Proverbs 27:19-28:4

Wednesday, September 24th, 2014

Proverbs 27

19 As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.

As you look into a clear pool, you see your face reflected in the water. In the same way as you study other people, you see much that you find in yourself - the same emotions, temptations, ambitions, thoughts, strengths, and weaknesses. If a preacher preaches to himself, he usually hits everybody else in the process. (BBC)

Just as water, like a mirror, reflects a person's face, so a person's heart or mind reflects what he is really like. Or as water reflects a face, so thoughts (expressed in words) reflect one's personality. (BKC)

20 Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.

The Hebrew is Sheol and Abaddon, death and the grave, never reach the point where they don't claim more lives. Likewise, the eyes of man are never satisfied by anything the world has to offer. Only Christ will satisfy.

21 As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise.

The same word translated praise in this verse was translated boast in verse 1. A fining pot or crucible is used to test and purify silver. A furnace is used to test and purify gold. As a man puts his silver in a crucible to test it and purify it and his gold in a furnace to test it and purify it, so he needs to put praises he hears about himself to the test and purify them. This will show his true character. Much of the praise a person hears about himself is not true, and he needs to be able to discern the difference between what is realistic and what is not.

22 Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him.

A mortar and pestle are old, something which would have been used in my grandfather's era. You may have seen one on display as an antique in a drug store. The mortar is a bowl-shaped object, and the pestle is a thick rod with a rounded end. Something would be put in the mortar to pulverize it and separate things that are bad from things that are good. It could be used to separate the chaff from the wheat, but you could never separate a fool from his foolishness. Likewise, you might take the boy off the farm; but you will never take the farm out of the boy. Some things are ingrained in people and will never be removed.

23 Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.

Constant diligence is necessary on the farm, in a home, in a business, or in a church.

24 For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?

Riches are temporary and will not last. Likewise royalty will soon pass away unless there is constant vigilance.

25 The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered.

Living in a farming community and watching the crops begin to grow, then mature, and be harvested is a satisfying experience. We lived in two farming communities for a total of about 23 years, and I miss the agriculture. During that same time period, we had gardens every year. How anyone can observe farming and gardens and study how things grow and not believe in a divine creator is beyond me.

26 The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field.

According to verses 26-27 God provides adequately for the needs of the family through the animals and crops that are raised.

27 And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.

Proverbs 28

1 The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.

A guilty conscience causes one to flee even though no one other than himself may understand the reason. He runs from imagined pursuers because he knows he has done wrong. The reason for his guilty conscience will eventually catch up with him. The righteous who have done nothing wrong have no reason to flee. They are not afraid because of wrong they have done because they have not done any wrong.

2 For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.

There are many leaders who have sinned against their people, and it may result in the destruction of their kingdoms. A man of understanding will not sin against the people, and it will be good for the people and for the longevity of his kingdom. He will do what is best for the kingdom. Unrest and rebellion, however, will result in a turnover of leadership.

3 A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.

A poor man who rises to a position of wealth is often more oppressive of the poor than someone who is from a higher income level. He opposes people who in some ways are like him. He is like a hard rain which destroys everything rather than like a gentle rain which nourishes crops.

4 They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them.

In an effort to throw off the restraint of the law, people may praise the wicked in an attempt to justify themselves. However, those who submit to the teachings of the law or of God's word will eventually fight with those who seek to throw off the restraint of the law.