Bible Study Notes
Proverbs 13:1 “A wise son…a scoffer…”
Wonder if the writer was referring to a son who scoffs or just one in general. Doesn’t really matter. One who thinks he knows more than anyone enough to scoff won’t listen to advice. A wise son, not a usual teenager who thinks he knows more than his parents.
2 “…soul of the unfaithful feeds on violence”
Not a direct action, but what one obtains. Results of unfaithfulness. Commentary suggests violence could also be mischief. Evil brings bad results.
4 “…soul of a lazy man desires…soul of the diligent…”
Not enough just to want it, you must put action to desire.
5 “A righteous man hates lying…”
Should be our attitude. Idea of being truthful, not false. Being open, not hiding anything. The difference shown in the garden of Eden. Once they had sinned, they tried to hide from God. Lying is an attempt to hide something. Proverbs 6 says God hates it, we should also.
7 “There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.”
Interesting. Viewed this as dealing with financial verses true or spiritual riches. Commentaries suggest that view and one showing two sides of hypocrisy. In that view, a man who merely pretends to be wealthy for evil means is compared to one who pretends to be poor also for evil means. Both would be deceitful in order to obtain something by dishonesty. I’ve always seen the first view. One who hoards his wealth selfishly has no love for his neighbor and thus may be poor spiritually. One who is generous to the point of poverty, if he does it out of love for God and his neighbor, is rich spiritually. Having money or giving money away isn’t evil or noble by themselves. The condition of the heart that acts in either way is what matters.
8 “The ransom of a man’s life is his riches, But the poor does not hear rebuke.”
Another one with different opinions. Most suggest it contrasts a rich person who has money to take care of any problems or troubles with a poor man who doesn’t have to deal with such problems or troubles due to his lack of wealth or sense of insignificance. I can see this view. The other seems odd to me. In it the wealthy who can use riches to resolve problems is compared to the poor who remains poor because he won’t listen to rebuke or correction over his slothfulness. Seems to me to be more strength in a contrast than a comparison.
Pride which gets in the way of hearing advice.
11 “…dishonesty will be diminished…by labor will increase”
Commentary agrees the idea is that God will bless honest gain by labor and not that obtained dishonestly. While I agree with the sentiment that God is pleased with honesty rather than dishonesty, I wonder if the idea puts God in a box. I don’t see that honest labor necessarily guarantees financial increase or the financial blessings of God. This doesn’t diminish God’s faithfulness or goodness, just our concept that He must do such and such in order to show it. He may choose to bless our honest actions, but He is under no obligation to do so.
12 “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.”
That of God. What is right.
19 “A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul, But it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil.”
Another difficult one. Commentaries differ. Depends on whether the conjunction is but to set up a contrast or and/therefore to show a result. As a contrast, the idea is that a good desire accomplished is sweet, but a fool refuses to depart from his evil to accomplish good. As a result, the idea is that because any accomplished desires are sweet, a sinful person won’t depart from his evil desires. Checked other translations. They all use but as the conjunction which leads to a contrast in my opinion.
22 “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.”
Must recognize that all wealth belongs to God. He will determine its final or continuing disposition.
23 “Much food is in the fallow ground of the poor, And for lack of justice there is waste.”
No clear distinction on this one. Commentaries are all over the place on it. Most of the translations render the term fallow ground or uncultivated ground, yet the commentaries appear to ignore that point and go with the much food statement. They see it as another contrast between good diligence and foolish squandering. Some translations use and for the conjunction, some use but. To me, straight reading of the English says there is the potential for much food in the ground of the poor, but because of injustice that potential is wasted. Reminds me of the areas of the world that have sufficient resources to grow food, yet the people starve because evil governments won’t allow the resources to be used. The King James Version uses the word tillage which could refer to the plowing of the ground or the tilled ground. Using that term I can see the contrast. But why say of the poor? The same could be said for anyone who plows and be contrasted with the result of injustice. To me, using the term poor says there is a lack of ability or resources to prevent the injustice. Guess it could also mean that, although there is sufficient food in the smallest sections of ground of the poor, it can still be wasted if those working it aren’t diligent or don’t exercise wise judgment.
24 “He who spares his rod hates his son…”
Those who are against spanking or corporal punishment hate this verse. But it is true. If you care about your children, you want them to grow up happy and able to function in society. They are born with a sinful nature which must be trained to guard against totally selfish behavior. Society today is reaping the consequences of people who were not disciplined as children. They believe they are more important than anyone else and that the world owes them everything. When life shows them differently, they either self destruct or become destructive. To allow a person to grow into that condition sounds like hatred or extreme indifference to me.
I hope you enjoy reading and studying His word. May it accomplish what He desires. Please feel free to comment or post questions. Thanks for reading!
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.