The Bible in 1 Kings says that Solomon spoke three thousand proverbs. There are twenty nine of the thirty one chapters proverbs listed in the book as having been written by Solomon. Less than a third of his spoken proverbs are included in God’s word given by inspiration.
1King 4:32 And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five.
The Bible defines inspiration in this verse.
Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
So, obviously, the wisest man in history did not always speak from a spirit that had God’s understanding. In fact, the majority of time that he spoke it was of his own human understanding. God even had Hezekiah’s men discover Solomon proverbs that God wanted in this book, as you will see. These proverbs then, each one, must be very, very important to God. So, we would do well to pay close attention to them. For the most part, if not in all cases, these sayings go beyond any dispensation but are useful for all times as correction and learning tools. Remember, God is speaking through Solomon.
The book of Proverbs has 31 chapters, 915 verses, and 15,043 words.
1 ¶ The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; 2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; 3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; 4 To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.
Solomon is the author of the book. Chapter Ten, verses one and Chapter Twenty Five, verse one, make the same statement. The book was written to know wisdom. The Bible definition of what wisdom is and how you get it is very different from the world’s.
Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.
Job 28:28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.
There are no wise, worldly men by God’s definition who do not first fear the Lord. Throughout Exodus wisdom is the knowledge of how to make something, given from God. But in Deuteronomy we find the definition of the wisdom spoken of here.
Deuteronomy 4:6 Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
For you, Christians pulled from the Gentile world, it would be to follow the statutes give to you by the Lord Jesus Christ through Paul’s letters. We’ve been talking about them for many months. Keep them and do them. This is your wisdom.
Such admonitions as found in Galatians;
Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
Another example would be found here;
1 Thessalonians 5:14 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. 15 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.
16 ¶ Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 19 Quench not the Spirit. 20 Despise not prophesyings. 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.
This is wisdom for you and me. Receiving not only wisdom but instruction, is the second part of the purpose of proverbs. The word instruction is used 25 times in as many verses in Proverbs. Instruction, as you will see, is something that you see, hear, and give. It is something also that you take fast hold of and that you can know. You will die without it. The world around us is dying without instruction because they will not hear it.
To perceive the words of understanding is very significant in that without understanding you can’t discern between good and evil.
1Kings 3:9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?
Understanding is mentioned seventeen times in the book of Job and is a major topic of that book including Job 32:8 that explains God’s inspiration. Mankind has had several things explained early on that he keeps asking the same questions about such as why do bad things happen to good people. God has explained also what is good and what is bad in His sight. Can you wrap your mind around it? Not if you don’t let Him speak to you through His Book rather than some twisted sermon on the radio or a CD you were given.
Animals don’t have understanding.
Psalm 32:9 Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee.
Neither do some men in high places.
Psalm 49:20 Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.
Remember the commandments given to Christians I mentioned earlier, some of which I listed?
Psalms 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.
Do you have a good understanding? I want to read Galatians 5:22-26 aloud again, plus 1 Thessalonians 5:14-22. You can do these. It’s possible. Quit trying to put yourself under the Law of Moses, something you can’t hope to achieve and which is an unnecessary burden on those who want to know Christ. Start teaching your spiritual children the things which are obtainable with Christ.
Without the Bible you can’t receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity. Justice is mentioned in many verses with judgment. Justice appears to me to be the physical action that judgment demands be carried out. One dictionary defines justice as moral rightness and makes it synonymous with righteousness and equitableness. Justice in the following verses is delivering the poor and the needy out of the hand of the wicked.
Psalm 82:3 Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. 4 Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.
We’ll learn later in Proverbs that justice and judgment were more important to God than sacrifice.
Judgment is clearly, by reading the Bible’s definitions, the ability to discern between one thing and another. We might even call it discrimination in its modern, negative sense. You view two things and choose between them.
Exodus 18:16 When they have a matter, they come unto me; and I judge between one and another, and I do make them know the statutes of God, and his laws.
Leviticus 19:15 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour.
Deuteronomy 1:17 Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God’s: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.
Deuteronomy 17:8 If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within thy gates: then shalt thou arise, and get thee up into the place which the LORD thy God shall choose;
1Corinthians 6:5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?
Your judgment is different from God’s judgment. You use the guideline of God’s words to judge but God has no hesitation about what is right and what is not. His judgment is perfect and, in fact, His very actions, behavior, and words are all judgment, for He is the standard by which all things are judged.
Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
Equity is being just, impartial, and fair. When Christ returns He will correct things in such a manner.
Isaiah 11:4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
Psalm 98:9 Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.
Are your judgments with equity? Do you judge based on an impartial and equal standard? Most people can’t do that. We prefer our family to our town, our county to our state, our state to our country, our country to our world, and yet God will judge all equally. Would you permit your children to do something that you would condemn in others? Would you accept behavior from your countrymen or, say, the military representing your country, that you would condemn in others? How equitable are your judgments?
Many times we find ourselves judging by different standards. Which is why Jesus gave us this warning by way of explaining the Law to His Jewish followers.
Matthew 7:1 ¶ Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
This is a call to realize that they would be judged by the same standard by which they judged. While not doctrinally applicable to us as every follower of Jesus in the gospels is still under the Law of Moses it is a lesson we are to learn. It is God’s standard.
Why is it important to give subtilty to the simple? In the Bible, subtilty refers to cleverness, trickiness, like Jacob or Jehu. Why does God want to give subtilty to the simple? Perhaps to keep them from being duped? Used? Exploited? You know, I get a lot of right wing oriented emails that are designed to get me all charged up and angry about something our leftist government is doing, usually only to find after investigation that they are misleading if not outright lies. My friends keep passing them on to me without checking them out themselves. We can be fooled. One of the purposes of proverbs is to keep us from being fooled, to give subtlety to the simple, to make us wise.
Matthew 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves
One thing young men need, and women for that matter, is knowledge and discretion. Discretion is the ability to act responsibly by showing self restraint. Remember, Jesus Christ was discreet, He showed discretion in that He did not allow Himself to reveal the power He could have in order to prevent His crucifixion. The Amish person who is spit on or beaten and refuses to respond in kind shows discretion. A pretty young woman who chooses not to dress in a way to allure young men and to attract them shows discretion. A boy who says yes sir and no sir and doesn’t act foolishly or recklessly shows discretion. Discretion, it is said, is the better part of valor, to know when to be brave and what battles are worth winning.
On the other hand, if you need to win every argument or battle you find yourself engaged in you are not discreet, the word that discretion comes from. If you dress garishly and provocatively in order to attract men you are not discreet. If you are flamboyant and always need to be the center of attention you are not discreet. If you continually talk about how you’re the baddest, the strongest, the toughest, the handsomest, the meanest, the whatever you lack discretion.
In the Army we had a saying, keep a low profile. In other words, don’t draw so much attention to yourself. A Christian is supposed to be drawing attention to Christ, not to himself. Be discreet. Show discretion.
5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: 6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.
When you hear something in the Bible you are supposed to understand and do it. It’s not just about receiving the sound in your ear.
Deuteronomy 6:3 Hear therefore, O Israel, and observe to do it; that it may be well with thee, and that ye may increase mightily, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath promised thee, in the land that floweth with milk and honey.
Mark 4:12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
When you hear and understand, then you learn.
Deuteronomy 4:10 Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.
When you hear a sermon do you hear and understand? Do you learn? Are you a person of understanding? Let me give you some examples. Families headed by single mothers are by and large, the poorest segment of our economy. Women become single mothers by many means, often not of their own choosing. But, there are young girls today, who see the difficulties that single mothers face, and yet choose, that’s right, I said choose to become single mothers. Would they not have learned by looking around them at what kind of life they were choosing for themselves and their children by observing others? Of course, if they had the Bible and were born again and in a good church there would be little excuse but even the unsaved, you would think, could at least see pain and suffering around them.
Again, there are young men and women in school who drop out because they don’t like to put forth the effort. It’s not cool. It’s not worth it. Now, there would be no excuse for a Christian boy or girl to not complete his schooling either at home or in a school but you would think that even the unsaved could see that people with an education tend to do better on average than people without one. You’d think this would be obvious. But people aren’t capable of learning. The list goes on and on with regard to being in debt, exercising and eating right, etc. etc. You look around yourself and see the obvious and then act in the opposite of the way that is good.
To attain unto something is to learn it, to wrap your mind around it. Young person, if you have any wisdom about you at all you will listen to your mother, your older relatives, and family friends when they point out to you how to avoid the pits of trouble that they themselves have walked into or that they have seen others walk into. Pay attention to them. But, if you obey God’s word carefully you will most likely avoid many troubles.
As you hear and read these proverbs can you understand them? It’s very important that you do. Intrepretation means translation. That’s why we have an interpreter at the UN who translates what others say. You need the Holy Spirit sometimes to understand the dark sayings, the ones that seem difficult to understand. Fortunately, there are few of them. Most of these proverbs you yourself should be able to interpret. Pay attention.
7 ¶ The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Job says in Job 28:28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.
We need grace in order to serve God in an acceptable manner, which is;
Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
If you reject what God is trying to teach you, you are a fool.
If you reject the lessons learned by the failures and disappointments of older people around you, you are a fool.
If you hold God’s words and the wisdom of those older people around you, judged by God’s words, in contempt and mocking and ridicule, you are a fool.
Fools hold wisdom and instruction in contempt. They hate it. They’ll say things like, “this is the 21st Century. Things are different now”, or, “its’ my life, I know what I’m doing”, or perhaps they’ll just mutter something stupid about personal freedom and not hurting anyone but themselves. The “FOOL!” light should go off in your head when someone tries to justify everything from drinking alcohol to worldly dating practices.
Fool and fools are mentioned around 60 times in Proverbs. If you find yourself here, then it’s time to rethink some things.
8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
The first commandment with promise, as Paul said in Ephesians 6:2, pointing out that this commandment is most definitely doctrinally applicable to Christians;
Ephesians 6:2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
Deuteronomy 5:16 Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
One of the ways that Satan has undermined this commandment is to have popular culture ridicule and mock the wisdom of parents. We went from television’s wise and loving Dad in Father Knows Best, My Three Sons, and other TV shows to the moron Dad of The Simpsons. As a whole our culture left the eighteenth century ideal of the father as Lord and Master of the house where even portraits were painted with the father’s head above the rest of the family to a more egalitarian view with everyone being of equal standing. An son in the 1700’s would never have thought that joking or teasing or rough housing with Father, not Dad, but Father, was appropriate. No disrespect was permitted. The Father taught the family or the Mother taught the family the Bible before Sunday School disrupted the lines of authority in the Christian family and gave the Father an excuse not to do his job. Early American writers in the late 1700’s and very early 1800’s lamented that the authority of the Father in a family was being undermined by the new freedoms and rights each person expected, even within the framework of the family.
Then we come down to the invention of the word, teenager, to create a separate marketing group for business, which really put the nail in the coffin. I am quoting from the book, “America, In So Many Words”, “In the first part of the twentieth century we made a startling discovery. There were teenagers among us! Until then, we had thought of people in just two stages; children and adults. And while childhood might have its tender moments, the goal of the child was to grow up as promptly as possible in order to enjoy the opportunities and shoulder the responsibilities of an adult. The girl became the woman, the boy became the man. It was simple and significant as that.
Or was it? The reforms of the early twentieth century, preventing child labor and mandating education through high school, lengthened the pre-adult years. In earlier times, a person reaching adult size at age thirteen or fourteen was ready to do adult work. Now the adult size was achieved as soon as ever, but preparation for adult responsibilities lasted until age eighteen or later. Thus, the years ending in –teen became something new and distinctive. Depending on your point of view, those years were to be savored as either the best of times, combining childhood freedom with adult physical maturity, or endured as years of hazard, combining childish irresponsibility with adult urges.
To match our gradual recognition of this new phenomenon, we adopted new terminology. First, in the 1920’s, we began to use the word teenage to speak of clothes and activities, girls and boys, in the latter cases recognizing the teen years but still assigning them to childhood. About two decades later, against the backdrop of depression and war, teenager was born. The exact date has yet to be determined, the word makes a matter-of-fact appearance in a 1941 issue of Reader’s Digest, but being derived from long established teenage, it must have been around at least a few years earlier.
The teenager remade our world. The concept is profoundly democratic by right of chronology: every child, regardless of wealth or merit, can look forward to an age of vigor and independence. And it is subversive: why should any teenager enjoying freedom submit to the authority of adults? With the discovery of this new age, ours (the 20th) has been the century of the teenager ever since.”
Democratic ideals constantly reshape our society and work against the Bible. Those two words are political issues that it would take too long to explain here but let me sum up by saying that in a Democracy all lines of authority are temporary only and easily discarded because every enfranchised citizen has “rights” and therefore only the will of the people, not God, matters. In a Constitutional Republic we elect leaders who make decisions. We all do not vote on every issue. The family and the traditional roles of father and mother, the Biblical roles, have been damaged greatly in American society over the last hundred years particularly.
We are taught by our culture not to hold anyone’s wisdom higher than our own, especially our mother and our father’s wisdom. This tends to make people take less responsibility for obtaining wisdom. You have fathers and mothers who act and live as if they hadn’t matured past their late teen years and who really don’t have a whole lot to offer their children in the way of wisdom. Instead they point to the entertainment media such as TV or the government or to someone with a higher college degree. Of course, these types of authority are also useless.
The father’s instruction and the mother’s law are two things a wise and prudent person won’t forsake. Sadly, though, as it says in Job 32;
Job 32:7 ….Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom. And in verse 9 Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.
9 For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.
Later, it is said that wisdom will give an ornament of grace to your head and a crown of glory. Notice then how the wisdom of a Godly mother and father does the same here. The beauty of the bride in the Song of Solomon, a type of the church, is adorned with chains of gold. Gold is a kingly metal, a type of dominion and authority. Pharaoh put a gold chain around Joseph’s neck, a crown of gold surrounded the top of the Ark of the Covenant, the king’s crown that David took from the head of the King of the Ammonites was a talent of gold, the elders sitting around the throne of God wear crowns of gold, and so on and so forth.
To be blessed with understanding wisdom is to be in possession of a moral power and authority that others can’t have. A wise person is respected and his word is valued even if he or she is mocked by the foolish. You might not want to hang out with a wise and prudent person because maybe you look at them as boring but they’re the ones you go to if you need help because, in the end, your wicked, stupid friends can’t be trusted.
10 ¶ My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.
Now, listen, when someone tries to get you to go along with them to do wrong, don’t agree. Young ladies, there may come a young man in your life who encourages you to do wrong. Don’t consent to it. Young men, there may come along a girl who wants you to do wrong. Get away from her. There may be friends who will encourage you to do wrong. They aren’t your friends. Don’t consent to go with them. This is a warning. They want to do stuff at night, in darkness, away from any parental authority. Nothing good can come from that. You can ruin your whole life. It only takes a minute to do something you can never take back. An unwanted pregnancy or a prison cell, what does it have to take to make you see that when sinners entice you, don’t consent?
This is written specifically to a “son”. It is this type of teaching that the Christian today has forgotten.
Hebrews 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
The writer of Hebrews is quoting Proverbs 3:11-12. Furthermore, you can see by the first part of the Hebrew verse that almost any verse that talks to “my son” applies to girls, as well.
“which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son,” lest you girls feel as if you’re off the hook for God’s instruction.
11 If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause:
From a practical point of view, a spiritual one, and you might find this hard to believe but with crime and criminals glorified in our society, it is often with young, unsaved men that thoughts tend to crime. Songs, movies, and video games glorify the criminal. Girls are excited by the bad boy who is tougher than everyone else.
This has been part of our popular culture for some time with outlaws and criminals like Jesse James and Bloody Bill Anderson of the Civil War and the days of the “Wild West” to John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson, and Bonnie and Clyde of the 1930’s becoming almost deified, made into gods, by popular movies and songs.
Today, we have computer games like “Grand Theft Auto” that glorify murder and theft. Lawlessness is an inherent part of the youth culture and has been for some time.
With the advent of the drug culture in America, more money, and more free time for young people the culture of lawlessness has grown exponentially. When I was a young man I traveled in the company of people who thought, as I did, like criminals. Young people, if you like pirates more than policemen, outlaw cowboys more than our own citizen soldiers, then I urge you to pray about your relationship with Christ. This verse is telling you to stay away from those who would do such mischief. A Christian must protect the weak not abuse them, champion the cause of the poor not exploit them, and to stand for what is right at all times. Young ladies, if you find yourself attracted to a “bad boy” then I would suggest a lot of prayer and consideration of what kind of life you are laying out for yourself and your children.
Prophetically, this verse could be a fortelling of the men who will betray the innocent blood without cause.
Psalm 94:21 They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood.
And then the words of Judas;
Matthew 27:4 Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.
The religious Jews lay in wait for the innocent blood of the Saviour and murdered Him by proxy, as David did Uriah the Hittite, by using the Roman government administering Judea as their weapon of murder.
Deuteronomy has it like this;
Deuteronomy 19:10 That innocent blood be not shed in thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and so blood be upon thee.
Deuteronomy 19:13 Thine eye shall not pity him, but thou shalt put away the guilt of innocent blood from Israel, that it may go well with thee.
Deuteronomy 21:8 Be merciful, O LORD, unto thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed, and lay not innocent blood unto thy people of Israel’s charge. And the blood shall be forgiven them.
Deuteronomy 21:9 So shalt thou put away the guilt of innocent blood from among you, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the LORD.
Okay, young people, you had no excuse before but now you have less than no excuse. Don’t run to shed innocent blood with the trash you might meet out in the world. Do right.
12 Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit:
Here is a picture of what happened to Korah and his men in their rebellion.
Numbers 16:32 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.
This frightening phrase gives us a picture of the wicked consuming the innocent.
Psalm 14:4 Have all the workers of iniquity no knowledge? who eat up my people as they eat bread, and call not upon the LORD.
There are commentators who believe that in the Tribulation one of the horrible acts committed will be ritual cannibalism committed on the Jews in the temple.
Micah 3:3 Who also eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron.
The pit as contrasted with the grave in the same verse gives us a picture of the following, again pertaining to the rebellious Korah;
Numbers 16:33 They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they perished from among the congregation.
Again, another contrast between the grave and the pit;
Isaiah 38:18 For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.
Here again the grave and the pit are linked.
Psalm 30:3 O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.
Isaiah 38:18 For the grave cannot praise thee, death can not celebrate thee: they that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.
Believe it or not, there are a lot of pretty evil people out there who would kill someone and then eat a pizza in the same room as the victim’s body. There are people out in the world far more evil than you can even imagine. You can’t tell by looking at them. Evil people can seem as normal and nice as you can imagine and can even sit right next to you in church. Follow God’s word, not your intuition or your heart.
By the way, cannibalism, as a fetish and sexual perversion, is alive and well in the United States and Europe. Some subgroups of people have even been accused of killing, cooking, and eating human flesh. The fetish is growing and even has websites devoted to it, which of course, insist they are only fantasy, although people have been known to disappear and there have been several prominent court cases involving cannibalism.
13 We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil:
There is always a promise from those who want to do evil that you’ll get rewarded by what you can get. We recently had a case near where I live where an older couple’s grandchild led a gang of young people to burglarize their home and steal possessions. You have to wonder about the conversations involved in the planning of that crime.
Someone pleading with you to do evil things always tries to entice you, to sell their plan to you, by promising that you’ll get something out of it. They’ll appeal to your greed or to a need. It’s a guarantee they won’t appeal to your goodness. No one is going to say, “let’s go steal from that person so we can give to the poor”, unless by poor they mean themselves.
Usually, too, it is the lazy person who hasn’t earned much themselves who desires to steal from those who were more prudent.
Proverbs 12:27 The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.
Notice how this promise, this hope of the evil person, is so exaggerated. When people want you to go with them to do wickedness their dreams of what will happen are always unrealistic. Most likely you won’t find “all precious substance” and you will undoubtedly not “fill” you “houses with spoil”. The promise of sin is always far greater than the reality.
Simply put, don’t follow them. They’re lying to you.
Has Satan spoiled you? Has he taken everything you have? Alcohol, pornography, drugs, consumerism where you have to have things to be happy, and many more things can steal your livelihood, your family, and your relationship with Christ away from you. Satan, the Wicked One, and his minions lie in wait for you to offer you something you can’t have in order to take from you something you can’t do without.
14 Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse:
Here we have the great snare. They want you to join with them and like a tax loving government bureaucrat demands, “we’re all in this together”. This allows you to share the blame. You can’t escape responsibility for their actions. You all share one purse. This is the first hint that you are going to not only share in the precious substance you will steal but also in the responsibility and in the punishment when you are caught. They are setting you up to be the fall guy or girl. I’m always suspicious of anyone who says they have an idea but they need me to help them in order for it to work.
This is usually a lie, too. The boy who encourages a girl to do wrong won’t always be there to raise the baby. Many times he’ll just take off. If you guys get caught in the police searchlight do you think you’re friends are going to hang around. No, they’ll take off. When I got into trouble when I was young, my good time friends vanished. Only the Christians who I had mocked and derided hung around and spoke for the potential they said was in me, although I don’t know what they could have seen.
15 My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path:
You are instructed not to walk in their way. There are many ways to walk, most of them wrong.
Jeremiah 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.
Not only are you told not to walk with them but don’t even step in the same path that they do. Two more times in Proverbs you’ll be warned that there is a way that seems right to a man, but it ends in death. Think of this as a signpost on the road of life warning you not to take a certain way.
There is only one way to walk.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
16 For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood.
God has said He hates those that love violence and you know what? You don’t care what God says. Your culture glorifies violence and you don’t care. Even as Christians we have elevated warfare and destruction to a glorious act always in defense of liberty and our way of life regardless of whether or not the stated justifications for war are shown to be a lie or whether or not we find a great underlying economic motive is involved, even if it doesn’t benefit us but some wealthy elite. We delight in bloodshed and even take entertainment from watching simulated bloodshed on TV and in the movies.
The wicked person’s feet literally run to evil. We love sin so much we don’t usually have to be enticed very hard. We don’t normally just stumble into sin. Human beings literally run to evil. We are quick to shed blood. Young person, you need to run away from those whose lives are determined by their desire to do evil, who make haste to shed blood.
Perhaps you’re thinking, there is no way I’d ever do anything like this. None of my friends are like this. We’re good Godly young people. Let me tell you something. Take one or two steps away from God, away from church, from reading your Bible, from prayer, and unite with just one unsaved person as a “buddy” “hanging out” and just feeling like you haven’t got a care in the world and you have no idea nor control over where you will wind up. As soon as a Christian young person turns their back on the good that they know and proceeds to join hands with the unsaved world they may find themselves in a world of hurt or a world of trouble. I have never known a Christian who has played with sin, wickedness, or evil who hasn’t been burned by it. Not one single case.
17 Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird.
Because it’s all in vain. Their plans are doomed to failure at some point. No criminal and no immoral person gets away with their wickedness for long.
Psalm 9:15 The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken.
Your running off to sin is like building a trap or spreading a net for an animal in their plain sight. Its pointless and a waste of time but it also is like a boomerang and will come back to get YOU.
18 And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives.
The poem goes by John Donne goes, “Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee”. When you make plans to get over on someone to trick them or to deceive them, God says that you are laying in wait for your own blood and you are hiding in secret to take your own life. When you engage in a career of sin and wrongdoing deliberately you will eventually destroy yourself.
Sin, on its own, even without thinking about God’s punishment for it, carries with it its own weight of self-destruction. As Jonathan Edwards had said in one of his sermons, sin can set you on fire. If you think that you’ve fooled your parents, the authorities, or God Himself you will be surprised one day to find how you’ve actually outsmarted yourself only. I know many young people whose lives are far less enjoyable now than what they could have been only because they thought they were too smart and too clever for those who had the charge and care over them.
Here, the prospective murderer/robbers have been warned. They are their own victims.
19 So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain; which taketh away the life of the owners thereof.
While here a criminal act, of robbing someone and killing them is referred to, elsewhere greed itself is condemned. Most notably, for the individual Christian, the following statements are made by Paul.
1Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
The standing cultural norm here is to want more, to covet. Greed is a function of coveting. When Jesus was asked to intercede in a matter of worldly inheritance He refused and preached a sermon on covetousness.
Solomon has just described in detail the attitudes of criminals as well as executives in large corporations who have killed people in order to take their natural wealth. That is the essence of every empire, extortion. It is about killing people and taking what they have. Great Britain murdered nearly 20 million Indians directly this way in the late 1800’s and indirectly many millions of Chinese. There is a book entitled “Late Victorian Holocausts” which will open your eyes to what Britain did if you like to read.
Most wars are fought for economic reasons while the leaders make a show of patriotism and moral outrage. In most of history, the military is simply used as the enforcement arm of a country or empire’s business interests. Mankind kills so he can steal. It’s a simple as that and much more complicated than that allows. Someone profits from war. Look to their influence in the starting of any specific military action. A Marine Corp general from World War One named Smedley Butler, wrote a speech entitled “War is a Racket”. It’s a good read and very insightful.
20 ¶ Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets:
God gives wisdom a feminine gender. But it is not a passive feminine voice. It calls and beckons, cries out and calls to action. She is not hidden but is in plain view for all to see and here. Why then do people reject wisdom?
21 She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the city she uttereth her words, saying,
Wisdom makes herself known in the place where crowds gather, in the opening of the gates, as concourse is defined here. In Acts 19:40 the concourse is the crowd, the assembly, itself. In both this verse and the last it is said that wisdom uttereth her voice and her words. The message is spoken, it is clear, not a silent thought or a passing emotion.
22 How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?
The title of “simple ones” is given to young people in Proverbs 7 as we will see when we get there. The description of simple besides being given to young people with no experience, is also give to the foolish woman and is used twelve other times in Proverbs.
Simplicity is defined very clearly the first time it is used.
2Samuel 15:11 And with Absalom went two hundred men out of Jerusalem, that were called; and they went in their simplicity, and they knew not any thing. (emphasis mine)
Later on, simplicity will mean, in other contexts, honest and without guile or hidden agenda.
Romans 12:8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
2Corinthians 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you–ward.
2Corinthians 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.
But, in this context it can be likened to ignorance and inexperience. Scorners delight in their scorning. Scorning is mocking and derision.
Psalm 44:13 Thou makest us a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and a derision to them that are round about us.
Job 12:4 I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn.
Fools do hate knowledge. Do you know how I know? I used to be a fool.
Verse 7 said that fools despise wisdom and instruction. Other verses put it this way.
Proverbs 12:23 A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness.
Proverbs 15:2 The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.
Proverbs 15:14 The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness.
What is a fool?
He can be an atheist, corrupt, and incapable of doing good.
Psalm 14:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.
As far as a man or woman they are brutish, dull and stupid, like an animal even though he or she may be clever enough to obtain wealth. Being clever and resourceful does not keep you from being a fool.
Psalm 49:10 For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.
Fools are often self righteous as we shall see later in Proverbs. In fact, we’ll learn a great deal about fools in Proverbs. Stay tuned.
23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.
Repent also means to turn and change your mind and behavior. See how in Exodus it is first used as in turning around and going back the way you came. With the BIBLICAL meaning of repentance as first used there is an understanding that you were once someplace that you no longer are and you need to go back. That is one reason why when a sinner expresses Godly repentance upon his salvation he is repenting of what he is, a wicked sinner before God, not necessarily for what he’s done, as most of us aren’t even aware of the magnitude or number of our individual sins when we receive Christ.
Exodus 13:17 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return to Egypt:
But simply saying “turn you” doesn’t imply you were ever right to begin with. God is just telling you to leave the course you’ve been on and to turn at his reproof, which we will see later here in this chapter as counsel and instruction. Later in Proverbs 15 it is correction. Remember this verse;
2Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
So, Biblical definitions of reproof include counsel, instruction, and correction. It is used 13 times in Proverbs. If someone is reproved in the Bible it is usually because they have been corrected.
By being willing to listen to God’s instruction, we get the blessing of having His Spirit poured out onto us. This not being capitalized here reflects Solomon being the one directly speaking. So, in this sense, the parent who gives instruction pours out their spirit on the child who will receive it. An exchange takes place. This can’t happen if the child is too proud or haughty or if the parent’s spirit is a dead one.
God will make known His words to us if we are willing to turn and to listen as the parent is willing to make known his words if the child’s heart is ready. Ever try to talk to someone and they just won’t listen so you throw your hands up and walk away? There is no point in my speaking to you if you aren’t hearing. Why should God reveal anything to man if man simply isn’t interested? This is why there is no light in most people. They don’t have a socket for the bulb.
DNA, the basic building block of life, requires two components, a code and something in the cell to receive the code. Without the cell being able to receive the code it’s pointless. There is no life. Here is one proof for a Creator. If you aren’t willing to hear, God is not willing to make His words known to you. You’ll read the Bible and it will just say blah blah blah to you. I’ve seen it several times when people who aren’t seeking God and don’t want to find Him open this Book. They get nothing.
24 Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;
Matthew 11:16 ¶ But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, 17 And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.
God has called and people just ignore Him. They have not only ignored Him, but they have actively refused to listen to Him or even acknowledge His existence. This situation exists even among people who call themselves Christians. They will neither listen to, acknowledge the authority of, or wait on the Lord but insist on making it up as they go along with a Christ that is an invention of their own heart. I see it on both sides of the political spectrum and in all denominations of so-called Christianity. What about you?
Literally here, it is Wisdom personified that is calling and being ignored, who is putting out her hand and not being regarded. Wisdom is on the losing side in an empire such as ours here in America.
Psalm 12:8 The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.
Back to God the Father. How desperately awful it will be for those who are called and refuse in eternity.
Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.
Here is a figure of the Hell that awaits those persons.
Isaiah 30:33 For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.
25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:
As the reader is accused of not listening to the counsel and correction of Wisdom personified, Israel did not listen to God.
Jeremiah 29:19 Because they have not hearkened to my words, saith the LORD, which I sent unto them by my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them; but ye would not hear, saith the LORD.
And the Lord Jesus Christ makes it clear Himself what this means with reference to the self righteous religious people of His day walking on earth and this day.
John 8:47 He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.
Do you hear the words in this Book? Do you value God’s counsel IN THIS BOOK and will you listen to His reproof? Have you even read His Book one time? How often do you let Him speak to you through it?
26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;
This personification of wisdom says that it will mock our self-caused catastrophes that we brought upon ourselves by not listening. God, too, will laugh at some foolish behavior of men prior to judgment but not at you, Christian, or ancient Israel as a nation. You have broken His heart, not caused Him to laugh. But, I’ll get to that in a moment. But with regard to the Christ rejecting world, the wicked ones, for instance, in the second Psalm, with regard to the rising up of the kings of the earth at the close of the Millennial reign of Christ, God says this;
Psalm 2:1 ¶ Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. 4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. 6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
And again, in Psalm 37;
7 ¶ Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. 8 Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. 9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. 10 For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. 11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. 12 The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. 13 The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming. 14 The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation. 15 Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. 16 A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked. 17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous. 18 The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever. 19 They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. 20 But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.
In this verse in Proverbs, Wisdom will mock when the person who ignored Wisdom’s fear comes. Think about all the things you know to be right or wrong. It’s as if those things are mocking you when you get caught doing wrong. It is wise not to lie, not to have sexual relations outside of marriage, not to steal, not to be lazy, to take care of your body in how you eat and exercise, not to smoke, not to drink alcohol, not to be rash or quick to anger, to get plenty of sleep, not to gossip, wise to learn to rest, read and study God’s word, prayer, unite with other believers in worship, and many other things. You know, in your heart, and have been told over and over that these things are either right or wrong so when you ignore them and trouble comes, well, as Popeye said, “ya’s get what ya’s pays for”.
Just remember, though, it is not our place to mock others’ calamity. This is not under our authority. In Christ’s millennial Kingdom and as evidence of His standard of conduct He says;
Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
I would not refuse to help someone in their self caused distress as long as they were repentant of their evil ways. The only way I would not want to help someone is if they remained haughty and arrogant against what God has said is right and still demanded a bailout. Then, I’d have a problem. If you have early stages of emphysema and want to borrow money from me for a pack of cigarettes, it ain’t happenin’. If you claim you are a Christian and refuse to read the Bible, pray, or have anything to do with other Christians and tell me you’re depressed about your life and the way it’s going there isn’t a whole lot I can do for you. If you’re going to insist on living stupidly then I’m going to insist on not helping you so you can continue to live stupidly. But, I promise I won’t laugh at you like Wisdom will.
God will restore Israel and you, Christian, being a type of the people of Israel will be restored when you repent. He has never and will never cast off either Israel or you. God is not mocking you. He’s not laughing at you. You are His child and He loves you. I can imagine you can break His heart, as they did but I don’t expect the God of the Bible is referring to His own when He talks about laughing at their calamity. But, if you have rejected Christ then;
John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
Remember, this is Wisdom personified and if you want to liken it to Christ or to God the Father be careful, as in all types, not to take it too far. The preacher who screams that God is laughing at a Christian when He falls is walking on a thin edge and is in danger of falling into a great heresy, insulting our God. But, the wicked, the Christ rejecter, cannot expect any sympathy.
27 When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you.
Desolation is pretty bad, folks. It is a waste in Leviticus 26:31, a heap forever in Joshua 8:28, a curse in 2 Kings 22:19, utterly consumed with terrors in Psalm 73:19, the day of God’s visitation when there is nowhere to go for help in Isaiah 10:3, linked with destruction in Isaiah 24:12, in Isaiah 47:11 it can’t be shaken off and it comes from where you don’t know, and just generally something you don’t want to experience. You can’t imagine the terror at what is being promised here for the person who rejects Wisdom and thereby God’s correction and judgment.
Destruction is given in some places in the Bible as being destroyed (Deut. 7:23), being attacked by wild animals and serpents (Deut. 32:24), with a painful medical condition (1 Samuel 5:9), as drinking of the wrath of God Almighty (Job 21:20), and many other terrible things. I’m sure you get the idea.
A whirlwind took Elijah away in 2 Kings 2:1 and when one comes out of the South (a hurricane, perhaps, which is a huge whirlwind) it is for correction, for mercy, or for His land in Job 37:13. The image here is of your destruction coming like a violent storm; a tornado or a hurricane. Imagine the fury of it.
Distress and anguish are things we know and things we fear. Everything is coming down on our heads and there seems to be no escape and no way out.
Read this verse again.
28 Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:
Everyone, even those who don’t care to acknowledge God, will cry out for Him at times. It has been said there are no atheists in foxholes and many an atheist has gone to his death with “Oh God!” on his lips. In this particular, literal instance it is Wisdom personified in its feminine aspect who is being called and is not answering, who is being sought for but can’t be found. The time to seek out either God or wisdom is before you do a thing, not after. Although you can use this as God in type, remember that you can call on God at any time and if you sincerely want Him He will make Himself known to you. There are many former atheists and people who just didn’t care who called on God in their distress and were saved, both from Hell and from imminent death.
So, I’m just warning you to keep the Typology reined in so as not to confuse. If you want to regard this Wisdom personified as God just be aware of its limitations when you talk to someone else lest you confuse them and make them think that God will ignore them if they call for Him and you can easily make some believe that they are just too bad and have gone too far to receive Christ as their Saviour, which is not true.
The Phillipian jailer in Acts 16 had his sword drawn to commit suicide when he was saved. God did not reject his terror and even had Paul tell him at that point of his relief in learning that he would not be executed for losing his prisoners how to get saved.
29 For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:
Wisdom, like the Holy Spirit, points you to the fear of the Lord. This is the key failing in understanding of the entire world. Without the fear of the Lord there is neither understanding nor wisdom. This is the doom of the world system. Another thing of note here is that you must choose. Rejecting Christ is an active choice. They don’t choose the fear of the Lord because they hate knowledge.
30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.
All of wisdom’s counsel and correction and instruction are rejected by the wicked. Wisdom’s, as well as God’s, counsel is held in low esteem and contempt by the wicked. They mock it and laugh it to scorn.
31 Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.
One important theme of chapter one seems to be how what the wicked does will come back at them like a boomerang. What you do wrong will come back to haunt you. Your wickedness, your sin, your iniquity will turn on you and eat you up. All of your supposed cleverness and smarts will be for nought when you find you’ve outsmarted yourself.
32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.
The simple mentioned earlier will be slain by their turning away from wisdom. They don't know anything or they're inexperienced in life, but whatever the case, turning away from wisdom just as in turning away from God's words will slay them. The wealth that fools obtain, those who hate knowledge will destroy them. It is as simple as that, and I am including the mighty men and wealthy men who rule the world.33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.
Here is a promise, surely given under the Law to the nation of Israel, but applicable in many ways to the Christian individual. There are many things you will do and you won’t do if you listen to God’s words. Following His words and admonitions will provide you the opportunity to live safely and to have little to fear from malicious people. There are so many things God gives us in His word to show us how to live. Following them will certainly guarantee a better quality of life than winning the lottery or being “discovered” by a movie producer. Such things we’ve talked about as honoring your mother and your father, not provoking your children to wrath and anger and discouragement but raising them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, such things as work with your own hands, lead a quiet life not drawing attention to yourself but always pointing to Christ, be honest, moral, responsible, simple in your wants and needs, be willing to live with less, be kind, don’t be hot tempered, be patient, don’t covet, be content with what you have, don’t be a respecter of persons, focus on doing your part to lead the lost to Christ and edify the Christian, mind your own business but care about other’s troubles, and many more things that God makes clear in His word will bless your life and the lives of those around you.
This does not mean you won’t suffer for Christ. Christians may be called to suffering so don’t take this verse to the Jew under the Law to such an extreme that you call into question your salvation because you are being persecuted. You will suffer for Christ if He has called you to that. That does not negate this verse, but merely places the fullness of this verse in its proper context. The application still holds.