The long collection of 375 short pithy sayings of Solomon continues in this chapter.
A false balance. In those days, merchants used scales for most transactions. Most of them used a false balance. They used it to cheat the poor. Here is how:
- When they were selling, they used heavier weights. That way they got more money for less product.
- When they were buying, they used lighter weights. That way they paid less for more product.
accurate weights are his delight. This verse calls people to be honest in their business practices.
VERSE 2. When pride comes, then comes shame, but with humility comes wisdom.
integrity. This refers to moral wholeness.. It is to be without moral blemish.
shall guide them. When integrity is your way of life, it guides you like a shepherd.
VERSE 4. Riches don’t profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.
VERSE 5. The righteousness of the blameless will direct his way, but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.
deliver them. Another benefit of being righteous is deliverance. You might be delivered from trouble or death.
trapped by evil desires. The desires of an unfaithful (“treacherous”) person lead him to sin.
VERSE 7. When a wicked man dies, hope perishes, and expectation of power comes to nothing.
VERSE 8. A righteous person is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked takes his place.
With his mouth. A godless person can defame another merely by what he says.
godless. The Hebrew word is khaneif. It means profane.
destroys. That is, defile, pollute, desecrate.
VERSE 10. When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices. When the wicked perish, there is shouting.
the city is exalted. An entire city can benefit from the presence of righteous citizens. They help it economically and morally.
despises. The Hebrew word is bbuz. It means deride, despise, belittle, hold in contempt.
VERSE 13. One who brings gossip betrays a confidence, but one who is of a trustworthy spirit is one who keeps a secret.
guidance. The Hebrew word is ttakhbulot. It is a nautical term used of steering a ship.
in the multitude of counselors. The counsel of wise advisers can steer you in the right direction. A wise person welcomes their perspectives.
VERSE 15. He who is collateral for a stranger will suffer for it, but he who refuses pledges of collateral is secure.
gracious. The Hebrew word is khein. It means kindhearted.
VERSE 17. The merciful man does good to his own soul, but he who is cruel troubles his own flesh.
sows righteousness. What does it mean to “sow” righteousness? We think it means to train other believers in the ways of discipleship. Are you involved in the Ministry of Discipleship?
righteous gets life. Solomon’s equates a righteousness lifestyle with a long life. However, there are many evil people who live to a ripe old age.
evil gets death. Solomon’s equates an an evil lifestyle with a short life. However, there are many great heroes of the faith who lived short lives.
VERSE 20. Those who are perverse in heart are an abomination to the LORD, but those whose ways are blameless are his delight.
the evil man will not be unpunished. Solomon foresees that evil people will be punished.
the righteous will be delivered. Solomon foresees that righteous people will be delivered from punishment.
gold ring. In those days, women often wore rings in their noses.
a beautiful woman who lacks discretion. Many people prize outward beauty. However, a beautiful body without a wise personality is morally ugly.
VERSE 23. The desire of the righteous is only good. The expectation of the wicked is wrath.
scatters, and increases yet more. In the kingdom of God, people who give away end up getting more.
withholds … gains poverty. In the kingdom of God, people who are stingy end up getting less.
NIV translation: A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.
A generous man will prosper. God’s ways are reversed from conventional human wisdom. We would normally think that to grow in prosperity, one would need to be stingy. Otherwise, all of one’s money goes away. However, in God’s kingdom, if you want to acquire prosperity, be generous toward others.
he who refreshes others. If you want to be refreshed, deliberately go refresh other people.
VERSE 26. People curse someone who withholds grain, but blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.
seeks. The Hebrew word is shakhar. It means pursue, look eagerly for. How eager are you in your pursuit of holiness?
VERSE 28. He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous shall flourish as the green leaf.
VERSE 29. He who troubles his own house shall inherit the wind. The foolish shall be servant to the wise of heart.
tree of life. This notion of the “tree of life” has come up in other passages in the Book of Proverbs:
Proverbs 3:18. She [wisdom] is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her. Happy is everyone who retains her.
Proverbs 11:30. The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life. He who is wise wins souls.
Proverbs 13:12. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when longing is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.
Proverbs 15:4. A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but deceit in it crushes the spirit.
He who is wise wins souls. When it comes to sharing our faith with other people, most of us Christians are rather timid. But King Solomon says if you win souls, you are wise. Read more »
VERSE 31. Behold, the righteous shall be repaid in the earth; how much more the wicked and the sinner!
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.