Thoughts on the Proverbs
[Proverbs 13:11-20]

[Easy Come, Easy Go]

Proverbs 13:11 -- "Valuable things resulting from vanity become fewer, but the one collecting by the hand is the one that makes increase."

TRANS: LB: wealth from gambling quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows; JB: a sudden fortune will dwindle away, he grows rich who accumulates little by little

CROSS REF: Proverbs 28:8

NOTE: Gain by worthless effort is easily spent but the result of hard work causes one to be careful in the use of gain so that increase results. For example, gains by gambling may become few because of continued betting, resulting in loss of the original amount. Increase gained by hard and honest work is not spent so rashly as it was hard to come by.

[Hope Deferred]

Proverbs 13:12 -- "Expectation postponed is making the heart sick, but the thing desired is a tree of life when it does come."

TRANS: MOF: hope deferred is sickening; BAS: hope put off is a weariness to the heart; BER: hope drawn out; MOF: it is a new life to have desire fulfilled

CROSS REF: Habakkuk 2:3 = hope and Luke 2:29, 30 = peace

WORD: A form of "expectation" occurs 29 times in the Bible (two times in Proverbs 10:28, 11:7) but it is interesting to note the footnotes on Genesis 49:10 and how the word occurs in the definition of faith. (Hebrews 11:1) The LXX puts a different twist to this verse: "Better is he that begins to help heartily than he that promises and leads another to hope."

NOTE: The phrase "tree of life" occurs 8 times in the Bible (Genesis 2:9; 3:22, 24 and Revelation 2:7 = heavenly life); it occurs 4 times in Proverbs 3:18; 11:20; 15:4 and this verse. It is interesting to note the word "desire" in Genesis 2:9 with Eveís longing of the wrong tree.

The downside of hope is the disappointment when what is looked forward to with longing does not materialize. A person may be promised something, such as a financial loan to help one through a difficult time -- and there may be much expectation on this promise. However, if it does not materialize -- and particularly if one has already began to plan on this promise -- it can truly make one "sick."

This can be true of hope assured by a prophetic teacher who convinces others that God will do something on such and such a date. If this does not come true there is a "great disappointment." This is usually explained away by the "prophet" with a new promise. Moses said not to fear such a presumptuous prophet. (Deuteronomy 18:21-23) Jesus said not to follow or join any who claimed his authority as "anointed" who preached "the time is at hand." (Luke 21:8) Those who listen to God through His son will never be disappointed. (Habakkuk 2:3, 4; Romans 10:11)

[Obedience Pays]

Proverbs 13:13 -- "He that has despised the word, from him a [debtor's] pledge will be seized; but the one fearing the commandment is the one that will be rewarded."

TRANS: NEB: to despise a word of advice is to ask for trouble; LB: despise Godís word and find yourself in trouble

CROSS REF: 2 Chronicles 36:16 = prophets; 2 John 8 = full reward

NOTE: A person who does not respect a contract or his "Yes" to an agreement will not repay the loan and would possibly forfeit his pledge or collateral. Just so, failure to obey God results n similar loss of any credit with God. Note that the Nazarene discourages oaths or pledges and encourages the making of loans to those in need, with even expecting a repayment. (Luke 6:30-37)

[Law Means Life]

Proverbs 13:14 -- "The law of the wise one is a source of life, to turn one away from the snares of death."

TRANS: JB: the wise manís teaching is a life-giving fountain

CROSS REF: Proverbs 8:35; 14.27; 16.22; John 4:13-15 = fountain of a wise man

NOTE: It is very practical advice in life to listen to the wise who have gone before and know what dangers await on the trail of life. Unfortunately those wise are usually older and the young tend to avoid their suggestions, and starting off on, they often find themselves wishing they had listened.

A "law" is a rule of conduct often with a sanction for disobedience. Someone wise in life has learned the "rules of the road" and if one listens to them it can actually mean survival. These "rules" may range from how to start a camp fire in the wilderness to matters of family relationships. Listen to those who have gone before for no matter who they are, they have learned something you donít yet know.

Of course that man who was even wiser than Solomon was Jesus the Nazarene -- "Look, something greater than Solomon is here." He came from God and presented the most important things God wanted us to know and live by. An outline of this wisdom is found in the Nazareneís first public speech, called the Sermon on the Mount. There is a publication available by email attachment entitled Nazarene Mountain Teachings which discusses this sermon in a new rendering of Matthew 5-7 with footnote commentary.

[Tact and Integrity]

Proverbs 13:15 -- "Good insight itself gives favor, but the way of those dealing treacherously is rugged."

TRANS: NEB: intelligence wins favor; RSV: good sense wins favor but the way of the faithless is their ruin

CROSS REF: Proverbs 4:19

NOTE: The one with insight knows which way to choose and so his course, and those who follow him, is favorable, while the path of those who would think evilly of their fellows turns out to be a difficult one indeed. People look with favor, and therefore honor and respect, a person whose "good insight" has proved itself again and again. On the other hand, persons with selfish agendas -- who are not beyond harming others, financially or personally -- are to be avoided.

Additionally, the one with insight knows how and when to speak so that offense is seldom given. As a result the insightful are favored as company. In contrast the treacherous end up having a difficult time because good society rejects them.

[The Product Proclaims the Man]

Proverbs 13:16 -- "Everyone shrewd will act with knowledge, but the one that is stupid will spread abroad foolishness."

TRANS: JB: every man of discretion acts by the light of knowledge

CROSS REF: Proverbs 14:8, 15, 18

NOTES: One must first know or have acquired knowledge before becoming shrewd or discreet. The young are less "shrewd" and learn this by experience. The young person who has failed to listen the wise become well known because they tend to repeat their "foolishness" in the neighborhood. It does not take long before the community is well aware that the fool had not taken the time to learn first.

[Kill the Messenger]

Proverbs 13:17 -- "A messenger that is wicked will fall into bad, but a faithful envoy is a healing."

TRANS: BER: an unreliable messenger precipitates trouble

CROSS REF: Proverbs 25:25 and 2 Corinthians 5:20 = ambassadors

NOTE: The fruitage of a good or faithful message is healing, comforting, encouraging; but, someone with a wicked or evil message about others is clearly bad. Ultimately the slanderer and gossip is disliked by everyone while the person who can be trusted contributes to the harmony of an association. If a "messenger" has his own agenda and wicked motivations only bad relations will result. However, a loyal ambassador or representative, with the welfare of those he represents in mind, will result in good relations between two parties.

[Welcome Criticism]

Proverbs 13:18 -- "The one neglecting discipline comes to poverty and dishonor, but the one keeping a reproof is the one that is glorified."

TRANS: LB: if you refuse criticism you will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept criticism you are on the road to fame; RSV: ignores instruction; BAS: uncontrolled by training

CROSS REF: Proverbs15:32 = discipline

WORD: The word group "poverty" occurs 16 times in the Bible and 10 of these are in Proverbs.

NOTE: Here "discipline" is paralleled with "reproof." Honor comes to the one who accepts discipline from parents or seniors because it often leads in a course resulting in success in life thus generally avoiding poverty and shame.

[Education by Friendship]

Proverbs 13:20 -- "He that is walking with wise persons will become wise, but he that is having dealings with the stupid ones will fare badly."

TRANS: JB: make the wise your companions and you grow wise yourself; make fools your friends and suffer

CROSS REF: Proverbs 22:17; Genesis 34:2 and Hebrews 10:24 = association; 1Corinthians 15:33 = bad associates

NOTE: "Love of company is a steady instinct of the young. Like many other forces under the control of a free moral agent, it is mighty for good or evil, according to the direction in which it is turned. Wisdom from above will be given to them that ask it for the purpose of selecting safe companions. No one, it may be safely affirmed, ever made this request in simplicity to God, and came away without an answer. No -- when people cling to unprofitable and dangerous associates, it is because they take what they like without asking counsel of God." (Arnot, page 251, 253)

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Nazarene Commentary 2000© by Mark Heber Miller

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