Proverbs 21:3-19

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Proverbs 21

3 To do justice (i.e. righteousness) and judgment (justice, right) is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

We need to be doing what is right and what is just.

God prefers people's obedience over their sacrifice.

4 An high look (haughty eyes, the result of pride), and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked (speaks of his tillage, i.e. what he brings forth as the fruit of his life or work), is sin.

5 The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness (A diligent individual plans his work and works his plan, and it results in profit.); but of every one that is hasty only to want. (The one who is hasty makes hasty decisions and acts without thinking things through, and it results in poverty.)

6 The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity (a fleeting vapor) tossed to and fro of them that seek death.

Wealth acquired in dishonest ways by lying will not last.

Seeking money dishonestly is like seeking or pursuing death.

7 The robbery of the wicked (It means the wicked robbing others.) shall destroy them (It will come back on them and destroy them as they have destroyed others.); because they refuse to do judgment (i.e. right or justice).

People who are guilty of violence to others will find that it will boomerang on them, i.e. it will come back to hurt them.

8 The way of man is froward (i.e. perverse, devious) and strange (i.e. guilty): but as for the pure, his work is right (i.e. upright).

Very crooked is the way of a guilty man, but as for the pure, his work is upright. Guilt causes a man to lie, to hide, to masquerade, to fear, and to act deceitfully. The pure does not need to deceive. He doesn't have to put any spin on the truth.

9 It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.

A brawling woman is a contentious woman, a nagging, cantankerous woman, one characterized by contention or strife.

10 The soul of the wicked desireth (i.e. craves) evil: his neighbour findeth no favour in his eyes. He is mean or wicked even toward someone who is close to him, i.e. his neighbor.

11 When the scorner (i.e. scoffer, mocker) is punished, the simple is made wise: and when the wise is instructed, he receiveth knowledge.

A wise man does not need to be punished, only instructed. A word to the wise is sufficient.

12 The righteous man wisely considereth the house (i.e. household) of the wicked: but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness.

He learns from his observations about the negative results the wicked bring upon their own households.

13 Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.

14 A gift (i.e. present) in secret pacifieth anger: and a reward (i.e. present or bribe) in the bosom strong wrath.

The Bible is not condoning bribery. Instead, it is merely making an observation and should not be understood as recommending giving or making bribes.

15 It is joy to the just to do judgment (i.e. justice - The just or righteous desire to do right and welcome justice.): but destruction (i.e. terror, dismay, ruin, undoing) shall be to the workers of iniquity (i.e. those who practice all kinds of sin).

16 The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.

Being unwise is pictured as straying from the path of understanding or prudence. Deliberately turning one's back on wise, godly living results in death. An unwise person leaves the company of the wise only to find himself in the company of dead people.

17 He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.

Oil and wine speak of luxurious living. Seeking pleasure and luxurious living drain a man's finances. They also reduce him to spiritual poverty.

This verse argues against living only for pleasure and self.

Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

18 The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous, and the transgressor for the upright.

In a broad sense this verse means that the wicked are punished so that the upright can go free.

In Isaiah 43:3 , God says that He gave Egypt as a ransom for His people, Israel. The Lord rewarded Cyrus, king of Persia, for liberating the Jews from the Babylonian captivity by permitting him to possess Egypt and the neighboring kingdoms.

19 It is better to dwell in the wilderness (i.e. desert), than with a contentious and an angry woman.

Contentious is quarrelsome. "When mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy" is all too common. Of course, the same could be said of dad.

The writer of this verse would prefer the discomfort, distance, and loneliness of a desert to being cooped up with an angry, quarrelsome woman.