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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Proverbs 15

Verse 1

SOFT OR HARSH WORDS

(Proverbs 15)

Soft or Harsh Words

Verse 1 declares that a calm, reasoned answer will quiet indignation, as demonstrated by Gideon, Judges 8:1-3; but grievous words provoke anger, as resulted from the provocative words of Nabal, 1 Samuel 25:10-13; 1 Samuel 25:18; 1 Samuel 25:15.

Verse 2

Worthwhile Speech

Verse 2 suggests that the wise thoughtfully ponder their words, so as to insure speaking rightly; but the fool speaks, when he has nothing worthwhile to say, and pours (belcheth) out foolishness, Vs. 7, 28; Proverbs 12:23; Proverbs 13:16.

Verse 3

All Seeing Eye

Verse 3 declares the omniscience of the LORD (Jehovah) who sees and knows everything whether good or evil, and deals with such as circumstances warrant, Vs. 11; Job 26:6; Job 31:4; Job 34:21; 2 Chronicles 16:9; Hebrews 4:13. Examples are recorded Genesis 39:21-23; Joshua 7:10-11; Joshua 7:24-25; Daniel 5:1-5; Daniel 5:25-31.

Verse 4

Words Wound or Heal

Verse 4 declares that wholesome words, words tempered with patience and kindness, lift the spirit; but words that are twisted or false break the spirit. Compare Proverbs 11:3; Proverbs 12:18; Proverbs 13:12; Isaiah 65:14.

Verse 5

Regard For Parental Instruction

Verse 5 declares that he who despises or refuses his father’s instruction (such as urged in chapters 1-7, Proverbs 23:22) is a fool; but he that heeds such is wise and will profit from it, Proverbs 13:1; Proverbs 13:18.

Verse 6

Treasure-Good and Bad

Verse 6 declares that the house of the righteous has much treasure. Scripture, such as Deuteronomy 30:9; Psalms 36:8; Philippians 4:19; Genesis 14:22 to Genesis 15:1, reveal that the treasure promised is both material and spiritual, covers needs and desires, and is not obtained from wicked sources. In sad contrast are the revenues of the wicked which bring trouble for the entire house, Vs. 27; Proverbs 11:17. See example of Achan and his family, Joshua 7:24-25.

Verse 7

The Use of Speech

Verse 7 declares that the wise use their power of speech to spread knowledge (the knowledge that leads to understanding and wisdom Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 4:5-7; Proverbs 9:10); but the heart (mind) of the foolish do not. Because their heart is not right they use their mouth to spread foolishness, Vs 2;Proverbs 12:23; Proverbs 15:2; Proverbs 18:6-7 ; Ecclesiastes 10:12-13.

Verses 8-9

What the Lord Loves and Detests

Verses 8 and 9reveal the strong displeasure of the LORD with the sacrifices and life-style of the wicked. He detests their religious exercises, because their heart is not right, as is evidenced by their wicked way, Vs 26a; 29a; Proverbs 21:27; Micah 6:6-8; 1 Samuel 16:7. In contrast is the assurance that the LORD is pleased with the prayers, words, and way of the righteous, because their hearts are right, Vs 26b; 29b; Proverbs 21:21; Micah 6:8.

Verse 10

Fatal Rejection of Righteousness

Verse 10 reveals the hardening affect of resisting the call to forsake wickedness for the way of righteousness, Proverbs 1:20-23. To the resister the correction called for is first grievous; then as resistance continues it hardens into that which is hated and rejected with fatal consequences, Proverbs 12:1; Proverbs 1:24-32.

Verse 11

Nothing Hidden From God

Verse 11 affirms that as Hell (Sheol) and destruction are ever within the view of the LORD, so also are the thoughts and intent of the hearts of men aver within His view. Psalms 139:8; Job 26:6; Amos 9:2; 1 Samuel 16:7; Psalms 44:21.

Verse 12

Falsehood Preferred to Truth

Verse 12 declares that a scoffer does not like to be reproved, Proverbs 9:7-8; Proverbs 13:1; Amos 5:10; Ahab is an example, 2 Chronicles 18:7. The wicked and liars would rather have falsehood than truth that rebukes, Proverbs 17:4; 2 Timothy 4:3.

Verse 13

Inner Thoughts Outwardly Reflected

Verse 13 affirms that happy thoughts and purposes will be reflected in a cheerful countenance; but sad thoughts depress the spirit, Vs 15;Proverbs 12:25; Proverbs 17:22; Proverbs 18:14.

Verse 14

Wise Seeker or Satisfied Fool

Verse 14 suggests that the wise recognize the value of knowledge and make an effort to acquire it; but fools are content to feed their minds on foolishness, Proverbs 18:15; Proverbs 12:11.

Verse 15

Verse 15 expands the thought of verse 13 to show that thoughts and purposes of the heart (mind) affect the whole of life. Note the sadness in Jacob’s summary of life, Genesis 47:9; in contrast with the triumphant tone of Paul in 2 Timothy 4:6-8. Compare also Ruth 1:20-21 with Habakkuk 3:17-18.

Verse 16

Little Better Than Great Treasure

Verse 16 suggests that little with a right relationship with the LORD who promises to supply all need is better than great wealth accompanied by worry, Proverbs 16:8; Ecclesiastes 4:6; 1 Timothy 6:9; Psalms 37:16; Philippians 4:19; 1 Timothy 6:6.

Verse 17

Common Food With Love Better Than Banquet With Hatred

Verse 17 declares that a poor man’s meatless dinner of herbs where love prevails is better than an elaborate fatted ox dinner in an atmosphere of hatred, Luke 15:23; Luke 15:25-28.

Verse 18

Strife, Cause and Remedy

Verse 18, with Proverbs 26:21 and Proverbs 29:22 affirm that an angry man is the primary cause of strife. Such is said to be a fool, (Ecclesiastes 7:9) and guilty of acting foolishly (Proverbs 14:17; Proverbs 14:19). In contrast, commended is he who is slow to be angry, and capable of making peace, as Abraham did between his herdsmen and those of Lot, Genesis 37:7-12. See also Ecclesiastes 7:9; Proverbs 12:20; Matthew 5:9; Romans 14:19; Ephesians 4:26.

Verse 19

Way of Sluggard and Upright Contrasted

Verse 19 suggests that because of his laziness and effort to avoid committing himself, the sluggard’s path is as twisted and difficult as a path obstructed by a thorn hedge, Proverbs 10:5; Proverbs 19:24; Proverbs 22:5; Proverbs 22:13; Proverbs 24:30-31; but the way of the upright who follow instructions is straight and the easiest, Proverbs 4:24-26. (Margin for second line of Proverbs 4:26 is "all thy ways shall be established.")

Verse 20

Gladness or Grief For Parents

Verse 20- (See comment on Proverbs 10:1. Compare also Proverbs 30:17.)

Verse 21

Joy Justified or Foolish

Verse 21- (See comment on Proverbs 10:23.)

Verse 22

Value of Counsel

Verse 22-(See comment on Proverbs 11:14.)

Verse 23

Words Fitly Spoken

Verse 23 suggests that appropriate words at a time needed is joy to the speaker and a blessing to the hearer, Proverbs 10:20; Proverbs 23:16; Proverbs 25:11.

Verse 24

The Two Choices

Verse 24 emphasizes the two ways, the two choices open to man: the way chosen by the wise which goeth upward to life above, and the way that goeth downward to hell beneath, Proverbs 4:18-19; Proverbs 2:10-15; Philippians 3:20; Colossians 3:1-2. (Hell in Proverbs 15:24 refers to Sheol, the unseen world.)

Verse 25

Oppressors Judged -Oppressed Protection

Verse 25 contrasts the LORD’s judgment upon oppressors and protection of the oppressed. He will destroy the house of the proud (such were likely the wealthy who preyed upon widows and poor); but He will protect the boundaries of the righteous and the widows, Proverbs 12:7; Proverbs 14:11; Proverbs 23:10; Psalms 68:5; Psalms 146:9.

Verse 26

Thoughts and Words Weighed

Verse 26 reveals the LORD’s attitude toward the thoughts or purposes of the wicked and the words of the pure. See comments on Proverbs 12:5.

Verse 27

Greed For Gain

Verse 27 emphasizes the principle that greed is destructive to one’s home, and even his life, but he that detests and refuses gifts or bribes as inducement to dishonest gain shall live securely, Proverbs 1:17-19; Joshua 6:18; Joshua 7:20-24; 1 Samuel 8:3; Deuteronomy 16:19-20; Isaiah 33:15-16.

Verse 28

Informed Answers

Verse 28 is similar to verse 2 in describing the utterances of the wicked but also emphasizes that the righteous recognize the importance of prior faithful study to assure correct answers, 1 Peter 3:15; 2 Timothy 2:15.

Verse 29

The Lord Far or Near

Verse 29 declares that the LORD responds to man as man responds to Him. He is far from the wicked because their hearts are not right, resulting in practices that are an abomination to Him. The LORD hears the prayers of the righteous because their hearts are right, resulting in obedient practices, Verses 8, 9, 26; Proverbs 21:21; Proverbs 21:27; Micah 6:6-8; James 4:8.

Verse 30

Joy Is Contagious

Verse 30 seems to suggest that joy in the face of another, and good news, gladden the heart. Such effect seems to be indicated in Vs 13; Proverbs 16:15; Proverbs 25:25; Genesis 45:25-28; Philippians 4:8.

15:31-33

Responses to Wisdom

Verses 31-33 affirm some important consequences of man’s responses to the appeals of wisdom:

1) Wisdom effects a reproof of sin that leads to life those who heed it. Those who do so dwell among the wise and get understanding, Vs 5b; Vs 31; Vs 32b.

2) He who rejects the reproof of wisdom despises or takes lightly his own soul, as did Belshazzar, Daniel 5:17; Proverbs 1:29-32; Proverbs 8:35-36.

3) Wisdom, which begins with the fear of the LORD (see 1:7a), administers an instructive discipline in the life of those who yield to its authority, Vs 33a;Proverbs 1:3; Proverbs 8:32-35.

4) A basic teaching of wisdom is stated in Vs 33b; before honor is humility. This is exemplified in the life of men such as Joseph, Daniel, Saul of Tarsus, etc.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Proverbs 15". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/proverbs-15.html. 1985.