Category Archives: Proverbs

Proverbs 11:12

Proverbs 11:12

11:12 — Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent.

We gain nothing in belittling someone. At the very least, it certainly reveals a lack of wisdom. The wise man will not say anything; silence can do much good while speech can do much harm (all things being equal – though the opposite can be just as true). Albert Barnes says, “None but the man “void of wisdom” will show contempt for those about him. The wise man, if he cannot admire or praise, will at least know how to be silent.” We must remain silent in the area of belittling or despising the neighbor. The fool verbally abuses his neighbor (he destroys him, v. 9); the wise will keep silent from saying such things. He has the sense not to blurt out what is in his thoughts or feelings. He waits for the right time to speak (cf. 12:23; 15:2) – a word in season or “as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29).

Proverbs 11:10-11

Proverbs 11:10-11

11:10 — When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices, and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness.

The influence of the wicked or righteous can be quite extensive. “This proverb makes this observation by saying that the presence and prosperity of the righteous and the languishing of the wicked are good for a city.” (Longman)

The righteous fear God, and live in the practice of justice and charity towards men. These virtues procure the esteem, even of those who have no experience of the power of religion; and therefore, when it goes well with them, their neighbours rejoice; but when the wicked fall, there is shouting, because they were living plagues, and employed their prosperity and power for the gratification of their own selfish and unrighteous passions.… Righteous men are actuated by nobler motives than the applause of men, and yet they must regard the good-will of others, as a means of being useful Wicked men, on the contrary, are like swine, of no use till they die; and their fall is not a misfortune to others, but a relief. (Lawson)

 Verses 9 and 10 give us two ways to check ourselves. Do we influence our neighbors for good? Will our welfare cause our neighbors to rejoice? Will our departure even be missed? Though we do not live for the praise of man, we nonetheless can see something of our positive or negative impact on others by their responses to us. “Rome rejoiced at the death of Nero, and the public rejoiced in the French Revolution at the death of Ropespierre.” (Waltke) This proverb must be kept in balance with 24:17, “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles…”


11:11 — By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted, but by the mouth of the wicked it is overthrown.

Similar to v. 10, we see the community or corporate effect of the godly. The godly are blessings to the city — their character, prayers, example, etc. all have a positive impact. The community is exalted on account of all the blessings the righteous bring to the people.  The wicked, on the other hand, destroy their neighbors with their mouths (v. 19) as well as the city (v. 11). Their advice, words and outlook, etc. destroy many. They do not benefit society. “Their mouth is a pestilence, which infects their neighbours, till the fatal venom of iniquity corrupt the body of the community, and ruin become inevitable; or else their counsels prove destructive to its welfare or existence.” (Lawson)

Proverbs 11:5-9

Proverbs 11:5-9

11:5-8 — 5 The righteousness of the blameless keeps his way straight, but the wicked falls by his own wickedness. 6 The righteousness of the upright delivers them, but the treacherous are taken captive by their lust. 7 When the wicked dies, his hope will perish, and the expectation of wealth perishes too.[1] 8 The righteous is delivered from trouble, and the wicked walks into it instead.

These verses continue the theme found in vv. 3-4. The wicked fall “by his own wickedness” and they “are taken captive by their lust.” His wealth will not protect him (v. 4) and all his hopes will also perish with him (v. 7). His wealth will neither protect nor deliver him (v. 7). The wicked look to their wealth for deliverance and protection (expectation = hope). All that he has used to protect himself from the impending calamity will fail; his fears will be realized.

The righteous, on the other hand, will walk in a straight (smooth) path and will be delivered from trouble (v. 8). Each one will reap the fruit of his actions. The wicked walks into trouble while the righteous are delivered from it. Haman is hanged; Mordecai escapes; Daniel survives the lions; his enemies fall prey to them.


11:9 — With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor, but by knowledge the righteous are delivered.

This is not an exact parallel but quite close. Solomon once again contrasts the godless and the righteous. The godless (or the deceiver) uses his mouth for evil; the righteous, on the other hand, utilizes his knowledge for good. The godless destroys his neighbor with his mouth while the righteous delivers himself (and presumably his neighbor) with his knowledge. “We are likely to understand this to mean that the speech (advice, counsel) of the godless leads to harm for those who are close to them because it lacks knowledge. And then in the second colon, the knowledge of the righteous when spoken allows not only the righteous but also those around them (their neighbors) to navigate life’s difficulties.” (Longman) Perhaps we should ask ourselves, “Does my advice help or harm? Do my words destroy or deliver? Are my neighbors or friends better off on account of my words or are they worse off?” What does our past history indicate?

I’ve seen a record of destroyed or strained relationships because of something a person said. The person seems oblivious to it and engages in the next relationship only to sour it. Their counsel, conversations, etc. did eventually ruin relationships. Unfortunately, I have in mind people who are members in churches. Though not godless in their lives, their words appear to be no different than the godless on account of its impact on people. Do we know of anyone truly blessed by the words we have spoken (not advice concerning decoration, how to fix a car, input regarding vain interests, etc.)? Has our knowledge delivered anyone?

[1] Many textual and philological issues complicate our understanding of this verse. I will simply use the text as offered by ESV.

Proverbs 11:3-4

Proverbs 11:3-4

11:3-4 — 3 The integrity of the upright guides them, but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them. 4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.

Security comes through righteousness. The godly live with integrity (wholeness, completeness, etc.) and this leads or guides them to their desired goal. They will be safe in the “day of wrath” or “death” (parallelism between the two). The wicked live crooked lives and it will destroy them and ultimately, even their wealth won’t help them in the day of God’s wrath. “The wealth that the subversive and treacherous accumulate in defiance of the Lord’s rule and at the expense of others will backfire and not save them in the time of God’s wrath (vv. 3b-4a).” (Waltke)

A path of integrity in the Lord will have consequences. If we escape notice in our duplicity, if we avoid punishment in our treachery, then we are assured that this course of life will not last. Eventually, it will come back on the person. Though riches can preserve a person in some things (cf. 10:15), it cannot help in the sure things (God’s judgment). The righteous generally escape difficulties while the wicked generally invite them (v. 8).

Christologically interpreted, Christ’s righteousness enables sinners to escape death and the day of wrath because the Son of God delivers us from the wrath to come. His own death secured life for us and His righteousness delivers us from death.

Proverbs 11:1-2

Proverbs 11:1-2

11:1 — A false balance is an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is his delight.

Solomon also has something to say about business or commerce. It is well known that men can cheat each other in various transactions. In ANE culture, some carried two sets of weights. One by which they bought (heavy) and another by which they sold (light). Like today, dishonest merchants attempted to make money any way possible. Solomon teaches us that God well observes of our business transactions. In that light, we are encouraged to be honest. We must not cheat people by false advertisement, misleading advertisement, deceptive transactions, half-truth transactions, etc. God notices all these activities and despises these deceptions.

In cheating, we assume no one sees. By using these false balances, we believe profit is more important than piety. God delights in integrity and that should guide us in all our transactions. The end does not justify the means and simple profit is not the same as honest gain. Better to have made little in obedience to the Lord than to make a fortune in disobedience; God’s delight is better than gold.


11:2 — When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.

A number of places address this theme (3:5, 7; 6:17; 11:2; 15:25, 33; 16:5, 18, 19; 18:12; 21:4, 24; 22:4; 25:6-7, 27; 26:12; 29:23; 30:1-4, 13). Fools are the proud ones; humility is found among the wise. “The wicked invite pride to come as their guest, but, like an inseparable twin, disgrace comes along with her as an uninvited guest.” (Waltke) This proverb does not explicitly spell it out but it assumes that God regulates the moral universe and He humbles the proud and gives grace to the humble (James 4:6; 1Pet. 5:5). “The whole principle is paradoxical. When people hold themselves in high estimation, they will be denigrated; but the more they are aware of their weaknesses, the more they will achieve a success that will bring them glory.” (Longman)


Pride and Humility

In Proverbs, humility and wisdom go together (11:2). Riches, honor, and life will come to the humble as they fear the Lord (22:4, The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life.) Repeatedly, Proverbs teaches us humility precedes honor (15:33;[1] 18:12; 29:23) “Pride is joined with folly, and ends in shame. The humble man is wise, and shall be exalted to honour.” (Lawson)

The humble do not seek to exalt themselves;[2] they are well aware of their abilities, gifts, etc. as well as their own inadequacies. Genuine humility is always rooted in the fear of the Lord: “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.” (3:7) It is indeed paradoxical. They receive what they do not seek (honor). Humility is a right assessment of oneself in the sight of God. The humble trust in the Lord and do not lean on their own understanding (3:5). It is even better to be poor and humble than to “divide the spoil with the proud.” (16:19)

Consistently, the Bible teaches that God hates those who have “haughty eyes” (6:17). God will tear down the house of the proud (15:25). The Bible is adamant about this (16:5): “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished.”

Whereas wisdom and honor are promised to those who are humble, destruction and dishonor are guaranteed for the proud: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (16:18; cf. 18:12) The proud man has a name, it is “Scoffer” (“‘Scoffer’ is the name of the arrogant, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride.” 21:24) and he fills his life with “sin” (21:4, “Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin.”) The arrogant are wise in their own eyes and the Bible says, “There is more hope for a fool than for him.” (26:12) The proud seek to exalt themselves but they will be brought low (29:23 One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.)

Genuine humility comes from those who know God. They not only understand themselves but they entrust their souls to their heavenly Father. He will lift them up at His time; they seek to walk humbly before God and men. The arrogant seek to take matters into their own hands. They demand to be noticed; they make every effort to be exalted; they believe themselves to be wise and well-deserving of all exaltation. God opposes them and will bring them low.

How does one become “humble”? The humble will know himself in the presence of God and will know who God is. He is well aware of the verse: “For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.” (2Cor. 10:18)  The humble “in humility count others more significant than” themselves (Phil. 2:3).  If the saint is not “comfortable” (content) with who God is and what God has done with him, he will seek to exalt himself. He must look to the Lord and entrust himself to His gracious heavenly Father who will do all things well. If there is no God, then he has to take matters into his own hands.

[1] 15:33 The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.

[2] 25:27 It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory.

Proverbs 10:23-32

Proverbs 10:23-32

10:23 — Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.

What brings us pleasure will often reveal more about our character than anything else. The wicked find pleasure in wicked activities and words (“spoke” “like a joke”).[1] “The idea is that doing evil is something that fools actually relish, not something that circumstances force on them.” (Longman) Man’s heart can harden over time and fall head long into this. “Sinners at first feel much uneasiness from the operation of fear and shame, but they are hardened by the deceitfulness of sin, till at length they not only cast off all restraints, but become impudent in sin, and think it a manly action to cast away the cords of God, and to pour insult and abuse on their fellowmen.” (Lawson)

But pleasure for the righteous is wisdom. The contrast is clear. One delights in mischief and the other in wisdom. Something in each one makes them relish either wickedness or wisdom. In what do we find pleasure?


10:24-25 — What the wicked dreads will come upon him, but the desire of the righteous will be granted. When the tempest passes, the wicked is no more, but the righteous is established forever.

As fools take pleasure in wickedness (v. 23), anxieties also plague their hearts. The end result of their dread and desires is nothing good — their fears will be realized. The righteous on the other hand will ultimately receive what they long for. The idea is not so much over what the righteous wants or receives but rather, because he is a man of God, steeped in God’s Word and thus filled with wisdom, he will desire what God wants and in the end will receive it.

Though God is not explicitly mentioned, Proverbs assume it because the Holy God of Israel governs the moral universe. In this life, the truths of these proverbs generally prevail but in eternity, it will most certainly prevail.

Verse 25 expands upon this point. Some sort of calamity will visit the wicked while the righteous endure forever. It does not mean that every one who falls under some kind of natural disaster is particularly wicked. Rather, the righteous will always endure and the wicked will always perish, either in some fashion in this world or in the world to come. Prov. 12:7 states the same, “The wicked are overthrown, and are not: but the house of the righteous shall stand.” We also know of Ps. 1.


10:26 — Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to those who send him.

This is almost humorous. The first part of the verse is understandable (perhaps something sour can be used to replace vinegar here, as one writer noted, the drinker expected sweet wine but instead received sour vinegar — furthermore, their dental care was not the best). These are not the most comforting experiences. We will always tend to avoid them (vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes).

In ANE culture, the messenger served a very important purpose. Critical matters could be concluded by these messengers. Those who sent sluggards would have been be sorely disappointed; they harm themselves in utilizing them. Might as well experience smoke in your eyes than use sluggards.

Sluggards are often morally bankrupt and they overlook their social obligations and personal responsibilities. Ancient Israel had just as many of them as we do now and the book of Proverbs says nothing good about them (Prov. 6:6-11; 10:4; 12:11, 24; 24:30-34; etc.).


10:27 — The fear of the LORD prolongs life, but the years of the wicked will be short.

As the fear of the Lord is foundational to wisdom (1:7), so fearing the Lord can only help us. It does not mean that only the righteous will live long but all things being equal, the righteous will live a pleasant and long life because it pleases the Lord. The wicked can be judged at any moment and their lives will indeed be shortened eternally.


10:28 — The hope of the righteous brings joy, but the expectation of the wicked will perish.

This is just like v. 24. Both have an expectation of the future. Neither one of them can control what will come upon them but only the righteous can hope for good because they have God as their God and His Law as their guide. All this is generally true. In terms of eternity, this proverb makes more sense.


10:29 — The way of the LORD is a stronghold to the blameless, but destruction to evildoers.

“The “way of the LORD” refers to God’s providential administration of life. Thus divine justice will be security for the righteous and disaster for the wicked.” (EBC) The “way” most likely refers to the manner in which God morally rules and determines events in the world. Therefore, it serves two purposes.

In addition, the wicked do not follow the Lord’s way (what He has revealed) and as a result, the Lord’s way (God’s providential workings) will bring harm to them. God’s ways (both providence and precept) serve as the source of light, hope, and comfort for the wise. The righteous rests in Lord’s way as his stronghold; he does not take refuge in his own wisdom or in the ways of the world. The wicked have defied the Lord’s way and as a result, they will suffer the consequences — the Lord’s way will bring destruction to them. One follows the Lord’s way and the other does not. Both will reap what they sow.


10:30 — The righteous will never be removed, but the wicked will not dwell in the land.

See v. 25. One thing needs to be noted in this verse. This proverb clearly notes that the wicked will not dwell “in the land” (i.e. the promised land). They will not inherit what God has promised. The impermanence of the wicked is once against contrasted with the permanence of the righteous.


10:31-32 — The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but the perverse tongue will be cut off. The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse.

Once again, the righteous and the wicked are contrasted. This time, the proverb focuses on the tongue. Solomon has already spoken about the function and fruit of the tongue (vv. 17-21). Now the two images (the fate of the righteous/wicked and the fruits of the tongue) coalesce. The enduring righteous will bring forth wisdom and what is acceptable with his mouth. The wicked tongue will be “cut off” because he brings forth perversity.

When our speech is with grace, and seasoned with salt, it ministers grace to the hearers, and keeps ourselves from mischief; whereas the forward tongue shall be cut out. It provokes God, and it oftentimes provokes men. Forward speeches may escape punishment from man, but they shall not escape God’s righteous judgment, who will cut out their tongues, and make them fall upon themselves. (Lawson)

[1] The word often denotes “an outward audible expression of inner mirth and pleasure” like laughter.

Proverbs 10:22

Proverbs 10:22

10:22 — The blessing of the LORD makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.

Delitzch says that this proverb “is a compendium of Ps. cxxvii. 1, 2.” It does not discount labor but highlights what is given to the righteous. It is indeed ora et labora! “The sluggard looks for prosperity without diligence; the practical atheist from diligence alone; the sound-hearted Christian from the blessing of God in the exercise of diligence.” (Bridges) John Mayer says, “Worldly men, who are set upon gathering riches, think that by their own industry and providence they can enrich themselves, and therefore without any regard had, either to serve God, or to just and righteous dealing, they give themselves wholly to gather goods, by hook or crook; but it is here declared, that all men may take notice of it, that it is not in man’s power to get riches, but it is God’s blessing, as is also taught, Ps. 127 and Deut. 8:11-18; Ps. 113, etc.”

Waltke interprets the latter part of the verse to mean that we will not toil for it — “but his blessing does not depend on hard, strenuous labor alone.” This seems to be a traditional interpretation (cf. Delitzch) of some of the Rabbis. Taking the NIV translation, Longman says, “Taken alone, this proverb is amazing indeed. It says that the blessing of Yahweh comes with wealth and no trouble.”  He also notes that this is not the only thing the Bible says about wealth and blessings but it still conveys an important aspect of God’s truth.

The latter phrase has been interpreted by good men in the following ways.  “This blessing confers riches and preserves them, without exposing to harassing cares, their natural and common attendants.…But the blessing of the Lord is a hedge about all that a righteous man hath. His labors are pleasant, his gains are safe. His portion is beyond the reach of danger, and his heart is preserved from vexation, in getting, or keeping, or using, or loving the world, because the Lord is his confidence.” (Lawson) Perowne says, “It is without alloy, free from the drawbacks and anxieties which attach to earthly riches.” John Mayer says, “That is, when riches are a blessing, they neither fade soon again, as when they are ill gotten to make the possessor of them sorrowful; neither are their minds, that have them troubled in thinking by what oppressions, lying, forswearing,.. they have gotten them…” John Trapp’s statement is probably the most accurate (I believe): “Those three vultures shall be driven away, that constantly feed on the wealthy worldling’s heart. Care in getting, fear in keeping, grief in losing the things of this life. God gives to his wealth without woe, store without sore, gold without guilt, one little drop whereof troubles the whole sea of all outward comforts.”

In conclusion, we know that blessings come from the Lord. God is not harsh or deceitful. He does not bless His own to harm them or to entrap them. They come with His blessings; we can enjoy them in genuine humble fear of the Lord. Let our hearts not run after the blessings and thus sour the whole batch. Let us enjoy what He gives us since He adds no sorrow with it while recognizing it cannot fully satisfy our hearts. Let us always remember who is it that has blessed us rather than relishing the blessing without recognizing the benefactor.

We must also remember that our heavenly Father does not bless deceptively. Often, our hearts sinfully wonder if the Lord gave with a built in downside to it. Have we not said, “This is too good to be true; I wonder when I’m going to pay for this thing?” Our Lord adds no sorrow with it; we can enjoy it with humble thanks. True, our sinful hearts may misuse or abuse His blessings but that has everything with our own hearts. God is not a “Genie” blessing us while sneaking in a curse to unravel everything. We can be richly satisfied and humbled by His kindness — really, He adds no sorrow with it. That is how good and large hearted our God is.

Proverbs 10:17-21

Proverbs 10:17-21

10:17 — Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.

The person who learns from his mistakes or heeds the instructions and corrections he receives can lead a life that pleases the Lord. The rejection of reproof will eventually enable the same person not only to go astray but will lead other people astray.  “Apostates praise the wicked (28:10)[1] and seek to make converts, perhaps to find security in an unenlightened consensus (cf. 1:10-19; 9:13-18).” (Waltke) The obstinate will not admit his mistakes but only make excuses; he is not on the path to life. His path will lead others astray and in turn, both he and his followers will fall into destruction.


10:18 — The one who conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever utters slander is a fool.

Once again, this verse pertains to the tongue. It is about a fool who “spreads slander, concealing his hatred with lying lips.” (Waltke) That is, the fool slanders another person perhaps under the guise of simply conveying his concerns, observations, or supposed interest in the other person’s welfare by slandering him. He conceals his hatred all the while expressing his lying lips. “He who indulges so wicked and dangerous a passion, is a fool, whether he conceals it under the mask of friendship, or discovers it by reproaches and calumnies. It must neither by concealed nor published, but suppressed and extinguished.” (Lawson)

Longman takes it a little differently. He believes there should be some direct confrontation. “Proverbs understands that it is important to be open and honest with one’s words. If there is a legitimate gripe about something, the wise person will rebuke the other, with the purpose of helping and restoring relationship. Here, however, there is no intention other than to hurt, belittle, or demean the other person. Through such actions, relationships are destroyed.” (Longman)


10:19 — When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.

Because our hearts are not entirely pure our words will eventually catch up. The wise person carefully speaks and carefully avoids speaking too much.  We are not wise enough to think through all our words; think more, speak less. Again, James 3:2 must be regarded. Not everything should be said and when one says anything, it should be said sparingly. “Indeed a talent for conversation is valueless both to the possessor and to the auditors, except it be connected with a talent for silence.” (Bridges) We must also remember that our tongues need the forgiveness of our Lord. His blood can wash away all our sins.


10:20-21 — The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is of little worth. The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense.

The wise or righteous are once against contrasted in their use of the tongue. What the wise have to say are “choice silver” and they “feed many.” On the other hand, the fool’s heart (which controls the tongue) is of little worth. Whereas the righteous man does good to many with his lips, the fool simply dies away on account of his folly. He brings ruin upon himself by his use of the tongue. Fools “have nothing inside [of their hearts] to share with others or even to sustain themselves.” (Longman)

The righteous man feeds many with knowledge, for he finds it sweet to himself, and wishes not to eat his morsel alone. His heart is a storehouse of provision for the soul, and like a hospitable landlord, he delights in distributing it to others. But the wicked die for want of heart. (Lawson)

[1] Whoever misleads the upright into an evil way will fall into his own pit, but the blameless will have a goodly inheritance.

Proverbs 10:15, 16

Proverbs 10:15, 16

10:15 — A rich man’s wealth is his strong city; the poverty of the poor is their ruin.

This proverb makes a very simple observation. Wealth is to be preferred over poverty because it can protect us from some (not all) of the problems of life. “A strong city can keep an invader out, so wealth can keep problems at bay.” Positive statements about wealth can be found in Proverbs (though Lawson believes this is not one of them since he argues that the rich man has only made his wealth his strong city). In Proverbs, we are reminded that wealth comes from the Lord (cf. 10:22; 3:16). Of course, this is not the only thing it says about wealth (there are other proverbs that speak about the wicked being wealthy)! This proverb needs to be considered with what is taught in 18:11, “A rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his imagination.” Waltke observes, “Half of the ten occurrences of wealth… in Solomon’s proverbs instruct the youth to prize it… and the other half not to trust it.” (Waltke)

Solomon makes a statement of fact and in this proverb, he avoids making a moral statement. Simply put, the poor man’s poverty can easily lead to his ruin. Eventually, his poverty could rob him of health, protection, etc. Wealth can surely help but it can also deceive and destroy. The man’s character determines how his wealth will help him— his moral nature will govern its effects on him. The next proverb develops this point.


10:16 — The wage of the righteous leads to life, the gain of the wicked to sin.

“This verse assumes that both the righteous and the wicked may gain some material substance, but contrasts the value that it has for them. Money in the hand of the righteous person is a positive thing, but money in the hand of a wicked person is a negative thing.” (Longman) The godly can use the world for good; the wicked will use his wealth for sin. Sin begets more sin.

The fruit of the wicked man’s labours, on the contrary, tends to sin; it does so, whether it be hoarded up by his covetousness, or spent in the gratification of vanity and luxury. With all your getting, get righteousness, which will make your labour pure and profitable.  Without it, your ploughing is sin; your gains loss to your souls. (Lawson)

We can think of many examples. Some will waste their money on sinful things (drugs, sex, wicked amusements, etc.) while the righteous will use is for good (family, those in need, the cause of Christ, etc.). We could list many other examples. Once again, the character of the person will determine how he will employ his wealth (much like how one’s character determines the use of his tongue).

Proverbs 10:13-14

Proverbs 10:13-14

10:13-14 — On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found, but a rod is for the back of him who lacks sense. The wise lay up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool brings ruin near.

One’s lips convey one’s wit or the lack thereof. As Lawson says, “Wisdom seals not up, but governs the mouth, and dictates to it useful words.” (Lawson) The wise also “lays up knowledge” — that is, he accumulates wisdom for future use. He has a storehouse of knowledge out of which he speaks. “By reading the Bible, by meditating, by hearing sermons, by conversation, by observation and experience, by prayer, by faith in Christ, who is made of God unto us wisdom. And when they have found it, they take care not to lose it, but lay it up in their memories and hearts, where it is kept to be used by themselves, and communicated to others.” (Lawson)

On the other hand, the one who lacks “heart” (ble(-rs;x]) or “character “ (since the “heart” is the center of what a man is), that is, the “fool” will suffer the fruit of his words and ways. “While wisdom helps those who have it avoid some of life’s pitfalls, the folly of those who lack heart will lead to pain.” (Longman) In ancient culture, rods were used to punish — “A bridle was necessary to govern asses when men rode on them; a rod is equally necessary for fools.” (Lawson). The one who lacks sense will bring trouble on himself. His mouth is a time bomb and it will bring personal ruin. “The mouth of the fools, like that of an adulteress, is always at hand, just around the corner, ready to explode…” (Waltke) Longman says that “there is also a contrast here between the storing up of wisdom and the spewing out of folly. The wise person tends to use words sparingly, while the fool babbles on and on.” (Longman)

Most of us have not reaped the fruits of our folly; God has been longsuffering with us. James says, “For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.” (3:2) Our words reveal our hearts, whether spoken carefully or carelessly. All of us have something to be ashamed in this matter. Let us be slow to speak and lay up knowledge!