In participating in a group study on Proverbs, I thought I'd write down some notes as inspired to do so. Since I will be posting full chapters from Proverbs for the purpose of discussing them, different chapters will of necessity utilize different versions of the Bible for reasons of copyright restrictions on most modern translations (popups will be in ESV). This does not imply a personal version preference for any particular chapter.
Proverbs 1 (NKJV):
The Beginning of Knowledge
1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:
Solomon sat on the throne after David and was chosen from among David's many sons (see 1 Chronicles 28:51 Chronicles 28:5 (ESV)
And of all my sons (for the Lord has given me many sons) he has chosen Solomon my son to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel. ). The proverbs recorded are but a few of the known proverbs of Solomon. 1 Kings 4:32 says "He spoke three thousand proverbs, and his songs were one thousand and five." 1 Kings 4:311 Kings 4:31 (ESV)
For he was wiser than all other men, wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite, and Heman, Calcol, and Darda, the sons of Mahol, and his fame was in all the surrounding nations. says of Solomon, "For he was wiser than all men..."
2 To know wisdom and instruction, To perceive the words of understanding,
"To know" could be translated "for knowing." The purpose of the book is for our knowing.
Many readers might consider wisdom and instruction to be synonyms, but in the original Hebrew, wisdom means wisdom as we would likely perceive it, but instruction, Strong's H4148 - mûsār, has a sterner meaning. The word implies: properly, chastisement; and figuratively, reproof, warning or instruction; and also restraint. The word refers to correction, as to children from parents or to nations by kings. Biblical context shows that the Lord's correction or discipline is not always enjoyable to the fleshly self. Some examples of mûsār in scripture:
Job 5:17 - “Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.
Job 12:18 - He loosens the bonds of kings, And binds (girds) their waist with a belt.
Psalm 50:17 (speaking to the wicked) - Seeing you hate instruction And cast My words behind you?
Isaiah 26:16 - Lord, in trouble they have visited You, They poured out a prayer when Your chastening was upon them.
Isaiah 53:5 - But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
Jeremiah 5:3 - O Lord, are not Your eyes on the truth? You have stricken them, But they have not grieved; You have consumed them, But they have refused to receive correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; They have refused to return.
Jeremiah 10:8 - But they are altogether dull-hearted and foolish; A wooden idol is a worthless doctrine.
Ezekiel 5:15 - ‘So it shall be a reproach, a taunt, a lesson, and an astonishment to the nations that are all around you, when I execute judgments among you in anger and in fury and in furious rebukes. I, the Lord, have spoken.
Zephaniah 3:2 - She has not obeyed His voice, She has not received correction; She has not trusted in the Lord, She has not drawn near to her God.
As can be observed in many of the verses above, instruction (mûsār) is often associated with a difficult correction or teaching from the Lord. In the verses above, the Lord corrects not always with a simple lesson on the blackboard, but by consuming them (Jeremiah 5:3Jeremiah 5:3 (ESV)
O Lord, do not your eyes look for truth? You have struck them down, but they felt no anguish; you have consumed them, but they refused to take correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; they have refused to repent. ), or by making his people a reproach and a taunt, a lesson and an astonishment to the nations (Speaking to His people who have defiled his sanctuary). Most interesting to me is that in Isaiah 53:5Isaiah 53:5 (ESV)
But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. , the chastisement of our piece that was upon Jesus at the crucifixion was this same instruction.
The word for perceive (Strong's H995 - bîn) refers to a very purposeful separating out with understanding. It is not just a hearing, but an understanding of what has been heard (see Daniel 12:8Daniel 12:8 (ESV)
I heard, but I did not understand. Then I said, “O my lord, what shall be the outcome of these things?” ). To perceive is to use discernment and wisdom in deciding a thing. It gives careful consideration.
3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, Justice, judgment, and equity;
The word for wisdom in this verse is a verb (Strong's H7919 - sakal). It means to attend, to turn the mind to, to become understanding, to be successful in carrying something on, to act prosperously (see Joshua 1:7 - that you may prosper wherever you go), to give success. It also can be used to mean to make prudent, to teach.
4 To give prudence to the simple, To the young man knowledge and discretion—
Simple, young man... could this imply those with little experience - those who would need training?
5 A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
The word for hear is Strong's H8085 - shama`, which implies a hearing and obeying, not just listening. It means to hear intelligently (often with implication of attention, obedience, etc.). It is a hearing with a purpose (the opposite of just listening to any new thing that comes along).
The word for learning, Strong's H3948 - leqach, is only used nine times in the OT and is translated doctrine as often as learning. It could be said that the thought in the first half of the verse implies that a wise man will, with purpose, learn doctrine with the goal of obedience. The word for attain is Strong's H7069 - qanah, which refers to obtaining by buying/earning (to get, acquire, create, buy, possess). It is not passive.
6 To understand a proverb and an enigma, The words of the wise and their riddles.
In the King James, this verse is written "To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings." Dark sayings can be considered a cliche that means "riddles." Jesus often spoke in riddles so that those who profess to be wise would not understand. Consider Matthew 13:34-35Matthew 13:34-35 (ESV)
All these things Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed, he said nothing to them without a parable. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet: “I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.” .
2 Peter 3:15-16 says "and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures." Could it be that God speaks in riddles so that those with impure heart and motives will be trapped and exposed, because they then "twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the scriptures.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Fear is Strong's H3374 - yir'ah. This can be thought of as a holy fear or reverence. The word does mean more than just "respect" though. If we are not right with God, he should be considered an awesome or terrifying thing (object causing fear) per this word. As used in Exodus 20:20, his fear causes us to not sin.
Psalm 2:11 says "Serve the Lord with fear, And rejoice with trembling." We need to be aware of God's awesome power. We are only saved by his grace and nothing in ourselves. Our salvation makes God no less holy and no less worthy of our reverence and honor - due because of His holiness and not simply because he's our friend. We tend to water down who God is, forgetting the greatness of who He is. This healthy remembrance of who He is is the beginning of knowledge. Forget this and our knowledge becomes futile and earthly.
Instruction is again mûsār from verse 2.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge could be considered the motto of Proverbs. Similar phrasing also occurs in the Bible at: Psalm 111:10Psalm 111:10 (ESV)
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever! , Proverbs 9:10, 15:33Proverbs 9:10, 15:33 (ESV)
9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
15:33 The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor. , and Job 28:28Job 28:28 (ESV)
And he said to man, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.’” . Note the fear of the Lord is the beginning... Shunning evil is not the beginning (and I would say shunning evil should be the result). If we try to be wise on our own, we will only become more foolish (see Romans 1:21-23Romans 1:21-23 (ESV)
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. ).
Shun Evil Counsel
8 My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother;
9 For they will be a graceful ornament on your head, And chains about your neck.
The first seven verses speak to what wisdom and instruction are and the importance of them. The first application is given in verses 8-9. It is important to honor our parents, learning from them (assuming Godly parents). The law of your mother is Strong's H8451 - tôrâ. See also Proverbs 6:20Proverbs 6:20 (ESV)
My son, keep your father's commandment, and forsake not your mother's teaching. and Ephesians 6:2-3Ephesians 6:2-3 (ESV)
“Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” . Interestingly, this puts importance on elders and family bonds first in the upcoming articles of wisdom. Often our society no longer counts such bonds as important. We do not give respect to those who have gone before us.
10 My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent.
11 If they say, “Come with us, Let us lie in wait to shed blood; Let us lurk secretly for the innocent without cause;
12 Let us swallow them alive like Sheol,[a] And whole, like those who go down to the Pit;
13 We shall find all kinds of precious possessions, We shall fill our houses with spoil;
14 Cast in your lot among us, Let us all have one purse”—
Sinners want us to be one with them. They want us to be in agreement with their ways and plans. The do not realize the emptiness that will come from their plans (see below). It seems as if Solomon is writing with both obvious instruction and hyperbole here. While some sinners may ask you to plot to murder and thieve, swallowing others alive like the place of the dead, in reality, lesser invites are just as deadly. The invitation to stay angry at someone is equal to murder of that person in God's eyes (see Matthew 5:21-22).
15 My son, do not walk in the way with them, Keep your foot from their path;
16 For their feet run to evil, And they make haste to shed blood.
We are not to walk with the sinners. We are to keep our foot from their path. There are many ways we can not walk with a sinner but still keep our feet on their path. We can stand idly by watching their sin but not standing up against it. We watch entertaining stories of sin (tv/movies), but say it's only a story and we are not sinning. Could that not be standing on the sinner's path?
Psalm 1:1 says "Blessed is the man Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, Nor stands in the path of sinners, Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;" I like the three verbs. We would easily think of walking in ungodly counsel as an action of sinning, but the verse continues with standing (still) in the path of sinners... hanging out with others who are sinning but claiming we are not sinning ourselves. Finally, even sitting is used. We may mock others and offer taunts, if only in private (judgement), but this is joined with going out and throwing stones in God's eyes.
We have told ourselves we can sit and watch the sinner's path and be fine... but it's too easy to stand, and then walk on the path.
17 Surely, in vain the net is spread In the sight of any bird;
18 But they lie in wait for their own blood, They lurk secretly for their own lives.
This is the ultimate end of our sin against others. Our sin can have a boomerang effect on our own lives.
19 So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; It takes away the life of its owners.
Note that all of this is rooted in greed for gain. Greed for gain takes away life. Also notice that "so are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain;" We may tell ourselves that greed won't lead to a murderous plot, but even if by hyperbole, that's exactly what greed leads to per these verses.
The word here for gain, Strong's H1215 - beṣaʿ, refers to profit, unjust gain, gain (profit) acquired by violence (though violence is not required).
The Call of Wisdom
20 Wisdom calls aloud outside; She raises her voice in the open squares.
"Raises her voice" is uttereth in the KJV. It is from Strong's H5414 - nathan. It is most often translated as "give," as in bestow. In the open squares refers to publically. While many men may not accept it, God does put his wisdom out there for us to know - it is His wisdom that calls us. Fools reject it. Those who wish to be wise, those who fear God, accept it. For both, though, it is there. We have to make a choice. We can not claim ignorance to what is publically calling us. See the warning in Romans 1:19-22Romans 1:19-22 (ESV)
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, .
This is also a statement of Christ - a prophecy. See John 18:20John 18:20 (ESV)
Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. . Wisdom should also be us - See Matthew 10:27Matthew 10:27 (ESV)
What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. .
21 She cries out in the chief concourses,[b] At the openings of the gates in the city She speaks her words:
The wisdom of God is not a private knowledge only available to a special few. It is for all who will receive it.
22 “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, And fools hate knowledge.
23 Turn at my rebuke; Surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.
Even for the simple and the fool, those who delight(ed) in scorning God, he will pour out his spirit on them when they turn to him. He will reveal himself and make his words known to them.
24 Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded,
25 Because you disdained all my counsel, And would have none of my rebuke,
26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes,
Kidner states "I... will laugh is not an expression of personal heartlessness, but of the absurdity of choosing folly, the complete vindication of wisdom, and the incontestable fitness of the disaster. Also see Psalm 2 for a comparison.
27 When your terror comes like a storm, And your destruction comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you.
But to those who don't turn...
28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.
There will be a time when it will be too late to seek God. While Rob Bell (Love Wins) may believe that all will ultimately be turned by God's love, even if they never do in this life, the Bible makes it clear that this is not so. This is why we must always be ready to answer for the hope we have and this is why our only mission on earth after becoming a Christian is to preach the Gospel of the offer of forgiveness for our sins against an awesome God.
Diligently can also be translated as "early."
29 Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the Lord,
30 They would have none of my counsel And despised my every rebuke.
31 Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, And be filled to the full with their own fancies.
See again Romans 1. God says in verse 28 that God will turn them (who reject God's wisdom) over to a reprobate mind. But as noted in verse 23 above, if we turn, he will receive us (while we're still alive on this earth).
32 For the turning away of the simple will slay them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them;
Complacency implies that inaction towards God's calling is the same as rejection of his wisdom.
33 But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, And will be secure, without fear of evil.”
The KJV translates this verse "But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil." And will be secure/and shall be quiet from is Strong's H7599 - sha'an. This word refers to being at ease, at peace, rest, to rest securely, be quiet. Jesus was sha'an in the boat while the storm was raging around him. This verse doesn't say that evil won't be all around us in this world; it says we will be live in tranquility in the midst of it because our ears are tuned to God and we listen to him. He is the one who keeps us safe.
[a] Proverbs 1:12 Or the grave
[b] Proverbs 1:21 Septuagint, Syriac, and Targum read top of the walls; Vulgate reads the head of multitudes.
Proverbs 2 (KJV):
The Value of Wisdom
1 My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee;
2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
Our prayer should be for wisdom. There is a seriousness here. This is not an order at the drive through. Our cry for wisdom should be as that of a hungry man begging for food.
4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
People mine silver and extract silver from the ore. It is a laborious process. The treasure hunter seeks diligently without giving up. This should be our attitude and the effort we put into discovering and learning the wisdom of God.
Further, just as the precious silver is mixed with the ore, we should be careful not to keep the ore with the silver, tainting the metal (or tainting our wisdom). The ore is discarded; only the silver is what we should seek.
5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.
Whereas Wisdom was calling out in the streets in the previous chapter (see Proverbs 1:20-21Proverbs 1:20-21 (ESV)
Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks: ), here, we are the ones doing the searching. Note the verbs: We are to receive, hide Wisdom's commands, incline to hear, apply our heart, cry after knowledge, lift our voices for understanding, seek (as we would silver) and search (as for hidden treasures) and then we shall understand and find. Our labor of searching shall not be in vain.
6 For the Lord giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.
But the results of our searching are still God provided. Wisdom calls out and we seek. I picture two lost friends/family members looking for each other. God assures us that the seeking is occurring on his end. If it also occurs on ours, the reuniting will take place (or the initial meeting, as well).
It is worth noting that all wisdom is in Christ, as well (Colossians 2:3 - In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge). To discover the true wisdom of God will be to discover Christ. Christ became for us wisdom from God (see 1 Corinthians 1:301 Corinthians 1:30 (ESV)
And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, ).
7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler (shield) to them that walk uprightly.
Wisdom is set aside for us, waiting for us to find it.
8 He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.
9 Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.
Note the moral nouns that are to define us: righteous, upright (in integrity - ESV), judgment, saints, equity
Note the protection of God: buckler (shield), keeper, preserver.
10 When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;
Might knowledge be an acquired taste? When... it is pleasant to thy soul... then...
11 Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:
It is by allowing wisdom to enter into our heart that God is our shield, keeper and preserver. His wisdom is not just knowledge to us - it is protection and preservation to us. Wisdom keeps us, and as noted in verse 12 below, it delivers us from the evil man. This is why the Bible says God's people are destroyed for lack of knowledge (see Hosea 4:6Hosea 4:6 (ESV)
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children. ).
12 To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward (perverted/perverse) things;
If we have let Wisdom into our heart (not just "head knowledge" but "heart knowledge") then we will better resist the temptations of evil.
13 Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;
14 Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked;
15 Whose ways are crooked, and they froward (go crooked) in their paths:
Allowing sin to rule will change your very path and ways. You will become resolute to walk in the crooked way. It will strangle you in this, trapping you (see vs. 19, below)
16 To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words;
Lust and sin will attempt to flatter you to get you to take her path.
17 Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.
18 For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead.
or, "she sinks down to death which is her home"
19 None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.
Sin hardens the heart and mind; it becomes difficult to return thus "none that go unto her return again..."
20 That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.
Proverbs 12:28 - "In the path of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death." (ESV)
21 For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it.
22 But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.
(See Malachi 4:1Malachi 4:1 (ESV)
“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. ; Proverbs 5:22Proverbs 5:22 (ESV)
The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. ; Psalms 37:20, 37-38, 104:35Psalms 37:20, 37-38, 104:35 (ESV)
37:20 But the wicked will perish; the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures; they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.
37:37-38 Mark the blameless and behold the upright, for there is a future for the man of peace. But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed; the future of the wicked shall be cut off.
104:35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more! Bless the Lord, O my soul! Praise the Lord! ; Isaiah 3:10-11Isaiah 3:10-11 (ESV)
Tell the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds. Woe to the wicked! It shall be ill with him, for what his hands have dealt out shall be done to him. )
Proverbs 3 English Standard Version (ESV)
Trust in the Lord with All Your Heart
1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments,
2 for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.
Whether by averages as wise men may not get themselves killed so easily, or literally, seeking wisdom and keeping wisdom can give your life peace and length (Proverbs 4:10Proverbs 4:10 (ESV)
4:10 Hear, my son, and accept my words, that the years of your life may be many. ; Ephesians 6:2Ephesians 6:2 (ESV)
“Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), ).
3 Let not steadfast love and faithfulness (KJV: mercy and truth) forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart.
It is interesting that we are told to not let love and faithfulness forsake us. We are to bind them around our neck and write them on our heart. In doing so, we shall find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Forsake is Strong's H5800 - `azab, which means to leave, loose, forsake, to loosen bands, as in letting a beast go from its bonds. The Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon entry linked is worth a read here.
The NLT shows this as "Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!"
Can this be taken two ways? We should be sure we hold tight to a loving, kind, merciful, and faithful nature, but we should also be sure we are drawing close to God as he then draws close to us and covers us with his mercy, love and faithfulness. If we pull away from God, though, we will be letting God's character and love for us forsake us (by our own doing). James 4:8 says "Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you." If a man finds himself away from the Lord, let him return to the LORD, that he (the Lord) may have compassion on him (see Isaiah 55:7Isaiah 55:7 (ESV)
let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the LORD, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. ). We must stay close to God so that we have his character in us and that he can pour out his character upon us.
4 So you will find favor and good success [repute] in the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
My how we like to trust in our own understanding. God's wisdom is not ours; the Bible is clear that we know little:
Proverbs 28:26 - Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.
Jeremiah 10:23 - I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.
Romans 12:16 - Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly [give yourselves to humble tasks]. Never be wise in your own sight.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
We are not to just acknowledge God at church or around certain people. In ALL our ways we should acknowledge him. In those areas of life where we do not acknowledge God, we may find our paths crooked.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
If we think ourselves wise, we are fooling ourselves.
Jeremiah 17:9 - The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Proverbs 26:12 - Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
Also see Isaiah 5:21 and Romans 12:16
8 It will be healing to your flesh[navel] and refreshment[medicine] to your bones.
Consider the grouping: Trust in the Lord. Don't trust your own understanding. Acknowledge God in all things. Don't consider yourself wise. Turn from evil. This combination will be healing to your flesh and medicine to your bones.
9 Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.
See Malachi 3:10-11Malachi 3:10-11 (ESV)
Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need. I will rebuke the devourer for you, so that it will not destroy the fruits of your soil, and your vine in the field shall not fail to bear, says the Lord of hosts. ; Proverbs 11:24, 19:17Proverbs 11:24, 19:17 (ESV)
11:24 One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.
19:17 Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.
; Matthew 10:42Matthew 10:42 (ESV)
And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.” ; and 2 Corinthians 9:9-112 Corinthians 9:9-11 (ESV)
As it is written, “He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever.” He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.
11 My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof,
Despite can also be thought of as reject or refuse (see Strong's H3988 - ma'ac). Weary can be translated to be grieved, loathe, abhor, or feel a loathing or abhorrence or sickening dread (see Strong's H6973 - qûṣ).
12 for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.
Blessed Is the One Who Finds Wisdom
13 Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding,
14 for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold.
We saw in Proverbs 2:4 that we are to seek wisdom as we would silver. This can be a laborious process. However, the benefit to our lives is better than both silver and gold. If we consider our lives, and we were given a pile of silver and gold on one hand and the Bible on the other, which would we consider more profitable?
15 She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.
Matthew 6:33 - But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
Related to the note for verse 8, pleasantness and peace are both healing and lead to health (or do not lead to sickness, unlike stress and anger).
18 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed.
Hold her fast requires continuous action on our part. We can't find wisdom in a weekend and expect it to bring eternal blessing. We must continuously hold fast to wisdom.
19 The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens;
20 by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew.
21 My son, do not lose sight of these— keep sound wisdom and discretion,
I've known friends who were studying to become a doctor or other sciences and for some, it enforced their faith in God, for others, it stole it away. We need to remember that true wisdom is from God and it is the means by which God created everything. Don't let your studies of everything steal you away from recognizing the wisdom of God.
22 and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck.
23 Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble.
24 If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin[storm] of the wicked, when it comes,
Life will happen, but we don't have to fear it. See Psalms 27:1Psalms 27:1, 46:1-3, 95:11, 112:7 (ESV)
27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
46:1-3 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. — Selah
95:11 Therefore I swore in my wrath, “They shall not enter my rest.”
112:7 He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. ; Isaiah 8:12-13, 41:10-14Isaiah 8:12-13, 41:10-14 (ESV)
8:12-13 Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. But the Lord of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.
41:10-14 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all. For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I am the one who helps you, declares the Lord; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. ; Daniel 3:17-18Daniel 3:17-18 (ESV)
If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” ; Matthew 24:6Matthew 24:6 (ESV)
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. ; and 1 Peter 3:141 Peter 3:14 (ESV)
But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled,
26 for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught.
27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,[Do not withhold good from its owners] when it is in your power to do it.
See Romans 13:7Romans 13:7 (ESV)
Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. , Galatians 6:10Galatians 6:10 (ESV)
So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. , and James 2:15-16James 2:15-16 (ESV)
If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?
28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it”—when you have it with you.
29 Do not plan evil against your neighbor, who dwells trustingly beside you.
30 Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm.
31 Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways,
Violence here is Strong's H2555 - chamac, which can mean violence; by implication, wrong; and by metonymy unjust gain.
32 for the devious person is an abomination to the Lord, but the upright are in his confidence.
This reiterates that it's not just the violent we should not envy (few envy the violent), but the unjust and deceitful who use trickery and other means to get gain. This would include those who cheat on their taxes or in their business to make more money, etc.
33 The Lord's curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the dwelling of the righteous.
Others may appear successful in their corruption, but we should not envy, knowing that ultimately, they are under God's curse. Our goal should always be their salvation as we realize their ultimate end without Christ.
34 Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor [grace].
35 The wise will inherit honor, but fools get [The meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain] disgrace.
Proverbs 4 (Young's Literal Translation - YLT)
A Father's Wise Instruction
1 Hear, ye sons, the instruction of a father, And give attention to know understanding.
In this sense, hearing is our choice, and attention is one thing we must give in order to know understanding.
2 For good learning I have given to you, My law forsake not.
3 For, a son I have been to my father -- tender, And an only one before my mother.
4 And he directeth me, and he saith to me: `Let thy heart retain my words, Keep my commands, and live.
5 Get wisdom, get understanding, Do not forget, nor turn away From the sayings of my mouth.
6 Forsake her not, and she doth preserve thee, Love her, and she doth keep thee.
Parents should have this mindset - to spread the knowledge of God and remind their children of that knowledge as they age.
7 The first thing [is] wisdom -- get wisdom, And with all thy getting get understanding.
KJV: "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom."
8 Exalt her, and she doth lift thee up, She honoureth thee, when thou dost embrace her.
Note the reciprocal relationship.
9 She giveth to thy head a wreath of grace, A crown of beauty she doth give thee freely.
10 Hear, my son, and receive my sayings, And years of life [are] multiplied to thee.
11 In a way of wisdom I have directed thee, I have caused thee to tread in paths of uprightness.
We live in a world where people often say that a parent has no real influence or control. Solomon would likely have disagreed.
12 In thy walking thy step is not straitened, And if thou runnest, thou stumblest not.
13 Lay hold on instruction, do not desist, Keep her, for she [is] thy life.
14 Into the path of the wicked enter not, And be not happy in a way of evil doers.
We need to check our hearts and attitude. Are we "happy in the way of evil doers?" Most translations do say here, "go not in the way of evil doers." Both seem to be legit translations (Strong's H833 - 'ashar)
15 Avoid it, pass not over into it, Turn aside from it, and pass on.
Not "stare at it, admire it, set your foot on its path, and hang around."
16 For they sleep not if they do not evil, And their sleep hath been taken violently away, If they cause not [some] to stumble.
17 For they have eaten bread of wickedness, And wine of violence they drink.
Notice the progression. Just as in chapter 3, we find that following wisdom we would not fear and we would have good sleep, here, it says that by eating the bread of wickedness and the wine of violence evil people don't sleep unless they do evil. Whether following God's wisdom or the world's evil, we will find ourselves addicted and we will not be able to sleep (rest) unless we follow the path we are on. What becomes our meat and drink becomes our duty and habit.
18 And the path of the righteous [is] as a shining light, Going and brightening till the day is established,
We should expect improvement as we grow in Christ, who is our Wisdom (...brightening til the day...)
19 The way of the wicked [is] as darkness, They have not known at what they stumble.
We may say that those who reject Christ and choose to follow evil do so knowingly, but they "have not known at what they stumble." They are blinded by the enemy. They may follow the enemy's path willingly, but this is not the same as knowingly.
20 My son, to my words give attention, To my sayings incline thine ear,
21 Let them not turn aside from thine eyes, Preserve them in the midst of thy heart.
22 For life they [are] to those finding them, And to all their flesh healing.
See Proverbs 3:8 and noteProverbs 3:8 (ESV)
It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
Note: Consider the grouping: Trust in the Lord. Don't trust your own understanding. Acknowledge God in all things. Don't consider yourself wise. Turn from evil. This combination will be healing to your flesh and medicine to your bones..
23 Above every charge keep thy heart, For out of it [are] the outgoings of life.
Jeremiah 17:9 says "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (KJV). The only way for us to keep our heart is to keep ourselves in Christ. He knows our heart; we may think we do, but we do not. We need to watch ourselves lest we get haughty. 1 Corinthians 10:12 says "Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall." (ESV). Also see: Colossians 2:8Colossians 2:8 (ESV)
See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ. , 2 Peter 3:172 Peter 3:17 (ESV)
You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. , 1 Corinthians 8:21 Corinthians 8:2 (ESV)
If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. , and Proverbs 16:18Proverbs 16:18 (ESV)
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. .
24 Turn aside from thee a froward mouth, And perverse lips put far from thee,
25 Thine eyes do look straightforward, And thine eyelids look straight before thee.
26 Ponder thou the path of thy feet, And all thy ways [are] established.
The steps we take today will determine our plan in life. Look at your steps now. Are they leading you to where you want to be?
27 Incline not [to] the right or to the left, Turn aside thy foot from evil!