19 Better a poor man whose walk is blameless
than a fool whose lips are perverse.
2 It is not good to have zeal without knowledge,
nor to be hasty and miss the way.
People often think that zeal is a bad thing, as in, “He’s so zealous!” But done in the right way zeal is good. We must be zealous with knowledge. That is a good lesson for new Christians especially. Also consider Galatians 4:18, where Paul says, “It is fine to be zealous, provided the purpose is good, and to be so always and not just when I am with you.” I wrote more on zeal here.
3 A man’s own folly ruins his life,
yet his heart rages against the Lord.
Sadly, our sins and rebellion not only keep us from God but they don’t even benefit us in this life. They destroy us and our families, which is why God warned us from them in the first place! The world tells the lie that sin is fun.
4 Wealth brings many friends,
but a poor man’s friend deserts him.
5 A false witness will not go unpunished,
and he who pours out lies will not go free.
6 Many curry favor with a ruler,
and everyone is the friend of a man who gives gifts.
7 A poor man is shunned by all his relatives—
how much more do his friends avoid him!
Though he pursues them with pleading,
they are nowhere to be found.
This isn’t the way it is supposed to be, just a description of reality. You know your true friends when they are there in tough times. And you are a true friend when you’re there for your friends when others abandon them.
8 He who gets wisdom loves his own soul;
he who cherishes understanding prospers.
9 A false witness will not go unpunished,
and he who pours out lies will perish.
10 It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury—
how much worse for a slave to rule over princes!
11 A man’s wisdom gives him patience;
it is to his glory to overlook an offense.
This is similar to v. 5. God loves justice. He doesn’t want the innocent punished or the guilty spared.
12 A king’s rage is like the roar of a lion,
but his favor is like dew on the grass.
13 A foolish son is his father’s ruin,
and a quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping.
14 Houses and wealth are inherited from parents,
but a prudent wife is from the Lord.
15 Laziness brings on deep sleep,
and the shiftless man goes hungry.
16 He who obeys instructions guards his life,
but he who is contemptuous of his ways will die.
Pride often keeps us from learning from others.
17 He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,
and he will reward him for what he has done.
As Matthew 25 teaches, whatever we do or don’t do for the needy is what we do or don’t do for Jesus.
18 Discipline your son, for in that there is hope;
do not be a willing party to his death.
What a strong warning! Failing to discipline your child is extremely unloving.
19 A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty;
if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.
20 Listen to advice and accept instruction,
and in the end you will be wise.
21 Many are the plans in a man’s heart,
but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.
22 What a man desires is unfailing love;
better to be poor than a liar.
23 The fear of the Lord leads to life:
Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.
24 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish;
he will not even bring it back to his mouth!
25 Flog a mocker, and the simple will learn prudence;
rebuke a discerning man, and he will gain knowledge.
26 He who robs his father and drives out his mother
is a son who brings shame and disgrace.
27 Stop listening to instruction, my son,
and you will stray from the words of knowledge.
28 A corrupt witness mocks at justice,
and the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil.
29 Penalties are prepared for mockers,
and beatings for the backs of fools.
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.