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Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 13

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verse 1

Pro 13:1

Proverbs 13:1

"A wise son heareth his father’s instruction; But a scoffer heareth not rebuke."

"A wise child loves discipline, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.” "A sensible son heeds what his father tells him, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.”

Proverbs 13:1. Instruction for the wise, rebuke for the unwise. Wisdom is shown in respecting the age, learning, and office of the father; the scoffer respects nobody. He is wise in his own conceit (Romans 12:16). Samson did not regard the rebuke of his father (Judges 14:1-4) not did Eli’s son regard his (1 Samuel 2:22-25). If a son will not respect his father enough to follow his instructions, it will not be surprising if he doesn’t receive his rebuke. One who scoffs at his father now will scoff at God and sacred things also.

Verses 1-25

Pro 13:1-25

Proverbs Contrasting the Upright and the Wicked (Proverbs 13:1-25)

"A wise son hears his father’s instruction; But a scoffer hears not rebuke" (Proverbs 13:1). Another sub-theme of the book of Proverbs is the father’s responsibility to train a child in the ways of righteousness and being just. This chapter builds upon the subject of a father’s responsibility to train up a child in the way he should go. To succeed at said parenting obligation is to get one’s self a wise son that will not bring sorrow and regret (see Proverbs 1:8; Proverbs 4:13; Proverbs 6:20; Proverbs 10:1; Proverbs 10:8; Proverbs 10:17; Proverbs 12:15 and at Proverbs 13:24). The man who succeeds at teaching his child wisdom, righteousness, and justice will help the young man or woman to give heed to instruction and rebuke rather than being irritated at it like the scoffer (see Proverbs 9:8; Proverbs 12:1). All young people are to give a careful and attentive ear to their parents.

"A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth; But the soul of the treacherous shall eat violence. He that guards his mouth keeps his life; But he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction" (Proverbs 13:2-3). Those who use their mouths to bring glory to God and kindness to their neighbors will experience the good fruit of his doings. He shall "keep his life" in that he stays out of trouble by guarding what his tongue says. The wicked man of perverse and treacherous lips will only experience the violence that comes with gossiping about others. This man blurts out those things he has no facts to back up and has no problem adding to a story to make it even more interesting. Such a one will be subject to the violent response of those he damages with his tongue.

"The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made fat" (Proverbs 13:4). The sluggard is greedy of gain and covetous yet he is unwilling to put the time and effort needed to achieve his goals and thereby he "hath nothing" (see Proverbs 1:19; Proverbs 6:6-11; Proverbs 10:4-5; Proverbs 10:26; Proverbs 11:18; Proverbs 12:11; Proverbs 12:24; Proverbs 12:27). Note that as the sluggard has nothing in life "the diligent shall be made fat" with sustenance. That which brings the "fatness" is the diligent work ethic.

"A righteous man hates lying; But a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame" (Proverbs 13:5). God hates lying and so the just do as well (see Proverbs 12:22). A since of righteous indignation against all things that God considers an abomination is a part of the just man’s makeup. This is why the just feels shame when he does the very things that he hates (see Romans 7:16 ff.). The wicked man seems to enjoy telling lies and so he is loathed and viewed by others as a shameful person that no one can trust (see Proverbs 12:20).

"Righteousness guards him that is upright in the way; But wickedness overthrows the sinner" (Proverbs 13:6). Those who view wisdom and righteousness as the apple of their eye (see Proverbs 7:2) and the very principle thing of life (Proverbs 4:7) shall be guarded from the adulterous woman, a perverse and lying mouth, and great trouble in this life. If righteousness guards the wise then the wicked fool has no guardian. Such a one is overthrown by great trouble and want in this life and the life to come.

"There is that makes himself rich, yet hath nothing: There is that makes himself poor, yet hath great wealth. The ransom of a man’s life is his riches; But the poor hears no threatening" (Proverbs 13:7-8). Let us recall that Solomon has aptly taught us that wisdom is of greater value than anything that this world views as precious and costly (see Proverbs 2:4; Proverbs 8:10-11). It may be that one of this world is depicted as poverty stricken yet such a one who has wisdom is truly rich toward God (see Proverbs 11:4). Again, it may be that the wicked man whose objective it is to get rich and obtains it by cruel and unjust means truly "hath nothing" in relationship to true value. All the money in the world that this wicked man may obtain shall not save him from one sin. We may say that a man is defined by what he considers riches in this life. Those who desire the riches of this world are identified as foolish and worldly whereas the man or woman who prizes the riches of wisdom is identified as just and righteous. One has temporary value the other eternal value.

"The light of the righteous rejoices; But the lamp of the wicked shall be put out" (Proverbs 13:9). Light illuminates and makes all things clear to the eye. The gospel messages is identified as a light that shines brightly (John 5:35; 2 Corinthians 4:4). Those who live by the standards of truth and justice rejoice in this light and are referred to as "sons of light" (1 Thessalonians 5:5) and "children of light" (Ephesians 5:8). God’s people of light shall be saved from eternal damnation and so they live in happiness and rejoice always (see Philippians 4:4). The lamp of the wicked shines only the dark rays of error, folly, wickedness, lies, adultery, and perversion. This way of life will be eliminated by the Lord of Host and is filled with trouble in the here and now.

"By pride cometh only contention; But with the well-advised is wisdom" (Proverbs 13:10). Solomon has identified pride as "evil" (Proverbs 8:13), shameful (Proverbs 11:2), and of a perverse heart (Proverbs 12:8-9). When one is evil, shameful, and perverse in heart there will be contention (conflicts) in his life. The root of pride is selfish arrogance. This disposition cares nothing about others. The less you care about others the less people will care about you. Again, those who exercise wisdom experience no self-imposed trouble except that which comes to them by the wicked due to their hatred (Proverbs 5:10-13) and jealousy (Proverbs 13:4).

"Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished; But he that gathers by labor shall have increase" (Proverbs 13:11). The wealth of this world is the objective of the fool (Proverbs 10:2). How do some gain "wealth by vanity" (or worthless means)? Solomon reveals that the wicked get gains through "crooked ways" (Proverbs 2:15), faulty balances (Proverbs 11:1), and by means of violence (Proverbs 11:16). Such wealth will always be "diminished" because the foolish are never satisfied. They will continue to cheat people by means of violence and crooked dealings. Those who are cheated will come back for revenge. While the poor get poorer the rich get richer in many cases. Note, once again, that there are great benefits to living godly in wisdom. The wise shall exercise a diligent work ethic and thereby gain the increase of this life.

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick; But when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life" (Proverbs 13:12). The wicked who put their hope in the riches of this world are more often than not disappointed because they do not obtain the very thing they hope for in this life. Their hearts are thereby made sick because that which they long for is not obtained. Those, on the other hand, who desire wisdom will experience true life and living (i.e., happiness, contentment, joy, great marriages, avoidance of trouble, little worries, plenty to eat, etc.).

"Whoso despises the word brings destruction on himself; But he that fears the commandment shall be rewarded" (Proverbs 13:13). Those who "despise" (hate or look down upon as worthless) the word of God bring nothing but destruction to their lives (trouble with man, trouble with their children, trouble with their spouse, troubles at work, trouble in all areas of life, and trouble with God). Solomon identifies the despisers as foolish (Proverbs 1:7) and void of wisdom (Proverbs 11:12). The rewards of those who "fear the commandment" will be seen not only in this life but the life to come. When one fears God they are identified as wise and the wise are diligent in all areas of life viewing wisdom as the greatest treasure.

"The law of the wise is a fountain of life, That one may depart from the snares of death. Good understanding giveth favor; But the way of the transgressor is hard" (Proverbs 13:14-15). If only the foolish and wicked would hear the words of the wise they would escape the great snares of trouble and death. Unfortunately, foolish and wicked men have nothing but trouble and hardships in this life because they will not listen to instruction. There are many who seem to feel at home with trouble and grief in life. If you like hardship, trouble, and grief then the life of sin and wickedness is for you. Herein is another major sub-theme of Proverbs... "The way of the transgressor is hard." Here is one who is identified as a professional student of the university of hard knocks. This man or woman never learns life lessons and thereby continues to suffer hardship.

"Every prudent man worketh with knowledge; But a fool flaunts his folly" (Proverbs 13:16). The "prudent" [i.e., a careful man who uses good judgment and foresight - see Proverbs 12:16] is known by his judgment and knowledge of things. The fool is known by his many words (Proverbs 10:19). The fool shamelessly blabs all that is in his ignorance and perverse heart.

"A wicked messenger falls into evil; But a faithful ambassador is health" (Proverbs 13:17). The wicked messenger does not tell all the truth of a matter and thereby subjects himself to great trouble. The words of the faithful messenger are truth and thereby healthy to its audience.

"Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuses correction; But he that regards reproof shall be honored" (Proverbs 13:18). Once again we find the admonition to be receptive to constructive criticism, correction, and instruction. The man or woman who is of this disposition will be honored among men. The lazy sloth who is angered by instruction shall find nothing but poverty and shame (poverty because he will not work and shame because he conducts himself in such ways to bring great trouble into his life) (see Proverbs 13:1).

"The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul; But it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil" (Proverbs 13:19). The wise set goals to attain and when they work diligently and complete the project it is indeed "sweet to the soul." A great since of satisfaction and accomplishment accompanies a completed project that was hard work (swing set for kids / garage floor / college education etc.). The wicked also have objectives and things they consider an abomination (i.e., things they hate). They hate to depart from evil because such living has come to be a part of their lives. They love the drama and troubles such a life brings and do not even wish to depart from such ways.

"Walk with wise men, and thou shalt be wise; But the companion of fools shall smart for it" (Proverbs 13:20). Solomon had previously gave similar warnings at Proverbs 1:10-14. The apostle Paul also warned of the company of the wicked as well (see 1 Corinthians 15:33). Herein is wise council. Remember the wicked have a perverse mouth, love trouble, gossip about others, are lazy, and love the life of wickedness. If you hang around these people it is likely that you will become like them and experience all the troubles that they bring upon themselves. If you company with the wise (i.e., those who are prudent and use discretion) you will be wise.

"Evil pursues sinners; But the righteous shall be recompensed with good" (Proverbs 13:21). Solomon had earlier said, "the way of the transgressor is hard" (Proverbs 13:15 b). The wicked and sinful have evil in life pursuing them. Trouble and evil are the fruits of life filled with wickedness. The righteous shall be rewarded with good (i.e., good marriages, jobs, happiness, and contentment). Again, this is a major sub-theme in Proverbs. The life of the just, righteous, and wise is the best and happiest life.

"A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children; And the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the righteous" (Proverbs 13:22). The "good man" is the wise, just, and righteous man who exercises due diligence when it comes to a solid work ethic. He earns enough money to pay his own bills and has enough to provide an inheritance to not only his immediate children but to his grandchildren. Such an inheritance, if you have experienced this, is the product of someone’s diligence. The heaped up treasures of the wicked; however, will find themselves in the hands of other men (the righteous).

"Much food is in the tillage of the poor; But there is that is destroyed by reason of injustice" (Proverbs 13:23). Within the fields of the poor is the potential for a great harvest; however, he is too slothful to till the ground and plant a crop. That which could have been through diligence is wasted or destroyed by reason of their unjust lazy ways.

"He that spares his rod hates his son; But he that loves him chastens him betimes" (Proverbs 13:24). What does God want to see out of a parental relationship with their children? Proverbs teaches us that mothers and fathers want to see their children attain wisdom (see Proverbs 10:1). This chapters seems to have a thrust of beginning instruction with children early on so that they do not become fools of wicked and evil lives, companying with the wicked, and living lives of trouble. Wisdom pleads with a young man or woman to hear instruction (Proverbs 1:8; Proverbs 10:8), keep the commandments and laws of parents (Proverbs 6:20), and to receive correction with a spirit of understanding (Proverbs 10:17) before its too late (see Proverbs 4:13). The "rod" is obviously a tool of correction and instruction. The man who will not use this tool against his children hates them because they will not learn to receive instruction and follow authorized direction and law without it. Such a child will run with the wicked and experience great trouble hear and forever more. One way a parent shows great love toward their children is to punish them with the rod of correction "betimes" or "promptly" as the NKJV Bible says (see Proverbs 22:6; Proverbs 22:15).

"The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul; But the belly of the wicked shall want" (Proverbs 13:25). Due to the diligent work ethic of the righteous he shall not go hungry. The sloth, on the other hand, shall be hungry and no man ought to feed such (see 2 Thessalonians 3:10).

Verse 2

Pro 13:2

Proverbs 13:2

"A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth; But the soul of the treacherous shall eat violence."

"Good people are rewarded for the good things they say, but evil people always want to do wrong.” "Good people will be rewarded for what they say, but those who are deceitful are hungry for violence.”

Proverbs 13:2 Compare Proverbs 12:14. Ever hear of eating your own words? What people do and say will determine what they “eat” as a result. What will you eat?

Verse 3

Pro 13:3

Proverbs 13:3

"He that guardeth his mouth keepeth his life; But he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction."

"He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his soul; but he that hath no guard on his speech shall meet with evils.” "He that keeps his own mouth keeps his own life: but he that is hasty with his lips shall bring terror upon himself.”

Proverbs 13:3. Guarding one’s mouth suggests that a person should not say just anything that comes into his/her mind. One who opens his lips wide is one who talks too much and consequently says some things he shouldn’t. If we keep our mouth, we keep ourselves from many troubles (Proverbs 21:23). Let us say with David, “I will take heed to my ways, That I sin not with my tongue” (Psalms 39:1).

Verse 4

Pro 13:4

Proverbs 13:4

"The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made fat."

"The sluggard longeth without result, but the diligent soul is amply appeased.” "The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.”

Proverbs 13:4. It is easy to pass somebody’s nicely kept farmstead or home and wish to be a farmer or have a well kept home. It is easy to hear somebody speak who knows the Scripture and wish to be able to find things in the Bible. But while desiring is the basis of getting, it takes much work and application to make dreams and desires come true, and this becomes the downfall of the lazy (Proverbs 10:4). Pulpit Commentary: “He has the wish, but not the will.”

Verse 5

Pro 13:5

Proverbs 13:5

"A righteous man hateth lying; But a wicked man is loathsome, and cometh to shame."

"A good man hates an untrue word, but an evil man’s talk is a shame and a disgrace.” "The translation of the second line, which determines the main point of the proverb, turns on whether we take the two verbs in their primary meaning or their secondary sense. The primary meaning is, causes to stink and makes ashamed; but they also can mean, acts shamefully and disgracefully.” We have included this here, because it explains how widely different translation may be made.

Proverbs 13:5. The righteous hate all sin (Romans 12:9). The wicked are loathsome in the eyes of others who deplore their conduct, and they come to no good end.

Verse 6

Pro 13:6

Proverbs 13:6

"Righteousness guardeth him that is upright in the way; But wickedness overthroweth the sinner."

It is simply amazing how the author of Proverbs is able to say almost exactly the same thing in a hundred different ways. In a homily on the second clause here, Dyer has this: "There is more bitterness following on sin’s ending than there ever was sweetness flowing out of the sin’s being committed. You that see nothing but delight in sin’s commission will suffer nothing but woe in its conclusion. You that sin for your profits will never profit by your sins.”

Proverbs 13:6. Proverbs 11:6 is a companion verse. Righteousness keeps one from getting into trouble, but a sinner is overthrown in his wickedness.

Verse 7

Pro 13:7

Proverbs 13:7

"There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing: There is that maketh himself poor, yet hath great wealth."

"The KJV, ASV, and the the English Revised Version (1881) miss the point here. What we have is two equally obnoxious social shams. Translate: "There are poor people who pretend to be rich, and there are rich people who feign they are poor.” The reasons why such pretending is done both by the rich and the poor was explained by McGee.

"Some people drive a Cadillac automobile to impress the neighbors, when they can’t really afford it, but there are also very wealthy people who complain of their financial hardships to avoid appeals for contributions. A member of a church where I preached was very wealthy; but he gave less than most of the others and was always talking about how hard times were.”

Proverbs 13:7. Some take the Hebrew for “maketh himself” to mean “feign”. If that translation is correct, the verse would be speaking of some who were poor but feigned themselves to be rich while others with great wealth would feign themselves poor. The above are both sometimes done. Another meaning commonly taken on the verse: some who would be rich and who do everything they can to become rich end in poverty while others are always giving away and giving away and yet end up rich. The latter view may be referring to the “nothing” that the wicked rich people will have in eternity (Luke 12:20-21) and to the “great wealth” that the righteous will have who have laid up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:20). Translations and commentaries seem to favor the first position.

Verse 8

Pro 13:8

Proverbs 13:8

"The ransom of a man’s life is his riches; But the poor heareth no threatening."

The background of this proverb is indicated by the word `ransom.’ When a wealthy man is kidnapped, blackmailed or threatened in some way, his wealth can save his life. However the poor man will not be threatened in any such manner. "There are advantages and disadvantages in wealth. One with money can be exposed to robbery and extortion, but the poor are not so apt to be the object of extortion or blackmail.”

Proverbs 13:8. “Clarke”: “In despotic countries a rich man is often accused of some capital crime, and to save his life, though he may be quite innocent, is obliged to give up his riches; but the poor in such countries are put to no trouble.”

Verse 9

Pro 13:9

Proverbs 13:9

"The light of the righteous rejoiceth; But the lamp of the wicked shall be put out."

"The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked goes out.” "Note the distinction between the `light’ and the `lamp.’ The righteous have the true light in them; but the lamp of the wicked is temporary, contrived and inadequate. It shall shortly be extinguished.”

Proverbs 13:9. Various passages refer to the lamp or light of the ‘wicked being put out (Job 18:5-6; Job 21:17; Proverbs 24:20). While applied to the individual and his life, the figure was drawn from their household habit: “No house, however poor, is left without a light burning in it all night; the housewife rising betimes to secure its continuance by replenishing the lamp with oil. If a lamp goes out, it is a fatal omen” (“Geike”). The Septuagint translates: “The light of the righteous is everlasting; but the light of sinners is quenched.”

Verse 10

Pro 13:10

Proverbs 13:10

"By pride cometh only contention; But with the well-advised is wisdom."

"Pride engenders strife, but with the humble is wisdom.” "This proverb is directed against litigiousness, quarrelsomeness, and the offensive assertion of one’s supposed rights, and especially, perhaps, against the obstinate pride of rival princes. Humble is used here in the sense of `unassuming.’”

Proverbs 13:10. The “King James” puts “only” with pride: “Only by pride cometh contention.” Our text puts it with “contention”: “By pride cometh only contention.” Certainly contentions grow out of pride, one who will not be advised and who will argue back. The reason: a proud person is self-centered. A self-centered person “knows it all”, and when anyone tries to advise him, he gets into an argument. On the other hand why is “wisdom” with the well-advised? Because he knows all that he himself has learned plus that which he can pick up from others. He is not proud, so he can listen and learn.

Verse 11

Pro 13:11

Proverbs 13:11

"Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished; But he that gathereth by labor shall have increase."

"Wealth by means of fraud always becomes less; but he that increaseth it by labor gains always more.” "The contrast here is of one who by fraud and deception quickly arrives at wealth," with another who by honest toil and enterprise finds true prosperity.

Proverbs 13:11. “Pulpit Commentary”: “Wealth obtained without labor and exertion, or by illegitimate and dishonest means is soon dissipated, is not blessed by God, and has no stability...Quickly won, quickly gone.” Our saying: “Easy come, easy go.” But those who have obtained through hard work don’t “blow” their money.

Verse 12

Pro 13:12

Proverbs 13:12

"Delay in the accomplishment of some much-desired goal occasions sinking of the spirits and despondence; but, when the object of longing is obtained, it is a tree of life.” The mention here of "the tree of life" and in Proverbs 13:14 of "the fountain of life" supports the view that it is the longing for heaven which is the long-delayed joy of the godly person. This being true, we find a very important emphasis in Proverbs 13:13 upon the Word of God by which heaven is to be received by the faithful.

Proverbs 13:12. You look forward with anticipation to some day or event only to learn that it has been postponed, and what a letdown! To be put off, to be disappointed, is hard on the heart. Imagine Jacob’s letdown when Rachel was not his after working those seven years for her! But when something does come to which one has long looked forward, it is a “tree of life” (health to the heart).

Verse 13

Pro 13:13

Proverbs 13:13

"Whoso despiseth the word bringeth destruction upon himself," But he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded."

As Keil pointed out, the setting of this verse in between the tree of life and the fountain of life in Proverbs 13:12 and Proverbs 13:14 makes it imperative to understand "The Word," here as, "The expression of the divine will, the word of God.”

Proverbs 13:13. Probably referring to God’s Word and commandment, although the same principle is in effect concerning any word of wisdom or just commandment. King Saul did not obey God’s commandment to destroy the Amalekites and all their possessions so God took the kingship away from his house (1 Samuel 15:17-23). Look at Abraham as one who was rewarded for fearing God’s commandment enough to have proceeded to sacrifice his son Isaac until God intervened (Genesis 22:1-18).

Verse 14

Pro 13:14

Proverbs 13:14

"The law of the wise is a fountain of life, That one may depart from the snares of death."

What is this law of the wise? There is no reference whatever here to human wisdom, there being no fountain of life in the wisdom of men. If one wishes to know the wisdom of men, he may find it in their books; if he wishes to know the true wisdom, the wisdom of God, he will find it in God’s book (The Bible), and nowhere else.

Proverbs 13:14. In Proverbs the second statement of a verse is usually a contrast to the verse’s first statement. Occasionally it isn’t, as in this verse. Pulpit Commentary: “The rules and teaching of wise men are a source of life to those who follow them so that they depart from the snares of death.” Jesus is the wise lawgiver of the New Testament (Acts 3:22), and all who follow His teachings will have life (John 8:12) and will escape the snares of the devil (1 Timothy 3:7) that bring death (Romans 6:23). How can one escape traps that are set for him? By following the wisdom of one who knows where those traps are!

Verse 15

Pro 13:15

Proverbs 13:15

"Good understanding giveth favor; But the way of the transgressor is hard."

There are two views of this passage. The way of the transgressor may be interpreted as in the RSV, "The way of the faithless is their ruin," or it may be referred to the way of the transgressor’s behavior, his manner, as in this: "The manners of rogues are rough.” We prefer the interpretation that views the earthly life of every transgressor as encompassing many sorrows and misfortunes.

Proverbs 13:15. We honor the person who knows and uses his understanding aright whether he be parent, leader, or neighbor. On the other hand we see the unbearable outcome of sin in Cain’s statement, “My punishment is greater than I can bear” (Genesis 4:13), in King Saul’s miserable end (1 Samuel 28:15-25; 1 Samuel 31:1-4), and in Judas Iscariot’s suicide (Matthew 27:3-5).

Verse 16

Pro 13:16

Proverbs 13:16

"Every prudent man worketh with knowledge; But a fool flaunteth his folly."

"Every prudent man acts out of knowledge, but a fool exposes his folly.” "The prudent man here is the opposite of a knave." The `fool’ in Proverbs is nearly always, not the mentally incompetent, but the morally delinquent.

Proverbs 13:16. Two altogether different kinds of persons: one man works with knowledge; the other shows off his folly. The fool does this because wisdom is too high for him (Proverbs 24:7). David showed his prudence in the way he dealt with Saul, with his brothers, with Absalom, and with others. “I wisdom have made prudence my dwelling” and as a result “find out knowledge and discretion” (Proverbs 8:12).

Verse 17

Pro 13:17

Proverbs 13:17

"A wicked messenger falleth into evil; But a faithful ambassador is health."

"This passage refers to the envoy who was an important government official, or to a scribe,” who was entrusted with some important mission. A wicked man in such a position could bring evil upon an entire nation. Solomon, of course, was experienced in the choice of such messengers.

Proverbs 13:17. A “wicked messenger” is one who is not true to the one sending him. He will be called to answer for his unfaithfulness. A curse belongs to one who perverts the gospel (Galatians 1:6-9). One who is a faithful representative brings joy to the one dispatching him. God was pleased with Jesus (Matthew 17:5), and Christ will be pleased with us if we faithfully proclaim His Word (Matthew 28:19-20).

Verse 18

Pro 13:18

Proverbs 13:18

"Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth correction; But he that regardeth reproof shall be honored."

A various reading of the first clause is: "Poverty and shame shall be to him that throweth correction to the wind.” "A man who follows vicious courses and cannot be persuaded to abandon them must be left to the ruin and disgrace that shall soon come upon him. Then, when through bitter experience, he learns the truth of what he would not believe, the correction he had rejected will be like a poisoned dart in his soul, inflaming his conscience with tormenting remorse.”

Proverbs 13:18. “A wise son heareth his father’s instruction” (Proverbs 13:1) and “shall be honored” (this verse) while “a scoffer heareth not rebuke” (Proverbs 13:1), and “poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth correction” (this verse). Reproof is mentioned as a part of everyone’s life for no one can be right all the time (Hebrews 12:6; Hebrews 12:9). Sooner or later each of us, somehow or in some way, “pulls a boner” and gets rebuked for it. Are we easily entreated? (James 3:17). Are we exercised by God’s chastening? (Hebrews 12:11). If so, we will be honored; if not, “poverty and shame” will result.

Verse 19

Pro 13:19

Proverbs 13:19

"The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul; But it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil."

Our comment, above, on Proverbs 13:12, is also applicable here.

Jamieson’s comment here was that, "Self denial, which fools will not endure, is essential to success.”

Proverbs 13:19. “The desire accomplished” (some worthy goal achieved is brought about because of diligence, Proverbs 13:4) and is “sweet to the soul” (satisfying). The inventions of Thomas Edison began with an apparent need, followed by a belief that something could be done about it, urged on by a strong desire and determination to see it done, and pursued by his characteristic diligence, and when he ultimately came upon the answer, how gratifying to present its usefulness to his fellowmen! Consider Nehemiah’s satisfaction when the wall was completed (Nehemiah 1:3; Nehemiah 1:5; Nehemiah 2:3-5; Nehemiah 2:17-18; Nehemiah 6:15). The bigger and the longer a task, the more diligence and patience and desire it takes to accomplish it. If there be a connection between the first and second statements of this verse, it is that while good men dedicate themselves to the accomplishing of their righteous desires, the fool would consider it abominable to give up his sins in order to live that way.

Verse 20

Pro 13:20

Proverbs 13:20

"Walk with wise men, and thou shalt be wise; But the companion of fools shall smart for it."

This teaches that one’s associates are a most important factor in the determination of his destiny. The New Testament reiteration of this truth is, "Be not deceived. Evil communications corrupt good morals." (1 Corinthians 15:33).

Proverbs 13:20. A Dutch proverb: “He that lives with cripples learns to limp.” A Spanish saying: “He that lies down with dogs shall rise up with fleas.” An Oriental saying: “He that takes the raven for his guide shall light upon carrion.” The idea of apprenticeship is that we will be the wiser for having worked with those more advanced than we are. Younger men go to places of study and learning for this purpose. But others are contented with being companions of “fool.” The outcome: they will “smart” for it, like the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:13-16). It is too bad that some would rather “smart” than be “wise”. One’s native wisdom and ideals are reflected in the companions that he chooses.

Verse 21

Pro 13:21

Proverbs 13:21

"Evil pursueth sinners; But the righteous shall be recompensed with good."

A various reading here has, "Misfortune to sinners; good fortune to the righteous.” We learned in our study of Job, however, that in our life on earth there are many variations and exceptions to the proposition laid down here. Nevertheless, this is the way God intended that it should be; and, in the big frame of reference, that is the way it is.

Proverbs 13:21. “Evil” or trouble is on the trail of sinners; it follows them wherever they go. It will ultimately catch up with everyone of them (on Judgment Day if not earlier). The righteous, on the other hand, will be recompensed for their good.

Verse 22

Pro 13:22

Proverbs 13:22

"A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children; And the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the righteous."

There is a sense in which this is profoundly true. Christ said, "The meek shall inherit the earth." In the earthly sense, the meek usually get skinned out of their possessions; and yet, in the sense of the true "possession of the earth," it is only the righteous who have it. Of course, we do not think that is what Solomon had in mind here!

Another rendition here comes close to saying what Solomon probably meant: "A good person will have wealth to give to his children and grandchildren, but in the end good people will get all the things that evil people have.” Lazarus finally got all the joy that the rich man enjoyed on earth; and it was all taken away from the rich man (Luke 16). This passage falls short of saying that, on earth all the property of evil people will pass into the hands of the righteous. However, we have a feeling that such a view may have been entertained by Solomon and the Israelites in general.

Proverbs 13:22. A good man works hard, accomplishes much and takes care of what he had (see last statement in Proverbs 13:11). He has something to pass onto succeeding generations. His children must also have been taught the lessons of thrift and economy, or there would be nothing left for them to pass onto his grandchildren. As for the wealth of the wicked man, there is an old saying that goes, “The third generation shall not possess the goods that have been unjustly acquired.” Sometimes it ends up in the hands of the righteous. Keep your eyes open in life, and you will get to see an example of this.

Verse 23

Pro 13:23

Proverbs 13:23

"Much food is in the tillage of the poor; But there is that is destroyed by reason of injustice."

This stresses exactly what we wrote above. Adam’s race is in rebellion against the Creator. Through our progenitors in Eden, we have chosen Satan as the "god of this world,’; and God Himself has cursed the earth for the sake of Adam and his posterity. In that situation how could it be possible for injustices to be eliminated? A current rendition of this verse is: "Unused fields could yield plenty of food for the poor, but unjust men keep them from being farmed.”

"There is that is ... etc." (Proverbs 13:23). This kind of archaic language is scattered throughout Proverbs; and it is this very thing which has fueled the need for translations in `modern English.’ The Anchor Bible (Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company, 1982) renders this, "Litigation devours the poor man’s farm land, and his dwelling is swept away by injustice.”

Proverbs 13:23. The last statement is variously translated: “But there is that is consumed without judgment” (“Young’s Literal”); “But there is that is destroyed for want of judgment” (“King James”). The thought seems to be that work normally produces a good supply, but as “Clarke” observes: “How much of the poverty of the poor arises from their own want of management! They have little or no economy and no foresight. When they get anything, they speedily spend it, and a feast and a famine make the chief varieties of their life.” Migrant workers are often a good example.

Verse 24

Pro 13:24

Proverbs 13:24

"He that spareth the rod hateth his son; But he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes."

The 20th century in America has witnessed the alarming and disastrous rejection of what is taught here. For any who might wish to pursue this thought further, we have thoroughly discussed it in Vol. 10 (Hebrews) of our New Testament Commentary, pp. 294-295. Today, our Society of the Undisciplined is in the business of dismantling and wrecking a whole civilization that was constructed upon a foundation of Christian values.

"He that loveth him chasteneth him betimes" (Proverbs 13:24). Betimes, here is hardly a current English expression. It means "in a timely manner." or "as it may be required." The alternate reading from the American Standard Version margin is diligently.

Proverbs 13:24. The first statement puts the outcome for the attitude; that is, in view of what will result from sparing the rod, one is not really loving his child by sparing the rod (some claim they “love” their child too much to discipline him with whippings). It is better to “spare” the child from ruination than from the rod! Consider the wisdom of the saying: “Spare the rod and spoil /the child.” For “chasteneth him betimes” the “Amplified” says he punishes him early; “American Bible Union” says: “gives him timely chastisement;” “early” (“Pulpit Commentary”); others give “diligently”. “Immediately” seems to be the thought. A wise parent will not defer punishing, will not put it off and off and really do nothing about his child’s disobedience.

Verse 25

Pro 13:25

Proverbs 13:25

"The righteous eateth to the satisfaction of his soul; But the belly of the wicked shall want."

The Douay Version of the Bible renders the second clause, "The belly of the wicked is never to be filled.” There is here a profound truth regarding fleshly appetite, which must be controlled and directed to God-approved purposes; because it is impossible fully to gratify the appetites of the flesh. The drunkard literally dies of thirst for alcohol; and nobody knew any better than Solomon that a thousand women were insufficient to gratify his sexual lust. The belly of the wicked can’t be filled!

Proverbs 13:25. The righteous may not be wealthy, but they will have enough (Matthew 6:33; Psalms 37:25). The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:14) exemplifies the latter statement.

Proverbs of Solomon - Proverbs 13:1-25

Open It

1. What is something you crave?

2. Why do you think parents should or should not spank their children?

3. When was the last time someone asked you to get involved in some sort of get-rich-quick scheme?

Explore It

4. What does a wise child do? (Proverbs 13:1)

5. What do the unfaithful crave? (Proverbs 13:2)

6. What does the person who guards his or her lips also guard? (Proverbs 13:3)

7.Whom does righteousness guard? (Proverbs 13:6)

8.How should we and should we not use money? (Proverbs 13:7)

9. What advantage does a person have who is poor? (Proverbs 13:8)

10. What does pride breed? (Proverbs 13:10)

11. How should a person accumulate wealth? (Proverbs 13:11)

12. How did Solomon describe the teachings of a wise person? (Proverbs 13:14)

13. How does a prudent person act? (Proverbs 13:16)

14. What is the result of ignoring discipline? (Proverbs 13:18)

15. What happens to those who spend time with wise people? (Proverbs 13:20)

16. What reward do righteous people receive? (Proverbs 13:21)

17. What does a good person leave for his or her grandchildren? (Proverbs 13:22)

18. What is the person who loves his or her child careful to do? (Proverbs 13:24)

Get It

19. What does it mean to have a craving for violence?

20. What should a person do to guard his or her lips?

21. Why is guarding one’s own lips so difficult to do?

22. In what way does righteousness guard a person of integrity?

23. How is Solomon’s advice about accumulating wealth like or unlike any financial advice you have been given?

24. Why are people tempted by get-rich-quick schemes?

25. How do wise teachings turn a person from death?

26. In what way do you ignore discipline in your life?

27. Why is it easy to ignore discipline?

28. Why does a good person leave an inheritance to his or her grandchildren?

29. In what way does a parent who does not discipline his or her child hate the child?

30. Why would a person who loves his or her child use discipline?

31. What is the value and purpose of disciplining children?

32. Of what do parents need to be careful in using discipline to correct children?

Apply It

33. What is one specific step you will take this week to guard what you say?

34. What do you want to change about the way you handle money?

35. As a parent, what can you do to make your correction of your children more loving, consistent, or purposeful?

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Proverbs 13". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/proverbs-13.html.
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