Bible Query from
Proverbs

Q: 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.

Q: 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-Phocylides
(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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: In Prov 1:5-6, how does a man of understanding learn wisdom by hearing riddles?
A: Wisdom is not just learning facts but also developing your reasoning to apply the facts to various situations. Sometimes trying to solve a riddle is a better way to remember than just to be lectured on the facts.

Q: 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.

Q: 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

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: In Prov 1:9, 3:2,22 (KJV), what are chains around the neck here?
A: These are not slave-chains, but jewelry. The NASB translates the words as a "graceful wreath" and "ornaments". The NIV translates this as a "garland" and "a chain to adorn your neck". The NKJV translates this as "graceful ornament" and "chains about your neck."

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: In Prov 1:11,18 (NIV), what does "waylay" mean?
A: This means to wait in ambush to rob or harm someone.

Q: In Prov 1:13 (KJV), what is "precious substance"?
A: The NIV translates this as "valuable things", the NKJV translates this as "precious possessions", and the NASB translates this as "precious wealth".

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: In Prov 1:32 (NASB), (NIV) and (NRSV), what does "waywardness" mean?
A: This means they are going the wrong way instead of the path of righteousness. The KJV and NKJV translate this as "turning away".

Q: In Prov 1:9, 3:2,22 (KJV), what are chains around the neck here?
A: These are not slave-chains, but jewelry. The NASB translates the words as a "graceful wreath" and "ornaments". The NIV translates this as a "garland" and "a chain to adorn your neck". The NKJV translates this as "graceful ornament" and "chains about your neck."

Q: 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".

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: In Prov 2:7 (KJV), what is a buckler?
A: The NIV, NASB, and NKJV all translate this a "shield". The English language four hundred years ago used to have a broader vocabulary than today for military items of that time.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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 thought 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

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

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...".

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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).

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: In Prov 6:6-8, how 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.

Q: 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?

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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".

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: In Prov 8:18 (NIV, NRSV), should the last word be "prosperity" or "righteousness"?
A: It is "righteousness" according to the NKJV, Updated NASB, and Green’s Literal Translation.
"Prosperity" according to the NIV and NRSV.
"Riches" according to the NET Bible.
The Jewish Tanach says "success"
Strong’s Concordance says this word (entry 6666) means rightness, but it has a figurative meaning of prosperity. While the primary meaning is righteousness, the rest of the verse speaks of wealth, so this is probably why the second meaning was using in the NIV and NRSV. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.922 also says the word is literally righteousness.

Q: 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.

Q: In Prov 8:22,23, who does this refer to?
A: While early Christians 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 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.

Q: In Prov 8:30, does this word mean "craftsman" or "little child"?
A: It only means "craftsman". The Old Testament was originally written with only consonants, but just writing the consonants did not create ambiguities, except in a few places. And this is one of those places. The Hebrew consonants here can mean both "craftsman" and "little child". However, the context of working in Proverbs 8:22-29 clearly indicate "craftsman", as the Septuagint, Vulgate, Syriac, Targums all translate. See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.416 and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.946-947 for more info.

Q: In Prov 9:1, what are the seven pillars of wisdom?
A: Scripture does not say. It probably 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.

Q: 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.
In Proverbs 9:13-18 the foolish woman also calls out indiscriminately to anyone to drink "stolen water" and eat in secret".
See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.416 and the New International Bible Commentary p.665 for more info.

Q: In Prov 9:2 (KJV), how has wisdom killed her beasts?
A: The KJV has accurately translated each individual word, but modern readers might have some trouble here. This means she has prepared the food for her banquet. Of course, once one has prepared the animals, they cannot undo that, so at that point wisdom has committed to have the banquet regardless of who decides not to come.

Q: 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.

Q: 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. Being a fool is not just based on a lack of what you do not know, but even more importantly what you do not want to learn. A wise person seeks to be wiser still. See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.587 for more info.

Q: 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 wanting to be wise. See the New International Bible Commentary p.665 for more info.

Q: 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. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.950.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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!

Q: 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.

Q: 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. This does not mean that they might do what they are supposed to do. Rather, it means you can count on them to do what they were 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.

Q: 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, Matthew/Mathew, 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.

Q: 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.

Q: In Prov 10:10, what is wrong with winking?
A: Both then and now, winking means doing something by cunning and deceit.
See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.814 for more info.

Q: In Prov 10:12, how does love cover all sins?
A: You should be able to forgive those who sin against you. James 5:20and 1 Peter 4:8 show that bringing a sinner back from his sin covers over a multitude of sins. Love can pave the way for reconciliation.
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.

Q: 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-worker would always say, "I reserve the right to get smarter."
Imagine being an airplane passenger where the pilot said this was his first time solo, and he refused to listen to his instructors.

Q: 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. Sometimes regular words can be said in a hurtful tone. These things happen more frequently 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.

Q: 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.

Q: In Prov 10:27 and Ecc 8:12, how are the lives of the wicked shortened, when they are prolonged in Job 21:7?
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.

Q: In Prov 10:28, how does the expectation of the wicked perish?
A: Here are a few examples. 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. Attila 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 were found hiding in bunkers.
See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.816 for more info.

Q: 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. It is like a butcher in a grocery store weighing out your meat, with his finger on the scale.
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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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. Nothing is done for the glory of God out of people’s anger or spite.
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.

Q: In Prov 11:14, how do good counsellors guide us?
A: The Hebrew word for guidance here refers to steering a ship. The till 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: 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.

Q: In Prov 12:1 and Ps 92:6, what does "stupid" or "brutish" mean?
A: The Hebrew word bā’ar means unthinking, unfeeling, or animal-like. Most animals do not consider the consequences of their actions past a day. Even ants, that store up food for winter, do so by instinct, not by deliberate thought. Just think how many things humans do without considering the consequences. Imagine if you had the ability, not to get people to see things they could not otherwise see, but simply for everyone to think carefully about the consequences of their actions. With just that one change, what a different world it would be!

Q: In Prov 12:4, how is a virtuous woman a crown to her husband?
A: She not only honors and respects her husband, but her character brings honor and respect to her husband and family. Also, Proverbs 31:28-30 show that a good husband and children are appreciative of her and give her honor and praise, both to her and before others.
A church leader one time said he was interviewing three potential candidates to hire for the role of a pastor. All three of the men were godly teachers, and it was hard to pick between them. Then he interviewed their wives. Then the choice of which one to pick became very easy.

Q: In Prov 12:8f, what is a warped or perverse heart?
A: The Hebrew word here means "bent", "crooked" or "twisted". When you push one end of a twisted stick right, the other end might go up, or down. When you want to move in one direction, such as to make you happy, the other end moves in the opposite direction. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.931 for more info.

Q: In Prov 12:10, how should a believer treat animals?
A: It is good to be kind to animals and take care of their needs. We should have respect for God’s creation. Here is a synopsis of what the Bible teaches.
Use a livestock is fine and beast of burden is fine.
Using an animal as a pet is fine.
Killing animals is OK. (Leviticus 3:8; 4:24; 5:8; 8:18; Numbers 7:71; John 21:12; Acts 10:12-13; etc.)
Eating animals is OK in Genesis 9:3; Leviticus 10:17; 11:9,22, John 21:6-13, Acts 10:12-13; etc.)
Threshing animals had the "right" to nibble grain, benefitting from the fruit of their labor in Deuteronomy 25:4.
Torture is not OK.
Under the Mosaic law even the cattle were not supposed to work on the Sabbath in Exodus 20:10 and 23:12.
You should help an animal in Deuteronomy 22:1-4, even if it belongs to an enemy in Exodus 23:3-4.
Respect the blood of the animal in Genesis 9:4 and Acts 15:29.
You can take bird’s eggs, but don’t take both the mother and the eggs in Deuteronomy 22:6-7
Respect motherhood; do not boil a goat in its mother’s milk.
Fools do not even know how to take care of their own animals.
See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.820, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.419, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.931, and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.969 for more info.

Q: In Prov 12:11, what does fantasy, i.e., following worthless things, do to a person?
A: Rather than being content with what meets their needs, it gives them an unfulfilled or unfulfillable longing for worthless things they do not actually need. They believe the lie that they are missing out on what would give them ultimate happiness, when the truth is that it ultimately would not make them any happier at all.

Q: In Prov 12:13, how can a person be ensnared by their own words?
A: There are a few ways.
Unintentional rash talking, where you unintentionally cause harm or reveal a secret. For example, when actors and actresses give press interviews, it is in their contract what they are able to say and not allowed to say (such as spoiling the end of a movie). Rarely, an actor might mess up, and then they lose a lot of money.
Making foolish commitments can put you "on the hook" for things that you later regret and are of no benefit to you. A friend of mine, who was in the navy, said she got so many marriage proposals from her sailor patients, - who were drunk.
When lying, you have to remember things multiple ways. You have to remember that you told person A one thing, but you told person B a different thing. When A tells his friends, and B tells his friends, you had better hope that A and B don’t have any friends in common, or else you are busted and to trusted again.
See the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.257-258 and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.970 for more info.

Q: In Prov 12:15, how is the way of a fool right in his own eyes?
A: A foolish person usually is unaware of his or her foolishness. In one survey, business managers were asked to rate themselves, on which "decile" they were in as managers. Over 90% of the managers rated themselves as in the top 10% of managers. Actually, they probably were all correct, at least based on their own criteria. The book of Judges tells of a dark period in Israel’s history, when "each man did what was right in his own eyes."

Q: In Prov 12:16, how are we to overlook insults?
A: This does not mean to be unaware of them, but to ignore them, control your response, and forgive the person. Sometimes what is intended as helpful constructive criticism can be taken wrongly as an insult. It is better first to ask permission to give feedback. However, one should not let another cause others to despise you; Proverbs 12:16 should be balanced with 1 Timothy 4:11, where Paul tells Timothy not to let anyone look down on him because he is young.
See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.820, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.931, and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.971 for more info.

Q: In Prov 12:18, how are reckless words like the piercing of a sword?
A: These are words that were not intended to hurt, or not intended to produce the consequences that happened. Rather, they were carelessly spoken, and the speaker unintentionally and thoughtlessly brought on those consequences. Proverbs 12:23 says that a fool just blurts out folly. Be careful with your words, because we will be judged for every careless word in Matthew 12:36. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.971 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.931-932 for more info.

Q: In Prov 12:21, how does no harm come to the righteous?
A: Many wicked people receive some punishment in this life as a natural consequence of their actions. For example, more gang members are killed by other gang members than others. In general, the righteous escape consequence of wicked actions if they are not participating. However, sometimes the righteous are unjustly harmed by the wicked.
Sometimes the righteous are afflicted by Satan, but God will vindicate them, reward them in Heaven, and sometimes also reward them on earth.
See When Critics Ask p.247-248 and Bible Difficulties & Seeming Contradictions p.226 for more info.

Q: In Prov 12:22 and 6:16-19, how is lying different than other sins?
A: God does not want us to do any sin. However, these verses say that lying lips are especially an abomination, hateful to God. In Psalms 120:2 the Psalmist asks God to deliver him from lying tongues. You can do foolish things if you trust in a lie. If someone lies to you and you don’t realize it, even if you are wise, it can still cause you to do foolish things.
See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.821 for more info.

Q: In Prov 12:26, how should we be cautious in friendship, and how should we not be?
A: The Hebrew phrase can mean "is cautious in friendship" or it can mean "examines friendships". If your friends lead you away from God, and to do wicked things, and make your love towards God grow cold, then you need new friends. We should be cautious with friends who might get us in trouble, slander or gossip about us (or others), or otherwise backstab us. On the other hand, we should not choose friends based on their wealth, ethnic background, or what they can do for us.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.932 and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.973 for more info.

Q: In Prov 13:1,18 how would you define the virtue of teachability?
A: Primary it is both the ability and desire to learn more about something, as opposed to either refusal or apathy. Secondarily, it also means knowing what to spend time wanting to learn, vs. things that are not worth spending time on. A person is not teachable if they already think they know best about everything.
Finally, if a person is disciplined for something they should be disciplined for, is that the last time, because they will learn the lesson, or will they need to be disciplined for the same thing over and over?
See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.974,980 and the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.821 for more info.

Q: In Prov 13:2, how does a wise man eat the fruit of his lips?
A: Good things come to a wise man from his words. In contrast, the unfaithful want to take things that do belong to them; perhaps in part because their words are not getting them anywhere.
See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.975 for more info.

Q: What is Prov 13:7 pointing out?
A: Often people are not what they seem. They can put on a façade. And this works in multiple ways. The term "unpretentious" means not to put on a false front, but what people see is what is really there.
See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.976 for more info.

Q: What does Prov 13:8 mean?
A: This proverb is a favorite of mine. From the viewpoint of a rich man, riches are very important for security. They can ransom his life if he is kidnapped or threatened with death unless he pays.
However, useful riches may appear, a not-so-rich person is in many ways much more secure than a rich person, because nobody wants to kidnap or threaten him.
There is a more general principle illustrated here. Sometimes we insist on holding on to something because we are afraid, and having more of it appears to give us more security. However, if we let go, we can genuinely have even greater security. It is not talking about God doing miracles in this verse, only an unforeseen reward of prudent and generous living.
All can agree that a starving person who gets some money feels more secure than a starving person with no money. So, more money always means more security and less worry, right? - Wrong. Consider the following: an expensive antique vase, an expensive car with a new paint job), an expensive house, more money in the investments. Without God giving direction to your life, each of these things can actually increase your worry, not decrease it.
We need to stop thinking of wealth as a blessing. Wealth can be used to bring blessings, but it can also bring sorrow and make you a target too, if you are not careful.

Q: In Prov 13:8, what does it mean that a poor man does not hear a threat from which a rich man ransoms his life?
A: A wealthy man might be able to ransom himself or his family from kidnappers, but a poor man has no threat to worry about. Likewise, the more wealth you have, the more of a target you might be for not just kidnappers, but con-men and legitimate salesmen.
See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.823, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.933, and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.593-594 for similar answers.

Q: In Prov 13:10, how can you hear advice in a way that does not breed a quarrel?
A: There are at least five types of responses for advice you have be given.
Already going to do:
For what you think is good advice, but you were already going to do that anyway, don’t be impatient. Thank them for their advice, says that you were going to follow that, and everything should be fine. Don’t tell them that they changed your mind, because that would not be honest.
Good to do:
For what you think is good advice, and you had not considered before, thank them for helping you, and you can let them know that their words changed your plans.
Not good to do:
For what you think is either bad advice, or else not the best advice, you can thank them for their advice but honestly tell them you are not going to do it and the reasons why. If you don’t say anything, and they assume you are going to do it, when they find out later that you did not that can cause problems. They will wonder if it is worthwhile to talk with you at all, since you gave the impression you agree and are going to do something, when in fact you won’t.


You need to think it over more:
You can not sure if it is best for you to do or not. Tell them thanks you for your advice, and you will consider it.
Really terrible advice:
This advice might have been given in complete ignorance, and perhaps even if they should have known better. Or, this advice was given, not to help you, but for an ulterior motive. This can be advice given to you privately or publicly. You should make it clear to everyone who hears that you are not going to follow that advice, and the reason why. Some people might not want to hear that, but at least they will know why.

Q: In Prov 13:12, how do deferred and fulfilled hope affect us?
A: Many people can go on a long time, under very difficult circumstances if they have hope and can see and end and purpose for their sufferings. But when there is no hope but despair, people can stop doing even what they need to do, and just give up. But Christians should always have hope, of the gift of eternal life in Heaven. That being said, sometimes believers have to hope for a long time. Abraham and Sarah hoped for a son for so long. Hannah hoped for a son, until she had Samuel. Elizabeth and Zechariah were childless, but in their own age they had John the Baptist. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.978 for more info.

Q: In Prov 13:14, 14:27f, 29:6,25; Rom 7:11, Ex 23:3; Dt 7:16; how do wise words rescue from the snares of death?
A: The image here is that death is a hunter, setting traps for the careless. Wise words point out the traps, and tell how to go around them.
See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.979, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.933, and the New International Bible Commentary p.668 for more info.

Q: In Prov 13:20 and 1 Cor 15:33, how can merely being the companion of foolish people cause harm?
A: If you think of yourself as one of them, then as a man thinks in his heart so is he. As they continue to give you advice, and shape your thinking, you will become more like them anyway. As the things that are precious to their heart become previous to your heart, you will be changed to be like them too.
See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.980, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.593, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.934 for more info.

Q: In Prov 13:22, since we can give money to God, to what extent should believers leave an inheritance to their children?
A: 1 Timothy 5:8 shows we must provide for the needs of our family. Leaving an inheritance is good according to Proverbs 17:2; 19:14; Psalm 17:14; and in the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:12,31. However, we do not need to give so much that they do not have to work the rest of their life. We should also give generously to the Lord’s work (Proverbs 3:9; 1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 8:1-8; 9:6-12; Haggai 1:3-11). It is also good to give each child (male and female) the same amount to reduce any resentment. See When Critics Ask p.499-500 and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.975 for more info.

Q: In Prov 13:23, what are three different ways that injustice can sweep abundance away?
A: First, obviously unjust people, government, or laws can take away the money, yearly harvest, or permanently take away land.
Second, the formerly hard-working person can lose their motivation to work for what they think will just be taken away in the future; - even if it will not be.
Third, when other people see the injustice, it can demotivate them to work too.

Q: In Prov 13:23, what are ways to become wealthy by taking advantage of the poor?
A: Someone can take advantage of the poor in a number of ways.
Threats:
Besides regular threats of violence there are more subtle threats. Some companies in the United States hire foreign workers on H1B visas, and then pay them less than the regular rate, and exploit them, because they know how difficult it would be for the worker to start over on the visa process with another employer. Sometimes unscrupulous people exploit illegal immigrants because they think they won’t report it for fear of being deported.
Exploiting Loans:
Loans are not necessarily bad. However, some banks, when people with loans get behind on their payments, the bank gives encouragement and promises to the people to encourage them to pay back as much as possible. And then, when they are almost caught up, the bank swoops in and forecloses the property or vehicle, and can sell it as a sweetheart deal to someone else.
Ignorance:
they can take advantage of poor people, not paying what they owe, or getting out of a contract because of some condition, that might not stand in court, but the poor person does not know that.
Laws:
Sometimes laws are passed that unfairly penalize people without money, but not people with money. As a simple example, most people have to pay income tax on their earnings. Thus, every year, they have to pay tax on their profits, and can only re-invest the after-tax profits. But wealthier people can put most of the income in a trust, and then only pay tax when they take money out of the trust. So, they still have to pay taxes on the profits, but they can re-invest their pre-tax profits.
Desperation:
When a poor person has a desperate need for money, whether for a medical condition or some other reason, then a wealthier person might make a very lowball offer for something, because they know that the poor person is desperate.
See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.594 for more info.

Q: In Prov 13:23, what are ways to become wealthy without taking advantage of the poor?
A: There are many ways, and many wealthy people, who have not taken advantage of the poor.
Fair business dealings:
You can still do business with poor people. In fact, it is to their advantage that people do business with them. But do business assuming they are financially OK, and not that they might be poor or desperate. Sometimes poor people lose their homes to a bank, which resells the foreclosed homes and only pays a small amount back to the bankrupt family. But if you were to buy the home instead, at a much higher price than then the foreclosure value, but still get a good deal, that is better for the poor person as well as good for you.
Honor your Commitments:
Honestly honor your commitments and agreed upon wages and prices, even when you think the person would have no ability to fight if you did try to rip them off.
Fair trade and fair market value:
Even if you know the person is in a desperate situation, while you can get a good price, it is wrong to take advantage of their desperation.

Q: In Prov 13:24, what are proper and improver ways to discipline our children?
A: Discipline should contain both instruction and correction. But before you discipline your child, consider carefully why you are disciplining them the way you want to. Is it to vent your own anger; to do to your kids what your parents did to you? To make you feel better? Is it just to show other people how tough you are, and that you won’t stand for that? These are all bad reasons. They one and only reason to discipline your child is for their benefit. If you have lost your temper, it is perfectly fine to tell your child "I am going to punish you, but not right now; let’s wait until I cool down first." It is important to be consistent, and not based on your mood that day.
You want to discipline them to give them "encouragement" not to try doing that again. But be careful not to exasperate your children, as Ephesian 6:4 warns. But you do not want the discipline to be so severe that you crush their spirit; they want to give up, or they don’t think that you love them anymore.
The best form of discipline can vary depending on the age of the child and the circumstances. There is a place for physical discipline, but any physical discipline should not give any permanent damage. A couple of centuries ago parents would sometimes "box the ears" of their kids. Sometimes this could result in permanent hearing loss. Sometimes disciple can be "time-out, but perhaps the number of minutes should be proportional to how old the child is. Sometimes the punishment can be logical consequences. For example, if a teenager drives irresponsibly, and due to their own foolishness wrecks their car, then the logical consequence is that they don’t have a car to drive. Don’t short circuit them learning a needed lesson by buying them another car.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.934, the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.824 and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.593-594 for more info.

Q: What does Prov 13:25 promise to the righteous?
A: It actually does not promise that they will be able to eat fancy or expensive food. Rather, it simply promises that the food they eat will leave them content.

Q: In Prov 14:1, how do people sometimes foolishly tear down their own house?
A: Five ways are priorities, ignorance of evil consequences, destructive behaviors, greed, and spite.
Priorities:
It is possible for a spouse to be so involved in organizations, the church, or ministry that the spouse neglects their children and mate. It is possible be so devoted to making money for the family that they lose the family.
Ignorance of evil consequences:
They don’t want to tear down what they have worked for. But they are doing evil things, and they are not aware that as a person sows he reaps, and it will come back to haunt them.
Destructive behaviors:
They might be aware that they are destroying their future, and the future of those around them, and they are not trying to do that, but their destructive addition has control of them. They might even see what is happening, but their stubbornness keeps them from changing before it is too late.
Greed:
They are willing to risk all they have for the hope, however faint, of something better. Think of the gambler who goes to the casino and bets the entire investment in his house and loses. Proverbs 15:27 speaks of this.
Spite:
This is different than the others. The person might be fully aware that they are burning up their future, so to speak, but they feel it is worth it in order to get back at someone else.
See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.824 for more info.

Q: In Prov 14:4, why is the manger empty when there are no oxen?
A: This is a classic paradox. Since oxen eat the hay in a manger, one might think the manger would be always full without the oxen. However, with no oxen to plow, there is no food or forage, and thus the manger is empty.
Proverbs 14:28 has a related thought. "A large population is a king’s glory, but without subjects a prince is ruined." (NIV)
Spend your money investing in what can give you an abundant harvest. Do not spend it on things where there is little possibility of a harvest. And when you have prosperity, remember those responsible for your prosperity, and give generously to them.
See the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.292, the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.825, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.595, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.934 for more info.

Q: In Prov 14:6, why would a mocker seek wisdom?
A: This is truly unusual in Proverbs, to find a type of fool that seeks wisdom. As The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.934-935 says, his problem is not lack of desire, but rather of not fearing the Lord. It is not enough to want to follow God; you have to be willing to follow God on His terms, not your own.

Q: In Prov 14:7, when should you be friends with a foolish person and when not?
A: Proverbs 14:7 says not to be friends with a foolish person (kesil); you will not gain knowledge from them, and they might influence you for the worse. But if someone is just ignorant, like a child, then you can help teach them. But if a person is not amenable to being taught, and they are not wise, then they will do you no good. See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.825 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.935 for more info.

Q: In Prov 14:9, why do fools mock at sin?
A: The Christian theologian and poet John Bunyon said it well. "They know not that it is the very spell - Of sin, to make them laugh themselves to hell." See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.825 for more info.

Q: In Prov 14:10 and 1 Ki 8:38, how does each person know their own bitterness and joy?
A: Each person knows that might plague them are make them bitter (marah), and they might not share it with others or might lie about what bothers them. The same goes for joy (simhah). Thus, we can never have perfect fellowship with someone else until we get to heaven.
So, we can sympathize with another person, and we can empathize with some of how they feel, but we should not presume to tell someone we know exactly how they feel, because we cannot.
See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.419, the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.296-297 and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.985 for more info.

Q: In Prov 14:14, how does God reward both the fool and the transgressor?
A: God gives them their "wages", in other words, what they deserve. The NIV says the faithless will be "repaid". Think of the bitterness of the prodigal son, who said in Luke 15:17, "How many of my father’s hired servants have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger!".
See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.826 for more info.

Q: In Prov 14:15, how are some people gullible in believing every word today?
A: A simple person (peti) does not question anything that comes from a source they blindly trust. Someone once said, "There are none so blind as those who will not see." We might have blind areas in our life, that are obvious to others, but we cannot see because we have chosen to overlook those areas. WE need God’s word and other people to help us, or rather remind us, to look what those spots. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.986 and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.595for more info.

Q: In Prov 14:17,29, 15:18, why are some people quick-tempered, and how can a person overcome it?
A: the Hebrew phrase, qesar-ruah, literally mans "hasty of spirit". The quick-tempered man, in the moment, does not consider the consequences, both immediate and future, or his anger. See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.826, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.990, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.935 for more info.

Q: In Prov 14:20, why does this verse mention that the poor are hated by their neighbors?
A: This verse does not say how things should be, but rather how they often are. It is sometimes hard to be poor, and Proverbs 14:21 says that despising your neighbor, especially a poor neighbor, is sin. A cynic would think it did not matter. A naïve idealist would think this rarely occurs. The Bible does not want us to be either a cynic nor a naïve idealist. One should not think they will enjoy God’s blessings if they despise others.
See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.988 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.935-936 for more info.

Q: In Prov 14:21, how do those who devise evil go astray?
A: Often it is the due to the consequences of "flowback" of their own plans. People spend more time looking at the potential success of a plan, no matter how improbable, than mitigation and contingency if the plan fails. For example, if someone gave you odds to gamble a 50% chance to you could make one and a half times what you have, or a 50% chance to lose everything, would you take that? – no. Not only should you not gamble, it would be foolish odds. Yet many people who commit crimes do so for odds much worse than that, because they do not think about it.

Q: In Prov 14:23, how does talk only lead to poverty?
A: Just talking can be a great waste of time. Furthermore, when you thinking you are going to do something, but end up not doing anything, there is lost opportunity cost, when you could have seized the opportunity but failed to do so.

Q: In Prov 14:25, how does a true witness deliver souls?
A: A truthful witness prevents innocent people from being wrongfully punished or executed. In addition, a truthful witness also helps convict the guilty and prevent more crimes from being committed.

Q: In Prov 14:26, how does a parent’s faith affect their kids and how does it not?
A: It is said that "God has no grandchildren." In other words, you are either a child or God, or you are not. But you will not get to heaven because of your parents. Each person stands or falls on their own, as Ezekiel 18 teaches. We do not inherit either the guilt of our parents, nor their righteousness. However, we often live under the consequences of our parents’ actions, whether good or bad. If a pregnant woman drinks alcohol while pregnant, the child can be affected with what is called "fetal alcohol syndrome." They can be more likely to become an alcoholic themselves, if they stat to drink alcohol. Or a child can learn God’s word, be raised in a godly way, and be kept from doing evil things, so parents do have an effect.

Q: What does Prov 14:32 mean?
A: This proverb of contrasts starts with a similarity: calamity of the wicked and death of the righteous. The wicked, who are generally disliked might not be getting help in this life, prior to meeting great disaster in the next life. Even the righteous who die early have the support and care from God in the next life. Psalm 116:15 (NKJV) says, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints".

Q: In Prov 15:1, how does a soft answer turn away wrath?
A: Meeting anger with anger only produces more strife. However, a soft answer shows you are not angry at them and implies you are reasonable and perhaps the other person did not have so much to be angry about after all. A soft answer here does not mean gentle words, but rather conciliatory words.
There are two types of angry words in Hebrew, and the word here is not a rash, violent word", but rather a cutting or wounding angry word. An example of angry words that led to war as Jephthah in Judges 12:1-6. Remember, a gentle response can defuse an explosive situation.
Here is an illustration by Charles Spurgeon. "I once lived where my neighbor’s garden was divided from me only by a very imperfect hedge. He kept a dog, and his dog was a shockingly bad gardener, and did not improve my plants. So, one evening, while I walked alone, I saw this dog doing mischief and being a long way off, I threw a stick at him, with some earnest advice as to his going home. This dog, instead of going home, picked up my stick, and came to me with it in his mouth, wagging his tail. He dropped the stick at my feet and looked up to me most kindly. What could I do but pat him and call him a good dog, and regret that I had ever spoken roughly to him?" Quotes from the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.824 quotes from A. Naismith in 1200 More Notes, quotes and Anecdotes, p.239.
See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.420, the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.315-316, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.937, and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.992 for more info.

Q: In Prov 15:3, how should "the eyes of the Lord are everywhere" guide our life?
A: Whatever you do, remember that God is watching. There is no place you can go to hide from Him, as Psalm 139 says. On the other hand, no righteous deed is overlooked either. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.993, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.596 and the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.828 for more info.

Q: In Prov 15:4, how can a wholesome tongue be healing, or a tree of life?
A: Good words can illuminate to guide, provide correction, encouragement, and even rebuke. They can pinpoint the disease and keep a person on the right track. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.993 and the New International Bible Commentary p.670 for more info.

Q: In Prov 15:5,12,31-32, what are some examples of fools refusing to heed correction?
A: The word for correction in verse 12 means "rebuke" more than "correct". A scoffer will only go to people for advice that he or she wants to hear. Or a scoffer might say that we all need to be positive, i.e. never give correction. But when a person does that, they are in a sense despising themselves. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.937-938, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.993,995, the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.830, and the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.829 for more info.

Q: In Prov 15:16-17, how is being with friends more important than wealth?
A: As an example, imagine going to a simple, close-by resort with family, especially ones you have not seen in a long time. Hopefully it is a warm, happy feeling. Now imagine going to on a very expensive vacation, not in a tour group but alone, where the staff all seem to resent you. In which place will you have the better time?
See and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.996-997 and the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.829 for more info.

Q: In Prov 15:19, how is the way of the sluggard blocked with thorns?
A: There are two different answers, and both can be true.
Apparent blockage:
The sluggard sees blocks, i.e., reasons that he cannot do something, everywhere, even where they do not exist.
Real blockage: There are genuine blocks in his way to go forward now, due to his lack of prior preparation and the other things he should have done but did not get around to doing.
See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.997 and the New International Bible Commentary p.670 for more info.

Q: In Prov 15:21, how is foolishness a joy to a foolish person?
A: Just as a pig enjoys wallowing in its pig pen, a foolish person enjoys their sin, - at least for a while. An alcoholic can tell you how great a particular drink is. A drug addict can tell you how great a particular drug feels, etc. But the true measure is not how it feels now, but what are the consequences in the end. See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.830 for more info.

Q: In Prov 15:22-23, 11:14; 20:18; 24:6, how do you know if you have enough advisors, or else too many?
A: The key point is not the number of questionable quality advisors, but do you have multiple good and wise advisors, who are genuinely looking out for your welfare. It is better to have one less advisor than to have a foolish advisor.
In verse 23, you might ask yourself, how many people are you currently a good advisor for?

Q: In Prov 15:23 and Isa 50:4, in contrast to a wise word, what is a timely word?
A: A timely word is a wise word that is also spoken at the proper time. There can be a right and wrong time to say some things. Isaiah 50:4 speaks of giving a word at the right time to the weary. People, as they are, often are more receptive to taking wise advice at certain times then at others. Try to pick a good time. See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.831 for more info.

Q: In Prov 15:25 and Jms 4:6, what is the warning for us here about pride?
A: Most proud people don’t think of themselves as proud. We should carefully examine if there is any way we might be coming across to others as proud. We should also examine our heart, and see and repent if there is any way where we think we are more important than others, contrary to Philippians 2:3. See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.596 for more info.

Q: In Prov 15:27, how are some "greedy for gain"?
A: Desiring wealth is not bad, but sacrificing your family or others, whether intentionally or unintentionally, to get it is bad. The Hebrew word for greed "to cut or break off" also suggest unjust gain or violence. Greedy also implies a get rich quick scheme. The number of people who think they have found a way to get rich quick is far, far larger than those who been able to get rich quickly. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.939 for more info.

Q: In Prov 15:29, what is fitting justice in the ironic statement here?
A: A punishment of the wicked is that the Lord will be far from them. Actually, though the wicked want the Lord to be far from them, not realizing how desolate their future will be. See the New International Bible Commentary p.671 and the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.830 for more info.

Q: In Prov 15:33, how does humility come before honor?
A: Humility before the Lord comes before honor by the Lord. On the other hand, pride leads to destruction, as Proverbs 18:12 says. James 4:10 says to humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will life you up. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1001 for more info.

Q: In Prov 16:1, how does the reply of the tongue come from the Lord?
A: The word Yahweh, occurs nine times in the first eleven verses, so this section is contrasting our plans and behaviors with God’s plans. A person might think one thing, but for better or worse, what might come out of their mouth might be different. In general, people might plan one thing, but God can frustrate their plans, or "man proposes but God disposes."
Balaam was going to say one thing, but God had him say another (Numbers 22:38; 23:7-10).
Caiaphas spoke a prophecy he did not intend to speak in John 11:49-52.
See the New International Bible Commentary p.672, the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.830-831, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1002, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.596, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.940 for more info.

Q: In Prov 16:3, will every work of ours succeed if we commit it to the Lord?
A: That is like saying if a child politely asks a parent’s permission before doing something, will the please parent always say "yes"? - Of course not.
See and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.940 for more info.

Q: In Prov 16:4, what is the day of evil here?
A: This is not one specific 24-hour period, but rather "when disastrous days come."

Q: In Prov 16:4, how did God work the wicked for the day of disaster?
A: This verse is the flipside of Romans 8:28, where God works everything together for good for those who love Him. Ephesians 1:11 says that God works everything together as a part of His plan. Thus even the fact that evil people are punished and sent to Hell is part of God’s plan. See When Critics Ask p.247-248 for more info.

Q: In Prov 16:13, how do those in authority especially take pleasure in honest lips?
A: Even wicked people are happy with those who speak honestly to them. But a good "king" and all Christians, male and female, are in a sense kings and priests, take pleasure in people who speak honestly to all.
We should also recognize that for those in high positions of authority, it can be very difficult to know the truth because everything fed to them can be "spun", distorted, or only a partial truth. It would be a breath of fresh air, not for someone just to speak honestly, but that they could know they could trust someone to always speak honestly to them.
See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1006 for more info.

Q: In Prov 16:14, as a believer who speaks honestly, when and how should we appease or mollify others?
A: There is a time and a place to appease others, and a time and place where we must not. First the when, then the how.
Timing on when to appease:
Someone in authority might have sudden anger for crazy reasons. Even someone you love might be very angry at you because of an accusation they heard about you; and the accusation is not true. Finally, someone might be made or disappointed in you for doing wrong, and you really did wrong. Don’t give them a "fake repentance"; but consider if you really should genuinely repent.
How to appease:
don’t compromise the truth. Without lying, we should try to speak a soft answer to calm the situation. Where there are genuine differences, we might emphasize the common ground that we agree on. We might present our differences in such as tone as to imply that we can disagree and still be friends. Appeasing also includes leaving unsaid things that should be left unsaid.
See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1007 for more info.

Q: In Prov 16:18, how does pride go before destruction?
A: As a tall tree attracts lightning the one who stands tallest is a most visible target for those who seek to build themselves up by bringing others down. In a sense we are all lightning rods; it comes with the territory of being a Christian. But there is no need to try to stand taller than you already are.
See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.832 for more info.

Q: In Prov 16:25; 14:12, how can a way that seems right to a person lead unto death?
A: Can you imagine a person, standing before the Great White Throne Judgment, and telling God "I tried to follow everything in Your book." And God responding to Him "You deceived and self-deceived fool! You followed the wrong book!" Think of all the people who rejected the genuine Jesus, because of what the Qur’an, Buddhist scripture, Vedas, or some Satanic Bible. It is not enough to believe a book was inspired; they need to ask "inspired by whom?", as there are probably over a hundred counterfeit book out there someone has claimed as scripture. Whatever you may say about Satan, you can’t say he was lazy about this. In the dark times of the Book of Judges it repeats the refrain: "each man did what was right in his own eyes."
This verse also says "the way" leads to death. We know that God will punish wickedness, but on top of that consider this: the wicked often punish themselves.
See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1010 for more info.

Q: In Prov 16:26, what are some ways that being hungry, physically or otherwise, can be a positive motivation?
A: When you are hungry for something, you are more willing to overcome obstacles, work harder, take risks, and single-mindedly pursue your goal. When you are not, it is often too easy to get distracted, or discourage from getting what you really did not want very much anyway. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1010 for more info.

Q: In Prov 16:27, what are some examples of the sin of plotting evil?
A: Even plotting revenge is a sin, even if you do not go through with it. Planning how you would get revenge, how you would pull off a "heist" and steal something, get away with an immoral activity, or the best way to kill someone and get away with it are all sins, even if the person never gets past the planning stage. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1010 for more info.

Q: In Prov 16:31, how is gray hair considered a splendid crown?
A: A righteous person with gray hair can mean a person who has walked with God for a very long time. Of course, this does not include old evil people, or an old person who just came to the Lord recently. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1012 for more info.

Q: In Prov 16:32, who is a person who controls himself greater than a person who takes a city?
A: As an example, the Russian Czar Peter the Great, in a fit of rage, struck his gardener. A few days later the gardener died. Peter said, "Alas, I have conquered other nations, but I have not been able to conquer myself!’ (Durbanville, Henry, Winsome Christianity (1953) p.41). Taken from the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.834.

Q: In Prov 16:33, should we cast lots for things?
A: This verse is not recommending casting lots. Rather, it points out that lots and other things can appear to be random chance, but God can move them as He wishes. If someone does cast lots, make sure you give a choice for God not to respond. For example if you are flipping a coin, and heads means "God says yes", and tails means "God says no", what if God did not choose to answer, and you are putting words into God’s mouth?
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.331-332 for more info.

Q: In Prov 17:1, why is dry bread better than sacrifices?
A: First of all, this is not stale bread, but dry toast (called zwieback) when you do not even have any olive oil or butter for it. The source of much of the meat of Israelites was from the sacrifices. So, the point was plan bread in peace was better than a meal of meat from the sacrifice where there is strife. But the application of this goes far beyond meals and eating. It is better to have modest support or wealth, without trouble, than to have great riches accompanied with great stress and troubles. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.942, the New International Bible Commentary p.673, and the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.834 for more info.

Q: In Prov 17:2, how does a wise servant rule over a disgraceful son?
A: In ancient times a servant usually could not be accepted as a son for inheritance or other purposes. Notable exceptions are Abram’s banker Eliezar in Genesis 15:3; the slave who married into Judah and became an Israelite in 1 Chronicles 2:35; and Mephibosheth’s servant Ziba in 2 Samuel 16:1-4; 19:24-30. However, Roman family tombs show servants buried with honor with the rest of the family.
In subsequent times Solomon’s family would know about this well. Solomon’s foolish son Rehoboam only retained control of Judah, while Solomon’s former servant Jeroboam became king of all of the northern tribes.
See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1-13 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.942 for more info.

Q: In Prov 17:3, why are we compared to gold and silver here?
A: Technically speaking, we are not just compared to silver and gold here, but rather to silver and gold ore. Both ores do not look like much, except that they might have some streaks of the potential of what they could be. But with the refining process, the dross is melted away, and what is left is pure and valuable. It is interesting to think that the refining process to turn lackluster ore into precious metals actually adds nothing of value whatsoever to the silver and gold ore. The entire value of refining is in what it takes away.
If you have become a Christian, and you have some natural gifts, and God gives you some spiritual gifts to serve, that is great, but that is only part of the story. The other part is what God needs to refine and prune, to take away, so that you can serve Him better.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.942 and the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.834 for more info.

Q: In Prov 17:5, does injustice cause poverty, or does laziness as Prov 10:4; 20:13; 21:17 say?
A: Both are true because poverty has multiple causes. We are to help the poor regardless of whether their poverty is due to coming from a destitute family, injustice, or poor decisions. The only exceptions are that
a)
We are not to help those who refuse to work (2 Thessalonians 3:10)
b)
Do not throw money away by giving it to those who would be foolish with the money (Proverbs 17:16), and
c)
Do not help those who do wicked things (2 John 10-11).
See 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.156 for more info.

Q: In Prov 17:8, 21:14 is bribery OK, or are bribes are wrong and corrupt as Ex 23:8, Dt 16:19, 17:25, and Ecc 7:7 say?
A: According to The Expositor’s Bible Commentary p.1016 the Hebrew word used here, sohad, is never used of a disinterested gift. Thus, it might be a gift, but it is a gift where the giver is expecting something in return. This word is also used in Isaiah 1:23. There are gifts and there are bribes. Gifts are OK; bribes are not. Here is the difference

Gifts: Gifts can be open, or they can be in secret. They are not given to subvert justice, but out of love, or else to pacify someone’s anger at a real or imagined wrong (Proverbs 21:14). If a powerful king were about the attack a smaller kingdom, the weaker king might buy him off with tribute, and that is OK on the part of the weaker king.

In some cultures, a future husband paying the family of the bride a "bride-price" or dowry" is not unbiblical. In Roman times, many Romans government leaders had to pay bribes to get their position. That money was not lost, as they could collect it as taxes from the area they controlled. In Catholicism, many Popes and cardinals paid a great deal of money to obtain their positions. These were not secret gifts, so this technically would be a gift, not a secret bribe. However, this was still despicable to pay money to obtain a position in the Catholic Church.
Bribes:
can be for extortion or to secretly change a decision on a matter (Ecclesiastes 7:7). The matter might be legal, a business buying decision, or a grade in school. Some bribes are primarily to ensure that a decision is made in your favor, when the outcome otherwise is either unknown or certainly unfavorable.
See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.286-287, the New International Bible Commentary p.673, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.942 for more info.

Q: In Prov 17:9, what is wrong about repeating a past matter?
A: Remembering some past events, and keeping on repeating it to others, has destroyed marriages and friendships. Sometimes true friendship is remembering things; sometimes true friendship is forgetting things and never bringing them up again. You can share something very intimate with a close friend, and have confidence that they will never repeat it. As The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.598 says, "A godly friend wants to lift you out of the mud – not leave you in it." See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.834, the New International Bible Commentary p.673, and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1016 for more info.

Q: In Prov 17:12, why can a fool be more dangerous than a mother bear robbed of her cubs?
A: The analogy is interesting, because it is actually the male bear that is larger, stronger, and potentially more dangerous. However, a bear, male or female, typically will not attack you unless it is hungry and thinks you would make a good dinner. But, if a female bear is missing her cubs, and she has any suspicion that it was you who took them, she will aggressively attack until you are dead or she sees her cubs. If she thinks a larger, stronger, male bear took her cubs, she will go after the male bear.
So as the female bear’s danger is not as much in her size and strength relative to a male, but rather that she will not rest until she destroys her target. Some fools are like that; they will do anything, even to their own harm, to get someone who they think has done them wrong.
See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.835 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.943 for more info.

Q: In Prov 17:14, how can starting a quarrel be like breaching a dam?
A: Even the smallest crack in a dam, if it keeps on getting bigger, can cause failure of the dam and destruction to all who are in the path of the watery consequences. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.942, the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.835, and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1018 for more info.

Q: In Prov 17:15, what is the difference between justifying the wicked, which God hates, and being merciful to people?
A: Justifying the wicked means saying the sin is OK, no restitution is needed, and no repentance or forgiveness is necessary. God hates injustice, either way, but God is merciful and often asks us to show mercy. Being merciful acknowledges that the sin was wrong, restitution may be paid, but offering full forgiveness to one who repents. Repent means saying you’re sorry, committing to not repeating the offense, making amends as needed, and asking forgiveness. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1018 for more info.

Q: In Prov 17:17, how does a friend love at all times?
A: Of course, if a friend did not love you, he or she would not be a friend anymore, but that is not the point here. One is a brother or sister by birth, but a friend by choice. Those who love by choice can be closer than brothers or sisters, who might or might not love by choice.
A sycophant is someone who is a friend, perhaps even a close friend, but a friend only for the advantages they get from you. As one narcissistic person said, figure out which friends don’t do you any good and drop them. Consider not just what you can get, but more importantly what you can give. Friends are for building meaningful and enjoyable relationships with. As one person said, some people use things and love people. Others love things and use people. Hopefully, your heart is not so small, and lonely, that you are the last way.
We should not try to be "lone ranger Christians", but rely on other Christians for friendship, help, and support. Likewise, other Christians should be confident they can rely on you for that.
See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.598 and the New International Bible Commentary p.674 for more info.

Q: In Prov 17:18, what is wrong with striking/shaking hands to make a commitment?
A: In our culture this would mean a handshake to signify committing to an agreement. There is nothing wrong with striking hands, shaking hands, or signing an agreement. Rather, this verse is a very important warning not to make any commitment lightly or foolishly.
Putting this verse right after verse 17, shows that we are to love, but we should still have discernment.
Here is a catastrophic example of making a commitment and then backing out. Pennzoil and Getty had a ratified (but not yet finalized) agreement to purchase Getty Oil. Then Getty backed out wen Texaco came in with a higher offer. In 1985 a jury awarded $10.53 billion for Texaco to pay Pennzoil because of reneging on an agreement. Later they settled for "merely" $3 billion.
See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.836 for more info.

Q: In Prov 17:19, how does a person who loves transgression love strife?
A: The truth of this verse has at least two applications.
Towards God:
All transgression is sin, which involves a broken relationship with God. Think about it: whenever you deliberately sin, at that moment you are valuing that sin above your relationship with God.
Towards others:
When people wrong others, either they do not care how others react, or sometimes wicked people might even enjoy the strife and bad feelings they cause.

Q: In Prov 17:21, why does having a foolish child bring such grief to a parent?
A: Foolish here means wicked and making foolish choices. A godly parent loves their child, wants what is best for their child, wants to be proud of their child, and ultimately wants their child to be with God forever. If the child does rejecting God, the child did not get what was best for them, their child’s life had no lasting meaning, and they will be separated from their child for eternity. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1020 for more info.

Q: In Prov 17:27-28, how is it wisdom to restrain and temper what you say?
A: The Hebrew literally means "sparing of words". Don’t say everything you want to say, whether out of anger, jealousy, or other strong emotion. Simply say what is best for the situation, while still being truthful, and then keep the rest to yourself. And sometimes the wisest thing to do, in some situations, is not to say anything.
Sometimes you know you have to give rebuke or correction that will be difficult for the hearer to accept. When you are in that case; pray to God both for wisdom, and more importantly, that He would prepare their heart. Put yourself in their shoes. If you have been in a somewhat similar situation as them, let them know, and tell them this is what you wish you had been told. It is easier if you already have a relationship with them. Ask permission to share. Pick the best timing; when they are in the middle of a temper tantrum is not the best time. Sometimes a story and question can go farther than a sermon; remember how a than the prophet approached David.
See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1022 and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.598 for more info.

Q: In Prov 18:1, how does pursuing selfish ends defy sound judgment?
A: An unfriendly person does not care about others, how much work they might have to do because of his selfishness, or even, how others can help him. It is obvious that a selfish person pursues selfish ends; that is not the point. The point is the pursuing those selfish ends can lead to some very foolish outcomes, to his own harm. A selfish person can lose the ability to consider how other people will act, or react, when they do certain things. They can under-estimate other people’s ability to affect things. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1022 and the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 section 2 p.1-2 for more info.

Q: In Prov 18:2, why do some fools want to talk so much?
A: Perhaps to keep with wiser people and try hide the fact that they do not know so much. One could summarize this proverb as "a fool as a closed mind but an open mouth." This is the opposite of James 1:19. We should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1023 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.944 for more info.

Q: In Prov 18:4, how is the wellspring of wisdom a flowing brook?
A: It is not often that a foolish person says wise things; usually wise sayings correlate with wise people. A wise heart usually continues in wisdom, and wise sayings usually are not a "flash in the pan".

Q: In Prov 18:8, why is hearing gossip so attractive to some people?
A: Since many verses speak of the sin of spreading gossip, you might think this verse is also talking about spreading gossip; but it is not. It is speaking of the sin of wanting to listen to gossip. This can be translated "choice morsels" or "gobble down greedily". They have a craving for secret, inside information, that who knows, might work to their advantage. If they could "set a person down a notch" in their estimation by hearing a rumor about them, they would be eager to do so. They might do little to question if the rumor is in fact true or not. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1025, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.422, the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.837, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.944 for more info.

Q: In Prov 18:9, how is one slack in his work like one who destroys?
A: Laziness can destroy. Imagine someone who is supposed to produce something you rely upon, not performing or doing a poor job. If you buy a parachute to use, you hope they put enough stitches attaching the parachute to the harness. Taking a paycheck, and not putting in the hours you were supposed to put in is stealing. Spiritually, even a local church body could be destroyed through negligence. The point of this proverb is that even inaction can be destructive, when action was required. Even when others are pulling their weight, if you are not pulling your weight, on a task or project, the project might fail despite the best efforts of others. See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.837-838, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1025, the New International Bible Commentary p.674-675, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.944, and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.599 for more info.

Q: In Prov 18:14, how can a crushed spirit hurt more than adversity?
A: Hope and a reason for living can carry someone through, when no hope or reason for living can kill someone. The Believer’s Bible Commentary p.838 says, "A man who had faced the horrors of concentration camp with gallantry discovered after his release that it was his own son who had informed on him. ‘The discovery beat him to his knees and he died. He could bear the attack of an enemy, but the attack of one whom he loved killed him.’"
See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1026 for more info.

Q: In Prov 18:17, what is the lesson for us here?
A: You should not decide a matter until you have heard both sides. Whether a particular side is totally in the wrong, or both sides are partly to blame, you should not suppose you can know unless you have listened to both. If you just hear one side, their persuasiveness, and lack of mentioning some important facts, and give you a very wrong impression.
See the New International Bible Commentary p.675, the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.838, and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1027 for more info.

Q: What does Prov 18:19 mean?
A: This proverb is interesting because you might think it ought to talk about an enemy who is offended. However, it instead says that the worse thing is an offended brother. A brother would expect you to be loyal and caring, and he would be especially shocked to be offended, while an enemy would not be shocked.
We need to realize that people close to us can be offended. They might not get offended as easily as strangers, but when they get offended, they can feel more hurt than strangers. It is important to be careful not to take those who love us for granted, or take for granted that they know that we love them. We need not just to love others, but to express our love for others.
A second application is that when someone close to us offends us, we can feel more strongly about it (perhaps too strongly about it) than when a stranger offends us. We need to understand our own human tendency to be seriously offended, and then remember that 1 Corinthians says that love bears no record of wrongs. See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.838-839 for more info.

Q: In Prov 18:22, since finding a wife is a good thing, why does it not mention finding a husband as a good thing, too?
A: Obviously for every man who obtains a wife, a woman obtains a husband. Nevertheless, in that culture as well as in many cultures today, it is generally the man that does the finding and proposing. However, for a Biblical example where the woman did the finding, and God greatly blessed the marriage, read the book of Ruth.

Q: In Prov 18:23, why does this say a rich person answers harshly to a poor person’s plea?
A: This is not saying how it ought to be, but rather how life often is. For these kinds of proverbs you should not look for the single life application here. Instead, you should look for multiple life applications.
First, if you are down and out, you should not always be optimistic that a rich person will help you out. If an extremely wealthy person just gave you a what to them is a tiny bit, that would help you out so much; but this verse is saying don’t hold your breath for even that.
Second, if God has prospered you materially, realize that you, like most people, have a natural tendency to save up and hoard your wealth, and not to be generous to people who really need it. Being aware that you can be this way is half the battle. Then realize that your natural tendencies could be at odds with what God’s heart is for your wealth and others, and you should strive to be every bit as generous as God wants you to be towards those He wants you to be generous towards.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.943, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1029, and the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 section 2 p.16 for more info.

Q: What does Prov 18:24 mean?
A: The Expositor’s Bible Commentary volume 5 p.1029-1030 says that the Hebrew word lehitroea is difficult. It means ‘for being crushed’ or ‘to be shattered’ but not ‘to show oneself friendly’ (cf. KJV [also NKJV]). It also adds the verse might mean there are friends to one’s undoing." This is a pun here. The word for companion is re’eh and the word for break in pieces is ra’a.
This proverb is somewhat of a surprise. One might think that many companions would guarantee success and prosperity. However, foolish companions be externally be a drain on your money credit, and reputation. Even worse, foolish companions by their advice and example, can be a drain on your motivation to serve God.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.945 for more info.

Q: In Prov 18:24, who is the friend that sticks closer than a brother?
A: This verse contrasts different kinds of friends. It is easy to find fair-weather friends, but it is precious to find a friend who will stick with you, closer than a brother, through hard times. Of course, the friend who sticks closest of all to believers is Jesus.

Q: In Prov 19:2,7, why is zeal without knowledge bad?
A: Ignorance on fire is never good. It is like the captain of a ship without navigation. He announces to the passengers, I have bad news and good news. The bad news is that we are hopelessly lost. The good news is that we are making good time! What does it matter how fast you go, if you go in circles. Even worse, if you are going in a straight line the wrong way, the faster you go the longer it might take to backtrack to go the correct way. So, make sure you are going on the right path before rapidly going on that path.
Once a wife told her husband that she thought he was going the wrong way. He insisted that he was not, and kept driving. Leter, after he drove 300 miles, she fell asleep, and he turned around. When she awoke she told him, "you went the wrong way, didn’t you?" He said, "I thought you were asleep. In other words, he had rather drive 300 miles knowing he was going the wrong way, and then 300 miles back, rather than admit he was wrong.

Q: In Prov 19:3, why does an evil person complain against the Lord here?
A: First what is not the answer and then the answer.
Not the answer. The evil person is not complaining about why he or she should follow God’s law, or God’s standards.
The answer: The are complaining to God about what they might think is their "bad luck", but is really the logical consequences of their own actions. "As a man sows, so shall he reap" (Galatians 6:7). See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.839 for more info.

Q: In Prov 19:4,6, why does this verse say wealth makes many friends?
A: It is a sin to favor someone just because they are wealthy as James 2:1-4 shows, but Proverbs 19:4,6 is teaching the realities of life with sinful people. Proverbs 19:6 has an interesting metaphor, literally meaning "stroking the face." You must balance this with Proverbs 14:21, which says it is a sin to despise your neighbor, especially mentioning the poor neighbor.
While wealth might make many friends, a wealthy person might always be wondering who his or her true friends really are. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1030-1031, the New International Commentary p.675, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.422, and the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.840 for more info.

Q: What does Prov 19:7 teach us about poverty and friends?
A: Proverbs 19:7 does not tell us how to act, but rather teaches us a sad fact of life in this fallen world. A man might be shunned just because he does not have money, influence, or power. Sometime friends are only friends because of what they can get out of the relationship. Proverbs 19:7 speaks of the friends (plural) of a rich person, who are really just hangers-on, while it speaks of the friend (singular) of a poor person. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1030 for more info.

Q: In Prov 19:11b, how is it a person’s glory to overlook an offense?
A: If a person sinks down to respond in kind to a petty attack, they look no better than the person who attacked them. You have lowered yourself to the same level. But a bigger person knows how to overlook an insult or slight, whether unintentional or intentional. However, a person probably cannot do this, unless, as Proverbs 19:11a says, they are slow to anger. See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.840 and the New International Commentary p.676 for more info.

Q: In Prov 19:14, how is a prudent wife from the Lord?
A: There are so many aspects of a godly character that it is doubtful men or women know one-fourth of the character of their future spouse. Certainly, no believer should consider marrying someone without a lot of prayer to God for guidance. See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.840 for more info.

Q: In Prov 19:17, how can people lend to the Lord?
A: While God actually has no need for anything (Psalm 24:1; 50:9-12), we can metaphorically lend to the Lord when we help others. In Matthew 25:35-45, Jesus said if you gave food, drink, hospitality, clothing, or care of the poor, strangers, sick, or prisoners, it was as if you did it for him. As a side note, Jesus did not say the recipients had to be believers for it to count toward a reward as being done for Jesus. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1035 and the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.840-841 for more info.

Q: In Prov 19:19, why does a hot-tempered person need to be rescued over and over?
A: A hot-tempered person continues to do things, and especially say things, that they regret later. They make people afraid to be around them, not to enjoy being around them, and unintentionally isolate themselves. The sad thing is that they probably have no clue why others don’t seem to care about them. See the New International Commentary p.676 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.947 for more info.

Q: What does Prov 19:22 mean?
A: Life is full of choices. If you had to choose between being loved and something else with no love, people really will want to be loved. The Hebrew word for love here hesed, means unfailing love, or a loyal, covenant love. A liar might get wealthy because of his lies, but he will never be loved because of his lies. It is better to be poor, and truly loved, than to be a rich, unloved liar. We should not envy other people at all, but it is especially silly to envy a wealthy person who has lots of friends but no real friends. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1036 for more info.

Q: In Prov 19:25, when the scorners are struck, who will learn from this?
A: Proverbs 19:25 does not claim the scorner will ever learn. Rather, naïve onlookers will learn, not necessarily the scorner himself. The first type of foolish person is a "mocker/scorner" or les in Hebrew, and the second type is a simpleton, or peti in Hebrew. One use of prison is as a deterrent to crime. It is not only that the criminals are out of action for a while, but the unpleasantness of being in prison can make others think again before choosing to become criminals. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.947 and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1037 for more info.

Q: What does Prov 19:27 say about stopping listening to instruction?
A: Proverbs 19:27 is ironic here. It is sort of like saying "go smoke and you will live a shorter life." It is not really telling us to stop listening to instruction, but rather saying "if" we stop listening to instruction, we will stray. In fact, if we stop listening to instruction, not only will we stray due to ignorance, but we can even stray from what we know. Being wise is not a static state. Note that the person might have used to be teachable and listen to instruction, but they did not continue to do so. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.948 adds that being wise is not a static state; a wise person keeps on growing and learning. It also points out that this is the only place between Proverbs 7:1 and 23:15 where the words "my son" occur. See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.948 for more info.

Q: In Prov 19:27, is not all knowledge good?
A: No. Specifically, this refers to instruction in falsehoods that can turn one away from true knowledge.

Q: In Prov 20:1, how are alcoholic drinks mockers and fighters?
A: I saw a humorous meme that called wine "bad decision juice". Drunks are not in control of themselves. Sometimes when drunks are belligerent, foolish, or does things they will be ashamed of later, other people sometimes try excuse their behavior by saying "it was just the alcohol doing that." But they chose to get drunk. See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.842, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.601, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.948, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.423, and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1039 for more info.

Q: In Prov 20:2f, how can does one sin against their own self/life?
A: All sin is evil, but this sin, of provoking the king to anger, hurts none but yourself.

Q: In Prov 20:3, how are we to avoid strife?
A: Anybody can throw a tantrum when they do not get their way. One point is not to throw tantrums and cause strife. But a second point here is to be able to deal with difficult people who otherwise would cause strife? Are you adept at dealing with difficult people? If not, would you want God to give you some practice? Sometimes one strategy is just to avoid them. But sometimes they cannot be avoided, and you need to understand they are being difficult. Why are they being unreasonable, at least to you. It might surprise you to find out that, right or wrong, they are being reasonable in their own mind.
See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1040 for more info.

Q: In Prov 20:4, what does this say about two types of sluggards?
A: Any kind of laziness is bad, but have you considered that there are different types of sluggards? Of course, if sluggards do not plow, they will not get a harvest; however, this is not what is said here. Rather, sluggard plow, just like they are supposed to, but they do that right thing at the wrong time, because they procrastinated too long. They too will not get a harvest, despite them doing all the work they would have done if they were not sluggards! Plowing time in Palestine is in November and Dec ember, when the cold wind comes from the north. If they want to stay warm, and not blow. See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.842, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.948, and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1040 for more info.

Q: In Prov 20:5, how can a good counselor draw out what is really in the person’s heart?
A: It can be difficult, because sometimes the person being counselled does not know what is in his own heart. Don’t just listen to what they are thinking, but also to what they are feeling.
See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.601 and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.423 for more info.

Q: In Prov 20:8, how does a king sitting in judgment scatter evil with his eyes?
A: The king’s glance prevents evil, because evildoers do not do evil while he is looking. You know, this verse works for parents as well as kings.
Likewise, God’s eyes see every step we make, and there is no place where evildoers can hide from God, according to Job 34:22-23.
Finally, we should cultivate discernment, to know when someone is telling us baloney, and be able to discern who is hard-working and honest, from those who just claim to be hard-working and honest.
See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1042 for more info.

Q: In Prov 20:9, does this teach that anyone can keep their heart pure, or not?
A: This verse shows the writer’s realization that no one on earth can keep their heart free from all sin. This also includes that all of your motives and decisions were fully honorable. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1042 for more info.

Q: In Prov 20:14, why does the buyer say it is nothing, and then boast about his purchase?
A: The disapproving tone of this shows that this lying is wrong. But this verse teaches us that buyers and sellers can be tricky, even when they are not actually cheating people. One might entitle this verse "seller beware". See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.949 for more info.

Q: What does Prov 20:16 mean; it sounds almost unkind?
A: In the Bible, full of verses on caring for the poor and destitute, and generosity to borrowers, this proverb really stands out. For some people, extending them monetary generosity makes this worse not better. Someone is risking money foolishly if they put up a pledge for a stranger. If they have no money because they put up a pledge for a morally loose woman, do you think you are doing the right thing, or what is best for them, by giving them more money so that they do not learn their lesson?
The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament
p.949 also says that Proverbs 11:15; 17:18 and 22:26-27 also warn us against cosigning for debts.

Q: In Prov 20:17, what kind of dishonest wealth is this talking about?
A: This is about any wealth that is obtained through fraud and deceit. It can be falsifying a scale, as Proverbs 20:10,23 teaches, falsifying tax returns or invoices, or even advertising differences that do not really exist. Dishonest wealth is actually a double-fraud. It was gained by defrauding victims, but it also defrauds the person doing the fraud that it will give them happiness, trouble-free. Sin always promises more than it delivers.
One time Adam Clarke was working for a silk merchant who wanted him to stretch the silk when measuring it to sell to a customer. Adam replied, "Your silk may stretch, sir, but my conscience won’t." See the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.843,844 and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.601 for more info.

Q: What does Prov 20:25 mean?
A: It is like being trapped like an animal to promise something, and then not consider the consequences of the promise until later. This can be a trap for your time, your money, or even your financial security. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1047, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.949, and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.602 for more info.

Q: How does Prov 20:26 relate to us?
A: When we see a wise leader winnowing (removing) wicked and untrustworthy people, he is doing what he is supposed to do.
A second application is that when we are in a position of responsibility, we have a duty to winnow out untrustworthy and disloyal people. Loyalty does not mean being a "yes" man and never disagreeing with you. Loyalty means doing your best, in an ethical and fair manner, for those who are paying you. Once you make a foolish decision, it is more loyal for subordinates who see the foolishness and privately tell you than for them to do nothing. Once you persist in a bad decision, and they have informed you about its foolishness, will they still follow you, or try to undercut their boss in the eyes of others? Of course, a subordinate should never acquiesce to a bad decision if it is illegal, immoral, or against what God commands.
See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1047-1048 for more info.

Q: In Prov 20:29, how is the splendor of an old man his gray head?
A: A gray head means (or at least should mean) the person has a lifetime of wisdom and experience that other people should value and learn from.

Q: In Prov 20:30 how does the blueness of a wound cleanse away evil?
A: A bruise is black and blue. This says that a beating sometimes can persuade a wicked person to change his or her ways.

 

Q: In Prov 21:1, since the Lord turns the king’s heart as He wishes, how come kings do not behave better than they have?
A: God can turn any king’s heart as He wishes, but God does not interfere with their free agency too often. Psalm 22:28 says that it is God who rules over the nations.
Looking through history, it seems God is not really trying to provide an environment where kings and others cannot do evil. Rather, God appears to be providing different environments where people can and have to make a choice. Places where God has turned a king's heart include Genesis 30:3; Genesis 40; Exodus 7:3-5 (Pharaoh); Exodus 10:1-2 (Pharaoh), Ezra 7:21 (Artaxerxes); Nehemiah 2:1-8 (Artaxerxes), Esther 6:1-2; Isaiah 10:6-7 (Tiglath-Pileser); 41:2-4; 43:3; 45:1-7 (Cyrus); Daniel 2:21; Matthew 27:19; and John 19:11. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1049, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.602, Believer's Bible Commentary p.845, and the New International Bible Commentary p.678 for more info.

Q: In Prov 21:3,27 how is doing right more acceptable than sacrifice, if they go together?
A: They do not always go together. In fact, Jesus teaches in Matthew 5:23-24 that if you are about to make a sacrifice but remember that your brother has something against you; leave the sacrifice at the altar and go reconcile with your brother first; then give your offering. Proverbs 7:13-14 gives an example of an immoral woman using the pretext of just having given a sacrificial vow, to entice a foolish young man to sleep with her. In fact, Proverbs 21:27 says that the sacrifice of the wicked is detestable to God.
Micah 6:6-9 has a similar idea. To do justly, love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God is better than thousands of rams and ten thousand rivers of oil. In 1 Samuel 15:22 Saul learned the hard way that obeying God was more important than having more sacrifices.
While the immediate context is animal sacrifices, today it can be generalized to any sacrifices.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1050, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.844, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.952, and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.424 for more info.

Q: In Prov 21:5, since God plans our steps, why should we make plans at all?
A: It is very valuable to plan and aim where you want to go. But, instead of just making plans yourself, why don't you ask God for His guidance in making plans. This verse says that diligent plans lead to prosperity. Realize, with humility, that your plans probably will not go unchanged, but it is better to plan a path, and adjust than to go nowhere. As the American general Dwight D. Eisenhower said, "plans are useless, but planning is essential." Or, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. If you aim for the stars you might not hit them, but you will shoot farther than if you aim at the ground.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1050-1051 and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.601 for more info.

Q: In Prov 21:7 what is fitting about the punishment of the wicked?
A: While God punishes the wicked, that is not what this verse says. One way they are punished is by the logical consequences of their own violence. When they do violence and cheat others they should not be surprised if others do it to them, either out of revenge or lack of respect. "Those who live by the swrod died by the sword", as Jesus says in Matthew 25:52f. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1051 and Believer's Bible Commentary p.845 for more info.

Q: In Prov 21:8, what does this say about the way of the wicked and righteous?
A: A wicked or righteous person is not just shown by what they try to do, but also by how they go about it. The wicked might say that the end justifies the means.

Q: In Prov 21:10, what do craving evil and giving no mercy have to do with each other?
A: A wicked person only wants what is evil. Often wicked people are not interested in relationships with others beyond what they can do for them. But your world looks so cramped and tiny if the only significant person in your world is you. Perhaps it is desiring to live in that world, with only yourself, that moves some people towards being more wicked.

Q: In Prov 21:13, why is it important to give mercy?
A: A lesser reason is that if you give mercy when they need it, other people are more likely to give you mercy when you need it. But a greater reason is that God commands it, and we all need mercy from God. The rich man in Luke 16:19-31 had no concern for the beggar at his gate. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1053, Believer's Bible Commentary p.845, and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.602 for more info.

Q: In Prov 21:14, how does a secret gift or a bribe pacify great wrath?
A: In 1 Samuel 25:18-33 Abigail secretly made a large gift of food to David's men after her husband rudely refused. She saved the lives of the males of her family. According to The Expositor’s Bible Commentary volume 5 p.920-921, the Hebrew word used in Proverbs 15:27; 18:16, and 21:14, mattan, means much more than a bribe. It means a gift, and it can be a gift that is proper or it can mean a bribe. The meaning in Proverbs 21:14 is neither an improper bribe nor a gift with no strings attached. Rather, it means a gift given to placate someone’s anger, especially if you have done them wrong. On the other hand, the Talmud interprets a "gift in secret" as a secret act of charity.
See the discussion on Proverbs 17:8, New International Bible Commentary p.679, and The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1053-1054 for more info.

Q: In Prov 21:16, what is the assembly of the dead?
A: This is not a congregation of which you want to be a part. It is an assembly of those who are the losers, without eternal life. Broad is the way that leads to destruction, according to Matthew 7:13-14. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1054-1055 for more info.

Q: In Prov 21:17, since those who love pleasure, wine, and oil shall not be rich, how come some financially wealthy people love pleasure and wine?
A: Three points to consider in the answer.
On earth,
those who love these things generally will not work hard to become rich. Those who already are rich and love pleasure have a high cash outflow, which can be a drain on their riches.
It is costly
to love the pleasures of life. As Jack Graham said, If your outgo exceeds you income, then your upkeep will be your downfall.
More importantly,
those who love pleasure more than God miss out completely on the true riches in Heaven.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1055 for more info.

Q: In Prov 21:20, what does this say about the wise?
A: This not only says that the wise plan, but that the wise have reserves and contingency plans. A wise person does not expect catastrophe or financial hardship to come, but the wise saves to handle that just in case. The foolish person spends all that he has.
According to Believer's Bible Commentary p.846, an alcoholic used to sell his household goods and furniture to buy whisky. After he came to Christ, someone asked if he believed that Jesus turned water into wine. He answered, "I don't know about turning water into wine, but I know that in my house He turned whiskey into furniture!"
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1056 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.951 for more info.

Q: In Prov 21:23, why is it important to watch your mouth and guard your tongue?
A: Once you insult someone, say something spiteful, or foolish, once someone has heard it you cannot unsay it. If might be appropriate to apologize, but other people know that you still cannot claim you did not have that in your heart when you said it.
See Believer's Bible Commentary p.846, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.603, and The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1057 for more info.

Q: In Prov 21:28 why is this doubly bad?
A: Here is one sin can have two consequences. The false witness telling the lie will perish. But those who trust the words of the false witness will perish too. You can be destroyed by lying, even without telling any lies yourself. You can be destroyed by believing lies. We need to pray to God to give us discernment, that we, and our relationships, are not hurt by lies.

Q: In Prov 21:30-31, how is there no wisdom or understanding or counsel against the Lord?
A: While many plan to defy God, nobody ultimately can fight God and win. As Believer's Bible Commentary p.846-847 says quoting Plumptre, Nothing succeeds against God, and Nothing avails without God.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1059 for more info.

Q: In Prov 22:1, how should we spend more time worrying about our good reputation and witness, than about our wealth?
A: If there is something you could do that could make you a lot of money, and it is legal and ethical, but it would appear you were not ethical, then don't do it. It is God who gives us wealth; our primary concern should be pleasing God.
As a side note, this verse is arranged as a Hebrew chiasm. A good name is parallel with grace, and riches is parallel with silver and gold.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.952, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.603, and the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament p.83 for more info.

Q: In Prov 22:2, how do you tell how important or valuable a person is?
A: It is actually quite simple; we are all the same. All of us, male and female, regardless of race, are made in God's image. All people, regardless of wealth or citizenship, are equally important and valuable in God's eyes, and God's view is the only one that counts. But the world does not see it that way, and sometimes people assume we see things like the rest of the world. So, we need to make sure that we are not misunderstood, and that the world sees that we believe everyone has equal dignity, worth, and value. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1060 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.952 for more info.

Q: In Prov 22:6, what exactly does this verse say?
A: It does not mean to train up a child in your way, but according to his personality. The verb not only means "teach" but also a dedicated effort to train. The same word is used to dedicate a house in Deuteronomy 20:5, the Temple in 1 Kings 8:63 and 2 Chronicles 7:5. The Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.86-87 says, "Give to the child instruction conformable to his way, so he will not, when he becomes old, depart from it. However, The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1061-1062 says the primary intent of the verse is not to train the child, in any which way is agreeable to the child's will, but ultimately there are only two ways: with and against God, and the child should be trained the first way.
Susannah Wesley, the mother of John, Charles, and fifteen other children had six rules.
1) Subdue self-will in a child and thus work together with God to save them.
2) Teach them to pray as soon as they can speak.
3) Do not give them anything they cry for. Give them only give what is good for them if they ask politely.
4) To prevent lying, punish nothing that is confessed, but never allow a rebellious, sinful act to go unnoticed.
5) Commend and reward good behavior.
6) Strictly keep all promises you have made to them.
This it taken from the Believer's Bible Commentary p.847
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.952-953, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.252-253, the New International Bible Commentary p.679, and Hard Sayings of the Bible p.287-288 for more info.

Q: In Prov 22:6, since we are to train up our children, is it OK for children to play?
A: Sure. Not only do kids learn about relationships by playing together, and practice by role-playing, it is good to have fun. In the Bible, God views boys and girls playing as a pleasant sight in Zechariah 8:5.

Q: In Prov 22:6, is this an iron-clad promise for believing parents who train their children "right"?
A: No. No amount of right training will convince God to take away a child’s free will. Even a promised child, such as Samson, still had the freedom to choose to disobey. Rather, this verse is an observation those who give godly training in a way conformable to the child, will in general see their children follow it all of their life. See When Critics Ask p.248-249, Hard Sayings of the Bible p.287-288, Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties p.252-253, and 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.156-157 for more info.

Q: In Prov 22:9, what is our responsibility toward the poor?
A: The Bible has a lot to say, but one can summarize 21 points with the three A’s): our attitude of love, what we absolutely should not do, and our actions of love.
...Attitude of Love

Do not despise the poor (Proverbs 14:21; 17:5). Remember, God made the rich, the poor, and their oppressors (Job 34:19; Proverbs 29:13). Know that God takes our giving to the poor very seriously as he did for Cornelius (Acts 10:2,4,31).
However, if someone is rich like Abraham, that does not automatically mean they are displeasing God by oppressing the poor as in Job 29:12. Abraham was an extremely wealthy man (Genesis 13:2-6), yet he would not have been called righteous in Romans 4:3 and James 3:21 if he oppressed the poor.
Some are poor because they are sluggards (Proverbs 6:9-11; 10:4; 12:24) or made rash financial commitments (Proverbs 22:26-27; 6:2-3), put up collateral for another (Proverbs 6:1,3; 11:15; 17:18; 20:16; 27:13), spent their money on pleasure (Proverbs 20:21; 29:3; James 5:5; Matthew 23:25; Amos 6:4-7), or neglect (Proverbs 27:23-24)
Others, such as Ruth and Naomi (Ruth 1:6; 2:2) are poor through no fault of their own, as were Joseph and Mary (Luke 2:24 + Leviticus 12:8). Jesus, John the Baptist, and Paul were poor.
Care about justice for the poor (Proverbs 29:7; 31:9).
Remember the poor (Galatians 2:10). Reduce poverty and see that helping the poor is as if you were helping Christ (Matthew 25:34-46).
Our ideal should be to eliminate poverty (Deuteronomy 15:4), yet we should realize that the poor will always be among us (Deuteronomy 15:11; Matthew 26:11; Mark 14:7; John 12:8).
... Absolutely Do Not

Do not oppress the poor (Proverbs 22:16; 28:3; Job 20:19; Ezekiel 18:12; 22:29; Amos 2:7; 4:1; 5:11).
Do not charge exorbitant interest (Proverbs 28:8).
Do not make unjust laws. (Isaiah 10:1-2). Do not use the courts to exploit those with less money (Proverbs 22:22-23; ~24:28; James 2:6; Amos 5:12).
Do not be apathetic toward the poor (Ezekiel 16:49; ~Luke 16:19-20) or ignore their cry (Proverbs 21:13).
Do not show partiality against the poor (Proverbs 29:14), partiality to the rich (Leviticus 19:15), partiality toward the poor (Exodus 23:3; Leviticus 19:15). The righteous care about justice for the poor (Proverbs 29:7).
Do not try to eliminate the poor from where you live (Amos 8:4; Psalm 109:16) or destroy the poor (Isaiah 32:7).
Do not preach helping the poor and not practice what you preach (James 2:15-17).
...Actions of Love

Be generous to the poor (Proverbs 19:9-10; 22:9; Isaiah 58:7-8,10) and kind to them (Proverbs 28:8).
Give to the poor. (Isaiah 1:17; 58:6-10; Jeremiah 5:28; 22:16; Galatians 2:10; Psalms 41:1; 112:9; Proverbs 14:21; 24:11-2; 28:27; 29:7; 31:9,20; Ephesians 4:28; Acts 9:36; 1 Timothy 6:18-9; James 1:27) and rescue the poor (Job 29:12);Lv25:35-37. Even give to the poor in business (Exodus 23:11; ~Ruth 2:2,6,15).
We should especially help widows and orphans. (James 1:27; Deuteronomy 15:11; Psalm 68:5).
We should especially help other believers (1 John 3:17-19; Romans 15:26).
We should especially help the sick, hungry, naked, and imprisoned. (Matthew 25:34-46; Zechariah 7:9-10;Is58:10-11;Ps69:33).
Do not give food to someone who refuses to work (2 Thessalonians 3:10). Hunger can be a good incentive to not be lazy (Proverbs 16:26).
Do not help those who are doing wicked work (2 John 10-11) or would be foolish with the money (Proverbs 1:16). Realize that some falsely claim they are poor, or rich (Proverbs 13:7).
See also Now That’s a Good Question p.521-522 for more info.

Q: In Prov 22:10, when should we disinvite someone to a meeting or not have someone as our friend?
A: In general, we want to be welcoming to people in our meetings and as friends. But this verse shows, that for some people, they need to not be invited if they are their just to cause trouble or for ulterior motives. You might first correct them; but if they don't accept the correction then cast them out right away.
If a friend wants to gossip about you, or she or he tries to use slander to separate you from your other friends, then you should separate from them. Even if a family member wants you to separate from a spouse, then you should not listen to them anymore. See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1063, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.848, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.953 for more info.

Q: In Prov 22:12, how do the eyes of the Lord preserve knowledge?
A: There are two views: preserving knowledgeable people, and preserving the knowledge of truth.
Knowledgeable people:
The NIV Study Bible p.976 says that God preserves knowledgeable ones, or wise people. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.954 says that to be wise is to be under God’s protection.
Knowledge of truth:
The New Geneva Study Bible p.12 says that God is the guardian of truth, and the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.848 adds that God will preserve truth so that it will never perish from the earth.

Q: Prov 22:13, what does this say about sluggards?
A: This shows two different things about lazy people.
1) On one hand a sluggard can come up with amazing excuses for not working or not trying.
2) But on the other hand, the sluggard is very keen on finding every possible danger to what he or she is trying to do, not matter how small the probability.
In general, when people are really, really adept at finding every possible reason, no matter how remote, as to why something is not a good idea, you might want to ask, even if all of those reasons were answered, would they even want to do it in the first place?
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.848, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.954, and The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1064 for more info.

Q: In Prov 22:15, how should we use physical punishment on a child?
A: Here are some guidelines on discipline in general.
1.
The goal of chastisement is to encourage repentance. It is painful at the time, but it is for the good of the child (Hebrews 12:2-11). Do not use physical punishment that is not for the good of the child.
2.
Do not cause any permanent physical harm to the child. Boxing a kid’s ears can lead to a hearing loss; there is never a valid reason to hit even the most defiant child in the head at all. Yanking the child very hard could pull an arm out of joint. Shaking a child, particularly a small child can lead to permanent injuries, even death.
3.
We are to use disciple for the child’s good, not to vent our emotions. If you are very angry, it is fine to tell the child that you will punish him or her, but not right now. You will wait until you cool down.
4.
The Bible is clear that physical punishment is acceptable, and in some cases it is best. Be aware that there are other forms of punishment you can use too, such as logical consequences (grounding, etc.) and natural consequences when there is no danger. A fourth-grade friend of my daughter told me that her mother always punishes her by sending her to her room. In her room it is nice, where she can play and read. But she hurriedly added, "please don’t tell my mother."
5.
We are to punish a kid for foolish disobedience, but do not punish a little kid just for being a little kid.
6.
Children should know why they are being punished and understand how they can avoid it in the future. They should not view punishment as capricious or without any cause.
7.
We should realize that small infractions should have a smaller punishment than larger things. God’s laws in the Torah also have the punishment fit the crime.
8.
When there is more than one child, the children should be disciplined equally, accounting for age. Boys and girls should be punished equally, without favoritism.
9.
You should have no regrets on doing what is best for your kids. However, feel free to apologize to them when you punish them unjustly or inappropriately. It is good for them to see that you admit you are not perfect. Often, they will respect you more for your honesty, than for denying what you both know is true.
See the discussion on 1 Kings 1:6 for more on structure and freedom in raising godly children.

Q: In Prov 22:16, why do people oppress the poor, and not so much the rich?
A: While you would think the rich or middle class would be the ones who suffer the most oppression, the truth is that it is usually the poor. The poor are easier to oppress, sometimes more desperate, and often do not have the resources, or knowledge, to stand up for themselves.

Q: In Prov 22:17ff-24:22, is this section similar to an Egyptian book, The Instruction of Amenemope (=Amen-em-Opet), written about 1300-900 B.C.?
A: When Critics Ask p.248 says, "First, there is no reason why God could not guide Solomon to use other human sources in writing God’s Word. Other authors of Scripture did this (cf. Luke 1:1-4). However, it is not clear that Solomon used this Egyptian source. For, although there are sentences and contents that are quite similar, the fact is that the differences outweigh the similarities. ... Furthermore, close examination by scholars has revealed that, if there was any borrowing, it was more likely that the Egyptian author borrowed from the Hebrew author. Ultimately, of course, God is the source of all truth, wherever it is found."
The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament
has a similar conclusion. On p.904,906 it says, "The Instruction of Amen-em-Ope (ca. 1300-900 B.C.), a king’s teachings to his son about life, using some words similar to those in Proverbs (e.g., "Listen, my son," "path of life,", "the way"). The fact that some sayings in The Instruction of Amen-em-Ope parallel parts of Proverbs (e.g., Proverbs 22:17-24:22) has raised the question of whether Proverbs borrowed from this Egyptian writing, or the Egyptian writer borrowed from Proverbs, or whether both wrote independently about common concerns.". The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament on p.954-955 looks at both sides of the issue and concludes that there was not any copying. On the other hand, the conservative Expositor’s Bible Commentary volume 5 p.883 says, "although the two collections are not identical, they are similar enough to attest direct influence." The liberal Anchor Bible Dictionary p.516 has the same conclusion.

Here is the evidence, pro and con:

Pro:
P1.
Most Proverbs were said to be written by Solomon or the authorship was not specified. However, Proverbs 22:17 on specifically say these are "teachings of the wise", implying Solomon did not write these Proverbs.
P2.
Similarities (based on When Critics Ask and The Anchor Bible Dictionary)

Proverbs


Amenemope

Subject

22:17-18

3:9-11,16

Appeal to hear

22:19

1:7

Purpose of instruction

22:20

27:7-8

Thirty sayings

22:21

1:5-6

Learning a worthy response

22:22-23

2, 4:4-5

Do not rob a wretch

22:24-25

9, 11:13-14

Avoid friendship with violent men

22:25-27

9, 13:8-9

Lest a trap ruin you

22:28

6, 7:12-13

Do not remove boundary stones

22:29

30, 27:16-17

Skill scribes will serve before kings

23:1-3

23, 23:13-18

Eat cautiously before a ruler

23:4-5

7, 9:14-10:5

Wealth flies away like an eagle/geese

23:6-7

11, 14:5-10

Do not eat a stingy person’s food

23:8

11, 14:17-18

Vomiting results

23:9

21, 22:11-12

Do not speak before just anyone

23:10-11

6, 7:12-15; 8:9-10

Do not remove boundary stones of widows

24:11

8, 11:6-7

Rescue the condemned

P3:
Amenemope has 30 chapters, and there are 30 sayings of the wise in this section of Proverbs.
Cons:
C1:
Amenemope is much longer, at 7-26 lines per chapter and 30 chapters, than this section of Proverbs.
C2:
The order is very different.
C3:
Differences (based in part on The Anchor Bible Dictionary)

Proverbs


Amenemope

Subject


23:29-35

no parallel

excessive drinking

24:12

no parallel

God weighs the heart

A photograph of part of the Instruction of Amen-em-opet is in The Bible Almanac p.376.

Q: In Prov 22:22, how do people exploit the poor?
A: You can still be lawful, according to man’s law, and yet still be evil. Some ways to exploit the poor are through the court system, unreasonably low wages, and taking advantage of the fact that they might not have savings, legal counsel, or good business sense.

Q: In Prov 22:24, why should we not make friends with an angry man?
A: There are two kinds of anger that are bad: brief uncontrollable rage, and long-term grudges. Proverbs 22:24 applies to both cases. If you associate with a hot-tempered person, you may have to defend him from the consequences of his own actions. You might falsely be considered the same as him, just by your association and defense of him. Finally, you might learn wrong things and become more hot-tempered yourself.

Q: In Prov 22:26-27, does this mean believers were to never be in debt?
A: No, this is not what the writer intended, and this is not how the Hebrew readers would understand this. For example, Deuteronomy 13:1-10 gives instructions about the seven-year "Sabbath" and the year of Jubilee for canceling debts. These special times would have been irrelevant, if no one were allowed to have any debts.
Proverbs 22:26-27 says that we should avoid living in debt, and everyone should see the wisdom of that.

Q: In Prov 22:26-27, are credit and credit cards OK?
A: Credit cards can be dangerous and not good for some people. As long as you can control your use of them, they are OK. However, whenever you are paying any interest on a credit card, because of the high interest rates, that is a sign that you are losing control of your financial judgment. See Now That’s A Good Question p.439-441 for more info.

Q: In Prov 22:29, how does a worker who excels serve before royalty?
A: While this is not a hard and fast rule, in general, if you try to excel at what you do, and deliver good value for the money, more people will want you to do work for them. Just think of Joseph, Moses, Daniel, and Nehemiah. See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.849 and The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.973,1067 for more info.

Q: In Prov 22:29, how do we honor God with our work?

A: While money are time are related to business, they are different topics that are not addressed here. Here is a list of ways we can please God with our work. You can remember the five categories with the phrase, "Put Him In The Company"

Priorities
P1.
Do not serve money or wear yourself out to get rich. (Matthew 6:24-34; Proverbs 23:4; 1 Timothy 6:9-10).
P2.
Honor the Sabbath, or else view all days as belonging to the Lord. (Isaiah 56:2,6; Romans 14:5-6; Hebrews 4:8-11) Regardless, do not overwork yourself, and have priority time for God and family.
P3.
Even in your business, be kind to the poor (Exodus 23:11; Deuteronomy 24:19-22; ~Ruth 2:2,6,15).
P4.
Do not be so busy doing your things, you do not have time to build God’s things (Haggai 1:2-15).
P5.
Work is good and given by God (Genesis 2:15). Painful toil is a curse though (Genesis 3:17-19).
P6.
You do not have time for getting revenge; leave all that to God (Proverbs 20:22; 24:28-29). Do not gloat over others (Proverbs 24:17-18).

Hard-work
D1.
Be diligent and hard-working (Proverbs 14:23). Do not be lazy. (1 Thessalonians 5:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12; Proverbs 6:6-11; 12:24,27; 15:19; Ecclesiastes 11:6; Titus 3:14).
D2.
Be skilled at what you do (Proverbs 22:29; 1 Corinthians 4:12; Ephesians 6:5-8), and do it as you were serving the Lord (Colossians 3:22-24)
D3.
Caution is good (Proverbs 22:3), but do not be scared off by unsubstantiated rumors (Proverbs 22:13, Nehemiah 6:6-13).
D4.
Do not just do what you should, do it on time, when you are supposed to (Proverbs 20:4).

Integrity
I1.
Be honest with everyone: boss, subordinates, customers, vendors, reviewers, even competitors (Proverbs 11:1; 16:11; 20:10,23; Leviticus 19:13-14,35-36; Deuteronomy 25:13-16; Micah 6:10-11).
I2.
However, being honest does not mean you have to spill your guts, and tell everyone everything you know (Proverbs 12:23; 1 Samuel 16:2-5). Hiding information is OK.
I3.
Do not cheat by secretly using differing scales (Proverbs 11:1; 16:11; 20:10,23; Leviticus 19:35-36; Deuteronomy 25:13).
I4.
Make every effort to timely repay debts. (Psalm 37:21; Romans 13:8; Proverbs 22:7; Deuteronomy 28:12) and wages (James 5:4; Deuteronomy 24:14-15).
I5.
Do not accept bribes or give improper gifts (Deuteronomy 16:19; Proverbs 15:27; 17:23; 29:4; Psalm 15:5; Ecclesiastes 7:7; Isaiah 5:13; 1 Samuel 4:3-4; 2 Chronicles 19:7)
I6.
Value and maintain a good name (Proverbs 22:1).

Thinking Ahead and Looking Around
T1.
Realize that others might use pretensions (Proverbs 13:7), deceit (Joshua 6) and give 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, Deuteronomy 16:19; Proverbs 15:27; 28:16; Psalm 15:5; Ecclesiastes 7:7; Isaiah 5:13; 1 Samuel 4:3-4; 2 Chronicles 19:7). Malicious people can use charming words (Proverbs 26:24-25). Someone can make a fortune by lying (Proverbs 21:6). Do not be crafty (Proverbs 14:17) or devious (Proverbs 21:8).
T2.
Planning is both good and essential (Proverbs 20:4,18; 21:5; 30:25). Give thought to your ways (Proverbs 14:8; Titus 3:14).
T3.
However, all our plans can come to nothing, and are based on God’s will (James 4:13-16; Proverbs 16:9; 19:21; 21:30-31; 27:1; 16:9; Luke 12:15-21)
T4.
If you are rich, do not believe everyone who says they are your faithful friend (Proverbs 20:6; 14:20).
T5.
To not make rash financial commitments (Proverbs 20:16,25). Do not be quick-tempered, or you will do foolish things (Proverbs 14:17; 19:19).
T6.
Stinginess does not make you rich (Proverbs 28:22).
T7.
Do not plan evil (Proverbs 30:32), work on evil things, or let your work advance sin, because whatever you are doing, you are doing for the Lord (Ephesians 6:7; Colossians 3:17).

Co-workers
C1.
Treat others, as you would want to be treated. If a subordinate, boss, or competitor were a member of your church, how would Jesus want you to treat him or her?
C2.
Do not be yoked with unbelievers, including business partnerships (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
C3.
Some people cannot be told some lessons; they have to experience it themselves (Proverbs 29:19). We can teach children of all ages, but do not waste time trying to teach a fool (Proverbs 1:7; 23:9; 24:7; 26:4; 14:7; 9:8; 15:5).
C4.
However, working for a large secular organization is fine, as Joseph, Daniel, Nehemiah, and Obadiah (in 1 Kings 18:3) did.
C5.
Look for opportunities to repay people’s kindness (2 Samuel 9:1; Esther 6:1-4; Proverbs 14:4).
C6.
Do not pamper subordinates (Proverbs 29:21).
C7.
Be careful in whom you hire; do not hire fools or just anybody (Proverbs 26:10). Do not listen to the advice of a fool (Proverbs 14:7). Avoid someone who talks too much (Proverbs 20:19; 17:28), is disloyal (Proverbs 17:11), hot-tempered (Proverbs 19:19; 22:24-25), or will not listen to instruction (Proverbs 19:20; 20:18).
C8.
To the extent possible, choose a boss that is fair, not hot-tempered (Proverbs 19:19; 22:24-25), an evil or violent person (Proverbs 24:1; 28:15; 29:27), tyrannical (Proverbs 28:16), a glutton (Proverbs 28:7), or a gossip who talks too much (Proverbs 20:19).
See also Sound Business Decisions by Larry Burkett for very practical advice on hiring and firing.

Q: In Prov 23:1-3, why should you not always depend on the generosity of a ruler?
A: Not all offers of generosity are genuine. Even when Esther needed to make a request, she was very cautious of her use of the king’s generosity in Esther 5:3,6.
On a humorous note, it was said that Napoleon Bonaparte was a fast eater. Whenever he invited someone to dine with him, the servants served Napoleon first. As soon as Napoleon finished, all the food was removed. Thus guests learned to eat before coming to dine with Napoleon.

Q: In Prov 23:1-3, how can you tell if someone who is giving you something has "strings attached" or ulterior motives?
A: Sometimes it is hard to tell, especially when you are clueless about what ulterior motives they might have. But always be careful not to accept favors such that you are indebted to the person. If you cannot tell a salesperson you are not going to buy, without feeling bad because all of the things he or she has given you, then you have accepted too much.

Q: In Prov 23:6, what is an evil eye here?
A: The "man with an evil eye" means a stingy man.

Q: In Prov 23:7, what is the proper translation?
A: There is uncertainty in the Hebrew here. It could mean "As a man thinks, so is he", or As he puts on a feast [stingily] so is he".

Q: In Prov 23:7, does this show our thoughts shape reality, as the Christian Science cult claims?
A: No. Four points to consider in the answer.

1. First of all, the correct meaning might be "as he puts on a feast [with stinginess] so is he".
2.
Even if the translation should be "As a man thinks, so is he", this would only affect the man. It does not say, "As a man thinks so are other people, inanimate objects, and the entire reality of the universe as we know it."
3.
The correct meaning would be that a man’s thinking and view of himself affects how he acts, and even who he is.
4.
Pretend for a second that "as a man thinks, so is all of reality" were true. This viewpoint is a philosophical curiosity called "solipsism". This view is that "I" am the only reality, and everything else in the universe is an unreal phantom made for my existence. Thus all other people, events and things do not really exist, and "me" and "my interactions" are all that is important. While this is the ultimate in selfishness, it would not do to argue with a solipsist. Why should he listen to you, since you do not really exist anyway!
See When Cultists Ask p.73 for more info.

Q: In Prov 23:9; 26:4, why should we not speak to a fool?
A: This says not to try to educate a fool since he despises knowledge and does not want to be educated. However, you might still need to refute a fool’s speech in order that the foolish person might not mislead others.

Q: In Prov 23:9, how and when should you choose to give up trying to teach someone who just does not want to be taught by you?
A: When the more you try to help them the more they despise you, that might be a sign. When you have seen that your past advice has not been followed at all, and the person did not learn, that might be another sign. When the person argues with you, over something that should not be argued about, that might also be a sign.

 

Q: In Prov 23:10; 22:28; 23:10; Dt 19:4; 27:17; Job 24:2, what is a landmark or boundary stone, and how do some remove landmarks today?
A: Unlike modern western societies, there was no county courthouse people could go to for survey records. Rather, boundary stones marked the boundary of the land a person owned. By secretly moving a boundary stone, a people could dishonestly add to their own property at the expense of their neighbors.
A landmark is a boundary stone, typically a pile of rocks neighbors set up to show the boundary between the adjoining lands. Today it would be literally digging up a property stake demarcating the boundary between two properties, and reburying it such that you would have a larger yard. People today can remove landmarks by removing the evidence that something belongs to someone. It can also include taking credit for work that others did, or submitting a patent for something that was not your own work or idea as though it was. The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1067 also mentions not respecting the property of others.
Spiritually speaking, landmarks can also be key scriptural truths, that some would want to tamper with, according to the Believer's Bible Commentary p.849.
See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.604, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.955-956, and the New International Bible Commentary p.680 for more info.

Q: In Prov 23:17 and Ps 37:4, what are some ways that people envy sinners?
A: People can envy sinners in at least four ways.
1.
The envy who sinners are, and try to emulate them.
2.
They envy both what they have, and what they could have.
3.
They envy their power.
4.
They envy their getting away with things.

When a book comes out about a famous "gangster", "madam", or evil person, if you have a strong desire to read it, it is good to ask yourself why do you want to learn more about doing evil?

Envy can be a disease, that grows, as The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1070 says.

Q: In Prov 23:23, how are we to "buy the truth and not sell it"?
A: It is worth giving up many other things for the sake of truth. One thing that can be shock to many people, Christians in particular, is that many cultures and religions attach very little importance to truth.
For example, Hinduism is known for not caring about the "law of non-contradiction". In other words, if something is not A, then the same thing cannot be A at the same time. In the Rig-Veda, one of the earliest Hindu scriptures, they mention a horse sacrifice, with no intimation that this either a joke, metaphor, or anything but a horse sacrifice. Many Hindus still "believe" the Vedas are true, but they do not do horse sacrifices.
According to the Sunni Muslim Hadiths, in a court case before a Islamic court, if three people testified, a non-Muslim, a devout Muslim woman, and a Muslim man who was caught in a lie just a few minutes before, the Muslim liar would be trusted, the non-Muslim’s testimony would have almost no weight, and the Muslim woman’s testimony would have half the weight of the Muslim man’s testimony.
In Mormonism, since Joseph Smith Jr. was convicted of the occult practice of glass-looking (in a small town where it is highly unlikely there would be other Joseph Smith Jr’s,), the fact that he was convicted of this (misdemeanor) crime of occultic behavior is of little concern to many Mormons.
In Rev. Moon’s Unification church, they have the doctrine of "heavenly deception", where it is OK to lie for a good cause. While the Unification Church has always been strongly anti-Communist, in this point they are only one very small step from the Communist view, that defines "truth" as whatever helps Communism.
With this in mind, Christians do not only have to show people what the truth is, they have to also show people that truth is important, and choosing to be blind to the truth can have serious and eternal consequences.

Q: In Prov 24:1-4,19-20, how do you handle it when someone who does not seem to work as hard as you, and is not so godly as you, is far more prosperous or healthy than you?
A: You have a choice to make; do you want to try to keep up with them, or do you want to follow God? Keep your eyes on the prize. Eternal life in heaven, and a joyful life for you and your family on earth, are worth a lot more than material possessions. We need to trust in the Lord and hope for our future.
Sometimes envious people have a natural tendency to try to bring down the person they are envying, whether by fair means or foul. Make sure you do not try that at all. Some arrogant people will use violence to get ahead. Others will use more subtle means to get ahead by trying to bring others down. Make sure you do not use their methods.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.852, the New International Bible Commentary p.681, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.425, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.605, The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1073, and the answer on Proverbs 23:17 and Psalm 37:4 for more info.

Q: In Prov 24:5-6, how is a wise person stronger than a powerful one?
A: Because wisdom can achieve much more than brute force; it can plan a winning strategy and use wise tactics. Someone once asked: what was the most feared weapon in the hands of an infantry soldier? The answer was: a radio. Because with a radio the radio operator could call down air strikes. See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.425 for more info.

Q: In Prov 24:7, why do some foolish people not only lack wisdom, but are unable to ever achieve wisdom?
A: This refers to a hardened fool: 'ewil in Hebrew. There are a few reasons.
Too much false information:
It is not because of what they don't know; but rather because they know too many things that are not true. If they are given wisdom to follow, they will not recognize it as wisdom and refuse to follow it.
Arrogance:
The fool is very concerned about the source of the advice, and will not take any advice, no matter how wise it is, from a source he does not want to take advice from. When you refuse to take any commands or advice from a child, a woman, a man, or someone from a particular economic or ethnic background, simply because of who they are, then you can get to see physically what an arrogant person looks like. You can just look in a mirror!
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.852, the New International Bible Commentary p.682, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.958, and The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1073 for more info.

Q: In Prov 24:8-9 what is the difference between doing evil and plotting to do evil?
A: Both are evil. On one hand plotting revenge or another evil might not be as bad if you do not carry it out. On the other hand, plotting evil can be worse if it is plotting evil for others as well as themselves to carry out.

Q: In Prov 24:10, how can we be strong on the day of adversity or trouble?
A: The Hebrews words for "trouble" râh or sārāh, and "small" sar, are similar, so this an easy-to remember pun. It is like saying, "you are too soft if you choke in hard times." It is similar to sports, where how well you perform depends on how well you prepare. Being strong does not only mean doing the right things and not doing the wrong things (like the priest and Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan). It also means deliberately helping others in need.
God does not want us to be fair-weather believers, but rather all-weather believers. The missionary C.T. Studd wrote about "chocolate Christians" who look firm, but when even a little heat comes, they melt. Another famous missionary, Amy Carmichael, wrote "Christ, if ever my footsteps should falter; And I be prepared for retreat; If desert and thorn cause lamenting; Lord, show me Thy feet. Thy bleeding feet, Thy nail-scarred feet, My Jesus, show me Thy feet. O God, dare I show Thee My hands and my feet?" Taken from the Believer's Bible Commentary p.852.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.958, New International Bible Commentary p.682, The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1074, and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.605 for more info.

Q: In Prov 24:11, does "delivering those who are drawn toward death" justify almost any means to stop abortions?
A: No. You can never take one single command in Scripture to justify ignoring other commands. While there is a hierarchy of obedience (for example, obey human governments except where they order you to do something contrary to God’s law), use of murder to stop murder is not justified. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.288-289 and When Critics Ask p.249-250 for more info.

Q: In Prov 24:11-12, how can we get in trouble for neutrality?
A: James 4:17 says if you know the good you should do and fail to do it, then for you it is sin. Sin is not only doing wrong things; it is also doing nothing when you should be doing good things. When Jews were being led off to gas chambers in World War II, some did not care, because after all, it was not happening to them. When we turn a blind eye to injustice, we are disobeying God's call to help the oppressed and not being salt and light in the world like we could be.
See also the Believer's Bible Commentary p.852 for a different but complementary answer.

Q: In Prov 24:13-14, what is the meaning of honey be eaten here?
A: Honey was the sweetest food known to the ancient world. Honey here is a metaphor for wisdom. When a Jewish parent taught his children God's word, they would often put honey outside the scroll. The child could lick off the honey, a treat, before opening the scroll. Wisdom should be pleasing to the spirit, as honey is to someone's taste buds. See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.425 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.958 for more info.

Q: In Prov 24:15-16, what is this saying about homes?
A: This refers to repossession of a home or property for unpaid debts, or it can also refer to eviction. If someone is behind on their payments and in the process of catching up, we should be very reluctant to take possession or evict them. God will hold us to account for how compassionate we are towards those who legitimately need our help. Some lenders can be predatory towards others, and we are not to be.
Also, if a person has been evicted or had a property repossessed, it can be very difficult to get another loan in the future.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.852-853 for more info.

Q: In Prov 24:17-18, 17:5, is gloating always a sin?
A: It is generally wrong to be vindictive or gloat over the fall of another human. We are commanded not to gloat when an enemy falls, without qualifying whether the enemy is righteous or unrighteous. Rather than that, Matthew 5:44 says to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us.
On the other hand, it is OK to rejoice when a wicked ruler or government is overthrown, as Proverbs 11:10f says. See the New International Bible Commentary p.682, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.958-959, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.853, The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1076, and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.606 for more info.

Q: In Prov 24:21-22, what are some ways a person can wrongly, or not wrongly, be disloyal towards those in authority?
A: While there are explicit ways, there are also more subtle ways too.
Wrongly:
Some ways are secretly sabotaging their work, character, or reputation, behind their back. Working for a competitor while you are being paid by a company.
Not wrongly:
It is possible to renounce your loyalty in an honorable way, without being disloyal. As one example, a distant relative of Adolf Hitler, also surnamed Hitler, served in World War II, in the U.S. army. In the American Revolution, the patriots were not traitors, because they openly renounced their loyalty to England, as the Declaration of Independence states. After the American Civil War, Confederate leaders were called traitors. But even though slavery was wrong, it is a falsehood to call them traitors. They honestly and openly and renounced their loyalty to the United States and joined the Confederacy.

Q: In Prov 24:23-24, Dt 1:17; 16:19; 17:5; 18:5; 28:21, what are the multiple bad consequences of showing partiality in judging?
A: There are at least four consequences.
The wronged party: Of course, the injustice to a wronged party is a primary wrong, but there are other consequences too.
The benefiter of partiality will learn that merit and hard work do not count much, it is only who you know or pay a bribe to.
But others will also learn a lesson that their working hard and improving their skills is not worth much either. Then management can start to wonder why nobody is working hard to trying to excel. They don't realize that they themselves might have sent that message, either be being unfair and partial towards some, or else by giving the appearance of partiality.
The one judging will lose respect in the eyes of peers and subordinates. They are also liable to be made a scapegoat by those over him or her.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.853, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.959, and the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.141-142 for more info.

Q: In Prov 24:28-29 and Ex 20:6, why would someone be a false witness against their neighbor?
A: It could be for revenge, as Proverbs 24:38 implies. We should not be vengeful, as Romans 12:19 and Deuteronomy 32:35 says. Or it could be just for the benefit of seizing their property. See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.425 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.959 for more info.

Q: In Prov 24:30-34 what does this say about the consequences of laziness?
A: This can be read on two levels.
Physically
, they might have a good land for a fruitful vineyard, but it is not fruitful. The reason given is not because they did anything wrong, but because of what they failed to do. Vineyards grow fine by themselves, but they allowed too many other things, thorns and nettles to grow there too. They did not keep up the wall, which would have saved them time by helping keep out the thorns and nettles. But once they figure out they have no crop to sell, they are stuck, since there is no time left to do anything about it. The time to do something about it was months before, so the fruit would have time to grow.
Spiritually
, when we are lazy concerning our spiritual advancement, we can have the same problem. We are fruitless as our spiritual life is infested with the thorns and nettles of the flesh and the world. We are not cutting them down like we should be. What are you doing or changing in your life to spiritually advance to become more Christlike?
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.853 and Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.146-148 for more info.

Q: In Prov 24:30-34, what specifically can we do to build walls and clear our thorns and nettles in our spiritual life?
A: The first step is to assess where we are in light of where God wants us to be. Are we burdened under any besetting sins, that we commit over and over again? If so, how are we going to use God's power, and the help of our brothers and sisters in the Lord, to break free from that. Are there areas that we should be growing in but have not been, such as prayer, Bible study, witnessing, or loving our spouse and family better? Do you need a more Christlike mouth? Pray to God to show you how He looks at your life, both the good and the bad. Perhaps even the good could still use improving.
A second step follows the first: set a goal on where you think you need to change the most in the immediate future. You should be different, more Christlike, five years from now. How are you going to get there?
A third step is to have a plan. It should be realistic, actionable, and measurable.
A fourth step might be to ask another believer to help keep you accountable for sticking to your plan. It is still your responsibility, not theirs, to stick to your plan, but they can encourage you to persevere.
Finally, as it could be helpful for us to have an accountability partner, perhaps we can also help be an accountability partner for others.

Q: In Prov 24:23-24, Prov 25, Prov 30 and Prov 31, are these chapters later "add-ons"?
A: While these two chapters could have been Solomon writing truths he heard from others’ teaching, there is no reason to conclude this had to be the case. This might have been added to Proverbs later. Proverbs 25 in particular was a collection of Solomon’s proverbs added in Hezekiah’s time, hundreds of years later.
In Psalms, Psalm 127 and Psalm 137 were added on later, after David’s time.
See When Critics Ask p.250 for more info.

Q: In Prov 25:1, since Hezekiah’s men copied/transcribed these proverbs, were these sayings scripture prior to their being copied down?
A: Yes, but there is more to consider here. In general, when something is copied down, it can be copied exactly, the order changed, some things rephrased, or deleted. For example, Jeremiah "dictated" to his scriber Baruch in Jeremiah 45:1-2. However, this was written before many Jews went to Egypt, and the Septuagint shows that the version of Jeremiah that the Egyptian Jews used had many parts in a different order than the Hebrew. If and when the order is changed, without changing the meaning, it can still be all God’s word either way.
Hezekiah reigned from 716-687 B.C. While we have no basis of independently cross-checking the work of Hezekiah’s men, we do not believe they added or deleted anything significantly that would not make it infallible. We believe it was copied accurately because of God’s promise to preserve His word (Psalm 119:89) and that it would not depart from His people forever (Isaiah 59:21).
See the New International Bible Commentary p.683 and The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1078 for more info.

Q: In Prov 25:2, how is it the glory of kings to search out what God has hidden?
A: One might wonder if it is proper for humans to try to discover and reveal to others things that God did not make obvious. Proverbs 25:2 assures us that is fine. A piece of trivia is that during the Puritan revival in England, the percentage of Puritans in scientific societies was higher than the percentage of Puritans in the total population. In Matthew 13:10-15, Jesus spoke in parables so that those searching for truth would find it, but it would be hidden from others not looking for truth.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.854 for more info.

Q: In Prov 25:3, how is the heart of a king unsearchable?
A: Sometimes a common person cannot see why a king makes the decision he makes. This is because the common person does not know all the other factors and circumstances the king sees. How much more that we cannot understand why God does some of the things He does, because He sees all the factors and circumstances we do not see.

Q: In Prov 25:4-5, what is taking away wickedness like taking away dross?
A: Dross is the useless part of the silver ore that must be separated from the valuable silver. When you take away wicked counselors from the kingdom, not only do you have fewer wicked people, but others are not demoralized seeing wickedness in high places. A just government must have just officials.
In many people's lives there are commendable qualities, but there are wicked things too. To really shine for Christ, while it can be good to polish the good things, it is often more important to remove the wicked sins we might have.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.854, The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1079-1080 and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.606 for more info.

Q: In Prov 25:7-9, why should you be slow to bring things to court?
A: While suing someone or initiating a court case can backfire on you, that is not a primary reason. You should avoid the appearance of evil (2 Corinthians 8:22; 1 Thessalonians 5:22), such as using courts to oppress others or to gain an unjust verdict. Genuine Christians are not to go to a secular court against other genuine Christians (1 Corinthians 6:1-8). It is OK for Christians to sue others and go to court in certain instances, such as when they clearly are in the right. However, even in those cases, it is better to try to reason with the other party prior to ending up in court.

Q: In Prov 25:9, how should we not disclose a secret to another?
A: We can apply this to our life in a number of ways.
Explicitly
, this means not to tell others what someone secretly told you in confidence.
Private conversations:
But there might also be private discussions you had, where even though nobody forbade you from disclosing it, it is better to tell others what they don't need to know. Sometimes a problem between two people that can be handled privately can no longer be handled well once it is public. It could harm the reputation of the person you talked with. But when you disclose private things of others, it can harm your own reputation too. Be very careful about divulging secrets in order to defend yourself in an argument.
Finally
, do not gossip about other people. There will be times where you are told something about a third person, that you really should not have been told. We should not every disclose those things to anyone else, unless there is a compelling reason to do so (like preventing a crime).
See the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.154-155, The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1081, and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.854-855 for more info.

Q: In Prov 25:9-10 when should we reveal a secret?
A: A secret is something that few others know, even if it is not called a secret. I used to think, "When we believe the originator does not care, it is fine to mention to others", but I was sure wrong.
Check with the person first. Sometimes what you think is unimportant, and you would not mind others knowing about you, can be a private thing to someone else.
Of course, if a criminal tells you secretly that he or she is going to harm someone, you should tell the authorities.

Q: In Prov 25:11-12, why should we correct someone, and when should we not?
A: A person might not know they are doing things wrong, or not doing things the best way. A wise person would be appreciated if you correct them, but a foolish person might take offense. People naturally don't like to say something that might potentially give offense, so they don't want to give correct, sometimes justifying it by "not judging" or "being positive". But Proverbs 25:11-12 is encouragement, as well as a command, not to do what might be natural, but to do what is best for the person.
You should try to determine if they want correction, and if correcting them will do them any good. On the other hand, sometimes even if it will not do them any good, it might be helpful for the other people hearing the correction.
When you are the one being corrected (especially privately), you should be appreciative that they care enough to correct you. You should even be appreciative when they have the best of intentions, but you know that their correction is incorrect of off-base.
Most see "golden apples as sculptures of apples made of gold. However, the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.158-159 thinks it what ancient Indians would call golden apples, that is, oranges. Imported oranges would be a real delicacy.
See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.606 for more info.

Q: In Prov 25:14, how is boasting of gifts never given similar to clouds without rain?
A: Farmers who need rain are even more disappointed when rain clouds appear, but rain still does not come. Likewise, to someone who needs money, talent, or something else, it is frustrating when some person promises to help, but then lets you down. It would feel better to never had heard the offer in the first place. Do not promise something you cannot deliver. Be careful of over-promising and under delivering, because it can catchup with you. A western slang expression for a boastful person like this is a "windbag".
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.855, The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1082, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.961 for more info.

Q: In Prov 25:15, how can a tongue, even more so a gentle tongue, break a bone?
A: Proverbs 25:15 shows that by persuasion, a gentle tongue can persuade a ruler, who of course, has an army.

Q: In Prov 25:17, how do we tell how often to visit our neighbor’s home?
A: Just like eating too much honey wears out your taste for it, going to your neighbor's house too often can wear out your welcome. It is usually fine when you are invited, though among close friends, asking to come when not invited is OK too. Some signs to see are if the people seem glad to see you and they are hospitable. Also, check how often you invite them to your house, and how often they come.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1083, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.855 and the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.163 for more info.

Q: Where does Prov 25:17 apply?
A: This verse speaks of houses, but today it is applicable to borrowing other people’s cars, or always getting rides from them too. When you first ask, make sure there is a way they can politely decline without feeling embarrassed. After they have helped you for a while, still ask periodically so that if they want to stop helping, they have the freedom to do so and not feel coerced to do something they no longer want to do.

Q: In Prov 25:18, how is a false witness like a club, sword, or sharp arrow, and what is the difference?
A: Exodus 20:16, Deuteronomy 5:20, and Proverbs 14:5 also say don't bear false witness, but they do not give metaphors of the consequences like Proverbs 25:18 does.
A club just smashes everything on the surface of it hits. Think of it as a 3-dimensional general mauling.
A sword does not damage most of an enemy; it just creates a 2-dimensional slice in a plane. Some lies do not destroy everything, they just sever a relationship, or an opportunity.
An arrow that hits an animal does no damage at all to 99% of the animal. But the 1-dimensional point of contact can cause blood loss that can kill.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.855 and The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1083 for more info.

Q: In Prov 25:19, since it is not wise to rely on the unfaithful, how do we discern who is faithful?
A: Sometimes you have to pick among a choice of candidates for a job, and sometimes you have only one person, and you have to decide whether or not to trust them with something. Either way, this can be difficult to do, but there are a number of things to help.
Prayer:
Ask God to show you whether or not the person is faithful.
Words:
What do they say? How important is faithfulness to them?
Past actions:
How have they been faithful or not in the past? If the are unfaithful in little things, they will likely be unfaithful in big things.
What others say:
What do others say about what they have done in the past?
If they failed to deliver something in the past was it:
a) due to circumstances beyond their control
b) not beyond their control and they realize their mistake
c) they thought everything was beyond their control, but it was really not.

Q: In Prov 25:20, what are some inappropriate ways to cheer someone up?
A: If we are doing something for somebody else, it should be something that helps them. If singing does not help them at this time, we should do what is helpful instead.
The first step is to listen, and see where they are at emotionally and in their thinking. It is OK to sit with the person and not say anything. Sometimes a person might ask for advice on how to fix a problem, but sometimes they don't ask, because they do not want to listen to your advice; at least not at this time.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1085 for more info.

Q: In Prov 25:20, what is vinegar poured on soda?
A: What the KJV calls "nitre", the NASB, NIV, and NKJV translate as "soda", and The NIV Study Bible p.981 says this is probably sodium carbonate. The NRSV translates this as "a wound", with a footnote saying it could also mean "lye". Today, even many children know that vinegar on baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) produces a vigorous reaction of bubbles, as the acid reacts with the soda to release carbon dioxide gas.

Q: In Prov 25:21-22 and Rom 12:20, what does it mean here to heap coals upon the head of an enemy?
A: This is a repeat of the answer on Romans 12:20.
Christians from Chrysostom to modern times unanimously interpret this as saying Christians should not get revenge. However, there are four views as to what the burning coals mean. The first two are correct, and the last three are not.
(correct) Conquering an enemy with love:
John Chrysostom in his Epistle to the Romans Homily 22 says that a Christian’s kindness and gentle laughing at insults shows our lack of animosity and the foolishness and needlessness of the enemy’s charges. The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.606 also talks about this.
(correct) Assisting with Penitence:
Being nice to your enemies will make them feel a burning of shame, and it will convict them when they realize they are acting evil toward you, and you are acting loving toward them. The New Bible Dictionary (Eerdmans’ 1962 p.242) and the Geneva Study Bible mention that coals in Romans 12:20 is a metaphor for shame. The NIV Study Bible p.1726, The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1084, and the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.167-168 say that this might help bring about the person’s repentance.
(not correct) Punishment:
Psalm 140:10 says that burning coals falling on a person was a punishment for the wicked. Being kind to them, would both make them feel embarrassed, and leave the vengeance to God. The NIV Study Bible p.981-982 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.961 mention this view.
(not correct) Assisting with Purification:
Heap burning coals would be like God had a coal put in Isaiah’s mouth in Isaiah 6:5-7. See Hard Sayings of the Bible p.572-574 for more info on this interpretation and how Brauch feels that burning coals has a positive meaning, not a negative one. Brauch also mentions an ancient Egyptian custom in which a person who had done wrong would show his penitence by carrying a dish of burning coals on his head. The NIV Study Bible p.981-982 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.961 also mention this. However, this could show shame, not that our kindness somehow purifies his sin.
While the first three interpretations are complementary, the following are very different.
(not correct) General Assistance:
A fourth view some have is that in ancient times when someone’s fire went out, they would travel around the village with a basket on their head, and the neighbors would each put one coal in so that they would have enough coals for a fire. This is mentioned in The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.961. However, I have seen no documentation for them carrying a pan on their heads for this purpose in ancient times.

Q: In Prov 25:26, what are righteous people who falter before the wicked like?
A: They seem to be strong Christians, but when an enemy such as persecution, hard times, or temptation comes, they are not what they seemed to be. They can be useless or even counter-productive for the Kingdom of God. It is like looking where they should be clear, pure water, and you are disappointed and still thirsty. Were they strong believers who fell in this situation, or were they never strong; they are just now showing their true colors. That is for God to decide, not us. But wherever they are, we can work to help them return to Christ, or come to Christ whatever the case may be.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.855, New International Bible Commentary p.683, The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1085-1086, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.961 for more info.

Q: In Prov 25:27, why is it not good to eat too much honey?
A: Eating a large quantity of sweets can make someone feel sick to their stomach, but there are deeper meanings here. Honey is not evil, but even doing morally neutral things to excess is wrong. Proverbs 25:27 compares honey to praise for a person. We can enjoy it, but we are not to live for it. In other words, as 1001 Bible Questions Answered p.359 says, "as you should not try to eat too much sweetness, for men to seek their own glory is grievous.".

Q: In Prov 25:27, why should we not eat too much honey, since Prov 24:17 says we should eat honey?
A: Honey back then was like candy today. This is the difference between enjoying something, and living only for something, but there is more to it than that. In ancient times when fathers would have their sons read from scrolls from scripture, they would put a bit of honey on the sealed scroll. The child would have the enjoyable task of licking the honey off, just prior to reading the scroll. Enjoying a bit of honey is good. However, emptying the honey pot, and not reading from scripture were both excessive. For little kids, there is always a point where you need to teach them that even good things cannot be done to excess.

Q: In Prov 26:1, what is wrong with honor for a fool?
A: Proverbs 26:1 shows that honor is out of place and actually destructive.
Out of place:
Snow in summer will make you either doubt it was summer, doubt it was snow, or doubt that the snow came from nature. Honor for a fool makes someone either think the person is not a fool, doubt the judgment of those giving honor, or doubt that honor and respect have any meaning anymore.
Destructive:
Rain is often good, but it can sometimes not only delay harvest, but cause the harvested crops to spoil. Likewise, following a fool’s words can not only delay following wise advice, but sometimes can be counter-productive or make it impossible to later follow the best way.

Q: In Prov 26:1, since we are not to honor fools, how are we to honor government leaders when they are wicked or fools?
A: There is a difference between honor for a person as Proverbs talks about, and honor for a position as Romans 13:7 says. 1 Peter 2:17 specifically distinguishes between the honor one must show their master, while pointing out that the master may not be a good man. See the next question for more info.

Q: In Prov 26:1, what is respect and honor, broadly defined?
A: The Bible gives examples of four types of proper honor, and four types of improper honor. In general, proper honor involves speaking respectfully, listening to them, and gratitude. Improper honor involves flattery, deception, and saying things are good when they are not. Here are four types of honor, and each can be proper or improper.
Position:
government, law enforcement, church leaders, husband, parents. However, you do not need to submit to improper authorities, such as gang leaders. You also do not want to obey even proper authorities in areas where they tell you to do something wicked. (Fearing man instead of God can be a snare as Proverbs 29:25-26 shows.)
Abilities:
knowledge, intelligence, judgment, athletics, wealth, etc. We are not to listen to a fool’s judgment.
Actions:
love, protection, prayer, giving, Christian work in general. However, there is no point in honoring one who boasts of gifts he does not give.
Character:
integrity, moral purity, diligence, generosity, etc.
We should not admire those who skillfully get away with crimes or doing evil. There may be very successful and also very cruel kings, but they are not "great" kings or caliphs.
Honor and respect can be different. Even when you cannot honor someone, you can still show respect.

Q: In Prov 26:2, why are we sometimes cursed without cause, and should we be concerned about that?
A: Just as quick-flying sparrows could fly close around you, but they will never land on you, these kind of curses and bad things can appear more ominous than they are. There are two answers to the first part, and two for the second part.
a) Sometimes you might be corrected, rebuked, cursed, or publicly accused ridiculed, for what the speaker thinks is a good reason, though the speaker might be very mistaken. Either you did not do those things, the speaker is questioning your motives, or the speaker thinks those things are bad, when you were actually were doing what God wanted.
b) Even the speaker does not see a reason to talk to you or about you like that, but the speaker does not care. They do not see any problem with disrespectfully reviling others, especially in regard to political things. They do not realize that it hurts their own credibility, and hinder you wanting to work with them in the future. Some politicians might wonder why they do not get any respect from their opponents. Perhaps if they gave more respect to others they might get more respect.
We should both not be concerned and be concerned. We should not be concerned in the sense that we should feel the least bit of guilt, shame or other bad feelings. But on the other hand, sometimes their criticism can be at the level of slander and gossip, and those statements, even though they are lies, can do harm to our reputation, or relationships and even our witness. Do not what you know is good be spoken of as evil, as Romans 14:16 says.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.857 for more info.

Q: In Prov 26:4-5, why do these two parts of the same verse sound almost contradictory?
A: This deliberate juxtaposition is what today we would call "being between a rock and a hard place." You have some difficulties if you do answer a fool, and other difficulties if you do not answer a fool. Be careful in answering not to give up your "high ground". See When Critics Ask p.250 for more info.

Q: In Prov 26:6 what does "drink damage" mean?
A: The NASB and NIV translate this as "drinking violence". The NRSV says "drinking down violence". The meaning is that just as no one would want to drink harm to themselves, one should not want to send a message via a fool.

Q: In Prov 26:7 (KJV), how are the legs of the lame not equal?
A: The NASB translates this as "legs which hang down". The NIV, NKJV, and NRSV translate this as "legs that hang limp".

Q: In Prov 26:8, what is wrong with binding a stone in a sling?
A: While the sling does not throw the stone at the proper time, if the stone is tied in, the sling can release the stone at an improper time, injuring the thrower or a friend. Some people and things, like stones need a proper amount of freedom, which a fool might not give.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.857 for more info.

Q: In Prov 26:9, how can some people misuse words of wisdom like a thorn?
A: They can use wisdom to hurt others instead of building others up. A drunkard with a branch from a thorn bush does not know if he will hit himself or someone else. If you give a bouquet of beautiful roses, thorns and all, to a two-year old the result will not be good, either for the two-year old or those around them. And the two-year old as no idea about the damage he or she is about to inflict on themselves or others. Likewise, a drunkard might be hurt by the thorn in his hand, and not even feel it.
See the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.182-183, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.962, and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.857 for more info.

Q: In Prov 26:10 what is the best translation of this verse?
A: There is a wide variation of translation for a couple of reasons. Hebrew was not written with vowels, so the word many translations translate as "archer" was translated as "great God" by others. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1089 says it is difficult to translate because the first word rab, can mean "archer", "master", or "much". The word meholel can mean "Wound" or "Bring forth". Also, the words "transgressor" and "passer-by" have an overlapping root meaning according to Rev. Walter Snyder and printed in Christian News. Here are some translations.
"The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth the transgressors." (KJV)
"Great is the Former of all things; but he who hires a fool is like one who hires those passing by. (Green’s Literal translation)
"The great God who formed everything gives the fool his hire and the transgress his wages" (NKJV)
"Like an archer who wounds at random is he that hires a fool or any passer-by." (NIV)
"Like an archer who wounds everybody is one who hires a passing fool or drunkard." (NRSV)
"A master can product anything, But he who hires a dullard is as one who hires transients." (Jewish JPS)
"All the flesh of fools endures much hardship; for their fury is brought to nought." (Septuagint)

Q: In Prov 26:11 and 2 Pet 2:22, how do fools return to their folly?
A: They repeat their mistakes because they do not learn from them. Even worse, they start to think it normal to repeat the same mistakes over and over. As one famous quote says, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.". This quote was first known to be in a discussion of al-Anon in October, 1981 according to https://quoteinvestigator.com/2017/03/23/same/ (Dec 12, 2021).
Furthermore, Dogs are not disgusted by things they ought to be disgusted by.
See the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.188, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.858, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.962 for more info.

Q: In Prov 26:12, why is there more hope for a fool than for someone who is wise in his own eyes?
A: The Hebrew word here for fool is k’ciyl. This does not mean a simple, naïve person, but rather someone who knows better. It does not mean an unteachable, hardened fool, but still someone who is wicked.
A fool who sees that they need to learn more might be a fool, but at least they see a need to grow out of their foolishness. We should have the attitude that "every day is a school day, with an opportunity to learn something new." A person who is wise in their own eyes is already a fool, and they are the type of fool that does not see any need to grow, learn, and change.

Q: In Prov 26:13-16, what is this teaching us about lazy sluggards?
A: There are three characteristics of many habitually lazy people.
Too cautious:
They are overly-cautious when it comes to finding potential dangers and other reasons not to work.
Predictable:
They might have the appearance of activity. You can move a door many different ways, but one edge always is connected to the hinges. A sluggard can appear to do many things, but as long as he does not have to move from his lazy position, he will only "rotate" on the bed. There is plenty of motion, but no progress.
Rationalization:
A sluggard can be expert at rationalizing his behavior; lazy does not mean stupid. He can be very clever at making convincing excuses, convincing at least to himself, because a sluggard has a tendency to be wise in his own eyes (Proverbs 26:16).
So if you have seven friends, or at least one or two, saying you need to exercise more, pray more, serve more, read the Bible more, or another good thing, and yet simply ignore what you know is good advice, what is your clever excuse?
See the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.189 and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.858 for more info.

Q: In Prov 26:17, how do people today sometimes meddle in quarrels that are not their own?
A: People sometimes like to put themselves in a position of judge and policeman when neither side asks for their help. One can help when one side asks for help, and humanitarian concerns and justice do not prohibit it.

Q: In Prov 26:20-22, of course gossip and slander are wrong, but why do some people have a love of doing it anyway?
A: It is compared to a person's desire for delicacies to eat. Why do some children like to play with fire. It might be because they feel they have control over the very destructive potential. A person might like the feeling of control of a powerful saying; but the paradox is, as soon as they say it they have lost that control. Other people get a delight in the unhappiness of others.
This appeared in the Atlanta Journal: by Morgan Blake, a sportswriter. "I am more deadly than the screaming shell of a howitzer. I win without killing. I tear down homes, break hearts, and wreck lives. I travel on the wings of the wind. No innocence is strong enough to intimidate me, no purity pure enough to daunt me. I have no regard for truth, no respect for justice, no mercy for the defenseless. My victims are as numerous as the sands of the sea, and often as innocent. I never forget and seldom forgive. My name is gossip!" This is quoted from the Believers Bible Commentary p.859
When someone is gossiping to you, you should discourage their gossiping. You could says "What is that to me", or "What is that to you".
See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.607 for more info.

Q: In Prov 26:21-22 and Prov 6:19, what are some ways people wrongly stir up strife?
A: People can unintentionally stir up strife that they later regret. However, more commonly people do not care if they stir up strife or they want to start strife when they have anger (Proverbs 29:22), wrath [great anger] (Proverbs 30:33), and pride (Proverbs 28:25).

Q: In Prov 26:22 (KJV) and (NKJV), what is a tale bearer?
A: The NIV and NET Bible translate this as a "gossip", and the NASB and NRSV translate this as "whisperer".

Q: In Prov 26:23 should this Hebrew word be translated as "like silver-dross" or "like glaze"?
A: The (KJV), (NKJV), (NASB), and (Green’s Literal Translation) have "silver-dross". However, according to Ancient Orient and Old Testament p.163, a comparison with Ugaritic shows that this word is "glaze". The (NRSV) has "glaze" saying this is a correction and the Hebrew is "silver of dross". The (NIV) says, "glaze" with a footnote that this is a different word division in Hebrew, the Masoretic text says, "of silver dross".

Q: In Prov 26:24 (KJV) and (NRSV), what does the word "dissembleth" mean?
A: This means to hide their intentions or disguise themselves with their lips, as other translations say.

Q: In Prov 26:25, what are seven abominations in the hateful person’s heart?
A: This verse does not say, and other verses in Proverbs to do specify either. Rather, seven here means a large number, or that the heart is completely abominable, not merely in one way, but many ways.

Q: In Prov 26:27; Ps 7:15; 9:15; 35:8; 57:6, why does scripture of this recurring theme of a person being destroyed by their own devices?
A: Some people in parenting call these "logical consequences". Many people who do self-destructive actions either do not know it, or else downplay the seriousness, or downplay the probability of consequences happening to them.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.963 for more info.

Q: In Prov 27:1; Lk 12:16-21, and Jms 4:13, what are at least four reasons it is not good to boast about tomorrow?
A: The Hebrew word here can mean "praise" as well as "boast". Here are at four things.
It is foolish thinking, to think you can know for certain what will happen tomorrow. You could not even wake up tomorrow morning.
It is presumptuous towards God to tell Him you can handle tomorrow yourself. The future is God's not ours. Don't take things for granted. As The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.607-608 says, "The hospital emergency room is full of people who had plans for tomorrow. So is the cemetery."
It is arrogant toward others to give the impression that you are so secure and sure of yourself, that you can guarantee things about tomorrow. James 4:13-16 echoes this, and adds that instead of saying "we shall do this or that", you should say "if the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that."
It is deluding yourself, like the rich man in Luke 12:16-21, that you can trust in your riches or security, instead of trusting in God.
This verse is not against making plans about tomorrow, but rather boasting you know for certain what will happen tomorrow.
See the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.198, The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1094, the New International Bible Commentary p.684, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.963, and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.859 for more info.

Q: In Prov 27:3, why is a provocation/anger by a fool feel so heavy?
A: It is one thing to be called foolish, but it can feel even worse to be called foolish by someone you know is a fool. On a lighter note, it is similar to when your three-year old calls you a baby, or says you are silly.
When a foolish person provokes you it is sometimes hard to answer because of their context of foolishness. For example, when someone believes in science as a religion, over God, and they know very little about science, and you know science fairly well, it can be hard to talk with them in terms they understand.
The Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.199 says that according to a Jewish proverb, one can know a man by his wine glass, his purse [wallet] and his anger.
See also The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1095 for more info.

Q: In Prov 27:4, how is jealousy worse than other wrath?
A: Jealousy is an evil often talked about in Proverbs: 3:31; 6:34; 14:30; 23:17; 24:1,19. Regular wrath and anger might go away or be appeased, while jealousy often not. Jealousy, when it is rational, can see someone as an obstacle to what they could have achieved in the past, or in the way of what they can still gain now. But jealousy is often irrational, seeing to remove the obstacle, without any thought of the consequences. A boy who kills another boy, in his own front yard, because the second boy has "his" girl, like he owned her, does not count how much spending decades behind bars will change his life, and that will put that girl forever beyond his reach. Was that really his rational plan? Did he ever ask, "if I kill they boy she wants to be with, is that probably going to make her like me and trust to be around me more or less?"
Wrath is tied to anger, and jealously is tied to competitiveness. Anger can sometimes be over quickly, but often jealousy can last for a long time. The victim might not even know anything was wrong, until the jealous person takes revenge for what it perhaps an imaginary wrong.
1 Corinthians 13:4 says that love does not have envy, so we should not have envy or jealousy. But we should also be prudent, and try not to be a target for jealousy. Do not boast. Keep your eyes open if a co-worker, or manager, is jealous because of the success you are having at work. Watch out if you are single and someone else of the same sex feels they are "competing" for the same person as a boyfriend or girlfriend. Sometimes it is difficult to know what to do, but if possible, it is better to deal with it earlier, when you first notice it, than later. But if you don't try to deal with it, it might just get worse.
See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.608, the New International Bible Commentary p.684, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.859, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.963 for more info.

Q: In Prov 27:5, how is open rebuke better than hidden love?
A: Open rebuke may not be pleasant, but often it is intended to be helpful to the person receiving it. Love that is never expressed has no effect, and is not any help to the object of that love. For example, you can think that a person has done well at some, but you never give a compliment or express thanks for what they did. James 2:14-16 says that a faith that does not express itself is dead.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.859 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.963 for more info.

Q: In Prov 27:6, what is this saying about friends and enemies?
A: First, while we should not want to make anyone our enemy, it is a practical matter that some people might try to make enemies of us. This proverb gives us insight on those people.
You cannot tell a friend or enemy by if you like the treatment they give you. A friend might say something that feels painful to you, because they love you and they believe you need to know that. Friends encourage, but real friends also correct and rebuke when it is needed. Good friends speak godly counsel (Proverbs 27:9) and sharpen each other (Proverbs 27:17). When you see something negative you need to say to a friend, to help them, and you don't want to say it, you need to decide if you love better the friendship, or the friend.
On the other hand, an enemy might be very affectionate, for the purpose of later betraying you, as Judas did to Jesus in Matthew 26:48-49, or getting what they want from you.
It is curious that a rebuke can be a more genuine reflection of friendship than flattery. Remember that, when others are talking to you.
See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.608, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.963, and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.859 for more info.

Q: In Prov 27:7, what does this teach us about human desire?
A: Human desire is based on the momentary circumstances, and on comparison. Physically you do not want something sweet if you have just eaten a lot of sweet things. But even bitter tasting food is still delicious if you are very hungry. The Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.199 says that a German proverb teaches "hunger is the best cook".
But this proverb applies to much more than just eating. Apart from physical hunger, naturally speaking, a person can tend to value their salary, their job, their marriage, or their relationships, only in the moment, and compared to, not what they could have had, but what they think they could have had. People can have a general thirst, a discontent, and a fear or missing out, apart from God. Sometimes people can cast aside something that does not seem valuable, in a moment, and ever afterward regret the valuable thing they foolishly lost. Time can reveal so much. As Christians, we should strive to not take things for granted, but we should be content with what God has given us, including our relationships with others.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.859, The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1096, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.963-964, and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.608 for more info.

Q: In Prov 27:8, what does this say about moving to another place?
A: This says nothing, good or bad, about moving in general; birds have to make new nests all the time. But this verse is all about leaving your nest and abandoning your responsibilities. Of course, if a young chick abandons its nest, it is even worse than for an adult bird. Just as a parent bird, while still alive, would not abandon its young and its mate, a person should not abandon their family and shirk their responsibilities for a mirage that from a distance looks better. A German saying for this is "wanderlust", and leaving where God wants you to be is a temptation just like other kinds of temptations. There is a temptation, as a bird, to leave your nest, your mate, your young, spread your wings, and just follow your heart – abandoning your responsibilities and those who are counting on you. It is not enough to do well in the Christian life, you have to finish well too.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.964 and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.859 for more info.

Q: In Prov 27:12, 22:3, and Amos 5:13, what is the difference between the prudent and simple, and when should prudent people hide themselves?
A: The simple have no situational awareness, and might not see when a situation is either dangerous or else just an unproductive waste of time. Or they might walk right into pitfalls because they have a prior desire to do something, without either objectively thinking about it or asking what God would want them to do.
When evil people are in power and hunting down the righteous, there is nothing shameful or wrong with hiding. The early church writers Tertullian, Cyprian, Athanasius, and others taught that hiding from persecution was OK.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1098 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.964 for more info.

Q: In Prov 27:14, what are some examples of somebody doing something with good intentions, but it not being taken well by the person receiving it?
A: Someone who is not a morning person can easily understand this when living with a morning person. But the application here is far broader than just when you wake up. In general, when you give somebody something that you value, and you never consider whether or not they would value it like you do, at least at that time. For example, a little boy gave his mother a birthday present of a toy firetruck. If you give someone a delicious, sugary, fat-filled unhealthy desert, and they are very health conscious they will not appreciate it. At one company there was a competition for what team could lose the most pounds, and one person brought in donuts every morning for the other teams. In a negative way, when you greet and call attention to someone who is trying to sneak around to do something where they won't get caught, they won't be appreciate of that.
So when you give a present or a sacrifice of your time, before you do so, make sure you have some confidence that they actually want that, versus you just thinking they actually want that.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.964 for more info.

Q: In Prov 27:15, how do you best handle contentious people?
A: When someone is contentious, or to use a slang term is "itching for a fight", most people respond with either "fight" or "flight". Either contend back with them, as we should "contend" for what is right, as Paul did in Acts 15:1-2 and taught Titus to do in Titus 1:13. Or else avoid them, and maybe letting them win the battle for the sake of peace, as Romans 14:19-21; 15:1-3 advocates. In a particular time and place, both of these can be the best approach to use. However, there can be a couple of other approaches you can sometimes do besides these. Romans 14:16, in peacefully dealing with weaker brethren, says not to let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. This is not getting into an argument, but merely saying you disagree, telling why, and perhaps telling why they are incorrect, and then leaving it at that. Another approach, when someone over you tells you to do something that is foolish or short-sighted, is to warn them of what you see will happen, and if they do not change, then doing what they say to do. Don't do anything to make things worse than they would be, but give them a chance to learn from the mistake by not shielding them from the logical consequences.

Q: In Prov 27:15, regardless of whether you are a man or woman, have people ever thought of you as contentious, and what should you have done differently (if anything)?
A: Maybe at one point others might have thought you contentious because you were, and you should have been. If you are in a court case, you would not want to have a lawyer who did not know how to be contentious. But if someone thinks you are always contentious, you will get tuned out.
If you feel you might be too contentious there are some simple things you can do. First, choose you battles. Give people some freedom on small things and things that are not very important to you. Save you fighting for the things that are important. Second, look at things through their eyes. In a sense, it does not matter what you say, it matters what they hear. Third, how you say it can have a big effect on how, or if they will receive it. Finally, remember James 1:20 "For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." (ESV)

Q: In Prov 27:16, what does it mean to restrain a contentious woman?
A: While the KJV says "hide", nearly every other translation says "restrain". It means either to keep her away, or else keep her from being contentious in a situation. But as the last half of this verse shows, it does not work, when she wants to be contentious. Like oil or water, any place you can stop the person from being contentious, they can just slip around and be contentious another way.

Q: In Prov 27:17, how can one person sharpen another?
A: As two iron blades chip off rust and loose pieces, two people can point out what is "flaky" in the other. Many people believe a great number of things that are unsubstantiated, and do not believe in others things that are substantiated. People need to be challenged on what they believe to see and value what is true versus what is fantasy. Good friends encourage and challenge their friends to be better Christians. The Talmud in Taanith 7a applied this to two students sharpening each other as they studied the Law.
See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.608, The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1099, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.964, and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.860 for more info.

Q: In Prov 27:18, what does this say about workers?
A: This one proverb touches on two things: the confidence that a person will be rewarded for their work, and the need to wait to see something to fruition. Someone who cares for a fig tree diligently will have a lot of fruit; fig trees can grow quite large. But they have to wait until figs are ready to be harvested. Similarly, an employee or contractor will be rewarded for his efforts. But it might take time, both to get the paycheck, and for the employer to see that value of the work.


But what about the situation where an employer, perhaps from jealousy, callousness, or other motives, does not and will likely never recognize the value of your work. Then it might be time to seek another employer. But it is better to choose your own time to do that rather than letting the current employer choosing the time for you (i.e. getting fired).
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.860 for more info.

Q: In Prov 27:19, how does a person's face reflect their heart?
A: A person's facial expression can affect how happy or sad inside they are when they hear news. However, some people are practiced in concealing their facial expressions. A slang term for this is a "poker face" because a poker player does not want his facial expression to give away if they have good cards or not. But people often show their true feelings in their face for a split second, before they hide behind a poker face, so watch someone's initial facial expression, and don't pay so much attention to the expression after that.

Q: In Prov 27:20, how are people's eyes never satisfied?
A: Just as the grave never says "enough, I don't need anyone else to die" and destruction, like a fire, never says "I have destroyed sufficiently and I have decided to stop now", the greed of people does not stop. – even when it is prudent and most safe to do so. Curiously a main motivation of greed is more pleasure, but even so, a heart full of greed does not have pleasure, if the greed has forced it out. We all need to realize that, apart from Christ, this tendency of greed can be in our hearts. We can also predictably anticipate that, apart from Christ, this characteristic of greed is in the heart of people around us too. The Midrash in Ecclesiastic R 1:34 says, "No man dies and has one-half of what he wanted."
You believe in God, and you love God; that is good. But do you believe God can satisfy your heart? If so, then it is fine still to seek a spouse, children, a pet, health, wealth, and other things, but don't seek any of those things with the idea that they will satisfy you; and you will be happier as a result. Enjoy those things for what they are, but none of them can be a replacement for the contentment we have in Christ. Natural appetites are never permanently satisfied in this life.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1100, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.860-861, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.608, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.964, and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.861 for more info.

Q: In Prov 27:21, how is a person tested by what others say about them?
A: Some translations have tried or valued, but regardless, the meaning is like testing the quality of gold or silver. There are two ways this is true.
Their reputation with others:
You can tell a lot about a person by what others say about them. Ignoring slanderous and disreputable people, what do the person's friends say. If you want to possibly date or marry someone, what do their siblings and friends say about them? What does their ex-boyfriend of ex-girlfriend say about them? What they say might just be what a disgruntled person might say, but on the other hand it might be eye-opening. This is the reason many companies want to talk with the people who are references for a job applicant. The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.608 teaches this view.
How they react to praise:
Many see this as the primary meaning. When people praise them, how do they handle it? Are they arrogant, boastful, or humble? The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1100-1101 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.964 emphasize this meaning.
See the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.216-217 and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.861 for more info.

Q: In Prov 27:22, why is it so difficult to take foolishness out of a fool?
A: The Hebrew word here, 'ewil, is not just a simple, naive person but rather a hardened fool. Often the problem is not with his head, or due to lack of knowledge. Rather the problem is with his heart, and not wanting to learn and grow. You cannot remove this by force.
You should be able to look back five years ago and see areas where you have greatly grown and learned. Likewise, you should expect and desire to be able to look back on the present, five years from now, and see how much you have grown and changed for the better.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.964 and The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1101 for more info.

Q: In Prov 27:22, when can one correct foolishness?
A: The difference between a child and a fool is that a child knows he or she needs to learn, and a fool thinks he has learned it already. If a fool can see how little he or she really knows that is true, then there may be hope.
But even so, it is important to be patient with others. If the foolishness is in you, don't be afraid to admit it or that you were wrong. When one software architect saw that another way was better than the one he recommended, he would freeing admit they should go with the better way. As he would put it: "I reserve the right to get smarter." Every day you have the opportunity to learn, if you will only take it.
This is why when someone is in a cult or a spiritual counterfeit, they are difficult to share the Gospel with. They "know too much that ain’t so." You have to convince them that what they are a part of is false and does not have the real answers, and then they will be open for God’s answers. See When Critics Ask p.251 for more info.

Q: What does Prov 27:23-27 say about wealth?
A: In a fair society, it can be expected that you can save up wealth and spend it on things you need and want, like clothing, and milk, and investing for the future, like buying a field. This passage is basically commanding us to be diligent in looking after financial affairs. But as verse 24 says, we are also to realized that riches do not last forever, so use and invest what we have, while we can.
See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.608-609 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.964-965 for more info.

Q: In Prov 28:1-29:27, what is the structure of this part of scripture?
A: Most of these verses each have opposite parts, first of going one way, and then another way. There are 18 contrast verses in chapter 28 and 12 contrast verses in chapter 29.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.965 for more info.

Q: In Prov 28:1, why do the wicked flee when no one pursues?
A: The wicked here are fleeing towards what they view as security, even when it is only perceived security from an imaginary threat. They might flee for a few reasons:
Precaution:
such as a robber, thief, or murderer runs from their crime scene.
Paranoia:
They are out to get others, and gradually they feel that others are out to get them. They are driving down the road, so to speak, with only one eye on the road and one eye on the rearview mirror.
Guilt:
Proverbs 17 says that a man tormented by the guilt of murder will be a fugitive until death. They don't have a clear conscience and might not sleep well, both from the guilt and the fear of what they did catching up with them.
Cowardice:
Proverbs 28:1 contrasts wicked people’s actions with the boldness of the righteous.
So, on one hand it can look kind of silly for a person to flee when there is no immediate reason to do so. But on the other hand, a wicked person might know, deep down, that their sin and wicked actions will catch up to them sooner or later, and they need to keep "in practice" fleeing, for the rest of their lives.
See the New International Bible Commentary p.685, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.965, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.861, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.427, and The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1101-1102 for more info.

Q: In Prov 28:2, how are many rulers bad for a land?
A: This is not referring to a council, but rather to the instability of many successive rulers as the previous rulers are killed. For example, the wicked northern kingdom of Israel had 19 kings in about 200 years, and six of them in just a thirty-year period. Practically speaking, the frequent shifts in policy, shifts in leadership as the preferred governors and administrators of the new king replace the favorites of the old, and the uncertainty of what policies will be in force in the future make it hard to count on the government for much of anything.
See the New International Bible Commentary p.685, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.965, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.862, and The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1102 for more info.

Q: In Prov 28:3, should the Hebrew word be translated as a "poor man" or a "ruler who oppresses the poor"?
A: The NASB and KJV say a poor man. The NIV says "ruler". The NRSV says a ruler, but says this is a correction, and the Hebrew says a poor person. The NKJV says a "poor man" but says in a footnote that a mere change of Hebrew vowels says "ruler" instead of "poor man". The Old Testament was originally written without vowels, and the vowels were added later. If the word is "ruler", it is a "strong man", a different word than ruler in Proverbs 28:2, according to The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.965.
While a ruler can oppress the poor with excessive taxes and very regressive taxes, a poor person can rob and steal and oppress other poor people too. A formerly poor person, with a "scarcity mindset" who becomes a stingy ruler, can oppress others like himself even worse.
A hard, driving rain can destroy developing crops. There are two ways to take the last half of this verse, and both can be true. First, an oppressive ruler can leave no food for those he or she is oppressing. Second an oppressive is destroying their own dominion, and in essence, their own wealth, but destroying what is under them.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1102 and the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.225 for more info.

Q: In Prov 28:4, what does this say our attitude should be towards lawbreakers?
A: If a wicked person uses wicked means to accomplish a goal, do you praise them, if that worked towards what you thought was a good goal? You can still tell the good things about them but be complete and say the bad things too.

Q: In Prov 28:5, what does this say about evil people?
A: It is NOT saying merely that evil people are against justice; rather it is saying that they don't even understand what justice is. Should all people be given some dignity, being made in God's image? Should we try to be good towards others and treat people fairly. Should we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Should we love our neighbor as ourselves? If someone has not figured that out yet, then it might be unreasonable on your part to expect them to understand justice.


See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.965 for more info.

Q: In Prov 28:6,18, what are "perverse/crooked ways" here?
A: The Hebrew word 'āqaš, means "to twist". In the Hebrew Old Testament, the word "way" is always singular, except it is dual (derākayim
) in two places: Proverbs 28:6,18. The point is not that the perverse follow a way, but they change and follow multiple ways. So here, perverse means someone who walks one way, and then another way. Depending on which way the winds of the political climate are blowing, they will just go wherever the wind blows them. One might think it so amazing that they would firmly believe one way, and then so quickly change to another way. The truth of the matter is that on the outside they are like a chameleon, changing their colors quickly depending on the environment. But it might not be any trouble to change, because inside they might not have any strongly held belief at all. John Bunyan in Pilgrim's Progress has a character like this: Mr. Facing-both-ways.
See the New International Bible Commentary p.686 for more info.

Q: In Prov 28:7f should the phrase be "riotous people" or "companion of gluttons"?
A: There is some uncertainty on the translation here. NASB, NIV, and NRSV has "gluttons", the NKJV has "wicked", and the KJV has "riotous". But common between these two meanings is a person with aspects of his life that are out of control, both his own control and anybody else's.
It is obvious that someone out of control brings shame on themselves. But this verse says they also bring shame on the parents who tried to raise them.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1104 for more info.

Q: In Prov 28:8, what is the difference between increasing wealth by usury and extortion vs. honorable means?
A: First you might ask if the person giving you money is happy to do business with you, or only because they were forced to or desperate. In the Old Testament they were not to lend to fellow Israelites with interest. To try to work around that command, someone might get a loan where they have to repay 100 of something, and the lender and the borrower would agree that the lender only give them 90. Do you use the law unfairly, or make predatory agreements to entrap people?
See the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.227-228, the New International Bible Commentary p.686 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.965 for more info.

Q: In Prov 28:9, when people turn away from hearing God’s law, exactly why are even their prayers abominable?
A: It might be for all of the following reasons.
a) It is presumptuous to ask God to hear your words, after you deliberately choose not to hear and obey God’s word, as Psalms 50:16-22 shows. You choose to not listen to God, and yet you expect that god would listen to you.
b) For one who reject’s God’s law, even the requests they make are for abominable things, just as their advice might be deceitful (Proverbs 12:5). Maybe they are asking for things just to spend on their own passions, as James 4:3 shows.
c) Finally, if you are not following God your heart can be all messed up. As an example, some motivational seminars and positive thinking talks ask, "are you living up to your full potential?" Many people grow up with stunted mental development due to malnutrition, others grow up blind due to River Blindness disease caused by parasites in their drinking water, and others die from diseases that have been conquered in the richest nations. And yet the key concern is nothing about them, but are you living up to your full potential? What if we just stopped trying to live up to our full potential, and instead tried to help others live up to their potential?
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.965 for more info.

Q: In Prov 28:10a, what is so reprehensible about the person in the first half of this verse?
A: It is not that they are sinning, but they are turning an upright person away towards evil. Jesus said that anyone caused a little one to sin, it would be better if they had a millstone cast around their neck and they were thrown into the sea in Matthew 18:6; Mark 9:42; and Luke 17:2.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.965-966 for more info.

Q: In Prov 28:12,28, 29:2, how is a man hidden when the wicked rise to prominence?
A: When wicked people are in charge, and especially when they are hunting down the righteous, it is prudent, not cowardly, for people to hide. This actually does not say that just the righteous should hide; it says that everyone will want to hide.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.864 for more info.

Q: In Prov 28:13, how is it wrong to conceal our sins, and how is it right to have our sins covered over, as Ps 32:1 says?
A: It is wrong to cover-up our own sins and pretend we did no wrong. It is a good thing to forgive sins other people do to you, and it is a wonderful thing that God forgives the sins of His children. See When Critics Ask p.251 and The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1106 for more info.

Q: What does Prov 28:16 says about oppressive rulers?
A: This says that being an oppressive ruler and lacking good judgment will often go hand in hand. The blind eye that they turn towards justice for other individuals can be equally blind as to what is best for the people of the country.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1107 for more info.

Q: In Prov 28:17f, what is unusual about the command at the end of this verse?
A: The Bible has many, many verses telling us to help others, rescue them, and defend the needy, widows, and orphans, such as Proverbs 24:11-12. This is only of the very few verses where we are commanded by God NOT to help someone. (2 Thessalonians 3:10 is another verse.) A person who is under the guilt of bloodshed will get justice, and we should not stand in the way of that.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.965-966, the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.233-234, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.863, and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.428 for more info.

Q: What does Prov 28:19 say about opportunity and hard work?
A: Having a good opportunity for prosperity, such as good land, does not equal prosperity. Even with good conditions, hard work is still required.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1108 for more info.

Q: In Prov 28:20, how do you know when you are trying to build wealth wisely and rapidly, versus a get-rich-quick scheme?
A: As one adage says, "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." If there is anything illegal, dishonest, or promoting wickedness about it, stay away. Ask for counsel from friends of yours, especially if they have experience in the field. Proverbs 15:22 says good plans have an abundance of counselors. A few other questions to ask is "is are other people not doing this already?" Besides asking about the rewards, also explore what are the risks. Finally, you should have a healthy humility about your ability to predict the future.
This verse emphases a faithful person, i.e. faithful towards God and others, and from the previous verse understands the importance of working hard. A get-rich-quick scheme often advertises that hard work is not needed.
See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.609, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.966, and The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1108 for more info.

Q: In Prov 28:21, what are some ways we can unintentionally, but still wrongly, show partiality?
A: One way is that sometimes at work we can praise, promote, reward, or otherwise encourage one person who does something well, but either ignore or cast shade on another person who does just as good or better.
A second, different way, is giving second chances to a person who makes a mistake or otherwise has a bad outcome, but not giving the same treatment to someone else, who perhaps did not make as bad a mistake.
At work we all choose to listen to some people more than others, perhaps due to their experience, intelligence, or their position. But perhaps we can choose to listen and agree with what one person say more than another, due to nepotism, attractiveness, or what they might be able to do for us. That is partiality too.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.966 for more info.

Q: In Prov 28:22 what is a stingy person here?
A: The Hebrew is literally "a man with an evil eye". It is a person who is so greedy to get rich, they might see only the opportunities for wealth and not see anything else. Their quest for wealth absorbs them. They don't see the people, except as means to an end. And they probably don't even see that they are greedy either. The last half of this verse indicates that while they see the riches they are running after, they often fail to consider adequately the risk of poverty they are trying to avoid.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.966, The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1109, and the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.236 for more info.

Q: In Prov 28:24, how can people today rob their parents?
A: Sometimes people are so good at justifying their actions, they themselves have hardened their conscience to see nothing wrong. They might think "I am going to get it eventually, anyway." But God sees this as robbery nonetheless. Of course, children can literally rob their parents, as Micah did in Judges 17:1-2 and Rachel did in Genesis 31:19,30. However, there are other ways to rob your parents.
Once I met a lady in the nursing home who was bitter because she said her children took all her money. Knowing how things worked, I surmised that here is what happened. In the United States, elderly people in nursing homes who have money have to pay for their own care, while the U.S. government pays everything for those who cannot afford to do so. Thus, many times all the parents’ money goes to the children; otherwise, it would be "wasted". Two shortcomings of this view are that some of the nursing homes with higher rates have better accommodations, and, most important of all, this lady apparently never understood, much less consented, to her children taking her house and wealth. She thought that eventually she would leave the nursing home and return to her house, while her children knew that would not happen. Thus, while the children’s actions were logical and reasonable to themselves, they were not to their mother. Taking her house and wealth without her consent was, in fact, stealing from their mother.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.966-967, The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1108, the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.238, and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.863-864 for more info.

Q: In Prov 28:25, how does a greedy person stir up strife?
A: The NKJV translates this as a proud man instead of greedy person. The literal Hebrew is "large appetite" or "wide of soul". Whether it is to enlarge their body or enlarge their pride, they are willing to stir up strife and ill-will towards themselves to do this.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1110 for more info.

Q: In Prov 28:26, why should we not trust in ourselves, or trust in our own heart?
A: Trust in yourselves assumes that
1.
Your knowledge and logic are always right, or at least always sufficient.
2.
Your emotions never wrongly sway your thoughts.
3.
You do not need the counsel of others.
4.
Most importantly, you do not need God’s wisdom.
Jeremiah 9:23-24 and Proverbs 3:5 also say we should not boast in our own wisdom, might, or wealth.
We should trust in God and his Word. However, within that framework, there are a lot of things God and His Word still do not specify. We should pray for guidance, ask others, especially mature believers, and use the wisdom we have developed. Unfortunately, we cannot assume that God will always have us make right decision 100% of the time. But we can put our faith in God that even when, with the best of intentions, we make a wrong decision, God can turn things around and get us going the right way.
See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.609 for more info.

Q: In Prov 29:1 how are people destroyed who are often rebuked?
A: Being stiff-necked means unwilling to change to turn to one side or another, or even to see one side or another. The opposite of stiff-necked is one who will bend their neck in submission. People can be disciplined over and over for the same thing, and they can suffer bad consequences for the same thing, but there comes a permanent, "one last time", when there is no more opportunity to avoid irreversible consequences. The Pharoah in the time of the Exodus learned this. The people in Noah's time were warned for a hundred years, while Noah built the ark. But once the door was shut, that was it.
It is heartbreaking to ponder a person, especially a believer, who falls into trouble because they did not know God's will. And this is after they were clearly told or read God's will. But they still did not know because they chose to close their ears and heart and not receive it.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1111, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.864, and the New International Bible Commentary p.686-687 for more info.

Q: In Prov 29:3, what does "spend his substance" mean?
A: This means to blow all his savings and wealth. But it can also refer to squander our time and our life on an evil thing that you already know will not last. Wealth was also considered a blessing from the Lord. So, spending your wealth can also imply taking the good blessings God has given you, and throwing them away doing evil things.

Q: In Prov 29:4, how does someone in authority overthrow his own organization?
A: The Hebrew word for king could mean one in authority. The last know is usually translated bribes, though it could also be translated contributions, or taxes, as the Hebrew Midrash does. Common to all those meanings is the truth that many times someone in power destroys what they are over through self-inflicted bad choices. They can undermine the stability by destroying the respect they have in the eyes of those under them, through unjust bribes or unfair taxes. It can also be ruining the economic prosperity of those they are over through bribes and high taxes. High taxes and bribes not only take money away from those who could be using it to prosper and make more money, and it can also sap the subjects of the desire to work hard, knowing that most of it will be taken away anyway.
See the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.242-243 and The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1111-1112 for more info.

Q: In Prov 29:5, how does flattery spread a net for someone else’s feet?
A: The Hebrew word here is literally "smooth talk". Some people only say nice things because they want something from you. Flattery can make it easier for someone else to be proud, which can give them a false sense of security and set them up for a fall. The flatterer might not have meant any ill intent towards the person they are flattering, but the result is still a fall.
It can also refer to not telling them negative things they need to hear. One time there was a little boy who saw that his mother was unhappy when she got bills in the mail, and he did not want her to be unhappy, so he threw them away before she could see them. Not telling somebody something they need to hear can be like that.
See the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.243 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.967 for more info.

Q: In Prov 29:7, why is this verse vitally crucial for a good government or society?
A: Imagine, if you can, a society where everyone was concerned about justice and fairness for themselves and their family, and maybe their clan, but about no one else. What would happen when evil people started taking advantage of others when they were vulnerable?
Now imagine a society where everyone, with almost no exception, was concerned about justice and fairness for everybody. Whether the other person was similar to them, or different, did not matter, each person wanted what was right for everyone in society. Which society would you rather live in? Which one would you rather live in if there were a lot of people who did not know you or were different in than you in some way? If you would like to live in the second society, you should act like a good citizen of the second society. When you are told not to meddle in affairs not your own, sometimes you should not, but if injustice is there and people are being exploited, we should be involved, when the people receiving injustice want us to be.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1112-1113, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.428, and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.864 for more info.

Q: In Prov 29:8, what does this say about disputes and disagreements?
A: When we hear or see something we do not like, we need to learn to respond, not just react. For any argument or disagreement, there are two opportunities. One opportunity is to fan the flames and turn a small thing into a big thing. Some mockers laugh at restrictions. A second opportunity is to bring peace and harmony to heal the discord. Sometimes this can mean solving the disagreement, but sometimes you can have peace without solving the disagreement.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1113, the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.245-246, and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.864 for more info.

Q: In Prov 29:12 how can we avoid believing lies and tearing down what we are governing over?
A: Some people are really bad at determining who to listen to and what to believe. Do you have people around you, and under you, that only tell you what you want to hear? You should be very careful in picking who your advisors are, as Rehoboam should have been. The problem sometimes is not their lack of knowledge as much as their presence of bias. A simple bias is assuming that because a person is trustworthy, and in an expert in giving good counsel on one thing, then they will certainly give good counsel on things they might know little about. A second bias is assuming someone is giving you an objective, unbiased opinion, when in fact they receive benefit from another for guiding you towards one particular vendor or way.
One thing that can help us with our biases is to try to look at things from the perspective of another. How would various people look at this? If not everyone is supporting of one decision, you might have to choose for one way and choose against another way. But at least understand the reasons people are advocating each way. Or, does everyone always appear to support one decision, because you have created an environment where it does not go well for someone's career if they ever speak up and disagree, because they are always supposed to be "positive". If someone speaks up that a path might not be good, and they are wrong in this case, will you ever listen to them again? If you started down a path, and are having difficulties, how much difficulty would there be before you see you are on the wrong path and need to change.
A Roman proverb is similar, saying "like king, like people". If a king sets a certain environment, the officials under the king, who want to protect and advance their careers will "play the game" and want an environment like the king has, and so on down to the people.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1114, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.865, and the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.249 for more info.

Q: In Prov 29:18, how do people perish when there is no revelation?
A: This word is better translated "revelation" than 'vision". Literally, people in a wilderness perish if they have no idea of where to go for water and food when their supplies run out. Likewise, if people do not have a direction to go, they likely will not go where they should be heading. They will run down blind alleys and into walls.
The word for vision here is a technical term for revelation from God, according to Milton C. Fisher.

While the NASB and KJV translate this as "no vision", The NIV and NKJV translate this as "no revelation", the NRSV says "no prophecy."
See the Complete Book of Bible Answers p.53-54, Hard Sayings of the Bible p.289-290, and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.610 for more info.

Q: In Prov 29:20, why is there more hope for a fool than a person with rash words?
A: While a person could be both, someone with hasty or careless words can do more damage to others, relationships, and themselves, than a fool. Sometimes a careless word can ruin a relationship, and an apology might or might not bring things back to the way they were before.
Another angle, mentioned by The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1116, says that it can be easier to teach a fool than to correct someone who speaks rashly. Be careful, because Proverbs 10:19 says that when words are many, sin is not absent. That is a reason why James 1:19 says to be quick, to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.
See the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.253-254 for more info.

Q: In Prov 29:21, how can you "pamper" someone working under you, and why is that bad, both for you and for them?
A: If a person does not know when they make a mistake, does not learn from their mistakes, and does not every see any seriousness to their mistakes, they are not going to improve and grow. If they do not feel they are required to carry out their responsibilities in their job, they are learning career-destroying habits. They could also get an attitude that they can do no wrong. It is almost not fair to the worker to treat them this way. These might be reasons why in many companies, it is not allowed for someone to be the team lead or manager of a spouse, child, or boyfriend or girlfriend. It is not only unfair to the other co-workers, it teaching them bad habits on what they can get away with.
If a worker makes a serious mistake, and does not see it as serious, what should the boss do? Is it the best thing for the worker, not just the company, to fire the worker? Maybe sometimes, and sometimes not. It can be difficult to see what is best. But a boss should evaluate based on the person and circumstances, but not show favoritism towards some employees who mess up, vs. others. Proverbs 29:19 says that sometimes mere words are no enough; a worker needs to see consequences.
It is similar with a son or daughter, either a young child or an adult. If a child is not allowed to learn that they have done bad things, and have any consequences from their mistakes, then it is at last partially the fault of the parent that the child grows up spoiled and not well able to cope with life. What was thought to be done in love imperceptibly turned to pampering and ended up hurting the one loved.

Q: In Prov 29:24, why is it so bad to partner with a dishonest person?
A: This verse does not say the person is a thief or steals themselves, but a partner with a thief. When the person would otherwise speak up against wrongdoing, they won't because it might hurt their partner, or their economic prospects with their partnership. The otherwise honest person might get caught up in lying, to protect their partner and hid his or her crimes. However, the thief might get off and be considered innocent, and the partner might be left holding the bag, so to speak. The person might be considered a thief by others because of their association. Whatever wages or gains they received, for doing honest work, can be suspect that they should not receive that money, even the source of it involved stealing. Finally, when under investigation, the thief can turn on you. It is just so much better a Christian witness, and so much better a reputation, to have no partnership with thieves.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1117, the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.257-258, and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.866 for more info.

Q: In Prov 29:25, how can fear of a person be a snare if you are not careful?
A: You can live your life trying to avoid that person, fearful of doing things that the person might not like, going out of, or into, relationships because you think that person might want that. And it might be that there was nothing to be afraid of in the first place! But even when there is legitimate cause for concern, you can't live your entire life cowering in fear, though discretion and not broadcasting something can be a good thing. As William Gurnall said, "We fear man so much, because we fear God so little." (Believer's Bible Commentary p.866)
See the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.258 for more info.

Q: In Prov 29:27, what does it mean that a godless and righteous person detest each other?
A: Since Christ came, we are to love everyone, even godless people. But we might still detest some of the evil sins they do, though we are to love the sinner. But this does not change the fact that they might still dislike us. They might not like it if we refuse to join them in sinful activities or take them to sinful places. They might feel we are judging them, even though we are not, solely by the fact that we are not participating in sin with them. Hopefully, they will see something attractive and winsome in us, as we are salt and light in the world, but we have to recognize that if we are being the testimony to Christ that we should be, there are things about us they will dislike. Ephesians 5:12 says it is even shameful for us to speak of what they do in secret. So, if we don't talk about the things (and people) they gossip about, and we don't tell or laugh at the jokes (dirty or not) they do, they will think that odd. That comes with the territory of being a Christian. In fact, if there is nothing anybody dislikes about us at all, that is a real problem. Jesus in Luke 6:26 says woe to us when all speak well of us.
See the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.259, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.866, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.969 for more info.

Q: In Prov 30:1, should it say "an oracle" or "Massa"?
A: It could be either way. Most translations prefer "an oracle". The only thing is that there really was a kingdom of Massa according to Assyrian records, and Massa was a son of Ishmael in Genesis 25:14. See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary volume 5 p.888 and the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.866 for more info.

Q: In Prov 30:1, who is Agur son of Jakeh, and who is King Lemuel in Prov 31:1?
A: We do not know. Some of thought that Solomon wrote every part of Proverbs, so they interpret Agur as Solomon and Jakeh as David. But then they have to change names again to King Lemuel in proverbs 31. There is no other reason, precedent, or reference for Solomon writing under random names here, except a prior bias that everything was written by Solomon. However, nothing says all of Proverbs was by Solomon, so Agur was very likely a different individual. See the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.260-271 for a very extensive discussion that leads to the same conclusion.

Q: In Prov 30:2-3, why did Agur say he knew nothing?
A: While scripture does not directly say, it could be for a combination of some of these reasons.
1.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.969 says he was being ironic, in comparing himself, with the wisdom God gave him, with others who claimed to know it all.
2.
He truly believed he was not as intelligent as other people, or at least not as intelligent as other people thought they were.
3.
The more a wise person knows, the more they realize just how much they don't know. He had true humility in comparing his human intelligence and experience to God’s.
4.
Finally, it does not matter if Agur knows a lot or not, compared knowing the source of wisdom and to his Lord knowing him.
Conclusion:
1. probably is not correct, as he felt he was intelligent enough to write this, and there is no tie to any subsequent verses. While 2 might be a secondary meaning, 3, perhaps combined with 4, apparently is the primary meaning, since Proverbs 30:4 shows that he is thinking of his wisdom compared to God’s.
The New Geneva Study Bible p.982 says it is 2, the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.867 says it is 3, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.969 says it is 2 and 3, and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.610-611 says it is 4.

 

Q: In Prov 30:4 what is the significance of "his son's name"?
A: Verse 4 has five questions but only one answer: the LORD . The other things were truly done by done by God, and the last part is true too. This is a good verse to bring up with Jewish people. God having a Son is also briefly discussed in Psalm 2:7.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.969, the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.867, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary volume 5 p.1118, and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.611 for more info.

Q: In Prov 30:4, who is the "son" here?
A: This is God’s Son. Even in the Old Testament, God revealed the concept of God having a Son. This refers to Jesus for the following reasons:
1.
It refers to God, and it refers to God’s Son.
2.
There is only one Son here. The Hebrew is plural, and it does not say "one of His Sons" but "His Son".
3.
Thus, the verse is not referring to all believers being God’s children.
4.
Even the writer of the proverb is not God’s Son in this way.
See the Complete Book of Bible Answers p.123 for more info.

Q: In Prov 30:5, what does it mean that every word of God is pure?
A: Every word of God, in its intended context, is true and helpful to us. This does not mean every syllable is magical, or even that every phrase is true. For example, a phrase might not be true if it is preceded by the words "Satan said". However, that the lie was spoken by Satan is correct.
If the words were not pure and true, they would not be God’s words. Also, while God’s children do not say everything perfectly, they should try to do so and have pure words too.

Q: In Prov 30:6, 1 Cor 4:6, and Dt 4:2, what does it mean to not go beyond what is written?
A: It is dangerous as well as foolish to say, "God said thus" when God did not say it. It is fine to speak your own opinion or interpretation, as long as it is understood not to be God’s word. The Jews had a custom of standing when they read God’s word, and sitting down when they expounded upon it. That way, people could see where God’s word stopped and human interpretation began.
When someone says they came up with the true meaning of some passage, that no one in 2,000 years ever saw, you wonder. When even people who dreamed in New Testament Greek, and spoke it since they were young children, and they would not ay the Greek meant that, then maybe you don't need to wonder anymore. As they said about novel scripture interpretation at DTS, "if it's new, it not true."
When people blatantly add to God’s word, or subtly claim their human interpretation is God’s truth, people can think God’s Word failed if the human words are proved wrong. This does not say "don’t add falsehood to what God wrote", but simply "don’t add to what God wrote". While Christians disagree on many theories (and that is OK), many un-Christlike divisions hinge on people saying something is God’s word, when their own logical deduction is not actually stated in God’s Scripture. For example,
1.
When should people be baptized?
2.
Will Christ come before, during, or after the tribulation?
3.
How is the bread and wine Christ’s body and blood?
4.
Exactly what degree of freedom do humans have?
5.
Is God timeless, within time, or both?
Since some Christians believe each possible view, then some Christians must have correct views on these. However, if a Christian thinks the Bible states his or her view on this, then he or she is equating a human view with God’s word. This is wrong, even if the human view is actually correct.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.969 for more info.

Q: In Prov 30:7-9, why did the writer pray not to be too rich or too poor?
A: It is easy to see that being so poor you felt you had to steal is not a good thing. However, the writer was wise enough to also see that he could not handle too much prosperity either. What is you limit of how much prosperity would harm your spiritual health, or have you already hit it?
See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.429, the Believer’s Bible Commentary p.867, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.611, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.970, and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary volume 5 p.1120 for more info.

Q: In Prov 30:8-9, what are three ways prosperity can turn some people away from God?
A: Prosperity has the potential to turn people away from God in at least three ways.
Time-wise,
people can be so busy investing their money and enjoying their money that they do not have any time left think much about God. When someone sees that the amount of time they work really does affect their pay, they might have a tendency to work overtime to the neglect of the family.
Emotionally,
people can be too caught up in the cares of this world. When people are satisfied, they can become proud, as Hosea 13:6 warns. When you desire something on this earth more than anything else, you are be in bondage to whatever you crave
Intellectually,
financially well-off people think they are independent and are not grateful to God. The term "financial security" is a lie; everything can all be gone in a second.

Q: In Prov 30:11-14, why do these verses all start with "There is a generation"?
A: The KJV and NKJV say, "There is a generation", and the NIV and NRSV translate this as "There are those". The NASB simply says "There is". Regardless, it is emphasized that this is not applicable for every individual at all times. These four are in an unordered list, and this might be a way of expressing the unity of the list.
Not everyone is in one of the four items, but there are definitely some people in each of the four items. The last item refers to people who destroy others with their words. You might have never been in any of these categories, but there are people out there in each of those categories, and you need to recognize that they are out there and understand how they think.

Proverbs 30:15-33 – Three to Four More Sayings of Agur – some brief answers

Q: In Prov 30:15-31, Amos 2:1-6, and Prov 6:16-19, why do they use numerical sequences, such as "for three... even four"?
A: This was a Hebrew literary device sometimes called "a numerical ladder". This is a beautiful expression that serves as an aid in memorization, and it shows the exact number "3" or "4", is not the point, but rather the content of the points. See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.430,629, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.868, and The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.7 p.281-282 for more info.

Q: In Prov 30:15, what is the point of the leach?
A: A leach does not do anything except suck blood. Just like leaches around the world, or vampire bats in the Americas, some people only take off of others. Some people are called "time vampires". All they want to do is to take up all the time they can get from you for you to do their work for them.

Q: In Prov 30:18-19, how are an eagle, a serpent, a ship, and a man related?
A: In each case, the writer was amazed at how they so skillfully did what they did. The first three leave no tracks of their path. Likewise, a man can get a girl pregnant, and then completely disappear. Or it could just refer to the courtship of a woman by a man. In verse 20 the adulterous woman has no trace of her guilt. See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.869, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.611, The Bible Knowledge : Old Testament p.970, and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.868-869 for more info.

Q: In Prov 30:21-23 what do these have in common?
A: All three of these are kinds of people it is difficult to be around. We should want to be a blessing to others, and others in general should want to be around us. See The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.611, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary volume 5 p.1125, and the Believer's Bible Commentary p.869 for more info.

Q: In Prov 30:23, what does this mean about a maidservant who succeeds her mistress?
A: Jewish people would remember in Genesis 16:1-4 that Hagar despised her mistress, Sarah, after Sarah let Abraham have Hagar as a concubine, in a sense succeeding her in childbearing. See the New International Bible Commentary p.688 for more info.

Q: In Prov 30:24-28, what do these have in common?
A: They show that size and power do not correlate with wisdom, and with what you can do. Looking at any one of these animals, it would be hard to believe they can do what they do. It is important to have the faith in God to believe that with God’s help, we too can perform wondrously at what God intended for us to do. See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.869, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.611, and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary volume 5 p.1125-1126 for more info.

Q: In Prov 30:25-28, how are ants, hyraxes (conies), locusts, and spiders related?
A: These are all weak, yet in at least one respect they are strong. Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:10 that despite his weaknesses, thorns, and temptations when he was weak, then he was strong.

Q: In Prov 30:29-31, how are a lion, greyhound, a male goat, and a king related?
A: All are first in their respective fields. A he-goat is well-suited to live indefinitely in the wild, arid desert. We should try to be the best in our field, whatever it may be.

Q: In Prov 31:1, who is king Lemuel?
A: We do not know who any king named Lemuel, or if Lemuel was a synonym for someone else. Lemuel means "dedicated to god" or "belonging to God". See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.870 for more info.

Q: In Prov 31:3, how does "intoxication by lust" sap your strength, life, time, and heart?
A: They foolishly spend their money on prostitutes, ruin their health with venereal diseases, and spend their time chasing fantasies. But even at the very least, if you are preoccupied with that, you might lose focus on your family, your career, and other things you should be focusing on. We all only have so much time on this world; wasting hours and hours on something that will not bring happiness must bring great joy – to the demons. But it leaves no lasting happiness for you. Finally, your family and the things of God can grow dim in your desire when you are chasing after something else. Look at even Solomon, with all his wisdom, was led astray by his wives.
Having known a few people who divorced their spouses to chase after someone else they had fallen in love with, of course you can observe the wreckage they have left in the eyes of their friends, spouse, children, and those who looked up to them. But beyond that, I also think I have seen a sadness, and loneliness in their life, as they chose to trash a good thing they know they can never go back to.
There was a Christian book written entitled The Most Important thing in the world – and Other Myths about Sex. Instead of always "having your options open, the goal of a single man who is looking for a wife is that he marries her and cherishes her.
See the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.318-320, The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.612, and The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1127 for more info.

Q: In Prov 31:4-5, how does intoxication by wine harm people and sap your strength, life, time, and heart?
A: Being an alcoholic can cause you to lose your job, your family, your home, and basically everything you value in life. But even if you are not an alcoholic, chasing after alcohol can rob you of the joy of alcohol-free experiences and set a bad example for your children. It can also alter your moods and choices. Someone once called alcohol "bad decision juice".
King Elah of Israel was easily killed by Zimri when Elah was drunk in 1 Kings 16:9-10. Ben-hadad of Syria was drunk while commanding the Syrian army 1 Kings 20:16, and he had to flee for his life.
See the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.320-322 for more info.

Q: In Prov 31:4-5, what is a condensation of all the Bible says about proper government?
A: Ancient governments dealt with issues most nations do not have today (kings, slow communications, no police, etc.). Modern governments have many new issues unknown back then (global economy and free trade, patent law, stocks and bonds, etc.). However, looking through scriptures one can see common values and God’s intent for godly government. While this might not be all Scripture says, here are 55 principles we can glean from Scripture.
Attitude

The Lord can direct the king’s heart as He pleases (Proverbs 21:1) and God’s plans prevail (Proverbs 19:21).
Know that a crown (or political office) is never secure (Proverbs 27:24).
Those who seek the Lord fully understand justice (Proverbs 28:5) and justice gives stability (Proverbs 29:4).
Government should value its people (Proverbs 14:28).
A ruler is not always necessary for things to get done. Consider the ants and the locust (Proverbs 6:6-8; 30:27).
Know that a government is established through righteousness (Proverbs 16:10,12).
Leaders, like everyone else, should not be proud (Proverbs 3:5-6; 11:2; 13:10; 21:24; 30:29-31).
Do not be wise in your own eyes (Proverbs 3:7; 12:15; 26:12,16; 28:11).
Women can ruin a ruler (Proverbs 31:3) as can alcohol (Proverbs 31:4).
A Ruler Should Not

Do not be a tyrant (Proverbs 28:15-16) or unjust (Proverbs 17:10). Do not deprive people of their rights (Proverbs 31:5).
Don't be partial and accept bribes (2 Chronicles 19:7; Psalm 15:5; Proverbs 15:27; 17:23; 28:16; 29:4; Isaiah 1:23; 5:13; 1 Samuel 4:3-4; 5:13; 12:3; Exodus 23:8; Ecclesiastes 7:7; Deuteronomy 16:19; Amos 5:12). Do not drink alcohol while governing (Proverbs 31:4-5).
Do not praise the wicked, but rather resist them (Proverbs 17:12; 28:4).
Do not listen to lies (Proverbs 29:12). Rulers should value people who speak the truth (Proverbs 16:3; 17:7,13).
Caution is OK, but do not be swayed by the fear of others (Proverbs 29:25).
Do not steal, rather defend orphans and widows (Isaiah 1:23).
Do not give food to those who refuse to work (2 Thessalonians 3:10; Proverbs 16:26).
Do not hoard food when people need it (Proverbs 11:26).
Do not oppress the poor (Proverbs 28:3; 22:16). Do not let interest rates get so exorbitant that it is unkind to the poor (Proverbs 28:8).
A Ruler Should

Rulers should get rid of all the evil they see (Proverbs 20:8,26), remove the wicked from their presence (Proverbs 25:4-5), and punish false witnesses (Proverbs 19:5).
Government has a duty to maintain order (Proverbs 28:2).
The government has the right to bear the sword against wrongdoers (Romans 13:4) and against external aggressors (Deuteronomy 20:1; Judges 3, 4, etc.). It is OK to train for war (Psalms 144:1; 149:6-8).
For waging war have many advisers (Proverbs 20:18; 24:6; ~12:15).
Women leaders, such as Deborah, can be pleasing to God (Judges 4:4-10;5:1). They can be evil tyrants too, like Athaliah (2 Kings 11:1; 2 Chronicles 22:10-12).
The rulers under you should be righteous and people of integrity (Proverbs 29:2; Nehemiah 7:2).
Have skilled people working for you (Proverbs 22:29), not foolish advisors (1 Kings 12:6-14), and do not have lazy messengers and officials (Proverbs 10:26).
Speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves, and defend the rights of the poor and needy (Proverbs 30:8-9).
Protect and care about their people (Exodus 32:11,13; 2 Chronicles 1:10-12 vs. 1 Kings 12:14). A judge should care about justice for all (Deuteronomy 24:17-18; Proverbs 29:14).
Ideally have people be reluctant to do him or his people wrong (Proverbs 19:12; 20:2).
Laws

Justice (and human laws) should be based on God’s standard, not man’s (Proverbs 29:26). Make wise laws, do not just make expedient or sloppy laws (Proverbs 8:15).
Someone who does wrong, such as stealing, should pay it back plus one-fifth to double extra (Exodus 22:7-9; Numbers 5:5-8).
Do not let the punishment exceed the crime, such as execution for poking out an eye or knocking out a tooth. (Deuteronomy 19:21; Leviticus 24:20; Exodus 21:22-24)
Laws should distinguish between intentional and unintentional wrongs (Numbers 35:18-28; Exodus 21:12-14).
Do not punish parents for kids’ sins or vice versa (Deuteronomy 24:16; Ezekiel 18:13-14;17-20).
Having laws to execute people for murder, is fine (Romans 14).
Having laws requiring payment of taxes is fine (Matthew 17:24-27).
It is fine to own personal property (Luke 15:8; 2 Timothy 4:12), even great wealth (1 Timothy 6:17-18) and inherit from our parents (Proverbs 13:22; 17:2; 19:14; Psalm 17:14; Ecclesiastes 2:21, Luke 15:12,31; Numbers 32:7) is fine.
Women can inherit as well as men (Numbers 32:2,8).
The Courts

Do not testify against someone without cause (Proverbs 24:28).
If a malicious witness lies to try to harm an innocent person, do to the witness what he intended be done to the defendant (Deuteronomy 19:16-19; Proverbs 19:5).
Do not use the courts to take advantage of those with less money (Proverbs 22:22-23).
Do not call the guilty innocent or the innocent guilty (Proverbs 24:23-25; 17:15; Deuteronomy 25:1).
Do be quick to bring things to court (Proverbs 25:7-8). It is better to suffer wrong than to sin by suing other believers (1 Corinthians 6:1-8).
Judge the poor and non-citizens fairly (Proverbs 29:14; Deuteronomy 24:17-18).
Do not mock at justice (Proverbs 19:28), do not hold court judges in contempt (Deuteronomy 17:12).
Working as a lawyer is OK (Titus 3:13). Do not bear false witness (Exodus 20:16; Deuteronomy 5:20).
Do not betray a friend’s confidence (Proverbs 25:9-10).
Duties of a citizen

We should pray for government leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
We should honor government leaders (Romans 13:7; 1 Peter 2:17). We should not speak evil of the ruler of our people (Acts 23:2-5; Exodus 22:28).
It is OK to serve in a secular government, as Joseph, Nehemiah, Daniel, and Obadiah did (Genesis 41:41-44; Nehemiah 1:11; Daniel 6:4; 1 Kings 18:3-4,14).
We should submit to the government (Romans 13:1-5; 1 Peter 2:13-16), and only disobey where it contradicts what God has taught in His Word. (Acts 4:19-20; Daniel 3:8-18). Even in disobeying an evil king, one should still honor the king (Daniel 6:4-21).
Hiding from evil government authorities is OK (Proverbs 27:12; Amos 5:13; 1 Kings 17:2-10; 18:4,9-14; 1 Samuel 19:11-12).
Do not be rebellious against the government (Proverbs 17:11; 28:2; Isaiah 1:23; Jeremiah 42:10-11) without proper cause (2 Kings 9; 1 Kings 11:29-40).
Pay your taxes; it is proper for a government to collect them (Matthew 22:17; Romans 13:7).
Do not exalt yourself before a ruler (Proverbs 25:6,27).
Do not be gluttonous or greedy before a ruler (Proverbs 23:1-3).

Q: In Prov 31:4-5, is it OK for believers to drink wine, or not?
A: The king should not get drunk, but in addition, the king should not drink alcohol at all "on the job", where his judgment was important, and drinking could affect his judgment. It would be very sad to come before a judge, and the degree of mercy or severity would depend on the number of drinks he had.

Q: Do Prov 31:6 and 1 Sam 31:4-6 suggest that euthanasia might be OK?
A: No. It only says that anesthesia and painkillers are OK. There is no mention here of killing anyone. See the discussion on Ecclesiastes 3:2 and Now That’s A Good Question p.456-458 for info on euthanasia.

Q: In Prov 31:6-7 what does it mean that those who are destitute and depressed "drink to forget?
A: This is saying that intoxication, or being heavily medicated, is for those who are about to die, or who are losers, and want to forget their misery. It is not recommending that people drink to forget. Rather, it is saying that though others might do so, kings are not supposed to do so. See When Critics Ask p.252, Hard Sayings of the Bible p.290-291, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.430, and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.972 for more info.

Q: Is Prov 31:6-7 about alcohol for the dying and those in misery devilish advice in God’s book, as the Muslim Ahmad Deedat claims?
A: No, for three reasons.
1) This is only for those who are in great pain and dying. Of course, today they have morphine and other opioids, including the evil drug heroin. Alcohol seems rather tame by comparison.
2) Alcohol is not banned in the Bible. He is calling ‘devilish" what God allowed.
3) In Islam Mohammed allowed alcohol until after the battle of Uhud. (Bukhari vol.6 book 60 no.142 p.112) Shamaa-il Tirmidhi ch.45 commentary after no.5 (309) p.332 also says that at one time intoxicants were lawful. Would Deedat say Mohammed was "devilish" to allow alcohol until this time? I don’t think so. But if Deedat would not say it was devilish for Mohammed to allow it (for a time), then it is inconsistent for him to say it was devilish for the Bible to allow it.

Q: In Prov 31:8-9, how are believers supposed to speak out for the oppressed?
A: We are to defend them from unjust court judgments, economic oppression, and other kinds of oppression.

Q: In Prov 31:8-9 and Prov 26:17, how are believers to balance speaking out for the oppressed, with not meddling in quarrels not their own?
A: The difference is this: when the oppressed are not in a fight or are in a fight and the other side is an unjust aggressor, and they appeal for help.

Q: In Prov 31:10-31, what is unusual about these verses?
A: This chapter starts out informally as "listen to your mama", but this section was planned to be highly structured. Proverbs 31:10-31 is an acrostic: each of the 22 verses is a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This was well-thought out and not just said to Lemuel but taught to him that he should not forget any of it. See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.870, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.430, the New International Bible Commentary p.689, the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.325, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.972, The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1129, and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.611 for more info.

Q: In Prov 31:10-31, if someone said women are women supposed to be passive how would you answer that from this passage?
A: Certainly not the woman in this Bible passage.
She works with her hands (Proverbs 31:13,22) and profits from this in Proverbs 31:24,31.
She shops for food (Proverbs 31:14) and cooks Proverbs 31:15).
She manages others (Proverbs 31:15).
She herself decides to buy real-estate in Proverbs 31:16.
She plants a vineyard. Proverbs 31:16 (Note that a family does not own an entire vineyard just for their personal consumption. A vineyard was a source of profit.)
She is physically strong (Proverbs 31:17).
She also trades, not just for necessity but for profit (Proverbs 31:18).
She herself gives to the poor. (She had to have control over money to do so.) (Proverbs 31:20)
She manages the household. (Proverbs 31:21)
She is wise and teaches wisdom. (Proverbs 31:26)
See 735 Baffling Bible Questions Answered p.157-158 for more info.

Q: In Prov 31:15, why are virtuous women to get up before dawn?
A: If you had to get up before dawn every day to be a virtuous woman, many women would be in trouble!
Seriously, this shows that she was not lazy, or prone to always sleeping in. In that time and culture, people generally got up around dawn and went to bed soon after dark, since there was no electric lighting.

Q: In Prov 31:10-31, what is unusual about these verses?
A: This starts out as "listen to your mama", but this was planned to be highly structured. Proverbs 31:10-31 is an acrostic: each of the 22 verses is a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet. This was well-thought out and not just said to Lemuel but taught to him that he should not forget any of it. See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.870, the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.430, the New International Bible Commentary p.689, the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.325, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.972, The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1129, and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.611 for more info.

Q: In Prov 31:10, why is a noble spouse worth so much?
A: What good are any other riches, if your wife spends all your money? I know of two cases where the wife one day just left and disappeared, cleaning out all the bank accounts first. In one case I was an acquaintance of the woman, and she apparently had no guilt whatsoever in doing so. First of all, can you trust your spouse not to do you wrong. Second, can you trust your spouse to always want and do good for you, not evil. I heard and read of two cases where the husband hired a hitman to kill his wife. Does it really matter so much how wealthy, handsome, beautiful, charming, or affectionate your spouse is, if you are not confident you will be able to trust them? The inside being beautiful is more important than the outside being beautiful.
See the Believer's Bible Commentary p.870-871 and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.612 for more info.

Q: In Prov 31:16, should the woman in family be involved in investments?
A: Proverbs 31:16 shows that it is fine. While the husband can be involved too, notice that in this verse the wife alone weighs the options, makes the decision, and carries through with the purchase from her profits.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.972-973 for more info.

Q: In Prov 31:17-19, what good aspects of a noble wife are sometimes ignored today in western culture?
A: The noble wife is happy to work hard, and to work hard for her family. Sometimes western culture associates femininity with weakness and dependence, but that is not Biblical. The noble wife had some muscle in her arms, and she was a diligent worker. Perhaps Paul had this in mind in Titus 2:5 when mentioned that wives are to be workers at home, as well as manage their households in 1 Timothy 5:14.
Notice what this says, and does not say, about a noble wife's physical appearance. It says her arms are strong, but other than that, is she tall or short, fair or dark complected, have curly hair or straight? This passage does not say. The reason is, those don't matter.
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.972-972 and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.612 for more info.

Q: In Prov 31:19, how did they spin cloth back then?
A: Spinning was a big industry, especially in Egypt. Spinning wheels were first used in Indian between 500 and 1000 A.D., China and the Mideast by 1100 A.D. and Europe in the 13th century. Before the spinning wheel thread makers would hold in one hand the flax, wool or hemp in one hand, and make a circle in the other to wrap it together as thread that was wound on a spindle, held in the other hand.

Q: In Prov 31:20, why does the wife reach out to the poor herself, instead of giving money to the husband to handle that?
A: The verse literally says, "she opens her palm to the poor." The wife does not have to go through the husband. The husband would know what she was doing, but even ignoring the fact that she was a breadwinner for the household too, she had a role in deciding how family finances would be spent.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1131 and The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.612 for more info.

Q: In Prov 31:21, what does the mention of scarlet mean here?
A: First what is not the answer and then the answer.
Not the answer:
Scarlet cloth is not special; it is just regular cloth with the thread dyed a scarlet color. Scarlet dye has no special insulating properties.
Probably not the answer:
Seeing that scarlet, sanim in Hebrew, does not provide warmth, the Greek Septuagint and later the Latin Vulgate translate this as though it was senayim in Hebrew, double cloaks.
The answer:
The one and only purpose of scarlet was ornamental, so the clothes would look pretty, and that is OK. If they could afford clothes that could be dyed in scarlet, that would imply that they were not wanting for enough clothes to keep them warm when it was snowy. Interestingly, the Hebrew word is plural, so literally it says "they are clothed in scarlets (i.e. scarlet clothes).
See the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.334-335, The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1132, and the New International Bible Commentary p.689 for more info.

Q: In Prov 31:23, what is the point of the husband sitting in honor at the city gates?
A: The respected elders of the city sat at the city gates. When sitting there, the husband did not have to worry about the wife back home. While the wife might be more highly respected by being married to such an honorable man, and keeping him on an honorable path, that is NOT the focus of this verse. Rather, he is more respected and showed good judgment because he was wise enough, and fortunate enough, to marry her.
See the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.430, the Believer's Bible Commentary p.871, and The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1132 for more info.

Q: In Prov 31:25f, what does it mean that she rejoices in the future?
A: There are three aspects here.
First of all
, it means that she thinks about the future and is not afraid of it.
But more than that
, it means that she looks forward to the future. With her savings and resources, she is not worried about her and her family.
Finally
, she does not think of her duties and responsibility as chores, but she rejoices in doing them.
See the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.337, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.973, The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1132, and the Evangelical Commentary on the Bible p.430 for more info.

Q: In Prov 31:27f, what is the "bread of idleness"?
A: This is a metaphor for time-wasting habits that man and women can form if they are not careful.

Q: In Prov 31:28-29, how and how often should we verbally bless our spouse, parents, and children?
A: You can explicitly tell them how much you value them and appreciate what they do, both privately and publicly. But you can also implicitly show them how much you appreciate them being in your life by how you treat them with honor, respect, and being quick to forgive something when they make a mistake. Never lose your temper with them or strike them.
See the Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.340 for more info.

Q: In Prov 31:29, what is unusual about this Hebrew word for "well" or "noble things"?
A: This is hard to translate to an English word. The Hebrew word 'eset-hayil is similar to gibbor hehayil in Judges 6:12 for a mighty warrior. It could sort of be translated as "brave", "manly", "heroic", "courageous", 'skilled" or "well", except that there is no hint of it being masculine. Think of a gold-medalist female athletic champion. Perhaps hero or champion are the closest words in English. She is not merely noble or does well, rather, she is a hero and a champion.
See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1129 for more info.

Q: In Prov 31:30-31, why don't we praise our spouses like we should?
A: A sad answer is that we don't because we often take them for granted. Do you know, for certain, that your spouse will be alive with you tomorrow? – you don't. So, if you are a man, why don't you take this opportunity sometime today, and every day, to praise her and tell her how special she is to you. Do you thank her for what she does for you, even though she might have already done it a thousand times before? Cherish her, because in this brief time we have on earth, God has chosen to bless you with a very special and unique gift from Him: her. (Proverbs 18:22; 19:14f). Finally, it says not just to honor her privately, but she will be honored at the city gates. In other words, publicly let the world know how great a woman she is. Her honor is not just being married to her husband, but her honor in her own right.
As The Tony Evans Bible Commentary p.613 say, "But offering praise is like watering a flower, thus allowing its buds to open up. So, praise the godly women in your life and watch them blossom. This is the way God designed life to be lived, so let's be wise and live accordingly."
See The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.973 and The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1133-1134 for more info.

Q: In Prov, what are some of the earliest manuscripts that still exist today?
A: Dead Sea scrolls: (c.1 B.C.) 2 separate copies. The Dead Sea Scrolls Today p.30 and the Wycliffe Bible Dictionary p.436-438.
4Q102 39 words or portions of words from Prov 1:27-2:1 (ca.30-1 B.C. because written in "early Herodian script")
4Q103 125 words from Proverbs 9:16 (or possibly 9:4); 13:6-9; 14:6-13; 14:27-28)?); 14:31-15:8; 15:19-31. (ca. 50 A.D.) because written in "late Herodian script"
See The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated p.481.
Overall, preserved in the Dead Sea scrolls are the following verses from Proverbs: 1:27-33; 2:1; 7:9-11?; 13:6-9; 14:5-10,12-13,31-35; 15:1-8,19-31 See The Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls for more details.
Christian Bible manuscripts,
from about 350 A.D., contain the Old Testament, including Proverbs.
Vaticanus
(325-350 A.D.) has preserved all of Proverbs.
Sinaiticus
(340-350 A.D.) has preserved all of Proverbs. It starts the page after Psalms ends. It ends the page before Ecclesiastes starts.
Alexandrinus
(c.450 A.D.) has preserved all of Proverbs.

Q: Which early writers referred to Proverbs?
A: Pre-Nicene writers who referenced or alluded to verses in Proverbs are:
Philo of Alexandria
(15/20 B.C.-50 A.D.) refers to Proverbs in a few places. Specifically, these are Proverbs 3:4; 3:11; 4:3.
Clement of Rome
(96-98 A.D.)
Ignatius of Antioch
(c.100-117 A.D.)
Justin Martyr
(c.138-165 A.D.) quoted various verses from Proverbs, but he also quoted all of Proverbs 8:21-36
Athenagoras
(177 A.D.)
Melito/Meleto of Sardis
(170-177/180 A.D.) lists all the books of the Old Testament, and he includes every book we have except Nehemiah and Esther. Fragment 4 From the Book of Extracts p.759.
Theophilus of Antioch
(168-181/188 A.D.)
Irenaeus of Lyons
(182-188 A.D.)
Clement of Alexandria
(193-217/220 A.D.)
Tertullian’s
Five Books Against Marcion (207/208 A.D.)
Hippolytus
(222-235/6 A.D.) mentions by name Proverbs, Wisdom, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs in Fragment of Commentary on the Song of Songs p.176
Theodotus the probable Montanist
(ca.240 A.D.) quotes from half of Proverbs 13:24 (about disciplining your son) in Excerpts of Theodotus ch.9 p.44
Commodianus (c.240 A.D.) alludes to Proverbs 23:11 and 15:1 in The Instructions of Commodianus ch.72 p.217.
Origen
(225-254 A.D.)
Cyprian
of Carthage (248-258 A.D..) quotes from "Proverbs" in Treatise 12 the third book 8,16,102,103,105,107,108 among other places.
Firmilian of Caesarea to Cyprian
(256 A.D.)
Dionysius of Alexandria
(246-256 A.D.) quotes half of Proverbs10:7 in Exegetical Fragment 2 p.113
Seventh Council of Carthage
(258 A.D.)
Dionysius of Rome
(259-269 A.D.) Proverbs 8:22f (5 of 9 words quoted from the Septuagint) as by Solomon. Against the Sabellians ch.2 p.365
Adamantius
(c.300 A.D.) quotes all of Proverbs 3:27 in the Septuagint as "in the Old Testament". Dialogue on the True Faith second part 15b p.94.
Peter of Alexandria
(306,285-310/311 A.D.) has two quotes from Proverbs. He quotes part of Proverbs 24:16 in Canonical Epistle canon 8 p.272. He quotes part Proverbs 13:8 in Canonical Epistle canon 12 p.277.
Methodius
(270-311/312 A.D.) says what God commanded in Leviticus and says, "we should consider the naked truth itself, for He saith," and quotes Proverbs 1:5-6. Banquet of the Ten Virgins discourse 9 ch.1 p.344-345.
Lactantius
(c.303-c.325 A.D.) quotes all of Proverbs 8:22-31 (Septuagint). The Divine Institutes book 4 ch.6 p.105
Alexander of Alexandria
(313-326 A.D.)
After Nicea (325 A.D.)

Eusebius of Caesarea
(318-339/340 A.D.)
Aphrahat the Syrian
(337-345 A.D.)
Hegemonius
(c.351 A.D.) in Archelaeus’ Disputation with Manes (262-278 A.D.)
The Arian Candidus in a latter to Marius (359-362 A.D.)
Hilary of Poitiers
(355-367/368 A.D.)
Athanasius of Alexandria
(325-373 A.D.)
Ephraem Syrus
(350-378 A.D.)
Basil of Cappadocia
(357-378/379 A.D.)
The Arian Eunomius of Cyzicus (360-c.383 A.D.)
Cyril of Jerusalem
(c.349-385 A.D.)
Gregory Nanzianus
(330-391 A.D.) mentions Proverbs in his poem of scripture. Gregory's poem is (in Greek) in Gregory vol.37 of Migne's Patrologia Graeca, cols. 471-474 (Carmina Dogmatica, Book 1, section 1, Carmen XII) See http://www.bible-researcher.com/gregory.html for more info.
Pacian of Barcelona (342-379/392 A.D.) alludes to Proverbs 18:19 as by Solomon. Letter 3 ch.20.2 p.62
Gregory of Nyssa
(c.356-397 A.D.)
Ambrose of Milan
(370-390 A.D.)
Rufinus
(374-406 A.D.) alludes to Proverbs 2:5 as "according to the words of Solomon" in Rufinus’ translation of Origen’s de Principiis book 2 ch.2.9 p.245
Jerome
(373-420 A.D.)
Council of Carthage
(393-419 A.D.)
Augustine of Hippo
(338-430 A.D.) refers to Proverbs as Scripture in Commentary on Psalms p.412
Epiphanius of Salamis
(360-403 A.D.)
John Chrysostom
(-407 A.D.) alludes to Proverbs 25:21,22 by Solomon. To Those Who Had Not Attended the Assembly ch.6 p.230
John Cassian
(419-430 A.D.)
Vincent of Lerins
(c.434 A.D.)
Theodoret of Cyrus
(323-458 A.D.)
Prosper of Aquitaine
(426-465 A.D.)
Among heretics

Megethius
(c.300 A.D.) quotes the Septuagint of Proverbs 21:1 I Dialogue on the True Faith First part 21 p.63

Q: In Prov, what are some of the translation differences between the Hebrew and Greek Septuagint?
A: The Expositor’s Bible Commentary volume 5 p.890 says that the Septuagint is fairly close in chapters 1 through 9, but there are great differences in chapters 10 through 31. Proverbs 39:1-14 is after Proverbs 24:22. Proverbs 30:15-33; 31:1-9 are after chapter 24. Here are a few of the translation differences, primarily from Proverbs 18.
Prov 1:16
"for their feet run to do evil and are swift to shed blood" (Masoretic and Alexandrine Septuagint) vs. absent (other Septuagint)
Prov 1:17
"For in vain the next is spread in the sight of every bird" vs. "for nets are not without cause spread for birds" (Septuagint) vs. "Not unjustly are nets spread out for birds." (Epistle of Barnabas ch.5 p.139)
Prov 1:31
"apostasy" vs. "cord" in 4Q102 (similar in Hebrew)
Prov 3:27
"from its possessors" vs. "from the poor" (Septuagint). This is absent in the Peshitta and Targums. (See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary volume 5 p.920-921.)
Prov 4:5
In Masoretic text and Alexandrine Septuagint, but not in other Septuagint
Prov 5:15
"cistern" (Masoretic text) vs. "vessel" (Septuagint)
Prov 8:29,32,33
In Masoretic text and Alexandrine Septuagint, but not in other Septuagint
Prov 7:22
"fool" Hebrew vs. "deer" Syriac and Septuagint (NIV footnote, The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.920)
Prov 11:3
In Masoretic text and Alexandrine Septuagint, but not in other Septuagint
Prov 11: parts of 10,11
In Masoretic text and Alexandrine Septuagint, but not in other Septuagint
Prov 12:12
"the wicked desired the net of evil men" (MT), "the desires of the wicked are evil (Septuagint), "the wicked desire to do evil (Syriac) "the desire of the wicked is a defense of the worst" (Latin) (from The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.970)
Prov 13:6
In Masoretic text and Alexandrine Septuagint, but not in other Septuagint
Prov 14:32
"in this death (Hebrew bemoto) vs. "in his integrity (Septuagint. Hebrew would be betummo)
Prov 15:19
Dead Sea Scroll 4Q109 accidentally transposed two letters
Prov 15:28
"meditate" vs. absent in 4Q109
Prov 16:1-3 absent in the Septuagint and replaced with other text.
Prov 16:5 [absent] vs. "The beginning of a good way is to do justly, and it is more acceptable with God than to offer sacrifices; he who seeks the Lord will find knowledge with righteousness, and they who rightly seek him will find peace." (See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1004 for more info.)
Prov 16:26 "hunger" (Masoretic) vs. "ruin" (Septuagint) vs. "suffering" (Syriac) (See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1010 for more info.)
Prov 17:1m The septuagint adds in the middle "The paths of life turn aside from evils, and the ways of righteousness are length of life; he who receives instruction will be prosperous, and he who regards reproofs will be mae wise; he who guards his ways preserves the soul, and he who loves his life will spare his mouth." (See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1008 for more info.)
Prov 16:33
In Masoretic text and Alexandrine Septuagint, but not in other Septuagint
Prov 17:6
[absent] Masoretic text vs. at the end "To the faithful belongs the whole word of wealth, but to the unfaithful not an obolus." (Septuagint) See The Expositor’s Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1015.
Prov 18:1
"He who separates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound wisdom." vs. "A man who wishes to separate from friends seeks excuses; but at all times he will be liable to reproach."
Prov 18:2
"only in uncovering his heart." vs. "led by folly."
Prov 18:3
"comes, scorn comes, too; and with shame comes reproach." vs. "comes into a depth of evils, he despises them; but dishonour and reproach come upon him."
Prov 18:4
"words ... waters" vs. "word ... water"
Prov 18:4
"the fountain of wisdom like a flowing brook" vs. "river and fountain of life spring forth"
Prov 18:5
"lift up the face" vs. "accept the person"
Prov 18:5
"righteous" vs. "justice"
Prov 18:6
"calls for strokes [of beating]" vs. "calls for death".
Prov 18:8
"The words of a talebearer are as wounds; yea they go down into the innermost chambers of the belly." vs. "Fear casts down the slothful; and the souls of the effeminate shall hunger."
Prov 18:9
"brother to a master destroyer" vs. "brother of him that ruins himself"
Prov 18:10
"tower of strength" vs. "of great strength"
Prov 18:11
"and as a high wall in his imagination" vs. "and its glory casts a broad shadow."
Prov 18:12
"humility goes before honor" vs. "before honour it [a man’s heart] is humble"
Prov 18:14
"The spirit of a man will nourish his sickness" vs. "A wise servant calms a man’s anger"
Prov 18:14
"wounded spirit" vs. "faint-hearted man"
Prov 18:15
"gets knowledge" vs. "purchases discretion"
Prov 18:16
"bribe makes room" vs. "gift enlarges"
Prov 18:17
"He who is first in his cause seems just; but his neighbor comes and searches him." vs. "A righteous man accuses himself at the beginning of his speech, but when he has entered upon the attack, the adversary is reproved."
Prov 18:18
"The lot causes arguments to cease" vs. "A silent man quells strifes"
Prov 18:19
"An offended brother" vs. "A brother helped by a brother"
Prov 18:19
"their contentions are like the bars of a castle" vs. "and [the brother] is as strong as a well-founded palace"
Prov 18:20
"belly shall be satisfied" vs. "fills his belly"
Prov 18:21
"Death and life" vs. "Life and death"
Prov 18:21
"love it" vs. "rule it"
Prov 18:22
"finds" vs. "has found"
Prov 18:22
"Jehovah" vs. "God. He that / Whoever puts away a good wife, puts away a good thing, and he/whoever that keeps an adulteress is foolish and ungodly." (Septuagint)
Prov 18:23,24
are absent in the Greek Septuagint.
Prov 19:1,2
are absent in the Greek Septuagint.
Prov 19:4
"neighbor" vs. "friend he has"
Prov 19:13b
"constant dripping" vs. "constant dripping. Vows paid of the hire of a harlot are not pure." (Septuagint)
Prov 19:27
"Stop listening to instruction my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge." vs. "A son who ceases to attend to discipline is likely to stray from words of knowledge." (Septuagint)
Prov 21:4
"plowing of the wicked" (Masoretic) vs. "lamp of the wicked" (Septuagint) (one consonant difference)
Prov 21:6
"seekers of death / those who seek death" (most Masoretic, Symmachus, Syriac, Targums, Venetian) vs. "a deadly snare) some Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Jerome, Vulgate) See Keil-Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament vol.6 p.66 and The Bible Knowledge Commentary : Old Testament p.950.
Prov 21:16,17
In Masoretic text and Alexandrine Septuagint, but not in other Septuagint.
Prov 22:8
"the rod of his fury" (Masoretic) vs. "the punishment of his deeds" (Septuagint)
Prov 22:11
"He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend." (Masoretic) vs. "The Lord loves the pure in heart; all who are blameless in their ways are acceptable to him." (Septuagint) See The Expositor's Bible Commentary vol.5 p.1063 for more info.
Prov 22:13
"lion in the streets" (Masoretic) vs. "murderers in the streets" (Septuagint)
Prov 24:7a
"Wisdom is too high for a fool" (Masoretic) vs. "Wisdom and good understanding are in the gates of the wise;" (Septuagint) vs. "the fool grumbles against wisdom" (Targums according to K-D vol.6 p.128)
Prov 25:20 "Like one who takes away a garmend in cold wather, And like vinegar on soda is one who sings songs to a heavy heart" (Masoretic) vs. "as vinegar is bad for a sore, so trouble befalling the body afflicts the heart. As a moth in a garment, and a wrm in wood, so the grief of a man hurts the heat." (Septuagint)
Bibliography for this question: the Hebrew translation is from Jay P. Green’s Literal Translation and the Septuagint rendering is from Sir Lancelot C.L. Brenton’s translation of The Septuagint : Greek and English. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary and the footnotes in the NASB, NIV, NKJV, and NRSV Bibles also were used.

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Mar. 2022 version.