Proverbs of Solomon (10:1–32)
1–32 Here in Chapter 10, the style of the book of Proverbs changes; in place of longer sermons, the teaching now takes the form of short statements. The next twelve chapters contain a collection of proverbs attributed to Solomon. Many of these proverbs are easy to understand and therefore need no comment.
Notice that the proverbs are written in a poetic style and contain figurative language. They are designed to convey a broad truth rather than precise information. For example, in verse 1, a wise son obviously brings joy not only to his father but also to his mother; likewise the foolish son brings grief to both mother and father.
Verse 2: Ill-gotten treasures are of no value because they do not last beyond this life and they result in God’s judgment. On the other hand, righteousness delivers from death—from spiritual death, that is, existence without God.43
Verse 3: As a general rule, the Lord does not let the righteous go hungry—certainly not for long; rather, the Lord meets their basic needs (see Matthew 6:33). The wicked, on the other hand, do not have their craving satisfied; they always crave for more. It is also true that the wicked, through injustice, prolong the hunger of the poor(seeProverbs13:23andcomment).
Verse 6: . . . violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked (see verse 11). A violent nature produces violent words; these, in turn, lead to the ruin of the wicked.
Verse 9: . . . he who takes crooked (evil) paths will be found out; his evil deeds will be exposed.
Verse 11: The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life; it is a source of God’s life-giving wisdom.
Verse 12: . . . love covers over all wrongs, because love leads to the forgiving and forgetting of wrongs; it is as if they were “covered over” (see 1 Corinthians 13:5; 1 Peter 4:8).
Verse 13: This proverb contrasts the discerning person with the person who lacks judgment; the latter will experience the rod of discipline and punishment.
Verse 16: This proverb is a source for two important New Testament teachings (see Romans 6:23; Galatians 6:7–8). The proverb shows us that what happens to us in life is usually the result of moral choices we make. Let us not be quick to blame external circumstances or other people for our troubles; most likely, we have brought our troubles on ourselves.44
Verse 19: It is always better to speak less and listen more. Listening is a sign of wisdom; chattering (verses 8,10) is a sign of foolishness. We would sin less with our tongue if we could “hold” it better! Furthermore, people often try to cover up a sin with many words; be wary of the one who talks too much.
Verse 23: A person’s character is revealed by the things he finds pleasure in.
Verse 24: What the wicked dreads is exposure, shame, and punishment; these things will one day overtake him. On the other hand, what the righteous desire will be granted (see Matthew 5:6).
Verse 25: The wicked are swept away, but the righteous stand firm forever (see 1 John 2:17).
Verse 26: The sluggard is an irritant to hard-working people, especially if one has to send him on an errand (see Proverbs 6:6–11).
Verse 29: Here the expression way of the LORD refers to His law and His administration of justice; it is a refuge for the righteous and the ruin of the unrighteous.