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Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 13

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-25

Chapter 13

In the thirteenth chapter of Proverbs, there is a continuation of the contrasting of the righteous with the wicked, the wise and the scorner, the transgressor and the good man.

A wise son hears his father's instruction: but a scorner does not listen to rebuke. A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth: but the soul of the transgressors shall eat violence. He that keeps his mouth keeps his life: but he that opens wide his lips shall have destruction. The soul of the sluggard desires, and has nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat. A righteous man hates lying: but a wicked man is loathsome, and comes to shame. Righteousness keeps him that is upright in the way: but wickedness overthrows the sinner. There are those that seem to be rich, and yet they have nothing: there are those that seem to be poor, yet they have great riches ( Proverbs 13:1-7 ).

That's because true riches are not measured in material things. True riches have a standard in spirituality, in the eternal. Your true riches are those that you'll possess five minutes after you're dead. Now, a lot of people have been awfully rich in life, but five minutes after they're dead, they're going to be absolute paupers. They'll have absolutely nothing. There are many people who have had nothing all through life, but five minutes after they're dead, they're going to have such vast riches, the true riches, spiritual riches.

Jesus in Luke's gospel the twelfth chapter speaks a parable beginning with verse Proverbs 13:16 ,

And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room to bestow all of the my fruits? And he said, I know what I'll do: I'll pull down my barns, I'll build bigger ones; and then I will bestow all my fruits and all of the my goods. Then I will say to my soul, Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall be those things that you have laid up? Who's going to inherit it? So is he that layeth up treasures for himself, and is not rich toward God ( Luke 12:16-21 ).

True riches are those that are laid up in heaven. They are the riches that will not decline. They are the riches that cannot lose their value. True riches. So there are those who seem to be very rich, and yet, in reality, they have nothing. There are those who seem to be poor, and yet they are very rich.

The ransom of a man's life are his riches: but the poor hears not rebuke. The light of the righteous rejoices: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out. Only by pride comes contention ( Proverbs 13:8-10 ):

Now that's an interesting statement, but examine it carefully. Whenever contention arises, somewhere behind it, someone's pride. How important it is for us to come to the cross and to reckon our old man to be dead. But that's the only way you're going to get rid of pride. And that's the only way you're going to get rid, then, of contentions.

"I'm so upset. Did you hear what he did?" "Why are you so upset?" "Well, he said this about me and all." "Well, how much truth is there to it?" "Well, I didn't want people to know that bit of truth about me." I want people to think, I always want people to think better of me than I really am. I always like pictures that flatter me. If they look too much like me I don't care for them. I like them to make me look really handsome and all, you know. Oh, that's a good picture. Doesn't really look like me, but it's sure good-looking, you know. Somehow we always want to put out a better impression. And anything that tarnishes, that creates contention within us. Pride is the basis of contention. "Only by pride comes contention."

but with the well advised is wisdom. Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labor shall increase ( Proverbs 13:10-11 ).

Now there are a lot of scams whereby people are getting wealthy. A while back there were these pyramid parties. "Wealth gotten by vanity." That is, you know, the get-rich schemes. Money that is gained by get-rich schemes is going to vanish.

I have a friend who is a member of the mafia, and I've been witnessing to him for quite a while. He loves to flash a roll. He loves to open up his safe and let me see hundred thousand dollars in hundred dollar bills. Or he loves to take me out to dinner and pull out a roll of twenty thousand dollars in hundred dollar bills, you know, peel them off. He just loves to flash of it. And he's always, always dreaming up some scam to rip somebody off. He was laughing and telling me about how that he collected $20,000 from a guy to rub out another guy. And he said, "I was going to get $50,000 for the job." He said, "I took $20,000 down, I should get $30,000 when he's done." But he said, "I just took the $20,000." He said, "I didn't rub out the guy," but he says, "but I got $20,000." He said, "But who's the guy going to tell? Who's he going to complain to?" Now he told me, he said, "You see this wad of money?" He said, "I have it now but," he said, "out there there's a hundred guys that know that I'm presently got the roll." And he said, "All of them are sitting up nights dreaming up some scam by which to rip the money off of me." And he said, "One of them will come up with something and I'll be a sucker and I'll go in for it, and he's going to rip me off from this roll. And when he does, everybody will know that he's got the roll and they'll all then start dreaming up and I'll start dreaming up a scam to rip him off from the roll." He said, "We all know where the roll is." And he says, "We all get to handle it every once in a while for a while." But he says, "Sooner or later one of these guys gets to us with a scam and he rips us off, and then, you know, we have to go after him." And he said, "It's money that just passes through our hands every once in a while." And I thought of this proverb. "Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathers by labor shall increase."

Hope deferred makes the heart sick ( Proverbs 13:12 ):

Oh yes, I'll marry you, honey. Just wait a year. Oh, my heart's sick. "Hope deferred makes the heart sick."

but when the desire comes, it's a tree of life. Whoso despises the word shall be destroyed ( Proverbs 13:12-13 ):

And this would be the Word of God.

but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded ( Proverbs 13:13 ).

Will be blessed.

The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death. Good understanding gives favor: but the way of the transgressors is hard ( Proverbs 13:14-15 ).

Sometimes we look at sinners and say, "Oh man, he's got his way." No, the way of the transgressor is hard. God declares that. And we see that so many times. We see a person just really up against the wall. We see them just really, you know, they really had it. They come in and say, "Oh. Can't believe." "The way of the transgressor is hard." It's going to catch up with you, and when it does, man, you've had it.

Every prudent man deals with knowledge: but a fool lays open his folly. A wicked messenger falls into mischief: but a faithful ambassador is health. Poverty and shame will come to him who refuses instruction: but he who regards reproof shall be honored. The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it's abomination to fools to depart from evil ( Proverbs 13:16-19 ).

Desire accomplished. The completed goal, oh, how sweet it is.

He that walks with wise men shall be wise: but the companion of fools shall be destroyed. Evil pursues the sinners: but to righteous good shall be repaid. A good man leaves inheritance to his grandchildren: and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just. Much food is in the tillage of the poor: but there is that that destroys for want of judgment ( Proverbs 13:20-23 ).

It is interesting that the United States has had a tremendous food program for India. I forget exactly what percentage of the food that we send over, though, is eaten by rats. But it's a large percentage of the grain that we send to support India is eaten by rats. And of course, they don't believe in killing rats 'cause it might be your uncle. It could very well be one of mine. I always questioned him. But it really isn't always for the lack of food that a person is hungry. It's many times the lack of good judgment.

Now he that spares the rod hates his son: but he that loves him will chasten him often ( Proverbs 13:24 ).

Solomon has quite a bit to say about the correction of a child. "The foolishness of the world is bound up in the heart of the child, but the rod of instruction driveth it far from him" ( Proverbs 22:15 ). Then he said, "Spare the rod and spoil the child." Now my son thought that was a command and when I started using rod, he said, "But the scripture says, 'Spare the rod and spoil the child.'" He thought that I was supposed to spoil him, you know. And I said, "Son, you don't understand. It means if I spare the rod I'll spoil you. He that spares the rod hates his son."

The righteous eats to the satisfying of his soul: but the belly of the wicked shall want ( Proverbs 13:25 ). "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Proverbs 13". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/proverbs-13.html. 2014.
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