Thoughts on the Proverbs
[Proverbs 1, 2, 13]

["Thoughts on the Proverbs" is a consideration of various verses in the Book of Proverbs. Beginning with chapter 13 each verse has a summary. Each verse includes a translation comparison, cross references, a brief note, and on some verses word studies.]

Proverbs 1:1-4 [The Purpose of Proverbs]

Proverbs 1:1 -- The proverbs of Sol'o∑mon the son of David, the king of Israel,

CROSS REF: 1 Kings 4:32 = proverbs; Ecclesiastes 12:9 = words

FTN: The Hebrew title after the opening word Mish-lehí (see Numbers 23:7)

NOTE: "For one to know wisdom and discipline, to discern the sayings of understanding, to receive the discipline that gives insight, righteousness and judgment and uprightness, to give to the inexperienced ones shrewdness, to a young man knowledge and thinking ability." (Proverbs 1:2-4) "The purpose is that you may walk in the way of good people and that the paths of the righteous ones you may keep." (Proverbs 2:20)

Proverbs 1:2 -- for one to know wisdom and discipline, to discern the sayings of understanding,

TRANS: JB: understanding words of deep meaning

CROSS REF: 2 Timothy 3:16 = inspired; Hebrews 12:7 = discipline

NOTE Not a mere collection of facts to impress others but wise sayings to guide a life.

Proverbs 1:3 -- to receive the discipline that gives insight, righteousness and judgment and uprightness,

TRANS: NEB: gain a well-instructed intelligence

NOTE: Four results and factors in true discipline. "There is no relation in life which has not its appropriate instruction, no good or evil tendency without its proper incentive or correction. The human consciousness is everywhere brought into immediate relation with the Divine, . . . and man walks as in the presence of his Maker and Judge . . . Every type of humanity is found in this ancient book; and though sketched three thousand years ago, is still as true to nature as if now drawn from its living representative." (Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, 1890, Vol. III, page 2616)

Proverbs 1:4 -- to give to the inexperienced ones shrewdness, to a young man knowledge and thinking ability.

NOTE: How is any young person to learn the correct and godly way to conduct oneself and thus be recognized by others to be wise, discerning, shrewd, insightful, righteous, upright, and a thoughtful person?

Proverbs 2:1-5 [How to Know God and His Wisdom]

Proverbs 2:1 -- My son, if you will receive my sayings and treasure up my own commandments with yourself,

TRANS: SPRL: accept my words; MOF: take to heart; BAS: take my words to your heart, storing up my laws in your mind

CROSS REF: Job 23:12 = treasure sayings

NOTE: With verse 1 begin eight steps or exhortations to attain wisdom and the knowledge of God. The word "treasure" is used 3x in verses 1, 4, 7 and it is a word Jesus used often regarding the heart. (6x in Matthew; 6x in Luke) "Treasure" occurs 41x with first at Genesis 43:23. "Treasure up" occurs 4x, also at Proverbs 7:1 and Proverbs 10:14. Interestingly the word for "treasure" in Greek is the English word thesaurus. The LXX uses krypses (cryptic).

Proverbs 2:2 -- so as to pay attention to wisdom with your ear, that you may incline your heart to discernment;

TRANS: JPS: make thine ear attend; AAT: applying your mind to reason; JB: tuning your ear; KNX: ear attentive ... mind eager to attain

CROSS REF: Proverbs 1:5 = wisdom; Hebrews 5:14 = use

NOTE: It is the "ear" which hears oral teaching, the main method of learning in Godís nation of Israel. (See Acts 18:25) But, the motive or inclination must be present first as a driving force to actuate interest -- an awareness of the need for spirituality and a reverence for God.

WORDS: Wisdom occurs 285x in the Bible, 49x in Proverbs, 19x 1 Corinthians; Ear occurs 154x in the Bible, 12x in Proverbs, 29x in Psalms, 8x in Revelation; Heart occurs 1,019x in the Bible; 98x in Proverbs; 136x in Psalms; 16x in Acts.

Proverbs 2:3 -- if, moreover, you call out for understanding itself and you give forth your voice for discernment itself,

TRANS: MOF: cry to intelligence

CROSS REF: 1 Kings 3:11 = request; Philippians 1:9 = discernment

NOTE: One must ask with a certain vigor of voice to be heard. Professor R. C. Dentan, writing in The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible (edited by G. Buttrick, 1962, Vol. 4, p. 733), says: "The root bin means primarily 'to discern with the senses,' 'to perceive distinctions,' then 'to give close attention to,' and finally-particularly in the derived stems-'to gain comprehension' or 'give' it to others." Hebrew scholar Gesenius gives the basic sense as "to separate, to distinguish; . . . hence to discern, to mark, to understand, all [of] which depend on the power of separating, distinguishing, discriminating." (A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, translated by E. Robinson, 1836, p. 140)

WORDS: Understanding occurs 131x in the Bible; 26x in Proverbs; 17x in Job; Discernment occurs 37x in the Bible and 19x in Proverbs.

Proverbs 2:4 -- if you keep seeking for it as for silver, and as for hid treasures you keep searching for it,

TRANS: KJ: her; NEB: dig

MARG: Psalm 19:10 = desire

NOTE: If anything "inclines" or motivates men it is wealth, or the promise of riches, and here the degree of effort is in the metaphor of digging or mining for silver.

Proverbs 2:5 -- in that case you will understand the fear of Jehovah, and you will find the very knowledge of God.

TRANS: SPRL: comprehend; RHM: reverence of Yahweh; LAM: understand how to worship the LORD

MARG: 1 John 5:20 = intellectual capacity; understanding

NOTE: If one is to "find the very knowledge of God" it is clear how much effort the Father expects of a worshipper.

WORDS: Knowledge occurs 240x in the Bible and 45x in Proverbs; most often in the Christian Bible 14x in 1 Corinthians. The phrase "knowledge of God" occurs 10x in the Bible.

Proverbs 13: Fatherís Discipline and counsel

[Home Truths]

Proverbs 13:1 -- A son is wise where there is a father's discipline, but the ridiculer is one that has not heard rebuke.

TRANS: LB: a wise youth accepts his fatherís rebuke

CROSS REF: Proverbs 15:5 and Hebrews12:7 = teachability

NOTE: "If you cannot stand home truths from your own father you are well on your way to becoming insufferable." (Kidner p100) Here is more counsel from a loving father to a son who would be wise. The "ridiculer" here is one who talks back to his father.

[Words Pass, Fruitage Remains]

[Guard Mouth, Guard Life]

Proverbs 13:2 -- From the fruitage of his mouth a man will eat good, but the very soul of those dealing treacherously is violence.

TRANS: BAS: a man will get good from the fruit of his lips; KNX: fair words yield a crop to content a manís heart; LB: the good man wins his case by careful argument

CROSS REF: Proverbs 12:14 and Proverbs 18:20 = mouth

NOTE: Translations vary widely on this verse but it appears to mean that the man who speaks well, or remains discreetly silent, will reap a good crop in his social dealings with others; whereas the person who deals treacherously with his tongue will find himself in great difficulty. The next verse may be viewed as a commentary on this one.

[Ammunition For Your Enemy]

Proverbs 13:3 -- The one guarding his mouth is keeping his soul. The one opening wide his lips-he will have ruin.

TRANS: BER: he who guards his mouth controls himself; LB: Self-control means controlling the tongue! A quick retort can ruin everything.

CROSS REF: Proverbs 21:23 and James 1:26; 3.9 = tongue

[Sloth Leaves You Dissatisfied]

Proverbs 13:4 -- The lazy one is showing himself desirous, but his soul [has] nothing. However, the very soul of the diligent ones will be made fat.

TRANS: NEB: a lazy man is torn by appetite unsatisfied but the diligent grow fat and prosperous

CROSS REF: Proverbs 10:4, 11:25, 12:24, 26:13

NOTE: Lazy Emptiness versus Diligent Prosperity; the lazy are lean and the industrious fat.

[Words Fair and Foul]

Proverbs 13:5 -- A false word is what the righteous hates, but the wicked ones act shamefully and cause disgrace for themselves.

TRANS: JB: the virtuous man hates lying words but the wicked man slanders and defames; SPRL: the righteous hate the lying word for the liar is odious and causeth shame

CROSS REF: Proverbs 8:13 and 30.8

NOTE: The wickedís shamefulness is in his lying which brings disgrace upon him and his own. The righteous detest even a single "false word." The LXX has this "unjust word" which puts it in the category of unfair slander.

[Honesty is Safety]

Proverbs 13:6 -- Righteousness itself safeguards the one who is harmless in his way, but wickedness is what subverts the sinner.

TRANS: NEB: to do right is the protection of an honest man; KNX: guilt trips the heel of the wrongdoer

CROSS REF: Proverbs 12:21, 28 and 25:21

FTN: wickedness is what distorts a sin offering

NOTE: No amount of religious sacrifice, self-denial, or outward show of piety will protect the hypocrite from God. The harmless are safeguarded by law-abiding conduct but in contrast evil conduct and speech backfire on the law-breaker.

[Donít Take a Man at his Own Valuation]

Proverbs 13:7-- There exists the one that is pretending to be rich and yet he has nothing at all; there is the one that is pretending to be of little means and yet [he has] many valuable things.

TRANS: LAM: there are some who pretend to be rich yet have nothing; there are others who pretend to be poor yet have great riches; BER: There is one who considers himself rich yet has nothing and one who considers himself poor yet possess great wealth

CROSS REF: Proverbs 12:9 = self-glory

NOTE: An interesting study in two different natures: pride motivates the phony rich and fear inhibits the fake poverty. It is terribly deceitful for a "rich" Christian to hide his wealth and pretend to be poor so none of his poor and needy brothers will approach him in want. It is hypocrisy of a serious kind when a brother is in need and the one possessing the wherewithal to assist hides this from his fellow pretending -- and lying in the process -- to have nothing. Compare 1John 3:17 where this amounts to hate and the love of God does not reside in such a person.

"I have met many very rich men in my half century of journalism," says Malcom W. Bingay, past editorial director of the Detroit Free Press, "and I have never known one of them whose millions brought him inner peace and happiness."

[Poverty has its own Compensations]

Proverbs 13:8 -- The ransom for a man's soul is his riches, but the one of little means has not heard rebuke.

TRANS: NEB: a rich man must buy himself off but a poor man is immune from threats

CROSS REF: Psalm 49:6-11 = the rich

NOTE: The rich -- those with a surplus -- must always fear the loss of their mistaken security, while the poor are freed from this anxiety.

[Bright Prospects]

Proverbs 13:9 - The very light of the righteous ones will rejoice; but the lamp of the wicked ones -- it will be extinguished.

TRANS: SPRL: the light of the righteous shall shine with splendour; ABPS: the light of the righteous shall be joyous; NAB: shine gaily; MOF: the light of good men shines out

CROSS REF: Matthew 5:14-16 = bright light

[Products of Pride]

Proverbs 13:10 -- By presumptuousness one only causes a struggle, but with those consulting together there is wisdom.

TRANS: LB: pride leads to arguments; be humble, take advice and become wise

CROSS REF: Proverbs 11:2; 21:4; 24:6 = pride

NOTE: Apparently this presumptuousness comes from a failure to consult with others and therefore results in a struggle either with the problem at hand or with those who might be involved.

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Nazarene Commentary 2000© by Mark Heber Miller

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