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For New King James text and comment, click here.
Proverbs 22-24 Listen
More on foolishness and spanking children (Proverbs 22)
1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
2 The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.
3 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.
4 By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.
5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.
6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
7 The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
8 He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.
9 He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.
10 Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.
11 He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.
12 The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, and he overthroweth the words of the transgressor.
13 The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.
14 The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall therein.
15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
16 He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.
17 Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.
18 For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips.
19 That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.
20 Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge,
21 That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?
22 Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
23 For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.
24 Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go:
25 Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.
26 Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts.
27 If thou hast nothing to pay, why should he take away thy bed from under thee?
28 Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.
29 Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.
Here are a few that I found particularly meaningful:
Reputation is extremely important.
Proverbs 22:1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
Who's training your children?
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
The Hebrew word for "Train up" here is interesting. The root is "khaw-nak´" which is used (with its derivatives) 17 times in the Old Testament. In every other occurrence it is translated "dedicate" (i.e. the temple, the altar, the House of God). Therefore, we may safely derive that Solomon's emphasis here is that a child be dedicated (set apart) just as the sacred altar, tabernacle or temple. Therefore, we're not just talking about training; we're talking about separating a child from corrupt influences as we train. So...what does "in the way he should go" mean? When one reads the Book of Proverbs, it appears quite clearly that Solomon differentiates two ways - the way of the wise and the way of the fool. For a clearer understanding of Solomon's reference to "fool," click here.
Are you familiar with the old saying, you reap what you sow? Here it is stated a little differently.
Proverbs 22:8 He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.
Lazy people find lots of excuses not to work.
Proverbs 22:13 The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.
Adulterers walk a dangerous path.
Proverbs 22:14 The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the LORD (i.e. the adulterer) shall fall therein.
Spanking...it's just Biblical
Proverbs 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
Note also Proverbs 13:24; Proverbs 23:13-14; Proverbs 29:15.
Note about the word "foolishness" used here. It comes from the Hebrew word "ev-eel´" which basically means moral insolence. It's the same word used in Proverbs 14:9, "Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour." It would appear that Solomon is making reference to the Adamic nature with which all of us are born. (Click here to see all three words translated "fool" in Proverbs.)
These people just hurt your testimony
Proverbs 22:24 Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go:
On cosigning loans
Proverbs 22:26 Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts.
Solomon in his life must have seen a lot of sorrow as a result of cosigning on debts of others. He frequently warns against doing so. See also 6:1-5, 11:15, 17:18 and 20:16.
A warning against land fraud
Proverbs 22:28 Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.
Every 50 years the property in Israel was supposed to revert back to its original families according to Leviticus 25:8-55 (see notes).
Some really interesting advice (Proverbs 23)
1 When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee:
2 And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.
3 Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.
4 Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.
5 Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.
6 Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats:
7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.
8 The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.
9 Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.
10 Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless:
11 For their redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee.
12 Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.
13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.
14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.
15 My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine.
16 Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.
17 Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.
18 For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.
19 Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.
20 Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:
21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.
22 Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.
23 Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.
24 The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.
25 Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.
26 My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.
27 For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit.
28 She also lieth in wait as for a prey, and increaseth the transgressors among men.
29 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?
30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.
31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.
34 Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.
35 They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.
So you have a really nice dinner invitation with a powerful man, huh? Watch it! If you're not his equal, he probably has an ulterior motive for inviting you (Verses 1-3). Perhaps verses 4-5 continue this thought, assuming that your motivation for going is a desire to be rich like him. And perhaps we're still continuing the same thought in verses 6-8 about accepting hospitality from a stingy person; he may be up to no good.
Verses 10-11 warn against taking advantage of the poor with regard to their property lines; they very well may have a strong advocate on their behalf. See the note above on those property lines in the comment associated with Proverbs 22:28.
Then we have a series of related thoughts about raising children into productive adults:
Verses 29-35 deal with excessive drinking. Verse 29 describes the symptoms of a drunk. The mixed wine of verses 30-32 probably refers to wine that was mixed with other ingredients to make it more intoxicating. His point here is that it is wrong to drink beverages for the purpose of dulling one's senses. There's no question that wine was the beverage of choice in the entire period of history covered by the Bible. However, Solomon warns that drinking to intoxication is wrong.
Today, Believers should be guided by the principles of Romans 14 (see notes), I Corinthians 8 (see notes) and I Corinthians 10:14-22 (see notes), which clearly teach that one's testimony is the most important possession a Believer carries from day to day. While Solomon's warning is against intoxication, each believer should consider how one's testimony will be affected if people see him partake of alcoholic beverage. Then one should ask the question: Is my Christian liberty to partake of alcohol in moderation more important than my testimony before a world who needs Christ?
More about wisdom (Proverbs 24)
1 Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them.
2 For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.
3 Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established:
4 And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
5 A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.
6 For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.
7 Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate.
8 He that deviseth to do evil shall be called a mischievous person.
9 The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.
10 If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.
11 If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain;
12 If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?
13 My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste:
14 So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.
15 Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place:
16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.
17 Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:
18 Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.
19 Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked;
20 For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.
21 My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:
22 For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?
23 These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.
24 He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him:
25 But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.
26 Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer.
27 Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.
28 Be not a witness against thy neighbour without cause; and deceive not with thy lips.
29 Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.
30 I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;
31 And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.
32 Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.
33 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
34 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.
This chapter contains several admonitions to pursue a wise, kind and deliberate lifestyle. Notice the first admonition regarding the company one keeps:
Proverbs 24:1 Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them.
Proverbs 24:2 For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.
You will notice throughout this chapter a correlation which is prevalent throughout Proverbs: Evil/wickedness = foolishness versus righteousness = wisdom.
It's simple: Don't hang with people who reject the principles of your God. However, we see later in this chapter that we need to clearly identify these wicked people. Notice the following:
Proverbs 24:24 He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him:
Proverbs 24:25 But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.
Again...simple: Call wickedness as you see it.
It ends in verses 30-34 with a warning about being a lazy guy. The wicked/foolish man takes a beating in this chapter with Solomon's solemn warnings against him and his lifestyle.