Proverbs 22:14-29

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Proverbs 22

14 The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall therein.

The seductive words of an immoral woman conceal a trap that is difficult to escape. A man who is estranged from the Lord will fall into that trap. God often abandons men to sin when they reject the knowledge of God. To listen to the words of an adulteress is like falling into a pit from which there is no escape. Adultery produces dire consequences.

15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

Mischief and self-will are native to the heart of the child, but parental discipline will help him go in a better direction than his foolishness would take him. Similarly, the Lord corrects His children. The correction may take many forms including spankings or verbal rebuke.

16 He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.

The person who gets rich by taking advantage of the poor will himself come to poverty. The same is true of someone who gives to the rich. Why would someone give to the rich? To increase his own wealth by courting the favor of the rich? Is he buying influence or favoritism with his gifts to the rich while oppressing the poor? It seems so.

17 Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.

Wise is plural; so these are sayings of men other than just sayings of Solomon. Pay attention, listen, and apply your heart, i.e. submit your minds to these sayings. Perhaps Solomon collected them because my knowledge refers to Solomon. It could be that some of these sayings are Solomon's.

18 For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal (i.e. in addition) be fitted in thy lips.

Keep them within thee suggests memorizing these sayings. You will then have them available for your own use in providing necessary answers. These sayings should be kept and obeyed. Let them be fitted in thy lips suggests that they can become a part of you and you can pass them on to others.

19 That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.

The purpose of these sayings is to encourage trust in the Lord.

20 Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge,

Yes, is implied.

21 That I might make thee know the certainty (i.e. reliability) of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?

The words are truth are true. Those who learn these truths will be able to pass them on to others.

These words can be used to give sound answers to others.

22 Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:

Do not take advantage of the poor, i.e. of the weak, feeble, or helpless. The gate is the place where the afflicted have gone for justice.

The afflicted are the needy

23 For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.

The Lord is the defender of the poor. He will take from those who take from the poor and the afflicted.

24 Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go:

An angry man is a hot-tempered man or one easily angered. Don't be his friend and don't be associated with him.

25 Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.

Verse 25 provides the reason you should not be a friend or even an associate with a hot-tempered man. Lest introduces a negative purpose clause: lest you become like him.

A snare is a trap, a situation which is hard to get out of.

26 Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts.

Striking hands is putting up security for someone else's debts. It is a confirmation that you will pay his debts.

27 If thou hast nothing to pay, why should he take away thy bed from under thee?

If the cosigner has nothing to pay the other's debts, they may take his furniture in payment.

28 Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.

The ancient landmark is a boundary stone and is used to distinguish your land from your neighbor's land.

29 Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.

Be quick and prompt in your work. Mean men are obscure people. He will advance in his business because of his diligence in his work. The cream will rise to the top.