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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Proverbs 17

Verse 1

POVERTY AND PEACE

(Proverbs 17)

Poverty and Peace Preferable

Verse 1 declares a common meal with peace is better than a sumptuous feast with strife, Proverbs 15:17.

Verse 2

Wise Servant More Worthy

Verse 2 declares that a wise servant is more worthy to rule and share in the family inheritance than a son who causes shame, Proverbs 10:5; Proverbs 19:26. This principle is illustrated in the history of Jeroboam the servant and Rehoboam the son, lKi 11:28-37.

Verse 3

Lord Tests the Heart

Verse 3 declares that as men test silver and gold by fire, so the LORD trieth the hearts. Reasons for such testing are stated in Malachi 3:3; Jeremiah 17:10; Jeremiah 6:26-30; 1 Chronicles 29:17; 1 Chronicles 4:12-13.

Verse 4

Evil Speaker and Speakee Guilty

Verse 4 suggests that wicked words, whether lies, gossip or other evil, avail not, except there be a receptive ear. Evil speaking is much reproved in the Scriptures, but the listener is not without guilt, Proverbs 13:3; Proverbs 21:23; James 3:6; James 4:11.

Verse 5

Hard Hearted Recompensed

Verse 5 affirms that punishment is sure for those who rejoice when calamity afflicts others, see Proverbs 24:17-18; Obadiah 1:12; Obadiah 1:15. For verse 5a see comment on Proverbs 14:31.

Verse 6

A Model of Family Relationships

Verse 6 cites the joys shared within family generations when there is the love and respect for each other anticipated in divine instructions:

1) Children are an heritage of the LORD, Psalms 127:3-4; Genesis 33:5; Genesis 48:9.

2) Fathers are commanded to instruct the children in the teachings of the LORD, Deuteronomy 6:2-7; Ephesians 6:4. Mothers also instruct, Proverbs 31:26-28; Eph 61; 2 Timothy 1:5; 2 Timothy 3:15.

3) A good man seeks to leave a worthwhile inheritance to his posterity, Proverbs 13:22; Ezra 9:12; Psalms 37:25.

4) Children are commanded to honor and obey father and mother, Exodus 20:12; Ephesians 6:1-3.

5) The LORD blesses obedient children, 2 Chronicles 17:3; 2 Chronicles 26:3-5.

Verse 7

Consistency

Verse 7 suggests that speech should be consistent with character. To be otherwise is as contradictory as a vile person (fool) speaking truth or a responsible prince speaking lies, 1 Samuel 25:25; Psalms 14:1; Isaiah 32:1; Isaiah 32:5-7.

Verse 8

Bribery Condemned

Verse 8 suggests that some people give gifts (bribes AV) of considerable value to obtain favors, Proverbs 21:14. The LORD’s view of such is expressed in verses 15 and 23.

Verse 9

Verse 9a-(Verse 9a - See comment on Proverbs 10:12 b;

Verse 9b - See comment on Proverbs 16:28.)

Verse 10

Fool Has No Desire For Wisdom

Verse 10 declares that one rebuke does a wise man more good than a hundred corrections of a fool, Proverbs 1:5; Proverbs 9:9; Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 12:15; Proverbs 17:16.

Verse 11

Fruit of Evil

Verse 11 affirms the principle of sowing and reaping. The rebel who seeks only evil will himself be a victim of evil, Vs 13; Proverbs 11:17; Proverbs 22:8; Job 4:8; Ezekiel 20:38; Hosea 8:7.

Verse 12

The Fool Is Dangerous

Verse 12 declares that a bear robbed of her cubs is a threat to all she can reach, 2 Kings 2:24, but she is less dangerous than a fool who in his folly rejects the fear of the LORD, makes mock of sin and eventually destroys himself and all who follow him, Proverbs 1:29; Proverbs 14:9; Proverbs 1:32; Luke 12:16-20; Luke 16:19-23.

Verse 13

The Harvest of Evil

Verse 13 declares that repaying good with evil is a grievous offense with continuing consequences that extend beyond the offender to his posterity, 2 Samuel 12; 2 Samuel 9-12; 1 Kings 21:17-22.

Verse 14

Destructive Contention

Verse 14 illustrates the beginning and eventual consequences of contentions and disputes with the rupture and eventual break of a dam. Such begin with a tiny leak, but if not stopped, grow until there is a destructive break that affects many. The counsel of this proverb is to mend the problem before it gets out of control, Proverbs 20:3; Proverbs 25:8; Genesis 13:7-9; Luke 12:58.

Verse 15

Abuse of justice

Verse 15 reveals that the LORD hates perverted justice which acquits the guilty and condemns the innocent, Proverbs 18:5; Proverbs 24:24; Exodus 23:7; Isaiah 5:23.

Verse 16

Wisdom Cannot Be Purchased

Verse 16 suggests that wisdom cannot be obtained by purchase or other means when one has no desire to learn, Proverbs 15:14.

Verse 17

True Friendship

Verse 17 suggests that in time of trouble the need for friend and brother is apparent and those who are faithful to help are revealed by their actions, Proverbs 18:24; Ruth 1:16; 1 Samuel 20:30-42; Acts 9:26-27; Philippians 2:25-30.

Verse 18

The Peril of Surety

Verse 18-See Proverbs 6:1-5; Proverbs 11:15; Proverbs 22:26.

Verse 19

Destroying Pride

Verse 19 declares that to love strife is to love sin, the underlying cause of strife; and implies that such fosters an arrogance that invites destruction, Proverbs 29:22; Proverbs 11:2; Proverbs 16:18; Proverbs 29:23. The reference to exalting the gate suggests the practice of some to show their wealth by elaborate tombs, enlarged homes and grand entrances, Proverbs 29:23 a; Isaiah 22:15-21.

Verse 20

Abominations To the Lord

Verse 20 warns of the unhappy consequences of two related evils which are an abomination to the LORD (Proverbs 6:16; Proverbs 11:20).

1) He that hath a froward heart (a mind that devises evil) attains no good, accomplishes nothing worthwhile, Proverbs 6:14; Proverbs 6:16; Proverbs 6:18.

2) He that hath a perverse tongue (speaks evil, lies, sows discord) will experience trouble, Proverbs 6:15-17; Proverbs 6:19; note particularly Proverbs 6:15.

Verse 21

Disappointing Children

Verse 21, also 25, reveal that parents suffer disappointment and grief because of children who are fools. This chapter, as other Proverbs, describes the fool as an empty-headed big talker (Vs 7), who regards himself as always right (Vs 10), without need to be taught (vs 16), and more determined to pursue his folly than an enraged bear robbed of her cubs (Vs 12). See also Proverbs 1:7; Proverbs 10:23; Proverbs 14:7; Proverbs 15:20; Proverbs 18:6; Proverbs 19:13; Proverbs 29:11; Proverbs 1:29-32; Psalms 14:1.

Verse 22

Thoughts Lift Or Depress

Verse 22- See comment on 15:13.

Verse 23

Bribery An Abomination

Verse 23 emphasizes that it is wicked to accept a gift as a bribe to pervert justice. Verse 15 declares such is an abomination to the LORD, Vs 15; Exodus 23:8; Micah 3:11-12; Micah 7:3-4.

Verse 24

Folly and Wisdom Contrasted

Verse 24 contrasts the deceptive, impractical ways of the fool which ignore wisdom and truth, with the well defined way of wisdom set before the man of understanding, Proverbs 14:6; Proverbs 15:14; Ecclesiastes 2:14; James 1:5-8.

Verse 25

Disappointing Children

Verse 25- See comment on Proverbs 17:21.

Verse 26

Perverted Justice

Verse 26 declares that to punish the innocent or abuse the upright in character is not right. Verse 15 states such is an abomination in the view of the LORD. See Proverbs 18:5 also.

Verse 27

Control of the Tongue

Verse 27 affirms that a man of knowledge exercises control of his tongue and a man of understanding will manifest a calm spirit, Proverbs 10:19; Proverbs 14:29; Job 13:5; James 1:19.

Verse 28

Verse 28 suggests that even a fool can profit from this counsel.

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 17". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/proverbs-17.html. 1985.