebellious reconstruction. Folly also acts deceitfully, telling untruths and attempting to set traps for the simple and the righteous. The fool victimizes others, all the while protesting that he is the victim of others' machinations. Folly is, perhaps fundamentally, profoundly self-deceived. As many Proverbs note, the fool thinks he is wiser than the prudent, and thinks that his own way is the right way – even though everyone around him can tell that he's on a road that is about to go over a cliff (cf. v. 12). In the context, this verse partly has to do with the difference between appearance and reality. A path may look quite pleasant, wide and comfortable, inviting and seductive, but the reality is that it is the path to hell. The goodness of a path lies in its destination, and the upright chooses wisely because he sees where the path is heading beforehand. In his self-deception, the fool trusts his own observations and conclusions, and doesn't recognize the real character of the path until it's too late.” 5. Henry, “The good conduct of a wise and good man; he manages himself well. it is not the wisdom of the learned, which consists only in speculation, that is here recommended, but the wisdom of the prudent,which is practical, and is of use to direct our counsels and actions. Christian prudence consists in a right understanding of our way;for we are travelers, whose concern it is, not to spy wonders, but to get forward towards their journey's end. It is to understand our own way,not to be critics and busybodies in other men's matters, but to look well to ourselves and ponder the path of our feet,to understand the directions of our way, that we may observe them, the dangers of our way, that we may avoid them, the difficulties of our way, that we may break through them, and the advantages of our way, that we may improve them - to understand the rules we are to walk by and the ends we are to walk towards, and walk accordingly. 2. The bad conduct of a bad man; he puts a cheat upon himself. He does not rightly understand his way; he thinks he does, and so misses his way, and goes on in his mistake: The folly of fools is deceit;it cheats them into their own ruin. The folly of him that built on the sand was deceit.” 6. Toy, “.. a man of good sense shows his wisdom not by fine words and the stories, or by boldness and display, but in the capacity to consider his actions, comprehend their real import, and choose that course of conduct which is best adapted to secure happiness. The wisdom referred to is practical sagacity; there is no mention of moral or religious elements, though the second cl. may perhaps suggest that these are involved. The second cl. does not offer an explicit contrast to the first. We expect

the statement that the fool shows his folly by the absence of reflection and insight in the direction of his affairs, instead of which it is deceit that marks him that is, craft, deception practiced on others ; such is the meaning of the term in Prov. and throughout OT. The contrast would be obvious if we could take the word in the sense of "self-deception" (so Berth), but the usage seems not to allow this. We may suppose that the sage chooses to pass over the obvious mental incapacity of the fool, to characterize him by his moral procedure, and to stigmatize, or ridicule this as folly; folly, he may say, is best shown in craft and fraud ; or, reversing subject and predicate, we may understand the line to say that deceit is essentially folly.”

9 Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright.
1. Fools will make fun of those who apologize for their sin. They think it is foolish weakness to admit wrong and confess they have violated the will of God. On the other hand, the wise recognize the necessity to confess sin and failure to obey God's will, for this will produce goodwill among those offended. This will lead to peace and reconciliation. The fool will never admit wrong, and this leads to a break in relationships that is often permanent. Parents and children, Brothers and sisters, uncles and nephews, and all family relationships often end with people never talking to each other again because they refuse to admit their error and offense. In a family where nobody ever wants to be wrong, there is division and hostility. The wise are those who confess to God and man, and this maintains harmony and unity in the family. If you are a peacemaker, you will have to take seriously the need to admit when you are wrong. The proud self-righteous person is never a good will ambassador, but the humble man of sinful awareness will be the ideal servant to achieve the goal of goodwill. 1B. oyes, “Bad men make no account of injuring their neighbors, and therefore incur general hatred; while upright men, by being careful not to do wrong to any one, obtain general favor. This proverb, like many others, is somewhat enigmatical; the evil consequence of the course of conduct mentioned in the first line being implied in what is said of an opposite course of conduct in the parallel line.” 1C. Toy, “"fools insolently laugh at the guilt which their wrong-doing incurs, and thus bring hatred on themselves, while among the upright there is that kindness which is the natural product of well-doing." 1D. Peter Leithart, “The ASB translation of 14:9 makes it sound as if the Proverb is condemning fools who laugh and make light of sinful behavior – like a TV sitcom

about sodomy or a movie about bank robbers. But Waltke points out that the word "sin" is the Hebrew asham, a word that means "guilt" but specifically "an obligation to discharge guilt by giving something." The word also refers to the "guilt" or "trespass" offering in the Levitical law (Leviticus 5-6), an offering that involves restitution as well as sacrifice. What fools mock at, then, is not sin per se, but the obligation to repay or make restitution for their sin. This in turn informs our understanding of the second line of the verse, which speaks of the upright finding favor. This probably operates at two levels: The upright make restitution for their debts, not mocking "asham," and thus find favor with God. At the same time, they are eager to make good any wrongs they have done to others, confessing readily and making restitution as needed. Thus, they find favor with both God and with other people. By contrast, the fool who mocks and spurns the obligation to make his wrong good ends up losing favor with both God and others.”

2. Charles Bridges, “Fools make a mock at sin : but with the righteous there is favor.” “What! Are there such, as will count sin a sport? They have never seen the sight, never felt the weight. Look into eternity. It is thought a grave matter in heaven. It is felt so in hell. Why should it be made a mockery on earth? ‘It brought death into the world, and all our woe.' And is this a worthy matter of jest? How does God feel it? Go to Gethsemane. Go to Calvary. Learn there what sin is. Shall we make a mock at that, which was a crushing burden to the Son of God? Ask converted souls, awakened consciences, dying sinners, do they speak lightly of sin? How will the wretched mocker call himself in eternity what God calls him now, a fool! The mocking cannot be beyond the grave; except it be the sport of the cruel enemy at the unchangeably hopeless torments of his deluded victim. The damnation of souls is sport in hell. Is not then the poor mocker, rushing into this woe, the object of our pity and prayer? We warn, we weep, we would yearn over him. The righteous cannot mock, like this hardened fool. While ‘he makes himself merry with his sin, and scoffs at the reproof and judgment which pertains thereunto; "they have the mark of those that sigh and cry for the abominations of the land"--the sure seal of the Lord's favor. Soon does the sport of the fool come to an end. Here is favor abundant and unchangeable. Our God looks over, pities, bears with, guides, loves, saves, eternally. What are crowns and kingdoms compared with such a portion! 3. Maclaren, “The wisdom of this Book of Proverbs is not simply intellectual, but it has its roots in reverence and obedience to God, and for its accompaniment, righteousness. The wise man is the good man, and the good man is the godly man. And as is wisdom, so its opposite, folly, is not only intellectual feebleness; the bad man is a fool, and the godless is a bad man. The greatest amount of brain-power cultivated to the highest degree does not make a man wise, and about many a student and thinker God pronounces the sentence ‘Thou fool!’ That does not mean that all sin is ignorance, as we sometimes hear it said with a great show of tolerant profundity. There is some ignorance in all sin, but the essence of sin is the aversion

of the will from a law and from a Person, not the defect of the understanding. So far from all sin being but ignorance, and therefore blameless, there is no sin without knowledge, and the measure of ignorance is the measure of blamelessness; unless the ignorance be itself, as it often is, criminal. Ignorance is one thing, folly is another.” 4. Charles Simeon, “MA in his first creation was formed after the Divine image ; and there was not in his soul the least inclination to evil of any kind. But since his fall, he is become in love with sin : sin is the very element in which he lives : and so unconscious is he of its malignity,, that he makes a mock at it. Doubtless all do not carry their impiety to the same extent. Some are openly profane, and given up to all manner of wickedness ; not only not being ashamed of their ways, but actually " glorying in their shame." We must not however restrict to persons of this description the declaration in our text. The evil that is there complained of is of far wider extent, it more or less attaches to every unconverted man. Let us remember what sin is : " it is the transgression of the law." Whichever table of the law be broken, or whatever command be violated, the violation of it is sin : and to make light of that transgression, whether it be more or less heinous in itself, is to make a mock at sin. Passing over the drunkard, who says to his companions, We will fill ourselves with strong drink ; and to-morrow shall be as this clay and much more abundant;" and the robber, who invites his fellows, " Come, let us lay wait for blood, that we may fill our houses with spoil ;" and the unhappy prostitute, who "impudently" assaults with importunity the unwary youth ; or a variety of other characters alike notorious and abandoned ; passing by these, I say, (whom to have named is quite sufficient,) let us look to the worldling, who, though walking in a more sober way, lives altogether for him self; or look to the self-righteous, who though admired and applauded as characters of superior excellence, have no true humiliation before God, no earnest desires after a Savior, no real delight in holy exercises, no fixedness of mind to glorify their God. What shall I say of them all ? Have they any just views of sin ? Have they any suitable apprehensions of the state to which they have been brought by means of sin ? Do not their whole spirit and temper shew, that they think light of it ? and, if it were set before them in all its malignity and ill desert, would they not say, that the representation was exaggerated, and that the person who gave them the representation was deceived ? They need not utter any words, to betray the thoughts of their hearts : these are sufficiently evident by the absence of all those feelings which a just estimate of sin would create : and exactly as those who imagine that God will never punish sin, are said to " contemn God ," so may those, who think that sin will not involve us in misery, be justly said to contemn sin, and, in heart at least, if not in act, to " make a mock at it." 5. Let God Be True, “It is considered a joke to apologize for your offense to others and your sin against God and man, by these who are called fools. The good man will

seek to make amends to keep peace and a positive relationship. A fool will joke about sin, sneer at sin, excuse sin, and blame others for his sin. He has no fear of God. Sin is not a serious matter to him. But a righteous man will tremble at sin, run from sin, and grieve about sin. God will show that man His gracious blessings. Sin is horribly serious! How serious? If the Bible is true, God threw many angels out of heaven and reserved them for eternal torture for siding with Satan. If the Bible is true, God damned our entire race to an eternity in hell for one sin of eating forbidden fruit. If the Bible is true, God drowned the entire earth, including all children and handicapped senior citizens, for sin. The Bible is true! And God did do these things because of sin. How bad is sin? It causes death! Isn't that enough? Death is horrible. It steals our lives; breaks our relationships; ruins our plans; destroys our dreams. Where did it come from? Man chose to mock at God's warning of death for sin in Eden. Should you mock that which causes every man the greatest fear? How insane to mock the cause of death! But sin is also the reason for disease! For deformities! For destruction! For dysfunction! For disasters! For depravity! For derelicts! Sin is an ungodly evil that consumes our race every waking and sleeping second. How insane to mock the cause of these things! How bad is sin? Visit Gethsemane and Calvary. There you can see the Son of God under such enormous torment of soul He sweat as it were great drops of blood (Luke 22:44). He begged His Father for an alternative to bearing our sins, for the guilt and shame of being made sin for His elect was overwhelming (Luke 22:42). Fools make a mock at sin. To mock something is to ridicule, scorn, deride, jeer, or scoff at it. To mock sin is to make light of it and jest about it; to mock sin is to ridicule and scoff at its seriousness; to mock sin is to scorn and jeer those who teach and threaten against it. He has judged men severely for "minor" sins. He kept faithful Moses from Canaan for smiting a rock he was supposed to speak to ( um 20:12); he killed Uzzah in David's parade for steadying the ark of the covenant (II Sam 6:6-7). Only fools mock at sin. Our nation mocks sin as a pastime. Television is committed to it. Fornication, profanity, disobedience to parents, sodomy, adultery, jesting, and many other sins are main ingredients of sitcoms, serials, and dramas. Programming today mocks sin much more than just a generation ago. And here we have the fulfillment of God's curse (Rom 1:32). Profane and effeminate Christians mock sin today by their attitude. They say, "All

that matters is that we all love Jesus." They say, "God hates sin, but loves the sinner." Right! And oah dropped smiley faces with that message to those in the water around the ark! The Lord Jesus, Who shall soon judge all men in righteousness, described a wise man that dealt with sin properly. This man would not even lift up his eyes to heaven; and he smote his breast and said, "God be merciful to me a sinner" (Luke 18:13).” 6. Henry, “How wicked people are hardened in their wickedness: they make a mock at sin.They make a laughing matter of the sins of others, making themselves and their companions merry with that for which they should mourn, and they make a light matter of their own sins, both when they are tempted to sin and when they have committed it; they call evil good and good evil(Isa_5:20), turn it off with a jest, rush into sin (Jer_8:6) and say they shall have peace though they go on. They care not what mischief they do by their sins, and laugh at those that tell them of it. They are advocates for sin, and are ingenious at framing excuses for it. Fools make a mock at the sin-offering(so some); those that make light of sin make light of Christ. Those are fools that make light of sin, for they make light of that which God complains of (Amo_2:13), which lay heavily upon Christ, and which they themselves will have other thoughts of shortly. 2. How good people are encouraged in their goodness: Among the righteous there is favor;if they in any thing offend, they presently repent and obtain the favor of God. They have a goodwill one to another; and among them, in their societies, there is mutual charity and compassion in cases of offenses, and no mocking.” 7. Gill, “make a mock at sin,.... At sinful actions, their own or others; they make light of them, a jest of them, call evil good, and good evil; take pleasure in doing them themselves, and in those that do them; yea, sport themselves with the mischief that arises from them unto others; they make a mock at reproofs for them, and scoff at those that instruct and rebuke them; and laugh at a future state, and an awful judgment they are warned of, and in a scoffing manner say, "where is the promise of his coming?" Some, as Aben Ezra observes, render it "a sin offering"; and interpret it of the sin offerings and sacrifices under the law, as derided by wicked men; but may be better applied to the sin offering or sacrifice of Christ, who made his soul an offering for sin, to make satisfaction and atonement for the sins of his people; this is mocked at by false teachers, who deny it; and is exposed to derision and contempt by the Papists, by their bloodless sacrifice of the mass, and by their merits and works of supererogation, which they prefer to the sacrifice and satisfaction of Christ. The words may be rendered, "sin makes a mock of fools" (h); it deceives them, it promises them pleasure, or profit, or honour, but gives them neither, but all the reverse; but among the righteous there isfavor: they enjoy the favor of God and man; or "there is good will" (i), good will towards men; they are so far from making a mock at sin, and taking delight in the mischief that comes by it to others, that they are

willing to do all good offices unto men, and by love to serve their friends and neighbors: or "there is acceptance" (k); they are accepted with God upon the account of the sin offering, sacrifice, and satisfaction of Christ, which fools mock and despise.”

10 Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.
1. oyes, “Every one has griefs and joys, the causes of which he cannot make known so as to secure the complete sympathy of others. Men should be slow, therefore, in passing censure upon their neighbors on account of their feelings of grief or joy.” 2. Charles Bridges, “The heart knoweth its own bitterness: and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.” “A graphical illustration of man's proper individuality! "What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man that is in him?" The history of the soul is only fully known and felt by the conscious subject. Each knoweth his own bitterness, deep, interior. The most poignant sufferings often arise from causes, which cannot be told to our dearest friend. o two of us are framed alike; and this diversity of mind and character precludes a perfect reciprocity even in the warmest glow of human sympathy. Each only knows where the heart is wrung. Each therefore must in a measure tread a solitary path, and in that path often submit to be misunderstood. Hannah, knowing her own bitterness, was rashly rebuked by him, who ought to have been her comfort. (1 Sam. i. 10-43.) Gehazi harshly repelled the Shunamite, through ignorance of her bitter sorrow. (2 Kings, iv. 27.) Job's friends, from misconception, proved to be "miserable comforters, physicians of no value." (Job, xiii. 4 ; xvi. 2.) But think of Him, who made himself " a man of sorrows," that he might be "touched with the feeling of our infirmities." '(Isa. liii. 3.Heb. iv. 15.) This is not the common love to the whole family, but an individual interest of fellowship, as if each, had his whole heart, and each was loved alone. The heart's bitterness is experimentally known, and effectually relieved. (Isa. 1. 4, 5.) Man—very man as he is even on the throne of God—he is alive to all our sorrows. (Ib. lxiii. 9.) one of his members are too low for his highest and most endearing thoughts. Into this bosom we may pour the tale of woe, which no ear besides can receive. We may not be able to comprehend it. But he will make us feel, that his sympathy with sorrow is no fiction, but a precious reality. My Savior! Has my heart a bitterness, that thou dost not know, that thou dost not feel with me, and for which thou dost not provide a present cordial and support?

o less individual is the heart's joy. It lies deep within itself. A stranger doth not intermeddle with it. Michal could understand David's bravery, not his joy. She knew him as a man of war, not as a man of God. (1 Sam. xviii. 20. 2 Sam. vi. 16.) Indeed, joy is a plant in "a garden enclosed," a stream from "a fountain, sealed." (Cant. iv. 12.) It is "the secret of the Lord, which is with the righteous." (Chap. Iii. 32. Ps. xxv. 14.) It is the indwelling" Comforter, whom the world cannot receive." (John, xiv. 16, 17.) Yes truly----that is the highest joy, that the man hides in his own bosom, covered from observation. There is no noise, or froth on the surface. But they are deep waters of a Divine spring. Christ takes the believer apart from the crowd, feeds him on hidden manna (Rev. ii. 17), and makes him partaker of his own joy. Whatever cause there may be for mourning, there is "joy from our sorrow" (Jer. xxxi. 13), in the midst of it (Rom. v. 3), and as the everlasting fruit of it. (Isa. lx. 20.)” 3. Foster, ‘Every one is inwardly the only true and faithful judge of his own joys and sorrows, and none also can truly perceive them. ‘Each mind has an interior apartment of his own, into which none but itself and the Divinity can enter.'— 3B. Matthew Arnold, " Yes! in the sea of life enisled, With echoing straits between us thrown, Dotting the shoreless watery wild, We mortal millions live alone. The islands feel the enclasping flow, And then their endless bounds they know." 4. Charles Simeon, “THE inward experience of men, any further than it is discovered by acts or other outward signs, must of necessity be known to themselves alone. St. Paul puts the question to us, " Who knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him ?" Whether a man be filled with sorrow or joy, he alone can be sensible of the measure and extent of his own feelings. In matters relating to the soul, the feelings are still more acute. one but the person feeling it can tell " the bitterness" which is occasioned by a sense of sin, with all itsaggravations by the prospect of death and judgment, whilst the soul is unprepared to meet its God and by temptations to despondency, and perhaps to suicide itself - Job s friends could not at all appreciate his sorrows, as depicted by himself - or can any, but the man whose " heart is thus broken," conceive fully what " a broken and contrite spirit is " On the other hand, there are in the heart of a true Christian " joys, with which a stranger intermeddleth not." The peace that is experienced by him, when God speaks peace to his soul, " passeth all understanding "- And " the joys" with which he is transported, in the views of his Redeemer s glory, in the experience of

God s love shed abroad in his heart, and in the earnest and foretaste of his eternal inheritance, " are unspeakable and glorified " - - These joys are, " the white stone, with a new name written on it, which no man can read, saving he who has received it "- Michal could not understand the exercises of David s mind* - or can any one fully estimate the blessedness of a soul, when thus admitted to close communion with its God, and of the satisfaction which they feel, a stranger would form a very inadequate conception.” 5. Let God Be True, “There are things that are so personal that no one, however close they are to you, can fully understand. You cannot share your passion for things in a way that another can have that same passion. It is personal and unique to you, and you cannot just pass it on or explain it so as to impart it to others. Both bad and good feelings are hard to explain. Each heart is a world of its own. You are a unique individual, just as every snowflake is different. The depths of bitterness and heights of joy that you feel cannot be fully known or appreciated by others. Your heart, soul, mind, and conscience create a private set of feelings and thoughts that are known only by you and your Creator. Others cannot discover or define your true feelings. Anguish and pain in your soul from circumstances, fear, guilt, or hopelessness are your personal property and cannot be felt or understood by a stranger, any one outside yourself. either can a stranger, any one outside your soul, grasp and appreciate the joy of your heart, when you are enraptured by circumstances, hope, love, or success. o friend can grasp the extent of your feelings, regardless of how sympathetic. o psychologist can identify or measure your grief or happiness, or the true causes of them. o pastor can fully explain your doubts, desires, or other heart matters. You are alone in the universe with your own soul. o one else can help much, for the combined factors that form his feelings and thoughts are totally different from yours, or anyone else's. The proverb is an observation by Solomon about human existence. Paul confirmed the observation, when he wrote, "For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?" (I Cor 2:11.) Each person is a unique individual with very real feelings, both negative and positive, that cannot be felt, defined, or measured by any other person. You must meditate carefully to find the lessons of this general observation. Accept that others cannot grasp your grief or happiness, which often causes confusion or neglect. Forgive them! And the opposite is just as true: you cannot accurately know or sympathize with others. Forgive them as well for the intense feelings that alter their appearance or conduct! Therefore, there needs to be a great

deal of sensitivity and tolerance in dealing with others. Charity is essential (I Cor 13:4-7). The golden rule is indispensable (Luke 6:31). Sympathy must be practiced (Rom 12:15; Heb 10:24; 13:3). Consider examples. Eli missed Hannah's bitter soul (I Sam 1:10-16). Gehazi could not see the Shunamite's vexation (II Kgs 4:27). Job's three friends were miserable comforters (Job 13:4; 16:2). Our Lord's three chosen disciples neglected the Man of Sorrows in His deepest grief (Mark 14:32-42). And Paul had to defend himself to Corinth (II Cor 12:15)! But there is a better lesson! Though no other mere human can relate to your spirit, there is a Counselor and Friend that can! The Lord Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, God with us, is touched with the feelings of your infirmities, and He has experienced all the temptations you will ever face (Heb 4:12-15). He is able to help you at your darkest hour of need (Heb 2:18), and He can supply peace that passes human understanding (Phil 4:7). The only true joy man can experience is God's gift by His eternal Spirit (Gal 5:2223; Rom 15:13; Eccl 5:20). There is no foolish grinning or foaming froth with this joy, for it is God speaking directly to your soul at a level where no else can intermeddle. Men walking with God can dance in economic disaster (Hab 3:17-19), and they can sing in an inner prison, after being publicly stripped and beaten (Acts 16:22-25). They can find internal encouragement, even when their best friends want to stone them (I Sam 30:6). Do you have cares? Our proverb teaches that others cannot know them. But if you cast your cares on Him, He cares for you like no other (I Pet 5:7). Are you laboring? Others cannot help carry much. But He can give rest for your soul (Matt 11:28-30). He can be your exceeding joy and your exceeding great reward (Gen 15:1; Ps 43:4). You can talk to Him at any hour of the day or night, and He will always listen and help (Ps 62:8; 142:2). When you are overwhelmed, then God Himself will be your Friend (Ps 61:2; 142:3). He has all your tears in a bottle: He does not miss one of them, either inside or outside (Ps 56:8). You can pour out your heart to Him (Ps 62:8). Since He can help in the bitterness of your soul, and He can provide heavenly joy, whom else do you need (Ps 73:25-26)? Do not trust in others for your comfort or joy, for only He truly knows and loves you.” 6. Keil, “first half of the proverb is clear: the heart, and only it, i.e., the man in the centre of his individuality, knows what brings bitterness to his soul, i.e., what troubles him in the sphere of his natural life and of the nearest life-circle surrounding him. It thus treats of life experiences which are of too complex a nature to be capable of being fully represented to others, and, as we are wont to say, of so delicate a nature that we shrink from uncovering them and making them known to

others, and which on this account must be kept shut up in our own hearts, because no man is so near to us, or has so fully gained our confidence, that we have the desire and the courage to pour out our hearts to him from their very depths. Yet the saying, “Every one knows where the shoe pinches him” (1Ki_8:38), stands nearer to this proverb; here this expression receives a psychological, yet a sharper and a deeper expression, for the knowledge of that which grieves the soul is attributed to the heart, in which, as the innermost of the soul-corporeal life, it reflects itself and becomes the matter-of-fact of the reflex consciousness in which it must shut itself up, but also for the most part without external expression. If we now interpret ‫א־יִתְ עָרב‬ ַ as prohibitive, then this would stand (with this exception, that in this case ‫ אַל‬instead of ‫ א‬is to be expected) in opposition, certainly not intended, to the exhortation, Rom_12:15, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice,” and to the saying, “Distributed joy is doubled joy, distributed sorrow is half sorrow;” and an admonition to leave man alone with his joy, instead of urging him to distribute it, does not run parallel with 10a. Therefore we interpret the fut. as potentialis. As there is a soul-sorrow of the man whose experience is merely a matter of the heart, so there is also a soul-joy with which no other (vid., regarding ‫ ,זָר‬p. 135, and cf. here particularly Job_19:27) intermeddleth (‫ ההערב בּ‬like Psa_106:35), in which no other can intermeddle, ְ because his experience, as e.g., of blessed spiritual affection or of benevolent feeling, is purely of a personal nature, and admits of no participation (cf. on ἔκρυψε, Mat_13:44), and thus of no communication to others. Elster well observes: “By this thought, that the innermost feelings of a man are never fully imparted to another man, never perfectly cover themselves with the feelings of another, yea, cannot at all be fully understood by another, the worth and the significance of each separate human personality is made conspicuous, not one of which is the example of a species, but each has its own peculiarity, which no one of countless individuals possesses. At the same time the proverb has the significance, that it shows the impossibility of a perfect fellowship among men, because one never wholly understands another. Thereby it is indicated that no human fellowship can give true salvation, but only the fellowship with God, whose love and wisdom are capable of shining through the most secret sanctuary of human personality.” Thus also Dächsel (but he interprets 10b admonitorily): “Each man is a little world in himself, which God only fully sees through and understands. His sorrow appertaining to his innermost life, and his joy, another is never able fully to transfer to himself. Yea, the most sorrowful of all experiences, the most inward of all joys, we possess altogether alone, without any to participate with us.”

7. Clarke, ““The bitterness of its soul.” Under spiritual sorrow, the heart feels, the soul feels; all the animal nature feels and suffers. But when the peace of God is spoken to the troubled soul, the joy is indescribable; the whole man partakes of it. And a stranger to these religious feelings, to the travail of the soul, and to the witness of the Spirit, does not intermeddle with them; he does not understand them: indeed they may be even foolishness to him, because they are spiritually discerned.”

8. Gill, “heart knoweth his own bitterness,.... Or "the bitterness of his soul" (l), the distress of his conscience, the anguish of his mind; the heart of man only knows the whole of it; something of it may be known to others by his looks, his words, and gestures, but not all of it; see 1Co_2:10; bitterness of soul often arises from outward troubles, pains, and diseases of body, losses, crosses, and disappointments, 1Sa_1:10. Sometimes it is upon spiritual accounts; but this is not the case of every heart; men may be in the gall of bitterness, and have no bitterness of soul on account of it; the sensualist and voluptuous worldling feels nothing of it, nor the hardened and hardhearted sinner; only such who are awakened and convinced by the Spirit of God; to these, as sin is a bitter thing in itself, it is so to their taste; it makes hitter work for repentance in them; it brings trembling and astonishment on them; fills them with shame and confusion of face, causes self-loathing and abhorrence, and severe reflections upon themselves; seeing sin in its own colours, they are cut to the heart and killed with it; they are pressed down with the guilt of sin, and the load of it; and, having no views of pardon, are in that distress and bitterness of soul which no tongue can express nor heart conceive but what has felt the same; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy; or "mingle himself with it" (m); he does not share in it or partake of it; this is more especially true of spiritual joy, which, as it is unspeakable to the man that possesses it, it passes the understanding of a natural man; he can form no true idea of it: spiritual joy is what a sensible sinner partakes of upon the Gospel, the joyful sound of salvation, reaching his ears and his heart, at the revelation of Christ in him and to him, as a Saviour; when an application of pardoning grace is made to his soul, and he has a view of the complete righteousness of Christ, and his interest in it, and can see all his sins expiated and stoned for by his sacrifice; when he is favoured with a sight of the fulness of grace in Christ, and of the spiritual and eternal salvation he has wrought out for him; and likewise when he is indulged with a visit from him, and enjoys communion with him; and when he has a glimpse of eternal glory, and a well grounded hope of right unto it, and meetness for it: now a stranger, one that is a stranger to God and godliness, to Christ and the way of salvation by him, to the Spirit and his work of grace upon the heart, to the Gospel and the doctrines of it, to his own heart and the plague of it, to the saints and communion with them; knows nothing at all of the above joy, nor can he interrupt it, nor take it away.” 9. Henry, “agrees with 1Co_2:11, What man knows the things of a man,and the changes of his temper, save the spirit of a man?1. Every man feels most from his own burden, especially that which is a burden upon the spirits, for that is commonly concealed and the sufferer keeps it to himself. We must not censure the griefs of others, for we know not what they feel; their stroke perhaps is heavier than their groaning. 2. Many enjoy a secret pleasure, especially in divine consolations, which others are not aware of, much less are sharers in; and, as the sorrows of a penitent, so the joys of a believer are such as a stranger does not intermeddle withand therefore is no competent judge of.”

10. Pulpit Commentary, “The Deepest Experience is Solitary. This applies both to sorrows and to joys. There are profound sorrows which must lie buried in the hearts of the sufferers, and lofty joys which cannot be breathed to another soul. Sorrow has her shrine, which no intruder can enter without desecrating it; and joy her sweet silence, to break which is to shatter the delight. 1. Each soul lives a separate life. We are like planets, moving in our own spheres. Though we mingle in social intercourse, we do not touch in our most vital being. The " abysmal depths of personality " are utterly solitary. 2. o two natures are just alike. In common we share many pleasures and pains. But when we come to what is most characteristic, •we reach a line of demarcation which the most sympathetic can never cross. We •cannot enter into experiences quite unlike our own. We have not the key to unlock the mystery of a lonely sorrow or a rare joy. 3. The deepest experience is shy and reserved. Those who feel most do not cry out the loudest. It is the silent grief that eats out a man's heart. Though yearning for sympathy, he feels that he cannot breathe a word of his awful trouble. On the other hand, there are pure arid lofty joys of soul that would be sullied with a breath.” 11. Expositor's Bible: This is a very long quote, which is more of a study, but it was published in 1891, and most people will never see it, and so I have given most all of it as worth being read as an in depth look at what this proverb is all about. “WE know each other s appearance, it is true, but there for the most part our mutual knowledge ceases. Some of us unveil nothing of ourselves to anyone ; some of us unveil a little to all ; some a good deal to a few ; but none of us can unveil all even to the most intimate friend. It is possible to live on terms of complete confidence and even close intimacy with a person for many years, to become thoroughly acquainted with his habits, his turns of expression, his modes of thought, to be able to say with a certain infallibility what course he will take in such and such circumstances and yet to find by some chance uplifting of a curtain in his life that he cherished feelings which you never even suspected, suffered pains of which you had seen no trace, and enjoyed pleasures which never came to any outward expression. How true this is we realize at once if we turn in wards and review all the thoughts which chase each other through our brain, and all the emotions which throb in our heart for a single day, and then deduct those which are known to any human being, known or even suspected ; the sum total we find is hardly affected at all. We are quite startled to discover how absolutely alone we live, how impossible it is for a stranger, or even for an intimate friend, to meddle with more than a fragment of our inner life. This is not because we have any wish to conceal, but rather because we are not able to reveal, our silent unseen selves; it is not because others would not like to know, but because they have not the instruments to investigate, that within us which we on our part are quite helpless to express. For instance, "the desire accomplished is sweet to the soul," yet no one can know

how sweet but he who cherished the desire. When a man has labored for many years to secure an adequate maintenance for his family, and at length finds himself in easy circumstances, with his children growing up around him well and happy, no one besides himself can in the least gauge the sense of satisfaction, contentment, and gratitude which animates his heart, because no one can realize without actual experience the long and anxious days, the sickening fears, the blighted hopes, the rigorous sacrifices, through which he passed to attain his end. Or, when an artist has been toiling for many years to realize upon canvas a vision of beauty which floats before the inward eye, and at last succeeds, by some happy combination of colors, or by some dexterous sweep of the brush, or by some half-inspired harmony of form and composition, in actually bodying forth to the senses that which has haunted his imagination, it is hopeless for any one else to understand the thrilling joy, the lighthearted ecstasy, which are hidden rather than expressed by the quiet flush on the cheek and the sparkling glance of the eye. The mystical joy of a love which has just won an answering love ; the deep-toned joy of the mother in the dawning life of her child ; the joy of the poet who feels all the beauty of the earth and the sky pulsing through his nerves and raising his heart to quick intuitions and melodious numbers ; the joy of the student, when the luminous outlines of truth begin to shape themselves before his mind in connected form and startling beauty ; the joy of one who has toiled for the restoration of lost souls, and sees the fallen and degraded awaking to a new life, cleansed, radiant and strong ; the joy of the martyr of humanity, whose dying moments are lit with visions, and who hears through the mysterious silences of death the voices of those who will one day call him blessed, joys like these may be described in words, but they who experience them know that the words are, relatively speaking, meaningless, and they who do not experience them can form no conception of them. But this thought becomes very pathetic when we think of the heart s bitterness, which the heart alone can know, the hope deferred which makes it sick, the broken spirit which dries up the bones, the spirit which for so long bore a man s infirmity, and then at last broke because it could bear no more, and became itself intolerable. The circumstances of a man s life do not give us any clue to his sorrows ; the rich have troubles which to the poor would seem incredible, and the poor have troubles which their poverty does not explain. There are little constitutional ailments, defects in the blood, slight deformities, unobserved disabilities, which fill the heart with a bitterness untold and unimaginable. There are crosses of the affections, disappointments of the ambitions ; there are frets of the family, worries of business ; there are the haunting Furies of past indiscretions, the pitiless reminders of halfforgotten pledges. There are weary doubts and misgivings, suspicions and fears, which poison all inward peace, and take light out of the eye and elasticity out of the step. These things the heart knows, but no one else knows. What adds to the pathos is that these sorrows are often covered with laughter as with a veil, and no one suspects that the end of all this apparently spontaneous mirth is to be heaviness. The bright talker, the merry jester, the singer of the gay

song, goes home when the party separates, and on his threshold he meets the veiled sorrow of his life, and plunges into the chilly shadow in which his days are spent. The bitterness which surges in our brother s heart would probably be unintelligible to us if he revealed it ; but he will not reveal it, he cannot. He will tell us some of his troubles, many of them, but the bitterness he must keep to himself. And yet the strangest thing of all is that we hunger for sympathy ; we all want to see that light in the eyes of our friends which rejoices the heart, and to hear those good things which make the bones fat. Our joy is eager to disclose itself, and often shrinks back appalled to find that our companions did not understand it, but mistook it for an affectation or an illusion. Our sorrow yearns for comprehension, and is constantly doubled in quantity and intensity by finding that it cannot explain itself or become intelligible to others. This rigid and necessary isolation of the human heart, along with such a deep-rooted desire for sympathy, is one of the most perplexing paradoxes of our nature ; and though we know well that it is a fact, we are constantly re-discovering it with a fresh surprise. Forgetting it, we assume that every one will know how we need sympathy, though we have never hung out the signals of distress, and have even presented a most repellent front to all advances ; forgetting it, we give expression to our joy, singing songs to heavy hearts, and disturbing others by unseasonable mirth, as if no icy channels separated us from our neighbors hearts, making our gladness seem frigid and our merriment discordant before it reaches their ears. Yes the paradox forces itself on our attention again; human hearts are isolated, alone, without adequate communication, and essentially uncommunicative, yet all of them eagerly desiring to be understood, to be searched, to be fused. Is it a paradox which admits of any explanation ? Let us see. It has been very truly said, " Man is only partially understood, or pitied, or loved by man ; but for the fulness of these things he must go to some far-off country." In proportion as we are conscious of being misunderstood, and of being quite unable to satisfy our longing for sympathy and comprehension at human fountains, we are impelled by a spiritual instinct to ask for God ; the thought arises in us that He, though He be very far off, must, as our Creator, understand us ; and as this thought takes possession of the heart a tremulous hope awakes that perhaps He is not very far off. There lie before us now some beautiful sayings which are partly the expression of this human conviction, and seem partly to be inspired by the Divine response to it. " If thou sayest, Behold, we knew not this man ; doth not He that weigheth the heart consider, and he that keepeth the soul, doth not He know ? " The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them." How obvious is the inference that the Maker of the ear and the eye hears those silent things which escape the ear itself, and sees those recesses of the human heart which the human eye is never able to search ! " The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch upon the evil and the good." " Sheol and Abaddon are before the Lord : how much more then the hearts of the children of men." He sees in the heart what the heart itself does not see. " All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes, but the Lord weigheth the spirits." In fact, the spirit of man itself, the consciousness which clears into self- consciousness, and becomes in moral matters conscience,

this " spirit, is the lamp of the Lord, searching all the innermost parts of the belly," so that a " man s goings are of the Lord ; " and he is often moved by this indwelling spirit and guided by this mysterious lamp in a way which " he can hardly understand." This intimacy of knowledge is not without its most solemn, and even terrible, side. It means of course that the Lord knows "the thoughts of the righteous which are just, and the counsels of the wicked which are deceit." It means that out of His minute and infallible knowledge He will render to every man according to his works, judging with faultless accuracy according to that "desire of a man which is the measure of his kindness," recognizing the "wish of the poor man," which, though he has not power to perform it, is more valuable than the boasted performances of those who never act up to their power of service. It means that "the Lord trieth the hearts just as the fining potteries the silver, and the furnace the gold." It means that in thought of such a searching eye, such a comprehensive understanding on the part of the Holy One, none of us can ever say, "I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin." All this it means, and there must be some terror in the thought ; but the terror, as we begin to understand, becomes our greatest comfort ; for He who thus understands us is the Holy One. Terrible would it be to be searched and known in this minute way by one who was not holy, by one who was morally indifferent, by one who took a curious interest in studying the pathology of the conscience, or by one who had a malignant delight in cherishing vices and rewarding evil thoughts. Though we sometimes desire human sympathy in our corrupt passions and unhallowed desires, and are eager for our confederates in sin to understand our pleasures and our pains, and out of this desire, it may be observed, comes much of our base literature, and all of our joining with a company to do evil, yet after all we only desire this confederacy on the understanding that we can reveal as little, and conceal as much, as we like ; we should no longer be eager to share our feelings if we under stood that in the first contact our whole heart would be laid bare, and all the intricacies of our mind would be explored. We must desire that He who is to search us through and through should be holy, and even though He be strict to mark iniquity, should be one who tries the heart in order to purify it. And when we are awakened and understand, we learn to rejoice exceedingly that He who comes with His lamp to search the inmost recesses of our nature is He who can by no means tolerate iniquity, or pass over transgression, but must burn as a mighty fire wherever He finds the fuel of sin to burn. Have we not found a solution of the paradox ? The human heart is isolated ; it longs for sympathy, but cannot obtain it ; it seems to depend for its happiness on being comprehended, but no fellow-creature can comprehend it ; it knows its own bitterness, which no one else can know; it broods over its own joys, but no one can share them. Then it makes discovery of the truth that God can give it what it requires, that He fully understands, that He can enter into all these silent thoughts and unobserved emotions, that He can offer an unfailing sympathy and a faultless comprehension. In its need the lonely heart takes refuge in Him, and makes no murmur that His coming requires

the searching, the chastisement, and the purging of sin. o human being needs to be misunderstood or to suffer under the sense of misunderstanding. Let him turn at once to God. It is childish to murmur against our fellows, who only treat us as we treat them ; they do not comprehend us, neither do we comprehend them ; they do not give us, as we think, our due, neither do we give them theirs ; but God comprehends both them and us, and He gives to them and to us accurately what is due. o human being is compelled to bear his bitterness alone, for though he cannot tell it or explain to his fellows, he can tell it, and he need not explain it, to God. Is the bitterness an outcome of sin, as most of our bitterness is ? Is it the bitterness of a wounded egotism, or of a remorseful conscience, or of spiritual despondency ? Or is it the bitterness which springs from the cravings of an unsatisfied heart, the thirst for self-completeness, the longing for a perfect love ? In either case God is perfectly able and willing to meet the need. He delights to turn His knowledge of our nature to the purpose of cleansing and transforming the sinful heart : " By His knowledge shall My righteous servant justify many," He says. He is ready, too, to shed abroad His own rich love in our hearts, leaving no room for the hankering desire, and creating the peace of a complete fulfillment.”

11 The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish.
1. It seem as if the wicked have it better than the upright, for the wicked have a house, but the upright have just a tent. The implication is that the wicked have only what this world can offer, and they are solidly set for an earthly life only. This world is their only world, and they are fully established in it with their house. The upright, however, are just passing through this world. They are like nomads who are on the move to another place, and not going to settle in this place and build a house. They live in tents that can be quickly taken up and moved, for they are not locked into this world with a firmly established house. How many times have we sungThis world is not my home I'm just a passing through My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue The angels beckon me from heaven's open door And I can't feel at home in this world anymore Oh Lord you know I have no friend like you If heaven's not my home then Lord what will I do The angels beckon me from heaven's open door And I can't feel at home in this world anymore 1B. An unknown pastor used these lyrics as a focal point for his outline that shows how Biblical they are. He wrote,

THIS WORLD IS OT MY HOME! Abraham the father of faith and of the Jewish nation felt that this old world was not his final goal. Hebrews 11:10 - "For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." THIS WORLD IS OT MY HOME Hebrews 13:14 - "For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come." THIS WORLD IS OT MY HOME Phil 3:20 - "For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:" (The word "conversation" here means "citizenship".) Peter calls those of us who are citizens of heaven "strangers and pilgrims". This world is not our permanent home! Christian it is of extreme importance that you understand something. This world, as it is today, is not where your affections and interests are to lie. You have something better. 1C. It is important, however, that we make a distinction between the love of the world, and the love of the earth. The world is the corruption that man's sin brought into this creation of God, but the creation itself is still filled with the goodness God created. We are to keep moving from the wicked house that will be destroyed, but still enjoy the wonder of what God put here for His and our pleasure. Paul made it clear in Phil. 4:8 that there is much that is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable that we are to think about. If there is anything that is excellent or praiseworthy, that is where our mind and interest should be focused. So there is still much in this world that we are to treasure and enjoy as we are passing through. To scrap it all is to throw the baby out with the bath water, for it puts God's blessings in the same boat with the cursings of the world. The truly good things of this life will continue to be good things in eternity, for God will never waste what is good, true and beautiful. Our tent will flourish because these are the values that we treasure in this life. The bad, false, and ugliness of the world's house will be destroyed and perish forever. 2. Charles Bridges, “The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish.” “The feeblest state of the upright is more stable than the prosperity of the wicked. They build a house. The earth is their home, where they would settle, and take their rest. The upright—knowing the uncertainty of earth, and seeking a better house—only set up a tabernacle (Heb. xi. 9) -- weak and trembling. Yet the house is overthrown, and the tabernacle

flourishes. (Chap. iii. 33; xii. 7.) The strongest support of man totters. (Job, viii. 15. Ps. xlix. 12.) The support of God to the weakest is Omnipotence. (Isa. xl. 29; xli. 10.) The eye of sense seems however to see the contrary—the flourishing of the wicked, and the overthrow of the upright. And a sore trial is it to the servant of God. (Jer. xii. 1.) But " we must walk by faith, not by sight." (2 Cor. v. 7.) 3. Let God Be True, “How prosperous is your family? How long will it last? What impact will it have for truth and wisdom? God and men will overthrow the house of the wicked, but they will bless and favor the estate of the righteous. Solomon watched families of wicked men come and go, but he saw the godly seed of the righteous continuing in prosperity for generations (Ps 37:34-40). Here is a proverb that condemns the wicked and encourages the upright. The wicked build houses - solid, substantial, and permanent dwelling places - to get themselves a name (Ps 49:6-14). They trust their wealth, their intelligence, their strength, and their reputations to deliver them. The upright may begin with only a tabernacle - a fragile, temporary tent. But God will tear down the former and bless the latter. The great reversal of fortune is by the decree of the watchers - God favors the upright! Sin is the ruin of families. If you want your family to endure and prosper, you need to pursue godliness and holiness like the upright man. You need to set the Lord first in each life in your house (Ps 101:3-8; 128:1-6; 144:11-15). But the wicked will not think about God at all: they want to do their own thing; they cannot sin enough (Ps 10:4; 58:3). The Lord has guaranteed by this proverb that He will overthrow such a man and his house. Consider the house of Eli, priest of Israel. God had promised that his house would last forever as His chosen priests; but he would not stop his sons from sinning. So God overthrew his family in one day (I Sam 2:12-36; 3:1-18). His two foolish sons were killed in battle; Eli fell backward and broke his neck when he heard the news, and his daughter-in-law died in childbirth (I Sam 4:1-22)! The Lord overthrew the house of the wicked. Then there was Joseph. His brothers sold him into slavery at the age of seventeen; he was falsely convicted of raping his master's wife; and he was thrown into prison. Surely his life and estate had reached rock bottom! But he had resisted his master's wife's advances! God raised him out of prison, put him on the throne of Egypt, and made each of his sons a tribe in Israel - a double inheritance! The tabernacle of the upright flourished!” 5. Henry, “is the ruin of great families: The house of the wicked,though built ever so strong and high, shall be overthrown,shall be brought to poverty and disgrace, and at length be extinct. His hope for heaven, the house on which he leans, shall not stand, but fail in the storm; the deluge that comes will sweep it away. 2.

Righteousness is the rise and stability even of mean families: Even the tabernacle of the upright,though movable and despicable as a tent, shall flourish,in outward prosperity if Infinite Wisdom see good, at all events in graces and comfort, which are true riches and honors.” 6. Gill, “house of the wicked shall be overthrown,.... Houses built to perpetuate their names and eternize their memory; and which, though built high and stately, strong and firm, yet by one accident or another shall come to ruin, when they imagined they would continue for ever, and their dwelling places to all generations, Psa_49:11; or their families shall become extinct, none to be their heirs and inherit their estates, and transmit their name to posterity; or the substance of their house, their riches and wealth, especially that gotten dishonestly, shall waste away: and in a spiritual sense the house or hope of such, as to eternal salvation, being built on the sand, or something of their own, their external duties, or an outward profession of religion, shall not stand; though they lean upon it and would hold it fast, but it shall fall, and great shall be the fall of it; and particularly the apostate church of Rome, that synagogue of Satan, that habitation of devils, that hold of every foul spirit, and cage of every unclean bird, shall be overthrown with an utter overthrow, shall fall and never rise more, Rev_18:2; but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish: their low and mean cottages, which are put up quickly, like tents movable from place to place, yet shall be established, Pro_15:25; their families shall become numerous like a flock of sheep, Psa_107:41; and their substance increase; they shall flourish in worldly things and grow rich, or however in spirituals, in girls and grace; shall flourish in the courts of the Lord, and tabernacles of the most High, like palm trees and cedars; for the allusion is to the flourishing of trees, Psa_92:13; especially they will be in such flourishing circumstances in the latter day, when antichrist will be destroyed, and when the tabernacle of God will be with men, Psa_72:8.”

12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.
1. It only seems right that the person who leads a decent life that does not hurt other people should be welcomed into heaven. This is how masses of people think, and they are so convinced that their life that is as good as most is worthy of being received into the eternal kingdom of God. They do not violate most of the commandments, and so they are winners in their minds. It all seems so logical and fair, and so they rest their eternal souls on this foundation. The problem is that it is setting on quicksand, and it will sink in the day of judgment, for it is pure self salvation that does not need God or a Savior at all. It is a mockery of the Gospel that makes it clear that man could not, and never can save himself. His only hope is the

gift of God to him of a Savior who died for their sins, and made it possible for them to be forgiven and welcomed into the family of God. There way that seems so right to them is really so wrong that it will lead to their eternal death if they do not get the light of truth and respond to it with grateful repentance. Can millions of self savers be wrong? The Bible says, Yes! Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. o man comes to the Father except through me.” o matter how strong your convictions, if you are on the wrong road, you will not get to the right destination. You can afford to be wrong about many things, but only a fool will risk being wrong about his ultimate destination. 2. Charles Bridges, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death.” “ o one can doubt the end of open ungodliness. (1 Cor. vi. 9. 1 Tim. v. 24.) But other paths in the broad road, seemingly right, are not less certainly in their end the ways of death. Vice passes under the cover of virtue. Covetousness is disguised under the name of prudence. Indeed it is the fearful property of sin to hide its own character and tendency. The blindness increases in proportion to our familiarity with it. The self-deceiver has often been "a backslider in heart." (Ps.xxxvi. 2, 3.) He lost his humility, relaxed his watchfulness, neglected "the diligent keeping of the heart." Sin soon found admission. When it could not be wholly covered, it was excused. Appearances were kept up; misgivings gradually vanished, and the fool mistook death for life. (Dent. xxix. 19. Isa. xliv. 20. Rev. iii. 17, 18.) But oh! how soon will the cover drop off, and the discovery be made, that all along sin was cherished in self-delusion. ‘Take care then'—as the saintly Leighton warns us—of sleeping unto death in carnal ease.' (On 1 Pet. iii. 21.) Look well to the foundation and soundness of thy faith. (2 Cor. xiii. 5.) Search carefully both thy Bible and thine heart. Go to the Lord in prayer, and to his Ministers, to shew you the true way. (1 Sam. xii. 23. Mal. ii. 7.) "Prove thine own work." (Gal. vi. 4. Ps. cxxxix. 23, 24.) If not a bold rebel against thy God, hast thou yielded freely thine heart to him? If thou be free from open wickedness, art thou not equally free from vital godliness? The most moralized unrenewed professor is the slave of sin. Terrible indeed will it be to meet the bridegroom with a bright, but unfurnished lamp; to fall from high expectations of heaven into the depths of hell! (Matt. xxv. 1–12.) The Lord keep our eye steadily on the end of our way, and make that end sure for heaven!” 3. Let God Be True, “You are your own worst enemy! You will cause yourself more pain and trouble than any ten foes! Your own soul is the deadliest danger in your life! With such warnings, men would never trust their own thoughts, right? Wrong! While you are destroying your own life, you will think what you are doing is perfectly right! You will never see the danger. Other proverbs teach this warning. "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (16:25). "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise" (12:15). "He that trusteth in

his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered" (28:26). See also 16:2 and 21:2. Some choices bring physical death. Consider David's sons. Amnon thought it right to rape his sister: he died for it (II Sam 13:1-39). Absalom thought it right to steal his father's kingdom: he died for it (II Sam 15:1-6; 18:1-18). Adonijah thought it right to use Solomon's mother to beg for Abishag: he died for it (I Kgs 2:12-25). Some choices bring soul death. Samson thought it right to date an unbeliever, but she left him blind and destroyed, grinding in a prison (Jdgs 16:1-21). Solomon thought it right to marry unbelievers, but they turned his heart to idolatry (I Kgs 11:1-13). Rehoboam thought it right to prefer his young counselors, but he lost ten tribes (I Kgs 12:1-19). Your heart is deceitful above all things (Jer 17:9). It lies to you more than anyone else, and you believe it! And it is desperately wicked, so its lies are always toward folly and sin! Because your heart is so deceitful and wicked, you cannot fully grasp its danger to you, apart from Scripture's warnings. The verse concludes, "Who can know it?" 4. Henry G. Bosch, “An anesthesiologist was administering a controlled mixture of oxygen and gas to a patient in a ew York hospital. When one of the tanks was empty, the doctor began using a new one clearly marked "Oxygen." Almost immediately the patient died. The coroner's autopsy revealed carbon dioxide poisoning. Upon investigation, the second tank was found to contain pure carbon dioxide and had been mislabeled. The manufacturer denied any wrongdoing. o one knew how this tragic mistake could have gotten by the inspectors. Fortunately, such errors are rare. But in the spiritual realm they occur all the time. Regarding salvation, many people will say, "As long as I'm sincere, I'll come out all right in the end." They believe they can get to heaven by their good works; but no matter how right it may seem, it's "the way of death" (Prov. 14:12Prov. 14:12 ). Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. o one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6John 14:6 ). Don't make the mistake of being sincere but sincerely wrong! Acknowledge your sin and guilt before God and ask Jesus to save you today.” 5. Charles Simeon, “However innocent we may imagine our scepticism to be, or however justifiable the indifference connected with it, this way will at last infallibly end in death. The Jews in the wilderness could not enter into the promised land because of their unbelief: and the same cause will operate also to the exclusion of our souls from heaven. The people who denied the Messiahship of Jesus doubtless thought that they were justified in so doing by a want of evidence : but our Lord said to them, " If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins :" and in like manner he has commanded it to be proclaimed to every child of man, " He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved ; but he that believeth not, shall be

damned." Multitudes there are, who, like the Pharisees of old, are extremely attentive to the established forms of religion, and are observant of morality also, as far as it is approved by the world. In relation to these things they may be said to be blameless : and so good is the opinion which they entertain of their own state, that they would, without any fear of being confounded, ask, "What lack I yet?" In this state they are approved and admired of men ; and therefore they conclude, that they are equally acceptable in the sight of God also. Persons of this description scarcely ever entertain a doubt, or a fear, but that all will issue well with them at the last. But they will find themselves awfully mistaken as soon as ever they go hence. They will then discover, that their obedience was infinitely more defective than ever they conceived it to be : and that, if it had been as blameless as they imagined, it would still have afforded them no ground of hope before God. Had such attainments as these sufficed, St. Paul needed never to have embraced the Gospel at all : or had they been capable of adding any thing to the righteousness of Christ, he never would have desired to be found in Christ, not having his own righteousness which was of the law ? How erroneous a way to life this is, will be seen at once in the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican. Few of the formalists of the present day can say so much in their own favor as he could : he could appeal to God that he was not guilty of such sins as were common in the world, and that, on the contrary, he was observant of many religious duties, "fasting twice every week, and giving tithes of all that he possessed." Yet, because he viewed his state with self-confidence and self complacency, he was dismissed without any blessing ; whilst the self-abasing Publican was pardoned and justified from all his sins. But thus it ever will be : " God will fill the hungry with good things, but the rich he will send empty away: "he will resist the proud, but give grace unto the humble." 6. Chuck Smith, “So what is the way that seems right to man but ends in death? Is it narrow and is it straight? Or is it broad? Jesus said, "Strive to enter in at the straight gate. Straight is the gate, and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it. But broad is the gate, and broad is the way that leads to destruction, many there are that go in thereat" (Matthew 7:13-14Matthew 7:1314Matthew 7:13-14Matthew 7:13-14 ). "There is a way that seems right unto man." You hear people today say, "Well, all roads lead to God." ot according to Jesus Christ. He said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, and no man comes to the Father but by Me" (John 14:6John 14:6John 14:6John 14:6 ). All roads may lead to God, but which god? You see, there's only one path that leads to the Father. There's only one way to the Father--that's through Jesus Christ. So, "There is way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof is the way of death." If you are walking in any other way other than Jesus Christ, you're walking in a path that's going to ultimate in death. Separation from God. There's only one way, Jesus Christ.”

7. Keil, “is literally repeated in Pro_16:25. The rightness is present only as a phantom, for it arises wholly from a terrible self-deception; the man judges falsely and goes astray when, without regard to God and His word, he follows only his own opinions. It is the way of estrangement from God, of fleshly security; the way of vice, in which the blinded thinks to spend his life, to set himself to fulfil his purposes; but the end thereof (‫ אחֲריתָ הּ‬with neut. fem.: the end of this intention, that in which it ִ ַֽ issues) are the ways of death. He who thus deceives himself regarding his course of life, sees himself at last arrived at a point from which every way which now further remains to him leads only down to death. The self-delusion of one ends in death by the sentence of the judge, that of another in self-murder; of one in loathsome disease, of another in a slow decay under the agony of conscience, or in sorrow over a henceforth dishonored and distracted life.” 8. Clarke, “is a way which seemeth right unto a man - may be his easily besetting sin, the sin of his constitution, the sin of his trade. Or it may be his own false views of religion: he may have an imperfect repentance, a false faith, a very false creed; and he may persuade himself that he is in the direct way to heaven. Many of the papists, when they were burning the saints of God in the flames at Smithfield, thought they were doing God service! And in the late Irish massacre, the more of the Protestants they piked to death, shot, or burnt, the more they believed they deserved of God’s favor and their Church’s gratitude. But cruelty and murder are the short road, the near way, to eternal perdition.” 9. Gill, “is a way which seemeth right unto a man,.... As the way of sin and wickedness does, it promising much carnal pleasure and mirth; there is a great deal of company in it, it is a broad road, and is pleasant, and seems right, but it leads to destruction; so the way of the hypocrite and Pharisee that trusts to his own righteousness, and despises others, and even the righteousness of Christ; or however does not submit to it, but tramples upon him, and counts the blood of the covenant an unholy thing, and so is deserving of sorer punishment than the profane sinner; yet on account of his good works, as he calls them, fancies himself to be in a fair way for heaven and happiness; so Popery, through the pomp and grandeur and gaudiness of worship, through the lying miracles of the priests, and the air of devotion that appears in them, seems to be a right way; but the end thereof arethe ways of death; which lead unto eternal death; for that is the wages of sin, let it appear in what shape it will.” 10. Henry, “have here an account of the way and end of a great many self-deluded souls. 1. Their way is seemingly fair: It seems rightto themselves; they please themselves with a fancy that they are as they should be, that their opinions and practices are good, and such as will bear them out. The way of ignorance and carelessness, the way of worldliness and earthly-mindedness, the way of sensuality and flesh-pleasing, seem right to those that walk in them, much more the way of hypocrisy in religion, external performances, partial reformations, and blind zeal; this they imagine will bring them to heaven; they flatter themselves in their own

eyes that all will be well at last. 2. Their end is really fearful, and the more so for their mistake: It is the ways of death,eternal death; their iniquity will certainly be their ruin, and they will perish with a lie in their right hand. Self-deceivers will prove in the end self-destroyers.”

11. Pulpit Commentary, “The way that seems right. I. Its Attractive Appearance. This way does not only seem pleasant; it seems to be right. This is a course of life which a man is tempted to follow because it flatters him with fair promises. 1. It promises good. We are greatly tempted to judge of the means by the end, and, if we think that the thing to be attained is good, to condone the questionable conduct that secures it. Thus men have justified (1) war, (2) persecution, (3) the deceit of " pious fraud," (4) business irregularities. 2. It flatters self-will. Men believe in their own way, just because it is the way they have chosen. The statesman makes the best of the politics of his party. In private life what accords with our desire is warped into the semblance of right. 3. It it followed by others. Fashion condones folly. The conduct of the multitude creates a social conscience. Men measure by the standard of the average rather than by the gauge of absolute rectitude. 4. o evil is apparent. At present the path is easy, pleasant, flowery, and to all appearances quite safe. Shortsighted men judge of it by so much as is in view, as though the end of a road could be known by the character of its beginning. II. Its Delusive Character. 1. It is only right in appearance. It "seemeth right." But "things are not what they seem." A flame seems good to a moth; thin ice, safe to a heedless child; the undermined road, sound to the hoodwinked general; the sparkling water, refreshing to one who knows not that the well from which it is drawn has been poisoned. The bad social custom appears to be innocent to the slave of fashion. The way of sin " seemeth right" to the blunt conscience. 2. It is only right in the eye of man. It is " to man " that this doubtful way " seemeth right." But man is not tha highest surveyor of life, and the map that he draws is not the supreme authority. Man is prejudiced, confused, ignorant, self-deceiving. There is a higher Judge than man, and it may be that the way which " seemeth right to man " is seen to be wrong by God. III. Its Fatal End. This pleasant, inviting path is a tributary to a high-road. Innocent as it looks in itself, it leads into other ways, and those the ways of death. It is like a winding lane between green hedgerows and flower-strewn banks, that brings the traveller out at length into a very different road from that he supposed he was nearing. There are questionable courses that do not seem to be evil in themselves, but they lead to evil. There are amusements that seem to be innocent enough, yet they are paths towards more dangerous things, and in the end they bring the unwary to the very gates of hell. ow, the chief question to ask about any road is— Whither does it lead ? If it will bring us to a treacherous bog, a homeless waste, a dark and dangerous forest, or a perilous precipice, it matters little that its early

course is harmless. Whither does the way tend 'i If it is the path of sin, it must lead to death (Rom. vi. 23).”

13 Even in laughter the heart may ache, and joy may end in grief.
1. A wise look at life reveals that a person may be filled with laughter, but still have an aching heart. Laughter and joy are emotions that can be experienced even by those who are far from happy with their circumstance. Therefore, do not suppose that you really know a person by the emotions you see, for people are deeper than that. Second, do not suppose that your own laughter and joy will be sufficient to meet your deeper needs, for they may end with grief as some unforeseen sorrow enters your life. Life is uncertain, and it is not wise to count on your feelings alone for a sense of security and well being. 1B. The Rewards of Wisdom, “Grief can’t be overcome by laughter; it can only be masked for a time. We may be able to muster the thin smile of the runner up in a contest, but we will never be able to make our grief disappear. Grief takes time to heal, and it needs room to be expressed. Drowning grief in laughter only keeps the heaviness inside” 1C. oyes, “This proverb may denote that men sometimes put on the appearance of joy, while their hearts are full of pain, which still recurs after all the efforts to disguise it. Or, the meaning may be, that immoderate joy leaves the heart sad, and that sorrow treads so close upon the heels of joy, that it may be said to follow it immediately.” 2. Charles Bridges, “Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful: and the end of that mirth is heaviness.” “Many a sigh is heaved amid the loud laughter of folly. (Esth. v. 9–13.) As soon might true joy be found in hell, as in the carnal heart. As soon might we "gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles," as this "fruit of the Spirit" (Matt. vii. 16.) from ‘nature's barren soil.' As soon might the tempest-tossed ocean be at rest, as the sinner's conscience. (Isa, lvii. 20, 21.) He may feast in his prison, or dance in his chains. He may drink away his trouble. But it is a vain show of happiness. Ask him what is in his bosom. Is not his smile a counterfeit to hide a reality of woe? The voice of conscience and experience will make itself heard--"It is mad, what doeth it?" (Eccles. ii. 2.) If he has found a diversion from present trouble, has he found a cover from everlasting misery? It is far easier to drown conviction, than to escape damnation. And to be merry for a day, and to be in torment for

eternity—who would envy—who would not fee from—such a portion? or do we speak only of the coarse mirth of the vulgar. Take the fullest cup of earth's best joys. What is this to satisfy desire, to allay trouble, to meet eternity? Even the present end of this short-lived mirth is heaviness (Amos, vi. 3–7); sometimes so intolerable, that death is fled to, as the cure of the anguish; and to avoid the fear of hell, the wretched sinner leaps into it. (Matt. xxvii. 3–5.) And at best eternity will change the face of this mirth, when that will remain, which would be the most desirable riddance, the sting of conscience, as enduring as the pleasures of sin were momentary. (Luke, vi. 24; xvi. 21-24. Rom. vi. 21.) But the end of that mirth implies another mirth with a different end. Contrast the prodigal's mirth in the far country, with his return to his father's house, when "they began to be merry." (Luke, xv. 13–24.) The fruit of carnal mirth ends in heaviness. Penitential sorrow begets a mirth, that ends in everlasting joy. (Ps. cxxvi. 5, 6. Isa. Xxxv. 10.) Lord! choose mine inheritance for me among thy weeping people.” 3. Maclaren, “‘Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.’” “Many of our earthly joys die in the very act of being enjoyed. Those which depend on the gratification of some appetite expire in fruition, and at each recurrence are less and less complete. The influence of habit works in two ways to rob all such joys of their power to minister to us―it increases the appetite and decreases the power of the object to satisfy. Some are followed by swift revulsion and remorse; all soon become stale; some are followed by quick remorse; some are necessarily left behind as we go on in life. To the old man the pleasures of youth are but like children’s toys long since outgrown and left behind. All are at the mercy of externals. Those which we have not left we have to leave. The saddest lives are those of pleasure-seekers, and the saddest deaths are those of the men who sought for joy where it was not to be found, and sought for their gratification in a world which leaves them, and which they have to leave. There is a realm where abide ‘fullness of joy and pleasures for ever more.’ Surely they order their lives most wisely who look for their joys to nothing that earth holds, and have taken for their own the ancient vow: ‘Though the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vine. . .. Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.’ If ‘My joy’ abides in us in its calm and changeless depth, our joy will be ‘full’ whatever our circumstances may be; and we shall hear at last the welcome: ‘Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.’

4. Charles Simeon THE VA ITY OF CAR AL MIRTH. “WE are apt to imagine, that whatever is sanctioned by the approbation and practice of the world at large, must be right : but we cannot have a more erroneous standard than popular opinion. This is sufficiently evident from the estimation in which mirth and laughter are generally held : they are supposed to constitute the chief happiness of man ;

whereas they are far from producing any solid happiness at all. To this mistake Solomon refers, in the words preceding the text ; and in the text itself he confirms the truth of his own position. We mean not to condemn all kinds and degrees of mirth : there certainly is a measure of it that is conducive to good, rather than to evil ; " A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance," and " doeth good like a medicine." But carnal mirth is distinct from cheerfulness of disposition ; inasmuch as it argues a light frivolous state of mind, and in-disposes us for serious and heavenly contemplations. The gaiety which is exhibited in worldly company is often assumed, for the purpose of concealing the real feelings of the heart. They who appear so delighted to see each other, have frequently no mutual affection : even the nearest relatives, who seem to participate each other s joys, have so little real cordiality at home, that they can scarcely endure each other s conversation ; and would be heartily glad, if the knot which binds them together could be dissolved. Truly " in their laughter their heart is sorrowful ;" their pride, their envy, their jealousy, their private piques, their domestic troubles, or their worldly cares, make them inwardly sigh, so that they can with difficulty prevent the discovery of the imposture which they arc practicing. The very emptiness of their pleasure fills them often with disgust ; and they are con strained to acknowledge, that " they are feeding on ashes, and that they have a lie in their right hand. We hoped that the ultimate effect of all our mirth would be an easy comfortable frame : but has it always been so ? Has not the very reverse been often experienced by us ? Has not " the end of our mirth been heaviness?" An excessive elevation of spirit is naturally calculated to produce depression. Besides, we cannot always shake off reflection: and the thought of having so foolishly wasted our time, instead of improving it in preparation for eternity, will sometimes produce very uneasy sensations. Such warnings as Solomon , and our Lord, have given us, will frequently obtrude themselves upon us, and make us almost weary of life, while at the same time we are afraid of death : so justly is this mirth compared to " the crackling of thorns under a pot;" the one, after an unprofitable blaze, terminating in smoke and darkness, the other, after a senseless noise, expiring in spleen and melancholy. In fact, there are no people more subject to lowness of spirits, than they who spend their time in vanity and dissipation. What will be "the end of their mirth" when they come into the eternal world, is inexpressibly awful to consider. Fearful indeed will be the contrast between the festivities of their present, and the wailing of their eternal state! The Gospel is a source of mirth to all who embrace it. The Gospel is called " glad tidings of great joy to all people." It proclaims salvation to a ruined world ; nor can it fail of creating the liveliest emotions of joy wherever it is received. And the mirth resulting from it, is the very reverse of carnal mirth. It is solid. Behold the change wrought in the first converts! see them turned from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God ! see them enjoying peace with God and in their own

consciences ! see them filled with love to each other, and with admiring and adoring thoughts of their beloved Savior ! Can we wonder that they ate their bread with gladness and singleness of heart, blessing and praising God? Yet precisely the same grounds of joy has every one that truly believes in Christ". The Prodigal fancied that he was in the road to joy, when he was wasting his substance in riotous living: but he never tasted real happiness till he returned to his father's house : then " he began to eat, and drink, and be merry." It will consist with trials and tribulations ; yea, it will even arise out of them"; we may be "sorrowful, yet always rejoicing ." And, as it is not interrupted by the occurrences of life, so neither will it be terminated by death : it will then be augmented a thousand-fold : and continue with out interruption to all eternity.” 5. Let God Be True, “The world is laughing itself to hell! Jokes, editorial cartoons, stand-up comedians, sitcoms (with programmed laughter), parties, drunkenness, and mood-altering chemicals are all on the increase! Laughter is sought to temporarily relieve inward emptiness. It is used to deceive others that all is well. But the loneliness after such frivolity is crushing. Life is not amusing! Dying is a terrible prospect! Hell is not funny! A party or drunken folly cannot eliminate the painful reality of dysfunctional living, unfulfilled expectations, the certainty of death, and the possibility of eternal damnation. Men cannot do enough to forget their pain and trouble. When the laughter ends, the heart feels only its heavy grief. What laughter has sorrow underneath? What mirth ends in heaviness? This cannot be the laughter and mirth of the righteous, for their happiness flows from a heart that is filled with contentment, hope, joy, and peace. The proverb must be dealing with the laughter of the wicked, who are described in the preceding and following proverbs (14:12,14). Consider a fool's life. Solomon analyzed the best life can offer, and he summarized it all as vanity and vexation of spirit (Eccl 1:14). Life is too short; it never meets expectations; it is filled with trouble and sorrow; the soul is not content with any amount of anything; and death is sweet compared to the judgment that follows (Eccl 12:13-14). o wonder the world invented amusement parks. Musing is considering and thinking. To amuse is to replace those sober activities with frivolity and nonsense. So they spend a fortune to engage in folly to find fulfillment ... but they must go to sleep that night knowing that it was an expensive and ridiculous diversion that did not work at all! o matter what unbelievers say, they are very unhappy. It is easy to tell. The ones with the best circumstances, the ones the world admires the most, have the greatest misery! Consider Hollywood's so-called stars! Their sorry lives of divorce, suicide, drunkenness, drugs, and other symptoms of dysfunction tell the truth. They are

empty, miserable, and searching! The Bible calls them "raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever" (Jude 1:13). The author of "Amazing Grace" also wrote, "Fading is the worldling's pleasure, all his boasted pomp and show; solid joys and lasting treasure none but Zion's children know." Reader, do you know the truth of his words? Seek the God of heaven this day! Those who have tried both ways of living swear by the righteous life (Ps 73:2526; Eccl 12:13-14).” 6. Henry, “shows the vanity of carnal mirth, and proves what Solomon said of laughter, that it is mad;for, 1. There is sadness under it. Sometimes when sinners are under convictions, or some great trouble, they dissemble their grief by a forced mirth, and put a good face on it, because they will not seem to yield: they cry not when he binds them. ay, when men really are merry, yet at the same time there is some alloy or other to their mirth, something that casts a damp upon it, which all their gaiety cannot keep from their heart. Their consciences tell them they have no reason to be merry (Hos_9:1); they cannot but see the vanity of it. Spiritual joy is seated in the soul; the joy of the hypocrite is but from the teeth outward. See Joh_16:22; 2Co_6:10. 2. There is worse after it: The end of that mirth is heaviness.It is soon over, like the crackling of thorns under a pot; and, if the conscience be awake, all sinful and profane mirth will be reflected upon with bitterness; if not, the heaviness will be so much the greater when for all these things God shall bring thesinner into judgment.The sorrows of the saints will end in everlasting joys (Psa_126:5), but the laughter of fools will end in endless weeping and wailing. 7. Gill, “in laughter the heart is sorrowful,.... As Belshazzar's was in the midst of his feast and jollity, when he saw the writing on the wall; so sin may stare a man in the face, and guilt load his conscience and fill him with sorrow, amidst his merriment; a man may put on a merry countenance, and feign a laugh, when his heart is very sorrowful; and oftentimes this sorrow comes by sinful laughter, by mocking at sin and jesting at religion; and the end of that mirth isheaviness: sometimes in this life a sinner mourns at last, and mourns for his wicked mirth, or that he has made himself so merry with religious persons and things, and oftentimes when it is too late; so the end of that mirth the fool in the Gospel promised himself was heaviness, when his soul was required of him; this was the case of the rich man who had his good things here, and his evil things hereafter. 8. Keil, “human heart carries the feeling of disquiet and of separation from its true home, and of the nothingness, the transitoriness of all that is earthly; and in addition to this, there is many a secret sorrow in every one which grows out of his own corporeal and spiritual life, and from his relation to other men; and this sorrow, which is from infancy onward the lot of the human heart, and which more

and more depends and diversifies itself in the course of life, makes itself perceptible even in the midst of laughter, in spite of the mirth and merriment, without being able to be suppressed or expelled from the soul, returning always the more intensely, the more violently we may have for a time kept it under and sunk it in unconsciousness. Euchel cites here the words of the poet, according to which 13a is literally true: “ o, man is not made for joy; Why weep his eyes when in heart he laughs?” 9. Gill, “Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful,.... As Belshazzar's was in the midst of his feast and jollity, when he saw the writing on the wall; so sin may stare a man in the face, and guilt load his conscience and fill him with sorrow, amidst his merriment; a man may put on a merry countenance, and feign a laugh, when his heart is very sorrowful; and oftentimes this sorrow comes by sinful laughter, by mocking at sin and jesting at religion; and the end of that mirth isheaviness: sometimes in this life a sinner mourns at last, and mourns for his wicked mirth, or that he has made himself so merry with religious persons and things, and oftentimes when it is too late; so the end of that mirth the fool in the Gospel promised himself was heaviness, when his soul was required of him; this was the case of the rich man who had his good things here, and his evil things hereafter.” 10. Henry, “This shows the vanity of carnal mirth, and proves what Solomon said of laughter, that it is mad;for, 1. There is sadness under it. Sometimes when sinners are under convictions, or some great trouble, they dissemble their grief by a forced mirth, and put a good face on it, because they will not seem to yield: they cry not when he binds them. ay, when men really are merry, yet at the same time there is some alloy or other to their mirth, something that casts a damp upon it, which all their gaiety cannot keep from their heart. Their consciences tell them they have no reason to be merry (Hos_9:1); they cannot but see the vanity of it. Spiritual joy is seated in the soul; the joy of the hypocrite is but from the teeth outward. See Joh_16:22; 2Co_6:10. 2. There is worse after it: The end of that mirth is heaviness. It is soon over, like the crackling of thorns under a pot; and, if the conscience be awake, all sinful and profane mirth will be reflected upon with bitterness; if not, the heaviness will be so much the greater when for all these things God shall bring the sinner into judgment. The sorrows of the saints will end in everlasting joys (Psa_126:5), but the laughter of fools will end in endless weeping and wailing.” 11. Pulpit Commentary, “The sadness that lies behind laughter. This verse reads like one of the melancholy reflections of the pessimist preacher in Ecclesiastes. Yet there is a profound truth in it, as all thoughtful minds must recognize. Physically, intense laughter produces acute pangs. Laughter " holds his sides " with pain. Shelley sang truly—

" Our sincerest laughter With some pain is fraught." A long laugh naturally fills the eyes with tears and dies away in a sigh of weariness. Further, a season of undue elation is usually followed by one of depression. The mind rebounds from glee to gloom by natural reaction. But there is a deeper experience than all this. Without taking a dark view of life, we must acknowledge the existence of a very common background of sorrow behind many of the sunniest scenes of life. We may trace the causes of this experience both to the facts and nature of sorrow, and to the quality and limitation of laughter. I. The Facts And ature Of SORROW. 1. Sorrow is common. Man is born to trouble. There may not be a skeleton in the cupboard of every house, but there are few homes in which there is no chamber of sad memories. We mistake the common nature of mankind if we suppose that the merry soul has not its griefs. The roaring clown may be acting with a broken heart. Wit that spreads a ripple of laughter in all directions may even be inspired by a very bitterness of soul. 2. Sorrow is enduring. We cannot divide our lives mechanically into days of pain and days of pleasure. The great sorrow that once visits us never utterly forsakes us. It makes a home in the souL It may be toned and softened by time, and driven from the front windows to dark back chambers. Still, there it lurks, and sometimes it makes its presence sorely felt even when we would fain forget it. The very contrast of present delight may rouse its restless pains. Even when it is not thought of it lingers as a sad undertone in our songs of gladness. II. The Quality And Limitations Of Laughter. 1. Laughter is superficial. Even while it is rippling over the surface of life, grief may lie beneath in sullen darkness, unmoved by the feeble gaiety. This does not condemn laughter as an evil thing, for while " the laughter of fools " is contemptible, and that of scorners sinful, the mirth of the innocent is harmless and even healthful. Caesar rightly suspected the sour visage of Cinna. The monkish notion that Christ never laughed finds no countenance in the Bible. But while sinless laughter is good and wholesome, it is never able to reach the deepest troubles. Some foolish fears and fancies may best be laughed away, but not the great soul-agonies. 2. Laughter is temporary. Inordinate laughter is not good; too much laughter is a sign of frivolity; and no man can laugh eternally. If a man drown care in laughter, this can be but for a season, and afterward the dreary trouble will rise again in pitiless persistence. The remedy for trouble must be found in the peace of God. When that is in the soul, a man is happier than if he were only hiding an unhealed sore behind the hollow mask of laughter. When Christ has cured the soul's greatest trouble, there is a possibility of the laughter of a new joy, with no tears to follow.”

14 The faithless will be fully repaid for their ways, and the good man rewarded for his.
1. Here is the Old Testament version of “you reap as you sow.” Life is unfair, but God is not, and so in the final analysis of life all will end up justly with all being fair. This is because everyone will receive just what they have earned by their lives and works. Those who have been faithless, and who gave no thought to all of the ways they have defied the laws of God, will get just what that kind of behavior deserves. God will pay them in full out of the treasury of his infinite wrath. They earned it, and God will see that they get absolutely everything that they deserve. There are no details here, but use your imagination. On the other hand, the good man will also be given what he deserves, and that will be a reward. A reward is a very positive thing, and indicates God's pleasure and honor poured out on those who have lived in honor of his revealed will. Everybody gets what is coming to them, and that is just what the ew Testament says as well, for Paul makes it clear that in the final judgment it is the acts and works of people that will be the basis for the final punishment or reward. 1B. The good news is that sometimes God in his providence pays a little of what the fool earns before payday. Here are just a couple of examples: Recently there was a report in the newspaper about a man who walked into a Circle-K, put a $20 bill on the counter, and asked for change. When the clerk opened the cash drawer, the man pulled a gun and asked for all the cash in the register. The clerk promptly complied with the thief’s request. The man took the cash from the clerk and fled, leaving the $20 bill on the counter. The total amount of cash he got from the drawer? Fifteen dollars! Another man attempted to siphon gasoline from a motor home parked on a Seattle, Washington street. He got more than he bargained for. Police arrived at the scene to find an ill man curled up next to a motor home near spilled sewage. A policeman spokesman said that the man admitted to trying to steal gasoline and plugged his hose into the sewage tank by mistake. The owner of the vehicle declined to press charges, saying that it was the best laugh he’d ever had. 2. Charles Bridges, “The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.”Every spot is not the leprosy. Every mark of sin does not prove a backslider. "A man may be overtaken in a fault" (Gal. vi. 1); or it may be the sin of ignorance (Lev. iv. 2. Heb. v. 2); or sin abhorred, resisted, yet still cleaving. (Ram. vii. 15-24.) Backsliding implies a willful step; not always open, but the more dangerous, because hidden. Here was no open apostasy, perhaps no tangible inconsistency. ay, the man may be looked up to as an eminent saint. But

he is a backslider in heart. A secret canker of unwatchfulness worldly conformity (Hos. vii. 8), neglect, or indulgence, has insensibly "devoured his strength." (Hos. vii. 9. Judg. xvi. 20.) He was once pressing onward. A languor has now stolen upon him. His heart beats unsteadily. He has become formal and hurried in his prayers; lukewarm in the means of grace: reading his Bible to soothe his conscience, rather than to feed his soul. The first steps, instead of alarming, and bringing him to secret weeping (Matt. xxvi. 75), hurried him onwards from one liberty to another, till he lost all power of resistance. His unsoundness was known to God, long before it was manifested to the Church. Before the matter of Uriah, indolence and security had probably unhinged the man of God, and laid him open to the tempter. (2 Sam. xi. 1, 2.) Perhaps this dispensation may be permitted to teach the child of God his need of watchfulness and dependence. (2 Chron. xxxii. 31. Philip. ii. 12.) The backslider's folly and wretchedness is graphically pourtrayed, as a merciful warning to the church. He needs no other rod than his own ways. To be filled with them; thus to become the fountain of his own misery; is the most fearful of all Divine judgments. The good man is also filled from himself; yet not as the backslider, with misery, but with solid satisfaction. God has gives him a fountain fed from a higher fountain; a living spring within himself (John, iv. 14); the witness of the Spirit (Rom. viii. 16); the life and joy of the Heavenly Comforter (John, xiv. 16, 17); the rejoicing testimony of his conscience (2 Cor„ i. 12); the assured hope of glory. (Col. i. 27.) This is not independent of God, the one source of self-sufficiency. But it is Himself dwelling in the heart and filling it with his fulness. Let the sinner compare the satisfaction of sin and godliness--the curse and the blessing; and lift up his heart for the direction of a right choice. Let the backslider return to the gospel to awaken his contrition, and to reanimate his faith. (Hos. xiv.) Let the good man invigorate his soul daily from his well of consolation.” 3. Clarke writes about the faithless as a backslider. “man who once walked in the ways of religion, but has withdrawn from them. The man who once fought manfully against the world, the devil, and the flesh; but has retreated from the battle, or joined the enemy. The man who once belonged to the congregation of the saints, but is now removed from them, and is set down in the synagogue of Satan. Who gives cheerful way to the bent of his own nature, and now delights in fulfilling the lusts of the flesh and of the mind. Who loves sin as before he loved godliness. About the good man he wrote, “The man whose heart is right with God, whose tongue corresponds to his heart, and whose actions correspond to both. The man who is every thing that the sinner and backslider are not. He shall be satisfied from himself - he shall have the testimony of his own conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, he has his conversation among men. He shall have God’s Spirit to testify with his spirit that he is a child of God. He hath the witness in himself that he is born from above. The

Spirit of God in his conscience, and the testimony of God in his Bible, show him that he belongs to the heavenly family. It is not from creeds or confessions of faith that he derives his satisfaction: he gets it from heaven, and it is sealed upon his heart. Reader, beware! Slipping spiritually in your heart is a subtle danger! It can happen easily and with little warning, but the consequences are terrible. God will pour out confusion and pain on you, compatible and commensurate to your backsliding. But a good man, one who keeps his heart diligently, will have the continual feast of peace and joy in his heart. Forget a common idea of backsliding - leaving religion and returning to drugs, sex, or violence as a lifestyle. Satan wants you to think that is backsliding. Instead, keep the light of this proverb on your heart - the true source of backsliding. It is your heart that first slips away from the Lord, His word, His holiness, and your previous hatred of sin. Sin takes us from the inside out - in the heart - as James explained specifically (Jas 1:13-16). You must fear and hate this enemy! It can be as subtle as losing your first love, like at Ephesus (Rev 2:1-7). It also involves losing your spiritual joy, praying less, singing less, minding earthly things, and becoming spiritually dull. Of course, it also is allowing your heart to consider sins that you would have fervently despised before. Reader, how is your heart? Do you have a fervent zeal for spiritual things, or have you slipped into a routine? The cure for backsliding is simple, by God's grace. Jesus said, Remember from where you have fallen - repent - and do the first works (Rev 2:5). This three-step process will work. Remember the faith, joy, and peace you once had; repent of the sins of your heart or life that you have allowed; and repeat the same fervent things you did in the beginning. Do not say with Governor Felix that you need a more convenient season (Acts 24:25)! Today may be your last chance (29:1)! Return to the LORD right now and repent for any foolishness, slothfulness, or backsliding. He will forgive. Commit your heart fully to tear every idol and temptation out of your life to be holy once again. Prepare for a blessing. Jesus Christ warned His disciples that abounding iniquity would cause the love of many to wax cold, and such a state of affairs must be more true of our generation than it was theirs (Matt 24:12). How is your heart? Hot, cold, or lukewarm? Beware (Rev 3:14-16)! The judgments and blessings of God are just and proportionate to the state of your heart. 4. Henry, “ The misery of sinners will be an eternal surfeit upon their sins: The backslider in heart,who for fear of suffering, or in hope of profit or pleasure, forsakes God and his duty, shall be filled with his own ways;God will give him enough of them. They would not leave their brutish lusts and passions, and

therefore they shall stick by them, to their everlasting terror and torment. He that is filthy shall be filthy still. “Son, remember,” shall fill them with their own ways,and set their sins in order before them. Backsliding begins in the heart; it is the evil heart of unbelief that departs from God; and of all sinners backsliders will have most terror when they reflect on their own ways,Luk_11:26. 2. The happiness of the saints will be an eternal satisfaction in their graces, as tokens of and qualifications for God's peculiar favour: A good man shall beabundantly satisfied from himself,from what God has wrought in him. He has rejoicing in himself alone,Gal_6:3. As sinners never think they have sin enough till it brings them to hell, so saints never think they have grace enough till it brings them to heaven.”

5. Gill, “backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways,.... One that is a backslider at heart, whose heart departeth from the Lord; in whom there is an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; and indeed apostasy begins at the heart, and shows itself in the life and conversation: there may be a backsliding when the heart does not wickedly depart from God; but is through the infirmity of the flesh and the force of temptation; from which backslidings the Lord's people are recovered, and which are healed by his grace; but here such an one is meant who willingly and heartily backslides; and such shall have the reward of their hands and actions given them, or the full and due punishment of their sins; they shall have their bellyful of their own wicked ways and works, the just recompense of reward for them; and a good man shall be satisfiedfrom himself; shall eat the fruit of his own doings, shall be blessed in his deeds, and have peace and satisfaction therein; though not salvation by them, or for them: he shall be satisfied with the grace of God bestowed on him and wrought in him; and, from a feeling experience of the grace of God within him, shall be satisfied that he has in heaven a better and an enduring substance; or he shall be satisfied "from above himself" (m), from the grace that is in Christ, out of the fulness which is in him; and shall be filled with all the fulness of God he is capable of; and especially in the other world, when he shall awake in his likeness. The Targum is, "a good man shall be satisfied with his fear;'' and so the Syriac version, with the fear of his soul; it may be rendered, as by the Vulgate Latin version, "a good man shall be above him" (n); that is, above the backslider; shall be better tilled, and be more happy than he.” 6. Maclaren, “comes from godliness. There is no more striking proof that most men are bad than the notion which they have of what is good. The word has been degraded to mean in common speech little more than amiability, and is applied with little discrimination to characters of which little more can be said than that they are facile and indulgent of evil. ‘A good fellow’ may be a very bad man. At the highest the epithet connotes merely more or less

admirable motives and more or less admirable deeds as their results, whilst often its use is no more than a piece of unmeaning politeness. That was what the young ruler meant by addressing Christ as ‘Good Master’; and Christ’s answer to him set him, and should set us, on asking ourselves why we call very ordinary men and very ordinary actions ‘good.’ The scriptural notion is immensely deeper, and the scriptural employment of the word is immensely more restricted. It is more inward: it means that motives should be right before it calls any action good; it means that our central and all-influencing motive should be love to God and regard to His will. That is the Old Testament point of view as well as the ew. Or to put it in other words, the ‘good man’ of the Bible is a man in whom outward righteousness flows from inward devotion and love to God. These two elements make up the character: godliness is an inseparable part of goodness, is the inseparable foundation of goodness, and the sole condition on which it is possible. But from this conception follows, that a man may be truly called good, although not perfect. He may be so and yet have many failures. The direction of his aspirations, not the degree to which these are fulfilled, determines his character, and his right to be reckoned a good man. Why was David called ‘a man after God’s own heart,’ notwithstanding his frightful fall? Was it not because that sin was contrary to the main direction of his life, and because he had struggled to his feet again, and with tears and self-abasement, yet with unconquerable desire and hope, ‘pressed toward the mark for the prize of his high calling’? David in the Old Testament and Peter in the ew bid us be of good cheer, and warn us against the too common error of thinking that goodness means perfection. ‘The new moon with a ragged edge’ is even in its imperfections beautiful, and in its thinnest circlet prophesies the perfect round.” 7. Charles Simeon wrote of the danger of backsliding because this was the translation that he was following Prov. xiv. 14. The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways : and a good man shall be satisfied from himself. He and many others had this as their theme because it was the best the translators could understand at that time. It is an excellent study of the backslider, but I will not share it here, for many have already shared on this theme, and so I will share it elsewhere where it is more fitting.

15 A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.
1. Keil, A simple man lets “be easily persuaded by the talk of another: he believes every word without proving it, whether it is well-meant, whether it is true, whether

it is salutary and useful, so that he is thus, without having any firm principle, and without any judgment of his own, driven about hither and thither; the prudent, on the other hand, considers and marks his step, that he may not take a false step or go astray, he proves his way (8a), he takes no step without thought and consideration (consider or reflect upon anything, Psa_73:17, cf. Psa_33:15) - he makes sure steps with his feet (Heb_12:13), without permitting himself to waver and sway by every wind of doctrine (Eph_4:14).” 2. Charles Bridges, “The simple believeth every word; but the prudent man looketh well to his going.” “To believe every word of God is faith. To believe every word of man is credulity. Faith is a principle of infinite moment. Eternal life and death hang upon it. (Mark, xvi. 16. John, iii. 36.) But it must be grounded upon evidence, and it can only be exercised according to the character and measure of the evidence. An indiscriminate faith is therefore fraught with mischief. The world was ruined by this weakness. (Gen. iii. 1-6.) And often since has it been the occasion of sin (2 Sam. xvi. 1-4. Esth. iii. 8-11), and even of downfall. (1 Kings, xiii. 11-19.) Look at the fruit of this folly in the Church, when "our faith stands in the wisdom of men, not in the power of God." (1 Cor. ii. 5.) Men become loose in fundamental principles. They are "carried about with divers and strange doctrines," and never know "the good thing of a heart established with grace." (Heb. xiii. 9. Eph. iv. 14.) The novelties of fancy, accredited by some favorite name, readily pass for the revelation of God. We do not thus sit down to our food blindfolded; not knowing whether we take food or poison. But here men are ready to drink of any cup that is presented to them, like children, who think everything good that is sweet. Thus are "unstable souls beguiled," and "corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." (2 Cor. xi. 3.) Errors, never solitary, are built upon some partial, insulated, or perverted truth. Feeling and excitement come in the place of solid practical principle. But the prudent looketh well to his going. Cautious consideration should mark our general conduct; trying before we trust; never trusting an uncertain profession. ( eh. vi. 2-4. John, ii. 24.) Specially in the Church, carefully ponder whom we follow. Sift the most plausible pretensions. (1 Thess. v. 21. 1 John, iv. 1.) ever set a great name against the Divine testimony. (Isa. viii. 20. Admit only the one standard; like the noble Bereans, who would not believe even an apostle's word, except it was confirmed by the written testimony. (Acts, xvii. 11.) Ask wisdom of God. Carefully regulate the energy of religion by the Divine rule. Enlist feeling on the side, and under the direction, of sound judgment. This prudent carefulness will exhibit a well-ordered Christian profession.” 3. Let God Be True, “Skepticism is a virtue. Caution is a sign of nobility. Demanding proof is wisdom. Only the dumb and foolish believe all they hear. A wise and successful man will examine a matter carefully, before he makes a decision about it. He understands the risks and rewards before he chooses a course of action. He does nothing by chance or in hope.

Our proverb is for safety and success. It is one of the best. Memorize it. It will save you often (22:3). We live in bad times. Men trust sound bites rather than sound reasoning. The information explosion bombards us with new data every day. Telemarketers, mail order catalogs, advertisements, infomercials, pop-up ads, and the Internet throw opinions, suggestions, and products at us. God inspired Solomon to save you by this pithy saying. The simple are gullible. They are not bright. They do not have conviction or ability to question and criticize new information. If it sounds good, and something they want to be true, they believe it. If others are enthusiastic about it, they get excited. If it is in print, they believe it true. If a perceived authority says it, they trust it completely, even without evidence. If strangers say it worked for them that is good enough evidence to buy it. The prudent are wise. They have discretion. They are not gullible. They are skeptical of anything sounding too good, too easy, too neat. Too good to be true is their motto. They are not impressed by things in print, words by authority, or testimonials from strangers. They want evidence, and it must be valid. If the simple are excited, they conclude it must be wrong. The majority opinion, in our ignorant and perverse society, scares them away. Learn to reject anything without proof, and learn the rudiments of evaluating proof. The public education system neglects logic and rhetoric, for they want us gullible and trusting the "authorities," which are the educators, the media, and the entertainers. one of which, in this Bible-rejecting day, have a clue about truth and error. See the comments on 13:16. Men are vulnerable to fraud in different areas. The old crave a cure for aging and disease, so they buy magazines filled with health speculations and quickly order their goat's milk cottage cheese with shark oil! Young men want to look like Hercules, so they ingest gargantuan amounts of the latest weight-gain powder from the same store that granny visited! Of course, in twenty years they will try a new powder to take that weight off! Some men fall for financial fraud, because they want to make millions, easily! Others obsess about conspiracies and avoid the electronic cashier at the grocery store, for fear of receiving the mark of the beast! Safety freaks stop flying, because their flight, out of 40,000 each day, might have a passenger with a shoe bomb! And doting mothers play subliminal ocean sounds to their sleeping children to help them learn to swim! Parent, teach your children to be skeptics. It can be enjoyable. Show them the false advertisement you get about the free family cruise to Tahiti. Show them the fine print requiring you to get to Mexico City for departure and the contract to rent expensive condos on four continents over the next four years. Teach them to look for the fine print, and teach them to look around in a full circle, which is

circumspection (Eph 5:15). Teach your children one of life's greatest lessons - there is no free lunch. Teach them another - no stranger loves them. For the salesman and infomercial have one goal, to take money from their pocket for themselves. Teach them the Bible is the only book to believe absolutely. Teach them the Lord is the only Person they can totally trust. We live in the perilous times of the last days (II Tim 3:1). Information is the rage. Schools and degrees, books and other media, multiply ridiculously. We are gorged on information, but there is no truth! Paul warned, "Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth" (II Tim 3:7). And it will not get better, for he said, "Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived" (II Tim 3:13). Here is the wisdom of God. In life, there is truth and error. The wise man will prove all things, reject the error, and tightly hold the truth. Paul taught this rule plainly when he wrote, "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (I Thess 5:21). The Bereans were noble for searching the Scriptures to prove even Paul (Acts 17:11). They were not simple. They did not believe easily; they proved him out. Believe not every spirit (I John 4:1-6)! God is absolute truth, and His Word is absolute truth (Deut 32:4; John 17:17). Satan is a liar and the father of lies; he has no truth in him (John 8:44). And all men follow one or the other. There is no neutral ground (Gal 1:8-9; Eph 2:1-3; I Tim 6:35). By our first birth, we love lies (John 8:45). But as the children of God, we can follow the truth, if we will prove it and pursue it (John 8:47; I Cor 2:15; Jude 1:3). Let God be true (Rom 3:4)! The Lord Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). He is Faithful and True (Rev 19:11). You can trust Him completely, for your future today and in eternity.

4. Henry, "It is folly to be credulous, to heed every flying report, to give ear to every man's story, though ever so improbable, to take things upon trust from common fame, to depend upon every man's profession of friendship and give credit to every one that will promise payment; those are simple who thus believe every word, forgetting that all men, in some sense, are liars in comparison with God, all whose words we are to believe with an implicit faith, for he cannot lie. 2. It is wisdom to be cautious: The prudent man will try before he trusts, will weigh both the credibility of the witness and the probability of the testimony, and then give judgment as the thing appears or suspend his judgment till it appears. Prove all things, and believe not every spirit." 5. Gill, "Thsimple believeth every word,.... Every thing that is said to him every

story that is told him, and every promise that is made him; and so is easily imposed upon, and drawn in to his hurt: every word of God, or doctrine of his, ought to be believed; because whatever he says is true, he cannot lie; every word of his is pure, free from all error and falsehood; it is a tried word, and found to bear a faithful testimony, and, if we receive the witness of then, the witness of God is greater; besides, his word is profitable for instruction, and for the increase of peace, joy, and comfort, and is effectual to saving purposes: every word of Christ is to be believed, who is a teacher sent from God; whose mission is confirmed by miracles, and whose doctrine is not his own as man, but his Father's; he is the faithful witness, and truth itself; his words are more than human, and besides are pleasant and wholesome: and every word and doctrine of his apostles, who received their mission commission, and doctrines from him, is also to be believed; but every spirit, or everyone that pretends to be a spiritual man, and to have spiritual gifts, is not to be believed; but the words and doctrines of ordinary men and ministers are to be first tried by the unerring rule of the sacred Scriptures; yea, the doctrines of the apostles were examined by them; see 1Jo_4:1; they are "simple", weak, silly, foolish persons, that believe all they hear, whether right or wrong, true or false, good or hurtful; they are children in knowledge, who are tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine, and are deceived with good words and fair speeches, Eph_4:14, Rom_16:18. This truly describes the followers of the man of sin; who give heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; who believe as the church believes; that believe with an implicit faith; believe every word and doctrine the pope and councils say they should, though ever so absurd; as, for instance, the doctrine of transubstantiation: these are "simple" or fools with a witness, who give up their understandings, and even their senses unto, and pin their faith upon, another; but the prudent manlooketh well to his going; or "its going" (o); to the course and tendency of the word he hears, or the doctrine which is proposed to his faith; he considers well whether it is agreeable or is contrary to the perfections of God; whether it derogates from the glory of any of the divine Persons; whether it makes for the magnifying the riches of God's grace, and for the debasing of men; or for the depreciating of the one, and setting up of the other; and whether it is a doctrine according to godliness, or not, that tends to promote holiness of heart and life, or to indulge a loose conversation; and according to these criteria he judges and determines whether he shall believe it or not. Or, "to his going"; that is, to the going of the deceiver and impostor; he observes narrowly the methods he takes, the artifices he makes use of, the cunning sleight by which he lies in wait to deceive; how craftily he walks, and handles the word of God deceitfully; and he takes notice of his moral walk and conversation, and, as our Lord says, "ye shall know them by their fruits", Mat_7:16. Or else the meaning is, and which seems to be the sense of our version, that he looks well unto, and carefully observes, his own goings; he takes heed to his ways, that they are right; that he is not in ways of his devising and choosing, but in God's ways; in the way of life and salvation by Christ; in the path of faith on him, and in the way of holiness; that he has chosen the way of truth, and walks in that; and that every step he takes in doctrine is according to the word of truth; and that whatever he does in worship is agreeably to the divine rule; and that

every path of duty he treads in is according to the same, and as he has Christ for a pattern, and the Spirit for a guide; and that his walk is as becomes the Gospel, worthy of the calling wherein he is called, and that it is circumspect and wise; and such a man may be truly said to be a "prudent" man: the Targum is, "he attends to his good;'' and so he does.”

6. Arthur Pink, "As we all know, there is a class of people who are so gullible that they believe almost everything they hear, every story that is told, every promise that is made them. They are easily imposed upon, for they do not think for themselves, and never properly outgrow their infancy. Thoroughly unsophisticated, they are ready victims for any retailers of fairy-tales who come along. God has bidden His people to "Believe not every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1); and "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" (1 Thes. 5:21). O how great is the need for so doing: never more requisite and urgent than in these evil days. How often does that warning occur in the ew Testament, "Take heed that no man deceive you" (Matt. 24:4; Eph. 5:6; 1 John 3:7 etc.) To take things on trust is the height of folly. Emulate those spoken of in Acts. 17:11, "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." "A prudent man gives thought to his steps." Observe well the tense of the verb: it is not that he is concerned about the matter and then takes stock once and for all. o, he continues to be exercised before God as to the state of his soul. The "simple" may rest satisfied with the fact that they "believed on Christ" so many years ago, but the "prudent" are tender about their present relation to God. They realize that nothing but an obedient following of Christ now, a walking with Him now, a communing with Him now, furnishes any satisfactory proof that they were born-again at a certain date in the past.” 7. Pulpit Commentary, “Credulity. It is the constant habit of religious teachers to encourage faith, and to regard skepticism and unbelief as evil things. Are we, then, to suppose that credulity is meritorious, and that all doubt, inquiry, suspense of mind, and rejection of bold assertions are bad ? According to this view, truth would be of no importance. It would be as well to believe error as truth, and to swallow superstition wholesale would be a mark of superior piety. There are not wanting critics who scornfully ascribe habits of this character to Christians—identifying faith with credulity, and charging the believer with folly. o doubt the extravagant utterances of some Christian people have given much excuse for this libel; e.g. the assertion of Anselm," Credo quia non intelligo." But such utterances are not justified by Scripture or Christian wisdom. I. Observe The ature Of Credulity. When a person is too hasty in believing without sufficient reason, and especially when he accepts statements on slight

authority in opposition to a rational view, we call him credulous. Credulity is just a disposition to believe without sufficient ground. 1. It springs from mental weakness. It is a mark of childishness, while faith is a sign of childlikeness. The feeble mind is credulous. 2. It is favored by prejudice. The credulous person is unduly ready to believe according to his desires. So men say, " The wish is father to the thought." 3. It is increased by fear, which paralyzes the reasoning faculties and inclines people to believe in the most absurd impossibility. The terrors of superstition ensnare the credulous. II. Consider The Evil of Credulity. 1. It dishonors truth. When a person shows indifference to the vital question as to whether what he believes is true or false, he displays a fatal disloyalty to truth. For truth will not endure an admixture of fakehoods. Therefore those very people who vainly imagine themselves to be the loyal and humble servants of the whole round of truths are the very persons who undermine the sanctity of truth itself. 2. It tempts to fatal acts. Men act according to their beliefs. If they believe lies, they will have the practical side of their lives flung into confusion. Truth is a beacon-light; error sheds a false glare, like that of a wrecker's lamp on a rock-bound coast. It is dangerous to accept delusions of superstition with fatuous credulity. Life is real and earnest, and men need true lights to guide them safely. III. ote The Remedy Of Credulity. 1. This is not to be found in unlimited skepticism. The skeptic is often the slave of foolish fancies. Escaping from Christian faith, perhaps he falls into spiritualism or some other equally wild delusion. 2. Unbelief is not the remedy; for unbelief is but the reverse of faith. Indeed, it is negative faith. It is believing the negative of those propositions concerning which faith believes the affirmative. 3. Agnosticism is not the remedy; for agnosticism is more than a confession of ignorance; it is an assertion that knowledge in certain regions is unattainable. Thus it is dogmatic and possibly credulous. 4. The remedy lies in well-grounded faith. We must learn lessons of patience, and be willing at first to creep along step by step. We need not wait to say, with Abelard, " Credo quia intelligo," for we may accept mysteries which we cannot explain. But we need to be satisfied that we have good ground for doing so. Fundamentally, a wise Christian faith is trust in Christ, resting on an intelligent ground of assurance—that he is trustworthy.”

16 A wise man fears the LORD and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless.
1. Charles Bridges, “Fear is sometimes thought to be an unmanly principle. But look at the terrible extent of the evil dreaded. Without it, is vanity and disappointment.

Within it, is the sting of guilt. Upward, we see the frown of God. Downward everlasting burnings. Surely then to depart from this evil, yea —to fear it worse than death,6 is true wisdom. The fool however, stout and stubborn in his mind, never fears till he falls. The voice of God is unheard amid the uproar of passion, like a raving tempest. Bravely independent, he sits amid the threatening of God as unalarmed, as Solomon amid his brazen lions; ‘carried by his rash will, and blind passion, without apprehending the end and issue of things.' His character is here drawn to life. He rageth, and is confident. Such a fool was Rehoboam, when his selfwilled confidence rejected the counsel of wisdom and experience. (1 Kings, xii. 13– 15.) Such a fool was the raging Assyrian, blindly confident in his own might, till the God whom he despised turned him back to his destruction. (2 Kings, xix. 28–37.) And will not the child of God bless his Father's painful discipline, so needful to curb his raging will, and bring down his high confidence—"Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the Lord my God?" (Jer. xxxi. 18.)” 2. The fear of the Lord is demonstrated by being fearful of doing what is stupid and evil. The fool does not consider the Lord, but just lets his emotions of anger take over and lead him to do what is reckless and foolish. The hot head is actually one who has lost his head, for he is not using his brain and reason at all. He is under the control of his fire of anger, and we know that fire does not care about anything but burning what is combustible in its presence. The fool's hot head is full of steam and ready to blow. When you blow your top there is no longer any reason behind your actions, but only fire. You are like a steam engine that has gone off the track, and there is no telling how much damage it will do before it is stopped. The wise man is the train that is on the track, and so guided to avoid danger, but the hotheaded fool is ready to blow and go off the track into the ditch destroying both himself and those in his way. The ew Living Translation puts it, “The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence.” The wise can see when a confrontation is going to lead to folly, and so they back off, but the hot head sees only that which makes him angry, and he plunges into a conflict that will lead to hurt for himself and others. His hot head is boiling to the point that he cannot see what the wise man sees, and so he blindly goes swinging into battle with forces over which he has no control. These are the people who make the news all of the time because of their road rage. They kill themselves and others for no purpose whatever, but to release the stupid steam in their head. 3. C. Egner wrote, “first saw the car in my rear view mirror, weaving in and out of traffic. It zoomed by, cut me off, passed two cars on the right, zipped back into the left lane, roared past two trucks, and cut sharply to the right before disappearing from view. I had an impulse to chase the car down and yell at the driver. I even

rehearsed what I would say to him. How are we to deal with a bad driver who threatens our safety? What should we do when an obnoxious customer storms into our office and demands immediate service? Experts advise us to "get philosophical" by repeating common-sense sayings to help keep our cool. But believers in Jesus Christ have an even better option. We can "get proverbial." We can turn to the book of Proverbs for wisdom to handle people who behave foolishly. "A wise man fears and departs from evil, but a fool rages and is self-confident" (14:16). "He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive exalts folly" (v.29).The next time an irritating person barges into your life, ask the Holy Spirit to help you get proverbial. Remember, "A quicktempered man acts foolishly . . . . But the prudent are crowned with knowledge" 4. Hotheads are part of life, and we need to deal with them in such a way that we avoid danger to ourselves and others. Here is a list of hothead proverbs: 17:27; 14:17; 29; 29:22; 15:18; 19:11; 19; 14:30; 25:28; 16:32; 22:24; 25; 15:1; 27:4 5. An unknown author gives us some excellent comments on the hotheads. “Hebrew has some interesting literal expressions for the short-tempered person. Proverbs 15:18 literally speaks of the "heated" one and the word is usually translated as "hot-tempered." Proverbs 14:17 speaks of the "short-nosed" person and this phrase is translated as "quick-tempered." In contrast Proverbs 17:27 speaks of a person who is "cool in spirit" to mean even tempered and Proverbs 14:29 speaks of a "long-nosed" person as one slow to anger. Proverbs make several points about the hothead. He acts foolishly. Proverbs 14:17 and 29 both note this fact. His temper destroys his judgment and his behavior is foolish even if he does not act like a fool when he is not angry. So often a lost temper produces results worse than whatever caused the person to loose their temper. On the other hand, a person who controls his or her temper is able to think more clearly and act more rationally. Often simply delaying one’s response to a difficult situation allows better understanding to emerge. The hothead also causes trouble. Proverbs 29:22 and 15:18 both describe the hothead stirring up strife. Angry people create the heat that provokes more anger. This leads to increasingly sharp disagreements. The escalation of dissension will ultimately lead to out and out fighting. The Hebrew text of Proverbs 19:19 appears to have been damaged and most interpreters resort to some sort of interpretive reconstruction of the text. The most likely meaning is that hothead gets into the same trouble over and over. Kidner (p. 134) interprets the verse to mean that "an ungovernable temper will repeatedly land its owner in fresh trouble. Bailing such a person out of trouble will be a neverending job. It is also counterproductive because it allows the hothead to continue with the delusion that his vice is harmless.

Proverbs 14:30 then concludes that this short- temperedness is unhealthy. It causes ones bones to rot. The IV catches the meaning of the Hebrew well when it says that envy rots the bones. Hateful attitudes kill from the inside out. Proverbs 25:28 and 16:32 point out that the hothead is defenseless. Without the protection of discipline and instruction the person lacking self-control is almost powerless against what Aitken (p. 109) calls the "destructive power of passion from within, or temptation from without." The practical conclusion is to not make friends with a hothead as Proverbs 22:24-25 advises. A person ought to try soft words instead of harsh ones; that often makes the difference.” 6. Billy Graham: Inspirational Problem Solving Quotes “Hot heads and cold hearts never solved anything.” 7. Morgan, R. J. “Hotheaded people can become strong-hearted saints, for the same passions that drive our tempers can be harnessed by the Spirit for good. We learn this from Columba, born in Ulster, Ireland, on December 7, 521. His grandfather had been baptized by St. Patrick himself, and Columba’s parents were believers of royal stock. Though he had a yearning for learning and for the Lord, Columba was strong-willed and combative. He possessed a powerful presence with strong features and an authoritative voice; but his fiery temper and iron will lingered, even after becoming a home missionary to his fellow Irish. One day Columba copied the contents of a book without permission, and when the owner requested the copy Columba refused. The argument took on a life of its own, involving more and more people. Eventually a war erupted in which 3,000 men lost their lives. Full of remorse, Columba committed himself to win as many to Christ as had died in the war. Thus he left Ireland at age 42 to become a missionary to Scotland. With 12 companions, he established himself on Iona, a bleak, foggy island just off the Scottish coast, three miles long and a mile and a half wide. He built a crude monastery which soon became a training center for missionaries, one of the most venerable and interesting spots in the history of Christian missions. It was a lighthouse against heathenism. From Iona Columba made missionary forays into Scotland, converting large numbers. An entire tribe of pagans, the Picts, were won to the faith. He confronted the druids, contesting with them over their alleged magical arts and demonic powers. Legend suggests he performed miracles to counter theirs, convincing the populace of the gospel’s superior power. He spent the rest of his life as the apostle to Scotland and as a trainer of missionaries. On June 8, 597, Columba, 75 years old, spent the day transcribing the Psalms, then joined his brothers for midnight devotions. He collapsed at the altar and died peacefully during the wee hours of June 9, 597, his face bearing an expression of seeing holy angels coming to meet him. People with bad tempers are always in

trouble, And they need help over and over again.

8. The Rewards of Wisdom, “The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with great confidence”―Aristotle says that courage is the virtue that lies between cowardice and rash stupidity. The foolin this parable is stupidly rash. He confidently plows forward, but the only reason he is confident is he has no idea what danger he faces. He will stumble right into that danger, and then either end in disaster or run just as quickly (but far less confidently) the other way. There’s a certain attractiveness to the bravado of plunging ahead: the person who takes that leap looks like a real man of action. But in the end, he accomplishes little and regrets much. The wise person takes careful stock of the dangers ahead. She knows which ones she can avoid, and which ones she must face; and she is prepared when she faces.” 9. Henry, “fear is an excellent guard upon every holy thing, and against every thing that is unholy. It is wisdom to depart from evil,from the evil of sin, and thereby from all other evil; and therefore it is wisdom to fear, that is, to be jealous over ourselves with a godly jealousy, to keep up a dread of God's wrath, to be afraid of coming near the borders of sin or dallying with the beginnings of it. A wise man, for fear of harm, keeps out of harm's way, and starts back in a fright when he finds himself entering into temptation. 2. Presumption is folly. He who, when he is warned of his danger, rages and is confident,furiously pushes on, cannot bear to be checked, bids defiance to the wrath and curse of God, and, fearless of danger, persists in his rebellion, makes bold with the occasions of sin, and plays upon the precipice, he is a fool, for he acts against his reason and his interest, and his ruin will quickly be the proof of his folly. 10. Gill, “wise manfeareth, and departeth from evil,.... He fears God, and is careful not to offend him; wherefore he departs from sin, stands at a distance from it, abstains from all appearance of it; being influenced by the goodness and grace of God unto him, he fears the Lord and his goodness, and therefore avoids all occasions of sinning against him: his motive is not merely fear of punishment, as Jarchi, but a sense of goodness; and now, as it is through the influence of divine fear that men depart from evil; so to do this shows a good understanding, and that such a man is a wise man, Pro_16:6; but the fool rageth, and is confident; he fears neither God nor men, he sets his mouth against both; he "rages" in heart, if not with his mouth, against God and his law, which forbid the practice of such sins he delights in; and against all good men, that admonish him of them, rebuke him for them, or dissuade him from them: and "is confident" that no evil shall befall him; he has no concern about a future state, and is fearless of hell and damnation, though just upon the precipice of ruin; yet, as the words may be rendered, "he goes on confidently", nothing can stop him; he pushes on, regardless of the laws of God or men, of the advices and counsels of his friends, or of what will be the issue of his desperate courses in another world.

11. Keil, “interpreters translate 16b: the fool is over-confident (Zöckler), or the fool rushes on (Hitzig), as also Luther: but a fool rushes wildly through, i.e., in a daring, presumptuous manner. But ‫ הִתְ עבֵּר‬denotes everywhere nothing else than to fall into ַ extreme anger, to become heated beyond measure, Pro_26:17(cf. Pro_20:2), Deu_3:26, etc. Thus 16a and 16b are fully contrasted. What is said of the wise will be judged after Job_1:1, cf. Psa_34:15; Psa_37:27: the wise man has fear, viz., fear of God, or rather, since ‫ האלהים‬is not directly to be supplied, that careful, thoughtful, self-mistrusting reserve which flows from the reverential awe of God; the fool, on the contrary, can neither rule nor bridle his affections, and without any just occasion falls into passionate excitement. But on the other side he is selfconfident, regardless, secure; while the wise man avoids the evil, i.e., carefully goes out of its way, and in .T. phraseology “works out his own salvation with fear and trembling.”

17 A quick-tempered man does foolish things, and a crafty man is hated.
1. Henry, “Passionate men are justly laughed at. Men who are peevish and touchy, and are soon angryupon every the least provocation, deal foolishly;they say and do that which is ridiculous, and so expose themselves to contempt; they themselves cannot but be ashamed of it when the heat is over. The consideration of this should engage those especially who are in reputation for wisdom and honour with the utmost care to bridle their passion. 2. Malicious men are justly dreaded and detested, for they are much more dangerous and mischievous to all societies: A man of wicked devices,who stifles his resentments till he has an opportunity of being revenged, and is secretly plotting how to wrong his neighbour and to do him an ill turn, as Cain to kill Abel, such a man as this is hated by all mankind. The character of an angry man is pitiable; through the surprise of a temptation he disturbs and disgraces himself, but it is soon over, and he is sorry for it. But that of a spiteful revengeful man is odious; there is no fence against him nor cure for him.”

2. Charles Bridges, “He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked

devices is hated.” “Different gradations of sin are here opposed to each other,the sudden passion, and the deliberate purpose; the gust and the continuance of the storm. A hasty temper convicts us of foolishness before our fellow-men. (2 Kings, v. 11–13.) What frightful mischief may be the consequence of an angry word! (Jam. iii. 5.) How fearfully did the "man after God's own heart" suffer the fire to burst out! (1 Sam. xxv. 21.) Who then, with this example before us, will dare to relax the

watch? But are these sins of temper matters of sorrow and humiliation? Does the remembrance of their cost to our crucified Friend exercise our constant watchfulness, and prayerful resistance? Is not our loving Father's rod sometimes needful to bring conviction of their guilty foolishness? ( um. xx, 10–12) Oh, for a rich vouchsafement of that " charity, that is not easily provoked!" (1 Cor. xiii. 5.) 'Let us give our hearts no rest, until we have purged their gall, and tempered them with the sweetness and gentleness of our Lord and Savior.' But sin grows from weakness to wilfulness. ‘The first makes a man contemptible; the second, abominable.' Wicked devices; cherished malice; one act preparing for another; almost aiming at the uttermost— all this shews the true picture of man, "hateful, and hating one another." Such a man is hated of God, as "an abomination." Man holds him up to his righteous scorn. Absalom's pillar, the monument of his name, is to this day the object of universal contempt. The hatred of Haman's wicked devices is perpetuated from generation to generation. (Esth. ix. 23-28.) Why are these warnings, if we regard them not? Our dignity is our likeness to God! What shame and degradation must there be in this contrariety to him!”

3. Let God Be True, “here are two kinds of evil passion, and they are treated

differently. Rash anger, by a quick temper that reacts without discretion or thought, is foolish and proves a man is not ruling his spirit. Such a person is difficult and trying, but he can often be corrected and recovered. However, there is another kind of anger, the deep-seated malice of smoldering envy and revenge that plots to harm another. God and men hate this wicked monster. Before applying this proverb, remember that not all anger is sin. God is angry at the wicked every day (Ps 7:11), and He was angry at Moses (Ex 4:14). Moses was justifiably angry at Israel worshiping the golden calf (Ex 32:19). And Jesus was angry at the cruelty of religious Jews (Mark 3:5). Properly directed anger for a righteous cause is good and holy. Any other anger must be kept free from sin and ended quickly (Eph 4:26). Some men have quick tempers (they are intemperate, a sin). They are infants in men's bodies. They never grew up or learned self-discipline. They are weak and cannot rule their spirits. They usually had a parent with the same fault. When provoked, often over nothing, they lose control of thoughts, emotions, words, or actions in seconds. The resulting outburst shames them as fools, costing them friends (12:16; 22:24; 25:8; 29:22). Others have black hearts that despise others and secretly harbor malice for long periods of time. They cover their hatred with vain smiles, false words, and lying kindnesses (26:24-26). Theirs is no small sin, for it is like premeditated murder compared to involuntary manslaughter. God and men hate this kind of malicious anger, which these monsters cultivate and harbor for a long time, while laying plans for revenge (6:16-19).

Unjustified anger of either kind is sin (Matt 5:22). But weakness is one thing; willfulness is another! Rash anger is contemptible, calculated malice is abominable! The one man cannot be trusted and threatens the peace; but the other must be avoided and defended against like the devil himself (John 8:44). Moses and Aaron missed Canaan for foolish anger ( um 20:10-12), but the great God hung Haman and his ten sons for his malicious long-term strategy for Jewish genocide (Esther 3:5-15; 7:9; 9:13-14)! What is the lesson? Rule your spirit - both the short and long! How can others provoke you? You have provoked the God of heaven with infinite offenses, and you continue to do so. If He ever turned his anger or hatred for sin against you, it would consume your life and cast you down to hell. Forgive your neighbor! Forgive your enemy! You are not worthy of angry self-defense! Let them defraud you instead (Matt 5:38-48; I Cor 6:7)! Great men rule their spirits; their spirits do not rule them; and they are slow to get angry (14:29; 15:18; 16:32; Jas 1:19-20). These are glorious men (19:11). The actions of others do not move them. There is no honor, manliness, or strength in losing your composure, cool, or control, in spite of what selfish morons think. Men that get bent out of shape, perverted and twisted by anger, are weak men, whose lives are failures (25:28; Eccl 7:9). Are there more lessons? Wisely consider the actions of others. Some blow off steam in an instant over nothing; but the damage is often minimal, they return to normal quickly, and they can be shown the folly of their sin. You may have to correct them again in the future, but they can be recovered. Others that do not blow off as harshly may harbor deeper and more hateful urges that lead to wicked devices (12:2; 24:8; Rom 1:30). It is easier to identify and correct a child that blows up with quick anger under provocation than one that is passively rebellious and keeps the matter inside, where it hardens and forms itself into long-term resentment. Children have no right to silence under questioning, isolation from the family, or moodiness. Parents that allow or ignore these indicators could soon be facing a vicious monster without any regard for the family. Wisdom is the power of right judgment, which cannot allow anger to cloud the vision, disturb the soul, muddle the mind, enflame the emotions, or harden the heart. Despise anger in yourself and others. Reserve anger for the rare cases where God or truth is attacked, not where you might lose a little money or reputation. Keep your spirit ruled tightly; ignore what others do to you; the God of heaven will devise perfect revenge! 4. Gill, “He that is soon angrdealeth foolishly,.... A man that is quick and short, of a hasty spirit, and presently discovers anger and resentment in his face; he says and

does many foolish things, which he afterwards is sorry for, and repents, and is ashamed of; and he is to be pitied and forgiven; and a man of wicked devices is hated; one that hides his anger, covers his resentment, contrives schemes to revenge himself, and waits an opportunity to put them in execution, is justly hateful to God and men. 5. Barnes, “The contrast lies between two forms of evil. Hasty anger acts foolishly, but the “man of wicked devices,” vindictive and insidious, incurs all men's hatred.” 6. Keil, “Here the contrast is different: to the man who is quick to anger, who suddenly gives expression to his anger and displeasure, stands opposed the man of intrigues, who contrives secret vengeance against those with whom he is angry. Such a deceitful man, who contrives evil with calculating forethought and executes it in cold blood (cf. Psa_37:7), is hated; while on the contrary the noisy lets himself rush forward to inconsiderate, mad actions, but is not hated on that account; but if in his folly he injures or disgraces himself, or is derided, or if he even does injury to the body and the life of another, and afterward with terror sees the evil done in its true light, then he is an object of compassion.” 7. This is a common theme in Proverbs. Pr.14:29 A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly. Pr.15:18 A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel. Pr.19:19 A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again. Pr.22:24-25 24 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered, 25 or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared. Pr.29:11 A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. Pr.29:22 An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.

18 The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.

1. Henry, “ Sin is the shame of sinners: The simple,who love simplicity, get nothing by it; they inherit folly.They have it by inheritance,so some. This corruption of nature is derived from our first parents, and all the calamities that attend it we have by kind; it was the inheritance they transmitted to their degenerate race, an hereditary disease. They are as fond of it as a man of his inheritance, hold it as fast, and are as loth to part with it. What they value themselves upon is really foolish; and what will be the issue of their simplicity but folly? They will for ever rue their own foolish choice. 2. Wisdom is the honour of the wise: The prudent crownthemselves with knowledge,they look upon it as their brightest ornament, and there is nothing they are so ambitious of; they bind it to their heads as a crown, which they will by no means part with; they press towards the top and perfection of knowledge, which will crown their beginnings and progress. They shall have the praise of it; wise heads shall be respected as if they were crowned heads. They crown knowledge(so some read it); they are a credit to their profession. Wisdom is not only justified, but glorified, of all her children.” 2. Charles Bridges, “The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.” “The simple and prudent are again contrasted. The child of Adam is born to folly. (Job, xi. 12.) That is his inheritance. He "received it by tradition from his fathers" (1 Pet. i. 18): yea, from his first father.(Gen. v. 3. Ps. li. 5.) So long as he remains simple, he confirms his title. Unlike an earthly inheritance, he cannot relinquish it. He holds it in life; and, when he "returns naked to the earth, from whence he came" (Job, i. 21. 1 Tim. vi. 7), he still holds it firm in death, and reaps its bitter fruits throughout eternity. Here is no injustice, no just cause of complaint. Sinner! is not wisdom freely offered to thee in asking for it? (Jam. i. 5.) Dost not thou therefore continue simple only by thy willful neglect? If knowledge is at hand, to be satisfied with ignorance, is to throw away a talent of inestimable price. 'I confess'--says Doctor South--'God has no need of any man's learning; but certainly then he has much less need of his ignorance.' The prudent, instructed in heavenly knowledge, are enabled to behold Divine objects in a Divine light. Is not this knowledge therefore their crown, not of laurel, not of perishing gold; but beautifying the man with all the light, holiness, joy, and glory of life eternal? This is not that religion of eccentric singularities, which obscures the glory of the Divine image. Steady consistency is stamped upon it, such as enthrones its possessor in the conviction and regard even of those, who are unfriendly to his principles. (1 Pet. ii. 12.) Thus "the wise" in this life "inherit glory.” (Chap. iii. 35.) What shall be their glory in eternity, sitting on the throne of God, crowned with the hand of God himself! 3. Let God Be True, “Prudent men know what to do in most situations. They are wise, understanding, and discreet. They take advantage of opportunities, and they steer clear of traps. They are successful and honored in life. They avoid the failure, pain, and trouble that stupid men must endure, who either miss or destroy

opportunities and fall into most every trap. The lesson is simple: wisdom will honor a man with knowledge. By choosing the fear of the Lord and His commandments, a man can obtain a crown of knowledge - he can be highly decorated for knowing what actions and things are more excellent than others. But if a man refuses to be prudent and wise - by rejecting God and His Word, then he will receive folly and its attendant pain and trouble as his portion in life and eternity. What is a simple man? He refuses to fear God and humble himself to obey the Bible. He instead relies on intelligence, feelings, habits, popular opinion, tradition, or worldly education to guide him. The great God would say he knows nothing at all (9:13; Is 8:20; I Cor 1:19-20; 3:19-20; I Tim 6:3-5,20-21; II Tim 3:6-7). Simplicity is a choice, and many men make it every day - they love their simplicity and reject God's wisdom (1:22,32). How does a simple man inherit folly? By making choices outside the fear of the Lord and the wisdom of Scripture, he misses the good life and ends up with the dysfunctional pain of a fool. Due to his humanistic and naturalistic worldview, he is helplessly ignorant of eternity, reality, truth, and wisdom. He ruins his life here and hereafter! What is a prudent man? He fears God and esteems every precept of Scripture to be right, and he hates every false way (1:7; 9:10; Ps 119:128). He rejects any other criterion for truth but the Bible. He is far superior to a simple man. When faced with new information, a simple man believes it; but the prudent man is cautious and pessimistic, for he can see the contingencies and consequences missed by the simple man (14:15; 22:3; 27:12). How is the prudent man crowned with knowledge? By being cautious, critical, and pessimistic about any information outside the Bible, he subjects all information to a rigid criterion - Does God approve it? This mechanism keeps him from delusions, fraud, lies, scams, and traps; it promotes righteousness, truth, and wisdom. He knows what to do in any situation. He has great knowledge that the simple man cannot find (II Tim 3:6-7). Can a simple man become a prudent man? Yes! That is why Solomon wrote Proverbs (1:4). Yes! That is why God inspired Scripture (Ps 19:7; 119:130). Wisdom is offered throughout Proverbs and the Bible, but most men do not want it (8:5; 9:4). They would rather listen to their base lusts and the offers of damning amusements (9:13-18). They go the way of lying seductresses, whether whores, friends, ministers, or educators (7:6-27). The simple man inherits religious folly, for he cannot detect the lies of false teachers, for he has rejected the only infallible standard by which to try them (Rom 16:17-18; I John 4:1-6). But the prudent man proves all things (Acts 17:11; I Thess 5:21). And

he prays often for God to reveal more knowledge to him (Ps 119:18; Phil 1:9-11; Jas 1:5). He is fully convinced that Scripture is sufficient for all he needs to know (II Tim 3:16-17). You will make many choices today - either based on your simple heart and mind, or based on the infinite heart and mind of God revealed in the Bible. You will either inherit folly as the result of your choice, or you will be blessed and honored with knowledge. It is your choice; the consequences will surely follow; and you will feel them for eternity! 4. Gill, “The simple inherit folly,.... It is natural and hereditary to them, they are born like wild asses colts; the foolish sayings and proverbs, customs and practices, of their ancestors, though they have been demonstrated to be mere folly, yet these, their posterity, approve them; they love, like, and retain them as their patrimony, Job_11:12. Such are the foolish traditions, customs, principles, and doctrines, of the church of Rome, handed down from father to son; and because Popery is the religion they have been bred and brought up in, though so foolish and absurd, they will not relinquish it; but the prudent are crowned with knowledge; natural, civil, and spiritual, especially the latter; evangelical knowledge, the knowledge of Christ, and of God in Christ, and of Gospel truths; they are honoured with an acquaintance with them; and they esteem the knowledge of these above all things else, and reckon all things else but loss and dung in comparison of them; they are as a crown unto them, and the knowledge of them is the way to the crown of life; yea, is itself life eternal, Phi_3:8. Or, they "crown themselves with knowledge" (p); they labour after it, pursue it with eagerness, follow on to know the Lord, and attain to a large share of it; surround, encompass, and lay hold upon it, and gird themselves about with this girdle of truth. Or, "they crown knowledge" (q); do honour to that, by putting it in practice; by adding to it temperance, and every virtue, and by bringing others to it; and are an ornament to it in their lives and conversation; they adorn the doctrine of God their Savior.”

19 Evil men will bow down in the presence of the good, and the wicked at the gates of the righteous.
The Message, “Eventually, evil will pay tribute to good; the wicked will respect God-loyal people.”

1. oyes, “however prosperous and insolent for a time, they are often reduced to the

necessity of seeking the favor of the good in a humble manner.” 2. Charles Bridges, “The evil bow before the good: and the wicked at the gates of the righteous.” “This is not the general rule of the present dispensation. Righteous Lazarus bowed at the wicked man's gate. (Luke, xvi. 20.) Thus faith is tried (Ps. lxxiii. 12), and the foundations of our heavenly hopes more deeply grounded. (2 Cor. iv. 17, 18.) And yet often has the very letter of the proverb been verified. The Egyptians and Joseph's brethren bowed before Joseph; the proud Pharaoh and his people before Moses; Saul to David; Jehoram and aaman before Elisha; Haman before Esther; the magistrates before the apostles. More often still is the spirit of this proverb illustrated in the constrained testimony of the wicked to the preeminence of the righteous. (Rev. iii. 9.) The millennial era will exhibit a more glorious fulfillment. (Isa. xlix. 23; lx. 14. Rev. xx. 4.) The grand consummation will set all things right, and shed a Divine splendour over this profound aphorism. "The upright shall have dominion over the wicked in the morning." (Ps. xlix. 14. Mal. iv. 1-3.) "The saints shall judge the world." (1 Cor. vi. 2) They shall there appear in their suitable rank, exalted with their glorious Head over the whole creation. (Rev. ii. 26.) Oh! let the sunshine of this glory irradiate every clouded morn. If this be not enough to counter-balance the scorn of the ungodly, where is our faith? Had we a clear apprehension of this glory, should we have an eye for anything else? Would not all besides, except as it had a reference to this day, be an utter impertinence?” 3. Henry, “wicked are oftentimes impoverished and brought low, so that they are forced to beg, their wickedness having reduced them to straits; while good men, by the blessing of God, are enriched, and enabled to give, and do give, even to the evil; for where God grants life we must not deny a livelihood. 2. Sometimes God extorts, even from bad men, an acknowledgement of the excellency of God's people. The evil ought always to bow before the good,and sometimes they are made to do it and to know that God has loved them,Rev_3:9. They desire their favour (Est_7:7), their prayers, 2Ki_3:12. 3. There is a day coming when the upright shall have the dominion (Psa_49:14), when the foolish virgins shall come begging to the wise for oil, and shall knock in vain at that gate of the Lord at which the righteous entered.” 4. Gill, “evil bow before the good,.... Wicked men before good men. This, as Jarchi observes, respects future time; even the latter day glory, or the spiritual times of the Messiah, when the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the saints of the most High: for though there may have been some few instances of this kind, as Haman bowing before Mordecai, and the Heathen emperors before Constantine; and there may be some now, in some cases where obligation requires; yet this is far from being general, as it will be in the spiritual reign of Christ; when the sons of those that afflicted the church will come bending to her, and they that have despised her shall bow themselves down at the soles of her feet; and even great personages too shall bow down and lick the dust of her feet; the kings of the earth, who before have been in confederacy with antichrist, and have persecuted the saints, now shall

hate the whore, and honour the true church of Christ: this will be in the Philadelphian state, which is the same with the spiritual reign of Christ; such who called themselves Jews, and are not, shall come and worship before the feet of the church, and own that she and her members are the favourites of heaven, Dan_7:27, Isa_49:23; and the wicked at the gates of the righteous; or, "come to the gates of the righteous", as the Syriac version supplies it; they come and knock there, stand and wait, or lay themselves down; become prostrate and humble supplicants for relief and protection, as beggars do. This may also respect their attendance at Wisdom's gates, at the gates of Zion, on public ordinances, for counsel and instruction, which before they despised, Pro_8:34. The Septuagint version is, "shall serve thy gates"; that is, at them; see Isa_60:11.” 5. Keil, “good, viz., that which is truly good, which has love as its principle, always at last holds the supremacy. The good men who manifest love to men which flows from love to God, come finally forward, so that the wicked, who for a long time played the part of lords, bow themselves willingly or unwillingly before them, and often enough it comes about that godless men fall down from their prosperity and their places of honour so low, that they post themselves at the entrance of the stately dwelling of the righteous (Pro_13:22), waiting for his going out and in, or seeking an occasion of presenting to him a supplication, or also as expecting gifts to be bestowed (Psa_37:25).”

20 The poor are shunned even by their neighbors, but the rich have many friends.
1. Charles Bridges, “The poor is hated even of his own neighbor: but the rich hath many friends.” “An humbling, but how common an illustration of native selfishness Sometimes however we hear of cheering exceptions. "Ruth clave to aomi" in her poverty; Jonathan to David, when stripped of royal favor. But too generally the poor, instead of being pitied and comforted (Job, vi. 14. Isa. lviii. 7), is hated or neglected of his own neighbor. Yet the rich is not in a more enviable condition. He has many friends indeed to his money and favor, but few to his interest. Many would be the deserters, should a change of circumstance cut off supplies for their appetites, pleasures, or covetousness. (Chap. xix. 4, 6.) But how endearing is the love of Jesus! He was emphatically the Poor man's Friend. (Ps. lxxii. 12, 14.) He sought his many friends among the wretched and forlorn (Matt. iv. 18–22); and still does his powerful compassion plead for those hated ones among their fellow-sinners. (Ps. cix. 31.) Shall not we then, like the tried saint of old, learn to look off from earthly destitution in a cleaving confidence on Him, as the

Rock of our salvation? (Job, xix. 13-27.) The practical exercise of this confidence will be an overcoming of our selfish propensity; cultivating that tenderness, which, instead of shrinking from the sight of misery, hastens, though at the expense of personal sacrifice, to its sympathizing relief. (Luke, x. 33-35.)”

2. Clarke on the friends of the rich wrote, “speak to him the language of friendship; but if they profess friendship because he is rich, there is not one real friend among them. There is a fine saying of Cicero on this subject: “They are like swallows, who fly off during the winter, and quit our cold climates; and do not return till the warm season: but as soon as the winter sets in, they are all off again.” So Horace: - “As long as thou art prosperous, thou shalt have many friends: but who of them will regard thee when thou hast lost thy wealth?” 3. Let God Be True, “Money lies! Money corrupts! This proverb represents Solomon's sad observation of human selfishness: men are friendly for what they can get from others. Even a poor man's neighbors hate him, because he is of no use to them in getting ahead. But a rich man, no matter what his character or conduct, has more friends than he can use. Money lies! The fine things of the rich, their many friends in high places, their dignified manners, and their ability to help are all dangerous illusions. They tell you nothing of the heart and soul behind the prosperous eyes and beneath the luxurious clothes. Many rich men are arrogant and have nothing noble or virtuous about them (18:23; I Sam 25:10). As a woman's beauty does not prove character, neither does a man's wealth (11:22; 31:30). Money corrupts! Men that ought to love their neighbors will hate them for the simple reason they are poor. Men that ought to hate proud oppressors will grovel before the rich, in hope they might eat crumbs that fall from his plate. If the rich ask for a favor, they will leap at the opportunity and often shut their eyes to compromise or evil involved (17:23). The measure of a person is his soul, character, and conduct, not his wealth. abal was very rich, but he was a pig (I Sam 25:2-11). Ruth was a destitute Moabite widow, but she was a jewel of a virtuous woman (Ruth 3:11). Instead of considering what a person earns or owns, wise men will inquire about their fear of God and observe their moral conduct. What are the lessons? The proverb is not teaching what should be, but rather what is common. One lesson is that popularity proves nothing (19:4,6). Another is a warning against measuring by assets, rather than character (19:7). Another is to remember that true friends are not affected by a change in circumstances (17:17). And a further lesson is to guard against preferential treatment of the rich and respect of persons (Jas 2:1-10).

But there are other lessons. God chose His elect for salvation mainly from the poor of this world (I Cor 1:26-29; Jas 2:5). Therefore, though poverty may indicate a low standing in society, it says nothing of one's standing with God. It was much better to be the beggar Lazarus being licked by dogs than to be the rich man living in luxury (Luke 16:19-31). o matter how dear are the friends, or how many there are of them, that reject you; you can know God will never desert you, no matter how poor (Ps 73:25-26; Heb 13:5-6). He set His love on you when you were his hateful enemy, and He will not lift it for the minor turns of life's events (Rom 5:6-11). He became poor to make you rich (II Cor 8:9). 4. Barnes, “The maxim, jarring as it is, represents the generalization of a wide experience; but the words which follow Pro_14:21show that it is not to be taken by itself. In spite of all the selfish morality of mere prudence, the hearer is warned that to despise his “neighbor” (Christians must take the word in all the width given to it by the parable of the Good Samaritan) is to sin. The fullness of blessing comes on him who sees in the poor the objects of his mercy.” 5. Gill, “The poor is hated even of his own neighbour,.... As well as of strangers; that is, he is shy of him; he does not care to take any notice of him, or be friendly with him, lest he should be burdensome to him. Poverty brings a man into contempt and disgrace; the same man, in affluence and indigence, is respected or disrespected: this is true, as Gersom observes, of a man that is poor, whether in money or in knowledge, in his purse or in his understanding; but the rich hathmany friends; or, "many arethe lovers of the rich" (r): for the sake of their riches; either for the sake of honour or profit, or because the rich want nothing of them, or because they themselves may gain something by them: this also is observed by the above Jewish commentator to be true of the rich in substance or in wisdom; but the former sense is best; for a wise man, if poor in the world, is but little regarded. 6. Henry, “This shows, not what should be, but what is the common way of the world - to be shy of the poor and fond of the rich. 1. Few will give countenance to those whom the world frowns upon, though otherwise worthy of respect: The poor,who should be pitied, and encouraged, and relieved, is hated,looked strange upon, and kept at a distance, even by his own neighbour,who, before he fell into disgrace, was intimate with him and pretended to have a kindness for him. Most are swallow-friends, that are gone in winter. It is good having God our friend, for he will not desert us when we are poor. 2. Every one will make court to those whom the world smiles upon, though otherwise unworthy: The rich have many friends,friends to their riches, in hope to get something out of them. There is little friendship in the world but what is governed by self-interest, which is no true friendship at all, nor

what a wise man will either value himself on or put any confidence in. Those that make the world their God idolize those that have most of its good things, and seek their favour as if indeed they were Heaven's favorites.”

21 He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy.
1. This is doubtless true of all neighbors, but the focus here is on the people in your community who are in need. It is easy to look down on them and say why don't they get a job and work like everyone else? There are those who scam the system, but the fact is, most poor people are really poor, and not just faking it for the free benefits. It is a sin to be disgusted with these people, and here is a sin that most nobody ever thinks of let alone speaks about. On the other hand, it is a noble virtue to be kind to these people, and that means to help them out with what they need.

2. Charles Bridges, “He that despiseth his neighbor sinneth but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he.” “ The last proverb shared the general standard of selfishness. Here we see its positive sinfulness. Some men are so high, that they cannot see their lower brother. Yet infinitely precious and honored may be this despised one in the Savior's eyes, as the purchase of his blood. And what a span is the distance between him and his most elevated fellow-creature, compared with the infinite space between him and his God! Yet doth he "that dwelleth on high," instead of despising, write his name upon him, "raise him from the dust, and lift him out of the dunghill, that he may set him with the princes of his people." (Ps. exiii. 7, 8.) The plain command is--"Honor all men" (1 Pet. ii. 17), not all with equal measure; but in all honor our own nature, the remains, however defaced, of the image of God. To look therefore upon the meanest, as if he were made to be despised, shews a want of wisdom, and a want of heart. (Chap. xi. 12.) 'Because we think we over-top him, therefore to think we may overlook him,* and neglect to have mercy on him (Chap. xxi. 13. Jam. ii. 16)--this is reflecting on God's own Providence (Verse 31); forgetting his example (2 Cor. Viii, 9); setting up our own judgment against his; sinning against his law of love. (Jam. ii. 1-9.) And most fearfully will he visit this sin at the day of recompense. (Job, xxxi. 13-15. Matt. xxv. 42-45.) But oh! the felicities of him that hath mercy on the poor;1 "hoping for nothing again " (Luke, vi. 35); constrained by love to Christ and his fellow-sinners! 'He shall be happy beyond expression.' Does not every exercise of love enlarge our own happiness? (Chap. xi. 17.) Do we not ourselves richly feed on the bread, with which

we "feed the hungry?" (Isa. lviii. 8.) And will not the great day declare and honor every act of love for our Divine Master? (Matt. xxv. 35-40.)”

3. Clarke, “To despise a man because he has some natural blemish is unjust, cruel, and wicked. He is not the author of his own imperfections; they did not occur through his fault or folly; and if he could, he would not retain them. It is, therefore, unjust and wicked to despise him for what is not his fault, but his misfortune. But he that hath mercy on the poor - Who reproaches no man for his poverty or scanty intellect, but divides his bread with the hungry - happy is he; the blessing of God, and of them that were ready to perish, shall come upon him.” 4. Let God Be True, “The way you relate to others affects three parties - the God of heaven, those around you, and your own soul! If you are cruel, harsh, selfish, or violent toward others, you sin against God, you deprive them of needful help, and you will be miserable yourself! If you are gentle, kind, giving, and protective toward others, you honor the God of heaven, put joy in their hearts, and find happiness yourself. This is the rule of the proverb. The first commandment is to love the Creator God of the Bible - Jehovah - with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength (Deut 6:4-5; Matt 22:36-38). The second commandment is to love your neighbor as much as you love yourself (Lev 19:18; Matt 22:39). When you love your neighbor, you also love God, because He created your neighbor and brought him across your path in his time of need (14:31; 19:17; I John 4:20). God will bless you, if you are careful, forgiving, honest, loving, and patient toward your neighbors (Ps 41:1-3; 112:9; Luke 6:27-38). God will judge and punish you, if you are hurtful, malicious, overbearing, strict, or vindictive to them (Deut 15:7-11; Is 58:7-11). Christianity creates the highest motivation to love those you meet, because the difference between a happy and blessed life and a miserable and troubled life is the certain result. In a covetous, greedy, and selfish world, it is hard to believe or imagine that loving others can bring you happiness. But that is what the proverb teaches! And both Jesus Christ and Paul confirmed this fact: "I have shewed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35). Believe this rule, or live and die miserably! When a lawyer asked Jesus the definition of a neighbor (lawyers often nitpick about definitions to avoid responsibility), the Lord answered with the story of the Good Samaritan, where a Samaritan befriended and helped a wounded Jew at great inconvenience and expense (Luke 10:25-37). Though the Jews and Samaritans despised each other, this noble man showed kindness where the Jew's own

countrymen had not! Whatever you have or are, it was given to you by God; any difference between you and others is His choice (I Cor 4:7). Therefore, it is profane spite for you to glory over others. The happiness of helping others extends to Judgment Day, where those who befriend the least of God's children will be gloriously rewarded (Matt 25:31-46; Luke 14:12-14). You can lay up a good foundation against that Day by giving to those in need (I Tim 6:17-19). 5. Keil, “should regard every human being, especially such as God has placed near to him, as a being having the same origin, as created in the image of God, and of the same lofty destination, and should consider himself as under obligation to love him. He who despiseth his neighbor sins in this respect, that he raises himself proudly and unwarrantably above him; that the honour and love he shows to him he measures not by the rule of duty and of necessity, but according to that which is pleasing to himself; and in that he refuses to him that which according to the ordinance of God he owes him. 6. Henry, “See here how men's character and condition are measured and judged of by their conduct towards their poor neighbours. 1. Those that look upon them with contempt have here assigned them a bad character, and their condition will be accordingly: He that despises his neighbour because he is low in the world, because he is of a mean extraction, rustic education, and makes but a mean figure, that thinks it below him to take notice of him, converse with him, or concern himself about him, and sets him with the dogs of his flock, is a sinner, is guilty of a sin, is in the way to worse, and shall be dealt with as a sinner; unhappy is he. 2. Those that look upon them with compassion are here said to be in a good condition, according to their character: He that has mercy on the poor, is ready to do all the good offices he can to him, and thereby puts an honour upon him, happy is he; he does that which is pleasing to God, which he himself will afterwards reflect upon with great satisfaction, for which the loins of the poor will bless him, and which will be abundantly recompensed in the resurrection of the just. 7. Gill, “ He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth,.... He that despiseth his neighbour in his heart, speaks slightly of him, overlooks him, is not friendly to him, will neither converse with him, nor relieve him in his necessity; for it seems to be understood of his poor neighbour; and so the Septuagint and Arabic versions render it, "he that despiseth the poor"; that despises him for his poverty; because of his pedigree and education, and the low circumstances he is in; or on account of his weakness and incapacity, or any outward circumstance that attends him; such an one sins very greatly, is guilty of a heinous sin; and he will be reckoned and dealt with as a sinner, and be condemned and punished, and so be unhappy and miserable; but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy ishe; or,

"that gives to the poor,'' as the Targum; who has compassion on him in his distress, and shows it by relieving him: he that shows favour to the meek and humble ones, as the word (s)may be rendered, and as they generally are that are in affliction and poverty, for these tend to humble men; and such who regard them in their low estate are "happy" or blessed; they are blessed in things temporal and spiritual, and both here and hereafter; see Psa_41:1.”

22 Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness.
1. Fool plot, but wise men plan. A plot is designed for evil, but a plan is designed for good. Those who plot will go off the path that leads to life, and they will miss God's best in time and eternity. It is pure stupidity and folly to so plot. On the other hand, to plan for good things in the future is pure wisdom, for this leads to experiencing those good things in both time and eternity. Do you have a plot or a plan? 2. Charles Bridges, “Do they not err that devise evil? but mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good.” “Scripture traces actions to principles. Wicked as it is to do evil, it is far more hateful to devise it. (See verse 17.) Devising is the incipient working of the principle. Devising evil therefore, if it comes not to the act, shews the purpose. (Chap. xxiv. 8.) They, may be men of consummate wisdom in other matters; but here at least do they not err? They miss either their object, or their anticipated happiness from it. Witness the shame of the Babel-builders (Gen. xi. 9); the confusion of Haman's device (Esth. vii. 10); the over-ruling of the wicked plot against our beloved Lord. (Ps. ii. 1–4. Matt. xxi. 41-44.) How did the devisers thwart their own purpose to their fearful cost! How little did Judas estimate the result of his devising of evil--"A little matter kindling an unquenchable fire!" (Matt. xxvi. 14–16; xxvii. 3-5.) 3. Let God Be True, “Children of God! Do you exhibit the same diligence and determination in devising good? Even if your fruit be frustrated, your work will be accepted. (1 Kings, viii. 18.). Mercy and truth are often set out as reward of grace, the cheering encouragement to practical godliness. What can be more joyous than the glorious perfections of Jehovah, pouring into the soul the quickening energy of Divine blessing; mercy the fountain-head, truth the pledge and fulfillment of unchangeable

mercy! Your heart and mind seldom rest. They are considering and planning either good or evil. It is a horrible error to plan evil, but God will give mercy and truth to those who plan good. Planning wickedness brings the hatred of men (14:17; 24:8) and the judgment of God (24:9; Gen 6:5-7). Choose this day to dedicate your heart and mind to devising good. The LORD is against evil doers, and the LORD rewards those who do good (12:2; Ezek 18:4; I Pet 3:10-12). There will be recompense to both - the sinner shall be judged, and the righteous shall be rewarded (11:31; 13:21; 26:10; 28:10; Ps 37:9). But even thinking about evil is sin. For desire is equal to the act, except for opportunity. The Preacher said, "The thought of foolishness is sin" (24:9). Jesus condemned the thought of desiring another woman as adultery (Matt 5:28). Do not forget this sober lesson. Fantasies of sin are wrong; evil thoughts are wrong; imagining evil is wrong. The Lord sees all the thoughts of every heart and rewards men accordingly (Jer 17:10; Heb 4:12-13). Because you have not committed the sin is not good enough devising it in your heart is just as bad before the LORD. He will judge you; it is a foolish error to think you can devise wickedness and protect yourself by not going through with it. More than forty Jews died very thirsty and hungry, for vowing not to eat or drink until they had killed Paul (Acts 23:12)! Haman devised the destruction of all the Jews out of his great hatred for Mordecai, but he died on his own gallows (Esth 7:10). The scribes and Pharisees left in shame after bringing an adulteress to Jesus to trap Him (John 8:1-11). And the effeminate preachers of our perilous times shall have their corrupt devices exposed as fruitless froth and vain babblings (II Tim 3:69). Abraham devised good in sending his servant to find a God-fearing wife for Isaac, who found Rebekah easily by God's blessing of mercy and truth upon Abraham (Gen 24:27). David devised good in desiring to build God a house; and though Solomon built it, the Lord gave great promises of mercy and truth to David (II Sam 7:1-19; 23:1-5). Mercy and truth are wonderful blessings, especially when met together. "Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other" (Ps 85:10). This is the promised blessing of those who devise good - who plan, arrange, and design good in their lives and by their lives. Who can resist such an offer? All you need to do is set your heart and plans toward good - wise and spiritual things, and you will receive the reward. Reader, how do you receive the preaching of God's Holy Scriptures? Do you devise

in your heart that you are going to keep your sin? Postpone repentance and conversion? Harden yourself against the reproofs of the minister and Spirit? You will not escape! You err fatally, and you shall be judged severely, as one to whom much was given. Christian reader, if you devise in your heart to accept the correction and reproof of preaching, intending to implement it immediately and completely, do it, today! God will bless you with mercy and truth, and the grace of Christ in your life (James 1:25). Choose this day to rule your thinking, planning, and devising only toward the good. 4. Henry, “miserably mistaken those are that not only do evil, but devise it: Do they not err?Yes, certainly they do; every one knows it. They think that by sinning with craft and contrivance, and carrying on their intrigues with more plot and artifice than others, they shall make a better hand of their sins than others do, and come off better. But they are mistaken. God's justice cannot be out-witted. Those that devise evil against their neighbours greatly err, for it will certainly turn upon themselves and end in their own ruin, a fatal error! 2. How wisely those consult their own interest that not only do good but devise it: Mercy and truthshall be to them, not a reward of debt (they will own that they merit nothing), but a reward of mercy, mere mercy, mercy according to the promise, mercy and truth, to which God is pleased to make himself a debtor. Those that are so liberal as to devise liberal things, that seek opportunities of doing good, and contrive how to make their charity most extensive and most acceptable to those that need it, by liberal things they shall stand,Isa_32:8.

5. Gill, “they not err that devise evil?.... Certainly they do; they go astray from the right way, from the word of truth, from the Gospel of Christ, who contrive schemes to commit sin, and do mischief to their neighbours; or who "plough" (t)it, and sow it, and expect a fine harvest; but they will be mistaken, and find it will not turn to account, and that they have took a wrong course, and have gone out of the way: none more mischievous devisers or contrivers of evil than the Papists, and none more sadly and fatally err; but mercy and truth shall beto them that devise good; who devise liberal things, to do good to the poor and needy; to their neighbours, their fellow creatures and fellow Christians: such receive grace and "mercy" at the hands of God, and his "truth" will appear in making good all promises to them; mercy and truth will preserve them from the evil way, and guide them in the right way, so that they shall not err as others do; neither from the doctrines of grace and truth, nor from the practice of them.”

23 All hard work brings a profit,

but mere talk leads only to poverty.
The Message, “Hard work always pays off; mere talk puts no bread on the table. 1. “ ever miss a good chance to shut up” fits this verse, for the one who is always talking rather than working is not being productive, and this will lead to poverty rather than profit. A fool is one who talks a big line, but who refuses to do the work needed to succeed in real life. In his fantasy world he is king, but in real life he is just a bag of wind. 2. Charles Bridges, “In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury.” “This is not universally true. What profit is in the labor of sin (Rom. vi. 21), or of ill-timed work? Fruitful also is the talk of teaching lips (Chap. x. 21; xv. 7.) But the contrast is intended between what is solid on the one hand and what is shadowy on the other, between lawful, well-directed labor, and empty talk. "Bread eaten in the sweat of the face" is the profit of bodily labor. (Gen. iii. 19.) But the idler is condemned to penury upon the talk of his lips. (Chap. xx. 4; xxi. 25.) Enlargement of mind is also the profit of mental labor. (Eccles. xii. 9, 10.) But the "prating fool" (Chap. x. 8) ‘cuts himself off from all advantage, except that of being entertained by his own talk; his business in coming into company not being, at all to be informed, to hear, to listen, but to display himself, and to talk without any design at all.'† Clearly therefore the talk of his lips tendeth only to penury. Rich beyond conception is the profit of spiritual labor. (Chap. x. 16.) "The Son of man gives to the laborer enduring meat. The violent take the kingdom of heaven by force. The labor of love God is not unrighteous to forget." (John, vi. 27. Heb.6, 10.) But the talk of the lips gives husks, not bread. Where there are only shallow conceptions of the gospel, and no experimental enjoyment of Christian establishment, it is ‘all running out in noise.' There ids no instruction, because there is no "good treasure" within. (Matt. Xii. 35.) "What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another?" (Luke, xxiv. 17) —is a searching question. Ministers, doctrines, the externals, circumstantials, disputations on religion—all may be the mere skirts and borders of the great subject, utterly remote from the heart and vitals. And indeed, the discussion of the substance of religion without reverence, without a sense of the Divine presence, and a single eye to edification, is only a profanation of holy things, and at best must alienate the precious truths from their true purpose. othing comes from a broken heart. It is only the deluding indulgence of a refined lust, a religious tongue without a godly heart—all tending only to penury. Take care that religious conversation deserves the name. Let the stamp of the profession of the saints of God be visible. (Ps. cxlv. 10-12.) Let the burning theme of the Savior's love flow from the heart. (Luke, xxiv. 14-32.) Let that "name, which is above every name," be upon our lips, "as ointment poured forth;" so that "the whole house"— all that are living with us —"may be filled with the odor of the ointment." (Cant. i. 3. John, xii. 3.)

3. Let God Be True, “Slinging French fries for minimum wage is better than hearing another business plan for making a million. If you resent the statement, this proverb is for you! Dreamers and promoters fantasize about being successful; but diligent and godly men go to their same old jobs with thankful hearts and find success through hard work! They do not sit around talking with speculators and making spreadsheets of imagined wealth from a new fantasy business. See the comments on 1:32; 12:11; 13:4; 13:11; 13:23; 14:4; 14:15; and 27:23. Some men always talk of new businesses, new investments. They are full of ideas how to make money, but their own success is always just around the corner. Solomon warned his son against the distractions and delusions of moneymaking schemes. He knew about the exciting "business opportunities" and "investment secrets" of slothful fools and lying promoters. "Son, overtime at the fryer would be better than listening to these leeches." In all labor there is profit. Take an average young man, who diligently and faithfully works hard at a minimum wage, fast food job. In one year, he will be shift supervisor. In another year, shift manager. In two more, store manager. After managing faithfully for a year, he will get a piece of the action. In five more years, he will own half the business. In five more, he will buy out the owner. Simple, certain, and successful! o better ideas here - just faithful hard work! ot bad for slinging fries at minimum wage, eh? In all labor there is profit. Take another young man, who diligently and faithfully works hard at ordinary factory or office jobs. Such efforts will make his raises and promotions above average. Saving and investing part of his weekly pay, he will accumulate much in 40-50 working years. He will retire on schedule with significant company benefits, considerable Social Security, and a sizeable estate. Simple, certain, and successful! o better ideas here - just faithful hard work! ot bad for an office or factory stiff, eh? But the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury. Watch the man craving the lifestyle of the rich and famous: he hates his boring job working for others. Work to him is driving a Lexus, checking investments by cell phone, and flashing his Rolex in fine restaurants. He reads and listens to every harebrained scam. He drools at "guaranteed" returns of 50%, and he invests heavily to "take advantage" of his "insider information"! The Ponzi scheme takes him down to penury, and the laboring stiff has to loan him money for food! But the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury. Watch the man always changing jobs and always in a new "business opportunity." He attends rah-rah meetings where beautiful people with leased cars, pyramid schemes for businesses, and imitation Rolexes tell him he can be rich ... easily! He is fascinated. He made up his mind he would never be a working stiff, and each new "business opportunity" and

investment scam are potential saviors from real work. But for some reason he never finds the promised mother lode! Young man, forget your dreams when you get up in the morning and wash your face! ow it is time to work, not sleep and dreams, or dreams and sleep! Dreaming is not ambition! Optimism is not ambition! Business plans are not ambition! Working harder and more faithfully than anyone else is ambition! Forget the lottery mentality! You are not going to be the next BA superstar! Today is a blessed privilege - use it to do more, and do it better, with a more cheerful spirit, in a real job, than anyone else. You will win! Here is divinely inspired financial wisdom from the richest and most successful man who ever lived. Wishful thinking is for losers; only consistent labor will produce results. Exceptions are lies, and they never last anyway (13:11). Talk is cheap! Talking about making money in any other way than hard labor at a boring job is confusing, deceiving, distracting, foolish, and vain. It will rob your soul of the ambition necessary to succeed! Many companies squander their profits by spending more time talking about saving money and enhancing revenues than actually producing and selling their product or service! The cost per hour of high-level meetings with numerous participants is enormous! They may soon be filing for Chapter 11 protection. Governments do the same: analyzing, debating, and meeting with little productive effort to truly solve the problem. Minimum wage is not bad. It is more per hour than most "distributors" in multilevel marketing make for the hours spent hearing and talking about getting rich. It is more than the "investors" make in Ponzi schemes and other investment scams, that relieve fools every year of their money in the foolish and vain hope of getting rich enough to avoid having to work a real job. In all labor there is profit, even at minimum wage! ot all business talk leads to penury, for there is safety in wise counselors (11:14). But wise counselors are never the ones soliciting you, selling you an investment, offering you a product, or promoting an "opportunity." Beware! Justified conversation not condemned by this proverb must be objective, based in fact only, and with uninvolved, third-party, critical and successful, wise men. They will tell you the truth, not what you want to hear. Be thankful for your job. Be thankful for your given abilities. Be thankful for the opportunity to work hard. Be thankful for this proverb. Get to work, now! Be early to work; stay late. Exceed the job expectations. Be cheerful; be respectful. Work zealously as unto the Lord. Work patiently with your eye on heaven's reward. You will succeed! Wishful thinking is what foolish children do on Santa's knee. Anything that sounds

too good to be true, is not true! It is a deceitful vanity to steal your focus from real labor. Plow your field, and reject the illusion of greener pastures elsewhere (28:19). Avoid and ignore all sources of "business opportunities" that promise more than your job! Do not listen to them! Do not read their promotional lies! Apply yourself to what is before you! 4. Keil, “one toils on honestly, then there always results from it something which stands forth above the endeavour as its result and product, vid., at Job_30:11, where it is shown how ‫ ,יָתַ ר‬from the primary meaning to be stretched out long, acquires the meaning of that which hangs over, shoots over, copiousness, and gain. By the word of the lips, on the contrary, i.e., purposeless and inoperative talk (‫ דְּ בַר שְׂ פָתַ יִם‬as Isa_36:5, cf. Job_11:2), nothing is gained, but on the contrary there is only loss, for by it one only robs both himself and others of time, and wastes strength, which might have been turned to better purpose, to say nothing of the injury that is thereby done to his soul; perhaps also he morally injures, or at least discomposes and wearies others.” 5. Gill, “ all labour there is profit,.... Or "abundance" (u); much is got by it, food, raiment, riches, wealth, wisdom, honour; either with the labour of the hands or head, and nothing is to be got without labour; and he that is laborious in his calling, whether it be by manual operation, working with his hands that which is good; or by hard study, much reading, and constant meditation, is like to gain much for his own use and the good of others; but the talk of the lips tendethonly to penury; or "want" (w), of food and raiment, the common necessaries of life; a man that spends his time in idle talk, boasting of what he can do and does, and yet does nothing, is in a fair way to come to beggary: so all talk about wisdom, and knowledge, and religion, without making use of the proper means of improvement, tends to the poverty of the mind; and generally they are most empty of knowledge, natural or spiritual, that talk and brag most of it; empty casks make the greatest sound; good discourse, wholesome words, sound doctrine, thoroughly digested, tend indeed to edification, to the enriching of the mind; but vain words, the enticing words of men's wisdom; logomachies, striving about words to no profit; and all great swelling words of vanity, which are all mere lip labour; they tend to spiritual poverty and leanness of soul.” 6. Henry, “Working, without talking, will make men rich: In all labourof the head, or of the hand, there is profit;it will turn to some good account or other. Industrious people are generally thriving people, and where there is something done there is something to be had. The stirring hand gets a penny.It is good therefore to keep in business, and to keep in action, and what our hand finds to do to do it with all our might. 2. Talking, without working, will make men poor. Those that love to boast of their business and make a noise about it, and that waste their time in tittle-tattle, in telling and hearing new things, like the Athenians, and, under pretense of improving themselves by conversation, neglect the work of their place and day, they waste what they have, and the course they take tends to penury,and will end in it. It is true

in the affairs of our souls; those that take pains in the service of God, that strive earnestly in prayer, will find profit in it. But if men's religion runs all out in talk and noise, and their praying is only the labor of the lips, they will be spiritually poor, and come to nothing.”

24 The wealth of the wise is their crown, but the folly of fools yields folly.
The Message, “The wise accumulate wisdom; fools get stupider by the day. 1. Charles Bridges, “The crown of the wise is their riches: but the foolishness of fools is folly.” “The godly first are made wise by being "crowned with knowledge." (Verse 18.) Then the crown of the wise are their riches. For though, as a fearful temptation (Matt. xiii. 22; xix. 23), no wise man would desire them; yet as the gift of God (1 Kings, iii. 13. Ps. cxii. 3) (the gift indeed of his left hand) (Chap. 16) they may become his crown. They enhance his reputation, and enlarge his usefulness as a consecrated talent for God. What a crown were they to David and his wise Son, as the materials for building the temple;1 and to Job, as employed for the good of his fellow-creatures! So that, though wisdom "under all circumstances is a blessing, it is specially pronounced to be "good with an inheritance." (Eccles. vii. 11, 12.) ‘It is necessary to distinguish between the thing itself, and the abuse of it. Wealth is in fact a blessing, when honestly acquired, and conscientiously employed. And when otherwise, the man is to be blamed, and not his treasure. But if riches are the crown of the wise, they cannot disguise fools. They only seem to make their folly more open. Wasted on their selfish gratifications they become, not their crown, but their foolishness. The foolish son of this wise father, with all his riches, only exposed his folly more egregiously, and lost ten precious jewels from his royal crown, (1 Kings, xii. 16.) Whatever be our talents, let us trade with them for eternity, and they will be our everlasting crown. (Luke, xix. 13; xvi.9. 1 Tim. vi. 19.) 2. Let God Be True, “Wisdom gets results! A wise man works diligently and prudently; he avoids unnecessary risks and scams; he achieves economic success and prosperity. He fears God and obeys His commandments, which brings divine favor and blessings upon his life. His financial progress confirms his wisdom, honors his efforts, and shows the Lord's approval. But folly also gets results! A fool is slothful and wasteful; he hastily and ignorantly pursues vain ideas; he never achieves much economically: he remains poor and despised. He does not fear God or keep His commandments, and the Lord blows

against his weak efforts. His folly and foolish choices are obvious to everyone. He is known as a fool. God has not promised riches to all His children. In fact, most of them are the poor of this world (I Cor 1:26-29; Jas 2:5). He tests and perfects many of them by economic difficulties. However, all other things being equal, wisdom will definitely and quickly bring progress, success, and wealth; but folly will just as certainly bring decline, destruction, poverty, and trouble. Both wisdom and folly get results. Choose wisdom! Wisdom also directs! A wise man with riches knows how to use his money for benefit to others and honor to himself. David was rich, and he crowned himself gloriously by using his wealth to build a magnificent temple in Jerusalem. Job was rich, and he was honored by all for his faithful and generous care of the poor. Barnabas used his real estate holdings to provide for the poor in the church at Jerusalem. And Philemon did the same. Folly confuses! A rich fool is more prone to foolishness than a poor fool barely surviving. The rich fool has farther to fall and is tempted more to be foolish. abal's prosperity caused his folly to burst forth against David. Rehoboam was so puffed up by riches that he lost the rule of ten tribes. Belshazzar gloried in his riches and lost an impregnable city in one night. And a rich young ruler forfeited the kingdom of heaven for his riches. In general, all other things being equal, financial success is the result of wisdom, and poverty is the result of foolishness. Furthermore, riches are a great advantage and tool for good to wise men, which crowns their character again. But riches provoke fools to even greater folly, for position and wealth increase their arrogance and blinds their judgment. Wisdom gets results, and the results crown the owner with honor. Wisdom also leads men to use results for God's glory and man's benefit. Folly exposes fools to the shame of their own foolishness, and it causes them to misuse any advantage they have. Get wisdom! 3. Vernon C. Grounds, “Intelligent people can sometimes be unbelievably foolish. Consider the 19th-century explorers of the Franklin Expedition who tried to reach the orth Pole. Annie Dillard, in her book Teaching A Stone To Talk, describes the provisions they took for that hazardous journey: "Each sailing vessel carried an auxiliary steam engine and a 12-day supply of coal for the entire projected 2- or 3-year voyage. Instead of additional coal . . . each ship made room for a 1,200-volume library, a hand-organ playing 50 tunes, china place settings for officers and men, cut-glass wine goblets, and sterling silver flatware. The expedition carried no special clothing for the Arctic, only the uniforms of Her Majesty's avy." Imagine heading into frigid wastelands with supplies like that!

What utter folly! Some people heading into eternity may be even more shortsighted. Multitudes fail to think of their destination with its dangers of everlasting destruction. Ignoring their desperate need for forgiveness of their sin through faith in Jesus Christ, they pay no attention to His solemn question, "What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" 4. Henry, “men be wise and good, riches make them so much the more honourable and useful: The crown of the wise is their riches;their riches make them to be so much the more respected, and give them the more authority and influence upon others. Those that have wealth, and wisdom to use it, will have a great opportunity of honouring God and doing good in the world. Wisdom is goodwithout an inheritance,but better withit. 2. If men be wicked and corrupt, their wealth will but the more expose them: The foolishness of fools,put them in what condition you will, is folly,and will show itself and shame them; if they have riches, they do mischief with them and are the more hardened in their foolish practices.” 5. Gill, “The crown of the wise istheir riches,.... Riches being used by them to increase and improve their knowledge and wisdom, and for the good of men, are an honour to them, and give them credit and reputation among men of sense and goodness; see Ecc_7:11; but the foolishness of fools isfolly; mere folly, extreme folly, just the same as it was; riches make them never the wiser; yea, their folly is oftentimes made more manifest through the ill use they make of their riches; spending them in the gratification of their sinful lusts; and making no use of them for their own improvement in knowledge, or for the good of their fellow creatures. The Targum is, "the glory of fools is their folly;'' and that is no other than their shame, and in which they glory; such fools are wicked men.” 6. Barnes, ““The crown,” i. e., the glory of the wise man constitutes his wealth. He alone is truly rich even as he alone (compare Pro_14:18note) is truly king. The seeming tautology of the second clause is really its point. Turn “the foolishness of fools” as you will, it comes back to “foolishness” at last.” 7. Keil, “it is the riches of the wise of which it is said that they are a crown or an ornament to them. More than this is said, if with Hitzig we read, after the lxx, ‫,עָרמם‬ ָ ְ their prudence, instead of ‫ .עָשְׁ רם‬For then the meaning would be, that the wise need ָ no other crown than that which they have in their prudence. But yet far more appropriately “riches” are called the crown of a wise man when they come to his wisdom; for it is truly thus that riches, when they are possessed along with wisdom, contribute not a little to heighten its influence and power, and not merely because they adorn in their appearance like a crown, or, as we say, surround as with a golden frame, but because they afford a variety of means and occasions for self-

manifestation which are denied to the poor.” 8. Pastor Phillips of Grace Baptist Church has this interesting information on folly. He wrote, “ "Folly" and its equivalents are used often and variously in this Book of Proverbs. But its fundamental meaning remains constant. "Folly", then may be defined in two words, "Willful ignorance". A "fool", therefore, is not simply "uninstructed", but "uninstructable". In describing it, the authors employ three Hebrew words which reveal its true nature: The most common is KESIL, which means "dullness or stupidity". But why is this fool so ignorant? Is he mentally deficient? Has he no opportunity to learn? Sadly, the true cause of his folly cannot be traced to his brain or circumstances, but to an obstinacy against wisdom. He intentionally rejects knowledge and imbibes error. "How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge" (1:22). Another word is EWIL, which greatly emphasizes the wilfulness of this state. The fool, not only prefers folly to wisdom, but literally "vomits out the former, and gorges himself on the latter." "The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness" (15:2). "The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness" (15:14). The last word is ABAL, which again underlines the obnoxious nature of folly. There was a man by this name who was aptly described by the people who knew him best, i.e., His wife, "Please, let not my lord regard this scoundrel abal. For as his name is, so is he: abal is his name and folly is with him." His servants set forth the nature of his foolishness, "...for he is such a scoundrel, that one cannot speak to him" (I Samuel 25:17,25). In summary, and as I said before, "Folly is nothing more or less than willful ignorance."

25 A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful.
1. There are so many false accusations in society that come before the court, and if it were not for truthful witnesses many an innocent person would be found guilty and be wrongfully punished, and some would even be sentenced to death. These lives may only be saved by those who know the truth and tell it. The deceitfulness of clever people can confuse even judges and lead to the innocent being found guilty. It is, of course, folly to be that deceitful person, for God knows what is the truth, and there will be no escape from his all knowing judgment.

2. Charles Bridges, “A true witness delivereth souls : but a deceitful witness speaketh lies.” “weighty is the responsibility of testimony! (Chap. xxiv. 12.) Every Christian has in him a principle of conscientious faithfulness. As a true witness he would deliver the innocent from oppression or ruin. But an ungodly man would prove a deceitful witness, the agent of Satan (1 Kings, xxi. 13), speaking lies for his neighbor's destruction. (Matt. xxvi. 60. Acts, vi. 13. Comp. chap. xii. 6, 17.) What need have we to "walk before God" in our words, ready to hazard all for the interests of truth (Ps. xv. 2; xxiv. 3-5); considering our obligations to one another (Eph. iv. 25); ‘mindful of that true and faithful witness, which every man carries in his own bosom, which no gift can blind, no power can silence;'* realizing our solemn appearing before the God of truth, when "by our words we shall be justified or condemned!" (Matt. xii. 37.) If the responsibility be so great to the witness in court, how much more to the witness in the pulpit!† Oh! is the minister of God a true witness, by the declaration of his message, assured, that no other truth, no adulteration of this truth, will deliver souls? (1 Tim. iv.16.) Or is he speaking lies, holding back or denying truth, to the ruin of the soul, whom he was charged to deliver? (Jer. v. 31. Exod. Xiii. 17. Comp. verse 5.) ‘As they are the most profitable witnesses, which preach to us Jesus Christ; even so, the most exquisite deceivers are they, who under the shadow of religion do set forth men's traditions.'” 3. False witnesses in Proverbs: 19:5 A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape. 19:28 An ungodly witness scorneth judgment: and the mouth of the wicked devoureth iniquity. 21:28 A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly. 4. Keil, “When men, in consequence of false suspicions or of false accusations, fall into danger of their lives (‫ דיני נפשׁות‬is the designation in the later language of the law of a criminal process), then a tongue which, pressed by conscientiousness and not deterred by cowardice, will utter the truth, saves them.” 5. Gill, “A true witness delivereth souls,.... Or, "a witness of truth" (x): one that witnesses truth upon oath in a court of judicature, he "delivers souls"; men, not one man only, but many; a whole family, or more, in danger of being ruined; he delivers them, as the Septuagint and Arabic versions add, "from evils"; from evil charges and accusations brought against them; from the oppression of their enemies, from the loss of their good name, and from ruin and destruction, that otherwise would have come upon them; he delivers their "lives" (y), as it may be rendered, in danger of being lost by false accusations: so a witness of the truth of Christ, or a faithful minister of the Gospel, not only saves himself, but them that hear him; and is an instrument of delivering the souls of men from error and damnation; but a deceitful witnessspeaketh lies; boldly, openly, by wholesale; he blows them out

(z), to the ruin of the good names and characters, and to the destruction of the lives, of the innocent; and so a false teacher, one that lies in wait to deceive, speaks lies in hypocrisy, doctrinal lies, to the ruin of the souls of men.” 6. Henry, “How much praise is due to a faithful witness: He delivers the souls of the innocent, who are falsely accused, and their good names, which are as dear to them as their lives. A man of integrity will venture the displeasure of the greatest, to bring truth to light and rescue those who are injured by falsehood. A faithful minister, who truly witnesses for God against sin, is thereby instrumental to deliver souls from eternal death. 2. How little regard is to be had to a false witness. He forges lies, and yet pours them out with the greatest assurance imaginable for the destruction of the innocent. It is therefore the interest of a nation by all means possible to detect and punish false-witness-bearing, yea, and lying in common conversation; for truth is the cement of society.”

26 He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.
1.There is no greater security in life than that of fearing the Lord. He is the source of all security, and he is our fortress that can never be penetrated or overthrown by the forces of evil. When we have this security established as a part of our life and as a part of our family life, we give our children a place of refuge where they can flee from all forces of evil for their security. Blessed are those children whose parents have given them this hiding place. 2. Charles Bridges, “In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.' “ "Fear hath torment." (1 John, iv. 18. Acts, xxiv. 25.) It is the trembling of the slave (Rom. viii. 15); the dread of wrath, not of sin. There is no confidence here. It is pure selfishness. It ends in self. There is no homage to God. But the true fear of God a holy, happy (See Ps. cxii. 1; xxxiii. 18; cxlvii. 11), reverential principle; not that which "love casts out" (1 John, iv. 18), but which love brings in. It is reverence tempered with love. We fear, because we love. We "fear his goodness" (Hos. iii. 5. Ps. cxxx. 4) no less than his justice; not because we doubt his love, but because we are assured of it. (Heb. xii. 28. 1 Pet. i. 17, 18.) We fear, yet we are not afraid. (Ps. cxii. 1, 7.) The holiest and humblest is the most fixed and trusting heart. The fear of man produces faintness. (Chap. xxix. 25. Jonah, i. 3. Gal. ii. 12.) The fear of the Lord— such is the Christian paradox —emboldens. Its child-like spirit shuts out all terrors

of conscience, all forebodings of eternity. Confidence—strong confidence—issues out of it. Abraham sacrificed his son in the fear of God; yet fully confident, "that God was able to raise him up from the dead." (Gen. xxii. 12, with Heb. xi. 17-19.) The fear of God led the Babylonish captives with unshaken confidence into the fiery furnace. (Dan. iii. 16-18.) And thus does the child of God, while walking in godly fear, rejoice in confidence, even in the most frowning dispensation. His covenant privilege covers him; "and that wicked one toucheth him not." And how happy is the change wrought on our profession! Before, as criminals, we fled from God—now, as his children, we "flee to him—to hide us." (Gen. iii. 8, with Ps. cxliii. 9) The atonement, which has "made an end of sin;" the righteousness, which hath brought in the sunshine of favor; the intercession which maintains our standing of acceptance—this is our ground of confidence, strong as death, stronger than hell. (Rom., viii. 31-39.) Yes—if heaven and earth shake, God hath ordained and secured, that his children shall have a place of refuge, such as they need, and when they need (Ps. xlvi. 1; xxviii. 3. Isa. xxxii. 2) when the enemy is most strongly assaulting (Ps. Lvi. 1-4. Isa. xxv. 4); at the last extremity, when every other refuge shall have been swept away. (Isa. xxviii. 16, 17.) Oh! does not every act of faith strengthen our confidence, and realize more sensibly the peaceful security of our refuge? (Chap. i. 33; xviii. 10. Isa. xxxii. 18, 19.) But remember— nothing short of a full application of the atonement can establish our confidence, and deliver us from slavish fear and uncertainty.” 3. Let God Be True, “The strongest men and women on earth are those who fear the LORD, and they always have protection and peace in Him. They serve the LORD Jehovah, and they know He is always with them. They can and will do exploits, for they fear no duty, no man, or even death itself. They are in constant peace, for they trust in everlasting strength. Weak men, who neither face nor fulfill their duties, who are intimidated by challenges, who cannot rule their own spirits, and who are waylaid by minor obstacles, show their trust is in themselves. They cannot even manage their families, for the patient application of godly leadership in this simple role is too much for their fearful souls. Saul, though over seven feet tall and very gifted physically (I Sam 9:1-2), was afraid of public recognition, so he hid among the stuff (I Sam 10:17-26). When Goliath challenged Israel, he hid in his tent and bribed others (I Sam 17:1-11,25-30); and when Israel sang David's praises, he tried to kill him out of fearful envy (I Sam 18:611). On the other hand, David, though a young shepherd boy, did not understand the fear of Goliath (I Sam 17:23-30). Rejecting armor, he ran to meet the giant with fearless courage (I Sam 17:38-48). Later, when given two opportunities to kill his adversary and take the throne, he left his future in God's hands. And though

troubled on every side more than any man, he wrote of peace and security in the Lord like no other. Our proverb has a pronoun in the second clause. Some see the pronoun "his" standing for a man who fears the LORD, implied from the first clause. But we understand it to mean the LORD Himself. His children, God's children, who trust in Him, have a place of refuge. The lesson is not for the children of the righteous, but for the righteous himself. We take the most direct and simplest interpretation, for there is no guarantee the children of the righteous will fear the Lord. Consider David in this light. Fear and confidence are usually considered opposites. But the fear of the LORD, trust and obedience in Him, is the source of confidence in facing the uncertainties of life in this world. Those who know their God will be strong and do exploits (Dan 11:30), and they will be kept in perfect peace (Is 26:3-4). Reader, take hold of this! What fear can shake the man who leans on Jesus for repose (3:25-26)? With the angel of the Lord camping nearby, he shall always be delivered (Ps 34:7-11). With his confidence in the Lord, his heart is fixed and established (Ps 112:6-8). The fear of man brings faintness, but the fear of God fills us with boldness (Heb 13:5-6). The three Hebrew men in Babylon feared the LORD, but not the king (Dan 3:1618). But who was more courageous than our beloved brother Paul? He faced the hatred of Jews and Gentiles without fear. When warned by God of impending danger in Jerusalem, he said, " one of these things move me" (Acts 20:20-22). And space limits us from writing of that innumerable company of martyrs, who followed him in strong confidence. Dear reader, you can have the pure conscience that emboldens (28:1), and you can have the strong confidence that only a righteous few have ever obtained. And in the time of trouble, you can escape to His pavilion, where He will protect you (Ps 27:5). Let Psalms 18, 27, and 46 strengthen your confidence in the LORD. Paul was brave, but he could not match our beloved Lord, who endured the physical and spiritual horrors of the cross willingly, for the sins of His enemies. And where did He find His strong confidence? In the fear of the Lord (Heb 5:7-9)! 4. Simeon, “I the Holy Scriptures there is often much conin a small space. Hence we read them frequently without discerning one half of their beauty and importance - - In the passage before us, we in a concentrated form the benefits arising from fear of God. They are two : I. Confidence Before we speak of the benefit itself, we must endeavor to attain accurate views of

that from which it flows. By " the fear of the Lord," I understand such a fear as brings us to his footstool ; and such a fear as stimulates us to an unreserved surrender of ourselves to him. It is clear that it must comprehend these, and cannot possibly exist without them. ow, wherever this is found, there is " a strong confidence" of acceptance with God; a confidence founded, the general character of God. There is, in the mind of every one who has the least of God, a persuasion that "he delights in mercy:" and though this of itself is not sufficient to warrant a confidence of our acceptance with him, it is a strong confirmation of our confidence, when we have really come to him with a humble believing, and obediential fear. On the Scripture account of him, as revealed to us in Christ Jesus we see his assumption of our nature, his death the cross as an atonement for our sins, his ascension to heaven, to govern all things for the good of his Church and people. O ! what confidence must such wonders of love and mercy inspire ! Can we turn to him in faith and fear, and doubt his willingness to receive us?Impossible. It cannot be but that our "confidence" in such a God must be strong " On the express promises which he has given us in his word These are " exceeding great and precious," and fully with all our wants. There is no state in which we can be, that has not a promise especially adapted to it. Only let those be embraced, and the most desponding soul must be comforted. them, under all circumstances, is afforded, II. SafetyThey stand in the relation of " children" to God, who " is not ashamed to be called their God" and Father. And to them there is ever open " a place of refuge," the calamities of life. True, the saints are exposed to calamities like other men ; they see that every thing, whoever be the instrument, proceeds in reality from their Father s hand, who sends it only for their good. Hence the very character of the visitation is changed ; and instead of being an occasion for mourning, it is welcomed as a blessing in disguise. From the assaults of Satan. Doubtless Satan will exert himself to the uttermost to and destroy them, but they are furnished with armor to withstand his fiercest assaults, and they have an impregnable fortress ever open to them, even " the name of the Lord, which is to them as a strong tower, wherein they are safe And, after maintaining their conflict the appointed time, they are sure of beholding "him bruised under their feet. From the fears of death Death is still an enemy : but they triumph over him, saying, " O death, where is thy

sting ? O grave, where is thy victory?" They are enabled to number him amongst their friends and treasures, and to long for his arrival, to introduce them into the more immediate presence of their God.” 5. Gill, “In the fear of the Lord isstrong confidence,.... Such who fear the Lord may be confident that he has a love to them, a delight in them; that his eye is upon them, and his heart towards them; and will communicate every needful good to them, and protect and defend them: or the Lord himself that is feared, who is the object of fear, called the fear of Isaac, Gen_31:42; he is a strong tower, a place of defense to those that fear him and trust in him, Pro_18:10; and his children shall have a place of refuge; the children of God, as those that fear him are; the Lord is a place of refuge to them, from the avenger of blood, from the vindictive justice of God; from the storm and tempest of divine wrath, and from the curses of a righteous law; as well as from the rage and persecutions of men. 6. Spurgeon, “What is this fear of the Lord? The expression is used in Scripture for all true godliness. It is constantly the short way of expressing real faith, hope, love, holiness of living, and every grace which makes up true godliness. But why was fear selected? Why did not it say, “Trust in God is strong confidence”? Has not religion been commonly described by faith rather than by fear? In legal indictments it is said sometimes of a man that he, “not having the fear of God before his eyes,” did so and so. Why is the fear of God selected? One would say that according to the general theology of this period we ought to have selected faith. But the Spirit of God has not given us the phrase—faith in God. He puts fear, because after all, there is a something more tender, more touching, more real about fear than there is about some people’s faith, which faith may very readily verge upon presumption. But in speaking of fear we must always discriminate. There is a fear with which a Christian has nothing to do. The fear of the slave who dreads a task-master we have now escaped from. At least we ought to be free from such bondage, for we are not under the law, which is the task-master, but we are under grace, which is a paternal spirit and has given us the liberty of sons. Brethren, if you labor under any dread of God which amounts to a slavish fear of him, do not cultivate it. But ask God to give you that perfect love of which John tells us that it casteth out fear, because fear hath torment. Do not be afraid of God whatever he does with you. The kind of fear commended in the text is not such as appalls the senses and scares the thoughts. It is a fear that has not anything like being afraid mixed with it. It is quite another kind of fear. It is what we commonly call filial fear of God, like the child’s fear of his father.” 7. Henry, “Pro 14:26-27 In these two verses we are invited and encouraged to live in the fear of God by the advantages which attend a religious life. The fear of the Lordis here put for all

gracious principles, producing gracious practices. 1. Where this reigns it produces a holy security and serenity of mind. There is in it a strong confidence;it enables a man still to hold fast both his purity and his peace, whatever happens, and gives him boldness before God and the world. I know that I shall be justified- one of these things move me;such is the language of this confidence. 2. It entails a blessing upon posterity. The children of those that by faith make God their confidence shall be encouraged by the promise that God will be a God to believers and to their seed to flee to him as their refuge, and they shall find shelter in him. The children of religious parents often do the better for their parents' instructions and example and fare the better for their faith and prayers. “Our fathers trusted in thee,therefore we will.” 3. It is an over-flowing ever-flowing spring of comfort and joy; it is a fountain of life,yielding constant pleasure and satisfaction to the soul, joys that are pure and fresh, are life to the soul, and quench its thirst, and can never be drawn dry; it is a well of living water,that is springing up to, and is the earnest of, eternal life. 4. It is a sovereign antidote against sin and temptation. Those that have a true relish of the pleasures of serious godliness will not be allured by the baits of sin to swallow its hook; they know where to obtain better things than any it can pretend to offer, and therefore it is easy to them to depart from the snares of deathand to keep their foot from being taken in them.”

27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.
1. A parallel would be, the fear of the law leads to a life of freedom, for without it one acts foolishly and ends up in prison for life. Those who fear God keep his laws of life and thereby enjoy the life God intended for man to live. It keeps them from doing the stupid things that leads to a life of condemnation, and ultimately to death as separation from God forever. This is why the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, for without it one is on the wrong road all the way through life. “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, to depart from the 2. Charles Bridges, “ snares of death.” “How glowing is this Divine principle! refreshing like the springs of Canaan; full of life, temporal, spiritual, eternal. It is the influence of the heavenly Comforter, as a fountain "springing up into everlasting life." (John, iv. 14.) Its preserving tendency is invaluable. It is always connected with the fear of sin (Chap. iii. 7; xvi. 6), as grieving our most beloved friend, and separating from our only happiness; while it keeps us from the snares of death (Eccles. vii. 26), "the end of wages of sin." (Rom. vi. 23.) How complete then is its application! ot only is it a refuge from danger, but a fountain of life. ot only does Christian confidence open a cover from the guilt, but its holy influence roots out the power, of sin. For among the countless throng of the redeemed not one finds a cover, from condemnation, who

is not renovated unto spiritual life. Thus does this invaluable grace flow with the full streams of gospel blessing. How much of that worldliness that soils our profession, and of the restraint that contracts our spiritual joy, may be traced to the sparing or defective application of this Christian principle!

3. Let God Be True, “The fountain of life has been found! Drink from it now, dear reader! The man who fears the LORD will be greatly blessed (Ps 128:1-6). The man who does not fear the LORD will be destroyed by the deadly snares of this ungodly world (10:27; 22:5; Eccl 7:17). The fear of the LORD is that sober reverence and holy desire to please God that rejects sin and confidence in one's self (3:7; 8:13; 16:6). It is the beginning of wisdom (1:7; 9:10), as those without it are in a confused sewer of self-love and human opinion. It is closely connected to the law of the wise (2:1-22), which also is a fountain of life (13:14). The man or woman who fears the LORD has the wisest impulses and strongest motivation of any living in the world. And this person will have a glorious life and be saved from the snares that trap others in dysfunctional and painful lives of hell and death. What can save a man from the great attraction of a strange woman? His wife? His mother? His pastor? His children? I think not. The fear of the Lord is the strongest antidote to her beauty and seduction (Eccl 7:26). othing else comes close, for only reverent fear of His judgment and desire to please Him can cause a man to reject her advances, as did Joseph (Gen 39:7-9). Salvation from her wiles delivers a man from the hell and death to which fornication and adultery lead (2:18; 5:4-5; 7:27; 9:18). What will keep a marriage happy and prosperous? Both parties fearing the LORD! A husband who fears the LORD will love his wife with the tender affection her Creator intended. A wife who fears the LORD will love her husband with the reverent service that makes for peaceful homes. Two that fear the LORD will make love according to the Inventor's instructions and solve problems by the Counselor's therapies! Therefore, it becomes of greatest importance that spousal selection fix on the fear of the Lord above all else (Pr 31:30). Disregard for this point will cost you fifty years of hell. Mark it. The fountain of life, which is a perpetual supply of those good things that make for abundant living, is not dependent on circumstances, for a little with the fear of the Lord is superior to treasure with trouble (15:16). Ah, dear reader, is it not a treasure (Is 33:6)? Christian parent, this is the most important thing to teach your children. Forget

even reading, if it competes with this gift. The fear of the Lord will serve them far better than any academic pursuit, physical exercise, or entertainment. It should be taught as the whole duty of man and the conclusive purpose of life (Ps 34:11; Eccl 12:13-14; Eph 6:4). It can be established by a godly father living its example and enforcing its claims against each child. If you love your children, then take time this very day to warn them of His judgments, show them His statutes, and offer them His promises. Point out to them the vanity and vexation of life without the fear of the Lord and the prosperous peace with it. The fundamental cause of the folly, frustration, and pain in life is the lack of the fear of the LORD, which the wicked know not at all (Ps 10:4; 36:1; Rom 3:18). It is only by the grace of salvation that men are given this fountain for their parched souls (Jer 32:40). Our Jesus feared God like no man, and by His fear we have the fountain of everlasting life springing up to save us from the wages of sin (Heb 5:7-9; John 4:14; Rom 6:23). 4. J. C. Philpot, “of death surround and beset our path. Some arise from the world, some from Satan, some from the people of God―but far, far most from ourselves! The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life which detects and manifests these hidden snares―and by its bubbling up as a living spring in the heart it brings the soul into the presence of God―and thus strength, wisdom, and grace are communicated to flee them before fallen into them―or deliver our feet out of them when unhappily entangled.” 5. Gill, "The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,.... Where the true fear of God is, there is a real principle of grace, which is "a well of living water, springing up unto everlasting life", Joh_4:14; eternal life is connected with it; it makes meet for it, and issues in it: or the Lord, who is the object of fear, he is the fountain of life: as of natural, so of spiritual and eternal life; spiritual life springs from him, is supported and maintained by him, the consequence of which is life everlasting; to depart from the snares of death; sins, transgressions, as Aben Ezra interprets it; these are the works of men's hands, in which they are snared; these are the cords in which they are holden, and so die without instruction; the wages of them are death, even death eternal: likewise there are the snares of the world and of the devil, temptations to sin, with which being ensnared, lead to death; now the fear of the Lord is a means of delivering from and of avoiding those snares, and so of escaping death.”

28 A large population is a king's glory, but without subjects a prince is ruined.
1. This seems too obvious to be a statement of wisdom. More people to rule makes a king a greater king. What king would even be considered a king if there were only a handful of people under his rule. Is it an empire to have 50 people bowing to your leadership? You need a large host of citizens that acknowledge you as king to be an authentic king, and if there are only a handful that do so, you have lost your reputation as king. If nobody is following you, it is folly to call yourself a leader.
2. Charles Bridges, “In the multitude of people is the king's honor; but in the want

of people is the destruction of the prince.” “The Bible is a book for all. Even the King is interested in it, and was commanded to treasure it. (Dent. xvii. 18.) It describes him as a curse or a blessing to his people, as he is led by his own caprice (1 Kings, xii. 13), or directed by Divine wisdom. (2 Chron. ix. 8.) ‘He is not appointed for luxury or for pleasure; but that as a Head he may preside over his members; as a Shepherd, he may care for his flock; as a tree, he may nourish those who dwell under his shadow.' In the multitude of people is his honor. They are the stay and strength of his kingdom. In the want of people is his destruction. His revenue fails, His, strength is enfeebled. His enemies take advantage of his weakness. (2 Kings, xiii. 4-7.) His interests and his people's are one. In promoting their happiness, the prince secures his own honor. (Ps. Lxxii.) If he be the father of his numerous family, he will always have "a quiver full of arrows to meet his enemies in the gate." (Ib. cxxvii.) How great then is the honor of our heavenly King in the countless multitude of his people! How overwhelmingly glorious will it appear, when the completed number shall stand before his throne (Rev. vii. 9, 10) each the medium of reflecting his glory (2 Thess. i. 10); each with a crown to cast at his feet (Rev. iv. 10, 11), and a song of everlasting joy to tune to his praise! (Ib. v. 9.)” 3. Let God Be True, “The Bible is the world's most useful book. Here is advice for rulers, which Solomon taught his son, so he might be a great king. You are privileged to read an inspired rule of the world's wisest king (Deut 17:18-20; Eccl 1:12-18; 12:8-11). The proverb observes that growing kingdoms are a political blessing, but shrinking kingdoms are a problem. Immigration is better than emigration. Expansion is better than contraction. A growing population increases economic productivity, military strength, and government revenue. As a man with many children is great, so is a government with a growing population (Ps 127:4-5). Pharaoh, monarch of the greatest nation on earth at the time, feared with all of Egypt the rapid growth of the Israelites, who exploded from 70 immigrants to a nation of 600,000 men, not counting women and

children, in just 215 years (Ex 1:1-12; 12:37). How does this simple proverb help rulers? ations only grow, by immigration and birth rate, when leaders promote freedom, justice, opportunity, safety, truth, and wisdom (8:1-21). With these goals in place, people will travel far to participate, and parents will have large families to build estates. As David prayed for Solomon, in promoting the people's welfare, the prince secures his own throne (Ps 72:1-20). The more righteous the ruler, the more righteous are those seeking immigration (II Chron 11:16-17; 15:9; 30:1-11,25). If a ruler is wise, he will first accept the truthfulness of this proverb that growth is good. He will then commit himself and his rule to those wise principles that foster population growth of good men, which requires the godly balance of mercy and truth (20:28). He will admit that without happy and diligent people, he and his government are nothing! As a master delicately treating his servant can have him eventually become his son (29:21), so a ruler delicately treating his citizens can foster growth and prosperity (I Kgs 12:7). America exploded in less than 300 years from a poor, weak nation of God-fearing settlers in a wilderness to the economic, military, and revenue giant of the world. How? It came the closest to offering citizens a truly righteous nation. Well does the Statue of Liberty declare, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" Lady Liberty once closely resembled Lady Wisdom of Solomon's own proverbs (8:1-21). Today it is different! God save America! David, the man after God's own heart, and whom all Israel loved, expanded Israel to its greatest power (II Sam 8:1-18). He did it, not by intimidation and oppression, but by righteousness, compassion, generosity, judgment, and justice (I Sam 18:5,1416,30; II Sam 6:19; I Chr 18:14; Ps 78:72). His son Solomon began to compromise, but followed his father in many things (I Kgs 4:20-34; 5:7; II Chron 9:8). But his grandson Rehoboam lost the nation by choosing the opposite course to his own destruction (I Kgs 12:1-19). David confessed on his deathbed that he had a miserable ruling family, but he saw by prophecy the rise of a glorious son, Jesus of azareth (II Sam 23:1-7). What can we say of His government? It is glorious and without end (Is 9:6-7)! What is the count of his people? More than any man can number (Rev 7:9-10)! He takes every man He desires from the kingdom of Satan, which is doomed to destruction (Luke 11:20-23; Col 1:13; Heb 2:14-15; Rev 11:15)! How much honor does He have? He is the Blessed and Only Potentate, King of kings and Lord of lords (I Tim 6:13-16)! Hallelujah! Amen! 4. Gill, “the multitude of people isthe king's honour,.... For it is a sign of a good and wise government, of clemency and righteousness being exercised, of liberty and

property being enjoyed, of peace, plenty, and prosperity; which encourage subjects to serve their king cheerfully, and to continue under his reign and government peaceably; and which invites others from different parts to come and settle there also; by which the strength and glory of a king are much increased. This is true of the King of kings, of Jesus Christ, who is King of saints; his honour and glory, as Mediator, lies in a large number of voluntary subjects, made "willing" to serve him "in the day of hispower" upon them, as numerous as the drops of the morning "dew", Psa_110:3; such as he had in the first times of the Gospel, both among the Jews and among the Gentiles; and as he will have more especially in the latter day, when those prophecies shall be fulfilled in Isa_60:4; and so this is interpreted of the King Messiah, in an ancient writing (b)of the Jews; but in the want of people isthe destruction of the prince; or, "the consternation" (c)of him; if his people are destroyed in wars his ambition or cruelty has led him to; or they are driven out from his kingdom by persecution or oppression; hence follows a decay of trade, and consequently of riches; lack of cultivation of land, and so want of provision: in course of time there is such a decrease, that, as there are but few to carry on trade and till the land, so to fight for their prince, and defend his country; wherefore, when attacked by a foreign power, he is thrown into the utmost consternation, and is brought to destruction. This will be the case of the prince of darkness, the man of sin, antichrist; who, though however populous he may be, or has been, ruling over tongues, people, and nations, yet before long he will be deserted by them; one nation after another will fall off from him; they and their kings will hate him, make him bare and desolate, and burn him with fire, Rev_17:15. Some render it, "the consternation of leanness" (d); such consternation as causes leanness in a king. 5. Henry, “are two maxims in politics, which carry their own evidence with them: 1. That it is much for the honour of a king to have a populous kingdom; it is a sign that he rules well, since strangers are hereby invited to come and settle under his protection and his own subjects live comfortably; it is a sign that he and his kingdom are under the blessing of God, the effect of which is being fruitful and multiplying. It is his strength, and makes him considerable and formidable; happy is the king, the father of his country, who has his quiver full of arrows;he shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with his enemy in the gate,Psa_127:4, Psa_127:5. It is therefore the wisdom of princes, by a mild and gentle government, by encouraging trade and husbandry, and by making all easy under them, to promote the increase of their people. And let all that wish well to the kingdom of Christ, and to his honour, do what they can in their places that many may be added to his church. 2. That when the people are lessened the prince is weakened: In the want of people is the leanness of the prince(so some read it); trade lies dead, the ground lies untilled, the army wants to be recruited, the navy to be manned, and all because there are not hands sufficient. See how much the honour and safety of kings depend upon their people, which is a reason why they should rule by love, and not with rigour. Princes are corrected by those judgments which abate the number of the people, as we find, 2Sa_24:13.”

29 A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.
The Message, “ Slowness to anger makes for deep understanding; a quick-tempered person stockpiles stupidity.

1. Patience leads to listening and gaining understanding, but the hot head blows up before he gets the point there is nothing to be mad about. He then does something stupid in his ignorance and ruins a relationship that is completely unnecessary. Had he waited to get the full understanding there would be no basis to go off half cocked and destroy a good thing. The quick tempered man is guilty of jumping to conclusions based on inadequate information. He has no control of his emotions, but lets them control him and lead him to being foolish in his over reactions that hurt himself and others. 2. Charles Bridges, “He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty (short, marg.) of spirit exalteth, folly.” “The world judge very lightly of a hasty spirit, except when it touches themselves. ‘It is a fit of passion, soon over and forgotten.' But does God judge so? See how his word stamps the native rooted principle. It is "giving place to the devil; grieving the Holy Spirit;" contrary to the mind and example of Christ; inconsistent with the profession of the Gospel; degrading human nature; a work of the flesh, that shuts out from heaven, and condemns to hell? Surely then to be slow to wrath--such a fruitful source of sin and misery — is a proof of great understanding. (Chap. xx. 11; xx. 3. Jam. iii. 17.) It is as if we felt our just dignity, and high obligations. But too often, instead of being slow to wrath, the spirit is hasty, and finds a short way to wrath. It is as tinder to every spark of provocation, and at one step hurries into the midst of wrath. There is often a sourness of spirit, that sits upon men, by which they are angry at they know not what; lighting into a flame at the most trifling matters, such as in cooler moments we shall be ashamed at having contended for. Terrible flames have arisen from these trifling sparks. This is indeed exalting folly on an eminence to be seen by all. (Chap. iii. 35.) Yet too often passion serves instead of law and reason, and this folly is deemed high-mindedness and proper spirit. Oh! it is a mercy to be delivered from the standard of this world, and to live, act, and judge by the standard of God and his word. But let the children of God remember, that a hasty spirit condemned the meekest of men. (Ps. cvi. 32, 33.) ever was folly more exalted, than by the fretful selfishness of

a prophet of the Lord. (Jonah, iv.) The gentlest spirit needs to be cast into a deep mold of lowliness and love for communion with God. (Isa. lvii. 15. 1 John, iv. 16.) Who can plead inability to resist? Has not God given understanding to shew the temper; reason to govern it; his Word and Spirit to crucify it? Realize our obligations to sovereign grace, as the effective discipline for this baneful propensity. (Jam. i. 18, 19.)” 3. Let God Be True, “Are you hot tempered? Quick to get angry? It is the mark of a fool! You must get your spirit under control and keep it ruled, or you will destroy your life. Wisdom includes self-control and ruling your spirit. If you cannot govern your anger, you will say and do many very foolish things. Solomon's advice is to slow down and only get angry slowly. Anger is not always wrong. God is angry at the wicked every day (Ps 7:11). The LORD was angry at Moses (Deut 1:37; 4:21), Solomon (I Kgs 11:9), and Israel (II Kgs 17:18). But God is slow to anger, which gives us our holy example and pattern (Ps 103:8; 145:8)! Paul taught the Ephesians to get angry without sinning (Eph 4:26). Jesus condemned anger "without a cause" as worthy of judgment (Matt 5:22). Of course, this effeminate generation has removed these three words in modern Bible versions. Moses was angry at Israel for worshiping a golden calf with a rock concert and nude dancing (Ex 32:19-29). The Lord Jesus Christ became angry against a crowd that did want Him to heal a man with a withered hand on the sabbath day (Mark 3:1-5). But anger is rarely a helpful emotion. It usually causes overreaction, misreading circumstances, misjudging motives, acting without proper thinking, responding more severely than needed, speaking with excessive harshness, neglecting counsel, and getting priorities out of line. Therefore, a wise man will be very slow in letting anger develop. Wisdom is the power of right judgment; understanding is correct comprehension. Both are compromised in proportion to the speed and intensity of anger. The faster you get angry, the less wisdom you have under the influence of that anger. The greater the intensity of your anger, the less understanding you have under its passion. Anger causes unnecessary fights and many sins (21:24; 26:21; 29:22; 30:33). Quick anger is a common sin. Solomon warned against it often (14:17; 15:18; 16:32; 25:8,28; Eccl 7:9). James wrote that it was not compatible with righteousness (Jas 1:19-20). Paul told Timothy to ordain men to the ministry who were slow to anger (Titus 1:7). Ruling your spirit is basic to wisdom and success (16:32). Anger begins in the heart, which must be kept with all diligence (4:23). Graciousness, longsuffering, and

patience are a few names for the virtue of not getting angry quickly. And you must avoid angry men, for they will create a temptation for you to be like them (14:7; 22:24; I Cor 15:33). 4. Henry, “is wisdom. Herightly understands himself, and his duty and interest, the infirmities of human nature, and the constitution of human society, who is slow to anger,and knows how to excuse the faults of others as well as his own, how to adjourn his resentments, and moderate them, so as by no provocation to be put out of the possession of his own soul. A mild patient man is really to be accounted an intelligent man, one that learns of Christ, who is Wisdom itself. 2. Unbridled passion is folly proclaimed: He that is hasty of spirit,whose heart is tinder to every spark of provocation, that is all fire and tow, as we say, he thinks hereby to magnify himself and make those about stand in awe of him, whereas really he exalts his own folly;he makes it known, as that which is lifted up is visible to all, and he submits himself to it as to the government of one that is exalted. 5. Gill, “He that isslow to wrath isof great understanding,.... Or "long in wrath" (e); it is long before he is angry; he is longsuffering, bears much and long, is very patient; such an one appears to understand himself and human nature, and has a great command over his passions; which shows him to be a man of great wisdom and understanding; but he that ishasty of spirit exalteth folly; or is "short of spirit" (f); is soon angry; presently discovers resentment in his words, looks, and gestures; such an one "exalts folly", prefers it to wisdom, sets it above himself, and makes it his master: or he "lifts" it (g)up; exposes his folly to public view, so that it is seen of all men to his disgrace.”

30 A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
1. The best thing you can do for the health of your body is to keep your heart at peace with God and man. When you do not have a heart filled with anxiety and grief over other people's lives that leads you to envy them, you let your body do its own thing, and it will operate the way God intended it to do. But have a heart raging with the burden that others may have what you do not, and you throw the whole operation into chaos, and you destroy the smooth running of it so that it become weak and lead to illness. The peaceful life is the healthy life. The life at war within is a life of inner destruction.

2. Charles Bridges, “A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.” “Many will admit religion to be good for the soul. But they conceive its fancied gloom to be injurious to the body. The wise man, however, teaches, that it is the life of the flesh. (Chap. iii. 7, 8.) And surely a sound heart, freed from corroding passions, and imbued with Christian habits, though it will not bring immortality, must be eminently conducive to health. The contrast, however, here distinguishes a sound heart by the absence of selfishness, and rejoicing in another's happiness or honor. ( um. xi. 29.) Envy, on the other hand, is wounded by our neighbor's prosperity. (Gen. xxvi. 14. 1 Sam. xviii. 9.) His ruin, or at least his injury, would give pleasure. It sickens at hearing of his praises, and repines at his very virtues. Something is always wrong in his conduct, something at least, which, if it does not deserve blame, greatly detracts from his intolerable praise. This evil is indeed the deadliest fruit of selfishness. othing flourishes under its shade. (Jam. iii. 16.) Often is it a fretting sickness (Esth. vi. 6, 12), or a pining despondency (Ps. cxii. 10), like the destruction of the bodily system by the rottenness of the bones. 'Truly'-- as Bishop Hall observes —‘this vice is executioner enough to itself!' Such a hell does the man carry in his own bosom! Alas! that this plant should be the growth of our own soil. So contrary is it to the mind of Christ (Rom. xiii. 13), and to the spirit of his gospel. (II Cor, xiii. 4.) So surely will it exclude from heaven! (Gal. v. 21.) 3. Let God Be True, “Sin is deadly! It will destroy your soul, body, and life! And it will take you to hell for eternity! But before it takes you to the lake of fire, it will pervert your thinking, ruin your health, consume your body, torture your mind, wreck your reputation, and destroy your life. Hate sin! Do not play with it! Reject any idea that you can commit sin and survive! Psychosomatic illnesses have been formally identified slowly. But Solomon knew about them by inspiration of God 3000 years ago. They are physical maladies caused by mental, emotional, or psychological factors. Of course, an enlightened Christian can easily improve the definition - sin, a spiritual problem of the heart, can affect the body! Consider the proverb closely. A sound heart is contrasted to envy, so it is warning about spiritual problems in your affections, not arteriosclerosis narrowing your coronary arteries or a bundle branch block in your heart's electrical system. A sound heart keeps God's word (Ps 119:80) and bears the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23). It is in those who are contented, forgiving, gentle, joyful, loving, peaceful, and thankful. Do you have one? Envy is a horrible thing. "Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?" (27:4). It is jealous resentment of others, which is devilish and hellish (Jas 3:14-16). It is pride and selfishness gone to seed. It cannot stand the praise or success of others; it rejoices when others fall; it despises their virtues; it labors day and night to put others in an evil light. You cannot escape this terrible

master, even in bed! But who cares about envy today? It is a forgotten and ignored sin. When did you last hear a sermon against it? When did you last hear of a judge ruling against it, or of an attorney using it for a motive in a crime? Envy is a terrible sin, a horrible evil, and a destructive cancer of the soul; but very few say anything about it or against it. Wise men despise it! Parent, you must begin when children are young to correct this deadly disease! You must teach children to celebrate the successes of their siblings, praise their accomplishments, grieve over their failures, and pray for their blessings. You must quickly and severely punish any attitude or action that reveals a proud, selfish, or resentful spirit. Consider the proverb again. The life of the flesh is contrasted to rottenness of bones. Is it dealing with physical health, overall life success with God and men, or a combination of both? Remembering David's observation that God's commandments are exceeding broad (Ps 119:96), the proverb teaches a variety of consequences for sin and spiritual problems. Consider sin and death. Sin brought instant death to Adam and Eve's affections toward God; and it quickly impaired their perfect marriage (Gen 2:17; 3:7-8). It also brought physical death to them a few years later (Gen 5:5). And they will suffer forever in the lake of fire, which is the second death, unless Jesus Christ intervenes (Rev 20:11-15). Proverbs use many metaphors and figures of speech, which is why they are dark sayings (1:6; John 16:25). We know Solomon used body parts to represent other things, as lip for speech (12:19), belly for soul (20:27), and hand for labor (12:24). He made it clear to us that he could use rottenness of bones as a simple simile for grief and pain, without any direct or literal application to leukemia or other bone and marrow diseases (12:4). Therefore, this broad proverb teaches several levels of trouble that are brought on by sin, particularly envy. First, it will ruin your overall success as a godly and wise man. This is the reason for keeping your heart with all diligence (4:23). Second, it will eat at your physical health, due to the evil and corrosive spirit of envy in the soul (17:22). And third, there is God's promise to ruin your health for sinful living (Ex 15:26; Deut 28:27,35). Sins of the soul and mind affect the body - psychosomatic illnesses. Amnon lusted so greatly after his half-sister Tamar that it made him physically sick (II Sam 13:2). Craving what he could not have so tormented his soul that he became ill. And envy, grinding the soul of a person day and night, drains vitality from his health. If Amnon had feared God and rejected evil, it would have been health to his navel and marrow to his bones (3:7-8).

An excellent book for the details of psychosomatic illnesses caused by sin is one of These Diseases by Drs. S.I. McMillen and David E. Stern. These doctors explain in easy-to-read chapters the ravaging physical effects of a sinful lifestyle. It is confirming to faith that what our Creator inspired in the Bible is often superior to pills or treatment. How many in mental institutions and hospitals are there due to a spiritual problem - sin? Consider a merry spirit. Recent studies have shown that people who laugh and enjoy life live longer than those who are morose and negative. Solomon wrote long ago, "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones" (17:22). Vitality comes from your spirit, not your diet! And you cannot be merry while envying others! You may hide your envy from other men - for a while; but backbiting, emulation, hatred, murder, slander, or whispering will soon expose it. And it may consume your health directly through a stress-filled and angry, bitter heart; or it may ruin your body by direct physical judgment from God. Exchange your envy for love (15:17)! Consider Joshua's envy in contrast to Moses' humility and godliness ( um 11:24-30). Which are you like? You must examine yourself for envy, the horrible cause of problems in soul and body. Many examine their bodies for lumps, blood pressure, cholesterol readings, or other symptoms of deadly diseases, but why not examine your soul for the root cause of greater consequences? And the cause can be taken away easily by godly repentance and confessing your sins to God (28:13; Job 33:27-28; I John 1:9)! You have been warned!” 4. Herb Vander Lugt “Envy may be defined as "resentment at the success or happiness of others." Many cultures regard envy lightly. A home remodeling company in Washington, DC, ran an ad that actually appealed to this vice. It used such phrases as "living room lust" and "kitchen envy." It went on to state that you could become the envy of your neighborhood while enhancing the value of your home. The Bible views envy quite differently, calling it "rottenness to the bones" envy is listed among the life-destroying "works of the flesh." In 1 Samuel 18, we read that envy contributed to the downfall of King Saul. He had begun his rule well, but because he disobeyed God's command he was rejected as king (15:23). Instead of humbly accepting God's decision, he became consumed with envy and hatred toward David (18:8-9). From then on, Saul distanced himself from God and even sought counsel from a medium (28:7). In the end, he took his own life after a shameful defeat by the Philistines (31:4-5). Envy had destroyed him. Envy can ruin a life. ever take it lightly." 5. Meyer, F. B. “If we would have a tranquil heart, we must resolutely put from us the ambition to get name and reputation among men, to exert wider influence for its

own sake, and to amass large accumulation of money. Directly we begin to vie with others, to emulate them, or compare our position and influence with theirs; directly we allow strong desires to roam unchecked through our nature; directly we live on the breath of popular applause, we are like those who step from the pier on a rocking boat ― all hope of tranquillity is at an end. “In God’s will,” Dante said, “is our peace.” When the government is on his shoulder, of its increase and of our peace there is no end. Would you have your peace flow as a river? ― then rest in the Lord, be silent unto Him; fret not thyself; turn away from the things that are seen and temporal; set thy face to those that are unseen and eternal. Live in the secret place of the Most High, and hide under the shadow of the Almighty. Say of the Lord that He is thy fortress and high tower. Put God between thyself and everything. Let the one aim of thy life be to please Him, and do the one small piece of work He has entrusted thee with. Look away from all others to Him alone. And learn to look out on others with a tender sympathetic gaze, turning to prayer about them and all things else that might ruffle and sadden. Let all thy requests be made known unto God, so shall his peace keep heart and mind.” 6. Keil, “, soul, flesh, is the O.T. trichotomy, Psa_84:3; Psa_16:9; the heart is the innermost region of the life, where all the rays of the bodily and the soul-life concentrate, and whence they again unfold themselves. The state of the heart, i.e., of the central, spiritual, soul-inwardness of the man, exerts therefore on all sides a constraining influence on the bodily life, in the relation to the heart the surrounding life. Regarding ‫ ,לֵב מַרפֵּא‬vid., at Pro_12:18. Thus is styled the quiet heart, which in its ְ symmetrical harmony is like a calm and clear water-mirror, neither interrupted by the affections, nor broken through or secretly stirred by passion. By the close connection in which the corporeal life of man stands to the moral-religious determination of his intellectual and mediately his soul-life - this threefold life is as that of one personality, essentially one - the body has in such quiet of spirit the best means of preserving the life which furthers the well-being, and co-operates to the calming of all its disquietude; on the contrary, passion, whether it rage or move itself in stillness, is like the disease in the bones (Pro_12:4), which works onward till it breaks asunder the framework of the body, and with it the life of the body. 7. Gill, “A sound heart isthe life of the flesh,.... A heart made so by the grace of God, in which are sound principles of truth, righteousness, and holiness; these preserve from sin, and so from many diseases; whereby the life of the flesh or body is kept safe and sound, or that is kept in health and vigour; or a "quiet heart" (h); a heart free from wrath, anger, and envy, and such like passions and perturbations; this contributes much to the health of the body, and the comfort of life: or a "healing heart", or "spirit" (i); that is humane, kind, and friendly; that pities and heals the distresses of others, and makes up differences between persons at variance: such an one is "the life of fleshes" (k), as in the original text; or of men, of the same flesh and blood; the life of others, as well as of his own flesh; such an one contributes to the comfortable living of others as well as of himself; envy the

rottenness of the bones; a man that envies the happiness and prosperity of others, this preys upon his own spirits, and not only wastes his flesh, but weakens and consumes the stronger parts of his body, the bones; it is as a "moth" within him, as the Arabic version: the Targum is, "as rottenness in wood, so is envy in the bones;'' 8. A person that is coveting what others have will never be satisfied and it will eat away at their life. As Dr. Paul Adolph said: "Some of the most important causes of so-called nervous disease which psychiatrists recognize are guilt, resentment (an unforgiving spirit), fear, anxiety, frustration, indecision, doubt, jealousy, selfishness, and boredom. Unfortunately, many psychiatrists, while definitely effective in tracing the causes of emotional disturbances which cause disease, have significantly failed in their methods of dealing with these disturbances because they omit faith in God as their approach." 9. “There are many roads to hate but envy is one of the shortest of them all.” “Envy is the art of counting the other fellow's blessings instead of your own.” “Envy shoots at others and wounds itself” “Envy eats nothing but its own heart” “Envy is an insult to oneself.” “As a moth gnaws a garment, so doth envy consume a man.” 10. Pulpit Commentary, “Translate the first clause of the verse thus: " The life of the body is a quiet spirit." I. The Characteristics of A Quiet Spirit. The habit and disposition of quietness need not be accompanied by torpor. There is, indeed, a quietness of sleep, as there is also a silence of the grave. But in the passage before us the quiet spirit is directly connected with life. The body may be busy while the spirit is quiet; nay, the mind may be nimble and alert, even full of activity, while yet the spirit is at rest. Observe, then, the marks of a quiet spirit. 1. Peace. There is peace within the soul, and therefore quiet. The turbulent spirit is like a mutinous crew that may make tumult on board the ship while the sea is as still as glass, and the peaceful spirit is like a well-conducted crew that works in quiet while the sea is torn with tempest. '-. Patience. The quiet spirit does not complain under chastisement, nor does it angrily resent unkindness. The psalmist was "dumb" under calamity. Christ was led as a lamb to the slaughter (Isa. liii. 7). 3. Unostentatiousness. Some give more show than service, and make more noise than profit. Eager to attract attention, they " sound a trumpet before them " (Matt. vi. 2). ot so the quiet in spirit, who labor in silence, content to be obscure so long as they know they are not living in vain. II. The Blessedness Of A Quiet Spirit. It is here set forth as a source of life. o doubt fretful restlessness wears out the life of the bad. Placidity makes for health. Moreover, the life that is dissipated in noise produces no good, and therefore does not collect the means of its own support. The quiet in spirit best make a livelihood. Further, certain special advantages of this quietness may be noted. 1. Depth. " Still

•waters run deep." We can look far into the quiet lake, while only the surface-waves of one that is fretted with cross-winds can be seen. The calm, brooding soul knows depths of thought and secret experience that are unfathomable to the foolish, restless, noisy soul. 2. Strength. The silent forest grows strong. The mind is made vigorous by patient endurance. One who is calm is master of the situation, while another who is fretted and flurried feels lost and helpless. 3. Fruitfulness. The calm, strong, silent soul, vigorous and yet unostentatious, ripens best the fruits of experience. Such a one does most real work. 4. Beneficence. oise vexes the world, and a restless, complaining spirit is a weariness to men. The quiet spirit breathes a perpetual benediction. Its very presence is soothing and healing. III. The Attainment of A Quiet Spirit. o doubt there are great constitutional differences in this respect, and while some are naturally or by ill health restless, irritable, demonstrative, others are naturally quiet, self-possessed, even reserved. Due allowance must be made for these differences before we attempt to judge our brethren. Still, there is a measure of quietness attainable by the use of the right means, viz.: 1. Self-mastery. When a man has conquered himself, the tumult of civil war in his breast ceases. 2. Faith. To trust God, to know that he is doing all well, to seek and obtain the help of his Holy Spirit, are to find the secret of peace and quietness of soul. 3. Love. Selfishness makes us restless. " A heart at leisure from itself " can learn to be patient and calm.”

31 He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.
The Message, “You insult your Maker when you exploit the powerless; when you're kind to the poor, you honor God. 1. o verse in the Bible is more clear than this on the issue of charity, and the obligation of righteous people to care for the poor. The poor have always been a part of every culture, and nothing ever changes that. It is inevitable that the poor will always be, and it is therefore, a perpetual obligation for believers in God, and in Christ, to be faithful in giving to those whose ministry is to the poor. Fortunately, there are many such people and organizations that represent God's love to the poor, and so there is no excuse for not giving to the poor. It is one of the easiest ways there is to honor God, and fulfill a Christian duty. 1B. Oppression of the poor was a major problem in Israel according to Amos. (Am 2:6-7) They sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals. They trample on the heads of the poor as upon the dust of the ground and deny justice to

the oppressed. (Am 5:11-12) You trample on the poor and force him to give you grain ... You oppress the righteous and take bribes and you deprive the poor of justice in the courts. This was also what brought the wrath of God down on Sodom. (Ezek 16:49-50) “ ow this was the sin of ... Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy ... Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.” Job dreaded the thought that he would ever neglect his duty to the poor. (Job 31:1617,22-23) “If I have denied the desires of the poor or let the eyes of the widow grow weary, {17} if I have kept my bread to myself, not sharing it with the fatherless ... then let my arm fall from the shoulder, let it be broken off at the joint. {23} For I dreaded destruction from God, and for fear of his splendor I could not do such things.” 2. Charles Bridges, “He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.” “Are not the poor no less than the rich "made in the image of God?" (Gen. ix. 6.) Both "meet together" before their Maker without respect of persons. (Chap. xxii. 2. Job, xxxi. 15.) Both carry the same undying principle in their bosom. Both sink to the same humiliating level of death. Both rise to the same eminence of immortality. Besides--have not the poor a special interest in, the Gospel? Was not the Gospel first spread by the poor? Has not the voluntary poverty of the Son of God for us put high honor upon the lowly condition? Then what ground is there to oppress the poor, as if they were of a lower grade than ourselves? This involves the guilt of reproaching our Maker. (Chap. xvii. 5.) It is slighting his own work; despising his own ordinance (Deut. xv. 11), and charging him with injustice, as if he had formed the poor to be the footstool of their oppressors. (1 Sam. ii. 7.) Would we honor God? We must not only refrain from oppressing; but we, must have mercy on the poor. Sure and large is the interest of this mercy (Chap. xix. 17. Ps. xli. 1) in the case of the Lord's poor. High indeed is the privilege, and everlasting the recompense, of honoring the Savior in his own person. (Matt. xxv. 40.) 3. Let God Be True, “It is impossible to be a Christian and mistreat the poor. It does not matter if you sing, "Oh, how I love Jesus." It does not matter if you attend a church to pretend to worship God. Pure religion before the all-seeing eyes of God is to take care of the poor (Jas 1:27). As the proverb declares plainly, true honor of God involves mercy toward the poor. The poor are often defenseless and helpless. If you take advantage of them in this weak condition, you reproach God their Creator. He will avenge all such offences (Deut 10:17-18; Ps 68:5). You reproach God by abusing His creation of the poor and

His providence in leaving them poor (I Sam 2:7). He made both the rich and poor, and no matter how rich you might be, you are no better than the poor (17:5; 22:2,16,22-23). You are not a self-made man. If you are rich, it is not because of your ability, effort, or intelligence. Time and chance, by the providence of God, has made you what you are today (Eccl 9:11). God gave you what you have, and it is a sin to boast as if you did not receive it as a gift (I Cor 4:7). You are God's gift away from being the poor yourself. It is dangerous and deceitful religion that takes comfort in a form of godliness without the true power of holy living (II Tim 3:1-5). Charity and love are the great evidence of a true Christian. Faith is not such good evidence, because the devils believe and tremble (Jas 2:19). But the labor of love toward the poor shall never be forgotten (Matt 25:31-46; I Cor 12:31; 13:13; I Thess 1:2-4; I Tim 6:17-19; Heb 6:10; II Pet 1:5-7). Some think that inviting Jesus into their heart is the condition, evidence, and proof of eternal life. But the only verse in the Bible that uses language close to this has nothing to do with eternal life (Rev 3:20). The real evidence and proof of eternal life is considering the poor and spending your money to take care of them (I John 3:1719). Religion in form or ritual is meaningless to God. In fact, He hates it (Is 1:10-15; 58:1-5)! He wants religion of the heart, which gives away your money, for those who have no claim on your mercy (Is 1:16-20; 58:6-11). A man that truly knows God is always thinking outside his own little life to help and serve others (Acts 20:35; II Cor 12:14-15). Of course, not all the poor are worthy of care. If a man does not do all he can do, then he is lazy. Starvation is the best gift for him (20:4; II Thess 3:10). God only cares about legitimate needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter, of real victims, such as orphans, widows, or a wounded man the Lord puts in your way (Is 58:7; Luke 10:25-37). God will reward the man who honors Him by taking care of the poor (19:17; 28:27; Ps 41:1). It is a win-win-win situation to help the poor - you are practicing pure religion, the poor rejoice at your kindness, and the Lord will prosper you! The more money you scatter in their direction, the faster and farther you will get ahead (11:24-26). Guaranteed! It is amazing to watch the covetous get farther and farther behind, while the generous get farther and farther ahead. The more you give away, the more you will have; the less you give away, the less you will have. The blessed God of heaven will overrule the math every time! This wisdom is too high for the fools at business schools (24:7)!

God Himself takes care of the poor far beyond anything you have ever considered. If it were not for the willingness of Jesus Christ to become poor for the sake of His elect, they would live and die in utter spiritual poverty and then drop into hell for eternity. But He became poor that they might be made rich with eternal life (II Cor 8:9)! Praise the Lord! 4. Henry, “is here pleased to interest himself more than one would imagine in the treatment given to the poor. 1. He reckons himself affronted in the injuries that are done them. Whosoever he be that wrongs a poor man, taking advantage against him because he is poor and cannot help himself, let him know that he puts an affront upon his Maker. God made him, and gave him his being, the same that is the author of our being; we have all one Father, one Maker; see how Job considered this, Job_31:15. God made him poor, and appointed him his lot, so that, if we deal hardly with any because they are poor, we reflect upon God as dealing hardly with them in laying them low, that they might be trampled upon. 2. He reckons himself honoured in the kindnesses that are done them; he takes them as done to himself, and will show himself accordingly pleased with them. I was hungry, and you gave me meat.Those therefore that have any true honour for God will show it by compassion to the poor, whom he has undertaken in a special manner to protect and patronise. 5. Gill, “that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker,.... That does him any injury, either by scoffing at him, and reproaching him for his poverty; or by vexatious law suits; or by withholding from him his wages; or not giving him that relief which he ought: such an one not only injures the poor man; but reproaches God that made him, not only a man, but a poor man; and who is the Maker of the rich man also, Pro_22:2; but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor; he that is desirous of honouring God, and glorifying him, will give of his substance to the poor; having compassion on him in his necessitous circumstances, will relieve him; and in so doing he honours God, whose image the poor man bears, and who has commanded him so to do. The words may be rendered, "he that hath mercy on the poor honoureth him"; that is, his Maker: so the Targum, "he that hath mercy on him that suffers injury honoureth him.'' 6. Keil, “showing of forbearance and kindness to the poor arising from a common relation to one Creator, and from respect towards a personality bearing the image of God, is a conception quite in the spirit of the Chokma, which, as in the Jahve religion it becomes the universal religion, so in the national law it becomes the human. Thus also Job_31:15, cf. Pro_3:9of the Epistle of James, which in many respects has its roots in the Book of Proverbs. Mat_25:40is a ew Testament sidepiece to 31b.”

32 When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down, but even in death the righteous have a refuge.
1. The battle is never over for the righteous, for even when the worst happens to them, they still have an eternal refuge in God. Fear not those who can kill the body Jesus said, for when they have done their worse to you, that is all they can do, but they cannot touch your eternal soul that is in the hands of God. Death is the last of hope for the wicked, but it it just the beginning for the righteous. 2. Charles Bridges, “The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death.” “We cannot judge men by their outward condition, for "there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked." (Eccles. ix. 2.) Such a judgment would often throw the balance on the wrong side. (Ps. Lxxiii. 12.) The standard of the world is not less erroneous. While men rarely give an unqualified commendation of their neighbors in mutual intercourse; yet—as respects God--all are good enough for heaven. A hope is entertained of the most criminal, that they, will be taken to mercy at last. And thus the distinctive terms — righteous and wicked--so confounded, and brought so near each other, that there is little meaning in either. But now let us turn to this striking picture before us, which sweeps away all human standards. Eternity is here realized before us—the wicked and the righteous— each "going to his own place." (Acts, i. 25.) Let us ponder the sight with deep-toned solemnity. 0 my soul, "make thy calling sure! "The wicked includes a diversified mass of character. Many are amiable, useful, and in a variety of ways exemplary. Others are Absorbed in vanity; or they wear themselves away by the lamp of study; or they are given up to selfish indulgence. But whatever be the external shape or feature, the stamp is every way broad--"forget- fulness of God"--and the condemnation sealed--"turned into hell." (Ps. ix. 17.) Truly is the wicked pictured as driven away in his wickedness. He is dragged out of life, like a criminal to execution; torn away from his only heaven here, with no joyous heaven beyond. (Job, xviii. 18; xxvii. 21.) Dreadful beyond imagination to the thus forced out of the body, to die a violent death. Fain would he stay. But he cannot. He cannot live. He dares not die. Sometimes he departs with a horror that no words can paint. Hell is manifestly begun on this side eternity. (1 Sam. xxviii. 15.) He is driven out of a world, which has cheated and damned his soul for ever. And even where he has “no bands in his death, but his strength is firm” (Ps. lxxiii. 4), where do we hear of "a desire to depart?" (Philip. i. 23.) Though he may fall asleep as softly as lambs, he will wake to live for ever "with the devil and his angels." His few moments of peace are only the respite from hopeless, never-ending

torments. His wickedness was his element in life. It will cleave to him still, the sting of the undying worm, the fuel of unquenchable fire. But is the righteous driven away? He dies by his own consent. It is a glad surrender, not a forcible separation. (Ps. xxxi. 5.) The tabernacle is not rent or torn away, but “put off.” (2 Pet. i. 14.) He can take death by his cold hand, and bid him welcome. ‘I can smile on death'—said a dying saint —‘because my Saviour smiles on me.' There, is courage to face "the King of terrors," and delight in looking homeward to his God.* There is loveliness and sunshine in his death, such as flashes conviction upon the most hardened conscience. ( uns. xxiii. 10.) The righteous hath hope in his death. His death is full of hope. Job pierced his dark cloud of sorrow with this joyous hope.1 David rested his way-warn spirit upon the Rock of salvation. Stephen anchored within the vail, undisturbed by the volley of stones without. Paul triumphed in the crown, as if it was already on his head. And hear we not daily "the voice from heaven," assuring to us the "blessedness of them that die in the Lord?" (Rev. xiv. 13.) Praise to our Immanuel! 'When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, thou didst open the kingdom of heaven to all believers.'† By thee as the way to the Kingdom we go freely, gladly, out of life. We go to what we love, to our native home, to our Saviour's bosom, to our rest, our crown, our everlasting joy. " ow, Lord, what wait I for? I have waited for thy salvation, 0 Lord." 3. Keil, “ The godless in his calamity is overthrown, or he fears in the evils which befall him the intimations of the final ruin; on the contrary, the righteous in his death, even in the midst of extremity, is comforted, viz., in God in whom he confides. Thus understood, Hitzig thinks that the proverb is not suitable for a time in which, as yet, men had not faith in immortality and in the resurrection. Yet though there was no such revelation then, still the pious in death put their confidence in Jahve, the God of life and of salvation - for in Jahve there was for ancient Israel the beginning, middle, and end of the work of salvation - and believing that they were going home to Him, committing their spirit into His hands (Psa_31:6), they fell asleep, though without any explicit knowledge, yet not without the hope of eternal life. Job also knew that (Job_27:8.) between the death of those estranged from God and of those who feared God there was not only an external, but a deep essential distinction; and now the Chokmaopens up a glimpse into the eternity heavenwards, Pro_15:24, and has formed, Pro_12:28, the expressive and distinctive word ‫,אַל־מוֶת‬ ָ for immortality, which breaks like a ray from the morning sun through the night of the Sheol. 4. Clarke, “The wicked is driven away in his wickedness - does not leave life cheerfully. Poor soul! Thou hast no hope in the other world, and thou leavest the present with the utmost regret! Thou wilt not go off; but God will drive thee. But the righteous hath hope in his death - He rejoiceth to depart and be with Christ: to him death is gain; he is not reluctant to go - he flies at the call of God.”

5. Gill, “The wicked is driven away in his wickedness,.... That is, at death, as the opposite clause shows; he is driven out of the world, his heart is so much set on; from all the good things of it, which are his all, his portion; from the place of his abode, which will know him no more; and from all his friends and acquaintance, with whom he has lived a merry and jovial life; he shall be driven out of light into darkness, even into outer darkness; into hell, which is a place of torment, a prison, a lake burning with fire and brimstone; he shall be driven as a beast is, driven: and such is the man of sin, who shall go into perdition; and such are his followers, and that will be their end, Rev_13:1; he shall be driven sore against his will; the righteous depart, and desire to depart; but the wicked are driven, and go unwillingly, with reluctance; they would fain flee out of the hand of God, and yet they have no power to withstand; go they must, they are driven forcibly and irresistibly: and it may also denote the suddenness of their death, and the swiftness of their destruction. The driver is not mentioned; it may be understood of the Lord himself, who, in and by a storm of his wrath, hurls them out of their place; or of death, as having a commission from him, when a man has no power over his spirit to retain it; or of angels, good or bad, employed by the Lord in driving their souls to hell upon their separation from their bodies. The circumstance, "in his wickedness", may denote their dying in their sins, unrepented of, unforgiven, and without faith in Christ; in the midst of them, in their full career of sin, under the power, faith, and guilt of it; and as sometimes, in the horror of a guilty conscience, in black despair, without any hope or view of pardon, the reverse of the righteous man; and so will have all their wickedness to answer for, it being not taken away, but found upon them: or this may be expressive of the cause of the wicked man's being driven away, namely, his wickedness; for so it may be rendered and interpreted, "because of his wickedness" (n)it is for that he shall die and go to hell: or it may be rendered, "into his evil" (o); and so denote the everlasting punishment into which he shall go, being driven; but the righteous hath hope in his death; not in the death of the wicked man, as Aben Ezra, when he shall be delivered, and he can do him no more hurt; but in his own death; he dies as other men; his righteousness, though it delivers him from eternal death, yet not from a corporeal one; though the death of a righteous man is different from others; he dies in Christ, in the faith of him, and in hope of eternal life by him; and to die his death is very desirable: he has a hope of interest in the blessings of grace and glory; which is a good hope through grace; is wrought in him at regeneration; and is founded on that righteousness from whence he is denominated righteous, even the righteousness of Christ; and is of singular use and advantage to him in life: and this grace he exercises at death; it carries him through the valley of death, and above the fears of it; he hopes, though he dies, he shall rise again; and he hopes to be in heaven and happiness, immediately upon his dissolution, and to all eternity; he hopes to see God, be with Christ, angels and good men, for evermore. Jarchi's note is, "when he dies, he trusts he shall enter into the garden of Eden, or paradise.''

6. Henry, “The desperate condition of a wicked man when he goes out of the world: He is driven away in his wickedness.He cleaves so closely to the world that he cannot find in his heart to leave it, but is driven away out of it; his soul is required, is forced from him, And sin cleaves so closely to him that it is inseparable; it goes with him into another world; he is driven away in his wickedness,dies in his sins, under the guilt and power of them, unjustified, unsanctified. His wickedness is the storm in which he is hurried away, as chaff before the wind, chased out of the world. 2. The comfortable condition of a godly man when he finishes his course: He has hope in his deathof a happiness on the other side death, of better things in another world than ever he had in this. The righteousthen have the grace of hope in them; though they have pain, and some dread of death, yet they have hope. They have before them the good hoped for, even the blessed hope which God, who cannot lie, has promised.” 7. An unknown author wrote, “ But the righteous has hope in dying, for he has evidence of eternal life in his good works (Matt 25:31-40; II Pet 1:5-11; Rev 14:13). They know that death is only the temporary sleep of the body of those who shall live forever (Acts 7:60; 13:36). Their bodies simply wait in the grave for the great change of the resurrection (Job 19:25-27; Ps 49:15; 73:24). Death is a mercy to the righteous, and they know it by faith (Is 57:1-2). They consider it far better to depart from this life and to be with Christ (Phil 1:23). They know their death is a blessed event and precious in the sight of the Lord (Ps 116:15; Rev 14:13). They can and do believe that the day of their death is better than the day of their birth (Ec 7:1). This is hope! Substantial hope! And it is the sole property of the righteous!”

33 Wisdom reposes in the heart of the discerning and even among fools she lets herself be known.
1. Even a broken clock is right twice a day is a common proverb of our day, and it fits this one, for even among fools there will sometimes be displays of wisdom. Most commentaries take the view that wisdom reposes in the heart of the discerning, but exposes itself among fools. They cannot keep their mouth shut when they get some wisdom, but spout it out as if they are the authority on the matter at hand. However, the IV makes my interpretation the most likely. 2. Charles Bridges, “Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but that which is in the midst of fools is made known.” “Often does the wise man spew the blessing of wisdom on the lips. (Chap. x. 11, 20, 21; xv. 2, 7.) Here we trace it to its

home. It flows from the head, and rests in the heart. Thus did it rest without measure in the humanity of Jesus (John, iii. 34); and most glorious was its manifestation. When it rests in our hearts, incalculable is its value, as a fixed principle. It preserves us from the tossing of "divers and strange doctrines," and gives us "the good thing of a heart established with grace." (Heb. xiii. 9.) We see now the vital difference between speculation and experience; between the convictions of the judgment and the movement of the will. It differs widely from mere worldly disputation. This--as Bishop Taylor observes — ‘covers no vices, but kindles a great many. Though men esteem it learning, it is the most useless learning in the world.' True wisdom, while it fixes its rest, sets up its throne, in the heart. All is therefore Christian order and holiness. But there is another fountain always bubbling up. The fool's multitude of words, selfish indulgence, uncontrolled passions, make manifest what is in the midst of him. Let him stand out as a warning beacon against display, self-conceit, self-ignorance. ever let our prayers cease, until He who is the Wisdom of God (1 Con i. 24) "takes his rest in our hearts." Have we received the precious gift? Then let us seek the increase by a close union with him, and an entire dependence upon him. (Ib. ver. 30.) Does not this text clearly prove that, while "life and immortality were brought to light by the gospel" (2 Tim. i. 10), the dawn of the day beamed upon the Old Testament saints? What could this hope of the righteous be, but the consummating prospect of the Gospel? Bishop Warburton (Div. Leg. B. vi § 3) expounds. ‘that they shall be delivered from the most imminent danger.' That sagacious mind could never have confounded two things so essentially distinct, as hope in death, and hope of escape from death had it not been necessary to subserve a favorite hypothesis. Equally satisfactory and beautiful is the note of a learned German critic —'A splendid testimony of the knowledge of the Old Testament believer in a future life. The wicked in this calamity is agitated with the greatest terror. He knows not where to turn. But the godly in this last evil has no fear. He knows to whom to flee, and where he is going.' 3. Let God Be True, “There are two big differences between a wise man and a fool. First, the heart of a wise man has understanding, but the heart of a fool is filled with stupidity. Second, a wise man has the humility to keep his wisdom to himself, but the fool's confidence causes him to pour out the foolishness in his heart (13:16; 15:2,28; 29:11). Wisdom and modesty make a great man, but the combination of foolishness and pride make an offensive loser. Dissect the proverb carefully. An understanding man, a man with discretion, knowledge, and prudence, keeps his wisdom resting in his heart. He does not throw his opinion around every opportunity he gets. He does not mind being a listener. In fact, he would rather not speak unless asked or expected to do so. He is a man of few words, and you often have to work to get him to share his wisdom (10:19; 15:28; 17:27; 20:5; Eccl 9:17).

However, a fool wants to tell everyone his thoughts. His greatest joy is talking, for he believes he has great insights to offer (18:2). Once he starts talking, he is difficult to stop. He keeps babbling, regardless of whether he knows the subject or not (Eccl 10:12-14). Though a fool is ignorant and stupid, his pride and lack of discretion cause him to pour out the folly inside. He could improve his reputation just by closing his mouth (17:28)! Reader, you must ask yourself two questions. Do I have wisdom and understanding in my heart? And, do I keep it there until serious and sober men ask for it for noble reasons? Your answers to these two questions will indicate clearly whether you are a great wise person or a despicable fool. In fact, better than your answers, what would others say about you? Do others perceive you to be wise and discreet? Or foolish and talkative? What can you do about your heart? This book of Proverbs offers wisdom throughout (1:1-6; 8:1-5; 9:4-6). It tells the precise starting point - the fear of God (1:7; 9:10). It compares wise men and fools over and over, for you to choose the former and despise the latter. Wisdom is not far away! Change your life, and fill your heart with wisdom from heaven! It is the principal goal of a successful life (4:7). And it brings great rewards (4:8). What can you do about your mouth? This book of Proverbs says much about your speech, because it is the primary indicator of your heart and affects others the most (4:24; 10:32; 13:3; 14:7; 17:7; 18:7; 20:15; 22:11; 24:26). It assumes that you can learn discreet, wise, and gracious speech (15:28; 16:23; 22:17-18). Since the Lord Jesus Christ said you will be judged by your words in the Day of Judgment, it is time you applied yourself more diligently to perfect your heart and your speech (Matt 12:34-37; Ps 19:14; 139:23-24). 4. Keil gives a different perspective: “the heart of the understanding wisdom rests, i.e., remains silent and still, for the understanding feels himself personally happy in its possession, endeavours always the more to deepen it, and lets it operate within; on the contrary, wisdom in the heart of fools makes itself manifest: they are not able to keep to themselves the wisdom which they imagine they possess, or the portion of wisdom which is in reality theirs; but they think, as it is said in Persius: Scire tuum nihil est nisi scire hoc te sciat alter. They discredit and waste their little portion of wisdom (instead of thinking on its increase) by obtrusive ostentatious babbling.” 5. Barnes, ““Wisdom” is the subject of both clauses. She is “made nown,” i. e., by the very force of contrast, in the midst of fools; or she is reserved and reticent in the one, noisy and boastful in the other. The Septuagint and some other versions get over the difficulty, by reading “Wisdom is not made known.” 6. Gill, “resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding,.... It is in his heart, as the treasury where it is laid up, and where it is kept in safety; here it lies hid and

undiscerned, unmolested and undisturbed; no noise is made about it, or any ostentation of it; it dwells quietly and constantly there; but that which isin the midst of fools is made known; the least share of knowledge which such persons have, or think they have, does not lie long in the midst of them; they take every opportunity of showing it to others, or of letting others know what they have attained to; and thereby, instead of getting the character of wise and prudent men, obtain that of fools; for, though a prudent man is communicative of his knowledge to others, it is at proper times, and in proper places, and to proper persons, which fools do not observe; but, without any manner of judgment or discretion, or regard to persons, places, and seasons, vainly thrust out their knowledge, and so proclaim their folly. The Syriac version is, "in the heart of fools it shall not be known;'' it has no place there.”

34 Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.
1. Chuck Smith, “If I had anything to do about that kind of thing, I would have this over the Capitol, over the Supreme Court, over the White House. I would have this all through Washington, D.C., and in every state capital. This motto, "Righteousness exalts a nation: sin is a reproach to any people." The history of the nation of Israel, oh that we could read it and study it and benefit by it, because it was all written for our examples. God put the whole thing there as an example to us that we might learn. And what is the lesson to be learned from the history of the nation of Israel? Whenever they honor the Lord and sought the Lord, God blessed them and prospered them and they were strong and they subdued their enemies and they lived in happiness and prosperity and peace. Whenever they turned from the Lord and turned to the flesh and lived after the flesh, then they were subjugated by their enemies. They came into bondage and they were destroyed. Oh, how important that a nation be established in righteousness. "Righteousness exalts a nation." 1B. Henry, “, reigning in a nation, puts an honour upon it. A righteous administration of the government, impartial equity between man and man, public countenance given to religion, the general practice and profession of virtue, the protecting and preserving of virtuous men, charity and compassion to strangers (almsare sometimes called righteousness), these exalt a nation;they uphold the throne, elevate the people's minds, and qualify a nation for the favour of God, which will make them high, as a holy nation,Deu_26:19. 2. Vice, reigning in a nation, puts disgrace upon it: Sin is a reproach to anycity or kingdom, and renders them despicable among their neighbours. The people of Israel were often instances of

both parts of this observation; they were great when they were good, but when they forsook God all about them insulted them and trampled on them. It is therefore the interest and duty of princes to use their power for the suppression of vice and support of virtue.” 1C. Gill, “exalteth a nation,.... Administered by the government, and exercised by subjects towards one another; doing justice between man and man: this exalts a nation, as it did the people of Israel, while practiced among them; this sets a people above their neighbors, and high in the esteem of God and men; and is attended with privileges and blessings, which make a nation great and honorable. Some understand this of aims deeds, or beneficence to the poor; which, both in the Hebrew and Greek languages, is called righteousness; See Gill on Mat_6:1. It may be put for the whole of true religion, which is an honor to a nation, where it obtains; and is what makes the holy nation, and peculiar people, so truly illustrious; and particularly the righteousness of Christ makes such who are interested in it really great and noble, and promotes and exalts them to heaven and happiness; but sin isa reproach to any people; where vice reigns, iniquity abounds, profaneness, impiety, and immorality of all sorts prevail, a people become mean and despicable; they fall into poverty and contempt; are neither able to defend themselves, nor help their neighbors, and so are despised by them. The word rendered "reproach" most commonly signifies "mercy" or goodness; and some render it, "and the mercy of a people is a sin offering" (p); or as one: or it is so "to the nations"; it is as good as a sacrifice for sin, of which the word is sometimes used, or better, more acceptable to God, "who will have mercy, and not sacrifice", Mat_9:13; even beneficence and kindness to the poor, the same with righteousness, as before. I think it may be as well rendered, "the piety" or religion "of the nations is sin" (q); it being idolatry, as Aben Ezra observes: such is the religion of the antichristian nations, who worship idols of gold and silver; and though they may afflict themselves, as Gersom remarks of the idolatrous nations, with fasting and penance, with whippings and scourgings; yet it is nothing else but sin, will worship, and superstition.” 2. Charles Bridges, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” “If it be not beneath statesmen to take lessons from the Bible, let them deeply ponder this sound political maxim, which commends itself to every instinct of the unsophisticated mind; Indeed it would be a strange anomaly in the Divine administration, if the connection between godliness and prosperity, ungodliness and misery, established in individual cases, should not obtain in the multiplication of individuals into nations. The Scripture records however--confirmed by the result of impartial and extended observation, clearly prove this to be the rule of national, no less than of personal, dispensation. The annals of the chosen people, as they were a righteous or sinful nation, are marked by corresponding exaltation or reproach. ot the wisdom of policy, extent of empire, splendid conquests, flourishing trade, abundant resources, but righteousness, exalteth a nation. It is both ‘he prop to make it subsist firm in itself, and a crown to render it glorious in the eyes of others.'

Greece in her proud science; Rome in the zenith of her glory, both were sunk in the lowest depths of moral degradation. Their true greatness existed only in the visions of poesy, or the dream of philosophy. Contrast the influence of righteousness, bringing out of the most debased barbarism a community, impregnated with all the high principles, that form a nation's well-being. Thus to Christianize, is to regenerate, the community; to elevate it to a more dignified position; to exalt the nation (Deut. xxvi. 16-19), and that, not with a sudden flash of shadowy splendour, but with solid glory, fraught with every practical blessing. But sin is a reproach to any people. o nation is so low, as not to sink low under it; while to the mightiest people, it is a blot in their escutcheon, that no worldly glory can efface. What an enemy is an ungodly man to his country! Loudly as he may talk of his patriotism, and even though God should make him an instrument of advancing her temporal interest; yet he contributes, so far as in him lies, to her deepest reproach. 3. Clarke, “The plain meaning of the original seems to be, A national disposition to mercy appears in the sight of God as a continual sin-offering. ot that it atones for the sin of the people; but, as a sin-offering is pleasing in the sight of the God of mercy, so is a merciful disposition in a nation. This view of the verse is consistent with the purest doctrines of free grace. And what is the true sense of the words, we should take at all hazards and consequences: we shall never trench upon a sound creed by a literal interpretation of God’s words. o nation has more of this spirit than the British nation. It is true, we have too many sanguinary laws; but the spirit of the people is widely different. any one will contend for the common version, he has my consent; and I readily agree in the saying, Sin is the reproach of any people. It is the curse and scandal of man. Though I think what I have given is the true meaning of the text.” 3B. Keil, “The proverb means all nations without distinction, even Israel (cf. under Isa_1:4) not excluded. History everywhere confirms the principle, that not the numerical, nor the warlike, nor the political, nor yet the intellectual and the socalled civilized greatness, is the true greatness of a nation, and determines the condition of its future as one of progress; but this is its true greatness, that in its private, public, and international life, ‫ ,צְדָ קָה‬i.e., conduct directed by the will of God, according to the norm of moral rectitude, rules and prevails. Righteousness, good manners, and piety are the things which secure to a nation a place of honour, while, on the contrary, ‫ ,חטָּאת‬sin, viz., prevailing, and more favoured and fostered than ַ contended against in the consciousness of the moral problem of the state, is a disgrace to the people, i.e., it lowers them before God, and also before men who do not judge superficially or perversely, and also actually brings them down.” 4. Let God Be True, “The wickedness of the seven nations of Canaan, which wasn't much worse than segments of America, caused God to say of them, "And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants" (Lev 18:25). He warned Israel the same thing could happen to

them, "Ye shall therefore keep all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: that the land, whither I bring you to dwell therein, spue you not out" (Lev 20:22). Why is America declining? Adam Smith, who in 1776 wrote "An Inquiry into the ature and Causes of the Wealth of ations," did not know. But Solomon, the wisest king and political analyst who ever lived, did know. Here is his inspired wisdom from Jehovah: righteousness makes a nation great; sin destroys and shames nations. There is no ew Deal to stop this old proverb! o president or executive action will stave off our decline. o legislation can patch this sinking ship. And no court order will stay the hand of the Most High. Unless America repents, she is going down, down, down! More money for education, legislation reforming prisons, or ike sponsoring basketball tournaments in the ghetto will not roll this snowball back up the hill (19:21; 21:30)! Political and social projects are vanity and a waste. They miss the problem. They have accomplished nothing of value, and instead they cause further damage by distracting men from the real cure to a charade! As long as man has hope in man, there will be no slowing the decay, for there is no hope in man! Only Jehovah and righteousness can save us! How do we measure the exaltation or reproach of a nation? America was once great like Israel was great under Moses, David, and Solomon. Both nations were known for wisdom, justice, peace, morality, witty inventions, riches, strength, honor, good government, excellent laws, and God's presence (8:12-21). But as Israel became a reproach, so are we. ow we are known for folly, crime, fear, excess, conflict, debt, poverty, weakness, bureaucratic government, legal confusion, and decayed religion. What causes the exaltation or reproach of a nation? When a nation fears Jehovah and keeps His Scriptures, that nation will be exalted quickly and surely, for they are following the only manual for public and private wisdom in the universe. When a nation allows and promotes sin, it will become a disgrace and shame; for sin by definition is the choice of perversity over propriety (Deut 4:5-8). The explanation is simple. The true God declared, "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God" (Ps 9:17). Christian reader, what are you doing to preserve our nation? Your duties are to live righteously, and thus contend with the wicked (28:4), pray for our nation (Jer 29:7), and hold the line in all areas of moral decay and decline that are rampant in our country (Ezek 22:30). As the Lord agreed to save Sodom for Lot's righteous family, holy living and praying saints could prolong the tranquility of the nation (I Tim 2:13; Dan 4:27). But rather than singing "God Bless America," as if He owes us a blessing in spite of our sins; we must return to the only wisdom in the universe - our Creator's will

declared in the Holy Scriptures of Jehovah. We must hold the line at Scripture only - the strait gate and narrow way of Jesus Christ - without following the wicked to hell, just one or two steps behind them! Restrained compromise is not righteousness; it is presumptuous sin! Is there long-term hope for America? Maybe, if America turns and repents, deeply and quickly. God told Solomon, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land" (II Chron 7:14). But even Israel went so far as to forfeit deliverance, no matter who would have been praying for her (Jer 15:1; Ezek 14:14)! The Psalmist knew there was hope for the righteous, if they would separate from the wicked. He wrote, "Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood: That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace: That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store: that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets: That our oxen may be strong to labor; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets. Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD" (Ps 144:11-15). 5. Pulpit Commentary, “ ational righteousness. I. Righteousness is Required In A ation. Morality has not yet been sufficiently applied to politics. It is forgotten that the ten commandments relate to communities as well as to individuals, because they are based on the eternal and all-embracing principles of righteousness. Men have yet to learn that that which is wrong in the individual is wrong in the society. ations make war on one another for reasons which would never justify individual men in fighting a duel. Yet if it is wrong for a man to steal a field, it must be wrong for a nation to steal a province; and if an individual man may not cut his neighbor's throat out of revenge without being punished as a criminal, there is nothing to justify a whole community in shooting down thousands of people for no better motive. If selfishness even is sinful in one man, selfishness cannot be virtuous in thirty millions of people. The reign of righteousness must govern public and national movements if the will of God is to be respected. IL Righteousness is A Blessing To A ation. To the cynical politician such "counsels of perfection" as command conscience in government, and especially in international action, appear to be simply quixotic. He holds the application of it to be wholly impracticable; he imagines that it must involve nothing but national ruin. Hence, it is maintained, there is no right hut might, because there is no international tribunal and no general authority over the nations. The two points must be kept distinct—the internal life of the nation and its foreign policy. 1. Internal life. There are national sins in the sense of sins committed by a great part of a nation—sins that

shamefully characterize it. Thus drunkenness is to a large extent an English national sin. The oppression of one class by another, a general prevalence of business dishonesty, a frivolous pleasure-seeking fashion, all affect the nation's life when they are largely extended among any people. These things eat out the very heart of a nation. For a nation's sin the punishment is on earth, because the nation goes on while individuals die, and so there is time for the deadly fruit of sin to ripen. So was it with Israel, Babylon, Rome, etc. 2. Foreign policy. Wars of aggression may aggrandize the victorious people for a time. But they rouse the hatred of their victims. A high-handed policy thus multiplies a nation's enemies. It is dangerous to be an outlaw among the nations. Above all, there is a just Ruler, who will put down the tyrant and punish the guilty nation. III. Righteousness May Be Obtained In A ation By Following The Rule Of Christ. It is difficult to make an unchristian nation behave in a Christian manner. The sermon on the mount was addressed to disciples of Christ (Matt. v. 1). ational righteousness will follow national submission to the will of Christ. The reason why the nations snarl at one another like wild beasts is just that the inhabitants of the nations do not yet follow Christ. He came to set up the kingdom of heaven on earth, and when this kingdom is established in the hearts of the citizens, the nations, which are but the aggregates of citizens, will learn to follow righteousness.” 6. Criswell gives us some great thoughts and poems about the righteousness that exalts our nation, or of the sins that bring shame. “one in 12 persons in America attends church. Seven out of eight children quit Sunday school and church before they reach 15. As I read these statistics, I think, “How could it be that our country is drifting into a climate where crime and violence and irreligion and ungodliness and lawlessness characterize the culture and fabric of our society?” Then, I think: “Where does the seed of that disobedience and disloyalty come from? It comes from the fathers and mothers in the home.” One teenager in high school wrote a poem entitled, “Don't Blame the Children.” This is the poem that youngster wrote: They don't make the movies. They don't write the books. They don't paint colorful pictures of gangsters and crooks. They don't make the liquor. They don't run the bars. They don't make the laws. They don't make the cars. They don't peddle the drugs that addle the brain. That's done by older folks greedy for gain. Delinquent teenagers? Oh, how we condemn The sins of a nation and blame it on them.

By the laws of the blameless, the Lord made it known Why look at children to cast the first stone? For more likely, it's sad but true The title delinquent fits older folks, too. The convicts in the Missouri State Penitentiary published in their prison journal “Twelve Ways to Help Your Child Become a Juvenile Delinquent.” “ o. 1: Begin with infancy to give the child everything he wants. o. 2: When he picks up bad words or dirty, laugh at him. o. 3: ever give him any spiritual training until he's 21, and then let him decide for himself. o. 4: By the same logic, never teach him the English language. Maybe when he's old enough he'll want to speak that, too. o. 5: Avoid the use of the word ‘wrong.’ It may develop in the child a guilt complex. o. 6: Do everything for him. o. 7: Let him read anything he wants. o. 8: Quarrel in the presence of him. In this way, he'll be prepared for a broken home. o. 9: Give him all the spending money he wants. o. 10: Satisfy his every craving. o. 11: Take his part against policemen, teachers and neighbors. o. 12: When he gets into trouble, always defend yourself and say, ‘I never could do anything with him.’” Where lies the seed of the crime and the delinquency and the violence that is increasingly characterizing American culture and life? It lies in the home, and it lies in the father and the mother. That means that when we seek an amelioration, when we seek an answer, when we seek a deliverance, we must find it in the home, in father and mother. Some people think that miracles all happened long ago, And some folks say the Holy Bible really isn't so. They say it's just a fairy tale; that science doubts the Word. But since Jesus came into our house, a miracle occurred. Since Jesus came to our house, our dad no longer drinks. You'll find no empty bottles smelling up the sink. ow when he gets his paycheck, no tavern sees his face.

Since Jesus came to our house, our home's a better place. There are no quarrels at our house since Jesus is our guest. And Mom, she burned the playing cards, the ones she loved them best. ow when she calls out supper, and everyone's in place, There's joy around the table, as our daddy says the grace. Every Sunday finds us at Sunday School again Where folks are warm and friendly and our blessings never end. Then we listen to the preacher, then our heads we gently bow, Since Jesus came to our house, our lives are different now. Our home is like a heaven, and our hearts are filled with love, And the circle won't be broken in that mansion up above. When the saints are called to glory, we'll all gather around the throne. Since Jesus came to our house, we're a blessed Christian home. Just anyone can build a house Within a month or two, But when you try to make a home, You never do get through. Start with a couple deep in love And home is anyplace. Give them a roof snug overhead And a smiling baby face. To raise that baby to a man Will take a lot of care. A house is built on nails and wood, But a home is built on prayer.

What makes a nation great? ot military ranks with flags unfurled, or armored ships that gird the world, or wealth nor busy mills, or cattle on a thousand hills.

or sages wise nor schools nor laws, ot boasted deeds and freedoms cause. All these may be and yet the state In the eye of God be far from great. That land is great which knows the Lord, Whose songs are guided by His Word. Whose justice rules twixt man and man, Where loves controls an ardent plan. Where breathing in his native air, Each soul finds joy and praise and prayer. Thus may our country, good and great, Be God's delight, man's best estate. That makes a nation great. I know three things must always be To keep a nation strong and free. One is a hearthstone bright and dear, With busy happy loved ones near. One is a ready heart and hand To love and serve and keep the land. One is a worn and beaten way To where the people go to pray. So long as these are kept alive, ation and people will survive. God keep them always, everywhere, Those three: the hearth, the flag, and the place of prayer.

35 A king delights in a wise servant, but a shameful servant incurs his wrath.
1. othing profound here, for what king would ever want to be known as the ruler

who delights in his foolish shameful servants. All rulers delight in those who are wise, and who thereby help them rule by making intelligent decisions in leading their land to prosperity. Reward and judgment on all who serve is universal from God on down. Delight or anger is focused on all servants, for they are either helping by what is wise, or hindering by what is foolish. 2. Charles Bridges, “The king's favor is towards a wise servant: but his wrath is against him that causeth shame. The administration of the wise servant is often the working cause of national exaltation. (2 Chron. xxiv. 1-16.) The king's favor towards him is therefore the rule of sound policy. ot less so is his wrath against him that causeth shame (Esth. vii. 6-10) ‘to the office which he beareth, and to the Prince's choice.' Thus is it with the great King. All of us are his servants, bound to him by the highest obligations; animated by the most glowing encouragements. All of us have our responsibilities, our talents, our work, our account. Towards "the faithful and wise servant," who has traded with his talents, who has been diligent in his work, and who is ready for his account, his favor will be infinitely condescending and honorable. (John, xii. 26.) But against him that causeth shame--reflecting upon his Master, neglectful of his work, and unprepared for his account, his wrath will be tremendous and eternal. (Matt. Xxv. 24-30.) What will the solemn day of reckoning bring to me? May I--may we all--be found wise servants to the best of Kings! Looking with confidence for his welcome!” 3. Clarke, “The king should have an intelligent man for his minister; a man of deep sense, sound judgment, and of a feeling, merciful disposition. He who has not the former will plunge the nation into difficulties; and he who has not the latter will embark her in disastrous wars. Most wars are occasioned by bad ministers, men of blood, who cannot be happy but in endeavoring to unchain the spirit of discord. Let every humane heart pray, Lord, scatter thou the people who delight in war! Amen so be it. Selah! 4. Let God Be True, “Discrimination is very rare, if a man is wise. Here is a general rule that exalts wisdom and condemns folly. Though the difference between a king and servant is very great, wise conduct will earn the king's favor and foolish conduct will bring his wrath. It is not a dislike of servants that brings the king's wrath; it is the shameful folly of the servant. A king is very happy to favor and promote a servant, if he shows himself wise. We live in the heyday of irresponsibility. o one wants to be accountable for their actions. They want to excuse themselves and blame others. They refuse responsibility for their own failures; they want to make others responsible. They expect much for little effort. They blame and condemn others, if they are not rewarded highly and quickly. Women use their sex as an excuse, blacks their color, the old their age, and the young their age. Hispanics, the handicapped, American Indians, and many others

want to blame uncontrollable factors for their status in life. So there is complaining about sexual, racial, age, and religious discrimination among other excuses. But the real problem 99% of the time is the incompetence, foolishness, or slothfulness of the party bellyaching. The proverb contains a rule. Wise conduct will bring promotion, no matter how great the difference between the one promoting and the one promoted. There is far less discrimination of sex, race, and age; and far more discrimination of character and conduct, than people want to admit. And discrimination of character and conduct is good. If a man is gracious with a pure heart, the king will be his friend (22:11). Lords reward those who fulfill their duties; they only punish the slothful (Matt 24:45-51). They do not arbitrarily punish the faithful and reward the slothful. A wise servant can be promoted over a shameful son and participate in the inheritance (17:2). Reverse discrimination! Character and conduct are the keys to promotion or punishment, and you choose either one as your reward (9:12; Gal 6:3-5). Don't blame discrimination or fate. Performance carries far more weight than preference, character far more than chance, and conduct far more than coincidence. Your situation in life is what you have made of your life. Don't let anything deter you from your course with the Lord or man. Every man shall give an account of himself soon. Do not be intimidated by the Lord we serve and bury your talent in the ground, for He is an austere man and expects to receive a return on His investment, even if it was only one talent. He rewards and punishes with perfect justice. 5. Gill, “king's favor istoward a wise servant,.... Who does his prince's business well, committed to him; manages all his affairs wisely and prudently; is diligent and careful to do everything for the king's honor, and the good of his subjects; such an one has a share in royal favor, a place in the affections of his master; and is sure to be promoted to honor by him, and exalted to higher places of trust and profit, as well as to be protected and defended by him: so Christ, the King of kings, shows favor to his wise and faithful servants, Luk_12:42; but his wrath is againsthim that causeth shame; who neglects his business, or does it foolishly; in such a manner as his prince is ashamed of him, and which brings shame and disgrace to himself; all which provokes the anger of his master, who discharges him from his service, and this fixes a mark of infamy upon him; see Luk_12:45.” 6. Henry, “This shows that in a well-ordered court and government smiles and favors are dispensed among those that are employed in public trusts according to their merits; Solomon lets them know he will go by that rule, 1. That those who behave themselves wisely shall be respected and preferred, whatever enemies they

may have that seek to undermine them. o man's services shall be neglected to please a party or a favorite. 2. That those who are selfish and false, who betray their country, oppress the poor, and sow discord, and thus cause shame,shall be displaced and banished the court, whatever friends they may make to speak for them.” 7. Proverbs has much to say about the king that applies to all who rule in nations. Pr.16:10 The lips of a king speak as an oracle, and his mouth should not betray justice. ( IV) Pr.16:12 Kings detest wrongdoing, for a throne is established through righteousness. ( IV) Pr.16:13 Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value a man who speaks the truth. ( IV) Pr.20:26 A wise king winnows out the wicked; he drives the threshing wheel over them. ( IV) Pr.22:11 He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend. ( IV) Pr.25:4-5: 4 Remove the dross from the silver, and out comes material for [a] the silversmith; 5 remove the wicked from the king's presence, and his throne will be established through righteousness. ( IV) Pr.29:4 By justice a king gives a country stability, but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down. ( IV) Pr.29:14 If a king judges the poor with fairness, his throne will always be secure. ( IV)

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