Proverbs 14



Proverbs of Solomon, Continued (14:1–35)

1–35 Verse 1: A wise woman builds her house—that is, her home, her family (see Proverbs 31:10–31). Of course, her husband also shares in the responsibility for “building their house.”

Verse 4: For a farmer, oxen are needed to pull the plow; therefore, a wise farmer will care for his oxen. Without them there will be no harvest; the manger—the storage trough for grain—will be empty.

Verse 8: . . . the folly of fools is deception. Fools—those without the fear of God—not only deceive others, they also deceive themselves. What they believe to be wisdom turns out to be folly.

Verse 9: Fools (the ungodly) mock at the idea of making amends for their sins, for their wrongdoing against others. But the upright seek to maintain goodwill with others, and so they are quick to make amends for any wrong they might have committed.

Verse 10: We should always try to “put ourselves in the other person’s shoes,” to understand other people’s problems and to imagine how they feel. But this is possible only to a certain extent; we can never truly know how someone else is feeling. Neither can we completely share our own feelings with others; we can only share them in part.

Verse 12: An unwise person may feel that his way is right (see Proverbs 12:15), but in fact it leads to death (see Proverbs 7:2127; Matthew 7:13–14). Examples of such unwise people would include those who worship God with their lips but not with their hearts, those whose religion consists only of external observances, and those whose first desire is to please men rather than God; such people suppose their way is right, but they are mistaken.

Verse 13: Life is a mixture of alternating joy and grief. Often we experience joy and grief at the same time. This is particularly so when we seek superficial happiness in order to mask an underlying pain or guilt; such superficial “joy” does not last, and in the end we are left with grief.

Verse 16: To fear the Lord-to fear the Lord’s judgment on sin—is a healthy fear; it keeps us from sinning. Such fear teaches us to think of the consequences before we act.

Verse 18: The simple—those who do not learn wisdom—gain nothing worthwhile in life; they only inherit folly.

Verse 19: Evil men may prevail for a while, but in the end—in this life or the next—they will be forced to submit to those who are good and righteous (see Philippians 2:9–11).

Verse 20: The rich have many so-called friends who try to gain some advantage from them. But few seek the friendship of a poor man who has nothing to offer them. The poor are shunned by their neighbors and even by their relatives (Proverbs 19:7). But God watches out for them (Matthew 5:3; Luke 6:20).

Verse 22: Those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness—both from their friends and neighbors and also from God.

Verse 24: The wise are generally prosperous in this life (see Proverbs 3:2; 10:22); their wealth is like a crown that brings them honor, an inheritance. But fools inherit only their folly—that is to say, nothing (see verse 18).

Verse 25: A truthful witness saves lives—especially when his testimony discredits the false testimony brought by evil men against an innocent victim.

Verse 26: The person who fears the LORD has the Lord for his fortress, his protection and security (see 2Samuel 22:2; Psalm 18:2).

Verse 27: See Proverbs 1:7; 13:14.

Verse 29: A patient man is a wise man, a godly man; patience is a gift of the Holy Spirit (see Galatians 5:22; James 1:19–20).

Verse 30: A heart at peace is a contented heart (see Proverbs 13:25); envy, on the other hand, leads to sickness of body, mind and spirit.

Verse 31: The way we treat others is also the way we treat God (see Proverbs 19:17). Jesus said: “. . . whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:31–46).

Verse 32: This proverb teaches that God takes special care of the righteous—even after the death of their physical bodies (see Proverbs 12:28).

Verse 34: Righteousness exalts a nation. God promised the ISRAELITES that if they obeyed Him He would bless—“exalt”—their nation (see Leviticus 26:3–13). He will do the same for any people who seek to follow Him with all their heart.