A long collection of 375 short pithy sayings of Solomon begin with this chapter. It contrasts wise people with foolish people.
A wise son. In Solomon’s view, a son becomes wise by heeding his parents teachings. He assumes the parents themselves are not foolish.
VERSE 2. Treasures of wickedness profit nothing, but righteousness delivers from death.
VERSE 3. The LORD will not allow the soul of the righteous to go hungry, but he thrusts away the desire of the wicked.
This verse can be easily misunderstood. Here are the two key phrases, what Solomon says, and how people misunderstand it:
|PHRASE||SOLOMON’S OBSERVATION||SOLOMON DOES NOT SAY|
|works with a lazy hand||If you are lazy, you will become poor||Poor people are lazy|
|the hand of the diligent||If you work hard, you will become rich||Rich people are hard-working|
VERSE 5. He who gathers in summer is a wise son, but he who sleeps during the harvest is a son who causes shame.
violence covers the mouth of the wicked. That is, “Violence overwhelms his mouth” (NIV translation). Foolish people rage out with violent words. They are characterized by violent words.
Luke 6:45. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings out that which is good, and the evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings out that which is evil, for out of the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaks.
VERSE 7. The memory of the righteous is blessed, but the name of the wicked will rot.
accept commandments. Wise people are teachable. They are willing to become wiser.
VERSE 9. He who walks blamelessly walks surely, but he who perverts his ways will be found out.
VERSE 10. One winking with the eye causes sorrow, but a chattering fool will fall.
VERSE 11. The mouth of the righteous is a spring of life, but violence covers the mouth of the wicked.
love covers all wrongs. Love covers a multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:8. And above all things be earnest in your love among yourselves, for love covers a multitude of sins.
VERSE 13. Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has discernment, but a rod is for the back of him who is void of understanding.
the mouth of the foolish is near ruin. A foolish person shouts out his foolishness. It leads to his immanent ruin.
VERSE 15. The rich man’s wealth is his strong city. The destruction of the poor is their poverty.
VERSE 16. The labor of the righteous leads to life. The increase of the wicked leads to sin.
VERSE 17. He is in the way of life who heeds correction, but he who forsakes reproof leads others astray.
He who utters a slander is a fool. To falsely accuse someone is a terrible offense. However, if the accusation is true, it must be proclaimed.
In the Catholic church, around the world, people have come forward to announce that they were sexually abused by a priest. In many cases, the local bishop called it “slander.” However, in almost every such case, it is truth that is proclaimed. And it is truth that the local bishop rejects.
he who restrains his lips does wisely. Are you a blabbermouth? Perhaps it is time to learn to restrain your mouth.
VERSE 20. The tongue of the righteous is like choice silver. The heart of the wicked is of little worth.
VERSE 21. The lips of the righteous feed many, but the foolish die for lack of understanding.
The LORD’s blessing brings wealth. Solomon was the richest person on earth. He became rich by levying heavy taxing on his own people.
However, like many people in the Old Testament era, Solomon makes two broad assumptions:
- Righteous living will result in the accumulation of wealth
- Sinful living with result in poverty
In our new Testament era, almost all Christians reject the notion of economic salvation. In fact, many of our great heroes of the faith were quite poor.
Here is a chart of Solomon’s view:
It is a fool’s pleasure to do wickedness. Foolish people are thickheaded. They enjoy doing evil.
VERSE 24. What the wicked fear, will overtake them, but the desire of the righteous will be granted.
VERSE 25. When the whirlwind passes, the wicked is no more; but the righteous stand firm forever.
the sluggard. To be called a sluggard is a great biblical insult. Solomon often writes about the sluggardly person. Read more »
The fear of the LORD prolongs days. Solomon assumes that you will live a long life if you are righteous. However, in our day, we know that many of our great heroes of the faith had only short lifetimes.
VERSE 28. The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hope of the wicked will perish.
VERSE 29. The way of the LORD is a stronghold to the upright, but it is a destruction to the workers of iniquity.
VERSE 30. The righteous will never be removed, but the wicked will not dwell in the land.
VERSE 31. The mouth of the righteous produces wisdom, but the perverse tongue will be cut off.
VERSE 32. The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked is perverse.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.