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2012 A.D.:  The 7 Pillars of Wisdom?:  Pillar Number 3?:  The Book Of Proverbs

The Book of Proverbs is a powerful and beautiful wisdom book, speaking not only of the holy, but the human as well. It may be one of the referred to '7 Pillars of Wisdom' as there were originally 7 wisdom books in the Bible. It is pithy!! It is practical. It can be humorous at times. It rings very true all too often, and it is amazing to see how much things have stayed the same in the 2900 or so years since some of these proverbs were written down.

The translators who compiled them from the Bible divided them into 31 chapters, which is the most common number of days in our months. The proverbs come from several authors, one being King Solomon. 

  When dividing them into 31 chapters they may have been hinting that it would do Christian society some good to read a chapter a day from the Book of Proverbs. And if so, I heartily concur! We would all have one or two proverbs spring into our mind when we face our various situations, and they would probably help us greatly.

Here are a few gems and highlights from the 31 chapters of the Book of Proverbs. Enjoy! Hopefully it will whet your appetite to read the entire book. But remember, Jesus came after these were written, and in some cases, He brought a better and wiser way that excels these teachings. In other cases, His teachings may be be in good agreement with the wisdom found in Proverbs.

Proverbs Chapter 1:

Here in chapter one we learn that these first proverbs are from none other than King Solomon, son of David, and King of Israel as David was.

And we are told why these proverbs are given...why they are important: They are important for gaining wisdom and being instructed.

They are important for understanding insightful sayings, for receiving wise instruction in righteousness, justice, and integrity; for teaching shrewdness to the inexperienced, knowledge and discretion to a young man. It says a wise man will listen and increase his learning. A discerning man will obtain guidance for understanding a proverb or a parable, or the words of the wise, or their riddles.

(so, if you want to better understand or unlock the mysteries of the meaning of certain proverbs, or parables, riddles, and holy utterances found in scripture, where did the Lord hide some of those 'keys'? We are here being told that this is one of the functions of the Book of Proverbs!)

And, it re-emphasizes the all important fact that 'the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge' and that 'fools despise wisdom and instruction'.

The first lesson offered in the first chapter is this: don't throw in your lot with those who ambush others or lay in wait for others in one way or another in order to gain plunder, in order to kill or steal. It says that they unknowingly set an ambush to kill themselves, that they attack their own lives! "Such are the paths of all who pursue gain dishonestly; it takes the lives of those who profit from it." Prov 1:19

That doesn't necessarily have to refer to bandits waiting behind rocks along the road. It could refer to business cartels that plot against consumers. It could refer to governments that collude with banking and other corporate interests to more or less take nations captive by their tactics.

(This is interesting news in our day and age, the day of the corporate pirate, the day of the entitlement program defrauder, the day of marriage or divorce for profit, pursuing or using political office for personal profit, etc.. Might not any of those apply to the warning of this proverb? We are, many of us, in this category. We are told here though, that 'it takes the lives of those who profit from it.' That is 2,900 year old insight, but isn't it right, if you think about it? Aren't there many ways to be a thief? An ambusher? We should try to avoid them all, for the sake of not losing our soul, and for the sake of loving our neighbor sincerely.)

Here, in this first chapter of Proverbs, we first hear the words of the person - the female person - called 'Wisdom'! 'Wisdom' spends the majority of the first 9 chapters of the Book of Proverbs trying to convince people of the very great reward that comes with paying attention to what she is trying to teach. Apparently it was as difficult back then as it is now to convince people that they are not that smart and are not on a very good path. Otherwise, why would nearly 1/3 of this book be devoted to selling people on the idea that 'wisdom' is something to be treasured, desired, and sought. And once obtained, a thing to be lived by!

"Wisdom calls out in the street; she raises her voice in the public squares. She cries out above the commotion; she speaks at the entrance of the city gates. "How long, foolish ones, will you love ignorance? How long will you mockers enjoy mocking and you fools hate knowledge?"

"If you turn to my discipline, then I will pour out my spirit on you and teach you my words. Since I called out and you refused, extended my hand and no one paid attention, since you neglected all my councel and did not accept my correction, I, in turn, will laugh at your calamity, I will mock when horror strikes you, when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when trouble and stress overcome you. Then they will call me, but I won't answer; they will search for me but won't find me."

"Because they hated knowledge, didn't choose to fear the Lord, were not interested in my counsel, and rejected all my correction, they will eat the fruit of their way and be glutted with their own schemes. For the waywardness of the inexperienced will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them. But whoever listens to me will live securely and be free from the fear of danger." Proverbs 1:20-33 from the HCSB Bible translation.

And that ends chapter 1. "Wisdom" has introduced herself, and explained a bit about herself and the value of her acquaintance. But first we were warned about the dangers of casting in our lot with evil-doers...that the bad that they do only harms their own soul in the end.

Proverbs chapter 2

Chapter 2 of Proverbs begins with Wisdom attempting to encourage people, young men in particular, to seek her and value her treasures. In truth, all of chapter 2 of Proverbs is rich in important truths, and it's hard not to include the whole chapter. But here are what seem to be some particularly valuable passages:

"My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, listening closely to my wisdom and directing your heart to understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasurd, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God."

"For the Lord gives wisdom, from His mouth come knowledge and understanding." Proverbs 2:1-6

Well, that is an important set of passages to take note of. Remember, these aren't idle words. These, as with all of God's words, are very very deep words. So look how 'Wisdom' explains that it is the Lord who provides us with this wisdom! And 'from the Lord's mouth comes knowledge and understanding.'

It goes on to say (about the Lord and His giving of 'Wisdom' to man) that:

"He stores up success for the upright; He is a shield for those who live with integrity so that He may gaurd the paths of justice and protect the way of His loyal followers. Then you will understand righteousness, justice, and integrity - every good path. For 'wisdom' will enter your mind, and knowledge will delight your heart. Discretion will watch over you, and understanding will gaurd you, rescuing you from the way of evil - from the one who says perverse things, from those who abandon the right paths to walk in the way of darkness, from those who enjoy doing evil and celebrate perversity, whose paths are crooked, and whose ways are devious." Proverbs 2: 7-15

We were just told about some of the benefits of favor and protection given by God to those who live their life with 'wisdom'.

Next, chapter 2 speaks of one of the most repeated and emphasized topics in the Book of Proverbs: the adulterous harlot! Over and over again the Book of Proverbs warns that the adulteress is death to her own soul, and the soul of her lovers/victims. This message is rehearsed over and over again; adultery must have been what it still is: a terrible, ugly, and terribly destructive sin. Adultery is a family killer, a trust killer, and a soul killer.

Hollywood has made such a light thing of it that our present generation probably doesn't realize at all how very ugly of a sin it is in our Maker's eyes. The sixth commandment is about adultery, and 6 is the number of mankind. We humans betray our God (Jesus) to play the harlot with other 'gods', or other focuses of our attention, just as our wives betry us and our trust in them. And many times it is the husband that commits this betrayal on the wife. Fidelity! The condition of steadfast loyalty to the one we have given ourself to....that is a beautiful thing. Cheating, betraying, adultery......the ugly mocking and destruction of fidelity. Not a good thing. We humans commit adultery against our Maker in so many ways.

About how wisdom protects us from adultery:

"It will rescue you from a forbidden woman, from a stranger with her flattering talk, who abandons the companion of her youth and forgets the covenant of her God; for her house sinks down to death and her ways to the land of the departed spirits. None return who go to her; none reach the paths of life. So follow the ways of good people and keep to the paths of the righteous. For the upright will inhabit the land, and those of integrity will remain in it; but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the treacherous uprooted from it." Proverbs 2: 16-22

That is the thought upon which chapter 2 of Proverbs ends.

Thankfully, this was written before the coming of Jesus. Adultery is still just as odious of a sin today, but if you cease from it and repent, there can be hope of forgiveness through Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of the Living God.

This is a hope that I cling to. Before I married, though not during, I was involved with women who were married, and so I am an adulterer several times. It is a sin that makes me sick at myself still. And it should. It remains to be seen if I can gain forgiveness for it. But, through Jesus, there is a chance. Without Him, there is none.

Chapter 3 of the Book of Proverbs:

This chapter warns us not to abandon wisdom...if we keep it with us, we will have many days, a full life, and well being. We will find favor and high regard in the sight of God and man.

Then it says: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about him in all your ways, and He will guide you on right paths. Don't consider yourself to be wise; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. This will be healing to yur body, and strengthening of your bones.

Later, it says: "Do not despise the Lord's instruction, my son, and do not loathe His discipline; for the Lord disciplines the one He loves, just as a father the one He delights in."

It tells us, about wisdom: "She is more precious than jewels; nothing you desire compares with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left, riches and honor."

and later it says "The Lord founded the earth by wisdom and established the heavens by understanding. By His knowledge the watery depths broke open, and the clouds dripped with dew."

Then, still in chapter 3, it begins to give a few practical gems of wisdom: "When it is in your power, don't withhold good from the one to whom it is due. Don't say to your neighbor, "Go away! Come back later. I'll give it tomorrow" - when it is there with you."

And: "Don't plan any harm against your neighbor, for he trusts you and lives near you."

"Don't accuse anyone without cause, when he has done you no harm."

"Don't envy a violent man or choose any of his ways; for the devious are detestable to the Lord, but He is a friend to the upright. The Lord's curse is on the household of the wicked, but He blesses the home of the righteous. He mocks those who mock, but gives grace to the humble. The wise will inherit honor, but He holds up fools to dishonor."

And so Chapter 3 teaches about wisdom as a subject, but begins to give us some wise sayings to consider.

Proverbs chapter 4:

This chapter begins with a father speaking to his son, telling the son not to abandon the teaching he receives from his father, and to pay attention because that way he can gain understanding from the good instruction that fathers give their sons.

The father recalls his own youth when 'he was with his father, and tender and precious to his mother' how he was taught that 'his heart must hold on to his father's words' and how 'he must keep his father's commands, and live.'

His father had told him 'Don't abandon wisdom and she will watch over you; love her and she will gaurd you. Wisdom is supreme - so get wisdom. And whatever else you get, get understanding.'

Further on in chapter 4 the son is warned 'Don't set foot on the path of the wicked; don't proceed in the way of evil ones. Avoid it and don't travel on it. Turn away from it and pass it by. For they cannot sleep unless they have done what is evil; they are robbed of sleep unless they make someone stumble. They eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.'

But the path of the righteous is described also: "The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, shining brighter and brighter until midday. But the way of the wicked is like the darkest gloom; they don't know what makes them stumble."

The father tells his son about what is called the straight path: 'Pay attention to my words; listen closely to my sayings. Don't lose sight of them; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them; and health to one's whole body. Gaurd your heart above all else, for it is the source of life. Don't let your mouth speak dishonestly, and don't let your lips talk deviously. Let your eyes look foreward; fix your gaze straight ahead. Carefully consider the path for your feet, and all your ways will be established. Don't turn to the right, or to the left, keep your feet away from evil.'

And that is one man's description of the 'straight path' to his son. And that's where chapter 4 ends.

Chapter 5 of Proverbs

The father who spoke in chapter 4 to his son continues. Here are a few of his points of wisdom.

'Though the lips of the forbidden woman drip honey and her words are smoother than oil, in the end she is as bitter as wormwood, and as sharp as a double edged sword. Her feet go down to death; her steps head straight for Sheol. She doesn't consider the path of her life; she doesn't know that her ways are unstable.'

'Keep far away from her. Don't go near the door of her house. Otherwise you will give your vitality to others and your years to someone cruel. Strangers will drain your resources, and your earnings will end up in a foreigner's house.'

Note that these words above are a good warning to a person, but they are also what happened to America when we took God out of our schools and quit officially praising Him as the author of our successes. We turned to other things - we committed adultery against our God. And just as it says above, we now find ourselves 'giving our vitality to others' (the world's policeman - the United Nations' lackey and pit bull) and our earnings end up in a foreigners house.

Our Presidents shovel our cash furiously in the direction of their true masters, the ones that they commit adultery with, as do others in our government. How much of our 'green energy initiative ' money was sent to overseas entities by President Obama's administration? Good old boys doing favors for their good old boy buddies by breaking open their own kids' piggy bank and handing out the change to increase their popularity and stature with strangers. We elect those who betray us without a second thought. It is our just due for turning away from God, and Jesus, who blessed our earlier days.

Chapter 6:

Don't put up security for a neighbor or enter into agreements with strangers, this chapter tell us in beginning. And if you have go beg the person relentlessly to let you off the hook! How many people are in deep debt, have to pay nearly all of every paycheck for bills, because they entered into 'an agreement ' they should not have. We want thing, and can't quite afford them. Someone tells us "You can have it, if you'll enter into this financial agreement with me." We do, then we wish we had not. See, Proverbs could have warned us...if we would have listened!

Then, we are warned to be industrious like an ant.

'A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to rest, and your poverty will come like a robber, your need like a bandit.'

True...the industrious always seem to end up doing OK. But if you try to be a slacker, eventually ....big trouble!!

  Once I read an article by a man who spent an entire summer observing the ants in an ant pile.  He was surprised, he said, at what bumblers the individual ants were.  They dropped things.  They got lost.  They retraced their steps to regain their trail.  But...he acknowledged that they never quit trying to fulfill their duty with all diligence!  The tried with all of their strength.

Next, the worthless troublemaker. The man who is always stirring the pot:

"A worthless person, a wicked man, who goes about speaking dishonestly, who winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, and gestures with his fingers, who plots evil with perversity in his heart - he stirs up trouble constantly. Therefore calamity will strike him suddenly; he will be shattered instantly, beyond recovery."

We've all worked with a person like that, haven't we...or gone to school with one? I can say that I knew a person who was much like this, and he actually was struck suddenly with unexpected calamity.

Next, a discussion of what th Lord hates in a man:

" Six things the Lord hates; in fact, seven are detestable to Him: arrogant eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that plots wicked schemes, feet eager to run to evil, a lying witness who gives false testimony, and one who stirs up trouble among brothers."

Next, warnings about listening to your father and mother, and avoiding adultery. It is amazing how much of Proverbs centers on warnings about adultery. Adultery is a much hated sin...that much is made very clear in Proverbs. And it is also a deadly one.

It says: "A prostitutes fee is only a loaf of breadbut an adulteress goes after your very life. Can a man embrace fire and his clothes not be burned? Can a man walk on coals without scorchng his feet? So it is with the one who sleeps with another man's wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished."

Later, "The one who commits adultery lacks sense; who ever does so destroys himself. He will get a beating and dishonor, and his disgrace will never be removed."

Chapter 7:

Here there is more about adultery. The writer of Proverbs truly does spend a great deal of time on adultery. Of course,there is not only fleshly adultery, but spiritual. Proverbs doesn't really speak of this so much, but the church is the Bride of Christ. So, if we are disloyal to Jesus, or put other things in life ahead of Him, or especially if we begin worshiping false gods, then we commit adultery. So, perhaps it is a warning in that respect as well.

We are greatly encouraged to obtain wisdom to protect us. Wisdom will "keep you from a forbidden woman, a stranger with her flattering talk."

It describes the foolish youth who follows the temptress: "He follows her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer bounding toward a trap until an arrow pierces it's liver, like a bird darting into a snare he doesn't know it will cost him his life."

It warns the 'young man' about the adulteress at one point: "Now my sons, listen to me, and pay attention to the words of my mouth. Don't let your heart turn aside to her ways; don't stray onto her paths. For she has brought many down to death; her victims are countless. Her house is the road to Sheol, descending to the chambers of death."

Chapter 8:

Chapter 8 is where Wisdom calls out to everyone, telling them why she is valuable, and telling them why they need to seek her training and knowledge. She tells them the benefits received by those who begin to accumulate her knowledge: some of these benefits include riches, honor, lasting wealth, and righteousness. (I imagine that the Christian receives these once they are in heaven, in the types and forms suitable there.)

Wisdom is the only female heavenly spirit spoken of in feminine pronouns, I believe. The only heavenly female spoken of at all, so far as my memory serves. Who is she, what is she? Where is she from? At Chap 8 v. 22 she begins giving the surprising answer:

"The Lord made me at the beginning of His creation, before His works of long ago. I was formed before ancient times, from the beginning before the Earth began. I was brought forth when there was no watery depths and no springs filled with water. I was brought forth before the mountains and hills were established, before He made the land, the fields, or the first soil on earth. I was there when He established the heavens, when He laid out the horizon on the surface of the ocean, when He placed the skies above, when the fountains of the ocean gushed forth, when He set a limit for the sea so that the waters would not violate His command, when He laid out the foundations ofr the earth. I was a skilled craftsman beside Him. I was His delight every day, always rejoicing before Him. I was rejoicing in His inhabited world, delighting in the human race."

Wisdom warns that "the one who finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, but the one who sins against me harms himself; all who hate me love death."

This is one of the great chapters of Proverbs.

Chapter 9:

Chapter 9 begins with Wisdom setting her dinner table and setting out her bread and wine. Then she sends out her servants to call the inexperienced to her table so that they may live.

She begins to teach on practical points.

"Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults;
    whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.
Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you;
    rebuke the wise and they will love you.
Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still;
    teach the righteous and they will add to their learning."

Then comes one of the most often repeated teachings in all of scripture, and so we know it is one of the most important:

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For by Wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. It you are wise, you are wise for your own benefit. If you mock, you alone will bear the consequences. "

Wisdom mentions a woman named 'Folly': "...she is rowdy; she is gullible and knows nothing." and later, about 'Folly' ..... "to the one who lacks sense", she says: "Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten secretly is tasty!" But he doesn't know that the departed spirits are there, and her guests are in the depths of Sheol."

Proverbs spends a very very great deal of time warning us about adultery. We had better take that to heart. The consequences of this sin are especially severe, perhaps.

Here are a few selected verses to give you a taste of the next 21 chapters, but they deserve to be read in full. There's a lot of good stuff for living to be found here. Ask yourself, as you read: "How might my life have been different if my parents had read me these gems of wisdom frequently when I was a child?" For that matter, how might your parents have been different?

Chapter 10:

"Hatred stirs up disputes, but love covers all offenses."

"He who walks honestly walks securely, but he whose ways are crooked will fare badly."

"Where words are many, sin is not wanting; but he who restrains his lips does well."

"As vinegar to the teeth, and smoke to the eyes, is the sluggard to those who use him as a messenger."

"Ill-gotten treasure profits nothing, but virtue saves from death."

"Blessings are for the head of the just, but a rod for the back of the fool."

"A wise son makes his father glad, but a foolish son is a grief to his mother."

Chapter 11:

"False scales are an abomination to the Lord, but a full weight is his delight."

"When pride comes, disgrace comes; but with the humble is wisdom."

"Wealth is useless on the day of wrath, but virtue saves from death."

"He who reviles his neighbor has no sense, but the inteliigent man keeps silent."

"A newsmonger reveals secrets, but a trustworthy man keeps a confidence."

"A gracous woman wins esteem, but she who hates virtue is covered with shame."

"He who upsets his household will have empty air for a heritage; and the fool will become slave to the wise man."

"Like a golden ring in a swine's snout is a beautiful woman with a rebellious disposition."

"For lack of guidance a people falls; security lies in many advisors."

"If the just man is punished on the earth, how much more the wicked and the sinner."

"The depraved in heart are an abomination to the Lord, but those who walk blamelessly are his delight."

Chapter 12:

"He who loves correction loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid."

"A worthy wife is the crown of her husband, but a disgraceful one is like rot to her bones."

"According to his good sense a man is praised, but one with a warped mind is despised."

"Better a lowly man that supports himself than one of assumed importance that lacks bread."

"The fool immediately shows his anger, but a wise man passes over an insult."

"The diligent hand will govern, but the slothful will be enslaved."

"In the path of justice there is life, but the abominable way leads to death."

"Anxiety in a man's heart depresses it, but a kindly word makes it glad."

"From the fruit of his words a man has his fill of good things, and the work of his hands comes back to reward him."

Chapter 13

"He who gaurds his mouth protects his life; to open wide one's lips brings downfall."

"The soul of the sluggard craves in vain, but the diligent soul is amply satisfied."

"Anything deceitful the just man hates, but the wicked brings shame and disgrace."

"The stupid man sows discord by his insolence, but with those who take counsel is wisdom."

"The good man leaves an inheritance for his children's children, but the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the just."

"Walk with wise men and you will become wise, but the companion of fools will fare badly."

"Misfortune pursues sinners, but the just will be recompensed with good."

"He who despises the word must pay for it, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded."

"He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him takes care to chastise him."

Chapter 14

"Wisdom builds her house, but folly tears hers down with her own hands."

"Where there are no oxen, the crib remains empty; but large crops come through the strength of the bull."

***If this is too agricultural for some people to understand, the 'crib', the oxen's living area, gets pretty full of 'you know what', and it's no one's favorite job to have to shovel it clean. So in that sense the cattle cause a lot of not so popular work for someone. But....you can farm a whole lot of ground because of those oxen, and that means good things for everyone on the farm! Their good far outweighs their bad.***

"Sometimes a way seems right to a man, but the end of it leads to death."

"He sins who despises the hungry; but happy is he who is kind to the poor."

"He who oppresses the poor blasphemes his Maker, but he who is kind to the needy glorifies Him."

"Virtue exalts a nation, but sin is a people's disgrace."

"In all labor there is profit, but mere talk tends only to penury."

"In the mouth of a fool is a rod for his back, but the lips of the wise preserve them."

"The king favors the intelligent servant, but the worthless one incurs his wrath."

Chapter 15

"A mild answer calms wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."

"The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good."

"In the house of the just there are ample resources, but the earnings of the wicked are in turmoil."

"The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is His delight. The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but he loves the man who pursues virtue."

"The Lord overturns the house of the proud, but he preserves intact the widow's landmark."

"Everyday is miserable for the depressed, but the lighthearted man has a continual feast."

"Better a little with fear of the Lord than a great fortune with anxiety."

"A wise son makes his father glad, but a fool of a man despises his mother."

"A cheerful glance brings joy to the heart; good news invigorates the bones."

"He who rejects admonition despises his own soul, but he who heeds reproof gains understanding."

"The fear of the Lord is training for wisdom, and humility goes before honors."

Chapter 16

"All the ways of a man may be pure in his own eyes, but it is the Lord who proves the spirit."

"Entrust your works to the Lord, and your plans will succeed."

"Every proud man is an abomination to the Lord; I assure you he will not go unpunished."

"By kindness and piety guilt is expiated, and by the fear of the Lord man avoids evil."

"When the Lord is pleased with a man's ways, he makes even his enemies be at peace with him."

"In his mind a man plans his course, but the Lord directs his steps."

"Balance and scales belong to the Lord; all the weights used with them are his concern."

***In the following three you may want to think 'Jesus' in place of 'king', since Jesus is the King od Kings. Or insert whatever your national leader's title is could work on the Earthly plane.  The concepts pretty much stay valid.***

"Kings have a horror or wrongdoing, for by righteousness the throne endures."

"The king takes delight in honest lips, and the man who speaks what is right he loves."

"In the light of the king's countenance is life, and his favor is like a rain cloud in the spring."

"How much better to acquire wisdom than gold! To acquire understanding is more desireable than silver."

"Pride goes before disaster, and a haughty spirit before a fall."

"It is better to be humble with the meek than to share plunder with the proud."

***Note how the next two work together to emphasize how even wisdom itself is improved somewhat by speaking your thoughts in a pleasing manner. I have met a couple of people in my life who really had this going for them, and the room always seemed to go quiet when they would begin speaking. People enjoyed listening!***

"A wise man is esteemed for his discernment, yet pleasing speech increases his persuasiveness."

"The mind of the wise man makes him eloquent, and augments the persuasiveness of his lips."

"Pleasing words are a honeycomb, sweet to the taste and healthful to the body."

"An intriguer sows discord, and a tale bearer seperates bosom friends."

"Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by virtuous living."

Chapter 17

"Better a crust with peace than a house full of feasting with strife."

"He who mocks the poor blasphemes his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished."

"A single reprimand does more for a man of intelligence than a hundred lashes for a fool."

"If a man returns evil for good, from his house evil will never depart."

"The start of strife is like the opening of a dam; therefore, check a quarrel before it starts."

"He who condones the wicked, he who condemns the just, are both an abomination to the Lord."

"To be a fools parent is grief for a man; the father of a numskull has no joy."

"The wicked man accepts a concealed bribe to pervert the course of justice."

"A foolish son is vexation to his father, and bitter sorrow to her who bore him."

"Even a fool, if he keeps silent, is considered wise; if he closes his lips, intelligent."

"He who is a friend is always a friend, and abrother is born for the time of stress."

Chapter 18

"In estrangement one seeks pretexts; with all persistence he picks a quarrel."

***This one really struck home with me. Somebody I tried hard to always avoid (so in a way, they were estranged, though just from me) was driven almost to extremes to find ways to annoy me and work other strange intrusions upon my life, and I couldn't see why. Yet, here the situation is, fairly well summed up, from almost 4,000 years ago. We men stay the same!***

"A fool takes no delight in understanding, but rather in displaying what he thinks."

"The words of a talebearer are like dainty morsels that sink into one's inmost being."

"Some friends bring ruin on us, but a true friend is more loyal than a brother."

"The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the just man runs to it and is safe."

"The man who pleads his case first seems to be in the right; then his opponent comes and puts him to the test."

"He who finds a wife finds happiness; it is a favor he receives from the Lord."

"The fool's lips lead him into strife, and his mouth provokes a beating."

Chapter 19

"A man's own folly upsets his way, but his heart is resentful against the Lord."

"Wealth adds many friends, but the friend of the poor man deserts him."

"A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who utters lies will not escape."

"Many curry favor with a noble; all are friends of the man who has something to give."

"It is good sense in a man to be slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense."

"The foolish son is ruin to his father, and the nagging of a wife is a persistent drip."

"Home and posession are an inheritance from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord."

"Chastise your son, for in this there is hope; but do not desire his death."

"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the decision of the Lord that endures."

"From a man's greed comes his shame; rather be a poor man than a liar."

"The fear of the Lord is an aid to life; one eats and sleeps without being visited by misfortune."

"He who mistreats his father, or drives away his mother, is a worthless and disgraceful son."

"Rods are prepared for the arrogant, and blows for the backs of fools."

Chapter 20:

"Wine is arrogant, strong drink is riotous; none who goes astray for it is wise."

"It is honorable for a man to shun strife, while every fool starts a quarrel."

"In seedtime the sluggard plows not, when he looks for the harvest it is not there."

"Many are declared men of virtue: but who can find one worthy of trust?"

Here is a wonderful one. Tell me this isn't exactly true! Apparently 4,000 years ago it was just as true!:

" "Bad, bad!" says the buyer; but once he has gone his way, he boasts. "

"A newsmonger reveals secrets; so have nothing to do with a babbler."

"The glory of young men is their strength, and the dignity of old men is gray hair."

"Posessions gained hastily at the outset will in the end not be blessed."

"The bread of deceit is sweet to a man, but afterwards his mouth will be filled with gravel."

"Varying weights, varying measures, are both an abomination to the Lord."

Chapter 21

" Like a stream is the king's heart in the hand of the Lord; wherever it pleases him, he directs it."

"To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice."

"It is better to dwell in the corner of a housetop than in a roomy house with a quarrelsome woman."

"He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will himself also call out and not be heard."

Here is a worthy word for these days of the busy pawn shop.

"Precious treasure remains in the house of the wise, but the fool consumes it.

"He who pursues justice and kindness will find life and honor."

"There is no wisdom, no understanding, no counsel against the Lord."

"The horse is equipped for the day of battle, but victory is the Lord's"

"Haughty eyes and a proud heart - the tillage of the wicked is sin."

"He who gaurds his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from trouble."

Chapter 22

"A good name is more desirable than great riches, and high esteem, than gold and silver."

"Rich and poor have a common bond; the Lord is maker of them all."

"Train a boy in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not swerve from it."

"He who sows iniquity reaps calamity, and the rod destroys his labors."

"The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender."

"Expel the arrogant man and discord goes out; strife and insult cease."

"The mouth of the adulteress is a deep pit; he with whom the Lord is angry will fall into it."

"Folly is close to the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him."

"The kindly man will be blessed, for he gives of his sustenance to the poor."

"Remove not the ancient landmark which your fathers set up."

"See a man skilled at his work? He will stand in the presence of kings; he will not stand in the presence of obscure men."

Chapter 23

"Toil not to gain wealth, cease to be concerned about it; While your glance flies to it, it is gone! for assuredly it grows wings, like the eagle that flies towards heaven."

"Speak not for the fool's hearing; he will despise the wisdom of your words."

"Remove not the ancient landmark, nor invade the field of orphans; For their redeemer is strong; he will defend their cause against you."

"Withhold not chastisement from a boy; if you beat him with the rod, he will not die. Beat him with the rod, and you will save him from the nether world."

"Hear, my son, and be wise, and guide your heart in the right way. Consort not with winebibbers, nor with those who eat meat to excess; For the drunkard and the glutton come to poverty, and torpor clothes a man in rags."

"Listen to your father who begot you, and despise not your mother when she is old. Get the truth, and sell it not- wisdom, instruction, and understanding. The father of a just man will exult with glee; he who begets a wise son will have joy in him. Let your father and mother have joy; let her who bore you exult."

Drinking has apparently never been especially adorning to the human character, or so one might gather:

"Who scream? Who shriek? Who have anxiety? Who have wounds for nothing? Who have black eyes? Those who linger long over wine, those who engage in trials of blended wine. Look not on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the glass. It goes down smoothly; but in the end it bites like a serpent, or like a poisonous adder. Your eyes behold strange things, and your hearts utter discorded thoughts;....."

Chapter 24

"By wisdom is a house built, by understanding is it made firm; and by knowledge are its rooms filled with every precious and pleasing possession."

"A wise man is more powerful than a strong man, and a man of knowledge than a man of might; For it is by wise guidance that you wage your war, and the victory is due to a wealth of counselors."

Here is an interesting piece of insight, and useful. Arrogance was rated as more objectionable than sin, intrigue, and folly to the men of old, or at least this writer. Is arrogance the most offensive quality?

"He who plots evil doing - men call him an intriguer. Beyond intrigue and folly and sin, it is arrogance that men find abominable."

"If you remain indifferent in time of adversity, your strength will depart from you. Rescue those who are being dragged to death, and from those tottering to execution withdraw not. If you say, "I know not this man!" does not he who tests hearts perceive it? He who guards your life knows it, and he will repay each one according to his deeds."

"He who says to the wicked man, "You are just"- men will curse him; But those who convict the evildoer will fare well, and on them will come the blessing of prosperity. He gives a kiss on the lips who makes an honest reply."

Chapter 25

"Claim no honor in the king's presence, nor occupy the place of great men. For it is better that you be told, "Come up closer!" than that you be humbled before the prince."

"Like golden apples in silver settings are words spoken at the proper time."

Christians, consider this one from our Lord's perspective...with us as His 'messengers' of the Good News! Imagine the Lord being refreshed by looking down and seeing you doing what He wishes we would all do!

"Like the coolness of snow in the heat of harvest is a faithful messenger for the one who sends him. [He refreshes the soul of his master.]"

"If your enemy be hungry, give him food to eat, if he be thirsty, give him to drink; For live coals you will heap on his head, and the Lord will vindicate you."

"Like a troubled fountain or a polluted spring is a just man who gives way before the wicked."

Hey, here is evidence of early understanding that there were problems with over consuming sugars!

"To eat too much honey is not good; nor to seek honor after honor."

Chapter 26

"The whip for the horse, the bridle for the ass, and the rod for the back of fools."

"A proverb in the mouth of a fool hangs limp, like crippled legs."

"As a dog returns to his vomit, so the fool repeats his folly."

"Like the man who seizes a passing dog by the ears is he who meddles in a quarrel not his own."

"For lack of wood, the fire dies out; and when there is no talebearer, strife subsides."

"He who digs a pit falls into it; and a stone comes back upon him who rolls it."

"The sluggard loses his hand in the dish; and is too weary to lift it to his mouth."

Remember, the ceramic vessals are best!!

"Smooth lips with an evil heart are like glaze on an earthen vessal."

Chapter 27

"Don't boast about tomorrow, for you don't know what a day may bring."

"Be wise, my son, and bring my heart joy, so that I can answer anyone that taunts me."

"The sensible see danger and take cover; the foolish keep going and are punished."

Are you irritatingly cheery in the morning?

"If one blesses his neighbor with a loud voice early in the morning, it will be counted as a curse to him."

"Let another praise you, and not your own mouth- a stranger, and not your own lips."

"Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another."

"Silver is tested in a crucible, gold in a smelter, and a man, by the praise he receives."

Chapter 28

"The wicked flee when no one pursues them, but the righteous are as bold as a lion."

"When the righteous triumph, there is great rejoicing, but when the wicked come to power, people hide themselves."

"One who rebukes a person will later find more favor than one who flatters with his tongue."

"The one who conceals his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them will find mercy."

"When the wicked come to power, people hide, but when they are destroyed, the righteous flourish."

"The one who works his land will have plenty of food, but whoever chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty."

Chapter 29

"By justice a king brings stability to a land, but a man who demands "contributions" demolishes it."

"The righteous person knows the rights of the poor, but the wicked one does not understand these concerns."

"A rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a youth left to himself is a disgrace to his mother."

"When the wicked increase, rebellion increases, but the righteous will see their downfall."

"Do you see a man that speaks too soon? There is more hope for a fool than for him."

"Discipline your son, and he will give you comfort; he will also give you delight."

"An unjust man is detestable to the righteous, and one whose ways is upright is detestable to the wicked."

Chapter 30

Consider that this next was written long before Jesus lived on earth:

"Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has gathered the wind in His hands? Who has gathered the wind in His hands? Who has bound up the waters in a cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is His name, and what is the name of His Son - if you know? Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Don't add to His words, or He will rebuke you, and you will be proved a liar."

Did you notice, in the proverb above, how, when they asked what the name of the Son was, immediately afterwards they spoke of the Word of God, and its purity. And the Son of God has many names. Jesus is one of those names. And 'the Word' is another.

"This is the way of an adulteress: she eats and wipes her mouth and says "I've done nothing wrong."

Chapter 31

"It is not for kings, Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine or for rulers to desire beer. Otherwise, they will drink, forget what is decreed, and pervert justice for all the oppressed."

"Speak up for those who have no voice, for the justice of all who are dispossessed. Speak up, judge righteously, and defend the cause of the oppressed and needy."

"Three things are stately in their stride, even four are stately in their walk: a lion, which is mightiest among beasts and doesn't retreat before anything, a strutting rooster, a goat, and a king at the head of his army."

And finally, go to this chapter and start reading at verse 10. It is the Bible's only full description of God's picture of a wonderful wife, mother, and woman of God in full, living well and large in her God given roles, a tribute to her gender, the praise of her husband, a treasure to her family, a welcome pillar of her community, and a little gem for her God to look down upon from heaven. It finishes out the Book of Proverbs, and is one of the Bible's great passages, in my opinion.  It describes a woman living out her life, in her God given role as center of a family, and she's not just doing the job...she's doing it like a Boss.  She's knocking it out of the park.  And 'stay at home moms' can certainly do that, and have every reason to be proud of their life, right?  But here it is in case you have no Bible, or just prefer to read it here:

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

14 She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.

19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.

25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.

31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

I hope these selected passages from Proverbs will leave you encouraged to read the whole book, hopefully out loud to your family. There is a fair likelihood that this is one of the 7 pillars of wisdom. Just remember that this was wisdom - much of which still applies - from the time before Jesus came bearing greater teachings.

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