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Proverbs 10-12 Listen
All right! Now that the introduction is done...
You'll notice that chapter 10 begins with the words, "The proverbs of Solomon." That's because chapters 1-9 are really just the introduction to Solomon's collection of proverbs. In those chapters he made certain that his readers understood the contrast between the wisdom of God and the foolishness of men...along with the resulting actions of each.
1 The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.
2 Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.
3 The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.
4 He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.
5 He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.
6 Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.
7 The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot.
8 The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall.
9 He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.
10 He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow: but a prating fool shall fall.
11 The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.
12 Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.
13 In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.
14 Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.
15 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city: the destruction of the poor is their poverty.
16 The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.
17 He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.
18 He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.
19 In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.
20 The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth.
21 The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.
22 The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.
23 It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.
24 The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted.
25 As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.
26 As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.
27 The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.
28 The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.
29 The way of the LORD is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.
30 The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.
31 The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out.
32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.
All about the "fools" of Proverbs
The words fool(s), foolish, foolishness and foolishly occur 84 times in the Book of Proverbs. In none of these 84 times does the word describe one of diminished mental capacity. It always defines the negative attributes of a person which can be changed by the individual.
Three different Hebrew words are rendered fool in the Book of Proverbs:
Each of the proverbs in chapter 10 has a part A and a part B. Remember, all of these are based on the morality of the Law of Moses. I have my own proverbial derivative based upon Proverbs 10:12, "Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins." From the principle expressed in that verse you may have heard me say, "If someone likes you, you can't do anything wrong; if they don't like you, you can't do anything right." Do we get a little bit of insight into the state of dentistry during that era in verse 26? I would imagine that a mouth full of vinegar may very well irritate one's cavity-filled teeth...just like the lazy man who doesn't get the job done you sent him to do.
Verse 27 is worth memorizing, "The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened." As a matter of fact, this is actually part of the fifth Mosaic commandment in Exodus 20:12 (see notes), "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee." You will notice that many of these proverbs deal with conversation. You do not need to hear someone speak very long before you usually determine your level of respect for them. Foolish people talk foolishly...and many times slanderously. Solomon also identifies a problem in society...then and now - laziness. One difference is evident: apparently Solomon had no welfare system in place that rewarded laziness; today...most societies do.
Nobody likes to see the wicked prosper (Proverbs 11)
1 A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.
2 When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.
3 The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.
4 Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.
5 The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.
6 The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.
7 When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth.
8 The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead.
9 An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.
10 When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth: and when the wicked perish, there is shouting.
11 By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted: but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.
12 He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.
13 A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.
14 Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.
15 He that is surety for a stranger shall smart for it: and he that hateth suretiship is sure.
16 A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong men retain riches.
17 The merciful man doeth good to his own soul: but he that is cruel troubleth his own flesh.
18 The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness shall be a sure reward.
19 As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.
20 They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the LORD: but such as are upright in their way are his delight.
21 Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered.
22 As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.
23 The desire of the righteous is only good: but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.
24 There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.
25 The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.
26 He that withholdeth corn, the people shall curse him: but blessing shall be upon the head of him that selleth it.
27 He that diligently seeketh good procureth favour: but he that seeketh mischief, it shall come unto him.
28 He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.
29 He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.
30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.
31 Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.
Most of the proverbs in this chapter contrast the difference between the righteous and the wicked. As a matter of fact, the word "wicked" is used 9 times in this chapter. For instance, in selling goods, verse 1 speaks of intentionally over stating the weight of one's merchandise. You gotta love verse 10, "When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth: and when the wicked perish, there is shouting." Who likes to see wickedness prosper?!
A simple principle of decision making is found in Proverbs 11:14, "Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety." I memorized Proverbs 11:22 years ago. I like the way it sums it up. "As a jewel of gold in a swines snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion." I find amusing the visual image of dressing up a pig.
In verse 25 we see the reward of our generosity, "The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself." That's talking about being liberal in sharing one's personal resources; it's not a reference to certain politicians you may have seen. Finally, notice that wise people care about the spiritual welfare of others in verse 30, "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise."
Work hard...and don't be so talkative (Proverbs 12)
1 Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.
2 A good man obtaineth favour of the LORD: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn.
3 A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved.
4 A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.
5 The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit.
6 The words of the wicked are to lie in wait for blood: but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them.
7 The wicked are overthrown, and are not: but the house of the righteous shall stand.
8 A man shall be commended according to his wisdom: but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised.
9 He that is despised, and hath a servant, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread.
10 A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.
11 He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.
12 The wicked desireth the net of evil men: but the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit.
13 The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips: but the just shall come out of trouble.
14 A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompence of a man’s hands shall be rendered unto him.
15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.
16 A fool’s wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.
17 He that speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit.
18 There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.
19 The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.
20 Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellors of peace is joy.
21 There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief.
22 Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.
23 A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness.
24 The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.
25 Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.
26 The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour: but the way of the wicked seduceth them.
27 The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.
28 In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.
Here we have "wicked" used another 9 times (along with 9 times in chapter 11). How do you learn your lessons of life? Take note of verse 1, "Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish." The Hebrew adjective for "brutish" there means "stupid." Add to that verse 15, "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise." Notice verse 8, "A man shall be commended according to his wisdom: but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised." People take note of those who speak wisely.
Solomon deals with laziness in verses 11 and 14, but notice particularly verse 27, "The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious." He seems to be a big advocate of eating what you hunt.
As in previous chapters, the words one speaks define his character. Here's a verse that seems to say the most talkative person in the room is not necessarily the one you should be listening to: Proverbs 12:23, "A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness."