The long collection of 375 short pithy sayings of Solomon continues in this chapter.
listens. Wisdom is gained by listening. We listen to wise people. But what is wisdom? It is the ability to think and act using knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense, and insight.
the fruit of his lips. That is, talking. We speak words with our mouth.
good things. A wise person speaks positively and uses words to help other people.
crave violence. Foolish people use violent words and deeds in order to harm people.
VERSE 3. He who guards his mouth guards his soul. One who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.
the sluggard. To be called a sluggard is a great biblical insult. Solomon often writes about the sluggardly person. Read more »
VERSE 5. A righteous man hates lies, but a wicked man brings shame and disgrace.
guards. Wise living has a protective element.
VERSE 7. There are some who pretend to be rich, yet have nothing. There are some who pretend to be poor, yet have great wealth.
VERSE 8. The ransom of a man’s life is his riches, but the poor hear no threats.
The light. This is a metaphor for life.
Luke 11:35. Therefore see whether the light that is in you isn’t darkness.
VERSE 10. Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is with people who take advice.
VERSE 11. Wealth gained dishonestly dwindles away, but he who gathers by hand makes it grow.
tree of life. Hope is like a tree that gives life. This notion of the “tree of life” has come up in other passages in the Book of Proverbs:
Proverbs 3:18. She [wisdom] is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her. Happy is everyone who retains her.
Proverbs 11:30. The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life. He who is wise wins souls.
Proverbs 13:12. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when longing is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.
Proverbs 15:4. A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but deceit in it crushes the spirit.
VERSE 13. Whoever despises instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command will be rewarded.
VERSE 14. The teaching of the wise is a spring of life, to turn from the snares of death.
favor. The Hebrew word is khein. It means grace or graciousness.
VERSE 16. Every prudent man acts from knowledge, but a fool exposes folly.
wicked. That is, bad, or lazy, or dishonest.
VERSE 18. Poverty and shame come to him who refuses discipline, but he who heeds correction shall be honored.
VERSE 19. Longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning from evil.
NAB translation: Walk with wise men and you will become wise, but the companion of fools will fare badly.
Walk with wise men. Pick your friends wisely! You become like the people you associate with. Do you have a spiritual friend who is wise?
VERSE 21. Misfortune pursues sinners, but prosperity rewards the righteous.
VERSE 22. A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the wealth of the sinner is stored for the righteous.
injustice sweeps it away. In the Old Testament, poverty is often viewed as the result of sin or laziness. However, this verse admits the very real possibility that poverty is the result of injustice. Wealthy people can built structures of injustice into society that channel resources out of the hands of poor people and into their own.
spares the rod. Everywhere else, Solomon condemns violence. But he recommends violence within households.
VERSE 25. The righteous one eats to the satisfying of his soul, but the belly of the wicked goes hungry.
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.