Proverbs 29:1-12

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

Proverbs 29

1 He, that being often reproved [i.e. rebuked] hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.

A man who continues in sin, in spite of repeated warnings, will suddenly find himself without any hope of further opportunity. The people who lived before the flood refused to listen to Noah. The flood came, and they were destroyed.

2 When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule [i.e. a wicked (man) rules], the people mourn [i.e. groan].

The character of a nation's rulers affects the morale of the country. When the righteous are in authority, i.e. in numbers and in power, the people rejoice. A wicked ruler causes widespread mourning or groaning.

Does it not concern you that some of our politicians are so concerned about the morality of waterboarding some captured terrorists in an effort to gain information in order to thwart future attacks against our country but some of these same politicians are willing to lie to us repeatedly, and while some of these same politicians are in favor of aborting 35,000,000 babies in the United States each year, and while some of these same politicians are in favor of homosexual marriage?

3 Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots [i.e. he who is a companion of harlots] spendeth his substance [i.e. wastes (his) wealth or squanders (his) wealth - The fact that he is wasting his wealth indicates that his keeping company with the harlots means that he is paying the harlots for their services.].

Remember that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10 ). A son or daughter, who loves wisdom (which suggests that he/she pursues after the Lord with all of his/her heart), lives a life that a saved person should live, a life dedicated or separated unto the Lord, a godly life. He/she will bring joy to his/her father. He/she is not going to be involved in sin or sinful practices. This person does not keep company with immoral people.

The one who keeps company with harlots is immoral. He does not love wisdom. To pay for his harlots, he is wasting his father's money as well as his own. He will not bring rejoicing to his father. The prodigal son wasted his father's money in riotous living [a general word for reckless abandon, specifically debauchery, dissipation, or profligacy].

4 The king by judgment [i.e. by justice] establisheth [i.e. gives stability to] the land: but he that receiveth gifts [i.e. bribes] overthroweth it.

Through justice a king strengthens his country. He does not accept bribes.

The king who accepts bribes weakens his country. He perverts justice and undermines his country in the process. His perversion of justice may well result in his government being overthrown.

5 A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet [i.e. his neighbor's feet].

A man who believes the flattering comments he hears regarding himself is headed for a fall as a result of his pride based on lies he believes about himself. This fall is caused by the one who does the flattering.

It is possible that the his refers instead to the one doing the flattering rather than to the neighbor who is being flattered, suggesting that he is actually spreading a net for his own feet and will ultimately bring about his own destruction.

6 In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare [i.e. By transgression an evil man is snared (or ensnared)]: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice.

An evil man is often snared or trapped in the net of his own sin. The righteous man is happy because he does not have to fear the consequences of transgression. Instead, he sings and rejoices. The righteous do not have to worry that their plans might come back to haunt them.

7 The righteous considereth [i.e. is concerned for] the cause of the poor [i.e. the rights of the poor]: but the wicked regardeth not to know it [i.e. does not understand such knowledge (or does not understand such concern)].

Righteous people take an active interest in the cause of the poor. They want to see justice extended to the poor rather than to see the oppression of the poor. The wicked are not interested in showing any such concern. They could care less whether the poor get treated fairly or not. One's relationship to God shows up in his attitude toward the needy.

8 Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath.

Scornful men are scoffers or mockers. They create turmoil by things they do and the way they act. They arouse tempers, agitate the people, and create divisions. They laugh at moral restrictions and stir up trouble. They get other people angry and keep things in a constant uproar. They incite rebellion and bring the city into a trap. Wise men seek to bring about peace and harmony, thereby, turning away wrath and delivering the city from a trap by averting anger and its rebellious results.

As I studied this verse, I could not help but think of the problems caused by professional agitators in our country in recent weeks.

9 If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.

This verse may mean that when a wise man argues with a foolish man, the fool will only rage and laugh. He will never be persuaded, and there will never be peace between them. The foolish man will keep things in turmoil with his angry ranting, raging, and scoffing.

Another possibility is that this means instead that when a wise man argues with a foolish man, whether he uses severity or humor, it doesn't make any difference. Nothing positive is accomplished.

10 The bloodthirsty hate the upright [i.e. the blameless]: but the just seek his soul.

The bloodthirsty are wicked aggressors. They desire to shed people's blood, i.e. to kill them. They prefer to murder people rather than have them testify against them in court. They hate the upright, righteous, or blameless person. By contrast, the just (i.e. the righteous) seek the soul of the bloodthirsty person. They desire to see him saved.

11 A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.

A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise person holds them back. A fool readily gives in to anger, but a wise individual maintains self-control.

12 If a ruler hearken to lies [i.e. listens to lies or pays attention to lies], all his servants are wicked.

If a ruler wants to be pampered, flattered, and comforted by pleasant news, then all his servants will lie to him, flatter him, and pamper him. They will tell him what he wants to hear. If he takes the advice of liars, then he encourages lying to him by the people around him. However, if he rewards honesty, then honesty will be encouraged and falsehood will be punished.