Proverbs – Practical Skills for Wise Living

July 9, 2021 version

 

There were three parts to the Old Testament: the law, the prophets, and the writings, primarily for the priests, from the prophets, and from the wise. Proverbs is a part of the writings, and most similar to James, in giving practical instruction for an individual living a life pleasing to God. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.902 says some think Solomon wrote Song of Songs in his young years, Proverbs in his middle years, and Ecclesiastes in his older years.

 

Pre-Nicene writers who refer to Proverbs

Philo of Alexandria (20/15 B.C. to 50 A.D.)

Commodianus (c.240 A.D.) (allusion)

Clement of Rome (96/98 A.D.)

Origen (225-254 A.D.)

Ignatius of Antioch (c.100-117 A.D.)

Cyprian of Carthage (c.246-258 A.D.)

Justin Martyr (c.138-165 A.D.)

Firmilian of Caesarea (256 A.D.)

Melito of Sardis (170-177/180 A.D.)

Dionysius of Alexandria (246-256 A.D.)

Athenagoras (177 A.D.)

Seventh Council of Carthage (258 A.D.)

Theophilus of Antioch (168-181/188 A.D.)

Dionysius of Rome (259-269 A.D.)

Irenaeus of Lyons (182-188 A.D.)

Adamantius (c.300 A.D.)

Clement of Alexandria (193-202 A.D.)

Peter of Alexandria (306-311 A.D.)

Tertullian (207/208 A.D.)

Methodius (270-312 A.D.)

Hippolytus (222-235/236 A.D.)

Lactantius (c.303-c.325 A.D.)

Theodotus, probable Montanist (ca.240 A.D.)

Alexander of Alexandria (313-326 A.D.)

 

Early manuscripts of Proverbs

Dead Sea Scrolls (-68 A.D.) 4Q102, 4Q103

Sinaiticus (340-350 A.D.)

Vaticanus (325-350 A.D.)

Alexandrinus (c.450 A.D.)

 

An outline of Proverbs

Prov 1:1-7 The purpose of writing

Prov 1:8-9:18 Proverbs to a son on the value of wisdom

- Prov 1:8-33 Warning for criminals not to value riches over wisdom

- Prov 2:1-22 The benefits of wisdom are more precious than silver

- Prov 3:1-35 The way of wisdom gives rewards, but wisdom itself is a prize

- Prov 4:1-27 Wisdom preserves from trouble and sickness

- Prov 5:1-23 Wisdom preserves from sexual immorality

- Prov 6:1-35 Wisdom preserves from what displeases God

- Prov 7:1-27 Take wisdom as your sister, vs. the adulterous woman

- Prov 8:1-36 Lady Wisdom’s call, the desirability of wisdom

- Prov 9:1-18 The invitations of Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly

Prov 10:1-22:16 Other Proverbs of Solomon

- Prov 10-15 The Righteous vs. the Wicked

- Prov 16-22:16 The value of wisdom

Prov 22:17-24:34 30+ Sayings of the Wise

Prov 25:1-29:27 Proverbs of Solomon collected by Hezekiah

Prov 30:1-33 Proverbs of Agur – comparisons of wisdom

Prov 31:1-9 Word of King Lemuel that his mother taught him, on women, drink, and the weak

Prov 31:10-31 The Noble Wife

Chapter 1 is like a symphony overture. It gives a flavor of the motifs found later in the book. The fear of the Lord, a father’s instruction to a son, and wisdom’s call. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.906, the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.791, and The New Geneva Study Bible p.923-924 for more info.

Proverbs Background and Context – some brief answers

 

1. In Prov 1-31, what is the value of this book?

 

 

 

2. In Prov, what is “wisdom literature”?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. In Prov, was “most wisdom literature was ascribed to Solomon almost as a matter of course…” as the skeptical Asimov’s Guide to the Bible p.506 claims?

 

 

 

4. In Prov, given Solomon’s personal life, why should his writings be in the Bible?

 

 

 

5. Where is the Book of Proverbs quoted in the New Testament?

 

 

 

6. In Prov, how should we interpret this book?

 

 

 

7. In Prov, did Solomon write all of the proverbs?


 

Proverbs 1 – Why You Really Want to Get Wisdom

 

1. In Prov 1:1-7, what is the purpose of this book?

 

 

2. In Prov 1:1, what does the word “proverb” mean in Hebrew?

 

 

3. In Prov 1:2,7,20; 9:10; 14:27; Ps 111:10; Job 28:28, what is wisdom, and how is the fear of the Lord the beginning of wisdom?

 

 

4. In Prov 1:3, what is the difference between having a heart ready to receive instruction vs. not?

 

 

5. In Prov 1:7, are we to fear the Lord, or are we to love God?

 

 

6. In Prov 1:7, why do you think fools despise wisdom and instruction/discipline?

 

 

7. In Prov 1:8 does this mean we should obey our parent’s laws instead of God’s laws?

 

 

8. In Prov 1:8-9:18, since some parts are addressed to his “son”, was this Solomon’s foolish son Rehoboam?

 

 

 

9. In Prov 1:10, how do sinners entice others?

 

 

 

10. In Prov 1:11, why do some people join gangs?

 

 

 

11. In Prov 1:18, how do robbers and murderers lie in wait for their own blood?

 

 

 

12. In Prov 1:22, what is the difference between the three different types of fools here?

 

 

 

13. In Prov 1:29, why do some people hate knowledge?

 

 

 

14. In Prov 1:32, how does the prosperity of fools destroy them?

Proverbs 2:1-3:7 – You Have to Ask

 

1. In Prov 2:1, how do we “treasure” wise commands?

 

2. In Prov 2:2, to what extent should we talk out our problems vs. listening to the counsel of others?

 

 

3. In Prov 2:3, what exactly is discernment or discretion, and how does it differ from regular wisdom?

 

 

4. In Prov 2:4, one reason to desire wisdom is because of its rewards or “treasures”. What are some of the rewards of having wisdom?

 

 

5. In Prov 2:8,13, what are the paths of judgment and the paths of darkness?

 

 

 

6. In Prov 2:10, how does wisdom enter your heart?

 

 

 

7. In Prov 2:13-14, why would some choose to leave the paths of uprightness and prefer to walk in the ways of darkness?

 

 

 

8. In Prov 2:15, how can you trust people who have shown themselves to be devious in their paths?

 

 

 

9. In Prov 2:16-19, how do people tempt others to the path of the dead?

 

 

 

10. In Prov 3:2; 9:11; 10:21,27, how does obeying God’s law give you long life?

 

 

 

11. In Prov 3:5, why should we not trust ourselves, since many voices in modern culture tell us to do so?

 

 

 

12. In Prov 3:7, how can someone be wise in their own eyes, and why is this wrong?


 

 

Proverbs 3:8-3:35 – Wisdom and Money

 

1. In Prov 3:9, how are we to honor God with our wealth?

A: 28 ways, using the phrase: “Hope In God, not Wealth”.

Hearts free from the love of money

H1.

 

 

H2.

 

 

H3.

 

 

H4.

 

 

H5.

 

 

H6.

 

 

H7.

 

 

Integrity in Finances

I1.

 

 

I2.

 

 

I3.

 

 

I4.

 

 

I5.

 

 

I6.

 

 

I7.

 

 

Giving Our Money

G1.

 

 

G2.

 

 

G3.

 

 

G4.

 

 

G5.

 

 

G6.

 

 

G7.

 

 

Wisdom in Finances

W1.

 

 

W2.

 

 

W3.

 

 

W4.

 

 

W5.

 

 

W6.

 

 

W7:

 

 

2. In Prov 3:16, Prov 3:2, and Prov 28:16, since we are promised long life, should the lifespan of every Christian, be longer than the average lifespan of a non-Christian? If not, how about the average lifespan?

 

3. In Prov 3:27, how are we not to withhold good from others?


 

Proverbs 4 – Seek Wisdom, Above this world

 

1. In Prov 4:1-27, what is the structure of this chapter?

 

 

 

2. In Prov 4:3-5, why do you think Solomon knew to ask for wisdom in 1 Ki 3:13-15?

 

 

 

3. In Prov 4:6, how does wisdom preserve people?

 

 

 

4. In Prov 4:8, how are we to esteem wisdom?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. In Prov 4:9, how can wisdom give us a crown of glory?

 

 

 

6. In Prov 4:14-15, what is the warning here?

 

 

 

7. In Prov 4:14-17, what kinds of friends are corrupting influences?

 

 

 

8. In Prov 4:16, how do some have no sleep unless they do evil?

 

 

 

9. In Prov 4:17, how do some eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence?

 

 

 

10. How are Prov 4:20-21 different from the other verses here?


 

Proverbs 5 – Counterfeit Love Can Hurt you

 

1. In Prov 5:1, what seems strange about who is speaking this advice here?

 

 

 

2. In Prov 5:1, what are some ways today people follow the letter but not the spirit of the law?

 

 

 

3. In Prov 5:3-5, why did God [allegedly] make the woman go to Hell just for being a woman? (A Muslim asked this.)

 

 

 

4. In Prov 5:4, what is significant about a two-edged sword?

 

 

 

5. In Prov 5:8, what does it mean that we should not even go near the door of an adulteress’s house?

 

 

 

6. In Prov 5:9, how does fake intimacy take your honor and years and give them to others?

 

 

 

7. In Prov 5:10, how are strangers filled the immoral person’s wealth today?

 

 

 

8. In Prov 5:12-13, why do some people sometimes despise correction?

 

 

 

9. In Prov 5:15, what does it mean to drink water from your own cistern?

 

 

 

10. In Prov 5:21, why is God injected into this lesson here?

 

 

 

11. In Prov 5:22, who is it that traps an immoral person?

 


 

Proverbs 6 – Don’t be Ensnared by Money

 

1. In Prov 6:1; 11:15; 17:18; 20:16; 22:26-27; 27:13, what is wrong with “surety”, or putting up security for another?

 

 

2. In Prov 6:5, why is putting up surety for another like a bird in the net of a fowler (bird-trapper)?

 

 

3. In Prov 6:6,9; 10:26; 13:4; 15:19; 19:24; 20:4; 21:25; 22:13; 24:30; 26:13-16, what are the characteristics of a sluggard?

 

 

4. In Prov 6:6-8, was are we to look to the ant?

 

 

5. In Prov 6:9-11, why do the lazy favor sleep?

 

 

6. In Prov 6:12-15, what kind of person is this?

 

 

7. In Prov 6:16-18, what is interesting about these seven abominations to God?

 

 

8. In Prov 6:17, why does God hate so much haughty eyes, a lying tongue, bloody hands, wickedly scheming hearts, feet that rapidly run to evil, a false witness, and one who stirs up strife?

 

 

9. In Prov 6:17, why are these six or seven things?

 

 

10. In Prov 6:22, what are three different ways that God’s word helps us?

 

 

 

11. In Prov 6:24-35, how does adultery relate to the previous sins of co-signing, laziness, and being a con-artist?

 

 

 

12. In Prov 6:26, what does reducing a man to a piece of bread mean?

 

 

 

13. In Prov 6:33-35, why is there no assuaging the jealous spouse?


 

Proverbs 7 – Falling Examined in an Example

 

1. In Prov 7:2, why is this teaching compared to the apple (center) of your eye?

 

 

 

2. In Prov 7:7, what are the five types of fools in this book?

 

 

 

3. In Prov 7:8, do you think it was accidental that the young man went near her house?

 

 

 

4. In Prov 7:13, how are some people “impudent”?

 

 

 

5. In Prov 7:14, is this woman religious, and a worshipper of God?

 

 

 

6. In Prov 7:14, how can religion today degenerate into just a tool people use to excuse their actions and try to appease their conscience?

 

 

 

7. In Prov 7:16, why is Egyptian linen mentioned?

 

 

 

8. In Prov 7:19-20, what is the point of the husband?

 

 

 

9. In Prov 7:22-23, why is what they did so deadly?

 

 

 

10. In Prov 7:26, what does “many who were killed by here were strong” mean?


 

Proverbs 8-9 – Wisdom is Calling to You

 

1. In Prov 8:1-17, how does wisdom cry out?

 

 

 

2. In Prov 8:1-4, how does wisdom raise her voice loudly today?

 

 

 

3. In Prov 8:10-11, how is wisdom better than wealth?

 

 

 

4. In Prov 8:12-13, what is interesting about the contrast here?

 

 

 

5. In Prov 8:14-21, what are some good “side-effects” of having wisdom?

 

 

6. In Prov 8:22,23 does this refer to Jesus, and thus show that Jesus was created, as Jehovah’s Witnesses claim in The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived 1991, p.11?

 

 

7. In Prov 8:22,23, who does this refer to?

 

 

8. In Prov 9:1, what are the seven pillars of wisdom?

 

 

 

9. In Prov 9:2-6, how does wisdom have a banquet?

 

 

10. In Prov 9:2, how did wisdom “mix her wine”?

 

 

11. In Prov 9:8, why would a wise person love someone who rebukes him?

 

 

12. In Prov 9:12, what is this saying about wisdom and mocking?

 

 

13. In Prov 9:13, who is the woman Folly woman here?

 

14. In Prov 9:17, what does it mean that “stolen waters are sweet, and food eaten in secret is delicious”?


 

Proverbs 10 – The Start of Solomon’s Proverbs

 

1. In Prov 10:1, how does the honor of the child affect the parents?

 

 

2. In Prov 10:2, what does this say about the wicked and treasure?

 

 

3. In Prov 10:3, what does this promise, and not promise, about the righteous and the wicked?

 

 

4. In Prov 10:4, what are diligent hands, vs. lazy hands, vs. workaholic hands?

 

 

5. In Prov 10:7, how is a righteous name remembered, and how does a wicked name rot?

 

 

6. In Prov 10:8, what is a “fool of lips”, i.e. a “chattering fool”?

 

 

7. In Prov 10:10, what is wrong with winking here?

 

 

8. In Prov 10:12, how does love cover all sins?

 

 

9. In Prov 10:17, why do some people refuse correction?

 

 

10. In Prov 10:19, why is sin not absent when words are many?

 

 

11. In Prov 10:26, how is a lazy man like vinegar and smoke to the one who sent him?

 

 

12. In Prov 10:27 and Ecc 8:12, are the lives of the wicked shortened, or prolonged as Job 21:7 says?

 

 

13. In Prov 10:28, how does the expectation of the wicked perish?


 

Proverbs 11 – Good and Bad ways to Try to Get Ahead

 

1. In Prov 11:1; Am 8:5; and Mic 6:11, what is a false balance here?

 

 

 

 

2. In Prov 11:2, what does the word “pride” mean here?

 

 

 

 

3. In Prov 11:12, what are some ways people sin by despising their neighbors?

 

 

 

 

4. In Prov 11:14, how do good counsellors guide us?

 

 

 

 

5. What does Prov 11:16 mean?

 

 

 

 

6. In Prov 11:22, why does the Bible [allegedly] compare women to pigs? (an atheist brought this up)

 

 

 

7. In Prov 11:26, who would someone curse a person who hoards grain?

 

 

 

 

8. In Prov 11:28, how do people trust in riches?

 

 

 

 

9. In Prov 11:29, how do some people trouble their own house?

 

 

 

 

10. In Prov 11:31, how are the righteous rewarded in this life, as well as the next?

 


Proverbs Background and Context – some brief answers

 

1. In Prov 1-31, what is the value of this book?

A: Many Christians can give many good answers, but here are words from a very early commentary by Hippolytus (225-235/6 A.D.): “Proverbs, therefore, are words of exhortation serviceable for the whole path of life; for to those who seek their way to God, these serve as guides and signs to revive them when wearied with the length of the road.”

   Hippolytus (170-235/6 A.D.) was a disciple of Irenaeus of Lyons (wrote 182-188 A.D., lived 120-202 A.D.), who was a disciple of Polycarp (wrote between 100-155 A.D.), who was a disciple of John the apostle, who died around 90-110 A.D.

 

2. In Prov, what is “wisdom literature”?

A: Today there are certain types, or genres, of literature, such as a novel, short story, historical chronicles, hymns, love poetry, apocalyptic, biography, etc. Some modern genres were not known in ancient times, and some ancient genres of literature are not written anymore today. One common ancient genre was “wisdom literature”. There are at least four types of wisdom literature, both inside and outside of the Bible:

Proverbs and Sayings (Instruction of Onkhsheshonqy (400-300 B.C.) 11:10 says “he who sends up spittle to the sky, upon his face it falls”)

Parental Advice

Why Suffering (The Babylonian Dialogue of Human Misery answers this by saying the gods made men evil)

Pessimism of Life (Ecclesiastes is a part of this sub-genre, except that Ecclesiastes also transcends this by pointing to God.

The Bible says that other cultures had wise men, too. For example, Egypt (1 Kings 4:30; Isaiah 19:11-12), Edom (Jeremiah 49:7; Obadiah 8), Babylon (Isaiah 47:1,10; Jeremiah 50:35; 51:57; Daniel 1:4,20; 2:13-14; 5:8) Here are some other examples of wisdom literature in other cultures:

Egypt

Insinger Papyrus (c.400-100 B.C.)

Onkhsheshonqy

The Harper’s Song

Dispute of a Man with his Soul

The writings of Prince Hardjedef

Instruction of the Vizier Phahhotep (Ptah-Hotep) ca.2450 B.C.)

Instruction of Kagemni

Merikare (2160-2040 B.C.)

Amenemhet (Amen-em-Hget) (ca.2000 B.C.) (father to son)

The Instruction of Ani (c.1100 B.C.)

The Instruction of Amenemope (=Amen-em-Opet, =Amen-em-Ope) (1300-900 B.C.)

There are similarities between Proverbs 22:17ff-24:22 and the teaching of Amenemope

Admonitions of Ipu-Wer (ANET p.441-444). A protest against the changes in Egyptian society, decline of morality, and destabilizing influence on the social order.

Protests of the Eloquent Peasant (ANET p.407-410) (21st century B.C.) nine speeches of a peasant’s protest against the Pharaoh for justice.

Sumerian and Akkadian

Instructions of Suruppak (Shuruppak) (ca. 1500-1000 B.C. or 2000 B.C.) gives points of court etiquette

Counsels of Wisdom (ca.1500-1000 B.C.)

Akkadian Proverbs (ca.1800-1600 B.C.)

Sumerian: Man and His God (why suffering) (18th century B.C. A photograph of a table of this is in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia vol.6 p.123. In this work, an innocent man has misfortune, prays for help, is finally saved and then praised his god.

Akkadian: I will Praise the Lord of Wisdom (sometimes called the Babylonian Job)

Akkadian: Dialogue of Pessimism (12th century B.C. teaching by contradiction) (ANET p.437f) a servant agrees with what his master says. When the master says the opposite, the servant also agrees.

Babylonian: The Dialogue About Human Misery (= The Babylonian Theodicy) 27 speeches between Shagil-kinam-ubbib and a group of friends about divine justice and human misery.

Hittite: Tale of Appu. Appu suffers because he has no children, and is criticized by his wife.

The Words of Ahiqar of Assyria (700-670/400 B.C. Aramaic, and possibly Akkadian) (An English translation of this is in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha volume 2 p.494-507).

Greek:

Pseudo-Phocyclides (200 B.C. - 200 A.D.) (An English translation of this is in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha volume 2 p.494-507).

Syriac:

The Sentences of the Syriac Menander (3rd century A.D.)

Jewish:

The Wisdom of Solomon in the Apocrypha

Ecclesiasticus (=Sirach, =The Wisdom of Ben Sira) in the Apocrypha

3 Maccabees (1st century B.C.)

4 Maccabees (1st century A.D.)

(3 and 4 Maccabees are classified as Wisdom Literature according to The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha volume 2 p.vi-vii.

Within the Bible, wisdom literature is Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Job, and Psalm 19, 37, 104, 107, 147, 148. Some have tried to call the Song of Solomon wisdom literature, though it is really of the genre of love poetry.

   See The Anchor Bible Dictionary volume 6 p.928-931, The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1815, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.905-906, The New International Dictionary of the Bible p.1067, and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary volume 5 p.883 for more info. See The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha volume 2 for an English translation of the Words of Ahiqar, 3 and 4 Maccabees, Pseudo-Phocylides, and the Sentences of the Syriac Menander.

 

3. In Prov, was “most wisdom literature was ascribed to Solomon almost as a matter of course…” as the skeptical Asimov’s Guide to the Bible p.506 claims?

A: No, Asimov is showing his bias here. Here are the known examples of Jewish wisdom literature.

Proverbs

Ecclesiastes

Job

Psalm 19, 37, 104, 107, 147, 148.

The Wisdom of Solomon in the Apocrypha

Ecclesiasticus (=Sirach, =The Wisdom of Ben Sira) in the Apocrypha

3 Maccabees (1st century B.C.)

4 Maccabees (1st century A.D.)

Not counting Psalms, only two of the seven are said to be by Solomon. Some of the Proverbs are stated to be by others besides Solomon and the Song of Solomon is not wisdom literature.

 

4. In Prov, given Solomon’s personal life, why should his writings be in the Bible?

A: First let’s see what the Bible says Solomon did wrong

Sin 1. Solomon sinned by marrying alien wives (Exodus 34:15-16; Deuteronomy 7:1-5; Nehemiah 13:26-27; 1 Kings 11:1-2; 2 Chronicles 8:11)

Sin 2. By having too many wives (Deuteronomy 17:17; 1 Kings 11:3)

Sin 3. Wives turning his heart after other gods (1 Kings 11:4-6,10,33)

Sin 4. Building high places and idol temples for his wives (1 Kings 11:67-8)

Sin 5. Having many horses and chariots (Deuteronomy 17:16; 2 Chronicles 9:28; 1 Kings 10:26-29)

Here is what we can learn from this.

Lesson 1: Even with wisdom as great as Solomon’s, someone can have wisdom and still not be obedient to God. This is humbling to know that no matter how intelligence or learned we may be, that alone is insufficient to draw us to God; we all still need God’s grace.

Lesson 2: Someone can practice wisdom in many areas, and disobey in others. However, James 2:10-11 reminds us that if someone obeyed the law in every area, except that they broke it in one area, they are still a lawbreaker of God’s law.

Lesson 3: God has the freedom to choose anyone He wishes, even someone like Solomon, to transmit His word to us. There is no verse in the Bible saying God is restricted from doing this.

Lesson 4: We cannot think that because someone has some serious moral deficiency, we can ignore their words. God’s truth is God’s truth, no matter from who we hear it.

Conclusion: Solomon’s words should be in the Bible because they are God’s true word. Solomon’s sins do not invalidate God’s words, nor give us an excuse not to follow them.

   See Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.250-252 and When Critics Ask p.245 for more info.

 

5. Where is the Book of Proverbs quoted in the New Testament?

A: Here are the ten places.

Proverbs 1:16

Romans 3:15

Proverbs 3:7

Romans 12:16

Proverbs 3:11-12

Hebrews 12:5-6

Proverbs 3:34

James 4:6

Proverbs 10:12

1 Peter 4:8

Proverbs 11:31

1 Peter 4:18

Proverbs 24:21

1 Peter 2:17

Proverbs 25:21-22

Romans 12:20

Proverbs 26:11

2 Peter 2:22

Proverbs 27:1

James 3:13

This list is taken from The Expositor’s Bible Commentary volume 5 p.890.

 

6. In Prov, how should we interpret this book?

A: The book combines both deep and simple teaching with beautiful Hebrew poetry. As 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.155-156 says, we should recognize that most of the sayings are both universal and general in character. The apply to everyone in every society, and the points are generally true, but not necessarily for every individual.

 

7. In Prov, did Solomon write all of the proverbs?

A: No. Solomon probably wrote most of the Proverbs, but Proverbs 30 is by Agur son of Jakeh, and Proverbs 31 came from Lemuel repeating his mother’s teaching. As The Expositor’s Bible Commentary volume 5 p.886 says, there is no reason to think Agar and Lemuel are synonyms for Solomon. More than four-fifths of the Proverbs are by Solomon. Clement of Alexandria in The Stromata (193-202 A.D.) book 2 ch.15 also related that Solomon wrote Proverbs.

   The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.907 says scholars differ on whether the intro here refers to the first section (Proverbs 1:2-9:18) or the entire book of Proverbs, but that it probably just covers the first section, since other sections have their introductions.


 

Proverbs Background and Context

 

1. In Prov 1-31, what is the value of this book?

 

 

 

2. In Prov, what is “wisdom literature”?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. In Prov, was “most wisdom literature was ascribed to Solomon almost as a matter of course…” as the skeptical Asimov’s Guide to the Bible p.506 claims?

 

 

 

4. In Prov, given Solomon’s personal life, why should his writings be in the Bible?

 

 

 

5. Where is the Book of Proverbs quoted in the New Testament?

 

 

 

6. In Prov, how should we interpret this book?

 

 

 

7. In Prov, did Solomon write all of the proverbs?


 

Proverbs – Background and Context – some brief answers

 

1. In Prov 1-31, what is the value of this book?

A: Many Christians can give many good answers, but here are words from a very early commentary by Hippolytus (225-235/6 A.D.): “Proverbs, therefore, are words of exhortation serviceable for the whole path of life; for to those who seek their way to God, these serve as guides and signs to revive them when wearied with the length of the road.”

   Hippolytus (170-235/6 A.D.) was a disciple of Irenaeus of Lyons (wrote 182-188 A.D., lived 120-202 A.D.), who was a disciple of Polycarp (wrote between 100-155 A.D.), who was a disciple of John the apostle, who died around 90-110 A.D.

 

2. In Prov, what is “wisdom literature”?

A: Today there are certain types, or genres, of literature, such as a novel, short story, historical chronicles, hymns, love poetry, apocalyptic, biography, etc. Some modern genres were not known in ancient times, and some ancient genres of literature are not written anymore today. One common ancient genre was “wisdom literature”. There are at least four types of wisdom literature, both inside and outside of the Bible:

Proverbs and Sayings (Instruction of Onkhsheshonqy (400-300 B.C.) 11:10 says “he who sends up spittle to the sky, upon his face it falls”

Parental Advice

Why Suffering (The Babylonian Dialogue of Human Misery answers this by saying the gods made men evil)

Pessimism of Life (Ecclesiastes is a part of this sub-genre, except that Ecclesiastes also transcends this by pointing to God.

The Bible says that other cultures had wise men, too. For example, Egypt (1 Kings 4:30; Isaiah 19:11-12), Edom (Jeremiah 49:7; Obadiah 8), Babylon (Isaiah 47:1,10; Jeremiah 50:35; 51:57; Daniel 1:4,20; 2:13-14; 5:8) Here are some other examples of wisdom literature in other cultures:

MODERN TIMES

Benjamin Franklin’s sayings

Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book

EGYPT

Insinger Papyrus (c.400-100 B.C.)

Onkhsheshonqy (mentioned earlier)

The Harper’s Song (c.1160 B.C.) are eight stanzas that have been found on many tombs. Here is stanza 5: So seize the day! hold holiday! Be unwearied, unceasing, alive, you and your own true love; Let not your heart be troubled during your sojourn on earth, but seize the day as it passes!

Dispute of a Man with his Soul from around the time of Abraham is a man arguing with his “ba” (soul) about why he has to suffer. It has nine parts, and Wikipedia says it is considered one of the most important pieces of ancient Egyptian literature.

The writings of Prince Hardjedef

Instruction of the Vizier Phahhotep (Ptah-Hotep) ca.2450 B.C.)

Instruction of Kagemni (unknown date, but before 1895 B.C.) has four stanzas. Here is first half of the third stanza:When you sit with a glutton, Eat when his greed has passed; When you drink with a drunkard, Take when his heart is content. Don't fall upon meat by the side of a glutton, Take when he gives you, don't refuse it,

Merikare (2160-2040 B.C.)

Amenemhet (Amen-em-Hget) (ca.2000 B.C.) (father to son)

The Instruction of Ani (c.1100 B.C.)

The Instruction of Amenemope (=Amen-em-Opet, =Amen-em-Ope) (1300-900 B.C.)

There are similarities between Proverbs 22:17ff-24:22 and the teaching of Amenemope

Admonitions of Ipu-Wer (ANET p.441-444). A protest against the changes in Egyptian society, decline of morality, and destabilizing influence on the social order.

Protests of the Eloquent Peasant (ANET p.407-410) (21st century B.C.) nine speeches of a peasant’s protest against the Pharaoh for justice.

SUMERIAN AND AKKADIAN

Instructions of Suruppak (Shuruppak) (ca. 1500-1000 B.C. or 2000 B.C.) gives points of court etiquette

Counsels of Wisdom (ca.1500-1000 B.C.)

Akkadian Proverbs (ca.1800-1600 B.C.)

Sumerian: Man and His God (why suffering) (18th century B.C. A photograph of a table of this is in The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia vol.6 p.123. In this work, an innocent man has misfortune, prays for help, is finally saved and then praised his god.

Akkadian: I will Praise the Lord of Wisdom (sometimes called the Babylonian Job)

Akkadian: Dialogue of Pessimism (12th century B.C. teaching by contradiction) (ANET p.437f) a servant agrees with what his master says. When the master says the opposite, the servant also agrees.

Babylonian: The Dialogue About Human Misery (= The Babylonian Theodicy) 27 speeches between Shagil-kinam-ubbib and a group of friends about divine justice and human misery.

Hittite: Tale of Appu. Appu suffers because he has no children, and is criticized by his wife.

The Words of Ahiqar of Assyria (700-670/400 B.C. Aramaic, and possibly Akkadian) (An English translation of this is in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha volume 2 p.494-507).

Greek:

pseudo-Phocyclides (200 B.C. - 200 A.D.) (An English translation of this is in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha volume 2 p.494-507).

SYRIAC

The Sentences of the Syriac Menander (3rd century A.D.)

JEWISH

The Wisdom of Solomon in the Apocrypha

Ecclesiasticus (=Sirach, =The Wisdom of Ben Sira) in the Apocrypha

3 Maccabees (1st century B.C.)

4 Maccabees (1st century A.D.)

(3 and 4 Maccabees are classified as Wisdom Literature according to The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha volume 2 p.vi-vii.

Within the Bible, wisdom literature is Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Job, and Psalm 19, 37, 104, 107, 147, 148. Some have tried to call the Song of Solomon wisdom literature, though it is really of the genre of love poetry.

Conclusion: there were many wise people outside of the Bible. While they wrote wisdom literature also, or varying quality, Proverbs is wisdom from God.

   See The Anchor Bible Dictionary volume 6 p.928-931, The Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.1815, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.905-906, The New International Dictionary of the Bible p.1067, and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary volume 5 p.883 for more info. See The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha volume 2 for an English translation of the Words of Ahiqar, 3 and 4 Maccabees, pseudo-Phocylides, and the Sentences of the Syriac Menander.

 

3. In Prov, was “most wisdom literature was ascribed to Solomon almost as a matter of course…” as the skeptical Asimov’s Guide to the Bible p.506 claims?

A: No, Asimov is showing his bias here. Here are the known examples of Jewish wisdom literature.

Proverbs

Ecclesiastes

Job

Psalm 19, 37, 104, 107, 147, 148.

The Wisdom of Solomon in the Apocrypha

Ecclesiasticus (=Sirach, =The Wisdom of Ben Sira) in the Apocrypha

3 Maccabees (1st century B.C.)

4 Maccabees (1st century A.D.)

Not counting Psalms, only two of the seven are said to be by Solomon. Some of the Proverbs are stated to be by others besides Solomon and the Song of Solomon is not wisdom literature.

 

4. In Prov, given Solomon’s personal life, why should his writings be in the Bible?

A: First let’s see what the Bible says Solomon did wrong

Sin 1. Solomon sinned by marrying alien wives (Exodus 34:15-16; Deuteronomy 7:1-5; Nehemiah 13:26-27; 1 Kings 11:1-2; 2 Chronicles 8:11)

Sin 2. By having too many wives (Deuteronomy 17:17; 1 Kings 11:3)

Sin 3. Wives turning his heart after other gods (1 Kings 11:4-6,10,33)

Sin 4. Building high places and idol temples for his wives (1 Kings 11:7-8)

Sin 5. Having many horses and chariots (Deuteronomy 17:16; 2 Chronicles 9:28; 1 Kings 10:26-29)

Here is what we can learn from this.

Lesson 1: Even with wisdom as great as Solomon’s, someone can have wisdom and still not be obedient to God. This is humbling to know that no matter how intelligence or learned we may be, that alone is insufficient to draw us to God; we all still need God’s grace.

Lesson 2: Someone can practice wisdom in many areas, and disobey in others, at the same time. However, James 2:10-11 reminds us that if someone obeyed the law in every area, except that they broke it in one area, they are still a lawbreaker of God’s law.

Lesson 3: God has the freedom to choose anyone He wishes, even someone like Solomon, to transmit His word to us. There is no verse in the Bible saying God is restricted from doing this.

Lesson 4: We cannot think that because someone has some serious moral deficiency, we can ignore their words. God’s truth is God’s truth, no matter from who we hear it.

Conclusion: Solomon’s words should be in the Bible because they are God’s true word. We should not follow these words because we admire Solomon, or even because Solomon was a very wise man, but because like the flawed prophet Balaam, God could speak through Solomon too. Solomon’s sins do not invalidate God’s words, nor give us an excuse not to follow them.

   See Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.250-252 and When Critics Ask p.245 for more info.

 

5. Where is the Book of Proverbs quoted in the New Testament?

A: Here are the ten places.

Proverbs 1:16

Romans 3:15

Proverbs 3:7

Romans 12:16

Proverbs 3:11-12

Hebrews 12:5-6

Proverbs 3:34

James 4:6

Proverbs 10:12

1 Peter 4:8

Proverbs 11:31

1 Peter 4:18

Proverbs 24:21

1 Peter 2:17

Proverbs 25:21-22

Romans 12:20

Proverbs 26:11

2 Peter 2:22

Proverbs 27:1

James 3:13

This list is taken from The Expositor’s Bible Commentary volume 5 p.890.

 

6. In Prov, how should we interpret this book?

A: The book combines both deep and simple teaching with beautiful Hebrew poetry. As 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.155-156 says, we should recognize that most of the sayings are both universal and general in character. The apply to everyone in every society, and the points are generally true, but not necessarily for every individual.

 

7. In Prov, did Solomon write all of the proverbs?

A: No. Solomon probably wrote most of the Proverbs, but Proverbs 30 is by Agur son of Jakeh, and Proverbs 31 came from Lemuel repeating his mother’s teaching. As The Expositor’s Bible Commentary volume 5 p.886 says, there is no reason to think Agar and Lemuel are synonyms for Solomon. More than four-fifths of the Proverbs are by Solomon. Clement of Alexandria in The Stromata (193-202 A.D.) book 2 ch.15 also related that Solomon wrote Proverbs.

   The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.907 says scholars differ on whether the intro here refers to the first section (Proverbs 1:2-9:18) or the entire book of Proverbs, but that it probably just covers the first section, since other sections have their introductions.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Proverbs 1 – Why You Really Want to Get Wisdom – some brief answers

 

1. In Prov 1:1-7, what is the purpose of this book?

A: Doing everything in Proverbs 1:1-7 is a tall order, but the book of Proverbs delivers on its promise. Arnot calls Proverbs “Laws from heaven for life on earth.” Proverbs is a practical book with both deep and simple sayings of wisdom. Every believer needs God’s wisdom, and this book helps us learn God’s wisdom.

   Proverbs 1:1-6 gives the stated purpose of the book.

“To know wisdom and instruction,

To discern the sayings of understanding.

To receive instruction in wise behavior,

Righteousness, justice, and equity;

To give prudence to the naïve,

To the youth knowledge and the discretion,

A wise man will hear and increase in learning,

And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel,

To understand a proverb and a figure, The words of the wise and their riddles.” (NASB)

See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.902-903 and the Believer’s bible Commentary p.787 for more info.

 

2. In Prov 1:1, what does the word “proverb” mean in Hebrew?

A: A proverb is considered a wise saying. The Hebrew word for Proverb, masal, has two meanings, and both are in view here.

a) It can mean a comparison, as in parallel sayings. Most proverbs have two lines, with the second either being a close synonym of the first, or an antonym of the first. Some have three or four lines though.

b) The Hebrew word can also mean a by-word, i.e., a warning. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.903 for more info.

 

3. In Prov 1:2,7,20; 9:10; 14:27; Ps 111:10; Job 28:28, what is wisdom, and how is the fear of the Lord the beginning of wisdom?

A: Wisdom can be defined as applied knowledge for life. The word hokmah is used 45 times in the book of Problems It can be translated as “wisdom” or also “skill” as in the skill of the clothmaker on the tabernacle in Exodus 35:26, a woodworker or metalworker in Exodus 31:6, the skill of the seamen in Psalm 107:27, a general in battle in Isaiah 10:13, the skill or an administrator in Deuteronomy 34:9 and 1 Kings 3:28; and the advice of a wise counselor in 2 Samuel 20:22. The Book of Proverbs can be thought of as a book of skills for living wisely. We wish that more people would want to learn those skills. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.904-905, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.402, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.902,907 for more info.

   It is curious that nations are not considered wise, only individuals. Respect for God and obeying Him are the starting point of true wisdom. Proverbs 8:13 says that to fear the Lord is to hate evil, and that God hates pride, arrogance, evil behavior, and wicked speech. See Today’s Handbook for Solving Bible Difficulties p.328-331 for more info.

 

4. In Prov 1:3, what is the difference between having an open heart ready to receive instruction vs. not?

A: There are at least four aspects of a heart ready to receive instruction.

In humility, we realize that we do not have all the wisdom we could use right now.

Expectantly, we are open-minded and eager to learn more that could help.

Diligent to learn, even if the lazy way is just to remain ignorant. Learning can be hard work. One can think of “climbing the mountain of persistence.”

But not distracted by useless knowledge or having our time sucked up by meaningless things. Some people just don’t have time to learn things that are important; they have squandered too much time on trivial things.

 

5. In Prov 1:7, are we to fear the Lord, or are we to love God?

A: Both, properly understood. We are to love God with all our heart, all our mind, all our soul, and all our strength. Yet we are not to consider God as merely “our little buddy”. God’s commandments are not just His suggestions for us. Fear of the Lord is respecting Him for who He is, and being in awe of Him. Proverbs 1:7 says that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Proverbs 8:13 says that the fear of the Lord includes hating evil, pride, arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.

   True Christians do not need to fear that God will send them to Hell (Hebrews 12:18-24), but we still do need to fear for the eternal destiny of those who have not accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. For example, Peter was so concerned about the salvation of his hearers, that he pleaded with them in Acts 2:40. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.284 and 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.156 for more info.

 

6. In Prov 1:7, why do you think fools despise wisdom and instruction/discipline?

A: It could be for one or more of these reasons.

a) They don’t think they need it, since they are already wise in their own eyes.

b) They are too impatient to listen to it.

c) They wouldn’t want to do what wisdom tells them to do

d) In fact, they don’t want anything or anyone to ever tell them what to do

 

7. In Prov 1:8 does this mean we should obey our parent’s laws instead of God’s laws?

A: No. Rather, this verse is teaching that we should follow God’s teaching, which many learn from childhood through their parents’ godly instruction.

 

8. In Prov 1:8-9:18, since some parts are addressed to his “son”, was this Solomon’s foolish son Rehoboam?

A: The phrases “my son” or “my sons” is used 19 times in chapters 1-7, and only 8 times elsewhere in Proverbs. While Solomon had a great many sons, this was probably not addressed to any specific son but to younger people in general. However, it is both interesting and sad to ponder that someone as foolish as Rehoboam could have a father as wise as Solomon. All Rehoboam had to do to keep the kingdom together was not be a jerk. In fact, his wise, older counselors counselled him correct on this. But he chose to listen to his young companions. As the song, made famous by Frank Sinatra says, “I did it my way”. You might say, anachronistically, that Rehoboam went to the “Frank Sinatra School of Diplomacy”.

   A child becoming as wise as their parents is not automatic. The child has to desire wisdom, and the parents have to make it a priority to make the time to teach their children. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.902 for more info.

 

9. In Prov 1:10, how do sinners entice others?

A: Sometimes they use a logical argument to convince others, but that is not the primary method. More often, it is an appeal to sinful desire, and to peer pressure. Imagine how different TV, movies, and roadside billboards would be if there were no enticements to sin.

   The Hebrew word for entice is related to the root of “simple” or “naïve.” There are three parts to enticing: greed, fear, and peer pressure

   A point to ponder is that two people might be exposed to the same enticing influences, yet that can respond very differently. We might not have control over everything that tries to entice us, but we are responsible for how much we allow ourselves to be influenced by bad things. Do you turn off the bad music, or keep on listening?

   See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.908 for more info.

 

10. In Prov 1:11, why do some people join gangs?

A: Reasons could be peer pressure, boredom, looking for a thrill, or thought of the future. It is not necessarily to get a lot of wealth. See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.793 for more info.

 

11. In Prov 1:18, how do robbers and murderers lie in wait for their own blood?

A: Many wicked people are short-sighted and consider the gains but not the ricks or consequences. What are the odds of them being found out? After that, what are the odds of retribution? They might not think about that. Thus, when they plot against others, they are ignorant that they are plotting their own doom.

 

12. In Prov 1:22, what is the difference between the three different types of fools here?

A: It is interesting to know that there are different levels of foolishness.

Simple-minded (peti singular and petayim plural) are like easy-to-mislead gullible children. They don’t know the way of wisdom. They can be changed just by instructing and correcting them.

Mockers, lesi or lesim, (also in Psalm 1:1) are defiant fools who know something of the way of wisdom and yet refuse it.

Total fools kesil or kesilim are stubborn fools so habitually foolish that they are hardened against any change.

   See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.910 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.902,908 for more info.

 

13. In Prov 1:29, why do some people hate knowledge?

A: While some people are apathetic toward learning, others actually hate some knowledge. Knowledge that you are not supposed to sin, and why you are not supposed to sin, is undesirable to those who have already made up their mind that they want to sin.

   In a similar way, 2 Corinthians 2:15-16 says that Christians are the “aroma of Christ”. To some we smell of death, and to others life. To those who reject the true God, we are unpleasant reminders of the coming judgment. To those who believe that sin is inevitable and normal, we are reminders that their view is narrow-minded and wrong.

 

14. In Prov 1:32, how does the prosperity of fools destroy them?

A: Money gives them the means of living out their desires. These can physically kill them, either through sickness (including cirrhosis), violence, or other means. In addition, a fool’s sin kills him spiritually. The NIV and NRSV translate this as “complacency”.


 

Proverbs 2:1-3:7 – You Have to Ask – some brief answers

 

1. In Prov 2:1, how do we “treasure” wise commands?
A: This does not mean just reading once and then maybe forgetting it. As far as your mind goes, it involves re-reading, and memorizing. As for your heart, it means esteeming, and reflecting on these commands. Of course, we don’t want to be wise in our own eyes, but we need to actively ask God for wisdom, as James 1:5-6 tells us. But Proverbs 2:3-4 goes beyond that. It says to “cry out” for discernment, and shout to ask for understanding. Seek understanding as silver, or a hidden treasure.

 

2. In Prov 2:2, to what extent should we talk out our problems vs. listening to the counsel of others?

A: Talking about your problems to get them out is popular in counseling today. However, Proverbs emphasizes instead listening and following the wise counsel of others. While there is a place for talking too, the emphasis is not on getting answers within yourself, but getting wisdom from God. See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.796 for more info.

 

3. In Prov 2:3, what exactly is discernment or discretion, and how does it differ from regular wisdom?

A: 1 Corinthians 12:8a mentions the gift of wisdom, and 1 Corinthians 12:8f mentions a different gift, of knowledge. 1 Corinthians 12:10 mentions yet a different gift, discerning of spirits. Since these are mentioned in three places in this list of gifts, they are different things, even though they also have some common aspects. Two things can be look OK on the surface, but one is in line with God’s commands and the other either is off, or else if about to veer off. Using just natural means, any mature Christian often should be able to tell, just by comparing with what God’s word says. But beyond that, 1 Corinthians 12:10 mentions a spiritual gift of discerning spirits. This is when God speaks to you, maybe even before you have any information naturally, telling you that this thing, situation, is the way to go, or this is not pleasing to Him. Sometimes God gives us some discerning in the heart of a person, if they are bound up in error or sin. But again, this is not natural to have; you have to ask God for the spiritual gift of discerning. On the other hand, every single Christian should have some ability to discern and keep themselves from spiritual peril by reading the word and seeing if this is compatible with the heart and teaching of God. We can see “landmarks” of what is wisdom by our experience; and we can benefit here from the experience of others. Good discernment preserves us from evil according to Proverbs 2:12. When someone wants to tell you what to do or entice you to do something, you should ask “Is what you’re telling me going to get me where I want to go?”

   See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.796 for more info.

 

4. In Prov 2:4, one reason to desire wisdom is because of its rewards or “treasures”. What are some of the rewards of having wisdom?

A: There are at least two different kinds of rewards of wisdom.

Negatively, wisdom is like a shield that keeps you from danger, spiritual and otherwise. It keeps you from walking down the wrong path, to your destruction.

Positively, wisdom preserves us, gives up understanding of righteousness. It is pleasant to our soul. It makes us upright, that we can dwell in God’s land according to Proverbs 2:20-21.

 

5. In Prov 2:8,13, what are the paths of judgment and the paths of darkness?

A: Paths are a key topic of Proverbs. Engineers today might call them processes. When you use good judgment, you travel along the path to being able to use more good judgment. When you sin, one consequence is that often you have a greater desire to do that sin again. In addition, sometimes you feel you have to sin a second time in order to cover up the first sin, as David committed murder to try to cover up his sin of adultery.

 

6. In Prov 2:10, how does wisdom enter your heart?

A: It does not say that you achieve or studied enough to get wisdom. Wisdom is something the LORD gives in Proverbs 2:6, and it enters your heart in Proverbs 2:10. A Christian told me that after she came to Christ she felt she really did not grow much in wisdom at first. Then she started to pray for half an hour a day for thirty days, and after that God gave her wisdom to discern what was true, instead of just believing anything and everything she heard. As we pray and study God’s word, and ask God for wisdom, God will have wisdom your need enter our heart. You need wisdom to preserve you and keep you from evil, both intentional and unintentional.

 

7. In Prov 2:13-14, why would some choose to leave the paths of uprightness and prefer to walk in the ways of darkness?

A: Many people would not want to walk in the ways of darkness, because they could be robbed or taken advantage of. But on the other hand, if a person wanted to rob and take advantage of others, they would prefer to walk in darkness. As verse 14 shows, it is not merely the desire of gaining the plunder, but the thrill and so-called joy of doing evil and seeing perversity.

 

8. In Prov 2:15, how can you trust people who have shown themselves to be devious in their paths?

A: If you learn nothing else from chapter 2 you can learn this. There is one way you can trust people who are devious in their paths. If they are devious towards other people, you can trust them to be devious towards you, if given a chance. When one investor who lost money in the Bernie Madoff scandal was interviewed, he said, that he knew Bernie was doing something unethical to be able to get the returns that he got. They though he might be front-running, or something else. But that did not bother them, because even though he was cheating others, they thought that would be for their benefit, because he was not cheating them. – or so they thought.

 

9. In Prov 2:16-19, how do people tempt others to the path of the dead?

A: One way is by flattery, telling you what you deserve.

A second part of that is trying to make you forget your commitments, or else convince you that your commitments are not very important.

A third part is by getting you to do something foolish, or invest foolishly, and then doing desperate things in the hope of getting back to even.

Another way is appealing to your fear of missing out on some pleasure. As a believer on the right path, it is quite true that we have missed out on so many things. We have missed out on so much pain, heartache, fear, guilt, shame, and even danger. We probably have no idea on how many seriously catastrophic things we missed out on by living righteously, but we can still be glad we missed out on those.

   See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.910 for more info.

 

10. In Prov 3:2; 9:11; 10:21,27, how does obeying God’s law give you long life?

A: First, those who obey God’s laws are blessed by Him (Proverbs 8:32). Second, of course, living a godly life in general reduces your chance of dying of alcoholism, drug overdoses, smoking, AIDS and venereal disease, and even much violence. However, these are very insignificant benefits compared to having eternal life with God.

 

11. In Prov 3:5, why should we not trust ourselves, since many voices in modern culture tell us to do so?

A: People can say they believe in God and the truths of the Bible. However, you can believe without trusting in God. Trusting in God means trusting that God’s wisdom is the best wisdom, and trusting that God’s way is the best way for you and all your loved ones.

 

12. In Prov 3:7, how can someone be wise in their own eyes, and why is this wrong?

A: Ultimately, this means both trusting that your wisdom is more profound, more practical, or better than God’s wisdom. It also can mean that you think you have “arrived” and do not need to learn much more. Paul’s attitude was very different from this in Philippians 3:12-14.


 

Proverbs 3:8-3:35 – Wisdom and Money – some brief answers

 

Q: In Prov 3:9, how are we to honor God with our wealth?

A: A: First realized that God has everything and He has given us everything we have. So, we cannot really give to God; we can only give back to God. While work and time relate closely to money, those are different topics that are not addressed here. Here is a list of 28 ways we can honor God with our wealth. You can remember the four categories with the phrase, “Hope In God, not Wealth”.

Hearts free from the love of money

H1. Realize that God has the power, desire, and the promise to provide for His obedient children financially. Do not love money (Psalm 62:10) or have your heart focused on money (Matthew 6:21; Colossians 3:1-2), and do not be worried about money (Matthew 6:25-34).

H2. We are to recognize that all wealth ultimately belongs to God (Psalm 24:1; 50:9-12). God brings wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18; Proverbs 10:22; 22:4; Malachi 3:10-12).

H3. While having wealth is OK (1 Timothy 6:17; Job 42:10-12; Genesis 13:2,6; Proverbs 10:4; 14:24), wealth can be a snare (Judges 8:24-27; Mark 10:21-25). We are not to love money (1 Timothy 6:10; 2 Timothy 3:2; Hebrews 13:5; Romans 1:29), be greedy (Proverbs 15:27; Luke 12:15), or trust in our riches (Psalm 49:6; 52:7; Proverbs 11:28; 18:10-11; 30:8-9; Jeremiah 9:23; Luke 12:16-21). Be aware that the rich have a tendency to be wise in their own eyes (Proverbs 28:11).

H4. We are to store up treasures in Heaven (Matthew 6:19-21,24; 19:23; Luke 12:15-21; Revelation 3:11). Do not be afraid to lose your earthly treasures for God. (Hebrews 10:34; Matthew 6:19-21; Luke 2:15-18,33-34; Acts 4:32-37)

H5. Do not envy others, or those who have more. (How much is the billionaire … worth today?) (Psalm 73:2-17; Proverbs 23:17; Psalm 37:4; Romans 7:7-12; 1 Corinthians 13:4). Do not covet what others have (Exodus 20:17; Deuteronomy 5:21; Romans 7:7-12). Do not view others simply as what monetary gain they can bring to you (Proverbs 6:26).

H6. We are to value wisdom more than wealth (Proverbs 3:14-15; 16:16; 20:15; Psalm 37:16), and a good name more than wealth (Proverbs 22:1), realizing how temporary wealth is (Proverbs 11:4,18; 23:5; 1 Timothy 6:7). Recognize that little with love and the fear of the Lord is better than much with hatred and strife (Proverbs 15:16-17; 17:1; 19:1).

H7. Do not kid yourself, thinking that your wealth can purchase with money anything of eternal value (Matthew 16:26; Mark 8:37; Acts 8:20-21; Psalm 50:9-12; Micah 6:6-8).

Integrity in Finances

I1. Do not steal (including software piracy) (Exodus 20:15; Deuteronomy 5:19; Ephesians 4:28; Titus 2:10; Matthew 15:19). Do not have or keep ill-gotten wealth (Proverbs 1:13,14,19; 10:2). If you have stolen, cheated, or done wrong, make restitution (Exodus 22:3-15; Numbers 5:5-8; Luke 19:8).

I2. Pay others what you owe (Psalm 37:21; Romans 13:8; James 5:4) and promptly (Leviticus 19:13; Deuteronomy 24:15). Pay your taxes (Matthew 22:21; 17: 24-27; Mark 12:17; Luke 20:25; Romans 13:6), and any court judgments (Exodus 21:22).

I3. Do not oppress or unjustly use the courts against others who are poor, when it is in your power because you are rich (Proverbs 14:31; 22:22-23; 24:28; James 2:6; Ezekiel 22:7,13,29; 45:9; 1 Kings 21:1-15). (Paradoxically, a person or nation can give the appearance of generosity to the poor, and still oppress them at the same time.) Rather, we should defend the oppressed (Jeremiah 7:6; 22:16; Isaiah 1:17; 58:6). As an example, in old times miners were paid by the company, and there was no store around except the one owned by the company who charged whatever they chose. There is a miner’s song about “…sold my soul to the company store.”

I4. We should hate receiving bribes (Proverbs 15:27; 17:23; Psalm 15:5; Exodus 23:8; Deuteronomy 16:19; Ecclesiastes 7:7; 1 Samuel 12:3; Isaiah 1:23; Amos 5:12; 2 Chronicles 19:7), because they can corrupt our hearts (Deuteronomy 16:19; Proverbs 15:27; 28:16; Psalm 15:5; Ecclesiastes 7:7; Isaiah 5:13; 1 Samuel 4:3-4).

I5. Do not claim land that is not yours (Deuteronomy 19:14; 27:17; Proverbs 22:28; 23:10; Job 24:2) or other valuables (Joshua 7:1:20-24).

I6. Do not lie about what you are giving (Acts 5:1-11) or boast about what you do not give (Proverbs 25:14).

I7. Be honest and prudent in the use of the Lord’s money (2 Kings 12:4-16; Nehemiah 13:4-13). Avoid the appearance of financial impropriety (2 Corinthians 8:18-21; 1 Thessalonians 5:22).

Giving Our Money

G1. Do not be stingy (Proverbs 28:22; 2 Corinthians 9:6), rather give cheerfully (2 Corinthians 9:7). God views giving in proportion to what you have (Mark 12:42-43; Luke 21:2-3) and what it costs you (2 Samuel 24:21-24). Giving to God is not optional for believers (Malachi 3:10-12). Sharing things in common is good (Acts 4:32), but having personal property is fine too (2 Timothy 4:13).

G2. We are to give generously to the poor, though it should be without fanfare. (Proverbs 11:24-25; 14:21; 24:11-12; 29:7; 31:9,20; 11:24-25; 19:9-10,17; 21:13; 22:9; Psalm 41:1; Isaiah 58:7-8,10; Jeremiah 5:28; 22:16; Matthew 6:2-4; 19:21; Galatians 2:10; Ephesians 4:28; 1 Timothy 6:18-19). Do not look down on the poor (Proverbs 22:2).

G3. We are especially to help widows and orphans. (James 1:27; Deuteronomy 15:11; Psalm 68:5; Job 29:12-13), other believers (1 John 3:17-19; Acts 4:32-35), and the sick, hungry, naked, and imprisoned (Matthew 25:34-46; Zechariah 7:9-10).

G4. Do not give money to a fool (Proverbs 17:16) or help those who refuse to work. (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15), yet do not look down on them, and help them if they repent (Luke 15:18-30).

G5. We are to give to the Lord’s work (2 Corinthians 8:1-8; 9:6-11; Proverbs 3:9,10; 11:24; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Titus 2:13). However, you must respect God’s house (Malachi 1:10-14), be reconciled with others (Matthew 5:23-24), and do not give ill-gotten gifts (Deuteronomy 23:18; Proverbs 10:2).

G6. We are to provide for our family (1 Timothy 5:4,8; Proverbs 31:13-15; Mark 7:10-13;~Luke 15:18-30).

G7. Do not take money from unbelievers for God’s work (3 John 7). However, paying nonbelievers for work can be OK (1 Kings 5:3-18). Look for opportunities to repay people’s kindness (2 Samuel 9:1; Esther 6:1-4), yet do not expect to be repaid yourself on earth (Luke 6:30,34-35).

Wisdom in Finances

W1. We provide for our own daily necessities (Titus 3:14). God’s ministers are worthy of their pay (1 Corinthians 9:4-12; 1 Timothy 5:18; Galatians 6:6).

W2. We should plan and save for the future (Proverbs 6:6-8; 10:5; 31:16; Luke 15:18-30; Titus 3:14), including an inheritance for our children (Proverbs 13:22; 17:2; 19:14; Psalm 17:14).

W3. We should not make rash financial commitments (Proverbs 22:26-27; 6:2-3) or put up collateral for another (Proverbs 6:1,3; 11:15; 17:18; 20:16; 27:13).

W4. We are not to squander our wealth or use it for sinning (Proverbs 20:21; James 5:5; Matthew 23:25; Amos 6:4-7). We should take care of our possessions (Proverbs 12:10,11,27). We should know the condition of our wealth, for it can be lost through neglect (Proverbs 27:23-24).

W5. Be careful of borrowing; realize that a borrower is beholden to the lender (Proverbs 22:7).

W6. Be wary of accepting gifts grudgingly given (Proverbs 23:1-3)We give to full-time godly workers & the Lord's people. 1Cr9:7-14

. Giving gifts (properly) can be advantageous to the giver (Proverbs 19:6; 21:14).

W7: Be wise: many people are tricky (Proverbs 20:14), resort to bribes (Proverbs 17:8), or financial dishonesty (Proverbs 20:17; James 5:4). Some can oppose the gospel for financial reasons (Acts 19:24-28).

   For people who need a plan to be free from the bondage of debt, an excellent book is Breaking out of Plastic Prison by James D. Dean and Charles W. Morris.

 

Q: In Prov 3:16, Prov 3:2, and Prov 28:16, since we are promised long life, should the lifespan of every Christian, be longer than the average lifespan of a non-Christian? If not, how about the average lifespan?

A: If a believer lived only a 100 years, or even 200, with their body and mind in their prime, that would be a rip-off for our lifespan is eternal in Heaven. See also the discussion on Ephesians 6:3 and Proverbs 3:2 for more info.

 

Q: In Prov 3:27, how are we not to withhold good from others?

A: This can refer to paying wages to people you employ (James 5:4; Malachi 3:5) as well as alms that cost you something, and favors to help others that cost you nothing. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.913 says it means literally, “Do not withhold good from its owners. The idea is fulfill an obligation such as paying wages to a hired laborer.”

   On a non-altruistic note, Proverbs 14:4 (NIV) says, “Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty…”.


 

Proverbs 4 – Seek Wisdom, Above this World – some brief answers

 

1. In Prov 4:1-27, what is the structure of this chapter?

A: This chapter has three speeches on wisdom.

Prov 4:1-9 Spare no effort to acquire wisdom and its benefits

Prov 4:10-19 Live Righteously

Prov 4:20-27 Concentrate on Righteous Living

   See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.922-926, the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.801-802, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.913-914 for more info.

 

2. In Prov 4:3-5, why do you think Solomon knew to ask for wisdom in 1 Ki 3:13-15?

A: Surprisingly, these words were not originally all Solomon’s words! These are what David taught Solomon, and Solomon is recounting them. Solomon knew to ask God for wisdom, not wealth or long life, because David his father taught him the importance of seeking wisdom first. Despite David messing up with Bathsheba, having the census, etc. David at least taught Solomon to love wisdom and thirst for God’s wisdom. How good are we are reminding and encouraging our children, and others around us, to seek wisdom from the Lord? See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.913 for more info.

 

3. In Prov 4:6, how does wisdom preserve people?

A: Proverbs 5:23 shows that wisdom preserves people by keeping them on the paths they should go and off destructive paths. When you are in the center of God’s will, nothing bad will happen to you for discipline, and nothing bad will happen to you, except what God allows for His glory.

 

4. In Prov 4:8, how are we to esteem wisdom?

A: First of all, this does not refer to all wisdom, but to God’s wisdom. We are to value wisdom more than wealth (Proverbs 3:14-15; 16:16; 20:15). This means valuing wisdom over wealth for our children as well as us.

Physical benefits

Wisdom helps keep us healthy (Proverbs 4:20-27).

Wisdom helps keep us safe and gives us security (Proverbs 3:23-26).

Wisdom helps us have long life, including eternal life. (Proverbs 3:16; 4:10f).

Wisdom helps keep us from poverty (Proverbs 3:16; 6:1-11).

Wisdom saves us from calamity (Proverbs 1:10-33; 4:10-19).

Human relationships

Wisdom helps us live with others better (Proverbs 3:21-35; 6:12-19).

Wisdom gives honor (Proverbs 1:8-9; 4:8f).

Wisdom keeps us from sexual immorality (Proverbs 5, 6:20-7:27).

Wisdom helps us in finding a good spouse (Proverbs 31).

Long-term benefits

We are to see God’s wisdom not only as a means to an end, but it is also its own reward (Proverbs 3:13-15; 4:7; 9:1-6).

Wisdom enables us to live a life pleasing to God and draw closer to Him (Proverbs 8:35).

 

5. In Prov 4:9, how can wisdom give us a crown of glory?

A: It gives us respect on earth, rewards in heaven, and quite likely respect in heaven too. When you wonder if you should go to a place, you can ask yourself, “If Jesus returned right now, would I like to be found there?” See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.803 for more info.

 

Q: In Prov 4:14-15, what is the warning here?

A: This passage has some interesting “footwork”. You can only step until you stumble. As you take the first step towards wickedness, you will be less and less in control of what steps you are able to take.

   The insect-eating pitcher plant is like that. How does the pitcher plant thrive in poor-nitrogen soils, by eating insects, when, unlike the Venus flytrap, the pitcher plant typically has no moving parts? Insects walk on the inside of the “pitcher” down to the hollow middle of the plant to drink the sweet-smelling nectar that is there. It does not occur to them to be concerned at all that there are often husks of dead insects already there. Upward-facing “hairs” on the plant help the insect’s firm footing. As the insect descends, then the hairs abruptly turn downward and the surface becomes waxy, and the insect falls into the water, cannot get out, and despite struggling to get out, eventually drowns in the very place the insect wanted to go. After having achieved his desire, the very thing the insects crave very slowly dissolves and digests them. So, Proverbs 4:26 is good advice for insects as well as people: ponder the path of your feet.

 

Q: In Prov 4:14-17, what kinds of friends are corrupting influences?

A: Bad friends can corrupt in not just one but several ways.

Obviously, they can tempt you to sin and do wrong. Peer pressure can be a strong influence.

They can also discourage you. Gaslighting means try to persuade somebody they cannot do things or are of little value.

They can remind you to feel guilty, or angry, self-pitying, or other attitudes God does not want you to have.

They can slander others to you, and learn about you to slander you to others.

They can be a distraction to serving God.

 

Q: In Prov 4:16, how do some have no sleep unless they do evil?

A: While this can apply to people who are addicted to drugs, sex, or alcohol, the immediate context is planning on being violent or doing evil to others. See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.802 for more info.

 

Q: In Prov 4:17, how do some eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence?

A: Some people make their living, and derive their enjoyment out of wickedness and violence. Some are proud of how they can fight. They ingest wickedness and violence such that it is a part of their identity and their inner being. They view their wickedness as normal and familiar. When people call evil good, and this is unchallenged, society will go from bad to worse.

 

Q: How are Prov 4:20-21 different from the other verses here?

A: Unlike the other verses, this is not about getting wisdom. Rather, this is about keeping the wisdom you have from departing due to neglect. We should be eager to learn more and get more wisdom, but we should be even more eager to follow the wisdom we already know. See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.412-413 for more info.

 


 

Proverbs 5 – Counterfeit Love Can Hurt you – some brief answers

 

1. In Prov 5:1, what seems strange about who is speaking this advice here?

A: Solomon is giving this advice. He obeyed the letter of this command, but not the spirit. His many, many wives, which he was not supposed to have, led his heart astray from God. Solomon followed the rule but not the intent. He followed the letter of the law, but not the spirit of the law.

 

2. In Prov 5:1, what are some ways today people follow the letter but not the spirit of the law?

A: Financially someone cannot steal, but use the law and courts unjustly to legally, but wickedly, take what does not belong to them. We are not to harm others, but if they are slandered, that can harm their reputation and relationship with friends.

   Due to a “fear of missing out” or FOMO for short, sometimes people try to get as close to sin as possible without actually sinning. The trouble is, when you are trying to get as close to sin as possible, that itself is a sin.

 

3. In Prov 5:3-5, why did God [allegedly] make the woman go to Hell just for being a woman? (A Muslim asked this.)

A: It is not this way at all. When Proverbs 5:3-5 talks of “strange women” it is speaking clearly of immoral women. I am extremely surprised that the Muslim would want to mention this though, because of what the hadiths says on the topic of women going to Hell.

Muslim falsehoods on women and Hell

   “It is narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullah b. ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allah observed: O womenfolk, you should give charity and ask much forgiveness for I saw you in bulk amongst the dwellers of Hell. A wise lady among them said: Why is it, Messenger of Allah, that our folk is in bulk in Hell? Upon this the Holy Prophet observed: You curse too much and are ungrateful to your spouses. I have seen none lacking in common sense and failing in religion but (At the same time) robbing the wisdom of the wise, besides you. Upon this the woman remarked: What is wrong with our common sense and with religion? He (the Holy Prophet) observed: Your lack of common sense (can be well judged from the fact) that the evidence of two women is equal to one man, that is proof of the lack of commonsense, and you spend some nights (and days) in which you do not offer prayer and in the month of Ramadan (During the days) you do not observe fast, that is a failing in religion….” Sahih Muslim vol.1 book 1 no.143 p.47-48. See also Bukhari vol.2 no.161; vol.1 no.301, vol.1 no.28; Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 4 no.1926 p.417; vol.4 no.9596-6600 p.1431 Sunan Nasa’i vol.2 no.1578 p.342.

   “‘O women! Give alms, as I have seen that the majority of the dwellers of Hell-fire were you (women).’ They asked, ‘Why is it so, O Allah’s Apostle?’ He replied, ‘Your curse frequently and are ungrateful to your husbands. I have not seen anyone more deficient in intelligence and religion than you…. The women asked, ‘O Allah’s Apostle? What is deficient in our intelligence and religion?’ He said, ‘Is not the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man?’ They replied in the affirmative. He said, ‘This is the deficiency in your intelligence. Isn’t it true that a woman can neither pray nor fast during her menses? The women replied in the affirmative. He said, ‘This is the deficiency in your religion.’” Bukhari vol.1 no.301 p.181. See also Sahih Muslim vol.2 book 4 no.1982,1983 p.432.

   In the false theology of Sunni Islam, most hell-dwellers are women. They are ungrateful and unthankful to their husbands. Most heaven-dwellers are poor. Bukhari vol.7 book 62 no.125,126 p.96

 

4. In Prov 5:4, what is significant about a two-edged sword?

A: A double-edged sword has multiple ways to cut. A single-edged sword is almost as useful as a two-edged sword, and it is less expensive to make. Sometimes to punish somebody, without hurting then them would strike them with the flat edge of the sword. It would knock them down, but not cut them. But a two-edged sword can cut the enemy both on the main stroke and the reverse stroke.

   In life people might try to do things for pleasure that they realize is a sharp danger going about one-way, but it is not very dangerous doing it a different way; a single-edged sword so-to-speak. However, many things that people thing are single-edged swords are in reality double-edged swords, it is just you might not realize that until you are sliced with what you thought was the flat end.

 

5. In Prov 5:8, what does it mean that we should not even go near the door of an adulteress’s house?

A: There are a number of reasons why we should not do this.

1. It could be a temptation to go into the house.

2. It gives the appearance of evil to others (2 Corinthians 8:21; 1 Thessalonians 5:22; Romans 12:17f), and it is a poor witness.

3. This could lead others astray. We do not want to destroy a fellow believer’s conscience.

 

6. In Prov 5:9, how does fake intimacy take your honor and years and give them to others?

A: On one hand, a scandalous person might no longer be qualified for an honorable position, so you one else gets to take that position instead. However, that is probably not the primary meaning. Your honor in the eyes of others is squandered. Proverbs 5:14 implies feeling shame in public. Giving your years to one who is cruel does not mean death, as Proverbs 5:11-12. It is the happy years of marriage that you won’t have.

 

7. In Prov 5:10, how are strangers filled the immoral person’s wealth today?

A: Blackmail is one way. Secondly, divorce lawyers are a part of a large industry. But besides that, many times houses, cars, and other things are sold at deep discounts when divorce occurs. There is the story of a wealthy couple, and the husband wanted to divorce for a younger woman. They husband left, and told the wife to sell the Lamborghini sports car and send him half the money.  So she did, and sent him the dollar. She was willing to destroy a lot of wealth she could have had, out of hateful spite to get back at him.

 

8. In Prov 5:12-13, why do some people sometimes despise correction?

A: People often want to be their own boss. Accepting correction means admitting you were wrong, you need to improve, and that you are going to change. Some are too proud to admit they were wrong in an area. Others might be willing to accept that they are wrong, but they are not willing to change.

 

9. In Prov 5:15, what does it mean to drink water from your own cistern?

A: A cistern was a large container for collecting rainwater. You should enjoy what belongs to you, and not covet what does not belong to you (Exodus 20:17; Deuteronomy 5:21; Romans 7:7-12).

   See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.284-285 for why this is an allegory discussing marriage, and not just advice on water management.

 

10. In Prov 5:21, why is God injected into this lesson here?

A: without God a person can step into this trap. Proverbs 5:21 is the only verse in all of chapter 5 that mentions God. One reason to remain pure and stay free from entrapment is because you know that the LORD is watching you.

 

11. In Prov 5:22, who is it that traps an immoral person?

A: While Proverbs 5:3-4 suggest that an immoral woman traps a man, it does not actually lay the primary blame on her. Proverbs 5:22 says that the person is actually entrapped by himself. He is caught by the cords of his own sin.

   In southeast Asia they trap monkeys, either to eat or as pets but using a pot. The pot has a wide mouth, and they put a piece of candy or banana in the bottom. The wild monkey reaches in to grab the treat and eats it. Then they use pots with narrower mouths, so that the monkey can still freely reach in, but once the monkey makes a fist with the candy or banana, the monkey cannot take his hand out. But rather than drop the treat, and escape, the monkey stays there, trapped by his own greed, until the person collects the monkey, either to cook or to sell as a pet. But before you criticize the monkey entrapping his hand by refusing to let go, you should make sure you are not like a monkey, doing the same thing.

 


 

Proverbs 6 – Don’t be Ensnared by Money – some brief answers

 

1. In Prov 6:1; 11:15; 17:18; 20:16; 22:26-27; 27:13, what is wrong with “surety”, or putting up security for another?

A: This could collateral, held until a loan is repaid. It can also be an unlimited promise to pay any and all bills accrued that the person is unable or unwilling to pay. As a side note, in 1997 there were 30 million bankruptcies filed in the United States. When you are on the hook to pay off someone else’s debt if they default, you are ensnared by money. Don’t take on any liabilities you don’t need to take on. Sometimes an impulsive act of generosity can be a sin.

   What about pledging to pay for a child, or a college-age child? Even without signing anything, we are already responsible for the young children in our household, so we already pay for that. But there comes a point, perhaps in college, or perhaps after, where they are no longer our dependents and we should not provide surety for them.

 We might give a gift to our friend, or even an interest-free loan, but we are commanded not to be a signer on a loan for them. You might be helping them buy something they should not be buying, or cannot afford. You might be teaching them the wrong lesson, that they don’t have to be thrifty. If they default, and you are left to pay, it can hurt the friendship.

   See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.805, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.414, The Expositor’s Bible commentary vol.5 p.931, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.915-916 for more info.

 

2. In Prov 6:5, why is putting up surety for another like a bird in the net of a fowler (bird-trapper)?

A: when a bird is trapped in a to be the next meal for the fowler, the bird has not been harmed – yet. But as the fowler approaches, the bird can slowly watch his doom come closer and closer. The consequences of some sins are that way. They don’t harm you immediately, except that you are trapped. And when your doom comes, you can watch it coming, but you can’t do much about it. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.916 for more info.

 

3. In Prov 6:6,9; 10:26; 13:4; 15:19; 19:24; 20:4; 21:25; 22:13; 24:30; 26:13-16, what are the characteristics of a sluggard?

A: There are different kinds of being a sluggard; a person could be willfully lazy in one area, but diligent in another. There are different levels of being lazy, from the person who does something in half-hearted way, to the person who feels takes offense if they are asked to lift even a finger. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.916 for more info.

 

4. In Prov 6:6-8, why are we to look to the ant?

A: There can be two reasons.

First, it is not because ants are the strongest creatures in the world, though they are much stronger than us, gram for gram. It is because they do not let up working diligently even though they are unsupervised. They are motivated to work hard, but not because someone is watching them. They don’t need a chain of command, or humans (or ants) to reward them or punish them if they don’t work hard enough. Ants are not doing this work for themselves, but for the colony.

   Second, even though Aesop’s parable of the ant and the grasshopper was written after this time, as was a similar parable by Syntipas, there is an earlier Aramaic version, that perhaps readers might be familiar with. See the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.141 for more info.

   See The Expositor’s Bible commentary vol.5 p.932, the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.805 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.916 for more info.

 

5. In Prov 6:9-11, why do the lazy favor sleep?

A: With no hope, no concerns, and no thought to the future, what better things do they have to do? Laziness is only secondarily something you have (a bad habit). Primarily it is something you lack, any desire to plan or work for the future. Why work hard today, when you can always start tomorrow?

 

6. In Prov 6:12-15, what kind of person is this?

A: This is a classic con-artist. The con-artist not only used subtle and lying words, but is a good actor, well-practiced with the motions and mannerisms to fool people. There was a con-artist who actually pretended to be from the French government and sold the Eiffel Tower to someone to take down as scrap. Even though there were two other bidders, the victim who won the winning bid had reservations that this was genuine. The con-artist noticed this. Then the con-artist told him that times were hard for him, on a small government salary, and asked for a small bribe. The victim said he was convinced after that. If the “government-official” was trying to make money by taking a small bribe, then the government-worker “obviously” was not going to make anything major off of this. So, the victim paid the money; later he went to the government office, and found out that he had been scammed. See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.414-415 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : New Testament p.917 for more info.

 

7. In Prov 6:16-18, what is interesting about these seven abominations to God?

A: The last one, sowing discord among brethren, is considered on the same level as shedding innocent blood. See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.806 for more info.

 

8. In Prov 6:17, why does God hate so much haughty eyes, a lying tongue, bloody hands, wickedly scheming hearts, feet that rapidly run to evil, a false witness, and one who stirs up strife?

A: While Scripture does not explicitly say, this list is rather comprehensive of the basic kinds of evil.

   As J. Oswald Sanders in On to Maturity p.63 put it: “I cannot deny that my master was vain. He had to be the central figure in everything. If he went to a christening, he wanted to be the baby. If he went to a wedding, he wanted to be the bride. If he went to a funeral, he wanted to be the corpse.” This is quoted from the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.806. So maybe you don’t want to always be the center of attention.

 

9. In Prov 6:17, why are these six or seven things?

A: This is a literary device, also used seven times in Amos 1:3,6,9,13, 2:1,4,6. The list has seven items, do not take the list being “exactly” 7, since some could be combined together. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.917 says that this means the list is not necessarily all-inclusive, and special stress is laid on the final item. A modern literary device that is a little similar is “last but not least”.

 

10. In Prov 6:22, what are three different ways that God’s word helps us?

A: When we roam, either due to necessary travel or else roaming when we should not, God’s word will guide us, or guide us back.

They will help us when we sleep with our mind and dreams on good things.

When we are awake, they will speak to us and teach us, if you have read it and it is in your heart.

 

11. In Prov 6:24-35, how does adultery relate to the previous sins of co-signing, laziness, and being a con-artist?

A: The immoral can pay a costly price. Proverbs 6 emphasizes not so much these sins, but rather the stupidity and consequences of these sins. Proverbs 5 already said not to be immoral. Proverbs 6:24-35, rather than being a recap, tells some of the serious consequences, on earth, of doing this.

 

12. In Prov 6:26, what does reducing a man to a piece of bread mean?

A: This means the appearance of a relationship, friendship, and love is so shallow that the reality is the man is viewed as nothing more than an object by which to make money. All thoughts of the man as a human being are gone.

   The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.918 and the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.807.have a different view. It says this means that sinning with prostitutes is costly, and it can reduce a man to having only a loaf of bread.

 

13. In Prov 6:33-35, why is there no assuaging the jealous spouse?

A: The honor of their marriage is no more.  Leviticus 20:10 and Deuteronomy 22:22 say that both the sinning man and woman were to be put to death by stoning.

   Let me tell you how you can make millions of dollars. Invent a creme that completely “unburns” skin. When someone walks on hot coals, it can “unburn” their feet. If you can’t do it, because it can’t be done, that is the same problem faced by someone who commits adultery or other immorality and gets caught. If they say, “I’m sorry, I’ll just undo everything” that is not going to work.

 See The Expositor’s Bible commentary vol.5 p.938 for more info.

 

 


 

Proverbs 7 – Falling Examined in an Example – some brief answers

 

1. In Prov 7:2, why is this teaching compared to the apple (center) of your eye?

A: The complex structure of the entire eye and optic nerve is rendered worthless is that part is stabbed. At even the slightest hint of danger, the eye automatically shuts for protection. Likewise, our life and testimony can be rendered worthless in the eyes of the world if we don’t protect this part. See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.808 for more info.

 

2. In Prov 7:7, what are the five types of fools in this book?

A: The Hebrew uses five distinct words, and they have different meanings.

Simple peti in Proverbs 1:4,22,32; 7:7; 8:5; 9:4,13,16; 14:15,18; 19:25; 21:11; 22:3; 27:12

Fool k’ciyl in Proverbs 10:18,23; 13:16; 14:16; 15:14; 17:10,12,16,21; 18:2; 19:1,10; 23:9; 26:1,4,5,6,8,10,11,12; 28:26; 29:11,20

The hardened fool nabal is used 3 times in Proverbs 17:7,21; 30:22

Sluggard ‘asel in Proverbs 6:6,9; 10:26; 12:11,24,27; 13:4; 15:19, 18:9; 19:15,24; 20:4; 21:25; 22:13; 24:30-34; 26:13-16

Mocker Proverbs 1:22; 3:34,35; 9:7,8,12; 13:1; 14:6; 15:12; 19:25,28,29; 21:11,24; 22:10; 24:9; 29:8

 

3. In Prov 7:8, do you think it was accidental that the young man went near her house?

A: No, it was probably intentional. As he was passing along the street, it says “he took the path to her house.” Proverbs 5:8 says not to even go near the door of her house. But it is not “doors” that Solomon is concerned about. Why is he going to her house when it is twilight and harder for people to see him? As the night settles, he is like a moth circling closer and closer to a flame. What business did he have to urgently attend to, that he would have to not return until after dark? Also, we don’t know if this was the very first time he passed by her house, or if he passed by her house often, hoping to catch her available. In Proverbs 7:10,15 they seem to know each other well, already.

   See the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.158,161, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.939, and the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.809 for more info.

 

4. In Prov 7:13, how are some people “impudent”?

A: Impudent here means not feeling any shame or guilt for their wickedness. While a person has a conscience, Romans 1:21-32 shows us that a person can harden their conscience by persistent sin.

 

5. In Prov 7:14, is this woman religious, and a worshipper of God?

A: Peace of fellowship offerings were given to the priests for God in Leviticus 7:11-21, so yes, she was religious. Peace offerings were to be eaten by the next day, so she had plenty of food that she needed help in eating. Offerings and vows are acts of worship, so yes, she had the form of worshipping God, though her heart was far from Him. You are not safe from being tempted by someone just because they say they are a believer. See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.809 and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.415 for more on this view.

    On the other hand, some suggest that she was an idolator who worshipped false gods. But against this, the term “peace offering” is not a pagan term, but from Leviticus 7:11-21. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.939 for more on this view.

 

6. In Prov 7:14, how can religion today degenerate into just a tool people use to excuse their actions and try to appease their conscience?

A: This is not just today, but all throughout history. Muslim armies were permitted to take (and keep) a fifth of the plunder. They were explicitly told it is fine to rape the women, even in front of their husbands. But it was OK because they were “fighting for Allah”.

   The Crusades also plundered, killed in battle even some that they knew were Christians, because they were “righting for God”. Strangely, after the massacre of the native village of Alamein, made up mostly of ‘Alawites and some Christians, the Crusaders and ‘Alawites became friends, and the Crusader army had predominantly ‘Alawite Muslim foot-soldiers. Then King Richard (called the Lion-Hearted) treacherously double-crossed the ‘Alawite Sultan of Damascus and took over his realm.

   A little-known fact about Henry VIII of England in 1533, was that he was genuinely shocked when the Pope refused to annul his marriage of almost 24 years. After all, in 1502 the Pope had recently done so for the King Vladislaus II of Hungary, as well as for other monarchs. The reason the Pope refused to do so was because he did not want to antagonize Spain.

   In England, Richard FitzRalph in 1300-1360 taught “dominion theology”. All dominion belongs to God, and if a ruler is not following God, you are free to overthrow him. This became all too convenient to justify attacking non-Christian kings and Indian tribes. When a European ruler wanted to attack another country, for basically no good reason whatsoever, he would often get the blessing of the pope first. So, for example, when the Catholic King Henry II of England wanted to invade Catholic Ireland, he asked Pope Adrian IV (who coincidentally was also English), who said “I don’t know why anyone would want to invade that land”, but then gave permission to the English.

   See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.920 for more info.

 

7. In Prov 7:16, why is Egyptian linen mentioned?

A: First notice that the woman was looking for an honorable pretext, an excuse, to get the guy over to her house to do a dishonorable thing, so she settled on religion, that is eating the sacrifices. Second, the guy was going over for a high-class, cultured reason, to see the Egyptian linen. Almost all cultures made clothes, but Egyptian linen was a luxury made from very small diameter threads, and was very fine and uniform. It is sort of like micro-fiber today.

 

d8. In Prov 7:19-20, what is the point of the husband?

A: She is telling him not only will it be exciting and pleasurable, but it will be safe.

 

9. In Prov 7:22-23, why is what they did so deadly?

A: Even if the young man is not physically killed, as the jealous husband had a right to do, he will never be the same man again. But this sin can destroy his family, or destroy honorable marriage prospects, give him a guilty conscience, or sexually transmitted diseases. According to Leviticus 20:10, both of them were to be stoned to death, though the Israelites generally did not follow that by Solomon’s time. But if the husband found out who he was, it could still mean literal death.

   See the New International Bible Commentary p.663, the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.168-170 The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.942 and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.415 for more info.

 

10. In Prov 7:26, what does “many who were killed by here were strong” mean?

A: Simple physical strength is not relevant here. Strong men would be valiant warriors. Many believers, who were strong in faith and doing many good things for God, were spiritually shipwrecked by this kind of sin.


 

Proverbs 8-9 – Wisdom is Calling to You – some brief answers

 

1. In Prov 8:1-17, how does wisdom cry out?

A: Given the troubles many people bring upon themselves due to lack of wisdom, the effects of this are one form of crying out for wisdom. However, this likely is not the primary meaning. God’s Word is telling us of wisdom, and the Holy Spirit is convicting the people of the world of their need to know God. While the Holy Spirit did not dwell inside of most believers in Old Testament times, God’s Spirit was not absent from the earth; it still convicted people of their need for God.

   This wisdom is not super-intelligent, bookish knowledge, but rather practical wisdom for all to learn and apply. As Derek Kidner says, “A chapter which is to soar beyond time and space, opens at street level … relevant here as heaven.” (Kidner, The Proverbs, an Introduction and Commentary p.76 quoted in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.943) Wisdom is especially appealing to two types of people here: the simple (peta’yim), and the fools (kesilim). It is not too late for even a simple person or someone already wrapped up in foolishness to turn to wisdom.

   In contrast to the adulterous woman who lurks in dark alleys and stealthily entices a man in secret, wisdom loudly calls out to everyone on the city streets and at the city gates. The city gates were where court cases were tried and public business was conducted. There is nothing hidden about wisdom’s call. Verses 1-4 do not just indicate that wisdom is whispering, but rather that wisdom is loudly calling publicly to all.

   See the New International Bible Commentary p.664, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.415, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.943, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.921 for more info.

 

2. In Prov 8:1-4, how does wisdom raise her voice loudly today?

A: In a positive way, when people refer to the Bible, quote the Bible, or share godly teaching wisdom is crying out. When people we the contrast of the foolishness and evil of this world, wisdom’s cry is even louder. When people see the life of a Christian walking with God, they want to light of wisdom, and want to leave the darkness of their former ways.

 

3. In Prov 8:10-11, how is wisdom better than wealth?

A: While Proverbs 2-4 describes the rewards one can have by listening to wisdom; Proverbs 8 is different. In Proverbs 8 a first personal pronoun refers to wisdom sixteen times, for the reward is just wisdom itself. What good is having wealth if you are too foolish to keep it? What good is wealth if living foolishly takes away the health of you and your family? Riches and honor can come with wisdom in Proverbs 8:18 but it is not just getting riches, but mentions keeping “enduring riches”. Wisdom also brings honor and happiness, and wisdom is a richness greater than material wealth. The only caveat is that Proverbs 8 is not just about seeing wisdom, or trying out wisdom, but “walking” in wisdom. “Walking” in Hebrew is not just taking a few steps, but walking steadily.

   See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.921-922 for more info.

 

4. In Prov 8:12-13, what is interesting about the contrast here?

A: Wisdom is “moral” not just “mental”. Wisdom has certain “companions” or fruit that accompanies her. Likewise, evil foolishness has certain companions too. The companions of wisdom are prudence, knowledge, and discretion. The companions of evil foolishness are pride, arrogance, the evil way, and the perverse mouth.

   In sailing through life, Prudence (‘ormah) is like a telescope, being able to see other points of view, and see all sides of a situation. Knowledge is like a map, giving the information needed to navigate through the challenge. Discretion is like a till on the ship’s helm, to steer it away from rocks, reefs, and hitting other boats. Just try to sail without those, and you will need to learn to swim in the ocean for long distances! However, there are things that can be worse. Pride tends to stir people up to oppose you. A loud, big mouth can make things worse, making you an attractive target to attack. One thing worse that swimming alone in the wide ocean, is swimming alone in the wide ocean surrounded by fish blood that attracts sharks!

   See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.416, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.921-922, and the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.810 for more info.

 

5. In Prov 8:14-21, what are some good “side-effects” of having wisdom?

A: Even though the reward is wisdom itself, here are some benefits of wisdom.

Good counsel 8:14a

Sound judgment 8:14b

Understanding 8:14c

More strength 8:14d

Leadership ability 8:15a,16a

Skill in judging 8:15b; 16b

Affection and companionship 8:17a

Riches that last 8:18

Honor and righteousness 8:18

Guidance in righteousness and justice 8:20-21

Guidance in getting wealth 8:20-21

   See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.811 for more info.

 

6. In Prov 8:22,23 does this refer to Jesus, and thus show that Jesus was created, as Jehovah’s Witnesses claim in The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived 1991, p.11?

A: No, Jesus was not created, and this does not refer to Jesus. The heretic Arius claimed this referred to Christ and tried to use this to prove that Christ was a created being. Actually though, the Hebrew word, qanah, can mean “God possessed wisdom” as well as “God created wisdom”. Wisdom in Proverbs is represented as female (Proverbs 7:4; 8:1,2,3; 9:1,2,3), and even Jehovah’s Witnesses agree that Jesus was never female. See the next question for more discussion, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.946, the New International Bible Commentary p.664, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.416, the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.811, Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.183, and When Cultists Ask p.72-73 for more extensive info.

 

7. In Prov 8:22,23, who does this refer to?

A: While six pre-Nicene Christians, Athanasius, and the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.810 believe this refers to Jesus, most Christians today say it does not refer to Christ or any individual person, but this is a personification of an aspect of God’s character. The six Pre-Nciene Christians are Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Cyprian of Carthage, and Victorinus of Petau.

   The Jewish writers Philo of Alexandria, the Wisdom of Solomon 7, and Ecclesiasticus 24 said this was the “logos”, but they thought of an impersonal logos, not the Messiah. See When Critics Ask p.245-246, The Complete Book of Bible Answers p.105-106, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.922, and the New International Bible Commentary p.664 for more info.

 

8. In Prov 9:1, what are the seven pillars of wisdom?

A: Scripture does not say. It probably simply means that the house was large and solidly built. Some might think it is the same as the seven spirits of God, mentioned in Zechariah 3:9, Isaiah 11:2, and Revelation 1:4.

   James 3:17 describes seven aspects of wisdom: “essentially pure, peaceable, sweetly reasonable, satisfied with less than its due, compliant, fully of mercy and good fruits, impartial, and free from insincerity.” (Wuest translation)

   See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.812 for more info.

 

9. In Prov 9:2-6, how does wisdom have a banquet?

A: Proverbs 7 tells of the seductive woman who calls to the foolish man and asks him to secretly come over and eat the sacrifices together. Proverbs 8 and 9 personifies the virtuous woman wisdom who openly calls upon all to learn from here and come to her feast instead. It is a good, honorable banquet where those who comes will benefit. She calls not only to the wise, but also to the foolish, to leave their foolishness and join her. This is similar to Luke 14:16-24, where Jesus tells the parable of the great banquet, where many invitations were given but few came. As Tony Evans says, “If you don’t feel hungry for wisdom, you are probably starving for it.”

   In Proverbs 9:13-18 the foolish woman also calls out indiscriminately to anyone to drink “stolen water” and eat in secret”.

   See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.587, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.416 and the New International Bible Commentary p.665 for more info.

 

10. In Prov 9:2, how did wisdom “mix her wine”?

A: Wine was stored undiluted, and it was mixed with one part wine to 3 or 4 parts water. Passover wine was one part one and three parts water. Wine was also mixed with spices. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.923-924 for more info.

 

11. In Prov 9:8, why would a wise person love someone who rebukes him?

A: A wise person would appreciate correction, and not let pride prevent him or her from humbly accepting correction. A wise person seeks to be wiser still. See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.587 for more info.

 

12. In Prov 9:12, what is this saying about wisdom and mocking?

A: Your attitude about yourself greatly affects who you are. As a man thinks, so is he. If you are trying to be wise, you might not always make wise decisions, but you will make wiser decisions than if you don’t care about being wise. See the New International Bible Commentary p.665 for more info.

 

13. In Prov 9:13, who is the woman Folly woman here?

A: Just as wisdom was personified as a woman, this other woman is a personification of foolishness. This is not just any foolish woman, but rather wisdom and foolishness are both personified as women. There is a second party going on here and you might be missing out on it. But you can only go to one, so which party do you want to go to?

   See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.950 and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.589 for more info.

 

14. In Prov 9:17, what does it mean that “stolen waters are sweet, and food eaten in secret is delicious”?

A: There are three complementary interpretations:

Knowledge: Eclecticism is a false teaching that you should extract truth from many difference (and usually contradictory) sources. Knowledge, including false knowledge, is not necessarily a good thing. Even true knowledge, where you are only told part of the picture, can be bad.

Actions: There is no physical reason that water stolen from someone else tastes better, but people like the thrill of getting things. Sometimes rich teenagers have been known to steal sunglasses and other things, not because they did not have the money, and not because they did not already have sunglasses, but for the thrill of stealing. A Garfield cartoon shows Garfield the cat, his hands full of mice letting some go so that he can catch another. The caption says, “It is not the having but the getting”.

Guilty Pleasures are all the more pleasurable to the wicked because they are doing forbidden things. For example, a person might get special enjoyment out of having a romantic or sexual relationship with someone they snatched away from a spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend. However, once this has happened, then the newness supposedly wears off, and they dump the person. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.925 says this verse might refer to illicit sex, especially because of the reference to water in Proverbs 7:29-29. See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.813 for more info.

 

 


 

Proverbs 10 – The Start of Solomon’s Proverbs – some brief answers

 

1. In Prov 10:1, how does the honor of the child affect the parents?

A: It is hard to describe the heartache of a parent whose child brings shame on the family. How children choose to live their life has an emotional impact, or great contentment or great sorrow, on the parents. A child who grows up will brings joy to the father in Proverbs 15:20; 23:15,24; 27:11; 29:3 but bad child gives grief to the father in Proverbs 17:21, 25; 19:13.

   See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.925 for more info.

 

2. In Prov 10:2, what does this say about the wicked and treasure?

A: While the wicked might get treasure, it will not last. Certainly on the day that they die, they will not have any of their treasure. As pastor Jack Graham said, “You never see a U-Haul trailer behind a hearse!

 

3. In Prov 10:3, what does this promise, and not promise, about the righteous and the wicked?

A: It promises that the soul of the righteous will not be famished. This verse does not promise that the righteous will be materially wealthy, nor does it promise that the wicked will never be wealthy. But it does promise that what the wicked really desires will elude them. See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.814 for more info.

 

4. In Prov 10:4, what are diligent hands, vs. lazy hands, vs. workaholic hands?

A: Diligent hands can be counted on to accomplish what they are supposed to do. Lazy hands might still get the job done sometimes, but many times not, and you don’t know which times it will get done. They often don’t spend the time to do all they should. Workaholics are the same in that they don’t spend the time to do all they should. They spend so much time on their immediate work, that they neglect relationships and other things.

 

5. In Prov 10:7, how is a righteous name remembered, and how does a wicked name rot?

A: Even after they are gone from this earth, the righteous are remembered, in a good way, more than the wicked.

How many people do you know named Paul, John, Joshua, or Timothy, and how many people do you know named Judas or Rehoboam? The only exception to this is that the bloodthirsty Muslims conqueror Tamerlane, who slaughtered everyone in many cities including the Muslim city of Shiraz, is still remembered fondly for building a famous white mosque in Samarkand. A number of central Asian Muslim boys are named after him, including the Boston marathon bomber.

   See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.814 for more info.

 

6. In Prov 10:8, what is a “fool of lips”, i.e. a “chattering fool”?

A: This is a type of hardened fool, ’ewil, that does not know how or when to shut his or her mouth. Chattering fools cannot stop talking long enough to listen to others and learn from them.

   See the New International Bible Commentary p.665 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.926 for more info.

 

7. In Prov 10:10, what is wrong with winking here?

A: Both then and now, winking means doing something by cunning and deceit.

   See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.814 for more info.

 

8. In Prov 10:12, how does love cover all sins?

A: You should be able to forgive those who sin against you. James 5:20 shows that bringing a sinner back from his sin covers over a multitude of sins.

   Most importantly, God’s love forgives all sins against Him, for those who want to live in God’s forgiveness. God gave us this forgiveness, as well as other great blessings, through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross.

 

9. In Prov 10:17, why do some people refuse correction?

A: It would mean they have to admit they were wrong, or needed correction. But instruction, especially godly instruction, is advice on how to change to improve. As one co-work would always say, “I reserve the right to get smarter.”

 

10. In Prov 10:19, why is sin not absent when words are many?

A: The more we speak, the more opportunities for saying careless, slanderous, or hurtful words. This is especially true when someone has a lot to say about someone else. The more you talk the easier it is to exaggerate or tell small lies, which are still sins. See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.815 for more info.

 

11. In Prov 10:26, how is a lazy man like vinegar and smoke to the one who sent him?

A: Smoke hurts the eyes, and vinegar is acidic and wears away the enamel on teeth. Trusting in a lazy man, who cannot be trusted to complete the job, to complete the job is worse than not sending anyone at all. If you do not send anyone, at least you know task has not been done. But when you send a lazy man, you assume the task has been one when your confidence and trust are misplaced. Ultimately, the sender just wishes the lazy people were out of the way.

   See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.927 for more info.

 

12. In Prov 10:27 and Ecc 8:12, are the lives of the wicked shortened, or prolonged as Job 21:7 says?

A: In the most important way possible, every single unrepentant wicked person lives only a short time, because they will not have eternal life with God.

   On earth, while money cannot purchase more days of life, foolishness can cut short a life due to bad decisions. we see the lives of some wicked people shortened by violence, drugs, alcoholism, sin in general, etc. On the other hand, on earth we also see other wicked people who live a relatively long physical life before their judgment comes.

   See When Critics Ask p.258 and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.587 for more info.

 

13. In Prov 10:28, how does the expectation of the wicked perish?

A: Alexandria the Great conquered from Illyria almost to India, yet he died when he was about 32 from what we think is malaria. Julius Caesar, who conquered all of France, was murdered by friends. Atila the Hun, who made Rome quake with fear, mysteriously died on his wedding night. Him executing his bride’s father the day before might have had something to do with it. Hitler and Saddam Hussein both died cowering in bunkers.

   See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.816 for more info.


 

Proverbs 11 – Good and Bad ways to Try to Get Ahead – some brief answers

 

1. In Prov 11:1; Am 8:5; and Mic 6:11, what is a false balance here?

A: This was a very serious sin in the ancient world, and it still occurs in a different form today. A false balance is what a dishonest trader would use in measuring out grain or other things that were bought by weight.

   Today, when the buyer is told one thing about his purchase and given another, lesser thing, that is in effect using a false balance. Two slang terms for two types of sinful business behavior are “bait and switch”, and “shortchanging”.

   See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.417-418, the New International Bible Commentary p.666 and the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.817 for more info.

 

2. In Prov 11:2, what does the word “pride” mean here?

A:This Hebrew word comes from the word to swell or to boil up, as in cooking. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.928, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.959, and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.418 for more info.

 

3. In Prov 11:12, what are some ways people sin by despising their neighbors?

A: This word can also mean to deride, belittle, or cut down (verbally) your neighbor

   See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.817, Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.236, and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.961, for more info.

 

4. In Prov 11:14, how do good counsellors guide us?

A: The Hebrew word for guidance here refers to steering a ship. The wheel and rudder do not move the ship, they merely change the direction of an already moving ship. Steering a ship is crucial to avoid rocks that could sink it.

   See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.929 and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.962, for more info.

 

5. What does Prov 11:16 mean?

A: This short verse of opposites is complex because it has at least three complementary meanings.

1) People respect a kindhearted person, but they do not respect a ruthless person.

2) Among those who excel at being kind-hearted are many women. A majority of the ruthless people are men. Men need to watch out that they are not ruthless. Many men can be kind-hearted too, but that is the subject of Proverbs 11:17.

3) Being ruthless can in fact grab more worldly wealth than those who are kind-hearted, but respect and following God are a greater reward than just earthly riches.

   The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.929 says the word “kind-hearted” can also be translated as “gracious.

 

6. In Prov 11:22, why does the Bible [allegedly] compare women to pigs? (an atheist brought this up)

A: No, the Bible never says women are pigs. Rather, this verse says that an immoral woman, who is physically attractive, is similar to a gold ring in a pig’s nose. The gold nose ring was considered in that culture as beautiful jewelry. It looks beautiful, yet the entire person is unflattering. Moral ugliness combined with physical beauty is still moral ugliness. See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.818, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.929, and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.964 for more info.

 

7. In Prov 11:26, who would someone curse a person who hoards grain?

A: At the time when people most need what the person has to sell, they either take it off the market or price it extravagantly to profit from the misery of others. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.965 for more info.

 

8. In Prov 11:28, how do people trust in riches?

A: Some trust in their own riches to protect them or bring them happiness. Some know that their wealth does not bring happiness, but they fear that without wealth they would have certain unhappiness. Some see that riches really do buy friends, but they need to ask if those are the kinds of friends they want. Some people might not be rich, but if they become rich, then they think all their problems would be solved.

   If you are going to trust in riches, trust in true, eternal riches in Heaven, not the petty riches of this earth.

 

9. In Prov 11:29, how do some people trouble their own house?

A: It is easy for everyone to see, except perhaps themselves, how alcoholics, drug addicts, adulterers, the greedy, and jerks trouble their own family. They stir up discord in their family, and usually they and the family suffer because of it. See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.819, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.966, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.930 for more info.

 

10. In Prov 11:31, how are the righteous rewarded in this life, as well as the next?

A: In a simple, non-supernatural way, it is easy to see that righteous people, who do not use drugs, get drunk, hurt their lungs, or risk sexual disease on average live healthier and longer lives on earth than those who do those things. Righteous people who do not spend their time chasing after those things have more time and energy for other things. Righteous people who do not spend money on evil things have more money to invest and use.

   In addition, God watches over the righteous, and nothing bad happens to them, except what He permits for His glory. See When Critics Ask p.246 for more info.

 

 

 


 

 

by Steven M. Morrison, PhD.

 

   The poet Shelley ridiculed monogamous marriage. He suffered desertions, suicided, illegitimate children, and jealousy. “G. Sampson questioned ‘whether in the life of any poet there is such a trail of disasters as that which this `beautiful but ineffectual` angel left behind him.;”. The Believers Bible Commentary p.804-805.

 

Proverbs 5 is the Entrapment of Immorality

Proverbs 6 is the entrapment of money

 

   As for slavery, there were three major areas of slave trade. From east Africa, Muslims had a slave trade almost as large as in west Africa; slavery was fine because Mohammed himself owned slaves. There is still slavery today in the Sudan and some in Libya. In the north, the (Muslim) Barbary pirates captured Europeans as slaves. They especially preyed upon Europeans not only because of geography, but because their ancestors and Jews were all driven out of Spain by 1492, by Ferdinand and Isabella (the same ones who sent Columbus). As for west African slavery, the Bible was used to try to justify that everyone had their “place” in life, slaves should obey their masters, and they were “evangelizing” the slaves.