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For New King James text and comment, click here.
Proverbs 16-18 Listen
The Book of Proverbs is made up of short statements of conventional wisdom, often based upon the Mosaic Law. These were written by King Solomon. The first nine chapters of Proverbs serve as an introduction to wisdom. The rapid-fire statements begin in chapter 10. For more general information about Proverbs, click here to read the introduction.
How about casting lots? (Proverbs 16)
1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.
2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.
3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.
4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
5 Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.
6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.
7 When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
8 Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.
9 A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.
10 A divine sentence is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment.
11 A just weight and balance are the LORD’S: all the weights of the bag are his work.
12 It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.
13 Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right.
14 The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it.
15 In the light of the king’s countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain.
16 How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!
17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.
18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
19 Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.
20 He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.
21 The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.
22 Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly.
23 The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.
24 Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
26 He that laboureth laboureth for himself; for his mouth craveth it of him.
27 An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.
28 A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.
29 A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good.
30 He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass.
31 The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.
32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.
The Practice of Casting Lots
Casting lots was basically the visual equivalent of throwing dice today. Therefore, casting lots (to the Old Testament observer) may seem like an arbitrary selection of something or someone based strictly upon chance. However, Solomon writes in Proverbs 16:33, "The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD." We see a precedent in Leviticus 16:1-10 (see notes) that validates it as a God-recognized way for determining God's mind on an issue. The casting of lots was used in that passage to determine which goat would be freed (the "scapegoat") and which one would be sacrificed. The discovery of Achan as the culprit was apparently done by casting lots in Joshua 7:10-26 (see notes). And that's also the method used for distributing the land to the Tribes of Israel (Joshua 16, see notes). Saul was identified as the new king by Samuel, presumably with lots in I Samuel 10:19-24 (see notes). In I Samuel 14:36-43 (see notes) Saul used this technique to identify his own son (an unlikely suspect) as the culprit. Peter even used this procedure to select the replacement for Judas in Acts 1:12-26 (see notes). In the Old Testament, at least the people recognized that the casting of lots was a legitimate way of deciding an issue. That's a major reason why it worked.
Christians today have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit by which we make our decisions. The Holy Spirit today stands as the replacement for the Old Testament practice of casting lots. You must agree: Direct Holy Spirit leadership on an issue is better than throwing dice.
Following are a few Proverbs that particularly catch my eye:
Pay particular attention to verses 2 and 25. Solomon points out that man's carnal nature tends to plan at the exclusion of God...and comes up with a different plan.
Proverbs 16:2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.
Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
The key to a godly thought life
Proverbs 16:3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.
It worked for Solomon...and he got both!
Proverbs 16:16 How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!
Here's an oft-quoted proverb:
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
Hoary means gray.
Proverbs 16:31 The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.
Maintain your cool.
Proverbs 16:32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
Here's a verse on casting lots:
Proverbs 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.
For more information, see the box to the right of this screen.
Laughter...good medicine? (Proverbs 17)
1 Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.
2 A wise servant shall have rule over a son that causeth shame, and shall have part of the inheritance among the brethren.
3 The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.
4 A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips; and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue.
5 Whoso mocketh the poor reproacheth his Maker: and he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished.
6 Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.
7 Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.
8 A gift is as a precious stone in the eyes of him that hath it: whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.
9 He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.
10 A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.
11 An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him.
12 Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.
13 Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.
14 The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water: therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.
15 He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.
16 Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?
17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
18 A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.
19 He loveth transgression that loveth strife: and he that exalteth his gate seeketh destruction.
20 He that hath a froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief.
21 He that begetteth a fool doeth it to his sorrow: and the father of a fool hath no joy.
22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
23 A wicked man taketh a gift out of the bosom to pervert the ways of judgment.
24 Wisdom is before him that hath understanding; but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.
25 A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him.
26 Also to punish the just is not good, nor to strike princes for equity.
27 He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.
28 Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.
The necessity of trial
Proverbs 17:3 The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.
Here's a grandparents verse
Proverbs 17:6 Childrens children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.
(How many grandchildren do you suppose Solomon had?)
What do you do when you catch a friend in unbecoming activity?
Proverbs 17:9 He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.
(Watch out for the friend that seems to cover for you, but then forsakes you by repeating the offense to others.)
This is going around today.
Proverbs 17:15 He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the LORD.
Let's talk about real friendship
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
(True friendship, one based upon brotherly love, thrives in adversity.)
Laughter is the best medicine...or at least a good one.
Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
Two sides to every story (Proverbs 18)
1 Through desire a man, having separated himself, seeketh and intermeddleth with all wisdom.
2 A fool hath no delight in understanding, but that his heart may discover itself.
3 When the wicked cometh, then cometh also contempt, and with ignominy reproach.
4 The words of a man’s mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook.
5 It is not good to accept the person of the wicked, to overthrow the righteous in judgment.
6 A fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes.
7 A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul.
8 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
9 He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.
10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.
11 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit.
12 Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility.
13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.
14 The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?
15 The heart of the prudent getteth knowledge; and the ear of the wise seeketh knowledge.
16 A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.
17 He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him.
18 The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty.
19 A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.
20 A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.
22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.
23 The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly.
24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
Solomon had no tolerance for a lazy person.
Proverbs 18:9 He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.
Remember, there are two sides to every story
Proverbs 18:17 He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him.
It is good to marry.
Proverbs 18:22 Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD.
Here's the action of casting lots again.
Proverbs 18:18 The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty.
For more information, see the box to the right of this screen.
What do you look for in a friend?
Proverbs 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.