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From chapter 10 to chapter 25 of the Book of Proverbs there are no connected discourses, but only individual maxims of Solomon, loosely strung together, the sense of each being complete in one or two verses. Any division in this entire section is more or less arbitrary, although it may be said that the parallelism of members in chapters 10 to 15 is generally antithetic and in chapters 16 to 22 synthetic, and there are certain other characteristics and relations of thought which show the transition from one idea to another.
v. 1. The proverbs, maxims of instruction, of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father, one who follows the precepts of wisdom makes his father glad or happy; but a foolish son, one who rejects the instruction of true wisdom, is the heaviness of his mother, causing her grief and distress.
v. 2. Treasures of wickedness, such as have been gained by any form of wickedness, profit nothing, they cannot bring lasting happiness nor avert a sudden and unhappy death; but righteousness, righteous living, merciful love and charity, delivereth from death, since it shows the presence of faith in the heart.
v. 3. The Lord will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish, actually to suffer want; but He casteth away the substance of the wicked, repelling their greedy desire, often leaving their craving for wealth unfulfilled.
v. 4. He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand, doing his work with an idle hand, too lazy to exert himself; but the hand of the diligent maketh rich, under the blessing of God prosperity and even wealth will be given to him who works with industry and energy.
v. 5. He that gathereth In summer, in the time of harvest, is a wise son, literally, "that doeth wisely"; but he that sleepeth in harvest, thus losing the best opportunity for storing the fruits of the land, is a son that causeth shame, bringing ruin upon himself and upon his aged parents.
v. 6. Blessings are upon the head of the just, as a merciful reward of God's bounty and in acknowledgment of his righteous conduct in life; but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked; although he hides the violence of his heart by keeping silence, he cannot escape its curse; the fact that he covers in himself ruin for others turns the blessing away from him.
v. 7. The memory of the Just is blessed, he is spoken of with esteem, mentioned with praise after his death; but the name of the wicked shall rot, the figure pointing to the disgust and loathing which the mention of his name will excite in all men after his death.
v. 8. The wise in heart will receive commandments, showing himself ready to be instructed and guided in the right way; but a prating fool, a person of foolish lips, shall fall, be overthrown, bring about his own ruin.
v. 9. He that walketh uprightly, in purity or piety of life, walketh surely, with the confidence flowing from a good conscience; but he that perverteth his ways, adopting hidden or crooked ways of conducting himself in order to gain his aims and objects, shall be known, made manifest in his real nature, exposed for what he is in his heart.
v. 10. He that winketh with the eye, as a malicious and mocking sign to his confederates to watch him or to join him in some act of insult, causeth sorrow, injury and grief; but a prating fool shall fall, eventually destruction will come upon him who is foolish of lips.
v. 11. The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life, on account of the cheerful and helpful utterances which proceed from it; but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked, he hides it for a while, but revenge will surely overtake him and give him the proper punishment for his malice.
v. 12. Hatred stirreth up strifes, so that constant quarrels and disputes are the result; but love covereth all sins, by treating transgressions in a kind manner, as diseases of the soul, by being ready to forgive, by endeavoring to gain the sinner from the error of his ways and have him turn to the paths of righteousness, James 5:20; 1 Corinthians 13:4; 1 Peter 4:8.
v. 13. In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found, his utterances will naturally reveal his possession of real wisdom; but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding, that is, he well deserves the punishment which strikes him as the result of his folly.
v. 14. Wise men lay up knowledge, like treasures which are to be put to a good use; but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction, because his foolish suggestions are always breaking forth and bringing misfortune to himself and others, like the sudden collapse of a house.
v. 15. The rich man's wealth is his strong city, it serves as his bulwark in adversity and enables him to go forward with confidence and energy; the destruction of the poor is their poverty, for they are dependent upon, and influenced by, even the slightest misfortune, that is, poverty well deserved on account of foolish and improvident conduct always causes such poor people to sink more deeply in folly and moral need.
v. 16. The labor of the righteous tendeth to life, his earnings, his income, will be used by him in such activities as will bring him true happiness in living; the fruit of the wicked [tendeth] to sin, for he squanders his income for sinful purposes and brings ruin upon himself.
v. 17. He is in the way of life, on the highway to the true enjoyment of life, that keepeth instruction, heeding and accepting correction; but he that refuseth reproof, turning from it, impatient of being led aright, erreth, goes astray and may lead others astray.
v. 18. He that hideth hatred with lying lips, deliberately deceiving others as to the real condition of his heart, being hypocritical falsehood personified, and he that uttereth a slander, spreading abuse and base detraction concerning his neighbor, is a fool, for slander is one of the most odious of vices, making a person loathsome and despised in the sight of God and men.
v. 19. In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin, that is, one given to excessive talking on any and every subject will easily become guilty of transgression; but he that refraineth his lips, showing discretion in speech, is wise, for silence is golden. Cf James 3:2; Matthew 12:36.
v. 20. The tongue of the just, the speech of the righteous, is as choice silver, his words and advice are of great value; the heart of the wicked is little worth, it is a trifle, it is no good.
v. 21. The lips of the righteous feed many, the counsel of their wholesome instruction serving as nourishment for heart and intellect; but fools die for want of wisdom, bringing misfortune and destruction upon themselves by their persistent rejection of true understanding.
v. 22. The blessing of the Lord, by which He gives prosperity and wealth, it maketh rich, for in this case there is no taint of ill-gotten wealth, and He addeth no sorrow with it, rather, "and not does labor add beside it," that is, all anxious worrying and striving for this world's goods will not bring true prosperity and happiness, Psalms 127:2; Matthew 6:25-34.
v. 23. It is as sport to a fool to do mischief, that is, the practice of any form of iniquity is his delight, it agrees with his perverted sense of humor; but a man of understanding hath wisdom, that is his delight, therein he finds his pleasure.
v. 24. The fear of the wicked, that which he dreads, it shall come upon him, Cf Isaiah 56:4; Job 3:25; but the desire of the righteous shall be granted, the good things for which they longed are given them by the Lord.
v. 25. As the whirlwind passeth, rather, "When a storm sweepeth by," so is the wicked no more, taken away like chaff; but the righteous is an everlasting foundation, set firmly against all storms of adversity.
v. 26. As vinegar to the teeth, affecting the enamel and tending to make the teeth feel dull, and as smoke to the eyes, affecting the sensitive membranes and interfering with sight, so is the sluggard to them that send him, a source of constant vexation and worry.
v. 27. The fear of the Lord prolongeth days, adding to their number; but the years of the wicked shall be shortened, their span of life will not reach the normal length.
v. 28. The hope of the righteous shall be gladness, their expectation is fulfilled, bringing them true happiness; but the expectation of the wicked shall perish, they will be disappointed in their hopes of lasting fortune.
v. 29. The way of the Lord is strength to the upright, a bulwark for the innocent or pious; for as long as they follow it, they are safe; but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity, that is their final lot.
v. 30. The righteous shall never be removed, not lose his home or be banished from his country; but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth, they will not remain in possession of the land.
v. 31. The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom, that being the fruit of his lips, the outgrowth of the faith of his heart; but the froward tongue, that given to malice and deceit, shall be cut out, like an unfruitful tree or a dangerous shrub.
v. 32. The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, they are familiar with it, they are continually meditating upon it; but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness, only such things as are full of distortion, malice, and deceit. He who follows the precepts of God's eternal wisdom in His Word will avoid both foolishness and deceit.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Proverbs 10". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26