The proverbs (wise words) of Solomon
An EasyEnglish Bible Version and Commentary (2800 word vocabulary)
on the Old Testament Book of Proverbs
(Proverbs 10:1 to Proverbs 22:16)
This commentary has been through Advanced Checking.
Words in boxes are from the Bible.
Use the links to go to the start of each chapter. The translation and commentary for other parts of the Book of Proverbs is available on our website.
The second major section in the Book of Proverbs is Proverbs 10:1, to Proverbs 22:16. This section contains 375 short poems. Most poems have two lines, and each poem is one verse long. Each poem is called a Ďproverbí.
The structure of this section is unusual. Solomon did not separate the proverbs into groups. The proverbs change from one subject to another. However, their order does matter. Solomon uses an Ďorganicí (that is, Ďnaturalí) order. This order is similar to a conversation. For example, one proverb might explain the previous one. Another proverb might contrast with the previous one.
Together, these proverbs are like a conversation. Imagine that a group of wise people are talking about wisdom. Each person in the group speaks briefly. They all listen to each other. Then, each person tells his thoughts or ideas to the other people. The conversation would be similar to this section of the Book of Proverbs.
Because of this structure, you cannot split these proverbs into smaller sections. Proverbs 10:1 to Proverbs 22:16 belong together. To help us to understand their meaning, I have separated the proverbs into smaller groups. (The chapter numbers are not part of the original book. Sometimes, they are in the wrong positions. Proverbs 22:17 should really start a new chapter.)
The proverbs describe our lives. Often, they describe good things in our lives, for example, wisdom. Sometimes they describe bad things. They do not always explain whether something is good or bad. You need to use your own wisdom to decide. For example, Proverbs 10:15 says, ĎGreat wealth protects a rich man. Lack of wealth ruins a poor man.í This does not mean that we should try to get great wealth. Proverbs 8:10 told us that wisdom was better than wealth. Proverbs 10:15 describes our lives. We should want wisdom more than we want wealth.
These proverbs discuss many different subjects. However, all these subjects start with the first proverb. This proverb is about the difference between a wise son and a foolish son. The difference is (of course) wisdom.
Several words in this verse contrast with other words. ĎWiseí contrasts with Ďfoolishí. ĎFatherí contrasts with Ďmotherí. ĎJoyí contrasts with Ďpain.í
It does not matter whether you are young or old. It does not matter whether you are a man or a woman.
It does matter whether you are wise or foolish. If you are wise, then you respect God. ĎRespect God! This is the first lesson in wisdom. Know God! This is intelligence.í (Proverbs 9:10) Your wisdom will help other people. For example, this verse says that wisdom will bring joy to a father.
If you are foolish, then you live for your own pleasure. If you do this, then you refuse Godís wisdom. Other people will suffer because you are a fool. For example, this verse says that a fool will cause pain to his mother.
ĎIf you steal money, then it has no value.í You could argue that this is not true. If someone steals money, then he can still spend it. He can buy many things. A thief can become wealthy. But Solomon argues that this wealth is worth nothing.
Wisdom is better than money, because wisdom can save your life. So if a poor man is wise, then he is richer than a foolish king.
A good person is someone who trusts God. A good person always tries to respect God. This person may make many mistakes, but he loves God. God looks after the good person.
An evil person loves cruelty. He plots to destroy other people. God opposes the evil person. God will ruin this personís plans.
A wise person is not lazy. He is not afraid to work hard. He does not steal to make himself rich. He does not expect other people to give money to him. A wise man learns from his studies. But a wise man can also learn when he works.
God gives good things to the good man. God helps the man. God gives honour to the man. Other people respect the good man, because God is pleased with that man.
The evil man is not like this. He hates Godís wisdom. He loves cruelty. Evil things surround him. Even his words cause trouble.
Good things happen when we are with good people. Evil things happen when we are with evil people.
We do not even need to meet them. When we remember them, this is enough. A memory about a good person makes us happy.
But we try to forget evil men. We prefer not to remember them.
We ourselves should do good things, not evil things. God can help us to do this. Then, we shall be helping our families (verse 1) and also our towns.
A wise man obeys instructions. He tries to learn from other people.
If you give instructions to a fool, he does not listen. By Ďfoolí, Solomon means a person who refuses to obey God.
A fool only thinks his own thoughts. He only hears his own words. He only does what he wants to do. A fool is proud. He thinks that he is wiser than other people. He thinks that he knows better than God. He trusts only in himself.
Life is like a journey. If we follow Godís commands, then we choose the right way to live. God will protect us.
If we refuse Godís wisdom, then we are in danger. This is like a traveller who wanders in the wrong direction. Our wrong actions will lead us to death and hell.
ĎLook out for the evil man! Look out for the thief! His mouth is speaking false words. Look out for his signals! He shuts his eyes. He moves his feet. He taps his fingers. He is plotting evil plans in his heart. He starts arguments. His punishment will be sudden. There will be no remedy for him.í (Proverbs 6:12-15). In this passage, an evil man said few words, but plotted an evil plan. His tiny movements showed that he had an evil plan.
In the first line of verse 10, the man is silent. In the second line, the man talks loudly to himself. Both men are evil. Both men have evil plans.
A person who quietly makes evil plans causes trouble. He is responsible for his plans. Whether an evil man is silent or noisy, God will punish him. God knows all our plans, and God will punish our evil actions.
When a good man speaks, we should listen. His words bring life to us. They are like water that pours from a fountain. His words, like the water, are plentiful and good. And his words bless everyone who listens to him.
When an evil man speaks, do not listen! His words always cause trouble for everyone.
ĎLove covers everything that is wrong.í This is a beautiful line. When we love someone, we try not to think about their mistakes. Our love covers their mistakes, so that we do not think about their errors.
God loves us. He sent Jesus. When Jesus died, he suffered our punishment. Because of this, God forgives us. God does not simply cover our evil deeds. ĎGod has taken our evil deeds away. God has moved our evil deeds far, far away from us.í (Psalm 103:12)
A wise person studies. He wants to learn more knowledge.
A person who refuses Godís wisdom is a fool. A fool hates God. God will punish him for his evil deeds. However, the fool will also punish himself. His words cause trouble, both for himself and for other people.
This is true, but it is not good. A rich man can use his money to protect himself. A poor person cannot do this. When there is danger, the poor man suffers first. As Christians, we should care about poor people. We should give money to help them. See Ephesians 2:10.
Wealth brings some good things, but wealth cannot give a good life. Solomon does not write, Ďa rich man earns a good lifeí. He writes, Ďa good man earns a good lifeí. We can be confident of this. This is like wages for a job.
However, we cannot earn heaven. This is because we cannot make ourselves good. We have all done evil things. We all deserve punishment. Only God can forgive us. We must trust in God. God can make us good. Jesus died to suffer our punishment.
Other people can benefit from our wisdom. Other people will suffer if we refuse Godís wisdom. These verses explain this.
A wise person accepts correction. He wants advice. Other people will benefit from this. They will copy the wise manís actions. The wise person leads other people. He shows them the right way to live.
A church leader must be careful. Other people will copy his actions. ĎGod will be a strict judge with us because we teach other people.í (James 3:1)
When a person refuses correction, other people will suffer. Other people will make the same mistake. Nobody will learn.
We should forgive other people. Even when someone hurts us, we should not hate that person. Instead we should pray for them.
Many people secretly hate someone else. The first line says that this is like a lie.
Other people talk about the person whom they hate. Perhaps they actually tell lies about that person. This happens in the second line of this verse.
This verse teaches that both of these are wrong. We should not hate someone silently. We should not talk about a person whom we hate. Instead we should forgive such a person.
Solomon is not saying that we should not speak. However, some people speak too much.
If we want to help people, then we should listen to them. We should try to understand their problems. Then, maybe, we can help them. We can pray for them. Perhaps we can advise them. Perhaps we can take them to someone else who can help.
If, for example, someone has died, many people are afraid to speak to the family. We should care, and we should sympathise. We should talk to the family. However we should not talk too much.
Sometimes, we can care with our words. Sometimes, we can care by our actions. Best of all, we can be with the sad person.
If we serve God, then our words will help other people. Our words are valuable, so we should use them wisely. We should use them:
∑††† to encourage other people
∑††† to sympathise
∑††† to help people.
An evil man wants evil things. He makes evil plans. He tries to destroy other people. This is why his desires are worth nothing.
The words of a good person are valuable to other people.
This may be like a mother, whose own food feeds her baby. In some countries, a mother will take food from her own mouth. Then, she will give this food to her child. In the same way, a good manís words are like food. His words feed other peopleís minds and spirits. Other people become stronger, because of the wise manís words.
If God gives wealth to a good person, then this is good news for everyone. By his kindness, God is good to the rich man, and his friends and neighbours. Everyone benefits, because the man will use his wealth wisely. He is generous. This rich man does not worry, because he trusts God to protect him.
An evil manís wealth brings troubles. Everyone suffers because he uses the money for his evil purposes.
In this verse, Solomon asks us what we love.
A wise person loves wisdom.
We might think that wisdom is good. This is not enough.
We might think that wisdom is powerful. Many people think these things, and some of them are fools.
ĎYou believe in one God. This is not good enough! Even the devils believe in one God. They are afraid of him.í (James 2:19)
We should love wisdom; and we should love God.
These proverbs are about time. Solomon discusses different situations. He explains what will happen in the future.
If you desire the right things, then God will give them to you. If you desire wisdom, then God will give wisdom to you.
In the same way, a wicked person will suffer the troubles that worry him. He is afraid of death and hell. His wicked behaviour will bring him to death and hell. He will lose everything.
A storm will sweep away wicked people because they have no firm security. But God will keep safe the person who trusts in him.
See Matthew 7:24-27.
There is humour in this verse. If you send a lazy man with a message, your message may never arrive. Instead, send a wise man with the message. It will soon arrive.
The good man respects God. He will have a long life. He will be happy.
The evil man refuses Godís wisdom. The evil man will die soon. His plans will fail. He will achieve nothing.
These verses are rather general. Some good people die young. Some evil people live long. Solomon is explaining simple principles. More complex explanations are elsewhere in the Bible. We must learn simple principles before we can understand complex explanations.
This is the principle. A good person has a good life. An evil person has a bad life. This principle is enough, for now.
Jesus said, ĎI am the way and the truth and the life.í (John 14:6) Our lives are like journeys. We must live Godís way.
God will take us to the place where we belong.
This is good news for Christians. We belong in heaven.
This is bad news for evil people. The Bible says that they will go to hell. They should change their lives and trust in God. God will forgive them, if they turn to him.
See my notes on Ďthe landí, under Proverbs 2:20-22.
In verse 30, Solomon compares a good man to a tree. Both belong in the place where God has planted them. Even when trouble comes, they can stand firm. ĎA storm passes. And wicked people cannot last. But good people are always safeí (verse 25).
Good people are safe. We have security when we trust God.
Verse 32 encourages us. Many people worry that they will say the wrong thing. A good man always says the right thing. If we trust in God, then God will help us. If we study the Bible, then we shall speak Godís words. If we pray, then God will guide us. We do not need to worry. We need to be humble.
If we serve God, then we shall not speak evil words. We shall not even know how to speak evil words! When we speak, other people will benefit.
Our actions, like our words, are important to God. At work, we should not cheat other people. We must be fair. In a shop, a kilo or pound weight should be accurate. If we use false measurements, we lie to our customers. We should be honest.
Humble people know that God is great. God likes humble people.
God likes humble people because they look after other people. A humble person considers that other people are important.
A proud person thinks only about himself.
An honest man is a good man. He loves the truth. His decisions will be right.
Jesus met a man called Nathanael. Jesus said, ĎThis man is a genuine member of the nation of Israel. This man is totally honest.í (John 1:47) Nathanael had the right attitudes, and these attitudes helped him to find Jesus.
An evil man is not honest. He will suffer because of his lies.
A judge in court does not ask whether a man is wealthy. If a man is guilty, then the judge will punish him. The judge does not care whether the guilty man is rich or poor.
God will be the judge of everybody. We have all done evil things, so we all deserve punishment. Our money cannot save us from Godís punishment. We must trust in God. God can forgive us. He will teach us to do the right things.
Solomon compares life to a journey. We must be honest. Then we will be like travellers who walk along good paths. We shall take the correct route to heaven. This is a good, straight path. It does not bend into dangerous places. We shall not lose our way.
Verse 6 We have a simple choice. We can choose to do good things. Or we can choose to do evil things. We can choose to do the right things. Or we can choose to do the wrong things. We can choose freedom, or prison.
The decision to obey God is also a simple choice. A wise person invites God into his life. This person loves God, and God looks after him. But a foolish person will not listen to Godís wisdom.
Death is terrible for an evil man. He will lose all of his money. He will lose all of his possessions. He will lose everything that he achieved in life. He will discover that he was wrong. But then it will be too late.
The true Christian will have a different experience. Paul wrote, ĎWhile I live, Jesus comes first. When I die, I shall benefitÖ I want to go to be with Jesus. Heaven will be much better than this world. However, I must live longer, because I need to help you.í (Philippians 1:21, 23-24)
Both verses explain that a good person can avoid troubles.
In verse 8, God cares about a good man. But an evil man will suffer.
Verse 9 explains how a good man can avoid trouble. He is wise, because he has studied many things. His knowledge protects him. He is safer than someone who knows nothing.
However, an evil man, who does not know God, can be dangerous. Even his neighbour can suffer.
An evil manís words destroy his neighbour (verse 9). In verse 10, everyone suffers because of the evil man. Perhaps the evil man ruled the city. Perhaps he was very cruel. The evil manís death means that the people will be free. This is why they shout for joy. This is why they want good men to succeed.
Verse 11 explains the reaction of the people in verse 10. In verse 11, when evil men talk about a city, they plot to destroy it. Perhaps their plan is to steal from the people. Perhaps the evil men want the people in the city to be their slaves. Words can be terrible. The words of evil men can destroy a city.
The words of good men also achieve great things. Because of their words, the city becomes great. They pray, and God helps the city. They speak about God, and people trust in God.
Words are powerful. It is better to say nothing, than to speak evil words.
This verse is also about silence. We must think before we speak. Christian leaders often hear other peopleís secrets. People should be able to trust their church leaders. The church leader should not tell someoneís secret to another person.
Ordinary people need advice. Church leaders need advice. The leaders of cities need advice (verses 10-11). Even entire nations need advice.
Good and bad words affect the lives of ordinary people. But good and bad words can also affect whole nations.
The wise person is not afraid to ask for advice. Sometimes, we need to ask many advisers before we receive the best advice.
We should make a promise only if we can carry out our promise. See also Proverbs 6:1-5.
Many people ask about the benefits that a Christian receives. These verses compare kind people with cruel people.
Kindness brings a real reward (verse 18). People respect the kind person (verse 16). This is a real benefit for a kind person (verse 17).
A cruel man causes himself pain (verse 17). He receives money as his benefit (verse 16). However, this is not a real benefit (verse 18). He cannot take his money with him when he dies (verse 19).
Nobody is Ďreally goodí, except God (Luke 18:19). Nobody deserves to live with God in heaven. Heaven is Godís gift to us, but we must trust in him.
These verses explain simple principles. These principles explain many things.
God wants us to live good lives, but we are all evil. God hates our evil actions. God will punish evil people.
If we want to be good, then God will help us. He wants to forgive us. He sent Jesus. We deserve punishment for our evil actions, but we do not need to suffer this punishment. When Jesus died, he received our punishment. If we ask God, then he will forgive us. We can be free from the evil things that are in our lives. Then, when we die, we shall go to heaven.
God loves good people. When we trust in him, God will change us. As we learn Godís wisdom, God will make us into his people. ĎGod called you from the darkness. He called you into his wonderful light. Before this you were not a nation. Now you are Godís people.í (1 Peter 2:9-10)
Solomon uses humour in this verse. Solomon and his nation hated pigs. Everybody in Israel believed that pigs were unholy animals. The people never ate pig meat (Leviticus 11:7).
An ugly pig does not become beautiful, even if it has a gold ring! In the same way, a foolish woman is never really beautiful! (By Ďfoolishí, Solomon means a person who refuses Godís wisdom.)
A beautiful woman should be kind and generous. The womanís face might be ugly or pretty. But she is really beautiful if she does good things! (1 Peter 3:3-4)
A good man wants good things, and he will receive good things.
An evil man wants evil things. God will punish this man, because the manís actions are evil.
ĎOne man gives, and his wealth increases. Another man does not give to anybody, and he becomes poor.í This is a puzzle.
When a man gives, he loses money. When a man does not give, he saves his money. This verse says the opposite.
Solomon has not made a mistake. When someone is generous, God is kind to this person. Sometimes God gives more money to this person. (Luke 6:38)
There are many generous people who have great wealth. God has provided for them, so they provide for other people by their money. Then God provides the giver with more wealth, so that they can give even more.
This verse is about greedy people.
In business, we are generous, if we are fair. When poor people are hungry, some shopkeepers might refuse to sell food for a reasonable price. Then hungry people would have to pay a higher price or remain hungry.
The fair shopkeeper sells at a fair price.
There is a good reward for the person who does the right thing.
There is a severe punishment for the person who does evil things.
Wealth does not matter. If we are wealthy, we must not trust in wealth.
Once a wealthy young man wanted to follow Jesus. Jesus told him to give everything to poor people. Jesus loved the young man, but the young man refused. The young man trusted his wealth more than he trusted God. (Mark 10:17-23)
A person might expect to receive money from his parents. If he upsets them, then he will get nothing. He will become poor. Perhaps he will have to be someoneís poor servant. He must suffer, because he is foolish.
We can bring Godís life to other people. Our wisdom can show other people the way to God. This is another reason to learn Godís wisdom.
God is fair with everybody. The good man will receive good things. God will provide for him.
God is also fair with evil people. They will receive a fair punishment.
We can benefit when someone shows our mistakes to us. When we see our mistakes, we can learn to do better. Nobody is perfect. Everybody has something to learn.
Many people fear correction. They do not want other people to know about their mistakes. They try to hide their errors.
As Christians, we should be humble. We should appreciate people who correct us.
There is a real difference between good behaviour and evil behaviour. God cares about a good man. God is kind to that man. And God will help that man.
If we make evil plans, then we refuse to obey Godís commands. God will punish the evil man.
This verse is not about the strength of a manís body. It is about our whole lives. The good man has a strong belief in God. The good man uses his knowledge to make decisions. His emotions do not control him. When troubles come, he is confident. This verse reminds us of Jesusí story in Matthew 7:24-27. A strong house is safe, when a storm comes. A weak house is in danger, and it will fall down.
God will protect us if we trust in him. But an evil man is weak. Troubles will destroy him.
A wife should be honest, fair and kind. If so, then her husband will be proud of her. She is valuable and precious to him, like a crown. He is glad that she is with him.
A bad wife hurts her husband. If the wife is evil, then the husband will suffer. He will even feel weak.
A husband and wife should look after each other. They should love each other. Both should trust in God. God will teach them to be good partners.
A good man does not plot evil plans. His plans respect God. The good man tries to help other people by his plans.
For example, someone might open a shop that sells food. If the shopkeeper is a good person, then he wants to sell good food at a fair price. But an evil shopkeeper might want to sell poor food at an expensive price.
The second part of this verse is about advice. You cannot trust an evil manís advice. When he is advising you, he is plotting an evil plan. You do not know his plan. An evil man will not give sound advice. His advice is a lie. He wants to cheat you.
The evil man is like a hunter. His plans are like a hunterís traps. The evil man wants to steal from other people. He even wants to kill them.
A simple person is in danger. If someone does not know about a hunterís trap, that person could fall into the trap.
The good man is safe. He speaks the right words. These words are better than the evil manís plans. The good manís words will protect him.
This reminds us of verse 3. An evil man is never strong. When the evil man is in trouble, he may lose everything. He will not ask God to help him. His life is in danger.
A good man is never weak. Verse 7 speaks about his Ďhouseí. This word also means his family. A good man and his family are safe, even when troubles come. The man who trusts God is not afraid. Even if the good man loses everything, God will help him.
Some people praise wealthy people, or famous people. Other people follow kings and rulers. As Christians, we should respect wise people. A wise person, who serves God, deserves honour.
This is a puzzle. A famous person can be very poor. An unimportant person can be wealthy. Often, we do not understand why a person should be poor or wealthy.
Some people pretend that they are wealthy. Or, perhaps, they pretend to be poor. We see these people, and we do not always understand their behaviour.
It does not matter whether someone is important or not. It does not matter what people pretend. It does not matter whether a person is famous or not. It does matter whether a person has food or not. We must try to understand the things that really matter.
A good man is never cruel. He is not cruel to people, and he is not cruel to animals. Every action of a good man is kind.
A farmer deserves his harvest. He has worked hard. He has looked after his animals. He has ploughed his land and he has sowed his seeds. He has protected his crops from the weather. He has rescued the plants from animals and insects. His reward is the harvest.
The person who merely imagines is lazy. He may make plans, but he does no work. He would be a very poor farmer. His imagination cannot help his plants and animals to grow. If the lazy man refuses to work, his plans will achieve nothing.
Different people have different ideas about work. Some people work with their hands. Managers use their intelligence as they work.
An evil person thinks that he is working. He uses his hands to steal from other people. He uses his intelligence to make evil plans. He thinks that he deserves to be wealthy.
An evil person does not behave in the proper way. He does not obey Godís law.
An evil man might seem impressive. He might be wealthy. He might seem clever. However, he is like a tree without roots. The part of his life that you see might seem good. The part that you do not see is terrible. His thoughts are terrible because they are evil.
A good man is like a tree that grows properly from its roots. He is strong (verse 3) because he trusts in God.
An evil manís words are like a hunterís trap. He is like a stupid hunter who falls into his own trap.
This verse encourages us to think about our words. Verses 11-13 remind us that work is important. We receive wages for our efforts. It matters to God, whether our work is good or evil. But our words are also important.
Our words can encourage people. They can show kindness. They can advise. They can teach and correct. They can lead people to God. God will reward us for our words. We shall get what we deserve.
Some people always think that they are right. On a journey, they never ask for directions. When they are ill, they do not go to a doctor. Even if they do go to a doctor, they do not obey his advice. They are proud, and Solomon calls them Ďfoolsí.
A wise man behaves differently. He is humble. He listens to advice.
As Christians, we try not to insult other people. But sometimes other people will insult us. And we must learn how to behave in this situation.
A fool is a person that hates wisdom. He wants to do evil things. A fool is proud, so he hates an insult. An insult upsets him, so he is angry.
If we are wise, then insults will not bother us.
Many people insulted Jesus. They said that Jesus had a devil (Mark 3:22). Jesusí family thought that Jesus was mad (Mark 3:21). Even when Jesus was dying, people insulted him (Mark 15:29). This did not upset Jesus. He even prayed for them (Luke 23:34). He taught us to do the same (Matthew 5:11-12). People may insult us because we belong to Jesus. But God will help us if people insult us.
If you want to know the truth, then ask an honest person. You cannot trust a person who lies.
Words can hurt, and words can heal.
An evil manís words can cause much damage. He might upset or insult people. He might use words to make an evil plan. For example, an evil lawyer can use clever words to write an unfair contract. Words might not hurt in a physical way, but they can cause real trouble.
Words do not heal in a physical way either. However, they can bring help and comfort.
The truth does not change. If something is true now, then it will always be true. This is like wisdom (Proverbs 8:22-31). This is also like Jesus, because Jesus never changes (Hebrews 13:8).
Lies do change. When someone lies, he is always changing his story. ĎMany witnesses spoke lies against Jesus. However, their accounts were all different from each other.í (Mark 14:56)
You cannot see a personís heart or mind. However, you can understand their thoughts, if you look at their behaviour. Jesus explained this in Matthew 7:15-20.
God protects good people. He does not protect evil people. See Psalm 91.
Sometimes, we need to remember simple facts. Some wise words are complex, like a puzzle. Other wise words are very easy to understand. Even a little child can understand this verse.
A wise man is still wise, even if he does not speak.
When Jesus was in court, he remained silent (Matthew 26:63). Isaiah wrote, ĎA sheep is silent before the farmer cuts its wool. So he (Jesus) remained silent.í (Isaiah 53:7).
Some people are always speaking. They want everyone to hear their ideas. If a fool talks constantly, all his words will be foolish. He needs to be silent, and to listen. Then a wise man can speak and teach wisdom to the fool.
Employers watch their workers. The employer wants to know which workers are working hard. He also wants to know who is lazy. A good worker will receive more responsibility. A lazy worker might lose his job. In the end, the lazy worker could even become a slave.
This verse expresses sympathy. A person who worries is sad. Life can be hard. People fear many things.
As Christians, we should look after other people. We should speak words of kindness and sympathy. We should speak words that encourage. We should tell people to trust God. Then we shall bring joy into peopleís lives.
Other people benefit when someone respects God. People can learn from us. Our lives can teach people about God. This is like a man who leads his friend on a journey.
Life is like a journey. But an evil man is like a traveller who has no guide. This traveller must guide himself on his journey. He does not know the correct route, so he will go the wrong way. So the evil man will do the wrong things. He will suffer because his actions are evil.
The lazy man wasted his food. A wise person would cook his food and enjoy it.
A lazy person wastes his life. He achieves nothing, because he refuses to work. A wise person achieves many things by his hard work.
Life is like a journey. On our journey, we should follow good people. We should copy their behaviour. And we should learn to do the right things. Especially, we should follow Jesus (John 8:12). Then God will give a place in heaven to us. God has prepared a home for us in heaven (John 14:2-3).
When we teach people about God, some people will listen. Other people refuse to listen. This is not our fault. Some people are ready to hear us, but other people are not. We should pray for them all. Sometimes, someone who refused our message will later accept it. See Mark 4:1-20.
Sometimes, many people must teach the Bible, before people believe it. Paul compared this to a plant, in the field. He wrote, ĎI sowed the seed. Another man called Apollos gave water to it. God made the seed grow. The person who sows is not important. The person who gives water is not important. Only God is important, because only God makes plants grow.í (1 Corinthians 3:6-7)
As a tree has fruit, so good words have a good effect. Such words inform and help other people.
An evil manís words have a bad effect on himself and other people.
Our words can place us in danger. Or our words can protect us.
Our words can make evil plans. Or our words can encourage and help other people.
We have a choice.
Everybody desires good things. A person should work and earn money. Then he can buy the things that he desires.
A good man hates lies, but an evil man loves to tell lies. This is why the evil man causes shame.
We cannot make ourselves perfect. We must ask God to forgive us. He loves us. He even sent Jesus to suffer our punishment. Only God can make us perfect. Only God can forgive us for our evil deeds.
Verse 7 is similar to Proverbs 12:9.
There is an interesting connection between verses 7 and 8. A man, who pretends to be wealthy, places himself in danger. Unlike a rich man, however, he cannot use money to save himself. It is safer to pretend that you are poor!
In verse 8, a rich man has many benefits. He can use his money to save himself. However, the poor man escapes this danger. The thieves do not want to steal from a poor man. The thieves know that a poor man has nothing for them to steal. Some benefits of wealth are not real.
Light is better than darkness.
On a journey at night, the wise man carries a bright light. He is safe, because of his light. He knows the right way, because of his light. He will arrive home safely.
On the same journey, the evil man has only a candle, but its light is weak. He cannot see the right path. He will lose his way. He is in great danger.
ĎGodís word is like a lamp for my feet. Godís word is like a light for my path.í (Psalm 119:106) Godís word is the Bible. The Bible is like a light, because it guides us. The Bible teaches us how to live.
Proud people argue because they speak their own thoughts. A proud person always thinks that he is right. He will not listen to anyone else.
A wise person behaves differently. Although a wise person is wise, he is willing to hear the advice of other people. A wise person has great understanding, because he listens to other people.
An evil person does not spend his money wisely. Often he does not save it for the future. He wastes it. Perhaps he spends it on beer and wine. Perhaps he places bets. Perhaps he takes risks. Sometimes thieves steal the money from him.
If a wise person has money, he spends it carefully. He saves the money that he does not need today. He is generous and he helps other people. Money is worth more, when a wise person owns it.
We do not receive everything immediately. Sometimes, we must wait. This can be difficult. We may not see quick results from our prayers. We should wait for Godís time. God will answer our prayers, if we ask for the right things.
Jesus told a story about an unfair judge. The judge refused to help a widow. She appealed to him many times. Finally, the judge agreed to help (Luke 18:1-8). God is better and kinder than an unfair judge. God will help us, when we pray.
People write books of instructions to help us. We should read and obey the instructions. Then, we shall be safer. A foolish person refuses to read instructions. He thinks that he knows what to do.
God gave his commands to us in order to help us. We should obey his commands. And we should live in the right way. Then we shall receive Godís reward.
Our church leaders and teachers need wisdom. They should respect God. Their lives should please God. Then when they teach, the people will benefit from their words.
Ordinary wisdom can save a person from natural dangers and death. Godís wisdom can save a person from the danger of hell. Godís wisdom will bring that person to heaven.
We should listen to other people. We should try to help them with their problems. If we are wise, then people will appreciate this. People will ask for our advice and they will respect us. They will love us, because of our wisdom.
If we learn from God, then we shall become wiser. God will love us, because we respect him.
But nobody respects the person that lies. This person does not deserve love from anyone.
A wise person does not waste his knowledge. He loves knowledge, and he uses it well. He uses his knowledge to help other people. He uses his knowledge to stay safe. The wise manís knowledge is like a workmanís tools.
A fool has no understanding, so he makes the wrong decisions. Everyone can see this. Everyone realises that this man is stupid.
If we are Christians, then we carry a message from God to the people in the world. This message is very important. We must always tell the truth. We must not keep Godís message as a secret.
Our message, as Christians, is a good message. This message cures the spirits of men and women. This message will help people to know God. This message will protect them from evil plots. This message will teach the way to heaven. God loves the people from every country. He will forgive them, if they trust in him. These are all good things.
We are like soldiers in Godís army. We should learn discipline. Sometimes we make mistakes. God shows us that we are wrong. We must not refuse Godís correction. If we gladly accept Godís correction, then God will give honour to us.
When God gives good things to somebody, then that person is glad. The person is even happier if he has had to wait for these things.
A fool is someone who refuses to respect God. He does not think to ask God for good things, because a fool hates God. The fool refuses to turn from his evil behaviour, because he loves evil things. A fool will not wait for good things. Instead, a fool wants evil things, now.
Choose your friends carefully! A person who is a friend of wise people listens to them. Then, he learns from them, and he himself becomes wiser.
In the same way, a friend of fools can suffer their troubles. If your friends do not love God, then think about this. You need to bring Godís message to your friends. You must refuse to do evil things, if they test you. You should also have wise, Christian friends. They will help you to become a strong Christian.
Trouble is like an enemy who follows an evil man. The enemy will catch the evil man and attack him.
This means that an evil person will suffer his punishment. He cannot avoid it.
But success is like a friend who follows a good man. The good man will succeed. God will make sure of this.
A good manís success helps other people. He will be able to help his children. He will even be able to help his grandchildren.
An evil man tries to copy this. He stores his money. He thinks that he is very wealthy. But he cannot benefit from his great wealth. When he dies, he will lose it all. In the end, everything belongs to God. See Luke 12:16-21.
Evil people can destroy many good things. This is one reason why today many people are poor. God has given great wealth to the people of the world. God gave land, which can produce plentiful supplies of food. But often, evil men prevent the supply of food to poor people.
As Christians, we must be fair and generous. Especially, poor people need our help.
A good parent should sometimes punish his child. The parent does not hate the child. Instead, the parent loves the child. This is why the parent gives the child a smack. This punishment will teach the child to have discipline.
This verse is not only about food. It is about satisfaction.
An evil person always wants more things. He wants more food. He wants more money. He wants more possessions. He wants to be famous and successful. Even if he is already famous, then he wants to become more famous.
A good person does not need these things. He is content with the things that God gives to him.
This is a little story that uses humour.
We walk along the street and we see two women. Both women are working on their homes.
The first woman is wise. She carefully builds her house. Skilfully, she makes a beautiful home for her family.
We expect that the other woman is doing the same. However, we are wrong. In fact, the second woman is pulling down her own home.
The story means this. A wise woman loves her family. She looks after them. She works hard to help them. A wise woman is a woman who serves God.
A foolish woman hates God and loves evil things. She might think that she loves her family. However, her evil actions do not help her family. Instead, her evil actions hurt her family.
We should respect God. So we should do the things that please him. See the instructions in Hebrews 13.
Some people hate God. They might not realise that they hate God. But their actions prove this. They refuse to obey God. Instead, they do evil things. Jesus said, ĎIf you love me, you will obey my commands.í (John 14:15).
A foolís pride makes him talk too much. His many words will lead him into trouble.
A wise man speaks with care. His words will save him from many dangers.
The wise farmer knows that he needs oxen (strong farm animals) to plough his fields. Without them, he cannot produce crops.
Oxen can be difficult animals for a farmer. They need plenty of food. The farmer must work hard to look after them. However, oxen used to be essential animals on the farm. Solomonís farmers used oxen like tractors, to pull the plough. Without oxen, the harvest would be poor.
Some church members are easy to look after. They are polite and friendly, and everyone likes them. However, they do few things for Godís work.
Other church members act like the oxen. Such church members may ask difficult questions. They have many problems. Sometimes, they make serious errors. They are difficult to look after. However, we must learn to appreciate these members too. Sometimes, they will achieve great things for God. Peter was like this - see Mark 8:31-33, Matthew 26:74 and Galatians 2:11-14. We might not choose these church members, but God chose them for his work.
You must make your choice.
A person might say nice things. He might be very clever. Many people might want to hear his words. However, if his words are lies, then he cannot help us.
An honest person might seem to be unfriendly. He might be anxious. He might even be angry. Perhaps nobody wants to hear his words. However, he is telling the truth. Like the oxen (strong farm animals) in verse 4, we may not like his character. However, his honest words can really help us.
Knowledge is not difficult to find. It is everywhere. Honest people will tell their knowledge to us (as in verse 5). The Bible will teach Godís knowledge to us. Many other books will teach human knowledge to us.
However, if someone insults other people, he will not learn knowledge or wisdom. Perhaps he insults honest people, so he cannot hear the honest words. Perhaps he insults everyone, and only listens to his own ideas.
A fool is someone who hates Godís wisdom. You cannot learn from this man, because he himself has learned nothing from God.
A sensible person is cautious. He uses his knowledge to make good plans. He thinks carefully and he obtains advice. His decisions are good.
A fool thinks that his decisions are right. However, a fool hates God, so his decisions are evil. The fool does wrong things, because he does evil things instead of good things. His evil thoughts are lies. He trusts in his own lies, and suffers as a result.
When someone becomes a Christian, he will receive a welcome from other Christians. See Luke 15.
However, some people will laugh at a new Christian. Solomon calls these people, Ďfoolsí. By Ďfoolsí, he means people that do not respect God. They hate God, and they hate Christians too. They laugh at the new Christian because he has confessed his evil deeds. This is because they love to do evil things. If someone trusts in God, then this person seems stupid to them.
We try to sympathise with other people. We try to share their joys and sorrows (sad feelings). Our efforts are kind and good, but we cannot really understand their feelings. Only God really knows the true feelings of a personís heart.
The wicked man might be rich. He might live in a wealthy house. The good man might be poor. He might only live in a poor tent.
Other people might think that a wicked man is really good. They might see his wealth. They might even suppose that God is pleased with that man.
God knows the truth. When God acts as judge, God will not care about a manís wealth. God will still punish a wicked man.
The wicked man might not even know who destroyed his house. He might not realise why he lost his wealth. God has punished this wicked man.
Different people have many ideas and many theories. In this verse, Solomon describes our lives, and not just our journeys.
On a journey, if a man chooses the wrong road, he might be in danger. Thieves might attack him. They could kill him.
In the same way, if we choose to live evil lives, in the end God will punish us. We have our own ideas and theories, but these do not matter. The only way to God is to follow Jesus (John 14:6).
When we laugh, sometimes we are sad. Other people do not know this. They think that we are happy if we laugh. God knows our real feelings. He cares about us.
Here, Solomon compares a good man with a man who turns away from God.
A good man receives good things, because he deserves good things. An evil man receives evil things, because he deserves evil things.
The man who turns away from God used to be a good man. He turned back to do evil deeds. He too will receive what he deserves. See 2 Timothy 4:14, Jude 5-6, and Hebrews 10:26-31. ĎBut we are not the people that turn back. God will not destroy us. We are the people who believe in God. Therefore, God will protect us.í (Hebrews 10:39)
Solomon compares a wise person and a simple person.
Unlike a fool, a simple person does not hate God. You can teach a simple person. He can learn to do good things. Or he can learn to do evil things. He believes anything that you tell him.
You can teach a wise person too. However, you cannot teach him to do evil deeds, because he is sensible. He thinks carefully about your words. He works out whether you are correct.
In this verse, Solomon compares a wise person and a fool. A wise person respects God, but a fool hates God. The fool thinks that he himself is always right. A fool will not learn from anyone else. He is angry if someone tries to correct him. He loves to do evil actions.
Solomon contrasts two different types of people.
The first person is quick. In a moment, he becomes very angry. He has a terrible temper. He does not think about his actions. He does evil things so quickly that he cannot think first.
The second person is slow. He takes a long time to make his plans. He thinks about them carefully.
If a simple man learns to do evil deeds, then he becomes a fool. When he is simple, he does not choose to be evil. He does evil things because he is not wise. He does evil things by mistake.
When he becomes a fool, the same person hates God. Now, the man loves to do evil actions. He refuses to learn good things.
We should help simple people to believe in God. Then they can become wise. Then their reward will be knowledge. As a king receives a crown, so they will receive knowledge. Other people will see their knowledge and respect them.
This is not our experience today. Solomon is describing what should happen. Really, a good man is important. He is even more important than a famous person, or a king. People should respect him.
This is terrible! People love a rich man, because they want to benefit from his money. People hate a poor man, because he has nothing to give to them. Christians must not behave like this. See James 2:1-7.
In verse 20, the neighbour tried to avoid the poor man. In verse 21, Solomon explains that this attitude is evil. God is pleased with the generous person. God is kind to the person who is kind to poor people.
Life is like a journey. A person who plots evil deeds is like a traveller on the wrong road. The travellerís road might lead to danger. And the evil manís life will cause his death. And his evil life will take him to hell. His evil plans might bring him money, but he will lose everything.
A person who makes a good plan is like a traveller on the right road. His plan will achieve good things, for example, love and truth.
In the end, even the best plan is only words. Words without work cannot earn money. Words alone do not achieve results. Only work can bring success. See James 2:14-17.
A wise person deserves wealth and honour. However, many wise people are not wealthy. This may be because, for a wise person, wisdom is more important than money. A wise person works hard, but he does not work merely to get money. He works hard to get more wisdom.
A fool hates wisdom. He might work to get money, but he is stupid. He can only earn foolish things. He should work to get wisdom.
An honest man speaks the truth. He can rescue people from death, because he is honest. He will tell people if their actions are wrong. He will show them what is right and good.
A man who speaks lies causes great troubles. His lies can ruin other peopleís lives. People suffer because of his lies.
God protects people who respect him. Even their families can benefit. See Psalm 46 and 2 Timothy 1:5.
Solomon was a king. If there were many people in a country, then there would be a large army. The country could win wars. Or the country could be at peace, because nobody would attack it. Solomon wanted peace for his country.
Patience is good. ĎEveryone should be quick to listen. Everyone should be slow to speak. Everyone should be slow to become angry.í (James 1:19) A patient person will learn many things. This is how he becomes intelligent. See James 5:7-11.
Our emotions are powerful. Anger (verse 29) and jealous attitudes can even affect our health. So can good attitudes, like happiness. Paul wrote, ĎI have learned how to be content in every situation. I am content whether I am hungry or full. I am content whether I have plenty, or nothing.í (Philippians 4:12)
Solomon tells us to help poor people, because God made them. When we love poor people, we love God. See Matthew 25:34-45.
Evil people have no protection when troubles come.
God will protect good people who trust in him. When they die, they will go to heaven. See verse 26.
Another translation of the second line is, ĎEven fools can hear wisdom.í
The wise person does not only think about wisdom occasionally. He is always thinking about wisdom. He is always learning new things. He loves wisdom. Wisdom is always in his heart and in his mind.
A foolish person hates wisdom. He might hear wise words (Proverbs 8:5, Proverbs 1:20-27). However, a fool will not obey these wise words. A fool does not understand wisdom. He only knows his own foolish ideas.
Solomon was a king. He wanted his nation to become a great nation. If his people were evil, then God would punish their nation. He wanted his people to serve God. And he wanted them to do the right things. Then their nation would be a great nation.
A king needs servants and advisers. Solomon knew this, because he was the king of Israel.
God is our king (Revelation 17:14). As Christians, we are Godís servants. God does not need advisers, but he wants wise servants.
If we choose our words carefully, then we will get a good reaction. When we tell people about God, we should be polite.
We should not use angry words. These will upset people. However, sometimes, we must warn people. Jesus did this in John 2:13-16.
We love to listen to wise people. Their words teach us and encourage us.
We do not benefit from the words of a foolish person, who hates wisdom. A fool will say many things. However, everything that he says is foolish.
God knows everything (1 John 3:21). He knows what the result of our actions will be. He watches good people so that he can protect them. He watches evil people so that he can punish their evil actions.
Our words can comfort other people. Words can help people, and they can encourage people.
Lies never achieve these good things. Lies hurt other people. Lies upset people and cause great problems.
If someone hates wisdom, then he hates instructions. He is angry if someone corrects him.
A wise person learns from correction. He wants to know if he is wrong. Because he learns from correction, a wise person becomes even wiser.
A good man has precious possessions. He cannot buy these possessions with money, and he cannot sell them. They are not physical objects, but they are real. They are things like wisdom and knowledge. These things are really valuable.
An evil man also earns things. He might earn money, but he also earns something else. He earns trouble. He will suffer trouble because his actions are evil.
The wise man teaches the things that he knows. Other people hear and they benefit from his advice. If we are wise, then we can help many people.
The foolís heart does not benefit anyone. A fool hates God, and hates wisdom. Solomon does not mean the foolís physical heart. Solomon means the foolís emotions, thoughts and spirit. There is no wisdom there, because the foolís thoughts are all evil.
The people of Israel sacrificed (killed) animals as a gift to God (Leviticus chapters 1 to 7). If an evil person did this, God would not accept the gift. God wants us to be holy. He wants us to ask him to forgive us. He wants us to trust in him. No gift can forgive us. Only God, who loves us, can forgive us. See Psalm 51:16-17 and Luke 18:10-14.
Our behaviour shows what sort of people we are.
God hates the actions of wicked people. God hates their evil thoughts and plans.
We should do the right things. We should trust God. We should obey his instructions. God will help us to do the right things. He loves us.
Solomon explains about people who start to do evil things. God will correct them. Sometimes, as a father smacks his child, this correction will be bitter. God corrects the person so that the person will return to God. See John 15:2.
If a person does not accept Godís correction, then that person will suffer. See 1 Timothy 4:14. That personís punishment will be severe. See John 15:6, Hebrews 3:7-13 and 1 Corinthians 11:27-30. But we must encourage that person to return to God. God forgives even very evil people, if they confess their bad behaviour to him.
Some people think that God does not know their thoughts and actions. They are wrong. God even sees beyond the grave into hell. God knows all our thoughts, and all our actions. We cannot escape from God. Even when we die, God will be our judge.
This person insults other people, because he is proud. Nobody can correct him. He always thinks that he himself is right. He will not ask for advice. He does not respect a wise person.
Your thoughts and emotions control your whole body. We smile when we are glad. We are sad if our experiences upset us. If we pray, God will comfort us (James 5:13).
Both a fool and a wise man have important desires. The wise man wants more knowledge. The fool wants foolish things. By Ďfoolí, Solomon means someone who hates wisdom. For a fool, this is like his need for food. He is hungry, not for food, but to do an evil action. See Proverbs 4:16-17.
A Christian may be poor. But he has every reason to be cheerful. See Philippians 4:4, 1 Peter 1:8 and Psalm 96:11-13. Godís love is like a party. See Psalm 23:5, Isaiah 55:1-2, and Luke 14:15-23.
For other people, their lives can be difficult. They might be rich or poor, but they all need Godís help. And we, too, should try to help them.
Many people want the best meat, instead of a few vegetables. But love is better than hate. We want to eat in a place where people love us. Sometimes it is better to be poor than to be rich.
Some things matter more than money or wealth. Love matters more than wealth. Especially, the love of God matters more than wealth. This is why the poor man in verse 16 has a good life.
We should be patient. A patient man can even help enemies to become friends. This might take many years. But a patient person can often achieve success in the end.
Sometimes, it takes many years to help someone to trust God. This may be especially difficult if, at first, the person hates God. We must be patient. We should show Godís love to the person, when we get an opportunity.
A slow man can be very slow. He has lots of excuses. Solomon uses humour here. Nobody could be so slow that plants grew on his path. The truth is that the man was very lazy.
The good man is like someone who travels along a good, clear road. A good person is patient (verse 18). But, at the right time, a good person acts very quickly. He is not lazy! He will achieve the things that he desires.
This is like Proverbs 10:1, but the second line is different. ĎA foolish son causes pain to his mother.í (Proverbs 10:1). ĎA foolish son hates his mother.í (Proverbs 15:20)
The foolish (or evil) son might not think that he hates his mother. However, his evil actions prove that he hates her. He causes trouble and pain for her, because he does evil things.
If someone is not wise, then foolish (evil) things attract him. This is like a traveller who chooses the wrong route for a journey. Some people love to do evil things. They gladly choose to do evil things.
A wise person does not make this mistake. He is careful to do the right things. He is like a traveller whose path is straight and direct. Evil things do not attract a wise person. A traveller on a straight road does not want to wander onto the wrong path. And a wise person never wants to do anything that is evil.
Many people do not like to receive advice. Perhaps they are proud and so they do not like to hear other peopleís ideas. If you do not obtain advice, then your plans will often fail.
We should not make this mistake. If we are wise, then we shall ask many people for advice.
Some of the advice that we receive will be bad advice. For this reason, we should have many advisers. We should obtain the best advice.
An adviser should always try to give correct advice. He thinks and he prays about his words. He considers the probable results of his advice. He wants to say the right words, at the right time. He wants to help, because his advice can bring success to his friendís plan.
An adviser is glad when he gives good advice.
Solomon uses humour. Life is like a journey. When we live wisely, we are going towards heaven. This is like a journey where we are going upwards. So we are travelling away from the graves and from hell.
Solomon imagines that the wise man is walking up a hill. Sometimes, it is hard to walk up a hill. However, the wise man needs always to travel upwards. He cannot travel downwards (opposite of upwards), because that way leads to death, the grave and hell.
Everything that God does is right.
Some people will praise a proud man. Some people think that proud people are very great. God does not think this. In the end, God will punish proud people.
Some people do not care about widows. They might say, ĎThat old woman has no husband to protect her. We can steal her wealth.í But God will protect the widow. He does not only protect her house. He protects her land, too. He even guards her fences. See Deuteronomy 19:14; Deuteronomy 10:18; Isaiah 54:4-5; Mark 12:38-44; 1 Timothy 5:3.
God knows our thoughts, and he hears our words. The evil person thinks about evil plans. He might plot against other people. He might try to steal from them. God knows these thoughts, and he hates these plans.
An honest person speaks the truth. God loves the truth, so God loves the words of honest people.
People give bribes (secret gifts) so that other people will do wrong things. For example, if a judge accepts a bribe, then he might punish an innocent man. If a government official accepts a bribe, then he might allow the giver to meet the king.
The Bible teaches that we should not give bribes (secret gifts). The Bible also teaches that we should not accept bribes. We should not do evil things to get more money. This behaviour will only bring trouble to us and to our families. Instead, we should refuse bribes. If we refuse bribes, then God will help us to have good lives.
Jesus answered questions in Mark 11:27-33 and Mark 12:13-40. Jesus studied the Bible. His answers were wise. Jesus thought about what the Bible says. And he knew the right answers.
We too need to think about problems. Especially, we must discover what the Bible says. Then we shall learn Godís wisdom.
An evil man hates God. The evil man does not think about what is right. Instead, he answers quickly. If an evil man does think about his answers, then he makes an evil plan. If he does not think about his answer, his plans are still evil.
ĎGod is not deaf or weak. The result of your evil actions is that you have moved far away from God.í (Isaiah 59:1-2)
However, God is close to a good person. God even knows a good personís silent prayers. See Matthew 6:6-8.
Even our smiling faces can cheer other people! People are glad, if we smile.
Our words can achieve more than our happy faces. The Christian message is good news. God can change peopleís lives. He will forgive them, if they trust him. This good news will make people strong.
If someone learns from words of correction, then that person will become wiser.
We all make mistakes. A wise person learns not to repeat his mistakes. He knows that correction is valuable.
When other people correct us, we become wiser. And we become more responsible. Correction is a good thing.
But someone who refuses to obey instructions will suffer as a result. This is as if he hates himself. We should learn discipline. And we should learn to be wise.
Especially, we shall learn to be wise, if we respect God. Wisdom is Godís gift to us. We must respect God. This is the first and most important lesson in wisdom (Proverbs 1:7).
People want to receive honour. But many people do not want to be humble. We need to be humble, because we need to learn from God. We also need to learn from other people. If we are humble, then God will be pleased with us. God gives honour to humble people.
If we are humble, then the result is honour.
This is the first of a series of proverbs (wise words) about God. This series continues in the next chapter.
The subject of the book now begins to change. In earlier chapters, the main subject is the difference between wise actions and evil actions. The earlier proverbs (wise words) compare a good man with an evil man (Proverbs chapters 10 to 15). Later chapters do not emphasise this (Proverbs chapters 16 to 22). Instead, they explain wise thoughts, actions and advice.
We should ask God to help us to speak the right words. The Ďplans of our heartsí are our thoughts and ideas. We do not know everything. God knows the things that we do not know. We need his help to say the right words. See Mark 13:11.
Even an evil man thinks that he is right. He even persuades himself. Other people might believe him. But God knows the truth about that man.
When we pray, we should give our plans to God. We ask God to bring about the best result. We cannot control our own plans. We do not even know what will happen tomorrow. See James 4:13.
A manís plan may succeed, or it may fail. Godís plans will always succeed. God can use a horse (Numbers 22:21-28). Or God can use a stone (Luke 3:8). Or God can even use a foreign king (Ezra 1:1).
God can use evil people to punish other evil people. God used King Nebuchadnezzar to punish the nation of Judah (Daniel 1:1-2).
A proud person refuses to listen to God or to other people. He has his own ideas. He thinks that he is better than everyone else. God will punish proud people. God wants us to be humble.
God does not want to punish us. God loves us. We must trust in him. Jesus died to suffer the punishment for our evil deeds. God wants to forgive our evil actions.
We respect God, so we should not do evil things. However, sometimes we still make mistakes. If we ask God, then he will forgive us, because of Jesus. See 1 John 2:1.
Our lives should please God. We should do the things that are right. We should respect God.
God can cause our enemies to become our friends. This does not always happen immediately. First, we ourselves must become friends of God. God accepts us because Jesus died for us. See Ephesians 2:13-14 and John 14:27.
Most Christians are not wealthy. See 1 Corinthians 1:26. We may have few possessions. However, we should earn our money fairly. God helps the poor man who is honest. God will punish the rich man who is not honest.
We all make plans for the future, but we cannot control everything. Events that we do not expect will happen. There will be problems. We might need to change our plans. We might not understand the reasons.
In all these changing circumstances, God is directing us. God will show us where we should go. He will teach us what we should do. See Acts 16:6-10.
Solomon was a king. In verses 10-15, he explains how kings and other rulers behave.
God has given authority to kings. Their decisions are important and affect many people. So a king must always be responsible.
At the time of King Solomon, the king was also a judge (see 1 Kings 3:16-28). This is why the king makes a Ďjudgementí.
God rules the whole world, but a king rules a country. We must pray for kings and rulers (1 Timothy 2:2).
Honest attitudes are important to God. We must not cheat people. Everybody must respect other peopleís possessions. Even a king must not cheat people.
If a king is evil, his nation will suffer. A king should not behave in an evil way.
A good king wants his people to do good things. He encourages the people to be honest. He makes fair laws. Then the people will respect the law and do right things. God will be pleased with the king and the people.
If a servant is honest, then the king should reward him. The servant might bring bad news. His honest words might upset the king. But the king needs honest servants to speak wise words of advice. If the adviser is not honest, then he cannot help the king. Compare the advisers in 1 Kings 12:6-16.
An angry king is very dangerous. Many people may suffer if the king is unhappy (Matthew 2:16). When the king is angry, his servants must call a wise man. The wise man will know what to say to the king. Then the king will make a wise decision, instead of an angry decision.
The wise servant wants the king to be happy. The king should not be angry. Events should not upset the king. Then the king will make good decisions. He will care about his people. He will serve God and act fairly.
Gold, silver and money are not really valuable. If we only want to earn money, then we are wasting our lives.
Wisdom and knowledge are really valuable. Especially, we should learn how to respect God.
Life is like a journey. The honest man is like a traveller who chooses the high road. It might be a difficult road, because a high road goes over mountains. However, the traveller chooses this road because it is safe.
The honest man has a guard for his journey. God is his guard. God will protect you, if you are honest.
To be proud is especially evil.
The proud man thinks that he is better than anyone else. He thinks that he deserves every luxury. God does not approve of this. God wants people to be humble, so that they can learn wisdom.
God will punish the proud person. A proud man will fall down with a crash. God will force the man to be humble.
A man who is rich and proud is selfish. He will want to keep his possessions to himself.
Humble but poor people are much more likely to share what they have.
A wise person obeys instructions. He learns more, and so he becomes even more wise.
We must trust in God. People may trust many different things. They may trust in money, or governments. But the wise person trusts God, so God helps him.
Another translation of the second line is, ĎPleasant words persuade people.í
A wise person is sensible, because he is careful. He thinks about his actions, and obtains advice.
People like to listen to pleasant words. They can learn from nice words. If we are careful, we can use pleasant words to teach the Christian message. See Matthew 10:16.
Solomon does not only mean the life of our bodies. Rather, he means the life, or energy, of our spirits. Knowledge helps us to respect God. Our spirits are more important than our bodies, because our bodies will die. (See Luke 12:4-5.) However, if we trust in God, our spirits will continue to live, in heaven.
Another translation of the second line is, ĎSo his words persuade people.í
A wise manís words are honest. He does not think one thing, but say something else. He does not lie.
People trust the words of a wise person, because they know him. They know that he speaks the truth. So he can persuade them to do the right things.
Honey was a favourite food for Solomon. It has a beautiful smell and a good flavour. Solomon also used it as a medicine.
Pleasant words are like honey. Both are good for the body. Both bring pleasure. Both can help you.
In our lives, there are many dangers. People might trust in false religions. They might follow evil leaders. Or they might drink too much alcohol. There are many other dangers also.
Like the road, these things might seem good. The truth is that they are dangerous. They are dangerous for our bodies and for our spirits. We need to ask God for wisdom to avoid these dangers.
People should not be lazy. See Proverbs 6:6-11. They should work to earn what they need. This is a natural way to behave. Our hunger reminds us that we should work. See 2 Thessalonians 3:6-10.
Verses 27-30 are about different types of people who cause trouble. They have many different methods to cause trouble:
∑††† lies and insults (verse 27)
∑††† gossip and whispers (verse 28)
∑††† the use of force (verse 29)
∑††† silent signals (verse 30).
This evil man makes evil plans. He is dangerous. It is even dangerous to listen to this man. If you listen to his words, they are like a fire. His plans will destroy you. Do not even go near him!
Here is another evil man. This evil man gossips. He starts arguments. He will turn your friends into enemies. When this evil man has spoken, your best friend will hate you.
A cruel man will try to make other people behave like him. He will try to frighten them with a loud voice. He will even use force.
The cruel manís neighbour should be very careful. He cannot trust the cruel man.
This man hardly says anything. But he has an evil plan. See Proverbs 6:12-15. The movements of his face are signals. You might be able to recognise his character if you watch his face.
When this man is ready, he will take action. Then everyone will suffer from his cruelty.
This person is an old man, who respects God. The manís grey hair looks like a crown.
This old man deserves a real crown, because he is wise. We should respect God and do good things. Then, we too shall deserve honour, like the old man.
This man is not like the man in verse 30. The man in verse 30 caused trouble for other people. But the man in verse 31 did good things. He spoke wise words. And the result was that other people benefited. So the man in verse 31 deserves great honour.
The last man in this passage is a patient man. He is not angry. He does not fight. He achieves results, because he works slowly and carefully. He can achieve more than a man who wins a war.
In the Bible, people sometimes made decisions by lot (that is, by a game of chance).
Jesus had 12 disciples (special students). One of these was Judas, who helped to arrest Jesus. Then Judas killed himself. Afterwards, the Christians decided to appoint a new disciple (a special student of Jesus). They asked God to guide them. Then they chose Matthias by lot (Acts 1:21-25).
We do not need to use lots like this today, because God has given his Holy Spirit to guide us. (John 16:13).
However, often we cannot explain some events in our lives. Things happen, and we do not always know why. Some people might say, ĎThis happened by chanceí (that is, by accident). But we know that God is guiding us by his Holy Spirit. We know that God controls these events.
Dry bread is not a good meal. We might prefer the rich food at a party. But a quiet place is better than a place where people argue.
A party can be noisy and unpleasant. Any arguments will upset people and spoil the meal. The man would be happier if he stayed at home. For this man, dry bread is better than special food at a party.
If possible, we should not argue.
An evil son deserves to be a servant. A wise servant deserves to be a son.
If the evil son does not change his ways, he will lose his inheritance. (An inheritance is the familyís money and possessions. Normally, a child receives an inheritance when his parents die.) The wise servant will receive a share of the inheritance instead of the evil son.
See John 8:39, Acts 13:42-46, and Galatians 3:26-29. A member of Abrahamís family ought to be a child of God. Each person who is a member of Abrahamís family deserves this. It is like that personís inheritance. But if that person refuses to follow Jesus, then that person loses his inheritance. Instead, everyone who is not from this family can become a child of God. Everyone who follows Jesus is a child of God.
The hottest fire cleans gold and silver. The fire burns waste materials. This is how the gold and silver become pure. In the same way, God tests our hearts. He wants us to be free from evil thoughts and desires. See Isaiah 6:6-7 and Malachi 3:2-4.
Some people do not like honest words. They want to listen to evil plans. Then they copy the evil plans, and they do evil things themselves.
See Proverbs 14:31. God cares about poor people. He does not want them to suffer. He wants us to help them.
This is how God wants families to behave. Grandparents should be proud of their grandchildren. Children should be proud of their parents. However, evil behaviour prevents this. See Proverbs 10:1. If we are evil, then we bring troubles to our families.
Solomon uses humour here. A fool (an evil person) should be careful about his words. His words will cause trouble. Instead, he should say nothing. Certainly, he should not try to speak in a clever way. (Of course, a fool would not obey Solomonís advice.)
However, some things are much worse than a fool who tries to impress people with his proud words. For example, people will not respect a ruler who lies.
Again, Solomon uses humour. He does not want us to give bribes (secret gifts). Solomon teaches that bribes are terrible. Bribes encourage people to do evil things. See Proverbs 15:27.
A bribe (secret gift) is like magic, because it changes people. Suddenly, people forget to do the right thing. Instead, they do something else, because of the bribe.
We should always do the right thing. So we should never give bribes. And we should refuse to accept bribes.
Sometimes we do not need to point out a mistake. We should forgive other people, and help them not to repeat their errors. See Matthew 18:21-22.
By Ďfoolí, Solomon means someone who hates wisdom. Because of his attitude, he will not learn from a punishment. You could whip the fool 100 times, and he would still do evil things.
A wise man does not need a punishment, when he makes a mistake. A few words are enough to correct a wise man. This is because a wise man always wants to do the right thing.
This evil man refuses to change his behaviour. Even punishment will not stop his evil behaviour. A ruler will send an official to put the evil man in prison.
Bears are very dangerous animals. Even when a bear is content, you are in danger. This bear is a very angry bear, which you must avoid. The bear could kill you.
A fool is someone who hates wisdom. He loves evil things and he hates God. A Ďfoolish foolí is even worse. You must avoid him. It is safer to meet the angry bear.
There are some people, whom nobody can control. They are very evil people. We should realise this. We can pray for them. But we might be in danger if we try to help them. God can change their hearts - but we cannot do this.
It is evil to hurt people who help you. But some evil people do this.
As we help other people, we should realise this. The people that we help may not be honest. They might be cruel or unfair. As Christians, we serve God, rather than other people. We help them, because we love God. God rewards us.
If we are in difficulties, then we should obtain advice and help. We should not remain in a situation that is too difficult for us.
When people argue, they might become angry. If they become angry, then they might fight. If they fight, then they will hate each other. A simple argument might cause serious troubles.
It is easier to stop an argument when it begins. Later, this might be impossible. We should not allow our arguments to become serious problems.
Judges should make fair decisions. We all must be honest.
A judge should not accept a bribe (secret gift). He should not follow his own feelings and emotions. He should listen to the evidence. He should try to make the right decision.
A judge is evil if he does not punish guilty men. A judge is evil if he punishes innocent men. This is always true, even if the judge has reasons for his unfair actions.
Solomon uses humour here. By Ďfoolí, he means a person who hates wisdom.
The fool wastes his money. He might buy ordinary things, or even sensible things. However, Solomon says that the fool wastes his money. The fool did not get the one thing that he needed. Wisdom is the only thing that a fool really needs. A fool wastes everything until he gets wisdom.
Wisdom is precious. It is worth more than gold (Proverbs 8:10). We cannot buy wisdom, but we can learn to be wise.
A real friend does not forget you, if you become poor. He helps you when you have troubles.
A brother or sister should be a true friend. Solomon uses humour here. He says that your brother was born to help you. Even his birth was Godís plan. God knew that you would need help one day.
The unwise man agrees to pay money that his neighbour owes. He is unwise, because he cannot trust his neighbour. If the neighbour refuses to pay, then the unwise man will suffer. See Proverbs 6:1-5.
There will be results from our actions.
Some people like to argue. These people will cause problems. They will cause hate and anger.
A proud man might build a high gate to protect himself from other people. Or, he might build the gate to show that he is important. God hates proud people (Proverbs 16:5). He wants us to be humble.
Solomon uses humour here. The proud manís gate is too high. It is not safe. Perhaps it trembles, when the proud man opens it. It is too heavy. It will fall down.
This gate is like the proud man himself. He will fail. He will lose everything. God will make him humble. (Proverbs 16:18)
The first man has an evil heart. This means that his desires are evil. He cannot be successful, because God will punish him.
The second man tells lies. And he will suffer because of his lies. They will cause many troubles for him.
A fool hates God, and hates wisdom. By Ďfoolí, Solomon means someone who is evil. Because the son is evil, the father suffers. The father might suffer, because the son makes evil plans against his father. Or the father might be sad because he sees his sonís evil actions.
People might become wealthy, if they do evil things. Their evil deeds might make them famous or important. But, in the end, an evil person will suffer because of his evil actions. And other people will suffer too.
Happiness is like a medicine for our spirits and for our bodies. We feel stronger and healthier, when we are content. Our emotions are powerful, so we should try to control them. We can be content even when we are poor. This is because God has forgiven us. If we have Godís gift of wisdom, then our troubles will not upset us. Instead, we shall trust God to help us. See Philippians 4:11-12, Hebrews 13:5, and 1 Timothy 6:6-8.
The people might not know why a judge makes a wrong decision. They might think that he made a mistake. The truth is often that someone is evil. Perhaps a policeman, or a lawyer, or the judge himself, received a bribe (secret gift). Bribes are evil, because they cause the law to be unfair. See also verse 15.
Life is like a journey. The wise man is like a traveller who chooses the right route. This is because the wise man is aiming to get to heaven. So the wise man is careful to choose the correct path. He thinks carefully about his decisions, because he is wise.
The fool hates wisdom. He does not think carefully about what he should aim at. So, he stares into the distance. He is like a stupid traveller who does not even want to find the right path.
This son refuses to learn to be wise. So, the son acts foolishly. He upsets his parents. And they suffer because of him.
This verse is good advice for any person who has authority.
When there is bad news, many people would blame innocent people. Many rulers do not want to hear about troubles. Sometimes people hate an honest adviser. (See 1 Kings 22.)
However, someone with authority needs to know the truth, even if the truth is bad news. He needs honest advisers. He should not blame innocent people.
Ordinary people also need to know the truth. We should ask honest people for advice. We cannot trust the advice of someone who is not honest.
A wise man thinks carefully. He does not suddenly become angry. Other people might think that he is slow. They are wrong, because it might take a long time to make a good decision.
This verse is good advice for a fool. Solomon is using humour here, because a fool hates wisdom and good advice.
Actually, Solomon is pretending that he is advising a fool. He does this because he has a good lesson to teach us all.
A foolís words are all evil and foolish. So he should be silent. Then he can say nothing that is evil. Then everybody will think that he is a wise man.
The lesson for everyone is this. We should not speak too much. We should be careful about our words. We should think before we speak. Then we shall be able to use wise words.
Look after people that you do not know! Sometimes angels (Godís servants from heaven) are our guests. (Hebrews 13:2) A sensible person should be friendly.
If someone is not friendly, then he is selfish. He cares about himself, but he does not care about other people. And he refuses to consider their opinions.
A fool hates wisdom. He really knows nothing, but he loves his own ideas. He thinks that his thoughts are more important than the truth.
We should not behave like this. Instead, we should listen to other people. Then we shall learn to be wise.
Often, an evil person hates other people. He hates, because he is evil. He is evil, because he hates.
This person will receive both shame and punishment. He will feel shame, when he receives his punishment.
A manís words may be hard to understand. The man may try to hide his real thoughts. It is difficult for a swimmer to dive down to the deep water.
Wisdom is easy to understand. It is easy to distinguish good things from evil things. It is easy to distinguish right things from wrong things. Wisdom is like a flowing stream. Anyone can easily collect water from a flowing stream. Anyone can easily learn to be wise.
We should be fair to everyone, especially in court.
An evil person does not deserve honour. He should not benefit from his evil actions. If he is guilty, he deserves punishment.
We should respect an innocent person. He should not receive punishment. Be fair to him!
A fool hates wisdom. A wise man thinks carefully about his words. But a fool does not think before he speaks. So the foolís words cause arguments. His words cause trouble. And the fool deserves punishment for his evil words.
This verse is the same as Proverbs 26:22.
People listen, when someone gossips. They enjoy the stories. They even believe that the stories are true. This is dangerous. These stories are like food, because of how they affect us. The stories enter the mind, even as food enters the stomach. These stories can cause troubles, even as bad food causes illness. And such stories can even make friends into enemies.
We should be careful about the words that we hear. We should not encourage people to gossip.
If you are lazy, then this may cause trouble for other people. To be lazy is almost the same thing as to be dangerous.
These two verses are about different castles. A castle was a strong building, which would be safe, even during a war.
A good man trusts in God. He can relax, because God will keep him safe.
A rich man trusts in a strong building. He thinks that his money is safe in his castle. He trusts his castle. He does not trust God. This rich man thinks that thieves cannot enter the castleís high walls. He is wrong. He is not safe.
The Bible teaches that a truly great man is a humble man. See Mark 9:33-35.
A wise man listens carefully before he advises anyone. A fool (that is, an evil man) does not need to listen. He already has plenty of foolish ideas to tell you.
The fool thinks that he knows everything. Really, he knows nothing. He is wrong, because he hates wisdom. So he has never learned anything.
Your spirit needs to be strong. Your spirit can help you when your body is weak. If your spirit is weak, then you will struggle.
Our spirits will become strong, if we trust God. Like our bodies, our spirits need exercise. We should study the Bible and pray to God. We should go to church and meet other Christians. We should look after and encourage other people. All these activities will help us. If we do these things, God will make our spirits stronger. See 1 Thessalonians 5:16-22, Hebrews 13:1-10 and Philippians 4:13.
King Solomon was also a judge. These verses are about judgements in court.
This verse is a little poem about the parts of the body.
The wise manís mind loves wisdom. So he studies to be even wiser.
The wise man always listens with his ears. He listens so that he will hear more knowledge. Then his mind can learn it, and the man will become wiser.
In particular, a judge needs to listen carefully. Then he will know the truth in a matter.
Bribes (secret gifts) are evil. They tempt people to do wrong things.
Judges must be aware of the dangers of bribes (secret gifts).
A judge must listen to both opposing sides. Everyone believes the first person to speak. The lawyers must ask hard questions. Then they will discover whether this personís words are true.
We should not believe everyone who speaks about God. The speaker might seem right. But we must ask questions, to discover whether the speaker really believes the Bible. See 1 Corinthians 12:3; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Galatians 1:6-9; Jude 17-23.
If strong men oppose each other, then they might want to fight. The argument could cause great pain and trouble. This problem seems impossible to solve.
However, a very simple solution might be possible. The two men might settle their argument by lot (that is, by chance).
People in the Bible often used lots to make decisions. They trusted God to make the decision when they used lots. God is wiser than any human judge is. So the people respected Godís decision and settled their arguments. See Proverbs 16:33.
We do not need to use lots today, because God has given his Holy Spirit to us. The Holy Spirit will guide us to make the right decisions.
Family arguments can be serious problems. Relatives can struggle to solve an argument, if you upset them. It is hard to persuade your brother to forgive you. If you have hurt him, then he might refuse to accept you. When the relationship is close, it can be much harder to solve such problems.
We should avoid arguments. If we have done something wrong, then we should confess our error. We should say that we are sorry. If someone else makes a mistake, we should forgive that person. We should care about other people. So we should try not to upset them.
Our words make us what we are.
Bad food makes a man weak. Bad words will also make a man weak. Bad words are, for example, lies or evil plans.
Good food makes a man strong. Good words will also make him strong. Good words are, for example, true words or words that encourage. Good words bring many benefits. This is why good words are like the harvest.
When a judge makes his judgement, he can punish a man with death. When a thief makes an evil plan, his words can plot a manís death.
Our words also bring results. We can tell people how to become Christians. We can advise people wisely. We can help people with our words. Words are powerful.
See Proverbs 31:10-21. When a man marries a woman, this is good. See Genesis 2:20-24. God has been good to them, so they love each other. They should look after each other. They should encourage and help each other. They must try to be a good husband and a good wife. God has been kind to them, so they should try to be kind to each other.
This is terrible. The rich man is greedy. He does not think that God cares about the poor man. The rich man does not use his wealth to help the poor man. Instead, the rich man wastes his money on luxury. God will punish him.
The friends ought to help the first man. But when he needs help, they all avoid him. This often happens. Many friends are not loyal. When troubles come, such friends leave.
The second man has only one friend. But this friend is a different type of friend. There is real love in this friendship. When troubles come, this friend is like a brother. This friend really cares. Jesus is like this friend. He cares for us, even if nobody else cares. He even died for us, so that God would forgive us. Jesus said, ĎNobody loves more than the man who dies for his friends. You are my friends, if you obey me.í (John 15:13-14)
In these verses, Solomon discusses things that are wrong. Many wrong things happen in this world.
A fool hates wisdom, so his words are lies. He tries to give a false impression. He should not speak these evil words. He should be honest. It would be better if this man were poor, but honest.
Solomon describes a man who is in a hurry. But the man acts without sufficient knowledge. He will cause troubles and problems. All his actions will be wrong actions. All his decisions will be wrong decisions.
He is like a runner who is going down the wrong road. Such a runner will not arrive at the right place. And a man without sufficient knowledge will not make the right decisions.
We too will make many mistakes, if we do not learn knowledge and wisdom.
A foolish man hates wisdom and he hates God. This man causes his own problems. But he is not sorry about his evil actions. Instead, he blames God for his troubles. Now the man hates God even more.
Many people prefer wealthy friends, and dislike poor people. Such behaviour is wrong. See James 2:1-4, Proverbs 18:24, and Luke 14:12-14.
If a man lies, then he deserves punishment.
The people praise the ruler, because they want his help.
These people are not praising the ruler because he is a good ruler. In fact, these people may think that he is a bad ruler. They are praising the ruler, but only because they want him to support them. This is called Ďflatteryí.
The people praise the ruler, but their words are not honest. The ruler might think that he has many friends. He is wrong. These people only want his money. If the ruler becomes poor, then he will have no friends. See Proverbs 18:24.
God loves poor people (Luke 4:18). As Christians, we must be the friends of poor people. Greedy people will not help poor people. But Christians can show poor people that God loves poor people too.
Wisdom is a good thing. If you are wise, then you will benefit from your wisdom. Wisdom improves your whole life. Learn to be wise! Wisdom is better than wealth or fame. Nothing is better than wisdom, because wisdom teaches us to respect God.
This is similar to verse 5. Here, at verse 9, it contrasts with verse 8. We have a choice. The wise man loves wisdom, so he succeeds. The foolish man lies, so he will die. His death is the punishment for his evil words.
In the first line, the fool is someone who hates wisdom. He should suffer for his evil actions, but this fool does not suffer. Instead, he lives in luxury. Solomon thinks that this is terrible.
In the second line, a prince rules a country. However, the prince is unhappy, because he has a secret. The prince is afraid of his slave. The slave controls the prince. Solomon says that this is even worse.
Solomon was a king. Perhaps he knew this prince and his slave. We do not know who they were. But Solomon seems to write about them again in Ecclesiastes 6:1-3 and Ecclesiastes 10:5-7.
A wise man forgives the mistakes of other people. This shows that the wise man is a great man. See Matthew 6:14-15.
When a king is angry, he is dangerous, like a lion. Stay away from him!
But a king can be calm and quiet. Then it is good to be with him. This is like dew (water) on the grass, when it is cool in the early morning.
This man has a foolish son, and a wife who argues. He has many troubles.
His son is evil and hates wisdom. The man suffers because his son is evil.
The wife who argues always upsets her husband. Water is precious. If there is a leak, then this wastes the precious water. The wife who argues is like a leak of water. She wastes her husbandís strength. He is weak, because of the arguments.
This man has a wise wife and careful parents.
His parents have saved money to provide for him. His wife is the gift of God.
This man has a good life, because of his wise wife and wise parents. Parents can provide houses and wealth. But only God can give a wise wife to the man.
This man is too lazy. He is still asleep. He must awake and work. Otherwise, he will be hungry. See Proverbs 6:6-11.
This verse briefly explains Deuteronomy 28. If we obey Godís law, then God will help us. If we do not obey, then we shall suffer.
However, everyone does evil things. (See Romans 3:23.) So we must ask God to forgive us (Acts 17:30-31). God forgives us, because Jesus suffered our punishment (Acts 3:18).
God cares about poor people. He wants us to help them. See Matthew 25:31-46.
Perhaps you have an evil son. As he becomes older, his behaviour may become worse. Perhaps he will die when a judge punishes him. But we know that God will punish that son.
Perhaps you can still rescue your son. Perhaps if you punish him, he will change his behaviour. Perhaps your son will pray to God. Perhaps your son will ask God to forgive him.
Do not be afraid to punish your son! You may save him from a much worse punishment.
Discipline is not just for young people. Adults should also learn to have discipline. In other words, they should teach themselves to behave well. But some people easily become angry. You might work hard to rescue such a man from his punishment. But if he becomes angry again, then you must rescue him again.
Try to teach this person not to be angry. He should learn to be patient. An angry person has many troubles, because of his anger.
Everyone needs to learn to be wise. Nobody is born wise.
You, too, can learn to be wise. You must listen to your lessons. Your lessons are the advice that you receive. You must obey the instructions. This requires effort. It takes time. But, in the end, you will be wise.
We make our plans. But we cannot control even our own lives. See James 4:13-15. If we trust God, then God will guide us. See my notes on Proverbs 16:1.
See Acts 16:6-10. Paul had many plans, but these were not Godís plans. Paul needed to pray, so that he would know Godís plans.
A loyal friend is the best type of friend. Such a friend is always sincere. He does not try to gain by lies, because he is loyal. He does not even care if he becomes poor because of his friendship.
The second line is similar to Proverbs 19:1.
We must respect God - see Proverbs 1:7. If we respect God, then God will help us. When troubles come, he will protect us. See Psalm 46:1.
Solomon uses humour here. This is a very lazy man. He is too lazy, even to eat. This means the same as verse 15. A lazy man refuses to work, so he will earn nothing. Because he earns nothing, he will be hungry. Solomonís story in verse 24 explains this as a joke.
The man who insults other people might not learn from his punishment. In English, we say that this man has a Ďclosed mindí. This means that he refuses to learn from anyone else. But other people can learn when they see this manís punishment.
Simple people do wrong things, because they have not learned to be wise. Simple people will learn when the evil man receives his punishment. They will see the punishment. So they will realise that the man is evil. They will learn that the manís actions were wrong. So they themselves will begin to learn wisdom. In English, we say that simple people have an Ďempty mindí. This means that they have learned little yet. But they might learn if they get a shock.
If a wise man does something wrong, then you should correct him. Because he is wise, he will learn from the correction. He will become even wiser. In English, we say that such a man has an Ďopen mindí. That is, he wants to learn, even if the truth is painful.
This son does not just do one evil thing. He does many evil things. His parents cannot control him. They must avoid him. They can only pray to God for their son. The son will suffer for his own evil actions.
This is the only verse in Proverbs 10:1 to Proverbs 22:16 where Solomon speaks to his own son. These chapters form a very long lesson. Perhaps Solomonís son is tired. Perhaps the son wants to do something else. But he must not walk away. He needs to listen to this lesson. He needs to learn this knowledge. He must be patient and learn more.
The first line is like James 2:10. If a witness lies, then the judge might make the wrong decision. Because of this, the law will be unfair. A guilty man might go free. An innocent man might suffer punishment. Lies are always evil, but especially in court.
The second line is like Proverbs 4:17. This line means that the evil man loves his evil behaviour. An evil man always wants to do more evil things.
The man who lies, in verse 28, insults the law itself. He deserves his punishment.
Fools hate wisdom, and love to do evil things. Like the man that lies, fools also deserve severe punishments.
The punishments are ready. Sometimes evil people avoid punishment in this world. But they cannot escape from God. So they must change their lives before it is too late. They must ask God to forgive them. They must do this without delay - because the punishments are ready.
A drunk might say that alcohol is like a friend to him. Solomon does not agree. A friend would not insult you. But wine and beer do this. Alcohol insults your mind and confuses your thoughts. It can hurt your body and put you in danger. It causes divorces and upsets families. A wise person should not allow wine and beer to tempt him.
This verse is similar to Proverbs 19:12. Do not make a king angry! He might order your death.
See also the prayer in Acts 4:24-20. Sometimes people (and even kings) will oppose us, because we are Christians.
A wise man tries not to argue. He is polite - see Acts 26:2-3. Sometimes he says nothing, to avoid an argument - see Mark 14:61. But sometimes he must speak, although other people will be angry (Mark 14:62-65). His wisdom will guide him to know what to say.
A fool is evil and he hates wisdom. He loves arguments, because he loves his evil behaviour.
Solomon uses humour here. The farmer in verse 4 was too lazy to plough his land. When the harvest is due, he gets a bad surprise. There is no food.
Even a stupid farmer knows that he must plough the ground. This farmer was lazy, so he will be hungry.
If we work hard, then we shall have enough food. Work is good. We should not be lazy.
Sometimes it is difficult to help a friend. Often a friend does not want to talk. He does not want to explain his problems. A wise person will speak gently to his friend. The wise person will encourage his friend to explain the problem.
The wise man must be slow and patient. He acts like a man who takes water from a deep well. After a long time, he will succeed. Then the wise man will understand his friendís problem. So the wise man can help his friend.
People often say that they are loyal to their friends. Troubles will test whether their words were true. Anyone can say such words. But when problems come, many people do not try to help their friends.
In verses 6 and 9, Solomon tries to find an honest man. Many people seem honest. They say the right words. But when Solomon inquires further, these people disappoint Solomon. Everybody does wrong things. See Psalm 53:3, Isaiah 53:6, and Romans 3:23.
Jesus was always honest and he always spoke the truth. John lived with Jesus for 3 years (1 John 1:1-3). John tells us that Jesus did nothing evil (1 John 3:5). This is why Jesus could take the punishment for our evil actions. Jesus did this when he died for us (1 Peter 3:18). This is how God forgives our evil actions.
The children benefit if their father is honest. If we are honest and good, then God will help our children.
But only Jesus was really honest. Jesus is God (Colossians 2:9, John 10:30). If we trust God, then we are Godís children (Isaiah 53:10). So God is kind to us (1 John 3:1).
In Solomonís time, the king was also a judge. God is also a king and judge (Revelation 19:16; 20:11-12). God gives authority to human judges (John 19:10-11). So we must respect them. A human judge is Godís servant (Romans 13:1-5).
A human judge does not allow lies in his court. He does not allow any evil behaviour in his court. In the same way, God punishes all our evil actions (Revelation 20:13-15). Nobody can lie to God. He knows everything (1 John 3:20).
See verse 6. We cannot say this (1 John 1:8). Only Jesus can truly say this. However, if we trust in God, then God forgives our evil actions. We are Godís children. We do not continue to do evil things (1 John 3:9). But if we do evil things, then we should tell the truth to God. We should confess our evil action to God. We should tell him about our errors (1 John 1:9). Then God will forgive us, because of Jesus (1 John 2:1).
Shops use scales and measurements. If these are false, then the shopkeeper is cheating the customer. Solomon says that the shopkeeper has lied. God hates all lies.
A good child behaves well. A bad child behaves badly. We test children by their actions.
God tests everybody by their actions. We all must do the things that please God. (Matthew 7:20)
God made our eyes and ears. Therefore, he knows how to see and to hear. God sees our actions. God hears our words. He knows the things that we have done. He is a fair judge. We cannot lie to God.
This is similar to Proverbs 19:15. Sleep is good, but it is not good to be lazy. The lazy man becomes poor, because he refuses to work. The worker earns his wages, so that he has plenty of food.
This buyer bargains for a cheap price. Perhaps he even cheats the seller. The buyer says that the seller is selling something bad. But later, he tells the opposite to his friends. He has bought something good at a cheap price.
People do not always mean the things that they say. And many people try to make a profit unfairly. We should be honest (Matthew 5:37).
Gold and precious stones seem valuable. They are beautiful and expensive. But many people own them. And these things are not very useful.
Knowledge is useful. Knowledge is more valuable than gold or precious stones. Knowledge is also rare. See Matthew 7:14.
You cannot trust this manís promise. He has promised on behalf of a foreigner. Perhaps the man is hiding an evil secret. Therefore, you must keep his coat, until he pays. See also Exodus 22:26-27.
A man eats a meal. His food tastes good and sweet. He enjoys the meal.
But suddenly, something is wrong. The meal tastes awful. He breaks his teeth. His mouth is full of stones!
Evil actions are like this. Evil behaviour may tempt us and attract us. We might feel happy when we do an evil action. But soon it will feel terrible. In the end, we feel shame.
The man in verse 17 stole his food. Or perhaps he cheated someone else to get the meal. In the end, he receives his punishment.
Be careful when you make an important decision!
When a king goes to war, people will die. He must not decide to go to war while he is angry. He must think carefully. He must obtain good advice, from honest advisers. See Luke 14:31-33.
You cannot trust this man. He gossips, so he will tell your secrets to everyone.
We should not gossip. See James 4:11-12.
We must respect our parents. God orders us to do this. See Deuteronomy 5:16, and Matthew 15:4-6.
The second line of verse 20 means that this man deserves death. A man who insults his parents deserves a terrible punishment (Exodus 21:17).
There are many ways to get money quickly. You might steal money. You might cheat other people. You might make an evil plan. These methods are all evil. If you do these things, then you will suffer punishments and troubles.
You should earn money from your work. This is slower than if you steal. But God will be pleased with you because you are honest.
Sometimes we want to punish people who hurt us. This is not a good attitude. We should forgive people (Romans 12:17-21). We should even love our enemies (Matthew 5:44). But God will punish evil people, if they do not ask God to forgive them. (See Deuteronomy 32:35.)
This is similar to verse 10. Many people think that small lies do not matter. Solomon does not agree with this idea. Solomon repeats the lesson, because it is important. God hates all lies.
We try to understand our own lives. We try to understand our experiences. Often we do not know why things happen. But God knows. He directs our lives. And he guides us. He is like a farmer who looks after his sheep (Psalm 23; John 10:1-11).
Judges 11:30-40 explains this. Jephthah promised to kill and to give to God, whatever greeted him first. He expected an animal to greet him. However, his daughter greeted him.
We should be careful about gifts and promises. It is better not to carry out a promise, than to do something evil. But you should not make a promise that you cannot carry out. See also Matthew 5:33-37.
A farmer drives a wheel over the wheat, to separate the grain from the straw. Then he scatters the grain, so that the wind blows away the straw.
A king attacks evil men. The king must protect his country, so his army fights against the evil men. This is like the farmer, who drives a wheel over the wheat to separate the straw from the grain. (Compare this verse with Amos 1:3.)
If the king does not kill the evil men, then he scatters them. If many evil men work together, then they are strong and dangerous. After the king scatters them, they are alone and weak.
God also does this. He punishes evil people and he scatters them (Psalm 2). God does this, so that Godís people are safe.
God even knows our thoughts. He knows whether our plans are good or evil. Other people might think that we are good and honest. But God knows the truth.
Some rulers think that they should be cruel. Solomonís own son, Rehoboam, thought this (1 Kings 12:13-14). He was wrong. Cruelty does not make a king safe. If a ruler is cruel, then the people hate him. They want a revolution and a new government.
Love protects a king. A ruler should love the people. He should look after them and protect them. Then the people will love him. See 1 John 3:7-12.
We respect a youthís strength. We call young people Ďchampionsí and Ďheroesí when they win in sports.
We must also respect old people. Their grey hair reminds us about their long lives. Often old people have great wisdom. They are too old to be champions in sport. But they can still be our champions and heroes, because of their wisdom.
Nobody likes pain. But a wound often heals, whilst it hurts. The body removes the bad part of the wound, and this hurts.
In Solomonís country, judges might punish a guilty man with the whip. The second line means, ĎPunishment removes a manís evil behaviour.í No punishment is pleasant. But the intention is to teach good behaviour.
If we smack a child, then the child learns to behave. When a judge punishes a thief, the thief should learn not to steal.
God sometimes punishes Christians. He does this because he loves us. He wants us to learn how to be holy. See Hebrews 12:5-11.
This verse also reminds us about Jesus. Before Jesus died, the soldiers whipped his back. They made him suffer greatly, although he had done nothing wrong. Then they placed nails through his hands and feet. The nails fixed him to the wooden cross where he died.
Jesus suffered the punishment that we deserve for our evil deeds. He suffered because God loves us. God forgives us because Jesus suffered. We need simply to confess our evil deeds and to trust God. Because Jesus suffered our punishment, God removes our evil behaviour. And because Jesus suffered our punishment, we can be friends of God. See 1 Peter 2:24 and Isaiah 53:5.
God directs both good and evil kings.
God directed King Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Jerusalem. This was a punishment because the people in Jerusalem were very evil (2 Chronicles 36:15-17; Daniel 1:2).
Later, God gave a dream to Nebuchadnezzar. This dream was about the future (Daniel 2:28). Later, when Nebuchadnezzar became proud, God made him humble (Daniel 4:28-34). Afterwards, Nebuchadnezzar wrote, ĎGod is always king. He always rules in heaven.í (Daniel 4:34).
Nebuchadnezzar was an evil king who had served false gods (Daniel 3:5-6). But in the end, he praised the real God (Daniel 4:37).
We might think that we are always right. But God knows our real intentions.
Two men, called Cain and Abel, gave gifts to God. God did not accept Cainís gift, so Cain was angry. God warned Cain, ĎDo the things that are right! Then I (God) will accept you. But if you do wrong things, then your evil attitudes will control you.í
Cain did not obey Godís advice. Instead, Cain killed Abel (Genesis 4:3-8).
See also Psalm 51:16-17.
Evil people are proud. They think that they are more important than other people. And evil people think that they do not need God.
Evil people are proud when they look at other people. When they see other people, they hate those people.
The desires and actions of evil people are all wicked.
A businessman must think hard when he makes his plans. Then his business will succeed. He must think carefully, before he makes each decision.
This is true about all our plans. We should not make plans in a hurry. We must use intelligence, and make our plans carefully. If we follow our emotions, then our plans will fail.
This person cheats and steals to get money. He refuses to work to earn his money. God will punish him, even if judges do not punish him. Suddenly he will lose all his money. See Luke 12:20-21.
Many evil people love to be cruel. They use cruelty to get money. They use cruelty to control other people.
But evil people will also suffer in the end. Evil people will receive a severe punishment.
Life is like a journey. A guilty person is like a traveller who chooses the wrong path. A guilty personís actions may cause his death. His actions may take him to hell. So he needs to confess his evil deeds to God.
But an innocent person is like a traveller who chooses the right path. This innocent person has chosen to live his life in Godís way. And God will guide him. See Psalm 1.
The corner of a roof is not a comfortable place to live. But it is better than a big house, if the manís wife argues. This man escapes to his roof.
We should not argue. We should aim to be content. See Philippians 4:11.
This man is wicked. He does not want to do the right things. He wants to do evil things. This is why he is unfriendly. He hates his neighbour. A wicked person does not want to help his neighbour or anyone else.
The man who insults might not learn from his punishment. But other people can learn. Simple people have not learned to be wise. So simple people do evil things. But the simple people will see the punishment of the man who insults. So the simple people will be able to learn from that manís error.
A wise man does not need a punishment. He will learn his lessons. Teach him, and he will become even wiser.
God sees evil people. He watches their evil actions. He knows their evil thoughts. God will punish them.
God cares about poor people. We also should care about them, and try to help them. If we do this, then God will help us. When we have problems, we can cry out to God. God will hear our prayers. See Psalm 40:1.
Solomon does not want us to give bribes (secret gifts). He teaches that bribes are evil. See Proverbs 15:27.
A man might seem to be very angry. Perhaps the man really is angry. Or perhaps he just wants money. Perhaps he is like the buyer in Proverbs 20:14. So this angry man is bargaining for more money.
If someone goes to court, then he might be very angry. Or he might pretend to be angry, so that he can win more money.
We want judges to be fair. We want them to make the right decisions. We want them to refuse bribes (secret gifts).
An evil person does not think this. A fair judge will punish evil people as they deserve. A good judge will send evil people to prison. A good judge will not allow them to cheat other people. He will refuse bribes (secret gifts). He will oppose the plans of evil people.
Life is like a journey. If we follow God, then he will guide us. We shall not be like travellers who wander on the wrong path. If we do not obey God, then we are in danger. This is like a man who wanders on to a dangerous road.
This person wastes his money. He buys expensive wine and oil. He does not save his money. He spends it on every luxury.
This person will drink the wine. He will use the oil. Soon nothing remains. He has spent all his money, so he is poor.
We should be careful with our money. Then we shall not waste our money but we shall spend it wisely. Our money can provide for us, and for our families. It can help poor people. It can even help with Godís work.
This is Godís principle. It is not a human principle. On this earth, good people sometimes suffer, even when wicked people do not suffer (Psalm 22:7-8). Sometimes innocent people suffer (Luke 13:1-5).
However, in the end God will punish evil people. Sometimes evil people suffer instead of good people, even on this earth. In Esther chapters 5-7, an evil man (Haman) suffered the punishment that Haman plotted against a good man (Mordecai). Another example is Exodus 12:35-36.
But in the end, God will punish all evil people (Luke 13:5). So we must refuse to do evil deeds. And we must trust in God. If we do this, God will forgive us.
This is similar to verse 9. However, this man lives in the desert. The desert is a terrible place to live. But it is better to live there than to listen to constant arguments.
This reminds us of verse 17. The foolish man wastes everything. The wise man stores the best things.
The wise man works hard so that, in winter, he will have plenty of food. This shows to us the wise manís character. A wise man does not only store food. A wise man also stores wisdom and knowledge in his mind.
We should not desire money, or fame, or foolish things. Instead, we should desire love and goodness. Love and goodness come from God. ĎGod is love.í (1 John 4:16)
God gives good gifts (Matthew 7:11). God wants to give love and goodness to us. And he will also give other gifts to us, for example, long life and honour.
A wise man is not afraid of strong men. He is wise, so he serves God. Through his wisdom, he can even destroy a strong castle. Wisdom is better than strength.
Solomon tells a similar story in Ecclesiastes 9:13-16. In that passage, the wise man defends his city, when a strong man attacks.
Both passages remind us about Jesus. He is like the wise man. The devil is like the strong man. Jesus describes the devil as a Ďstrong maní in Mark 3:26-27. When Jesus died for us, he defeated the devil (Hebrews 2:14). Godís wisdom defeated the power of the devil (Ephesians 2:1-5).
Our words can be dangerous. We might gossip or tell lies. We might insult other people. We might even make evil plans.
We do not want to suffer a punishment for our evil words. We should ask God to forgive us. And we should be careful with our words. See James 3:1-12.
This verse explains how to identify a proud person.
A proud man does not respect anyone else. He only thinks about himself.
God wants us to be humble. See James 4:10.
These two verses belong together. They compare a lazy man with a good man.
This lazy man is greedy. He wants food. He needs money. But he refuses to work. So he tries to persuade other people to give these things to him. He will fail. He will die because he cannot earn anything.
This good man is generous. He is not greedy. He helps other people. He might even help the lazy man, although the lazy man does not deserve any help.
The good man works, so he earns wages. His is glad to receive his wages, so that he can give more money. He has desires, but his desires are not like the lazy manís desires. The good man does not want luxuries. He desires to help other people. He wants to give.
If a wicked man gives a gift to God, that man is still wicked. He does not change his behaviour. He does not confess his evil deeds. He does not ask God to forgive him. This is more important than any gift. See Psalm 40:6-8 and Psalm 51:16-17.
This man is wicked and his reasons are wicked. Perhaps he wants other people to respect him. (Compare Matthew 6:2). Perhaps he thinks that he can deceive (lie to) God. Perhaps he thinks that God is like a man. A man might accept the wicked manís gift (Proverbs 21:14). God will not accept it. God knows the wicked manís heart. God knows the true reasons for his gift.
God punishes people who lie. Lies are evil (Deuteronomy 5:20, Mark 10:19). But a good listener will say helpful things. Such a person learns from what he hears. So his words will not suggest a wicked scheme.
The second line might mean, ĎThe words of a man who does not lie will always be true.í Or, ĎThe man who listens to lies will also die.í Or, ĎThe man who hears a lie will tell everyone.í Or, ĎPeople do not forget an honest man.í
Perhaps the second line means many different things. Perhaps Solomon intended this. Each of these possible meanings teaches a true lesson.
When people see this wicked man, he seems bold. Really, he is not bold, but he is stupid. An honest man would think about his actions. An honest man would be much more careful.
Some people think that selfish ambitions are wise (James 3:14-15). This is not really wisdom, and it cannot defeat God.
Some people think that they are clever. They think that there is no God. The Bible calls them Ďfoolsí (Psalm 14:1). Their intelligence cannot defeat God. Their knowledge cannot defeat God.
The devil plots against us. He wants to destroy us (1 Peter 5:8). But his plans cannot defeat God. In the end, God will destroy the devil (Revelation 20:10).
Evil people might think that they are strong. They might insult God. They might even think that they are stronger than God. But God is in heaven. When he hears this, he laughs at them. Their insults cannot bother God. (Psalm 2:1-4)
For Solomon, his horses were like todayís tanks. (Tanks are strong, powerful, army vehicles.) A horse was strong and fast in a battle. It could pull a chariot (vehicle) or carry a soldier. The enemy was afraid of the horses.
Horses need food, water and exercise. Soldiers trained the horses for the battle. But the strength of the horses could not win the battle. A large, powerful army does not always win the war, even today. God decides who wins. See 1 Samuel 14:6-15, Joshua 5:13-6:25 and 1 Samuel 17.
Wisdom is more valuable than wealth (Proverbs 8:10). Other people should be able to trust us. Christians should be responsible people, who are always careful and sensible.
God made everybody. So we are all responsible to him.
God made rich people. He gave wealth to them, so that they could help poor people (Proverbs 14:31).
God also made poor people. He cares about them (Isaiah 61:1). He will punish rich people who refuse to help poor people (Proverbs 17:5).
A simple person has not learned to be wise. He does not watch for dangers. He does not go to a safe place. (See Psalm 46:1-2.) He suffers, because he is not wise.
God is greater than we are. Therefore, we must be humble. The wise person respects God (Proverbs 1:7). God protects him and helps him.
Some wise people are not wealthy (Proverbs 19:1). But their wisdom is more valuable than money (Proverbs 8:10-11). Really, they are wealthy, because God will give great wealth to them in heaven. (See Revelation 21:3-4, Revelation 21:18-21 and Isaiah 55:2. See also Mark 10:29-20.)
Similarly, other people might not give honour to wise people (Matthew 5:11-12). But God gives honour to them (John 12:26).
In this book, Solomon warns us about many dangers. Wicked people suffer from all these dangers, because they refuse to learn wisdom (Proverbs 4:19). They even suffer from their own evil actions. They are like a stupid hunter, who falls into his own trap (Proverbs 5:22-23).
But we can be safe from these dangers. If we are wise, then we shall not be wicked. We shall obey Solomonís advice. We shall learn about dangers and avoid them. (Proverbs 5:8).
This verse is a lesson for teachers to learn. It is also good advice for parents.
We should teach even the youngest children. We should teach them about wisdom. We should teach them to obey Godís commands. And we should encourage them to trust in Jesus.
Science, languages and maths are good subjects. Art and music can teach us many skills. But these things are not the same as wisdom. The first lesson about wisdom is that we must respect God.
When our children grow older, they will remember our lessons. Lessons about God will always be valuable to our children. Godís wisdom can guide our entire lives. This wisdom can protect us from danger. Also, wisdom teaches us to trust in God. So Godís wisdom will teach us the way to heaven.
Solomon collected 3000 wise lessons (proverbs) (1 Kings 4:32). This section contains over 400 proverbs (Proverbs 10-22). Here, Solomon is almost at the end of his list. As he finishes his work, he repeats the main principles.
Wealthy people are powerful, because of their money. They should use their power wisely. They should be generous. They should not cause poor people to suffer. A wealthy man should care about his servants.
It is not good to owe a debt (Proverbs 6:1). We should work hard and save money. We should spend our money wisely. We should not waste it on luxuries. Then we may perhaps avoid the need for a loan.
Evil actions are like seeds. If a man sows seeds, then he will receive a harvest. If a man does evil things, then he will suffer trouble. Other people might suffer from his evil actions. But the man himself will also suffer. God knows that the man is evil. God will punish him (Hosea 8:7).
Sometimes evil people are strong and powerful. An evil king might rule a country with his large army. We might think that nobody could defeat him. But God is more powerful than any king or ruler (Ephesians 1:20-21). In Godís time, the rule of evil people over this world will end. But Godís words will not end. Godís power will not end. God will always be the only God. (Mark 13:31; Hebrews 12:26-28)
God wants us to be generous. He wants us to share the wealth that he has given to us (Deuteronomy 8:17-18). God cares about poor people. If we help other people, then we are doing Godís work (Luke 6:38). So, God will reward us (Mark 10:29-30).
People who cause trouble by their evil words do not deserve a welcome. Such people may lie or gossip. Or they may insult other people. We should send away these evil people (Matthew 18:17). The troubles will end when they leave. And perhaps our actions will warn them that their behaviour was evil (1 Timothy 1:20).
Because Solomon was a king, his decisions affected many people. His friends needed to advise him and to inform him. He needed to choose the right friends.
Solomon needed honest friends who would speak the truth. He needed friends who spoke kind words. He did not want angry friends or dangerous friends. He did not want friends who told lies. It did not matter whether his friends were rich or poor. He needed wise friends.
Solomonís son, Rehoboam, had the wrong friends. They were rich, and they loved luxuries. They were not kind. They were cruel. They gave bad advice. Because of their bad advice, there was a revolution. Rehoboam lost most of his country (1 Kings 12:10-16).
Everybody needs good friends. We need friends to encourage and to advise us. We want friends who will pray for us. We need to meet with other Christians. We should go to a church that believes the Bible. See Hebrews 10:25.
People may fail, but Godís word will never fail. God preserves his truth. Nobody can successfully oppose God. God will not allow anyone to destroy the truth.
ĎKnowledgeí here means knowledge about God, and about what he requires.
In Jeremiah 36:27-28, an evil king tried to destroy the words that God gave to the prophet (holy man) Jeremiah. The king threw Jeremiahís book into the fire. The book burned, but God protected the knowledge about his truth. After the book burned, God told Jeremiah to write the book again. So the kingís plan to destroy the prophetís words failed.
When Solomon writes about the lazy man, he usually uses humour. This lazy man has an excuse for everything. He cannot even leave his house.
The lazy man tells us that there is a lion outside. We look, but we cannot see any lion. He tells us that a murderer is outside. We cannot see any murderer, either.
The truth is that the man just wants an excuse to be lazy.
God needs people to work for him (Matthew 9:37-38). God wants us to teach his good news. God wants people to hear about the Bible. God wants to forgive people. We must work for God. We must not be lazy.
Sometimes there will be dangers. Sometimes these dangers are real (Matthew 10:34-38). We must be wise and careful. (Matthew 10:16-17). But if we suffer, God will reward us (Matthew 10:39). So we should not be afraid (Matthew 10:26). Read Matthew 10.
A deep well is very dangerous. If you fall in, then you cannot easily climb out. Perhaps nobody will hear your cries. Perhaps nobody can rescue you. Perhaps you will die.
Evil deeds are dangerous. If evil things tempt you, these things are dangerous. These things can cause many troubles.
Perhaps sex tempts you. Or perhaps money tempts you. Or, other things might tempt you. You should refuse. Then God will protect you (James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9).
God is angry with evil people (Deuteronomy 1:26, 34). If a person does evil things, then he will suffer many troubles. But, if he asks God to forgive him, then God will forgive (Psalm 51:17).
By Ďfoolishí, Solomon means Ďevilí. We all do evil things (Romans 7:19). This is because men and women refused to obey God (Genesis 3). Even a child does wrong things.
But the child can learn to do the right things. And we can all learn to obey God. First, we must ask God to forgive us. We must trust in God. Then God will teach his wisdom to us.
We should teach our children. We should explain how they should behave. We should encourage them to respect God. When they can understand this, they should ask God to forgive their evil behaviour. Our children are not Christians merely because we believe. They themselves must trust in God.
Sometimes we must punish our children. We do not punish them because we are angry. We punish them because we love them. A smack does not always need to hurt. Often a smack should be gentle. It is like a lesson. It teaches the child to behave more wisely.
Solomon finishes this section of his book, with a puzzle.
Solomon describes two men. Each man has a plan. Each man thinks that his plan will make him wealthy. However, both plans will fail. Both men will become poor. These men become poor, because their plans are not wise. Both plans are evil plans. So God opposes these plans. And God punishes the men.
The first man wanted to be wealthy. So he was cruel to poor people. Perhaps he was an employer. He decided to pay poor wages for hard work. Or perhaps he was a landlord. The rent was expensive and the houses were dangerous. Or perhaps he was just a thief. He stole money from the poor people. All these plans are evil.
The second man did not think about poor people. He wanted to get money from wealthy people. Perhaps his gifts were bribes (secret gifts). He wanted government officials to like him. Then they would help him to make a profit. He thought that this would make him rich. Or perhaps he gave gifts to impress other people. He wanted people to think that he was wealthy or important. In the end, he wasted all his money.
People make many plans to become wealthy. But, in the end, wealth does not matter. When we die, we shall lose all our money (Ecclesiastes 2:18; 1 Timothy 6:7). But when we die, we do not lose wisdom. Wisdom teaches us to respect God (Proverbs 1:7).
We must not trust in money. We must trust in God.
Proverbs 10:1 to Proverbs 22:16 belong together. But the chapter numbers are not part of the original book. Sometimes, they are in the wrong positions. Proverbs 22:17 should really start a new chapter.
Our commentary on Proverbs 22:17 to Proverbs 31:31 is available from the EasyEnglish website.
Various writings and sermons by C.H. Spurgeon, J. Wesley, G. Whitefield and other classic writers.
Notes on the Book of Proverbs - John Wesley
The Book of Proverbs by A.R. Fausset - in Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible by Jamieson, Fausset and Brown
Proverbs by S.S. Buzzell - in The Bible Knowledge Commentary edited by Walvoord and Zuck
Proverbs by G.W. Thatcher and other articles - in The Temple Bible Dictionary edited by Ewing & Thomson
Youngís Analytical Concordance
Strongís Exhaustive Concordance
Analytical Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon by B. Davidson
Bibles - NIV, KJV, TEV, RSV, Moffatt, Jewish translation (1917), occasional use of Hebrew text and other translations.
Christ in all the Scriptures - A.M. Hodgkin
© 2005, Wycliffe Associates (UK)
This publication is written in EasyEnglish Level B (2800 words).
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